Excerpt from Arizona Capitol Times, published June 28, 2024

Written by Khalil Rushdan

Many of us will struggle to remember what life was like back in 1996. Technology has changed so much and so quickly, that it’s almost impossible to remember a time when you couldn’t reach out to anyone with a few taps or find whatever resources you need from a computer or smartphone within seconds.

I do remember a time before there was instant connection. After serving more than 15 years of a life sentence for a crime that I didn’t commit, I returned to a world that had been forever changed by technology. As a result, release was nothing like the homecoming I had imagined while incarcerated, and more like the reality of being transported into the future through a time machine. The prison environment I knew had limited connections, which meant limited access to information, other than a small TV in my cell. There were no real-time connections with loved ones. My only source of communication with friends and family on the outside were monthly letters that often took weeks to arrive.