DEQUINCY, LA (KPLC) - Phelps Correctional Center inmates performed a drama today, and for some, the story line hit close to home.
Offenders at the center have been putting their free time to good use, at least for the last several weeks. Today, over 20 inmates starred in "Five Years to Life," a play based on the novel and true story of Sam Huddleston, a former convict turned Christian while in jail. And according to one inmate, the crew couldn't have found a better person to play his role than Coleman Johnson.
Johnson has been at the facility for just over six months after being convicted of armed robbery. Fitting the role perfectly, Huddleston was also sent to jail after robbing a convenient store with his cousin. His cousin murdered the clerk, and Huddleston was charged with second degree murder. After being denied parole repeatedly, Huddleston turned to religion while in jail. Coleman seems to have done the same.
The performance brought Huddleston to tears as he watched his life played out in front of his eyes by young men just like him. Young men who have made mistakes, but are not defined by the crimes they committed.
Huddleston flew in from California just to watch the performance. The inmates were just as excited to share the experience with him, and he was with them.
The three hour production ended with all of the inmates in attendance gathering on stage, singing and relishing in the moment.