I wanted something better. I wanted to go home. I realized I wasn’t worth anything doing bad. I embarked on a journey of transformation. I took control of my life and destiny.
Incarcerated: 23 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison
She was a teen mom, raising me in poverty. I didn’t feel life’s hardships until I was teen. My grandmother, who loved me dearly, passed away. My dad was already in prison. My step dad was known for the biggest drug bust of all time and earned a long prison sentence. After his arrest, my family endured a lot of pain. I tried to stay out of trouble by going to school, working and playing ball, while all my friends went to the California Youth Authority. In the hood, there was nothing but devastation, poverty, prostitution, drugs, gangs, domestic violence and corruption. I ignored it, not knowing how to ask for help. I turned to the gang lifestyle, fast money, not thinking this abuse was an addiction and would become my norm. One day my life spiraled out of control. I shot and killed a human being. I was given a 57 to life sentence for murder. In prison, I continued to live the gang lifestyle. I landed in the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison. The gang culture was deep, violence, riots, stabbing and killings was the norm. After 12 years, I woke up and saw I was destroying myself and realized the harm I was inflicting on people and my family. I wanted something better. I wanted to go home. I realized I wasn’t worth anything doing bad. I embarked on a journey of transformation. I took control of my life and destiny. I stopped killing the authentic me by committing violence. I attended self-help classes, I identify my character defects and warped belief systems. I changed my thinking, reactions and habits. Positivity became second nature. I earned a college degree, completed vocational trainings, and have been disciplinary free. After taking parenting and family relation classes, I began to build better relationships. I was grateful and surprised by their encouragement and pride in me. Instead of being leary or worried, they can’t wait for me to come home, if God wants. In the process of this journey, my release date changed. I qualified under Senate Bill 260 & 261 as a youth offender. go to the parole board next year. I am optimistic and hopeful. I contribute my success and change to those whom I owe amends.