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.