Dr. Mutulu Shakur penned a letter that was posted on his website last week to explain the reports that he was being released early from prison.
Earlier this month, reports circulated that Shakur, who is Tupac‘s stepfather, was released, but his son Mopreme Shakur said that there was a mishandling of his case and he was not freed.
In his letter, Shakur explains that he was set to be free February 10 based on a law that an inmate who serves 30 years of his sentence, if the sentence is 45 years or more, the inmate has then fulfilled their time and should be released.
“I was of the belief that I was to be released from prison, effective February 10, 2016,” Shakur says. “That belief was based on the 30 years I was required to serve. I have fulfilled that commitment while following all rules and regulations like any other prisoner would be expected to. Having been sentenced under federal statute 4205(a), any person serving more than 45 years must serve 30 years to receive mandatory release. For the past 30 years my target release date has been February 10, 2016. Whosoever had legitimate concerns had the same time to come forward to argue that I should not be released.”
The social activist is in California’s Victorville Penitentiary serving 60 years for plotting the 1981 robbery of a Brinks armored car. Two police officers and a security guard were killed in the incident. He was convicted in 1998.
He continues by saying that the lack of media coverage he has received has prevented the Parole Commission from understanding his story. Shakur says that he is not a hardened criminal, but is hoping for reconciliation with the justice system.
“Many of the individuals that have opposed my release and question my resolve to be a productive member of society have had the benefit of mainstream media to project their views,” he says. “I have endured the disadvantage of not having that benefit. My story has not been heard through the mass media. But I hope my call for reconciliation has been heard by some, and has had an impact, especially on young people. What we have been tasked with is difficult and victory will have been hard fought. This is yet another stage of the struggle, but also an opportunity for our voices to be heard. I am hoping your messages can be shared with the Parole Commission as it makes a decision regarding my release or further incarceration. Incarceration can be a catalyst to produce individuals that emerge with a newfound moral compass. I have been privileged to witness that growth and development in many other prisoners throughout my incarceration. As a result, there have been many good works produced, both inside and outside of these walls.”
In the initial reports of his potential release, representatives of the government expressed the belief that Shakur should not be released because of the severity of the crime he committed.
“I am disappointed the system doesn’t seem to hold people accountable for their actions,” Rockland County Undersheriff Robert Van Cura said at the time. “He was someone who was violent, responsible for death and terror for people living in the metropolitan region.”
Elsewhere in the letter, Shakur cites his stepson, Tupac, and Kendrick Lamar as voices for his case and that of the modern struggle against the justice system.
“My son Tupac acknowledged in the context of the struggle to overcome oppression that, ‘we’ve come so far, but still have so far to go …'” he says. “To that I say, we must continue to be guided by the essence of our circumstances that has brought us to these points; which encourage us to be principled, honest and continue to search for the truth. Brotha Kendrick Lamar taught us ‘to pimp a butterfly.’ From that we must always remember that we can evolve and to have faith in the power of transformation, that has been evident throughout the saga of our journey.”
Shakur is asking his supporters to write letters to the Parole Commission on his behalf. Supporters are asked to send the letters to his lawyer, Peter Schey, and his family, who will then pass them on to the commission.
The activist is to be portrayed in the forthcoming Tupac biopic, All Eyez On Me, by The Wire actor Jamie Hector.
To read the entire letter, visit MutuluShakur.com.