He Was in Angola, But Now He’s Earned a Master’s Degree
The sentence for Troy Delone when he was twenty-one years old was two consecutive life sentences plus five years after his conviction for two counts of armed robbery. As Delone tells WDSU, he thought he was never going to get out of prison. Life had much more in store for Delone.
Imagine your life as a young person, and you think it's only going to go one way; the wrong way. That was pretty much the story for Troy Delone. He says he grew up in the streets for the most part. He didn't listen to his mother as she tried constantly to keep him out of trouble. He says in the neighborhood he grew up in, Iberville Project off of Canal Street, using drugs, selling drugs and violence were just a part of everyday life.
As he reflected on his life in the television piece, he stated he just didn't know who he was or what his purpose in life was supposed to be. Admittedly he adds, he let his environment define who he thought he was supposed to become.
Delone says it wasn't until seven years into his sentence at Angola that he started to realize that if he was going to change his life, he was going to have to change his thinking. He says that's when he embarked on his path of change. He says this is when he began to listen to the things his mother had always told him; have faith and trust God.
One piece of the puzzle for the change in Delone's life came when he decided to enroll in the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. He told WDSU, "Through my studies, I found out who I am. I am a child of God."
Amazingly, a few years after earning his undergraduate degree behind bars, his sentence was commuted to 198 years. What followed was the parole board, and Delon's release on December 19, 2016. It was then that he enrolled in Southern University, and he earned a Master's Degree. He graduated earlier this month.
With the help of the group The First 72+, Delone is now a re-entry case manager at Orleans Criminal District Court.
What an amazing story of transformation. The First 72+ program helps those who were incarcerated get what they need to secure education, employment, and housing.