Lani, 41

Meet Lani…

She taught me that no matter what my circumstances are, I could always make a negative situation into a positive one.

Years down: 19 year and 7 months

I was an active gang member from the “Hawaiian Playboy Bloods” in Los Angeles. I was sentenced to 30 years to life for “First Degree Residential Burglary” and a serious felony enhancement, under the California Three Strikes Law. I struggled with my excessively long sentence for a non-violent offense. Six years into my sentence, I met three teachers,  Lin, Vickie, and Pat from a self-help class, Alternative to Violence Project, at Ironwood State Prison. These three powerful women helped me see the importance of my educational goals, and they could be achieved if I put in the hard work. Pat was an administrative employee. She advocated and enforced a bill for incarcerated people to attend college through Palo Verde College and Coastline Community College. Pat inspired me to believe in myself. She taught me that no matter what my circumstances are, I could always make a negative situation into a positive one. Based on Pat’s mentorship and her encouragement to motivate me to further my education, I was able to follow my goals and dreams. The results of my commitment to my educational journey has given me three certificates in Business Literacy, Business Studies and Business Management. Then, in 2016, I graduated from Coastline Community College with three degrees, an Associate Arts and Science in Business Administration and General Business. Due to my educational accomplishments, this led me to be granted suitability for parole from the Board of Parole Hearings dated September 28, 2021. Once released I will have served 19 ½ years in prison.