Meet Amir…

I stayed out of prison for five years and came back with a life sentence for attempted murder. For the first time I looked at who I really was.

Amir, 72
Incarcerated: 20 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison, San Quentin, CA

I am a career criminal, my history started in 1967. I was not raised to be a drug addict-alcoholic and a career criminal. My mother and father were hard working people. They provided for me, my sister and brother and we never went hungry. At a very young age I started to rebel at home, in school, and my environment. Stealing, gambling, ditching school, and at 14, I started smoking pot and drinking. As I got older all these behaviors escalated. At 16, my parents sent me to see a psychiatrist. This did not last long. After eight sessions I told my parents I was through with the psychiatrist, and they could give me that money. At 17, I went to a juvenile camp in the Malibu mountains for six months. Upon release I went right back into my dysfunctional household and environment. Within eight months I was in the Los Angeles county jail, for multiple robbery charges. My first county jail experience was fun-games-and insanity. By the time I went to youth authority I was a better crook and gambler. After 22 months at youth training school, I paroled in 1971. I learned a good trade, sheet metal. I was in between an apprentice and journeyman. I went to the local union for a job interview. I was denied based on my skin color, I knew more about sheet metal than the interviewer. One of my original pains was not getting that job, I still live with that pain today. I met a beautiful girl, got married and had two wonderful kids. I enrolled in college and was still drinking and using. My habits shifted to using heroin. I got hooked and dropped out of college. At 25, I went to prison for the first time. Prison a horrible scene in 1977, prison was what you made it. The adventure got better as years went by. I paroled in 1982. I did not try to find work of any kind. I started hustling and hanging out with the wrong crowd. My mantra. “Everything came out of the street, if I didn’t win I didn’t eat.” I went back to prison in 1984, 1986, 1988 and 1995. I stayed out of prison for five years and came back with a life sentence for attempted murder. For the first time I looked at who I really was. Full of a bunch of mental, emotional and spiritual garbage. I finally found out I know nothing. Fighting back I had to examine every aspect of my life. After twenty years of incarceration I’m still soul searching. I no longer have all the answers. I have turned all of my problems over to God. God is in charge and not me.


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