Glenn Ford needs an ironing board, some pajamas, and luggage. Ford, 64, has spent the past 30 years on death row for a crime he didn't commit. And now that he's out, he's trying to rebuild his life. His longtime legal team decided to help him do that by creating an Amazon wish list full of things he'll need to get going.
According to the Daily Dot, Ford's lawyer, Capital Post Conviction Project of Louisiana Director Gary Clements, drew up the list because ‟I was having complete strangers call me on the phone asking why they could do to help." The list has circulated on social media, and it looks like Clements et al. are adding items to the short wishlist as needs are fulfilled. Right now, the list includes:
- "Monifah's album "Touch It" - used is fine."
- Gift cards to Walgreens and a couple of other stores
- A Kindle, and a case to keep it safe
- Clothing essentials: a few pairs of shoes, t-shirts, pants, pajamas
- a camera
- an iPad
- Luggage: " would appreciate it if it could be monogrammed with "Gee Ford". Thanks! -Glenn Ford" reads a note on the request.
Corrections officials gave him just $20 on a debit card as he left death row earlier this month. Ford was convicted in 1985 for the murder of Isadore Rozeman, but was released after new evidence supported what he'd been saying all along: that he wasn't even at the scene of the crime, and had only a tangential connection to the robbery that prompted it. Louisiana awards wrongly convicted people a yearly amount of compensation, but there's a cap on the total amount one person can get. At most, he'll get about $330,000 in compensation for the decades he spent locked up.
Over at the Atlantic, Andrew Cohen explains what life has been like for Ford since his release:
Some exonerees don't sleep the first night or two after their release—the jolt to their bodies, and to their minds, is so profound. But after his first meal of chicken, french fries and doughnuts, and after watching some television, Ford reportedly slept well Tuesday night—slept in late, in fact. And on Wednesday, he drank his first cup of water from a real glass and used a metal spoon for the first time since 1983. There are going to be a lot of firsts for Glenn Ford now that he's free from that tiny cell.
In addition to the medical treatment he will receive, there now will be counseling for Ford, formal and otherwise. Already he's been earnestly guided by another recent Louisiana exoneree, a man named Calvin Duncan, who now is a Soros Justice Fellow after spending 28 years of a life sentence at Angola for a murder he did not commit.
Of course, there are a lot of things Ford won't get back after his 30-year incarceration. He's aged, and has complained of health problems during his confinement. When Ford left prison on March 11th, he told reporters that “My sons, when I left, was babies... now they’re grown men with babies.” When asked whether he feels any resentment for his time behind bars, Ford told a reporter: "Yeah, because I was locked up almost 30 years for something I didn't do."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.