"Sometimes I wake up, and I say, what if I wake up, and I'm in my bedroom? And I wake up and I always see the bars there. And I wonder [about] the day when I’m going to wake up and I’m not going to see the bars there."
That's what Lawrence Bartley told me the first time I spoke to him in 2014. I was interviewing him at Sing Sing prison in New York, where he was serving a sentence of 27 years to life for second degree murder.
That day came this past May, when Lawrence was paroled, and walked out of Sing Sing a free man. After a few months out, he and his wife, Ronnine, joined me to talk about their life as a family on the outside—how Ronnine navigated a difficult year after Lawrence's first request for parole was denied, how they've approached parenting their two young sons together, and how Lawrence is thinking back on the crime he was imprisoned for now that he's free.
You can read the essay Lawrence wrote in prison for The Marshall Project here.