Richard has been in prison for 32 years. Richard has been released.
RICHARD DELISI # 087624 B3-101L
REGISTER NUMBER: 087624 B3-101L
Release Date: 04/23/2021
Words from Richard DeLisi - Click here
Throughout Richard’s over 32 years of incarceration, he has committed himself to education, rehabilitation, and self-improvement. While some inmates try to just pass the time in prison, Richard was determined to use his time while incarcerated to better himself. Richard wrote in a 2008 letter to Governor Crist, “My faith in God gives me hope and joy for mercy, which has carried over into all my activities over the course of my incarceration. I have been committed to education, rehabilitation, hard work, and diligence while in prison, which makes me an excellent candidate for commutation of sentence.” Richard further added, “I have overcome many difficulties, including an inability to read or write due to severe dyslexia. I have been successful in not only analyzing my past behavior but in changing the reasons, therefore. I have formulated and implemented a positive plan for a fruitful, productive life. I have taken full advantage of every opportunity afforded me in prison and have been heralded by prison staff members as the ‘ideal inmate.’” In Richard’s 2008 Clemency application, he submitted many letters from prison staff members who agreed that Richard was the perfect candidate for an exercise of clemency power
In Richard’s three decades in prison, he has only received 5 disciplinary reports (DR’s), with the last one occurring in 2005. These include a visiting violation, disobeying an order, unauthorized absence, disrespect to an official and a telephone violation. Assistant Warden Lawrence at South Bay Correctional Institution said, “all of these DR’s are counted as minor DR’s and a person who has been in prison that long with a total of 5 DR’s says a lot about that individual.” He went on to state that “looking at the length of time in between and the types of DR’s, it’s relatively minor.” Further, he agreed that 5 DR’s for relatively minor disciplinary issues is outstanding for someone who has been incarcerated for over 3 decades. While the assistant warden stated there are people who must be kept in prison to protect the public, Richard is not one of those people. Regarding Richard’s release and him not being a threat to public safety, the assistant warden said, “oh yeah, he is one you will feel confident about, he’s just a nice good old man.” When Richard arrived to prison, he was given the highest level of classification, super-close, which is comparable to maximum security. Through his incarceration the last 32 years, he has successfully obtained the lowest classification level possible, besides a community classification level, minimum security. Richard stated, “I am not a violent man, demonstrated by my ‘lack’ of violent criminal history and excellent behavioral record in prison. Rather, I am responsible, quiet and committed to my family and community. I am not, in any sense of the word, a threat to our society. I have the capacity and determination, for my own and my family’s sake, to be a law abiding, concerned, productive citizen.
Beyond learning to read and write, Richard has also used his time to complete more than 30 self-betterment classes. These courses range from substance abuse programs to faith centered classes to numerous skills training courses. Initially, Richard was often denied the opportunity to participate in programs due to the length of his prison sentence. However, Richard would not give up, he’d let the instructors get to know him and eventually they’d permit his attendance. Richard did not stop on his journey of self-improvement despite the many disappointments and family tragedies he faced. He detailed this in his 2008 letter, “Even after [my] denial of clemency in 1997 and 2002, I have continued to develop and improve my character; such resolve speaks volumes of my determination. I have not faltered, wavered, or done any act apart from continuing on the course I have set for myself when I came to prison, from which I will not depart.” When hope seemed lost, Richard persevered. In Florida Department of Corrections Secretary Mark Inch’s March 2020 message to inmates and offenders, he focused a lot on hope. He stated, “hope means we focus on what we can do, instead of what could have been. Hope means we choose to have a positive attitude and act, even when everything inside of us wants to give up. Hope accepts that our past actions have consequences, but that we have set a path to personal change, redemption and a successful future.” Richard has never given up, while he faced constant disappointments regarding his appeals, suffered grave family tragedies and felt like giving up, he refused to give up hope. Despite the many risk factors of life within prison, Richard surmounted such adversity and has become a better person
Staying positive and motivated whilst incarcerated the past 32 years has not been easy for Richard, as life has brought him much tragedy and sorrow. Richard’s three children were approximately 2, 3 and 10 years old when he was jailed. Their lives have been very difficult as they have tried to grow up while forming a relationship with their father behind bars. Richard tried his best to be a parent from prison, but his absence affected his children in real and substantial ways. Richard’s youngest child Steven passed away in 2010 as a result of a prescription pill overdose. His son had written to the Clemency Board two years earlier in 2008 about the in-person love and guidance he so desperately needed from his father, sadly he will never get that opportunity. While Richard was grieving the loss of his son from prison while separated from his support system, he was able to connect his family with a church that was able to hold the services for his son. Then, within a few months, Steven’s mother, Richard’s 2nd wife, also passed away as a result of prescription pills. In 2018, Richard’s daughter, Ashley was in a horrific car accident. She suffered severe injuries resulting in a stroke, paralyzing half her body making her wheelchair bound. In addition to these tragic incidents, he has also lost both his mother and father in the last ten years of his incarceration. In fact, it was just last year that the patriarch of the DeLisi family succumbed to old age, holding out hope until he was near a century that he would be reunited with his youngest son Richard. While Richard has suffered many losses and missed out on so much, he still has the opportunity to be released and with his family. He has grandchildren he has yet to meet and dreams of the day he is able to hold them in his arms.