Friday, September 23, 2011

The Importance of Education

Finally after six years, I've been able to obtain a few textbooks, so I can participate in higher education.  Since the end of 2005, I have continually attempted to enroll with the California Department of Corrections and "Rehabilitation" Coastline College Program, which has been one obstacle after another.

In December of 2005 I enrolled with an acquaintance at Coastline College.  His family purchased a book for him which we'd share to further our education.  Two weeks later, CDCr opened a new facility in Kern Valley.  Instead of transferring inmates who had hardships or would've liked to be transferred, the committee transferred inmates with no consideration of their current program.

At committee I explained to the administration my dilemma, saying it would be highly beneficial to continue my current program at Salinas Valley State Prison.  The committee response?  "So what?"  This occurs on a daily basis.

I've witnessed hundreds of inmates with a few tests left to complete various "vocations" transferred to another facility; meaning those inmates were unable to complete that vocation.  This is because the CDCr's administrations are incompetent.  So, again, CDCr wasted taxpayer dollars on almost rehabilitating hundreds of inmates.

With the support of my fiancee, I'm attempting to complete a few courses to further my education.  My goal is to earn a degree.  And when the 3-strike law is overturned, I'll be able to find a well paying job.  If the law doesn't change, certainly my 28 to life for selling drugs will not be wasted.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I learned how to write in grammar school.  To be completely honest, I don't remember any of my classes.  Sometime around July 2010, I decided to write a book about my life.  I purchased a typewriter, asked a few questions, and started writing my book.

All my life I never cared about education, thinking I could just find a job or earn an education when I turned eighteen.  Neither one of those ideas did me any justice.  For one, I was so involved with drugs and what people thought of me, I couldn't even be myself.  I was so busy concerning myself with peer pressure, I lost my way.

Twelve years of being incarcerated and maybe twenty years go until I paroled, I decided enough was enough.  I simply couldn't sit in CDC's facilities day after day and waste my life.  That's when I picked up a pen and started telling my story.

Writing gave me more confidence.  Now when I write friends, I can express myself better--also making my letters more sincere.  Learning how to write properly has been the greates thing I've ever done.  With my book almost completed I feel much better about myself.  Most importantly, writing about my life has been therapeutic in many ways.  I've been able to let the past go, when it belongs, in the past.

Certainly I have a wonderful future ahead of me.  Being incarcerated is not the worst thing that could've happened to me.  I'm healthy and positive, which can never be taken away from me, and I believe writing has given me the freedom and courage to live a better life, inside of prison and out.

Saturday, July 9, 2011


I have been incarcerated in the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation since 1996.  While serving a 6-year sentence for Aggravated Assault with a Firearm, I did nothing to work on my childhood issues.  My father started me on cocatine at the age of 13.  Instead of working on my corrupted mentality, I wasted six years waiting for my release.  Like many other inmates housed inside California's State Prison system who wait for their release date without positive self-help courses.  This is the norm.

Within a month of paroling I had landed a union job with benefits and found a companion who had her life under control.  Or so I thought.  Slowly I started visiting old friends, thinking I could control my criminality.  My second month out, I moved in with my companion, unaware that she had problems of her own.

My companion's friend at work brought meth to their job, and they both started using drugs at work.  Those drugs ended up in our apartment.  A few weeks after that, I did my first line of meth, starting the process.  I assured myself and everyone else that I could control my addiction.

Eight months later, I ended up back in custody inside my county jail.  My charges ranged from selling drugs to possession of a loaded firearm.  Several months after, I was sentenced to 28 years-to-life under the California 3-Strikes law.  Again I failed to control my addiction, letting down my family.

For the next five years, I did the same thing I had done on my first term--played handball, worked out, and watched TV.  One day, I woke up thinking, "I can't waste my life in prison, doing nothing."  Two Vocational Trades and an abundance of self-help courses (ordered by the Board of Prison Terms) later, I feel I have discovered a better way to live my life, inside prison and out.

Everyday prison life is repetitive.  The same program day after day.  I believe that, with a good concept and the right elements, inmates can be rehabilitated to live in society without returning to prison.  I am stressing positive self-help courses.  Regardless of what other inmates and friends think, I am stressing rigorous rehabilitation to my friends and anyone else who will listen.  I think it's important for everyone to lend a hand--inside prison or out, to adolescents and adults--to strive to live an honest life.  If I had been ordered by the courts to complete self-help courses, I would have been better prepared before re-entering into society.