I’m not defined by the crimes I committed or worse things I’ve done. Rather, I’ve actually defied them by learning to accept responsibility, to have empathy for others, and remorse for my past harmful behavior.
Incarcerated: 32 years
Housed: Salinas Valley State Prison, Soledad, California
I’m an incarcerated activist, student, writer and worker. I’m also an anarchist-feminist queer and transwoman. Addiction, abuse, and criminal thinking led me to prison. I’ve survived abuse, brutality, Covid-19 outbreaks and witnessed prison deaths! I’ve survived the most adverse circumstances imaginable, including over a decade in control units and solitary confinement at Pelican Bay and Folsom. I’ve experienced a lot of harm, addiction and trauma, but I’ve also found the path of recovery. I’ve learned coping skills, built genuine friendships. I’m grateful for my lived experiences as a transwoman in California men’s prisons, which has not killed me but made me stronger! I’ve found out a lot about myself. I can be quite resilient and I have many opportunities to advocate for human rights and social justice. I communicate with my family and friends regularly. They would be surprised to know that I’m not defined by the crimes I committed or worse things I’ve done. Rather, I’ve actually defied them by learning to accept responsibility, to have empathy for others, and remorse for my past harmful behavior.
My cellmate, Peter, has a positive impact on me. He and I have been together for over three years. We have shared friendship, intimacy, love, and solidarity. We have a mutually beneficial and positive impact on eachother. He helps me get through each day, keeps me on the right track, and provides comfort. My next parole board hearing in July of 2025 has been my motivation to work toward positive personal change, and eventual freedom. I’m excited to share that at my recent classification review, I was told I qualified for a “Behavioral Override” to transfer to a level three, medium-security yard. This change of circumstance is grounds for a Petition to Advance (PTA) which would move my next hearing up to July of 2023, two years early ! 🙂 I will miss Peter, but I have hope that I may have a greater chance for a parole grant and release from prison captivity 🙂 Things are better than ever!