AnDreco Lott is serving a prison sentence of more than 92 years. Yet somehow, his life spark hasn’t dimmed. In fact, in the 20 years he’s been inside, his growth has been remarkable.
Just a few examples of what AnDreco has accomplished: He taught himself how to play the bass because the prison choir didn’t have one. He created the “180 Platform,” in his words “to help men reboot their minds as laws change and they are about to be released.” He’s a 4.0 college student, he served as his NAACP chapter’s vice president, and he is the founder of a cancer awareness program, Cancerfitlife, after obtaining his cancer recovery specialist certification. He is a Master Trainer. Also, AnDreco is the founder of America’s Incarcerated Matter, a group that is helping put a spotlight on the issues of mass-incarceration and racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
And in all these years, he has not incurred one single disciplinary infraction.
“I’ve done so much, even in this cage,” AnDreco says. “And I have served in two penitentiaries, which are the most dangerous places to do time. But in those prisons, I focused on not being the person the government tried to say I was, which is a convict, and instead being what God wrote of me, and that is: a man of faith, love, and redemption.”
AnDreco is the youngest of three born to Leon and Delores, on January 16, 1973, in Indianapolis. When he was very young, his parent’s marriage ended in divorce. His mother remarried and relocated their large blended family to Arkansas. AnDreco’s father remained consistent in his life after the divorce, but AnDreco realized young he had to fend for himself. His teen years were especially tumultuous, marked by a near-drowning and being stabbed and shot. Through it all, he used his love for drama and acting, interest in cosmetology, and writing poetry as outlets. At age 23, AnDreco enlisted in the Navy. After an honorable discharge, he met Samira Parsons in 1998, and they married on April 14, 2001.
Unfortunately, AnDreco’s association with people committing robberies landed him in trouble. His connection to some of his co-defendants and harsh sentencing laws landed him with his outsized prison term, when the law caught up with them.
On December 5, 2001, AnDreco was convicted of conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and use and carry of a firearm during a crime of violence, and sentenced to 1,111 months – more than 92 years. Roughly 80 years of his sentence is a result of 924c “stacking” – enhancements to his sentence because of the presence of a firearm. Signed into law in 2018, the First Step Act removed 924c stacking, but Congress didn’t make the law retroactive.
If AnDreco, now 48, were sentenced for the same crime today without the 924c enhancement, he most likely would have been eligible for release after serving 85 percent of a 15- to 20-year sentence. He would be home.
Instead, his release date is 2080.
“Giving up is not an option I want my children to take when things get hard.”
Once in prison, AnDreco decided he would stay strong and help others – it was his way, he explains, of surviving and keeping hope alive. “Since being incarcerated I have had the time to learn many things about myself and see just how I could not only better the person I am, but how I could also help others in the same situation.
“Early on, I started studying the law to fight my case. Then I began helping other men file and prepare motions to send to their lawyers. I started helping Spanish speakers – it was rocky at first but now I can speak it pretty well. I saw men around me who needed all kinds of help — practical stuff, legal advice, spiritual counsel, motivation to get fit — and I made it my business to help them, however I could.”
Over the years, his marriage ended, but AnDreco remains very active in his children’s lives – Jeremiah, 29, Andreeka, 27, Aleczandria, 26, Shania, 23, Syeoni, 22, and Chandler, 19 – “teaching them to be better people and productive,” he says. “Giving up is not an option I want my children to take when things get hard.”
Meantime, those children live without his physical presence – even though Congress has passed a law that says the penalty given their father is unfair. If a law is deemed unfair today, it was unfair back then, when the doors locked behind AnDreco for nine decades.
AnDreco – who has clearly demonstrated rehabilitation and growth – is a different man today than he was 20 years ago. He deserves a second chance.
“I have been in the fight for so long, and I think about what my kids tell me every time I talk to one of them. ‘Dad, we need you home,’ or ‘I wish you were here to help me with …’ And that is my driving force. It makes me fight harder to stay focused on the bigger picture, which is: to be the man God called me to me, and not the one I was portrayed on paper.”
Please help FAMM push our Second Chances Agenda for people like AnDreco.