Terry, 41
Terry, 41

Meet Terry

My confidence soared and my networking began. With my parole hearing on the horizon, I’m quite eager to see their faces out in the free world.

As soon as I stepped off the bus, I began questioning my decision to transfer to San Quentin. I noted very quickly that I was feeling apprehensive. I really feel unworthy. I attribute it to my low self-esteem, self-worth, self-value, or whatever other self-attributes you like. It was both new and different. I am usually pretty confident and sure of myself.

Looking back, I see it was because I had solid support at my last prison. Here though, I didn’t know anyone. I had been living in a cell by myself for the last seven years. Now I had a cellie in a 4’ x10’ cage.

I expected it, but there is a stark difference between thinking about it and reality. The knowledge of starting over, which at first seemed a reprieve, now felt daunting. It’s definitely something I needed to get a handle on if I was going to transition out of prison.

I hadn’t seen anyone I recognized for the first few days and it made me feel more uneasy than I thought. Then I met Joe, he helped me volunteer in the library and told me about a coding group where I started to make friends.

I had been in SQ a month but I still only saw what I was missing, until I met Eddie. He asked me to be one of his peacekeepers for Day Of Peace. I readily agreed as I needed something to preoccupy myself. The Day of Peace was really something.

Being my first time at this event, I was told to ‘see the sights’ by the guys I was standing sentry with. I allowed myself to be a glutton for signing up for groups. I came to a table with a familiar PEP in the name. Having participated in other Peer Education Programs, I found out the ‘A’ in APEP was for Academic. Here I met James, Tim, Pitt, Duane, Tommy, Connie, Amanda and Eugenia, who would become my fellow teachers.

When asked if I had my GED, I mentioned I had a college degree. James was seriously eager after I said I would like to assist. Little did I expect that within six months, I would be the ‘math guy’ for three outside volunteers and twenty students.