Carlos, 38

Meet Carlos…

Carlos, 38
Incarcerated: 16 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison, California

Prison has a strength like no other, and it’s not even the guards who enslave us. Everything about prison is designed to break the very essence of a human person. From its mind, to its heart, to its spirit and aspirations. To any notion of having an existence beyond these walls. You arrive broken, shattered by the judicial system that prides itself on its near “perfect” system. And then, you’re left to fend for yourself. All those rules and regulations are but another facade created by the perfect system, to give everyone peace of mind, but they’re just words our governing authorities barely comprehend. So, there you are, in a cell. Trying to figure out what to do and who to trust, while you endure and try to survive what’s taking place in front of you. Time is vital to our existence, yet seconds determine who you’ll be in this walled off society. And just like your society out there, we’re still trying to be heard and dignified, as we’re plagued by injustices. So I thank my loved ones, my Sonni Rose, who reached in and pulled me out of my abyss, you taught me how to love. She gave me strength to overcome my confinement and raise my voice so you guys know that there are human beings in here. And I am, but one of many needing to be recognized as such. So, thank you my beloved, Sonja Dahler. I know I have a long road ahead of me, but I’m grateful I have the chance to thank the people who helped me.

Richard, 67

Richard, 67

Meet Richard…

I picked up a brand new term the following year of 25 to life for a paper of dope. It seemed like a great injustice at the time, but in hindsight it was only payback for all the crap I got away with.

Richard, 67
Incarcerated: 46 years
Housed: San Quentin State Prison

I’m still probably crazier than a s*** house mouse, not from doing drugs mind you, but from doing time…lots and lots of time, because of drugs. As a reoffender I ask, why am I here? Why do I come back? And why can’t I change? And on all accounts I’m responsible for myself. I began my prison term in 1976. Strung out again and again, prison became like a revolving door for me, until 1982 when a wheelbarrow full of armed robberies earned me 37 years. Miraculously, I only had to serve a quarter of that, but I didn’t learn a thing in prison. I picked up a brand new term the following year of 25 to life for a paper of dope. It seemed like a great injustice at the time, but in hindsight it was only payback for all the crap I got away with– including a string of bank robberies across three counties, karma is a real thing! Two decades later, after I weaseled my way out of the system yet again, thoroughly insane and with nobody to give a damn, I got myself shot trying to hold up a McDonalds. So here I am, two thirds of my 67 years incarcerated behind dope. I initially wanted to do myself in, but now I find purpose in passing on knowledge to the younger generation and oldsters too. No matter how much you hate it in here, it will never be enough to keep you out, until you come to hate the things which put you in here in the first place. So long as you harbor an appetite for drugs and criminal activities, you will always return to that stuff and inevitably find yourself in handcuffs all over again. It’s just one big tremendous waste of life, which in all our faiths is considered a gift from our Creator, to be used to glorify Him and love our neighbor. Not pillage, steal and rape him, that is my message. Go with God and you’ll never have to return or hurt anyone again. Until something changes drastically with the sentencing laws in California, such as the repeal of Three Strikes You’re Out, here is where I’ll be until death do us part.

Side note: In the second picture, Richard is sitting with Michael, our Humans of San Quentin Inside Communications Director.

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