Danny, 33

Danny, 33

Meet Danny…

Upon my release I want to have my own youth ministry. I can empathize with the youth because of what I lacked and experienced growing up. I just wish there was a program like mine that could have reached out to me and shared their experiences so I wouldn’t have come to prison.

Incarcerated: 14

Housed: California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo

I found my passion and purpose in life by being part of a youth diversion program in prison. When I was asked to get involved, I really hesitated. I didn’t like public speaking. I felt it wasn’t for me. With much persistence and persuasion, I decided to be in the program. A supposed friend asked me to join, yet didn’t believe I would be an asset to the group. To be honest, I was offended and hurt for two reasons, one because he was my brother in Christ and two, he said it behind my back. Little did he know, I love challenges. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have found my purpose in life. At first I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I believe when you are called to do something great you will face opposition for the impact that is to come. My thought process was to receive my certificate and jump to the next class. Little did I know, it was a never ending class with no certificates. Three years in and I was feeling like I wasn’t making an impact. I was very close to dropping out until Kyle, 15 and Tim, 16 walked into my life. Following my presentation, the Probation Officer thanked me and said I had an impact on them. I will never forget that feeling. To know my labor was not in vain, I felt rich. At 25, I ended up being one of the best speakers. As a youth offender, I was able to reach the youth. They always asked for me, which was an honor. This is why I created Challenging and Helping Adolescents Navigate Change by Educating for Success, CHANCES, I want to continue to give back to the youth. They are our future. Kobe Bryant said, “Our youth tends to get the short end of the stick in terms of the investment that is poured into them. Instead, it should be the opposite because they are our future.” Upon my release I want to have my own youth ministry. I can empathize with the youth because of what I lacked and experienced growing up. I just wish there was a program like mine that could have reached out to me and shared their experiences so I wouldn’t have come to prison.

Dennis, 54

Dennis, 54

Meet Dennis…

I am currently employed as an ADA worker earning eleven cents an hour. I assist old and disabled inmates seven days a week, earning $17 dollars a month. I want another chance at life.

Incarcerated: 27 years
Housed: California Men’s Colony, San Luis Obispo

I am incarcerated for attempted murder. Twenty seven years later, I am on my way to my first board hearing in June. In which, no one is ever granted suitability at their first hearing. I am prepared to be denied parole. However, the timing is perfect because I do not have a strong support network that would put me in good standing with the board commissioners. I would like to seek and build a support network from the outside world to help prepare for my hearing. The CDCR has never offered inmates meaningful training or job trades to prepare us to survive in the 21st high-tech world upon release. Prior to prison, I dibbled and dabbled in the electrical field but never earned any certifications. I was self-taught. In every prison, I have run an electrical service hustle from my cell. This is what I want to do when I get out. Is there anybody willing to properly teach me electronic repair straight out of prison? A lot of basketball players are drafted into the NBA straight out of high school. Why not hire me for a job straight out of prison? I am currently employed as an ADA worker earning eleven cents an hour. I assist old and disabled inmates seven days a week, earning $17 dollars a month. I want another chance at life.

Michael “Money”, 49

Michael “Money”, 49

Meet Michael…

I’m not comfortable in prison, but I am comfortable when I know my family and loved ones are good.

Incarcerated: 21 years
Housed: California Institution for Men, Chino

Mood: Positive, strong, determined and ready to get out and live. 

I’m taking it one day at a time in this concrete jungle they call prison. But as my mama used to say, “Only the strong survive,” may she rest in peace. One day I will be physically free, I’ve been wrongfully incarcerated for 21 years. I have a lot of evidence to prove it if you’re interested in reading about it. 

I’m not comfortable in prison, but I am comfortable when I know my family and loved ones are good. I have the hygiene and food I need. I’ve learned a lot here, primarily patience. I’m trying to change my quick temper and a lot has changed in me. I have a routine and having a job helps. I spend most of my free time at the law library to help me get my physical freedom back! I think a lot. I don’t sleep well in here, and not being comfortable keeps me up at night. 

What do I miss about being free? 

I miss doing what I want. I appreciate things more now, simple things like a shower, bath, clothes, good food. 

How do I feel love? 

Love in my family and those who are here for me while I’m in prison. I don’t see my family since they all live out of state. I talk to them here and there and communicate mostly by mail. 

Love is real, meaningful and beautiful. 

Love is God and Jesus.

Love is strength and determination. 

Please feel free to write to me anytime. God Bless!