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  • Hallitus nimi: Eric Van Buren
  • Rekisterinumero: 11044-068
  • Ikä:42
  • Aika Toiminut:14 vuotta
  • Kotikaupunki:Washington D.C.
  • Lause:LIFE
  • Nykyinen Charge:Drug Conspiracy
  • Alias:Big Erk, Freckle Face, Beezer
  • Vuosi:Clemency Candidate
  • Prison yhteistyökumppanit:Another Chance 4 Legal (AC4L)
  • Circle of Influence:Marcus Martin, Another Chance 4 Legal
  • Laitos:USP Canaan
  • There is no honor in coming to prison. It does NOT make you a man.

Eric Van Buren

My name is Eric Van Buren. I was born in 1973 in Washington D.C. I am serving LIFE in federal prison for Conspiracy to sell 50 grams or more of crack-cocaine. I have been incarcerated since December 2001.

Teenage Years
I had both parents in my life. My dad believed I should have been able to do what a white kid could do and do it three times better. He beat this into me. My father wanted a better life for me. That did not mean the finer things, just better opportunities, a better education, a better neighborhood, and stability. I began working at twelve-years-old, delivering The Washington Post and cutting grass with my god-mother’s husband on weekends. I also played a lot of sports.

The ’80s for me were difficult. I didn’t really fit in. I was light-skinned and fat with freckles. By ’87 Washington D.C. was The Murder Capital of the United States with over 700 annual murders in what people nowadays call the DMV [DC, Maryland, Virginia]. Times were hard on my parents who spent all their money on homes in neighborhoods they could barely afford to live. This was to keep me and my brother out of the troubled neighborhoods. At that time I saw kids my age driving Mercedes-Benzes, BMWs, Porsches, Pathfinders, and Range Rovers to school. Needless to say, almost instantly, my life changed.

Drug Dealing
At fifteen-years-old I tried to sell PCP. I got caught in fifteen minutes. After being kicked out of the house several times, and failing the tenth grade because I never went to school, I got my act together and started playing baseball for my school. But when I graduated there was a cocaine drought in the D.C.-area, and I knew a guy who had it, and I blew up so to speak. This is when my life became a blur and a dark maze of fear, väkivalta, ahneus, ilo, ja petoksesta.

Nopeasti, ’91 turned to ’95 and I found myself leaving a detention center. And then I was introduced to Remy and Dom Perignon at local clubs, sporting events and expensive sneakers. But by ’99 all of my associates were in federal prison. Two of my close friends were up for the death penalty on R.I.C.O and 848(ja) charges. I was scared to death so I moved to North Carolina.

Then in September 2000 I was indicted for a Conspiracy to Sell 50 grams of crack.

At my trial there was no drugs, no photos, no controlled drug buys, no wiretaps, no tangible evidence at all, NOTHING! What the feds did have was three dudes who testified I sold them crack over three years in a five year conspiracy, guys who already had their own conspiracies. I got LIFE. In the feds that means I die in prison.

When you get LIFE you look at yourself in the mirror. When I came out that mirror, I knew I would not bring another man and his family to prison because I could not or did not want to deal with my situation.

USP Lewisburg
The feds sent me to USP Lewisburg. For eight months I bucked the program. I didn’t get my haircut. I wore prison clothes, but I just refused to adapt. I hated USP Lewisburg. The administration put everyone in a gang. These guys were now my “family” whether I liked it or not and I hated it. I was miserable due to prison politics and prison life, but I enrolled in a moral recognition program called C.O.D.E., now called The Challenge Program. Unlike a lot of people, I felt that getting a LIFE sentence was the bottom of the barrel. It proved I failed. A LIFE sentence only proved my decision making was terribly flawed. I had to change.

The C.O.D.E. program taught me about critical thinking errors and how to invoke and sustain permanent change in myself. The biggest thing I learned was what a man was. They used to have a saying that you were your own man when you could show 100 grand cash. Kuitenkin, väkivalta, doing prison sentences, having women and money, do NOT make you a man. That might make you a Five Star General in some gang, but being a MAN is to be accountable, responsible and trustworthy. Lisäksi, a MAN has integrity and morals. Myötätunto, forgiveness and kindness make you a man.

On my journey to change I met a man who helped me down my path to manhood. His name is Minkah Norwood. Minkah is a jail house law legend. Minkah taught me law when I didn’t want to learn law. Itse asiassa, I fell asleep the first time I opened a law book. Kuitenkin, twenty-four months after that incident I sent my first man home from prison. Thirty-six months after that I was in my third year of an eight year stint teaching law to guys at USP Lewisburg.

Enlightenment is a very weird thing. One day you are NOT enlightened and the next BAM! A light comes on! After this, I looked at law and I saw it differently. Almost like a math problem. Words and phrases and context became CRYSTAL clear.

I saw miksi I got prosecuted and miten I was prosecuted. This understanding led me to read The Book of Five Rings by Miyamato Musashi ja The Art of Strategy by R.L. Wing. I suddenly understood the what and who and why. This understanding was so profound. Not only did I see it while doing law, I saw it as it pertained to my life and my community as well.

Before Iowa
Before Barack Obama won Iowa in the Democratic Primary in 2008, many thought their only hope to be successful was to do something illegal. I grew up believing there COULD NEVER BE A BLACK PRESIDENT

In the movie “Belly” Nas told DMX “You got dough. I got dough…NOW what?!” He was basically asking what’s next. I have washed other people’s dishes out of the same slop sink as a former cartel head. When he spoke to me he didn’t seem like the billion dollar cocaine-god I saw on the Discovery Channel and in the news. He was like me. And he told me crime does not pay. So don’t believe these hood-rich street legends. They are all stuck in the past. Life is about what is now and what is next. And what is now is not what was in the ’80s and ’90s. If a billionaire says crime doesn’t pay and is in prison for thirty years at the age of 60, then he must know something we don’t.

There is no honor in coming to prison. It does NOT make you a man. What’s NOW is helping to change the culture and create community. Stick with me as I continue to share my thoughts and experiences on Live from Lockdown, and I will show you how. I care about what’s next.

Prison is a condition of the mind.

Eric Van Buren #11044-068
USP Canaan
P.O. BOX 300
Waymart, PA 18472


One response to “Eric Van Buren”

  1. Christy Banks says:

    Thank you for sharing your testimony.

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