Joe expresses hope that society will understand that those who committed crimes as teens or young adults may grow to become profoundly different people by middle age.
I do I hope that attention is drawn to the fight of people who have life without the possibility of parole. Because there is a Japanese philosopher that wrote that Enlightenment, once it’s achieved, amounts to the same thing no matter how you got there.
In other words, you could have come through a life of sin and wickedness, but at the point where you wake up and you live up to the potential of the human being — so you have compassion for other people, you have a conscience, you have a desire for selfless action — when you have gotten over yourself and you’re feeling the (value) in other people, and you reach the point where you are willing to sacrifice on behalf of others for the greater good, when you get to that point, no matter how you got there, that consciousness is the same. Regardless of your past.
I’ve seen — this forget about me for a second here — I’ve met other people who have life without (parole) that are actually profoundly good human beings. They’ve reorientated themselves and they did so, the ones I that I know, before there was any possibility of commutation. They did that work, and it was difficult work for them, of redeeming themselves and resurrecting the spirit within them and reaching their potential as human beings. Without any thought of using it as a way to get out, but merely because there was a call in their souls when they woke up to do so.
So a lot of men got their cases when they were 18, 19, or 20 and when they are 35 or 40, their orientation has absolutely no relationship to where they were as teenagers.
So I do hope that society as a whole becomes acquainted with this fact and thinks about it. And this being primarily a Judeo-Christian society, that they make room for the fact that the suffering of these men, and the work they have done, is redemptive, and possibility invite them back to that role in society.