I am the above addressed, Leonard A. Rollock, Jr., also known as Petey or Pete Rollock. I am 65 years young…and what I trust is significant as a former federal prisoner/defendant who spent over 25 years straight in various federal penitentiaries and lower level federal facilities is that I bear witness that inmate intellectuals who genuinely care for others become more efficient minded people at what naturally feeds their spirit…and that is providing service.
I was a former unconscious heroin dealer out of New York and Dr. Mutulu Shakur would have been at odds with my behavior as an enabler to the serious problem of crime and addiction in our community. My being held still, in prison, with a literally 152 and ½ years in concurrent sentences provided space and time to take personal inventory. I was convicted in a RICO heroin conspiracy which charged me with conspiring with the likes of Angelo Ruggiero and Mark Reiter, the infamous John Gotti associates placing me in USP Lewisburg and blessed to cross paths with Dr. Mutulu Shakur. This was in the early 1990’s, not too long after the HBO Special “Doing Time: Life Inside The Big House” was aired, and USP Lewisburg was considered the most violent Federal USP in America.
Out of the thousands of prisoners I came across over a quarter century in such an environment, my respect for Dr. Mutulu Shakur stands out, not because he was the most celebrated prisoner I had chance to meet who held the greatest influence with outside educators and professionals, entertainers, people in the media, but also where college youth were concerned…the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a national Chapter in our nation’s HBCU’s and they were always ready to come speak to the prisoner population at his request in the various prisons he was transferred to around the country and successfully so with the Warden’s approval.
Dr. Shakur inspired me, not only to get a four year degree before the Honorable Senator Pell’s grant provisions for federal prisoners were eliminated but to graduate Summa Cum laude. Since my three years on parole, I followed suit in providing service in the community of substance abuse and recovery at the National Institute of Recovery (NRI). Now I am switching careers to practice as a mitigation specialist for lawyers appointed nationally to death penalty defendants. I also speak at schools from middle schools to universities such as Columbia on the perils of being uneducated and the experiences of prison life.
Dr. Shakur’s desire to inspire souls to believe there was much more to life and a way to regain self-respect as being directly tied to being a part of the solution to societal ills particular to the very communities we come from. Dr. Shakur’s presence created a sanctuary of sanity where he encouraged thoughtfulness and symposiums on issues accepted as dilemma’s by the uneducated and apathetic. Dr. Shakur was always looking to stamp out apathy and get men to realize that the most productive path to self esteem and self respect is through education and service to the communities in which we live.
His approach in sharing historical fact provided misguided individuals the wherewithal to see reasons for being more inclined to giving others who looked like themselves, a pass, as opposed to engaging in violence to get a point across or to address a slight.
It was a novel approach in the 1970’s and is still a much needed replacement therapy that Dr. Shakur saw fit to seek certification to practice Acupuncture in the State of California to provide such treatment to those afflicted with addiction. As opposed to being treated with another drug of great consequence, methadone…which also had/has dire consequences to one’s health and all around ability to function effectively. So this is where many wanted and were provided an alternative less invasive method to detoxification.
Dr. Shakur has technically met the letter of the law in the obligation of his time spent in prison under statutory rules for old federal law prisoners who’ve earned meritorious good time credits after 30 years of imprisonment. Thirty years of good time credits accumulation during a life sentence provided for parole. Another factor supports Dr. Shakur’s release when understanding all of his codefendants have been released on such parole according to statute.
Thus, in the rationale that the Constitutional architecture of clemency provides the basis of relief for the wrongly convicted, as well as, the rehabilitated…I ask with humility and all earnest for your sensitivity in the matter of fairness with Dr. Shakur. And arguably, I trust, we need to be ever mindful:
“That Justice is a blind goddess…It is a thing which we blacks are wise…Her bandage hides two festering sores that once perhaps were eyes.” -Langston Hughes
Our community at large expected Dr. Shakur’s release on February 10th this year after an initial parole determination. That is, from a 60 year sentence by a judge who presided over his trial and made the determination of that parolable sentence. Now, being second guessed after meeting the initial parole requirements will prove to be a great disservice after 30 years which the law then technically considered satisfactory for even a life sentence. Statutory good time, at that time, and in this case, is grandfathered in as a vested interest.
So, now with the Arc of justice having been so long, it has to bend toward justice…this issue has the chance to be redressed by an expert administrative body that is isolated from political pressures, rather than by politically-sensitive officials, who dispelled his parole eligibility.
Yes now the interpretation that justice is a blind goddess is most appropriate to address the ills of prejudice and adequately provide remedy under the protective integrity of the clemency process. There is no record in the past 30 years of Dr. Shakur not abiding under the various prisons rules to suggest his institutional adjustment and experience was sanctioned to divest him of his parole eligibility.
Thank you for your time and sensitivity in this matter of Dr. Shakur and this prayer for Dr. Shakur’s release.
Leonard A. Rollock, Jr.
Former Federal Prisoner
Group Facilitator for Substance Abuse Clients
Paralegal and Motivational Speaker