Dale, 51

Dale, 51

Meet Dale…

Last year I helped over 90,000 Californians and I’m on track for over 100,000 this year. I focus on those people. Not following the rules got me in prison but what better thing could I be doing.

Dale, 51

Incarcerated: 26 years

Housed: Valley State Prison, California

I work in a Prison Industry Authority optical factory. It produces thousands of pairs of glasses each week. After my parole violation was extended for a 5th time in 2021, I was a bit despondent and depressed. Shortly after I was approached by my correctional counselor and asked if I would be interested in a job in optical. At first I hesitated for a couple reasons: one, people who have done nothing wrong had been fired for the actions of others. Second, it required getting up very early, for an eight hour a day, 5 days a week, for a fraction of a dollar per hour. I had become accustomed to no such obligation, and I had become lazy. I didn’t take the application, but immediately something nagged me. I decided to approach the counselor. During the interview I told the supervisor my concerns, and said all I hoped for was: not to be held accountable for anyone else’s behavior and acknowledged for the job I do. I did my best. I started to notice the many different frames and styles. It occurred to me that each represented a different person. Women, men, boys, girls and infants.

I started having this joy of imagining different people. My considerations and thoughts kept going to the Californians behind these frames waiting for their prescriptions. I often hear complaints: the hours, the pennies for pay, the cops, but all I could think about are the people behind the frames who didn’t know or need to know me. But I get to be a help to each of them! After several months my work ethic put me in a position to run a department. It was here I started counting how many Californians I helped each day. When other guys complain, or I get ridiculed for hard work, I’d walk up, grab a pair of frames and state, “This may not be your sister, brother, daughter or son, but it’s someone’s and I work because people need their glasses.” Last year I helped over 90,000 Californians and I’m on track for over 100,000 this year. I focus on those people. Not following the rules got me in prison but what better thing could I be doing. The value I get is the great feeling that no matter what past mistake I made, I am helping people. 

Jon, 42

Jon, 42

Meet Jon…

In a place known for death and destruction, I found life and meaning. Along the way I have found my voice and discovered my academic abilities that are now leading me towards a whole new future.

Jon, 42
Incarcerated: 6 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison

This photo means everything to me, my mom is my biggest support, love and motivation. She lives in Mexico but comes and visits, and also brings my son. I am sharing with HoSQ to give back and hopefully share some smiles, positivity, and inspire others. Never give up! With patience and peace good things will find you. You are worth it. 

“Quentin Crumbles”

Walls crumble like hourglass sands, 

Time melts away desperate past love, 

Lost hugs of Mother, Father, Brother, Son. 

Breaking the hearts of chained memories, 

Bars hold me behind the day’s light. 

My soul free to roam in only dreams, 

Reality what can be once was will always, 

Remain hidden seeking to find meaning. 

Solar views under darkened skies, 

stars diluted in light polluted pain, 

Planets below moon beam Horizons, 

Setting mountains of hate filled minds, 

dissolving into walls of truths forgiveness, 

controlled but never held back, 

steps etched in sand filled shoes blowing through. 

Beaches of crumbled walls and broken chains

as Quentin crumbles.

I am in San Quentin somewhere I never imagined life would lead me. In a place known for death and destruction, I found life and meaning. Along the way I have found my voice and discovered my academic abilities that are now leading me towards a whole new future. I found passion in psychology and self-help. Prison gave me a chance to take inventory and change things about my life I have always been less than proud of. 

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