MEMPHIS, Tenn.– As Memphians work to get past the tragic events surrounding the death of Eliza Fletcher and a shooting rampage, there’s been a lot of discussions about the early release program or how the parole system may need to be overhauled.
But there are programs for convicted felons that have found a way to save lives and protect the community.
34-year-old Memphian Adrian Delk admits he had a troubled background and never thought his time behind bars at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility would lead him to say that prison was his savior.
“2013 I was charged with aggravated assault and solicitation of first-degree murder,” he said.
Delk says it wasn’t till he was paroled in 2019 that he found an organization in Memphis named Persevere, a non-profit committed to teaching men and women formerly behind bars a way to unlock their potential through the language of computers.
“So, pretty much you can build any website, any app, any interface dealing with interactions with users,” Delk said.
Adrian Delk’s story is one of determination.
“It took me seven hearings to get felony release and I been willing to do something productive with my life from the day I walked out of those barbed wires,” he said.
But he knows the stigma that comes with being a paroled felon and he, like everyone else, has heard the outcry over the murder of Eliza Fletcher and her accused killer Cleotha Abston-Henderson.
Delk said Abston-Henderson was also housed in Hardeman County and Delk recalls seeing him on occasion.
He also said Abston-Henderson’s actions don’t speak for every individual that’s been placed on parole or released.
“And a lot of those guys and women have been released on parole and are just doing fine in life,” Delk said.