Hello, my name is Efrén Paredes, Jr. and I want to thank you for taking a moment out of your important day to visit my LinkPholio page. I am hopeful we can collaborate on mutual interests to promote social justice and do our part to help make the world a better place.
MDOC Number: 203116
SID Number: 1477159H
Name: EFRAN PAREDES JR
Racial Identification: Hispanic
Height: 5′ 7″
Weight: 185 lbs.
Date of Birth: April 4, 1973 (47)
General background information I am a 47-year-old Latino male originally from Berrien County, Michigan, who is a social justice advocate, blogger, and changemaker. I have spent the majority of my adult life working to raise awareness about the scourge of mass incarceration, promoting prison reform, and fighting to abolish death-by-incarceration sentences for juvenile offenders.
I have also invested in our future by enriching the lives of my incarcerated peers by educating them about civic responsibility, conflict resolution, insight development, cultural competency, emotional intelligence, developing resiliency factors, and helping them develop skills to successfully reintegrate into society upon release by participating in and creating rehabilitative and self-help programming.
I enjoy writing about a variety of issues which are available on my blog (http://4Efren.blogspot.com) and Facebook page (http://fb.com/Free.Efren). I have also participated in radio, television, print and web-based interviews and been featured on a number of podcasts. Links to my interviews are available on my Facebook page.
I was arrested on March 15, 1989 at age 15 for the homicide and robbery of a grocery store manager in St. Joseph, Michigan. I have been incarcerated for 32 years (two-thirds of my life) and have vigorously maintained my innocence since the day of my arrest.
My case was featured in the 2015 documentary film “Natural Life” produced by award-winning filmmaker Tirtza Even about juveniles sentenced to life without parole in Michigan. I am also the subject of a documentary film titled “Half Truths and Full Lies” about my wrongful conviction produced by filmmakers Tirtza Even, Meg McLagan, and multimedia producer Elyse Blennerhassett, which is a work-in-progress (http://HTFL.info).
I am currently awaiting a ruling from the Berrien County Trial Court to determine whether or not I receive a term-of-year sentence that would make me eligible for parole consideration at some point in the future. The decision is scheduled to be made in May.
A 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling banned mandatory life-without-parole sentences for juvenile offenders convicted of homicide. The high court also gave trial court judge’s discretion whether to impose term-of-year or life-without-parole sentences. Life-without-parole could no longer be the only mandatory sentence.
Previous to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling the only punishment judges could give to Michigan juvenile offenders convicted of first-degree homicide in adult court was a mandatory life-without-parole sentence. Judges had no discretion to issue another sentence.
Across the nation states were ordered to review the cases of 2,500 juvenile offenders impacted by the landmark ruling — 367 which were in Michigan — to determine what sentence they should receive.
According to the U.S. Supreme Court only juvenile offenders who are forever incapable of change and rehabilitation are candidates for life-without-parole sentences. Those who are capable of change and rehabilitation must receive term-of-year sentences and become eligible for parole consideration at some point.
To date 94% of the 220+ juvenile lifers who have been resentenced have received term-of-year sentences. Judges have adhered to the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court ruling which held that life without parole for juvenile offenders must become “rare,” “uncommon,” and only applied in “exceptional circumstances.”
Today I am a husband and proud father of three amazing daughters. In addition to connecting with family and friends I enjoy researching about spirituality; mass incarceration; race relations; Latinx and Black history, culture, and identity; self-actualization, among other issues. I am also an avid reader who enjoys reading books, magazines, newspapers, and academic journals.
I enjoy working out, jogging, going for walks and spending time outdoors connecting with nature. I also like to set aside time to meditate and get centered in the morning and evening before I lay down for the night. I believe being aware of the mind-spirit-body connection is important to a healthy and balanced life.
I believe in the law of reciprocity and treating others the way we would like to be treated. I believe in promoting compassion, connection, and empathy. I also believe that we should model the change we want to see in others if we wish to help make the world a better place.
When I am released one day my plans are to successfully complete all the terms of my parole conditions, reunite with family and friends, become gainfully employed, and work with at-risk youth to help them reorient their lives and avoid the pitfalls of incarceration.
I would like to share my experience surviving and growing up in prison for over three decades by helping people learn to cope with struggle and develop resiliency factors to help them flourish, even under the crushing weight of circumstances designed to extinguish their spirit and any semblance of hope.
I also aspire to work with mentors and professionals to help me continually evolve mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. I would like to also utilize my skills to work on social justice issues such as criminal justice reform, helping combat toxic masculinity, and promoting racial equity and civic engagement.
The easiest way for people to contact me is by creating a JPay account (http://JPay.com) which is the approved email platform for members of the public to connect with incarcerated people in Michigan prisons. You can contact me by visiting the website and conducting a search for my prison number on the website which is 203116.
I am requesting that people interested in helping me offer prayers and advocacy. Advocacy can come in the form of sharing my story by inviting people to “Like” the Free Efrén Facebook page and by signing and sharing an online petition supporting my release available at http://Bitly.com/FreeEfren.
People can contact me directly to learn more about my campaign for freedom. They can also support my social justice advocacy as well.
I am currently working to generate support for the Support Michigan Prison Reform (SMPR) campaign by asking people to sign and share our online petition available at http://Bitly.com/MichPR. Your support will not only help impact my life, but also the lives of the 38,000 other people incarcerated in Michigan prisons as well.
The SMPR Facebook group is available at http://fb.com/groups/MichPR and people can download our poster to display and share which can be downloaded for free by visiting http://Bitly.com/MichPR-Poster.