While serving a life sentence, Roach created and founded the nationally acclaimed prison theatrical troupe THE INNER VOICES. THE INNER VOICES performed outside the gates of Lorton Correctional Complex over 1,500 times without an escape or incident. THE INNER VOICES performed original plays, skits and social dramas.
THE INNER VOICES created and performed a Special Drug Exhibit for the White House Conference on Drugs at the Smithsonian Museum. Roach was hired while still serving a life sentence. Roach was granted extended furloughs from prison to work at National Public Television to rewrite one of his plays, Holidays…Hollowdays, which won the New York Film Festival as the Best Social Film of the Year. Roach was hired as a trainee at Metro Media TV (now called Fox TV), and after one year was promoted to Producer of BLACK NEWS. While Producer of BLACK NEWS, the show was nominated for three (3) Television Emmys. The film “SLAM” won first place at the 1998 Cannes International Film Festival. Roach appeared in the film and provided technical and creative assistance. The film Circle of Love, starring THE INNER VOICES, won the International Film Festival.
U.S. Senator Edward Brooke became an ardent supporter of THE INNER VOICES and entered the history and record of THE INNER VOICES in the Congressional Record and invited Roach to testify on national legislation. While still at Lorton Correctional Complex, the late comedian Richard Pryor took THE INNER VOICES on an historical national tour starting at the Apollo Theater where THE INNER VOICES received several standing ovations.
The late President Gerald R. Ford commuted Roach’s life sentence and he was granted immediate parole in 1976. Roach was injured in a guards riot and was paralyzed. He was awarded $300,000.00 in a civil judgment based on the injuries he received. A television documentary called ROACH was made about his life story and was nominated for a Television Emmy.
Roach has been very active in incarcerated and formerly incarcerated issues. Roach directed the first adult restitution program in conjunction with the D.C. Superior Court and the Department of Justice. His efforts resulted in the passing of legislation that restored the voting rights to the formerly incarcerated in D.C., and a Mayoral Resolution proclaiming September 10 as National Ex-Offender Day. Roach was appointed by Mayor Marion Barry to create and direct the Office of Offender Affairs as a Special Assistant to the Mayor. Roach created and established an institution based theater troupe for Project Culture, funded by Dept. of Justice (LEAA). Roach was appointed by members of the D.C. City Council as a Special Investigator to investigate disturbances at D.C. Jail and Lorton and was appointed by members of Congress to a Congressional Brain Trust on Criminal Justice (Corrections). Roach wrote and organized the 1994 mayoral campaign strategy. Registering formerly incarcerated and their families resulted in the successful re-election of Marion Barry to the Mayor’s Office.
Roach has worked as a Television, Radio and Film Producer, Playwrite, Political Activist, Director of Community Programs, Criminal Justice Consultant and Motivational Speaker. Presently Roach produces and hosts the Pacifica radio program called CROSS ROADS on WPFW, 89.3 FM in Washington, D.C., which can be heard world wide via the Internet on www.WPFW.org. Roach writes a column for The Washington Informer newspaper on criminal justice issues.