The first thing people often notice about Jorge Torres is his wide, exuberant smile, a smile that reflects his enthusiastic spirit, unwavering faith in God, and commitment to causes beyond himself. Jorge likes ketchup on his fries, never on the side, prefers blue ink to black, and spends most of his time pen in hand, studying the Bible or teaching. He dreams of one day taking his family to Sevilla, Spain, where he once traveled in his youth.
After graduating high school in Puerto Rico, Jorge enlisted in the US Navy. Repeatedly promoted for his academic and inspection performance, he graduated first in his class from the competitive assault boat school. He is proud of his family, which remains extremely close-knit despite the separation imposed by his incarceration.
A top student in the prison’s Dental Laboratory Training, Jorge completed in a year and a half what takes most students over twice that time. Work evaluations note that he “goes above what is asked” and “consistently finds ways to improve [the] department as a whole.” His supervisors have hailed Jorge as a “great asset” to any department.
Jorge has an outstanding record of achievement in prison and worked diligently to prove that he
is deserving of a second chance at life. He has maintained a spotless disciplinary record
throughout the three decades he has been incarcerated, with the sole exception of a minor infraction years ago.
In prison, Jorge devotes his time to mentoring juvenile offenders through the R.O.P.E. (Reaching Out to Provide Enlightenment).
This initiative matches long-serving inmates of exemplary character with juvenile offenders, in the hope of deterring young people from lifestyles that may lead them to a lifetime behind bars.
Jorge was one of only ten inmate mentors (from approximately 1400 total candidates) chosen for the R.O.P.E. program “for their extraordinary achievements within the institution and model conduct,” as well as their “consistent willingness to tutor, help, and mentor other inmates as well as the young offenders.” A correctional counselor has written that if released, “Jorge and [his brother and fellow inmate] Victor would never return…they would be successful and productive law-abiding citizens.”
Despite his slim chance at release, Jorge remains grateful to God, and grateful for the opportunity to publicly express his “remorse and regret” for his past actions. He emphatically insists that “there aren’t any excuses that could justify my bad decisions,” and only hopes that his eagerness to contribute positively to society will soon be recognized. Regardless of his own fate, he hopes that his life will serve as an example to young offenders, and as a stepping stone on the path to more just treatment of other human beings who continue to suffer under life sentences in the federal prison system.