Joe, 36
Joe, 36

Meet Joe…

I am a high functioning autistic, and here they treat me as an equal and I’ve been able to learn and flourish.

I work the front counter at the library. When I first started, my supervisors noticed how well I saw the shelves. I have worked my way up through the ranks, because I am able to see a pattern recognition in my mind for what books people will like and not like. 

I am a high functioning autistic, and here they treat me as an equal and I’ve been able to learn and flourish. My job allows me to become hyper focused and complete each task with a high level of efficiency. I am much different now than when I was arrested. I was 412 pounds with heart disease and had I kept up my lifestyle I would have been dead by 40. 

Once I am out, I want to be of assistance. I want to mimic the work that I do in here, like tutoring in education, teaching emotional intelligence, giving kids other alternatives, like sports programs. Emotional intelligence would be the majority of what I’d do.

Before coming to prison I didn’t know what peace was. But now as a Muslim and practitioner of Islam, it is important to me, since Islam means peace. Today, I’m much closer to peace than ever before in my life.

Summary: I am a human first, perfect and imperfect but they do not define me. The good in me preservers and gives me the will to teach others to see the good in them.

At first I was disappointed with myself because I got old in here and spent my whole life in prison. I haven’t had any kids and I feel a deep sense of loss about that. Nevertheless, I realize that I’m proud of myself, because I’m not running from my pain. I’m addressing it, my insecurities and my shame through helping others in my community.