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Why Is Family Important

Posted on September 11, 2017 at 1:35 PM

Why is Family Important?                                                                                                                                                      August 17, 2017

Before I begin to tell you why family is important, allow me to tell you who I am and what qualify me to actually write about the importance of family to an incarcerated individual.

My name is O. Hooks, I have been in prison since I was 16. I’m currently 24 years serving a sentence of Life with the possibility for Parole after 35 years.

I was arrested on April 7th 2010, subsequently charged with first and third degree murder, also related charges.

I was later convicted on December 8, 2011 for first-degree murder, later sentenced to Life without Parole on Jan. 31, 2012.

I was sent upstate on Feb. 3rd, 2012, my grandmother lost her fight to Leukemia cancer while I was housed in the “hole”.

On June 25, 2012, Miller vs. Alabama, a U.S. Supreme case was decided ruling that it is cruel and unusual punishment to sentence a juvenile to a mandatory sentence of Life without Parole; it only allowed after the court to determine a sentence through taking consideration of individualize factors: drug history, urban or rural environment, etc.,

I was resentenced to 42 to Life on Nov. 4, 2014 and subsequently resentences again on April 15, 2015 to 35 years to Life.

I couldn’t have gotten through this roller coaster ride without the support of family. They give me hope when it was room for hopelessness. I fed off of their strength and optimism and they gained strength from my constant positivity. It’s reciprocal, together we developed aspirations, dreamt of life willed with joy, getting through life woes together, redefining what family, love, hope means amongst each other despite the distance putting a strain on the relationship, and the inability to communicate frequently didn’t nurture our bond, but just stunted its growth.

Let’s create a different perspective, imagine being 5-6 hours away in prison and your only love ones are your immediate family, maybe your mother is having a hard time getting around, and the only way she will be able to see you if you find someone willing to bring her up, and you’re unable to; you’re serving a 6 to 12 years. Your mother can only send money when she receives her social security, other than that, no one else supports you. Maybe you call home once in a while, the people you call has never been a positive influence; the substance of the conversation consist of “what’s going on in the streets,” so on, so forth…..

I remember an experiment conducted by Temple University, they documented incarcerated inmates with support who were housed closer to home and those without support housed further away.

The ones who has support was less likely to re-offend once release, the recidivism rate was significant lower for those inmate in particular.


O. Hooks/#KJ-8698/SCI-Chester/500E. 4th Street/Chester, PA 19013


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