Mauricio, 24

Meet Mauricio…

I ruined my life completely, it’s the end, there is nothing that can be done from here, they say I’m dead, I don’t even exist anymore.

Mauricio, 24
Incarcerated: 6 years
Housed: California State Prison Corcoran, California

I came to this country at 17 from El Salvador,  looking for better opportunities not only to help my family, but to have a sense of meaning. All that changed after I committed this crime months after I came to this country. It was a hard situation, not only because of the crime, but  because I didn’t know English or the laws in California. It felt like being blind. Some say that my life was over,  I ruined my life completely, it’s the end, there is nothing that can be done from here, they say I’m dead, I don’t even exist anymore; that’s all good, it has its truth in it.

When they said nothing can be done from here, I found that I can do a lot. When they said I was dead and I didn’t exist anymore, I started to live.  I have improved for the better and  found a new beginning. Two paths were open to me and I once heard a wise man say, “Choose the one that is less transited” and that’s my daily living. Being incarcerated hasn’t only been a challenge,  it has been a huge experience. It has helped me to mature as a person, as a man, to know myself in a way I couldn’t before, to understand why I think the way I do, and why I did the things I did. Most importantly, I came to know God not only as God , but I have a relationship with him. I owe everything I have accomplished in my life, everything I have and all I am today to him. I’m doing my best to make progress, to keep learning and educating myself to be the person I couldn’t be and to serve others. 

Kaomang, 35

Kaomang, 35

Meet Kaomang…

I was born hearing for a short time and became deaf after I got sick. My mom was 14. I was born in Thailand and lived in a refugee camp in the mountains.

Kaomang, 35
Incarcerated: 21 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison, California

I was born hearing for a short time and became deaf after I got sick. My mom was 14. I was born in Thailand and lived in a refugee camp in the mountains. There was a war at that time, so they brought all of us to America when I was nine months old. I have three brothers and three sisters that were all born in Richmond, California. I attended public school with a group of deaf students. The teachers were my full support system. They helped us because we all have struggles with the English language, our culture, and being deaf. My mom still hasn’t learned any English or sign language. So, she can’t communicate with me. I

have been struggling to communicate with her for years. I became frustrated because I need unconditional love from my siblings and I need someone to talk to. I always saw my parents commit domestic violence in front of all my brothers, sisters, and me. I thought it was normal. I got in a lot of trouble at home and in school. So they put me in eight different foster homes, and that made it worse because they also couldn’t communicate with me, no one knew sign language. It led me to more anger, violence, and emotional trauma. It led me to destructive behavior that caused me to harm someone, which led me to prison with a life sentence. It took me some time to make a change to be a better person. When I started to participate in a variety of self-help groups, it changed my attitude of violence to self-control. I learned a lot about my past mistakes and learned how to take control of my own life with a positive attitude. I thank God for blessing me every day and guiding me on the right path.

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