• Richard Khalifa Diggs


[This is the partial transcript of a video recorded in 1996 by documentary filmmaker William Gentile for his brother Lou Gentile, then Director of the Bureau of Narcotics for the Office of the Attorney General. Lou showed the video nationally at conferences and mentorship events as well as making copies for anyone who asked so that the video could be more widely shared, and William has generously given permission for Kalfou to publish this transcript. Special thanks to Stephen Stept for his transcription services. See the full video at]

My name is Richard Khalifa Diggs, Khalifa being an attribute that I adopted in 1977 at the Allegheny County Jail. I’m in for a double homicide on a life sentence without parole. I’ve been down nineteen years, six months, and seven days as of this morning. 

I work at the operations building here at SCIP, the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh. About eight years ago I worked in this same building, and I was always somehow drawn to this particular spot at this window. It’s got pretty much a full view of the yard, pretty much a view of the institution overall, and from here, I see a lot of me and three or four generations of me. Just running around playing handball, basketball, tag, lifting iron, playing cards, planting heads [killing people]. It’s a senseless maze of confused people, of which I include myself. It’s almost horrible to the extent that you sit here and you realize that you’re very much a part of this.