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“I’ve learned that if someone gives me an opportunity, I can accomplish a lot”

Javier, 31

Incarcerated: 2 years

My bad behavior started at the end of my freshman year of high school. I was approached by one of my friends and he asked if I wanted to join the hood. I automatically said yes. I was getting respect, hanging out with the cool kids, and riding in the Yukon. Everybody knew us, all the females were on us, but more importantly, our brothers weren’t getting picked on anymore after school. One day, Child Protective Services came in with sheriffs to take my brothers and sisters. They didn’t take me because I was a ward of the state, and had been released to my mother while on juvenile probation. It wasn’t the same without my family. I took it out on random people and so-called enemies. I would get high and drunk to feel better and numb myself so I wouldn’t feel alone. I didn’t know how to handle that feeling, so I would look for girls to hook up with. I stabbed another 18 year old, went to jail, and a public defender got me out on a misdemeanor.  I had to learn the hard way since no one was really guarding me. I never met my father and my step dad didn’t like me. My mom was working on how to get my brothers and sisters back, her two boys and four girls. I found the attention I needed from the gang. We were smoking trees, drinking and hanging with different females. Now, that’s all changed. I miss the food, traveling, and doing whatever I want. I’ve learned that if someone gives me an opportunity I can accomplish a lot. I talk to my loved one’s two to three times a month. Love is something I see really far away. Since I’m incarcerated, a female would probably be scared of me and have way better options than me anyways. I have used being in prison to my advantage. Being in the streets, I would have never gotten my diploma. People have not believed in me or considered giving me an opportunity to prove myself. They automatically think I’m a convict that’s going to steal or be violent towards them. I’ll always be a liar to them. My only option is to keep educating myself; whether it’s life skills, anger management, or even obtaining some type of college degree. I hope that people who really want to change will do the same.

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