Derek was born and raised in South Los Angeles. In the 1980s he became one of the many unfortunate casualties of the Crack Cocaine epidemic. His life of addiction spanned a period of 18 years during which time he sought, but never succeeded in finding meaningful treatment programs to help him overcome his addiction. Derek makes no excuses for himself. He speaks of his past : "Maybe I was avoiding the realities of dealing with whatever I needed to deal with and instead did what foolish people do to escape the pain, but never again will I betray myself, nor those whom I love." Although he committed crimes to feed his habit, never during those 18 years did he commit a crime against another person. Today he is serving a 25 year to LIFE sentence for the attempted burglary of a vacant dwelling. Derek’s cruel fate is a testimony to the way our criminal justice system deals with the disease of drug addiction.