Antoinne Pitt’s Thoughts on Second Look

My name is Antoinne Pitt and I’m 39 years of age, and from Portsmouth, Virginia. The problem that I could foresee with the second look legislation would be for those who have been discriminated against in regards to completing programs and trades. In the state of Virginia, the Department Of Corrections only allows offenders to complete a trade every 5 years. This is already an obstacle, and given the fact that offenders with lengthy sentences are placed on the back of the waiting list and those with shorter sentences are placed at the top, makes it nearly impossible to complete such trades and programs. So, in order for everyone to meet the criteria and the standard of Second Look legislation, every offender must be given equal opportunity if rehabilitation is judged on the merit of being infraction-free and completing the available trades and programs that are being offered.

Counselors and Unit managers are professionals who were hired by D.O.C and placed in these designated positions because they were deemed fit for the job. As an offender, these authoritative figures are people that we encounter nearly everyday. Professionals who can attest to our character and our behavior and should have the opinion on whether or not we are deemed fit for society. Counselors and Unit Managers that have exemplified professionalism in these positions should be able to give input on the court’s decision and make recommendations. Also if offenders can produce documentation showing that they signed up for available trades and programs then it should not be held against them for not completing such programs.

If this Second Look legislation became law, it would benefit me tremendously because not only am I innocent of a crime that I was convicted of, I did not use that as an excuse to self destruct. Instead, I utilized my time to be productive. Within a 20 year span, I have completed 2 trades and just about every program that D.O.C has to offer. I also created to curriculums of my own entitled Thinking With A Purpose and C.O.A.T (Countering Overdoses and Addiction Treatment). My beliefs are that violence and infraction stem from offenders having nothing to do or look forward to. In order to combat this, there needs to be more programs and incentives for offenders to work towards in order to have a second chance at freedom. Then, you will see a shift in behavior, and as a result, there will be less infractions.

The pros and cons of Second Look versus parole is the fact I feel the views and decision of a judge would be unbiased. Judges in my opinion are fair and impartial. The nature of the crime of which individuals were convicted of will not change, and the parole board has more often than not used this year after year as an excuse to deny offenders parole.

My name is Antoinne Pitt and I’m from Portsmouth, VA. I am a rapper, singer, songwriter and the author of Thinking With A Purpose and C.O.A.T (Countering Overdoses and Addiction Treatment). You can log on to and click on ‘author’ to see my bio. You can also sign my petition as well check out my interview on Real Prison Talk Facebook live page and ‘From Prison To Promise’ podcast. Super School Heroes children’s book trilogy will be out in the near future. In closing, true freedom is reached only when the mind is freed of all mental restraints.

Prompt: Introducing Second Look

Thousands of us in the prison system are serving lengthy sentences, some even without any hope of making it out of prison alive. Since 1995, several states, including Virginia, removed parole from their legal system, deepening the prison as a pit of despair. For the last 25 years, people (largely black and brown) have been unfairly profiled and incarcerated for sentences often doubling (or even tripling) the age when they received that sentence. Currently, there are over 53,000 people in America who are serving life without parole, and every 1 out of 4 are serving sentences of 15 years or more.

More locally, there is not much incentive to encourage a large portion of the population in here to seek better. Seriously, what is a 20-year old young man to think when he receives a 30 year sentence? Even with the updated good time bill, sentences of 30 years are more than likely not eligible for 65% (15 days of good time off your sentence for every 30 days time served).

So – what is a better motivating force for a young man who is now getting a good look down the dark tunnel he faces, if he continues with the pattern of choice he made to get locked up? I can tell you this, it’s NOT getting out when he’s 45 after serving a 25 and a half year bid (and that’s with no disciplinary infractions), a GED, and a trade certificate to go along with the permanent scar of ex-felony attached to his record!

The answer to many questions concerning rehabilitation, relief, and incentives thereof, is prospective legislation called Second Look.

‘Second Look’ is an additional route to a second chance, differentiating from parole, as it involves petitioning the court for a sentence modification. It proposes that after a defined period of time (like 10 years or so) served on an extensive sentence (I.e. 20 years or more), people behind bars can petition the court of the district they were sentenced in. There is even a chance that your sentence can be reduced down to time served. Now, this isn’t automatic. The draft propose that a board of more than the judge who sentenced you has a say in it. The prosecutor and prison staff might even be able to chime in on your potential time reduction. Ideally, you would be able to show rehabilitation, such as education, infraction-free, programs completed and trades obtained.

Second Look is already federal and versions of this legislation have been written, reviewed, and even passed in several states, most recently Texas. Now, in 2021, advocate groups are pushing to make it a reality in Virginia. It goes without saying, that such a law isn’t going to pass without a fight.

Prompt: After reading the topic above, write an essay (at least two paragraphs in length, if you can, please). answering some, one, or all of the questions below.

Are there any problems you can foresee with legislation like Second Look?

Do you have any ideas to improve this proposal? if so, what are they?

If this became law, how would this effect you? How would it affect the system?

What are some of the pros and cons you see with Second Look versus parole?

-Q. Patterson