Today is my 50th birthday and my 25 plus years of being incarcerated.

50

I find myself wondering what would my life been like had I stayed ‘free’? Again, I enjoyed downer drugs – preferably weed. But right before my incarceration during one of my purchase encounters in Houston, my supplier gave us a cup of ‘lean’ or basically Codeine. Its a  strong cough syrup of sorts. I instantly fell in love with the ‘drank’. It was like smoking an ounce of weed in one quick swoop. Music sounded wonderful, the high was intense and I knew instantly I was hooked. Using that as my platform and the explosion of ‘Drank’ as they call it, I would have travelled down the road of real addiction, coupled with my weed addiction. It would have been a jugling act because I had three child support payments due monthly. Getting a job or passing a drugtest to get a job would have been close to impossible. The interesting part: I would have been pressed into purchasing more cocaine in order to keep up with my addiction, partying ways, latest clothes, living expenses, flashy cars and women. To say the least, the grind would have been demanding. Overreaching, I would have fell deeper into the radar of the cops. I very well would have inadvertently introduced various drugs into my childrens lives to their detriment. Everything that spun off from that episode would have been life defeating or life threatening.

Change

On the flipside, upon me entering prison and sobering up, I entered college, earned my first college trades: Automotive Electronics and Automotive Transmission. From there I entered academic studies heading towards my first college degree. I am the only child out of my 11 sisters and brothers whom have received a college degree. While in college, I discovered my gift of writing plays, screenplays and novels. I would go on to earn yet another degree. I followed that up with multiple World Bible School Certificates as well as anger management, parenting and a financial course. My next two accomplishments dealt with volunteering for Hospice Care. I watched many die of the Aids/HIV virus, cancer, Hep C and other various deadly diseases. This truly helped me grow. From there Professor Richard Ross afforded me an interview, in the hope that Harper’s Magazine would give the opinions of many an outlet concerning childhood incarceration. Something I take very serious considering my oldest daughter went through the juvenile system at 15. 

To be honest after reviewing everything – no I’m not saying that I am glad the case happened. No, that’s not the case at all. To make things crystal clear I would gladly have endured my dreary existence prior to prison just to have my sister back … It gets truly deeper considering the disease (she died of Sudden Death) has happened four times in my family. With my expert witness backing up these facts, one would think the alarms would go off in my family. That’s not the case. Again, as offensive as this is to say that old saying holds true: ‘If you want to hide the truth, just put it in plain sight’. As I continue to prove my actual innocence and continue to work to become a quality human being, I review ‘if’ I would have remained free as apposed to being locked up …  locked up has afforded me the opportunity to thrive as a quality human being … unfortunately.

Derrick L. Griffin, 06-02-2021