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Letter: Inmate grateful for responses

There has been so much encouragement and support over my May 4 letter (“We reap what we sow, especially in crime”) that gratitude overwhelms me. Like so many, I once thought my voice wouldn’t be heard. Society is still full of great surprises.

I stand 20 years into my life without parole term for my crime committed as a juvenile. I stand as a man that will never out-live my past. The guilt and shame for my actions take on new meanings as I grow older, and I truly feel any good that comes my way or that I can do is only a result of the countless people who refused to give up on me.

I earned an associate’s degree in religious education, a master’s degree in biblical studies and am currently earning a degree in psychology. Before you think about your hard-earned tax dollars I will state the prison system hasn’t spent a dime on my education, except my G.E.D. Ex-cons whom I’ve met in the system and are now out living successful lives have paid for my education. I’m proud of my education but even prouder of the accomplishments that have taken place in the lives of those my life has positively impacted. I may never get out of this physical prison, but I am free of the self-made prison I constructed for myself before I reached out and asked for help.

Many responses noted my words will not reach those who need to hear them the most. However, many spoke of sharing my article online and at schools. I must believe my words planted seeds of hope.

Thank you for using my article and know while I may not be in society, I will continue to do my part in spite of my past actions and present position. Always forward. Never back.

— William S. Walker

Piedmont Correctional Institute

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