Mashudu, 23

Meet Mashudu…

I learned a man is someone who takes full responsibility for all his actions. I will admit when I’m right and accept when I’m wrong. In 2025, I’ll be free.

Mashudu, 23
Incarcerated: 6 years
Housed: East Arkansas Regional Unit, Brickeys

I was born on Thanksgiving Day, and on my mother’s birthday. As you read my name, I know you’re wondering how to pronounce it. “Ma-shoe-do” my dad is African. I am JR, he moved back to Africa when I was young. He abandoned me as a child, I had no father figure. While going to school I was made fun of because of my name. By the time I was 15, they never called me by my name anymore, I was deep in the streets robbing, and shooting. They ended up calling me “Shoota.” I was living it, my life was moving smoothly and fast, until I was 16. I got locked up on me and my mom’s birthday, November 25th, Thanksgiving Day. Instead of being at home enjoying my mom’s birthday, my cousin and I shot at a car at the hospital. I was in juvenile hall for a year and a half.

At 17, I got involved in another crime, I was facing adult charges for aggravated robbery and more. The judge offered me life on my first court date, then 30 years then he upped it to 40.  I ended up getting ten years from the faith I had from the age of 17 to 23. All I could do was think, snitching was never on my mind. They wouldn’t give me a bond, then I knew, I was not getting out. My homeboy told on me, and I looked at him like a brother, time flew by. I thought my family, friends, girlfriend and loved ones cared but they didn’t. No one had my back but me. I never gave up hope and faith. When I grew up I became a man. I learned a man is someone who takes full responsibility for all his actions. I will admit when I’m right and accept when I’m wrong. In 2025, I’ll be free. I accept everyone who turned their back on me cause it’s my fault I got locked up. They didn’t tell me to do what I did. I have number one that cares for me, so I’ll have to move somewhere else because I’m not with the fake love. I have nobody, all I got is myself, and my mom. Being in a cell 24/7 opened up my mind to see everything I never thought about, I just wanna be loved. 

Sarah, 43

Meet Sarah…

My hope is to get out and become a productive member of society. I learned by helping others that change begins on the inside and it is never ending.

Sarah, 43
Incarcerated: 17 years
Housed: La Vista Correctional Facility, Pueblo, Colorado

I never thought I was capable of taking a life. My worst nightmare became a reality and led me to incarceration. I was lost. I had no idea who I was or wanted to become. The only thing that I knew is that I had to be a good mother, girlfriend, daughter, sister, and friend. This meant taking care of everyone but myself. Just over 17 years ago I knew I needed to change. Little did I know just how much I would change over these years. When I found Go, I learned to lean heavily on all of his promises. He has seen fit to use me to help people inside with all kinds of different programs. Once I accepted responsibility for my actions, he helped form my character.

I went from being a liar, manipulator, and victim to being a woman who is transparent, honest, and owns what I do, good or bad. Knowing I have hurt so many people, I dedicated my life in service to honor my victims. It is how I hold myself accountable to the wrongs I’ve done. My hope is to get out and become a productive member of society. I learned by helping others that change begins on the inside and it is never ending. Happiness is a choice. I choose to be happy and I hope others will too.

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