That Day

My name is Jensen Ramos and I am currently serving a life sentence for committing a crime as a juvenile. I committed my crime at the age of 17. I was tried, convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life. I have currently been in prison for 12 years now, and till this day I hate it.

I still remember the day it happened. On January of 2002 I went to a party with my friends trying to have a good time. One of my friends had an exchange of words with someone and they started fighting. After they fought that guy and his friends ran to their car and drove off. As they drove off shots were fired at them. Immeditalely after we ran back to our cars and drove off and thought nothing of it. Three months later, at six in the morning detectives come knocking on my door. My grandma opened it and they came rushing in. I got up out of bed and walked out of my room and they asked me who I was  and when I told them my name about ten officers pointed their guns at me yelling to put my hands behind my head. They put my parents, grandma, and I in the living room while they raided my house looking for the gun. read more


Season Greetings Friends!

If you have not read this story yet, the powerful piece by our friend
Shabaka, “Cracked Sidewalks,” it was just picked up today by our
colleagues, the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, a national
website that is the only publication/site covering juvenile justice
and related issues nationally on a consistent, daily basis. They are
based out of Kennesaw, GA. We are thrilled to get this story out to an even larger community. Shabaka wrote this for The Beat Within from the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.

Cracked Sidewalks

If you want to read other entries from The Beat Within that
the JJIE has posted, here’s the link.

JJIE homepage read more

Strength to Stand On My Own Two Feet

by Eddie Herena

I knew I’d be alone the moment I stepped on the bus headed for state prison.  I ran with a gang on the street and eventually wound up in County (jail) for a murder I committed.  The thought of spending the rest of my life in prison was overwhelming.  I was twenty-one.  Knowing myself and the loyalty that lies within my being, I was forced to make one of the toughest choices in my young life: to either immerse myself deeper into the gang lifestyle, or walk away.  It wasn’t easy, but I knew that if I chose the former I’d die in prison.

My reasoning and spirit refused to accept the fate of a gang member in prison.  I walked away, I was alone, and even though fear plagued my mind as I hit my first prison yard, choosing to walk away from people who could care less about my wellbeing was one of the greatest decisions I had ever made in my life.  Thank God for the strength to stand on my own two feet in prison. read more


by Sally Bo

Thanksgiving is coming up, I want to say Thanks to my mother for always being there and helping me out in times of need.  My father too, for being in my life and teaching me stuff I really didn’t want to know but is helpful in the long run.  My sister for always keeping up with my antics and weird vibe, and especially living another day, month, year.. etc. to explore this wonderful world.

I hope that I’ll spend Thanksgiving with my folks and say what I said above to them to show them how much I care about them. I’ll tell them that I won’t do the things I did to get in here again, so that they’ll know I’m serious about getting therapy at my group home.  I’m going to in a couple of weeks.  I also want to spend Christmas and New Year’s with them too like the good ol’ days. read more


Season Greetings!

The Beat Within is on a roll!! The JJIE (Juvenile Justice Information
Exchange), based in Kennesaw, GA, has picked up “My Truth,” an amazing and thoughtful piece of writing from our friend, Jesus Trujillo, who is serving a life sentence, from the California State Prison Los Angeles in Lancaster, California. Jesus sent his contribution to not only share his story, but to educate our young readers in our weekly writing workshops.

Here’s Jesus’ piece, My Truth

As always if you want to read other entries from The Beat Within that the JJIE has posted, here’s the link.

We are incredibly thankful to have such a wonderful community. Thanks again for your support. read more