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Delaware Headlines

Delaware resident Earl Rice, Jr. looking for work after 43 years in prison

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Megan Pauly
/
Delaware Public Media
61-year-old Earl Rice Jr. was released last September after serving 43 years in prison for a crime he committed as a 17-year-old.

Delaware resident Earl Rice, Jr. was serving life in prison without parole – for a crime he committed as a juvenile. But he’s out now: one of many inmates recently released in part because of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.

The 61-year-old Rice was jailed as a 17-year-old for a Philadelphia purse snatching. The elderly woman fell to her death during the snatching, and Rice was sentenced to life in prison for murder.

When the Supreme Court ruled giving life without parole to juveniles unconstitutional, it opened the door for Rice to go free after 43 years in prison - including four years at Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.

 

He served most of his time in Pennsylvania prisons, but his family lived in Delaware. And when his mother became sick with cancer, he asked for an interstate transfer to Vaughn. Sadly, he didn't get a chance to visit her before she passed away. Just last September, he was released from prison and is now living with his father in Wilmington.

“All them years I said I was gonna make it, and I made it," Rice said. "Now I’m saying I’m gonna make it out here, and I will.”

Rice is engaged to the same woman he’s been with the entire time he was imprisoned. He says it's been the little things: like making a sandwich while watching sports on TV and watching the sunset that he appreciates the most now that he's out of prison.

 

He’s still on probation and meets with his probation officer every month. However, he’s had trouble trying to find a job. He says the online application process has been a major barrier for him, and is looking for assistance on the job hunt.

Ideally, he’d like to work with youth.

“A lot of youth, especially black youth, have so much going against them," Rice said. "They’re almost targeted from the time of birth on. I would like to do something to kind of curb that flow, and maybe I can use my experience to help young people today avoid the things I went through.”

He says he worked for over 15 years in maintenance while in prison, and is open to that type of work as well.

 

Please email megan.pauly@wdde.org if you'd like to get in touch with Earl Rice, Jr. about job opportunities.

 

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