The Blog Formerly Known As Practical Paralegalism
If you do not like the circumstances of your life, change them. I used a method that anyone could use: I examined my situation, plotted a course of action, and stuck to it, no matter what. Anything that was inconsistent with the direction I was going was not a part of my life. This is something I use to this day, and anyone can use this method. ~ Wilder “Ken” Berry
I blogged about Ken Berry in early October 2009, after he was appointed to the Adult Advisory Board of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC). Wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for over eight years for a sexual assault he didn’t commit, Berry has since become a highly successful paralegal for Winston & Strawn in Chicago, as well as a passionate inmate advocate, winning awards for his pro bono work on wrongful-conviction cases.
In the Chicago Tribune’s December 7, 2009 feature article, Berry talks about the need to help prisoners with illiteracy and mental health issues so that they can succeed once they are released.
“Some people may think I lack objectivity and will always advocate from the ‘inmate’ perspective,” said Berry, 40, a single parent raising a son who lives with him and a daughter who doesn’t. “But I want our communities to be safe, and we should not be releasing people without regard for their ability to succeed. Education is the key. I don’t want my family or anyone else’s to be victimized.”
When Berry talks about comparing his former prisoner identification card and his new IDOC identification card, I’m awed by the brutal journey he has survived, the success he has achieved, and his ability to take an experience that understandably might have embittered and diminished many other people and transform it into a life’s mission to help others.