Incarceration Nation

Veronza Bowers Again Denied Parole

By Mary Ratcliff

Veronza Bowers is an internationally known man of peace, famous for his mastery of the Shakuhachi bamboo flute that he plays to relieve the suffering of sick and dying prisoners. Now 73, this former Black Panther who has proclaimed his innocence during 46 years of incarceration, has just learned that once again he has been denied parole. 

According to Wikipedia, his sentence dictated that “he was eligible for mandatory parole after 30 years.” When that day arrived, he was dressed to leave to join his family at the prison gate when they were bitterly disappointed. 

“In February 2005,” reports Wikipedia, “ten months after he’d served 30 years in prison, his parole was postponed in order to give the victim’s relatives a chance to express their opposition at a new parole hearing. Bowers was denied parole in December 2005.”

At that parole hearing, Veronza’s unit manager testified: “I have been with the Bureau of Prisons for 25 years in March and this is my first time ever speaking on behalf of an inmate. …Incident reports are very easy to get and he has set the standard for not getting any incident reports. I can address the fact that as a Bureau of Prisons employee, we all wish we had an institution full of inmates who can go 21 years without an incident report.”

In a message received May 30, Veronza writes:

“The way I look at this news is that it is neither bad nor good; it just IS what it is. And once received, then we can move forward. 

“I do appreciate very much that people are very concerned about me. Please let folks know that I am fine. I talked with my Freedom Team today and they are busy preparing our next step. 

“In short, we are not giving up. And I am confident that truth and justice are on my side and that I will be taking my long overdue long walk to FREEDOM in the not too distant future. 

“It is the Bay View, my legal team, all of you supporters who continue to show your love and concern and, of course, my entire family and all my friends who provide the WIND under my wings that allows me to hold my head high and soar to the heights where only eagles dare fly—on wings unbroken!” 

San Francisco Bay View, May 31, 2019

Write to:

Veronza Bowers Jr. #35316-136

Butner FMC, P.O. Box 1600

Butner, NC 27509