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by Harry Goodall
The main thing I want to do is be a dad. I have two kids, but have missed all of their lives because of a prison sentence. I feel that just because I helped in the creation of my kids does not make me a dad. I’m just a donor. It’s other scenarios that had complicated me being involved in their lives, but I have had to learn to live with that. If I didn’t place myself in prison maybe the restrictions wouldn’t be there. After all, you’re not placed in prison because you’re a good guy.
As a result of missing all of their lives, there is some resentment in how my kids feel about me. They are not to blame. How can you explain to someone that has needed you all their lives, that you felt the crime you committed, that you had to do it. I have estranged relationships with my kids. It’s sort of hard for them to accept me and what I can offer them as I have always been missing from their life.
by Keith Erickson
The scars of my childhood are the very parts of me that so many men like me, incarcerated men, want to keep locked away from the rest of the world around them. The Alternatives to Violence Project Workshops bring out the courage in men that you would never expect to witness within a prison. This weekend was like a whirlwind of emotions and laughter that left many of us crying, yet with the realization that our personal afflictions are so much bigger than just ourselves—they also belong to so many others within and outside of these granite walls.
Fatherhood/Parenting: this was the focus of this weekend’s workshop. New faces, some familiar, yet uncharted territory for many of us to share due to the scars that are concealed beneath the billboard display of tattoos that take up much of our bodies. It is a well-known fact amongst us prisoners; the Alternatives to Violence Project is designed to make you uncomfortable in order to make you comfortable. There is no growth without the pain of finally beginning to confront the damage that’s been done to you, including the damage we’ve all been guilty of doing to others. That’s the beauty of these workshops: we learn to love, trust, and support men around us regardless of where it is that we’ve been, all within a crash-course un-fold of three days. In the bigger picture, we’re restoring our humanity while helping one another heal.
I open my eyes, mostly to blink away the tears. My gaze falls upon
a pile of a fabric at the end of my bed. Under a thick layer of dust
there are multiple patterns and colors. My blankets. They come in
and out of focus as I think about my past, the things I’ve done, who I
am. If I’m honest with myself, I can see why people say I’m arrogant
and selfsh and proud. I can see why people say I’m cold, I’m hard
and I’m only interested in winning.
Maybe I deserve this. Maybe I should just give up and die. It
would be easy, so beautifully easy. Muscles I didn’t even know were
tensed let go and relax, ready to let me slip away.
Before I give into the darkness, a feeble voice fghts back. It
tells me: “No, you don’t deserve this. Maybe you’re a bad, horrible
person, but this isn’t right. No one deserves this. No one.”
by Christian Bost
What I’m about to tell you is not a story, but rather a reality of my life. The reality is that I was seventeen years old, tried as an adult, and fighting for my life, praying to God that I wouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life in prison for murder.
I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles, CA. I was raised in a household with just my mom and four brothers. My dad wasn’t around because, when I was just three years old, while he was locked up in his cell, his cellie decided to murder my dad.
So, growing up without my father always left this emptiness in my heart. My mom always worked hard to provide a roof over my head, but there was one thing that I felt she didn’t provide: unconditional love. It was the emotional support that I desperately needed. I would always do things to get her attention; usually to get her attention was to act up, and ultimately getting jumped into my gang. That sure got her attention.
I believe that in order to succeed I need love from my family and support from my peers and friends. It is very important that I have my freedom, so I will abstain from being sent to correctional facilities. I need an education and I need to work hard in order to be successful. The most important thing I need is to be happy, for I cannot be successful if I am not happy. In order for me to be happy, I need to be with the people I care about and I need to do the things I like. In the future, I need to make sure the things I do are positive so I do not end up in here again.
There is nothing I want more than my freedom and to be with my family. Those things would push me toward success. I also require to be more patient and calmer. I also need to think my actions out more thoroughly and be careful with whom I associate. I must make sure that I take the correct path toward success and a better life.
by Brandon Martinez
Looking back over this ole life, a young buck adolescent, sitting there in front of a judge quite perplexed of my hearing being conducted for emancipation, often throughout the proceedings I was a bit baffled. As a teen, I lacked the intellectual ability to comprehend the magnitude for his decision to be rendered. Although factors were taken into account by the judge at his discretion, perhaps I should have provided some input, certainly the task was exclusively delegated to him, with such an imperative crucial decision at stake. To not object by advocating on my own volition was a mistake, I can’t change the past of what transpired that day.
What I can do is convey to you that if you ever encounter this predicament as a youngster, please make the proper decision in your best interest. See the broad picture of life. For certainly there’ll be fallout as a result of you being granted emancipation. Absolutely, to some extent for the time being in the moment it will appear you’ll lap in the luxury of freedom with the yoke of the parental reign dismantled.