'White Boy' Rick Wershe begins prison term in Florida

'Every day I'm one step closer to freedom, so I'm doing great'

By Kevin Dietz - Reporter , Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - The final chapter has begun in the sage of "White Boy" Rick Wershe.

After spending decades in a Michigan prison, Wershe is finally in Florida to serve out his prison sentence.

Long journey to Florida

The journey took almost a month, but Wershe is finally inside a Florida prison facility on Wednesday night.

Why did it take so long? Wershe started at the Oaks Correctional Facility in Manistee, Michigan. From there, he went to the state prison in Milan. His third stop was at the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City. Finally, he arrived at the Reception and Medical Center in Lake Butler, Florida.

Some of the slow travel might have been because of Hurricane Irma damage in Florida, but it's mostly because prisoners are transported in the least expensive way possible. Officials wait until several prisoners have to be moved to the same place before making the trip.

Wershe left the Oaks Correctional Facility in Northern Michigan on Aug. 22.

'One step closer to freedom'

Despite the additional Florida sentence, Wershe was in good spirits.

"Oh yeah, I'm great," Wershe told Local 4 Defender Kevin Dietz. "I'm out of Michigan. Every day I'm one step closer to freedom, so I'm doing great."

Wershe said he was never told where or when he would be traveling. He said he was surprised to end up at Milan Federal Prison in Michigan, then two weeks later he found himself on a plane with several other prisoners to Oklahoma, where he was supposed to be held at the Federal Transfer Center.

But due to overcrowding, Wershe was booked into a county jail.

He was on the move again 12 days later. This time, he was taken to Florida. Officials won't say if Hurricane Irma delayed the trip, and it's not been determined which Florida prison Wershe will be assigned to once he clears medical tests.

Wershe's story

Wershe was paroled in Michigan after serving 29 years behind bars as a juvenile drug offender. He broke all records for length of incarceration in Michigan for a nonviolent minor.

He's doing time in Florida for his part in a car theft ring he participated in from behind bars 11 years ago.

Wershe said he looks forward to his release and appreciates all the support he has been receiving.

"There's so many good people in the world that do care and think I deserve a second chance and want to help me succeed in the second part of my life," Wershe said.

Wershe's official paperwork said his release date is April 20, 2021, but with good time, he will be eligible to apply for early release in a few months.

The movie about Wershe's life story is scheduled to open in theaters in January.

MORE: The White Boy Rick Story

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