by Necalli Ollin
The Injustice Must End (TIME)
During the last month Efrén Paredes, Jr. responded to questions regarding being resentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for a homicide and robbery he was convicted of when he was a minor. He also addressed a range of other questions about the Berrien County criminal legal system, racial injustice, and the current national conversation about crime and punishment.
Efrén is a 48-year-old Latinx man who was arrested at age 15 and subsequently convicted for the 1989 shooting death of a grocery store manager and robbery of the store in Berrien County, Michigan. He originally received two LWOP sentences for the murder and a parolable life sentence for the armed robbery. Since his arrest he has maintained he did not commit the crime.
Despite the myriad daily challenges he has faced being caged in Michigan prisons for over three decades Efrén continues to evince compelling evidence of his perpetual growth and change. The interview provides insight into his thinking and is a testament to his resilience and refusal to be broken by a system designed to crush the human spirit.
The interview is a must-read for anyone who has an incarcerated loved one serving a LWOP sentence for a crime they were convicted of when they were a minor. Policymakers and members of the general public can benefit from reading the interview to better understand why draconian LWOP sentences for minors is a failed, inhumane policy. It is also a great resource for scholars and educators who are studying and teaching about any of the subjects discussed.
Readers are encouraged to share this message in your social media network. Links to the four-part interview series appear below.
Part One of Interview
Part Two of Interview
Part Three of Interview
Part Four of Interview