Javier, 31

Javier, 31

Ciara, 34

Meet Javier…

“I’ve learned that if someone gives me an opportunity, I can accomplish a lot”

Javier, 31

Incarcerated: 2 years

My bad behavior started at the end of my freshman year of high school. I was approached by one of my friends and he asked if I wanted to join the hood. I automatically said yes. I was getting respect, hanging out with the cool kids, and riding in the Yukon. Everybody knew us, all the females were on us, but more importantly, our brothers weren’t getting picked on anymore after school. One day, Child Protective Services came in with sheriffs to take my brothers and sisters. They didn’t take me because I was a ward of the state, and had been released to my mother while on juvenile probation. It wasn’t the same without my family. I took it out on random people and so-called enemies. I would get high and drunk to feel better and numb myself so I wouldn’t feel alone. I didn’t know how to handle that feeling, so I would look for girls to hook up with. I stabbed another 18 year old, went to jail, and a public defender got me out on a misdemeanor.  I had to learn the hard way since no one was really guarding me. I never met my father and my step dad didn’t like me. My mom was working on how to get my brothers and sisters back, her two boys and four girls. I found the attention I needed from the gang. We were smoking trees, drinking and hanging with different females. Now, that’s all changed. I miss the food, traveling, and doing whatever I want. I’ve learned that if someone gives me an opportunity I can accomplish a lot. I talk to my loved one’s two to three times a month. Love is something I see really far away. Since I’m incarcerated, a female would probably be scared of me and have way better options than me anyways. I have used being in prison to my advantage. Being in the streets, I would have never gotten my diploma. People have not believed in me or considered giving me an opportunity to prove myself. They automatically think I’m a convict that’s going to steal or be violent towards them. I’ll always be a liar to them. My only option is to keep educating myself; whether it’s life skills, anger management, or even obtaining some type of college degree. I hope that people who really want to change will do the same.

Samantha, 30

Samantha, 30

Meet Samantha…

Being covered in blood and bruises was “normal,” but my boyfriend had beaten me to the point that I miscarried our baby.

Samantha, 30
Incarcerated: 1 year
Housed: La Vista Correctional Facility, Pueblo, Colorado

I was going to college for mortuary science when I met a guy. We had a very toxic relationship involving drugs and domestic violence. In February of 2013,  I woke up in my backyard in the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. Being covered in blood and bruises was “normal,” but my boyfriend had beaten me to the point that I miscarried our baby. A part of me was thankful that I wasn’t going to be stuck with him forever. After I recovered, I left. I got a restraining order. I moved to another town. I got a job and was doing fine until he showed up at my job and wouldn’t leave. Countless times he would be removed in handcuffs and eventually I was let go due to the unwanted attention it was bringing to the store.

I moved a couple more times and changed my number. I didn’t feel I was able to get a job since he was stalking me. I was in the kitchen at a friend’s house when he showed up and started throwing me around. I got free from his grasp and locked myself in the bathroom. I crawled out the window and ran down the street to the first car I saw. Driving was a 52 year old man. I asked for a ride anywhere. Here most 22 year old girls would be nervous getting in the car with a stranger, but I was willing to take the risk. I came to Colorado with him. He let me stay in a spare room, helped me get in contact with my parole officer and get my legal stuff taken care of. He brought me back to Oregon to do a jail sentence for absconding, then picked me up and came back to Colorado where he helped me get a job and get back on my feet. 

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