The following is a transcript of the Kenyatta’s appearance before the New York State parole board on February 25, 1999:



In the Matter
INST. # 74-A-3701
NYSID ————-


TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS at a hearing held in the above-entitled matter by the State of New York Executive Department, Division of Parole, on the 25th day of February, 1999, Fishkill Correctional Facility General, Fishkill, New York.





Q: You are Ibn Kenyatta?

A: Yes.

Q: Mr. Kenyatta, I am Commissioner Gailor. With me today is Commissioner Clarke.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Good morning to you.

THE INMATE: How are you doing?


Q: You are reappearing before the Parole Board serving a 15-year-to-life term for attempted murder, A-1, and a seven-year definite term for criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree; is that correct?

A: Yes. That’s right.

Q: You were found guilty of these offenses after trial.

A: Yes. I was found guilty.

Q: Did you appeal these decisions?

A: I appealed, and I also am not guilty of these charges.

Q: What is the status of your appeal?

A: Well, I am still working on it.

Q: So, you have a pending appeal, right, open?

A: Well, yes.

Q: The reason that I say that is because we make a record of our interview here with you today, and that record could be subpoenaed by any court. Now, we wouldn’t want you to say anything on the record that could jeopardize your appeal. Do you understand?

A: Yes.

Q: Now, you initially saw the Parole Board–

A: I never saw a Parole Board. This is 10 years. I decided to come because I wanted to. I thought that you should get a chance–

Q: You refused in 1996.

A: From ’88 to ’98.

Q: Okay.

A: I decided to come today because I felt that after a decade I should see who I am–who was administering over me. And I have a message that I would like to put on the record.

Q: Okay.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Okay, Well, you know, you waited 10 years, more than that. This is your opportunity to say what you would like to say.

A: It is a written statement that I would like to read.


THE INMATE: Three pages.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: We don’t want you reading anything into the record. If you want us to review that document and make copies of it, we will review it.

A: Well, it is a statement to the February of 1999 Parole Board.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: This is the Parole Board, you are here now, so tell us what you wanted to tell us.

THE INMATE: I have it here, I would like to–

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You can refer to it. Just let us know. Talk. This is a conversation.

THE INMATE: Conversation?

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: We are having a conversation, talking back and forth.

THE INMATE: Basically, it is just dealing with–

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: We are talking to you and you are talking to us.

THE INMATE: It is, basically, dealing with why I have been refusing parole to appear–


THE INMATE: –all of this time. I think that after 10 years, I should have permission to at least acknowledge why I have not been here.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Okay. You are here. Tell us whatever you want to tell us.

THE INMATE: Well, it is a statement. February of 1999 Parole Board. Dear Parole Commissioners, a free man in chains, a free man confined by the bars and the cages of the New York State prison system. For 10 long years I have turned my back on your parole system, refused to get down on my knees and beg for what is already mine, that those among you who say I am crazy, that such a position requires the attention of the State’s most clever psychiatrists.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: All right, Mr. Kenyatta, that’s it.

THE INMATE: You don’t want me to finish the statement?

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You are not going to be allowed to read this, your personal journal, into the record. No, you can’t do it. Tell us whatever you would like to tell us. If you think that you shouldn’t be, as you say, on your knees before the Parole Board, I don’t know where you would come up with such a thing, but if that’s your opinion, then that’s your opinion. You don’t have to–

THE INMATE: It is not just my opinion, you don’t understand the terror that the Board has on the men and women that have to come before you. I mean, they, these are guys, women, are very bad in the street. When they come to this, they are out there trembling. For what? I mean, it is unfair the way that the Governor has set it up that there is six, seven, 85%, most of the guys know when they come in, they know that they are not going to go home.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Well, that’s also the opinion of maybe yourself, maybe others.

THE INMATE: Well, since I’m not allowed to read my statement to the February of 1999 Parole Board–

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Just tell us what you want to tell us. I mean–

THE INMATE: I prefer–it took me a good while to construct this.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Give us your written statement, let’s have the statement.

THE INMATE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Okay. I said that before if you wanted us to read it we will certainly read it.

THE INMATE: As a matter of fact, I don’t think that–if I can’t put it on the record, then I don’t think that I should have anything else to say. I am not looking for parole. I didn’t come here for parole.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Now, you realize that you have to be interviewed before a decision could be made to release you.

THE INMATE: I am not interested in that. I am interested in conditional release. I am interested in the charges of that I was convicted of–

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You realize that you are serving a life sentence, sir?

THE INMATE: I understand that.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You said, conditional release.

THE INMATE: Unconditional release.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You are saying “unconditional release?”

THE INMATE: Unconditional release.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Because there is no conditional release in your case.

THE INMATE: No. No. Got no CR.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Do you want this back?

THE INMATE: No. I want you all to keep it.


THE INMATE: So, I think that that’s about it.

Q: That’s all you want to say to us?

A: I wanted to put the statement on the record, but since I’m not allowed to read it, I will just go back to my cell and wait for another two years.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: The inmate has submitted a document, statement to the February of 1999 Parole Board, basically, a personal–

THE INMATE: I think it is important.

COMMISSIONER GAILOR: It is a summary of his feelings toward–



COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You are, basically, railing against the system and you feel that being incarcerated constitutes slavery–

THE INMATE: I think it is an important document, personally.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: You can have a seat, Mr. Kenyatta.

F.P.O. I. MATHEWS: Sit down.

COMMISSIONER CLARKE: Unless you would like to leave.

THE INMATE: I am free to go.

F.P.O. I. MATHEWS: They didn’t give you the order–

THE INMATE: If I can’t read it into the record, then I am going to leave. I appreciate, you know, the time that you all gave me.


Q: Thank you.

(Whereupon the inmate was excused from the hearing room at this time.)
(Off-the-record discussion between Commissioners at this time.)


Denied, 24 months, 11/2000.
Parole is denied due to the serious nature and circumstances of the instant offenses, attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon, third, wherein records indicate that you shot a transit officer four times, resulting in his incurring serious physical injuries. A complete review of your record and your statement to the Board, dated 2/99, has been reviewed and considered. This Panel believes that you are an unacceptable candidate for release to parole supervision.

The guidelines are unspecified.

(Commissioner Clarke concurs.)

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