“Cocktails in Attica,” by Sherman “O.T.” Powell

In 1975, I was twenty- eight years old, and I weighed in at 120 pounds. I found myself on a bus, chained to a West Indian brother, headed upstate to prison.

I had been busted for the sale of narcotics in the first, second, and third degree. I had been given “four-to-life” under the Rockefeller Plan.

During that time, whether you sold a bag of dope, a bag of coke, or even your own medication, you were going to get a sentence, but then it was going to have “to life” tagged onto the back of it. So you might get “one-to-life,” “five-to-life,” “twenty-to-life,”  etc. I knew that I was going to get some time one day because of the way I lived, but never in my wildest dreams did I think “life” was going to be at the end of my sentence…