“An inmate at the Michigan department of corrections, Muskegon correctional facility. If you feel you’re being victimized or exploited by this prisoner, please contact GTL customer service at 855 466 2832. To accept this call press 0. This call is from a corrections facility and is subject to monitoring and recording. Thank you for using Global Tel Link.”
Family and friends of Efren Paredes know this recording well.
This is what greets you when you receive calls from inmates in the Muskegon correctional facility in Michigan, where Efren has been locked up since 1989.
Paredes was 15 years old when he was sentenced to spend the rest of this life in prison, without the possibility of parole. His defense lawyers call this a “slow death sentence.”
Now 41, Paredes is one of at least 2,500 others who were sentenced as minors to spend the rest of their lives behind bars in the United States – one of the only countries in the world that still allows this type of sentencing.
Paredes and his lawyers have been challenging his sentence for some 26 years, but have continuously been denied pleas for pardons and appeals.
“I just wanna be free,” Paredes told teleSUR via telephone. “I’ve been asked by different people ‘where would you go?’ but … I just wanna be able to sit on a lawn, I want to be able to walk out of the front door of my house and sit on the porch and just relax, you know.”