When I was fourteen, I was sentenced to life in prison without parole for a non-homicide crime. I spent two-thirds of my life in prison, eighteen of which were spent in solitary confinement. With the help of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative, as well as the extraordinary woman who was my victim, I was able to advocate for and win my freedom.

I tell the full story in my new memoir, My Time Will Come, available now wherever books, e-books, and audiobooks are sold (I also read the audio). If you want to learn a bit more about me, check out the New York Times Op-Ed I wrote, my event with Bryan Stevenson last week, or my interview on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah last night. And order my book here!

For now, I'm looking forward to answering your questions. Ask me anything!

Proof: https://i.redd.it/ung2umhe9rx61.jpg

EDIT: I’m signing off now. Thank you for all of your questions!

Comments: 1504 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

HeroOfMemes381 karma

What was the crime?

prhauthors189 karma

Attempted Murder/Robbery

pmmpsu353 karma

What is it like being in solitary? I think about it being awful and not being able to function as a human in that environment but I also know that there are people in there right now. What goes through your mind the whole time to keep you busy? Do you lose your feeling of being “entertained”?

prhauthors628 karma

Solitary is torture of the mind body and soul

GullibleIdiots322 karma

How do you feel about the victim of your crime? Were you astonished at her actions the first time you heard she was helping to get you free?

prhauthors459 karma

Yes, I was moved by her compassion. And glad that I took the initial step at redemption by reaching out to her and asking for forgiveness.

UnicornOnMeth249 karma

What did you do to pass time in solitary?

prhauthors193 karma

I wrote a lot of poetry!! You can find many of my poems in my new Memoir My Time Will Come

QuackScopeMe150 karma

Perhaps you didn't deserve life in prison nor 18 years in solitary confinement, but it sounds like you're trying to minimize what you did by saying "non homicide crime". You almost killed somebody for a dumb ass reason and you aren't the bigger victim here. But that's just my opinion. What do you think?

prhauthors311 karma

Actually not trying to minimize anything. The fact that the US Supreme Court overturned all life sentences for children who committed Nonhomicide crimes is where I get the term from. It stems from Graham V. Florida!

Party-of-fun116 karma

Did any songs ever get stuck in your head?

What do you think of today's music vs when you first went into solitary?

prhauthors426 karma

Great Question! Best Question so far! Lose Yourself is one of my favorite songs. I rewrote that entire song from a prisoners perspective. Most music (not all) just isn't too good. Back then people made music you could feel!! Nowadays they just make music that makes no sense to me. Particularly the mumble Rappers

Daza78699 karma

Genuine question here, do you feel any sympathy for the person you shot in the face? Any regret for what you did to them?

prhauthors200 karma

Yes, of course. She's one of my best friends. I called her collect when I was 14 to apologize to her. You can see us hanging out together by Googling Ian Manuel Starbucks.

Zhrimpy98 karma

What specifically had you in solitary for so long? I ask this because while the crimes you were imprisoned for were violent crimes - that amount of time in solitary lends to there being a history of repeated violence throughout your sentence. Was that the case?

prhauthors152 karma

Initially I was placed in solitary because of my age. Then I was placed back there for typical teenage behavior. Walking in the grass. Being places I wasn't supposed to be. I was kept there because one write up for anything. Talking for example. Leads to additional 6 months in solitary. I talk about this in My Time Will Come!

WhyNoPockets98 karma

I consider solitary confinement inhumane, no matter the crime. It's difficult for someone who has never experienced it to comprehend what it must be like.

What does it do to a person psychologically and did you develop any coping mechanisms to deal with it?

prhauthors60 karma

I used poetry, exercise, dreams of a brighter future to cope!

prhauthors-30 karma

My coping mechanism was poetry. I talk about how I survived in my new book My Time Will Come.

CorsairSC282 karma

As abysmal as that must have been, were there any positive moments that stood out to you that made it better in any way?

prhauthors229 karma

When I wrote Senator Bill Nelson about my treatment in solitary confinement and he got involved and helped get me released from solitary confinement was a positive. Because it showed the power of the pen and compassion of a person in power could change things

Link__82 karma

I’m not sure what perspective or uniqueness you’re attempting to portray, and you can’t convey that with “buy my book and find out”. You don’t have the social credit of someone wrongly imprisoned, and you don’t specify what it means to be an “activist”. Activist for who? Victims of crime? Perpetrator of crime? Or just some banal sloganeering about race or whatever? You’ve got to sell this a bit more before I’d even consider clicking on your book link.

prhauthors87 karma

I'm an activist for the voiceless. Those left to die in prison. The kids still languishing in solitary confinement. An activist for restorative justice. Because I saw first hand how reaching out to my victim to atone for my crime changed both of our lives

KuriousGirl56 karma

How have you been ha doing social interactions? Have the thoughts in your head gotten even louder considering the confinement? How did you handle your mental health in confinement ?

prhauthors96 karma

The thoughts in my head haven't gotten louder. Being so young in solitary confinement actually worked to my benefit. As I used my imagination to survive.

itsprobspumpndump56 karma

What country were you imprisoned?

prhauthors83 karma

The USA Florida to be specific

10thunderpigs49 karma

What does 'forgiveness' mean to you?

prhauthors99 karma

Debbie Baigrie!

RePiece42 karma

How are you handling life right now? How much of an impact those 18 years had to you?

prhauthors101 karma

The rentry process is difficult. Just mostly because you're expected to catch up immediately. And there's a lot of road blocks to simple things like housing & jobs

ectobott36 karma

Did it ever cross your mind to end your life? If yes, did you attempt to do it?

prhauthors81 karma

No I knew I was going to get out of prison one day despite the Odds against me. And believe I willed that into existence!

notshawnvaughn27 karma

When did you decide to begin writing your memoir? What made you want to put your story into words, and did your motivations or situations change in the process of completing the book?

prhauthors29 karma

While I was still in solitary. And yes the process changed a lot.

alice_op21 karma

I don't approve of the prison system that seeks to punish prisoners rather than rehabilitate them, how do you feel the US prison system rehabilitated you, and what changes do you think would be ideal to help people convicted of violent crimes be rehabilitated into society?

prhauthors61 karma

Prison didn't rehabilitate me. I rehabilitated myself. Yes, it would be ideal to do so. But it's a mindset that the people in charge don't have.

imposterfrank18 karma

What are some resources for people that want to help with prison reform?

prhauthors26 karma

The Equal Justice Initiative

IamSamGamgee13 karma

Was it difficult to relive the experiences you describe in the book while you were writing them? Or was there something cathartic about getting it down on paper?

prhauthors19 karma

Both cathartic and painful to relive! But it's something I wanted to do...

prhauthors13 karma

Yes! Very difficult to relive!

_DAMU_2 karma

were you allowed to read? if so, what book impacted you the most?

prhauthors6 karma

Yes! Many books influenced me. Mostly Spiritual ones. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. To name a couple.

Xralius1 karma

First of all, just wanted to say it's so good to see how you've taken such a tough situation, along with your own mistakes, and strove for positivity while accepting responsibility. No doubt it has given you insight into how situationally dependent we all are and how our experiences shape who we are, both in our triumphs and mistakes. I hope it helps you understand and forgive people in your own life in the past and future.

There's a whole new world for you to explore. Are you feeling pressure outside of prison? What are some new hobbies and interests you've gained since leaving prison?

prhauthors1 karma

Yes, I feel pressure! But it's the pressure to be successful! To succeed at the highest level. To prove to myself that the dreams I had in solitary confinement really can come true!

FattyTheNunchuck-1 karma

How did the excessive punishment affect you emotionally?

How would you advise a system deal with offenders in a more healing and positive way if you were a world leader pretend?

prhauthors4 karma

It caused me to push my pain down! To bottle my emotions up and not feel the pain because I felt it would drive me insane. If I was a world leader I'd put a cap on the amount of time a person could stay in solitary. I'd also limit it's use for serious offenses only. And I'd ensure people got the mental and medical treatment they needed while confined