This is real prison; real life |

This is real prison; real life

My name is Anthony Rizzuto. I was recently denied reconsideration and told to serve a 17-year D.O.C. sentence (12 years in prison plus five years parole). I received the largest sentence of all 12 men in the 1999 “crime spree.”

Nearly all these men went to prison “camps,” which are minimum and minimum-restrictive security prisons. I’ve served three years. However, because of the excessive length of my sentence, I’ve done two of three years incarcerated in a medium-closed facility, which is one step from maximum.

I got caught up in this case at barely 19 years old and I’ll now likely be in prison until the age of 28 or 30, where I’ll start five additional years of parole.

Every day is filled with endless remorse and regret for my conduct. I hope beyond anything that Ms. Ryan and Mr. Simon are able to move forward.

In the past three years I’ve lost nearly all my friends, including someone I sincerely loved. I’ve been stabbed in the stomach, watched friends get prison shanks (knives) stuck through their necks, and others, if they’re lucky, get pummeled until they’re barely recognizable.

I’ve befriended young men that appear no different than your sons, fathers and brothers, only to later find out that they raped and/or murdered young women.

I’ve read articles and watched news broadcasts about men who rape, molest and murder children, and been disgusted when I see them walk into the cell block where I live.

I find it perplexing that I am serving more time than many rapists, child molesters and murderers. This is real prison; real life. I’m only 22, and I’ve been through this for three years so far and I still have nine more years to go.

I am fully aware that I deserve to be in prison, so please don’t misconstrue this as anything more than the truth of prison life. I will grow from an immature teenager to an adult in a place where love, support and any goodness are nonexistent.

Hope for a light at the end of the tunnel quickly and consistently disintegrates, while I watch my co-defendants get released from prison to go back home for a second chance at life. I’ve realized justice is inconsequential to some, yet I continue to search for an answer in a punishment that will soon lose its purpose.

I deserved to come to prison; I needed to come to prison. But after 10 years of incarceration, what else will I know?

Anthony Rizzuto

Sterling Correctional Facility

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