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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Efren Speaks to Lansing Community College Students

On May 16, 2007 Efren spoke to a group of college students from Lansing Community College. The students' professor, a former member of the Michigan Parole Board, three other prisoners, and the warden's administrative assistant where Efren is housed, were also present. The purpose of the discussion was to address issues pertaining to the court system, life in prison, the parole process, and prison releases.

The first letter which appears below is the text from a letter of appreciation written to Efren by the warden's administrative assistant at the prison he is housed. The second letter that follows is the text from a response letter Efren wrote to the warden's administrative assistant.

The letters reflect the positive work Efren does while incarcerated and is a reflection of his continued growth and development.


DATE: May 17, 2007

TO: Paredes 203116

FROM: Ken Ryan, Administrative Assistant
G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility

SUBJECT: Letter of Appreciation

On May 16, 2007 you participated in a question and answer session with students from Lansing Community College. The purpose of this meeting was to allow the students to gain some insight on life inside prison. You took time out of your day and shared knowledge and personal information with some young adults who were strangers to you. In doing so, you gave them knowledge of not only life inside the prison, but also how it affects the individual doing the time.

I found this interaction very productive. My thoughts were also shared by the students and their instructor (former Parole Board Member Maurice Armstrong).

You are commended for sharing your time and personal information/thoughts for the purpose of helping others. Thank you.


DATE: May 17, 2007

TO: Ken Ryan, Warden's Administrative Asst.
G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility

FROM: Efren Paredes, Jr.

RE: Letter of Appreciation

I wanted to acknowledge receipt of your letter of commendation and let you know I appreciate you sending it.

I wanted to also thank you for affording me the opportunity to speak to the students. I can provide a unique perspective on life in prison because of the juvenile waiver issue, being incarcerated in adult jails and prisons at age 15, and the wrongful conviction issue I have fought long and hard to overturn for nearly two decades.

My knowledge of this experience and ability to communicate it to others is partly the reason I have been interviewed by organizations, university human rights clinics, and by professionals from across the nation who are currently working to end the imposition of juvenile life without parole sentences in recent years. I have also appeared in national reports which discuss the issue.

It is important to present people with all facets of this experience. The more they learn they better they will comprehend all the dynamics involved. This will provide them a more holistic perspective to draw from and make decisions based upon, rather than be left ill-equipped to only draw from fragments of reality. It would be irresponsible to paint a picture to society that doesn't exist.

I believe the honest and candid discussion will serve the students useful in a number of ways. There is much to be learned from each of our unique experiences and the tribulations we have endured in life. We are each reservoirs of knowledge and experiences which can contribute to the growth and development of others.

I am sending Deputy Barrett a copy of this letter since he referred me to you as a viable candidate to participate in the discussion with the students. Thanks again for the opportunity.