“At four years old my mother left and I was put up for adoption. Eventually my grandmother adopted me and my 2 year old baby sister Sara. This made me feel confused and scared because I did not know what was going on. Also I always felt out of place and like an outcast in my community: unaccepted.
At 19 I came to prison. After 16 years in prison I found myself institutionalized. I was not used to classrooms and socializing with people outside my own group. I felt uncomfortable and awkward especially when speaking with people from outside of prison, “free people”, who I viewed as authority figures, being a prisoner and them being free. I felt stigmatized.
Finally I got the courage to approach a volunteer member from the Alliance for CHANGE and their treatment of me as a regular person- respectful, compassionate- inspired and amazed me. It amazed me that these people cared enough to help me personally. By these interactions I felt motivated to give back, becoming a mentor. As time went by and I developed relationships with everyone; I became proactive in the Alliance, cross-training in the Reintegration Department and eventually becoming Co-leader of Reintegration. This enables me to help my fellow men in blue to prepare to be successful with parole and to be positive influences in their communities.
On March 11, 2014 I went before the parole board and was found suitable for parole. This was possible by the love and support in my life through the community here at San Quentin and through the volunteers who come in to work with the Alliance for CHANGE.”