A former prisoner will speak about prison reform 1:30 p.m. April 4 in the theatre of Atwood Memorial Center.
Elizer Darris, who is on supervised release for second-degree murder, was incarcerated in Minnesota jails and prisons from age 15 to 32. Public speaking is one of his vocations since his October 2016 release.
“I was sentenced to die in prison at 15. The leadership lessons I learned freed my mind, then my body,” Darris writes on his speaking website.
In prison Darris earned an associate degree from Inver Hill Community College, Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota. He also earned an entry-level information technology certification called CompTIA A+. Darris is working on a bachelor’s degree at Metropolitan State University.
Among the things that helped Darris transition from a violent offender to productive prisoner was taking Elizabeth Scheel-Keita’s democratic citizenship class offered at Minnesota Correctional Facility-St. Cloud.
Scheel-Keita is a professor of sociology and director of St. Cloud State’s Applied Sociology Program.
Darris was convicted of the July 15, 1999, killing of Cornelius Rodgers, a co-worker whom he beat to death with a tire iron, according to a State of Minnesota court document.
Darris’ remarks, which are titled “From Prison Lifer to Prison Reform Advocate,” are sponsored by these St. Cloud State entities: Department of Sociology, Department of Criminal Justice Studies, College of Liberal Arts, School of the Arts, School of Public Affairs, Student Government and Students Organized for Change.
The free presentation is open to the public.