by Jeremy Willis
Hello, my name is Jeremy Willis and I am incarcerated in Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, California. I was talking to two of my friends in here and one I’ve known for 12 years now and they both write articles and poems for the Beat Within. They talked me into letting you know my story with hopes that it will change at least one person’s thinking about being in a gang or doing drugs.
I was in a lot of group homes in the East Bay for the rst ten years of my life and at ten I got adopted and moved to Farmersville in Tulare County.
I joined a gang at eleven years old because I was looking for love and acceptance in the wrong place. I started going to Juvie when I was thirteen years old and fourteen years old. I was introduced to crank (meth) by an older friend of mine and that changed my life forever.
At sixteen years old, I started to slam (inject) the crank, and at seventeen I ended up being charged with serious crime as an adult because of the gang I was in and I hit prison right after I turned eighteen.
Since then, I’ve had seventeen prison violations and I am now on my fth term and I am 40 years old. I dropped out of the gang at 27 years old, hoping I’d change my life around and stay out of jail/prison, but I was wrong, because now I didn’t have to answer to anybody.
I got out of control on the drugs and at that time crystal meth just came out and I fell in love with it and it opened doors for me to use heroin as well.
I am doing my fth prison term and I now get out Dec. 20th, 2018 and I’m trying my best to change my life around this time for good, by going to NA and AA meetings.
I don’t have any contact from my family, because they are tired of me stealing and lying and bringing the drugs around and getting locked up. Like I said, I’m now 40 years old and I’m missing 75% of my teeth because of the drugs, and I have a lot of gang tattoos on my body and even though I’m not in the gang anymore I still have problems with other gangs when they see the tattoos.
I thank God, every day for not letting me die when I got shot twice, and each time it was multiple times, and when I got stabbed in prison at 19 years old, by another gang, and, from using drugs because drugs kill a lot of people, no matter how much they do or don’t do.
I remember back in the 1990’s I read The Beat Within for the rst time and I’d say it was well over 20 plus years ago and I never thought back then that I’d still be locked up doing time or that I’d write a letter to The Beat Within trying to let young adults know the kind of trouble that the gang life or the drug life can and will cause someone.
God blessed me in 2005, in meeting David Stanton who was 19 years old and got sentenced to 86 years with half time and today he’s been down 40 years and he’s 59 years old and has a couple years left to do.
Since I met him in 2005, he has always been a positive person and encourage me to do right and you would think getting locked up all this time he would just give up in life but he hasn’t and not many people in prison are like him.
He’s written The Beat Within a couple times in around 10 years not so sure some of you know who I’m talking about. My second friend is Mylyn Johnson who is younger than me, but he is a really good positive person. I’m glad I’ve known him for around a year or longer. He also has wrote The Beat Within a few times.
I hope my letter will open up someone’s eyes to the life that they been living so far is wrong, and change their life before they end up dead or doing life in prison somewhere. I am very thankful I haven’t got my third strike or longer yet and I really plan on not coming back ever again.
I’ve never said this or thought like this before, so I am convinced I’m tired of this lifestyle now and I won’t live it again. Thanks for reading my story and I will try to keep in touch and let all of you know how I’m doing. Thank you The Beat Within for helping people all over change their live,s not many people care about us in here but the world knows you do.