My Life

by Michelle

I didn’t have the best life growing up. I grew up without a mother or a father. My grandma played both parts as a parent, not only to me but to ve other grandkids, working hard to keep a roof over our heads. Many times we had beans and rice for days. I didn’t have much of a childhood. I was forced to give that up at a very early age and help my grandma look after my cousins and my baby sister. I remember telling my grandma that I would be the only one out of the whole family that would graduate and go to college.

But somehow things started to change. I started hanging out with a bad crowd; grandma never liked them and told me so. I started doing drugs, stealing, ditching school, and running away from home. My grandma would pray that I would change and go back to the good girl I use to be but I wouldn’t listen. It nally caught up with me and I landed in jail after going from one group home to another and becoming a ward of the state. And where are my so called friends now while I sit in my cell? I wish I would have listened to my grandma when she told me they were no good for me. read more

My Life Story

by Darrell McGreggor 

My name is Darrell McGreggor. I am forty-eight years old and I am an ex-gang member. When I was fourteen years old, I moved into my father’s home and I became troublesome— most of which was internal. I was headstrong and did whatever I wanted to do.

I started hanging with the wrong crowd of people. I became mischievous and looking for love in the wrong places.

At age sixteen, I joined a gang for acceptance and to be known. I wanted people to fear me. At the same time, I wanted my former peers to respect me. I was attracted to the gang lifestyle because in school the girls gave them lots of attention. They fought for one another and showed each other respect.

The gang gave me a platform and there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for their camaraderie and love. I wanted to be just like them, if not better. I began to smoke marijuana and drink alcohol because I wanted to fit in and feel like them and I liked it! read more

The Seasons of Change

by Giggs

I remember telling myself I would never come back, I kept my word for the next seven years. It didn’t take too long for the fog to lift up out of my head, wanting back all I had and realizing how much I should’ve been grateful for a bit late…

I stressed for the longest how much I just wanted to get back to how and where I was, not materialistically or tangibly. Just me, the person I had become, learning to love, to live. To embrace life as it comes. But the more it is the more I learn about the seasons of change! There’s a time and a place for everything, I needed this experience to get back and humble me… I can’t get back to the way I was, or at least it’s not the time to at this time and place. Being still and silent, teaching me to begin a new chapter, something needs to change! read more

The Cost Of Drug Addiction

by Glenn

I lost my older sister to drug addiction. She started to do drugs when she was fteen and now she is twenty-two and in jail because of the drugs. She is now schizophrenic and she lost her two kids because of drugs, too. She can’t think or live without someone with her. If someone doesn’t help her she’ll probably be dead somewhere because she thinks that people are after her and she thinks that cars are fake and she’ll walk right in front of them.

That’s why I stay away from drugs. I try to help other kids stay away from drugs because I don’t want to see them like my sister. But now I’m in and out of jail because every time I try to help someone or try to do better for myself, I always come here. But when I’m in my room I think about my situation and I say to myself, “it could be worse. I could be like my sister and be on drugs and not be able to think for myself.” So I thank God that I know what drugs will do to you. read more

Reality Hurts

by Phong Dang

BANG, BANG, BANG!!!  With no regard for human life I recklessly shot four times into a group of my rivals and Phung Thanh Nguyen is lying bloody on the floor. I wake up startled as the reality of what I have done hit me! I open my eyes and I’m back in my tiny cell sweating from the nightmare that I had caused.  Serving twenty-three years into my incarceration I try to gain insight into why I became this monster. And I start to reflect…

I was born on January 24, 1975, in Saigon, the capitol of Vietnam.  However, as circumstances would have it, I was born in the midst of a communist war between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. In the year of 1979, my parents had no choice but to pack up their belongings, whatever essentials they were able to carry on their backs, while also carrying my baby brother (2 years old) and I (4 years old) in their arms.  We had to leave and escape from our home which was the place of our birth.  It was everything we knew and we had to start anew.  We were hoping to find a better future and opportunities for ourselves. We had to get out of Vietnam! read more

From Her Dream

by Chris

I’m reading a drawing just tryin’ to stay busy, this white room is shrinking I’m getting dizzy, I’m tired of waiting,

contemplating and debating on the next thing to do, with all of these guards, I’m trying not to be rude,
sitting thinking ‘bout my family and momma,
I hate to say it but the woman’s just drama,
all that woman does is yell and scream,
I hope she wakes up from her dream, starving herself washing it down, she drinks herself so she don’t have to frown, I

try not to think about it so much,
it starts with a little and ends with a bunch, then I can’t sleep, without her on my mind,
I hate the fact that I worry all the time, I’m not looking forward to the day that I call, that my mom died with her hands on a bottle.