The Injustice Must End (TIME)
Committee to Free Efren Paredes, Jr.
P.O. Box 858
Battle Creek, MI 49016
Web Site: www.4Efren.com
For Immediate Release
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The Injustice Must End (TIME) Committee to Free Efren Paredes, Jr. opposes the imposition of life without parole (LWOP) sentences on children. We do not support abandoning the inherent dignity of children, and view LWOP sentences for children as a human rights violation.
We believe in redemption and assert that persons who are convicted of committing crimes when they were children are not incorrigible and deserve an opportunity to one day return to society. It is our prayer that our honorable legislature and Governor will enact House Bills 4402-4405, which are aimed at abolishing the deplorable practice of sentencing children to LWOP.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) prohibits the sentencing of children to death or LWOP. One hundred ninety-two nations in the world have ratified the CRC. Refusal to acknowledge this treaty violates the evolving standards of decency in a civilized society.
Passage of House Bills 4402-4405 will not release a single person from prison. It will merely give these persons the opportunity to one day be given consideration for release by the Michigan Parole Board. It will also breathe life into a procedure previously designed to quell every conceivable notion of hope.
This legislation will also be able to help Efren Paredes, Jr., a Latino honor student who was arrested at age 15 and unlawfully sentenced to two LWOP sentences for the death of one victim, and one parolable life sentence for the charge of armed robbery. Efren did not commit the crime and was in no way involved. He will turn 35-years-old in April and commence his 19th year of incarceration in March.
Efren's accomplishments while in prison are exemplary and his conduct outstanding. For the last 12 years Efren has maintained employment with Michigan Braille Transcribing Fund (MBTF) as a certified Literary Braille Transcriber, and he has received no misconduct reports during that time. Efren has also worked to reduce youth violence, helped educate others, assisted others with the development of social and critical thinking skills, among other productive things.
Throughout his incarceration Efren has demonstrated continued growth, maturity, and stability. We are very proud of Efren and all he has achieved during this very painful and grueling experience within very controlled and restricted conditions. He continues being the positive person he was previous to his imprisonment.
Efren poses absolutely no risk or danger to society. His continued incarceration is a shameful waste of taxpayer dollars and valuable resources needed elsewhere in the state. To date, the State of Michigan has spent nearly $570,000 to keep Efren in prison. We waste $30,000 in public spending each year to keep him incarcerated.
Upon his eventual release from prison Efren will contribute a great deal to society and be very successful. He has a home to live in, strong family and community support, and full-time employment. He will even be able to employ others and help contribute to our struggling economy. Efren and the citizens of this state are well-deserving of this reality.
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* You can download a hard copy of the actual press release from: http://www.scribd.com/doc/1406009/The-Injustice-Must-End-TIME-Committee-to-Free-Efren-Paredes-Jr-JLWOP-Press-Release