"5 months left to live." by Dre

01.25.2016

Today was another smooth day. Most of my days are pretty laid back & boring. I do the same thing every day for the most part. Right now, I’m just chillin, listening to music, waiting for the game to come on. I’ll probably write for a little bit, make something to eat, then I’m out til tomorrow. I’ll probably do the same thing tomorrow. Lol. My life is real simple & boring. I try & focus on things like school, my appeal and a few other things to give me something to look forward to, otherwise, it’s real easy to get depressed in here.

I’m still getting used to blogging. I like writing a lot. But, every time I sit down and feel like I wanna blog, I never know what I want to write about. I like writing about my experiences in life because it gives you guys an opportunity to get to know me. I never really let many people get close to me & really understand me – including my friends & family. But blogging gives me that opportunity to kinda let you guys get to know me for who I was when I was younger, and who I am today.

I don’t really like writing about my life in prison but I do think it’s important to talk about certain things concerning my life in prison. I think it’s important for you guys to understand my life as it is right now and for you to see how things really are on the inside.

For you guys to see what a regular day is like for me, and to hear about the really simple things, to the things that’s real interesting & the things that the prison does that usually doesn’t make it outside the prison walls.

But right now, I wanna talk about my guy, Turtle, who has cancer & has been fighting for his life. He has lung cancer and I’m not sure how long he’s had it, but recently, I got a note from him telling me that he isn’t going out for his treatment because the doctors don’t think it’s necessary anymore, or because he’s just tired of going through it.

I wonder if he’s just ready for all the pain & suffering to be over. I can’t speak to him in person because he lives in the prison hospital, but my guy works in the prison & he told me that the doctor told Turtle that he has 5 months left to live.

Turtle is 60 something years old, by the way. He’s been in prison since he was 15 years old. 45 years later & he’s still in this place for something that happened when he was a kid. It’s amazing to me, man. I can’t imagine being in this place for 45 years, then finding out that I have cancer and knowing that I only have 5 months to live. It bothers me, man, because nobody should have to go through everything that he’s been through.

I met Turtle one day while I was outside working out, lol. I’m curious as to why his name is Turtle. That’s a funny name. But yeah, I was working out and he was standing there talking to the guy that I was working out with. Hearing Turtle talk, you would think he was a 25 year old man that hasn’t been gone for 45 years. He uses words & terms that you guys are using today, Lol, but he’s real old. He’s real smooth though. Don’t let his age fool you, ha!

I was taking a break in between sets, and he’s like, “What’s up Junior?” And, I’m like, “What’s up Old School?” Lol. And we’ve been tight ever since then.

He lives in the hospital so I used to only see him when we went out to exercise. He’s in decent shape for his age, but you can tell that he’s sick. Looking at him, you’d expect him to be in a hospital, but instead he used to challenge me to a one on one game in basketball.

Every time we went out for exercise, we’d play one on one. Don’t think that just because he’s 60 years old & has lung cancer that I take it easy on him, ‘cause I don’t. Lol.  I play him just as hard as I play the younger more athletic guys in here. Once you step on the court it’s on, it doesn’t matter who you are. We can be friends again after the game. Lol.

I miss playin’ ball with him. He shoots the ball with one hand every time. I used to play with him in the summer, but I haven’t seen him in a long time because he’s too sick to come outside now. I sent him a note and let him know that he can’t give up because he owes me a game of one on one. Lol.

Turtle is a smooth guy. We used to talk about all kinds of crazy stuff, and he’s a pretty funny old man. Lol. I just wish he could’ve had a better life. Come on, man – 45 years in a place like this? It’s crazy to me.

I think it’s really interesting to be able to have a conversation with someone that’s been in prison for so long. To see the reality of it is interesting & kinda sad & scary – especially because it could be me some day, if my appeal isn’t successful, you know?

Turtle has been locked up longer than anyone I’ve met so far. But I’ve met guys, and I’m around guys every day, who have been gone for 25-30 plus years, and they’re some of the most humble and wise men that I’ve ever met. Especially Turtle.

He always gave me good advice & encouraged me to continue to stay away from any B.S. He tells me to stay focused, on my appeal and my family. It’s sad because with all the new changes in the laws for juveniles, he would’ve had a good chance of getting out of this place. I still believe he will. I’m hoping I can talk to him in person again. That’s my guy.

I’m about to get some sleep. Until next time.

Dre. 

Editor's Note: Dre is currently 20 years old, 5 years into his 61 year sentence. To complete his sentence, Dre would be released at the age of 76. Unfortunately, the life expectancy of males in prison is far younger than that age; a fact that Dre is well aware of. Dre is currently appealing his conviction to the state supreme court. 

Dre is one of thousands of juveniles who have been given life sentences in the U.S. In 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court, ruled against 'mandatory' life sentences for juveniles indicating such sentences constituted "cruel and unusual punishment." Many states have not made this decision retroactive (applying it to cases occurring prior to 2012) and, in those states that have allowed re-sentencing, some judges have elected to uphold the life sentences.

We hope that reading Dre's blog will shine a light on the injustice of treating youth as adults in the justice system and invite you to join our movement toward a fairer justice system for our youth by clicking our social media links below and following The One. #HearOurVoices

Dre is humbled and extremely grateful for the overwhelming support and prayers he has received, stating, "I didn't think anyone would want to hear what I have to say." We received an astounding 16,000 viewers on our site, within two days of the original post. We are beyond proud of Dre and thankful for the positive reception of his work.

Dre has requested that anyone who is interested in contacting him to do so by leaving a comment below, or emailing your letters to administrator@theoneinternational.org. All comments and messages will be forwarded to Dre.

To read Dre's work about life before he was incarcerated, click here