Perry Malone is a minister, a motivational speaker, and the author of a book called “How I Got Over, The Journey to Emancipation”. He created a project to help troubled youth avoid the pitfalls and poor choices that led to his own incarceration. For nearly ten years, he has served as one of the prison’s suicide companions, assigned to room with and assist men struggling with severe depression and suicidal thoughts, both unsurprisingly ubiquitous in the prison system. Though his accomplishments are many, he feels most proud and blessed for the powerful bond he has maintained with his four children, despite his physical absence from their lives.
When he was born, his grandparents picked him up from the hospital and brought him home to raise him. Perry is forever grateful for their love, time and resources, and attributes his successes to their care and influence.
As a child, Perry would see his biological father come in and out of the nightclub next door to where he lived, but not once did he ever acknowledge or greet his son. Perry felt unloved and neglected, and gravitated towards his uncles and their destructive lifestyle. Perry’s uncles suffered from alcoholism and drug addiction and dealt drugs. They became Perry’s role models.
The pain and confusion caused by the absence of positive male role models in his own life make Perry’s inability to be there on a daily basis for his own children even more devastating. He believes he has failed his son, who was left to find out how to be a man throughout his teenage years, without Perry’s presence to guide him. For this, Perry works daily to atone. If he could leave one mark on the world, it would be to help save the lives of fatherless boys and young men.
Before his incarceration, Perry owned and operated a paint and body shop as well as a used car lot with five employees. He is grateful for having made his grandparents proud of him before they passed and regrets his decision to make fast money by dealing petty drugs.
Perry is 49 years old and serving his 19th year in prison. His sentence: Life Without Parole. Perry writes,
“There is a consistent weight and burden of hopelessness placed on you, that can be unbearable at times, specially when you have loved ones who care for you asking the unknowable question: how much longer?
My blood pressure skyrocketed during the first year of my incarceration, and now I depend upon medication to keep me alive. Only the grace and strength of the Lord has kept me thus far.”
Perry loves gospel and r&b, prefers mayo on his fries, and dreams of learning to fly. He hates roller coasters but adores the Cavs. The New Jim Crow, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and A Purpose Driven Life are among his favorite books, but he won’t go anywhere without the Holy Bible. His pet peeve is the use of vulgar language, which can make his days trying at times. Through prayer, he stays positive.
His dream vacation is to come home.