Shane, 44

Meet Shane…

As my teacher, the Buddha once said, ‘One may conquer a million men in a single battle; however, the greatest and best warrior conquers himself.’

Shane, 44
Incarcerated: 15 years
Housed: South Dakota State Penitentiary, Sioux Falls, SD

I went to the old chapel to facilitate the Buddhist group. I have been the leader since 2015 and continue to enjoy facilitating it. It was around 6:30pm and I began to set up for the service. I took out the TV, put in meditation music, lit incense, and draped a tapestry of the Buddha over the TV. I waited and was wondering where everyone was. A person came down and said he heard that starting today, there were not going to be any religious or other activities after five pm because the prison is so short-staffed. Five minutes later, four other people showed up. They told me they came directly from the chow hall because everything is running late. I got some Dhammapada books out and we began to read and discuss the wisdom from the Buddha. At about that time a white shirt, Officer-In-Charge opened the door and told us there are no religious activities after all. So now we only have one Buddhist group service instead of two. The other religious groups have also had their services reduced because of the staff shortages. I hope the prison can hire more prison staff so that we can get our normal religious services back. As my teacher, the Buddha once said, “One may conquer a million men in a single battle; however, the greatest and best warrior conquers himself.”

Bryce, 55

Meet Bryce…

I have learned that no one ever deserves to be harmed, abused, or violated under any circumstance, especially children, and it is never too late to change.

Bryce, 55
Incarcerated: 18 years
Housed: Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, CA

I look forward to connecting with people who won’t judge me for my past criminal behaviors and choices, and who will support me in my recovery from criminal thinking, drug addiction, and sexual compulsions. I grew up in Orange County, was in foster care for 2 ½ years, and lived in Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, and Lake Forest California, before my incarceration. The beaches, pools, and malls were my second home, and I loved camping, riding dirtbikes, and Disneyland. It was my dream to be a drummer in an original rock band or work in the entertainment industry. Instead, I worked in fast food restaurants, machine shops, and construction type jobs. My favorite past-times are either watching movies (too many favorites to mention) or listening to music, especially the 80’s. I love songs that are inspiring and like everything from Journey to sia, disco to jazz, and love-songs to country. Queen’s “Under Pressure” is a favorite.

While incarcerated, I have taken responsibility for all the damage I caused to innocent people, my family, the communities, and the world as a whole. I have become a victim advocate in stopping the harm, abuse, and violence, by participating in victim impact, domestic violence, and anger management type groups. I have also taught other inmates and facilitated the Prison of Peace (PoP) program that covers restorative justice ideas, effective listening skills, peace circles, problem solving techniques, how to make mutual agreements, and the mediation process.

I have learned that no one ever deserves to be harmed, abused, or violated under any circumstance, especially children, and it is never too late to change. Through self-introspection and faith in my higher power, I have gained insight to my causative factors and have developed empathy and compassion for others and myself.

Today, I live a healthier, spiritually driven life-style, based on a life-long commitment to recovery and giving back. I am a 12-step member, I have a support network of people who care about my health and recovery, and I live with purpose.

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