Anthony C.


Well, I used to be really materialistic. You know, I had a good job. I was you know, making around a hundred grand a year legitimately and then obviously I had lost my job for a while, but I still maintained that income but now I just I've learned to appreciate pretty much things that money can't buy you know and I mean my future I mean sometimes I have to knock myself down and you know, get my head out of the clouds and stuff because I want so much, you know, mainly to provide for my family and stuff. But you know, I mean just being happy, you know and having my children be happy and have them grow up. You know with a good set of morals and having them learn from my mistakes versus having them have to experience things on their own and make them themselves, you know, maybe making a positive impact versus a negative impact the way I used to, you know, cause I mean, it's all a cycle, you know. It's like breaking that cycle and ensuring our future for my children and I mean, obviously, everybody else's family as well because… Now seeing my little brother going through the same mistakes that I'm just making, you know it kinda hits home a little bit.

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Well what motivated my change was, I was in the general population line and I mean, obviously I mean if you look at my file, I hurt people inside. I caught more time in prison than I originally came to prison with and more strikes in here and it pretty much came to the point that they either — hey, look I’m gonna go stabbing somebody else and I’m really going to throw all my chips in and this is going to be my life because I’ll probably catch life in here. I started talking to my wife and I told her to look at this what it is either I’m just gonna do it or I am gonna leave. And I want to know where you stand and my wife told me she said look, well, I don’t know the situation, whatever your choice you make I mean, I just have to support you and, I just finally made the choice to put my family first and my children obviously because I’ve already stolen a lot of my children’s childhood. They can never get that back. My daughter, she had to go to her father-daughter dance with her Uncle, my son playing sports other people had to raise my kids for me and that’s what pretty much generated my change. To put them first because they still stood by me through all of them the wrong that I’ve done and the hurt I put them through, so that’s what motivated me to change and to leave the lifestyle and to want to be a better person, and that’s about it. I mean family it just, it outweighed everything else.

I guess I had a good childhood, loving family. Everybody was always there for the most part I guess. Like your average, average kid, sports… I wasn’t an overachiever in school, but I did well, I guess Bs, Cs. Well for me anyway. When my parents I guess got divorced that’s when everything kind of started going downhill. My dad was out, doing his thing going out. Love you Dad. But he still likes to go out and it’s him. He’s happy. It’s his life. My mom, finding herself again and going through whatever she went through, she went from my dad into an abusive relationship, and I guess in junior high I started doing bad things here and there. I was getting in trouble, nothing too serious, but I just… trying to find myself and I guess fill a void that I lost when my family split and went their own way so when I was in high school started getting involved with gangs. I was playing baseball for Santa Barbara high school, and eventually, I stopped going to practice stopped going to all that, started going juvenile hall.

Eventually, I did well, I kind of turned it around. I started going to college, I guess getting my life back on track, but I guess like everything if you don’t put everything into it, and you still can’t live on both sides of the fence in other words, so I was still doing that. I was going to work. I had a great job out on the oil rigs. Actually the gang lifestyle didn’t actually get me here. I kind of snapped out of that one a little early on but I guess I started using drugs, and drugs obviously aren’t good for anything, for your physical health, mental health. Pretty much, take your life one way or another the way you view it and stuff. So I’m actually here for domestic violence, and I mean my dad always taught me, obviously never too, to get involved in that. Treat a woman right and all that, and I mean it’s not my proudest moment and stuff, but me and my wife we had our issues but, I mean through it all, I mean she is still here with me and we’ve grown stronger.

I guess, and looking now at my childhood, I didn’t really think that all these things affected me, I don’t that doesn’t matter to me. My life is my own life, but now looking back, the domestic violence that I witnessed through my mom and her boyfriend and… there was just a bunch of family issues with that and my dad never being there for me.

In a sense, I guess. I don’t know it just kind of. how do I say it? The things that I said I would stay away from and not do I ended up becoming like my dad. Yeah, he was there but he wasn’t really there and then me as an adult as a father, I thought putting food on the table, “Oh, I’m a good dad” and that wasn’t always the case because I was out doing whatever I was doing and kind of neglecting my family.¬† Even in prison I still kind of didn’t really care a lot, about I mean I do care about him. I love him but through my actions, I wasn’t showing that. Finally in prison obviously, there’s two sides general population and SNY (Sensitive Needs Yards). I finally made the choice after picking up more time in prison than I originally came to prison with I made a choice to put my family first. At first, I really didn’t understand, well I understood but I didn’t. I didn’t really know why I was doing the things that I was doing. Yeah, I was I take responsibility, but we’re programmed obviously to our surroundings, the way we were brought up. The lifestyle, until recently when I came to SNY to in November of 2018 the next month, I actually for the first time started going to NA, AA, Celebrate Recovery, Criminal Gangs Anonymous, Lifers Group, Inside Out Riders and it finally gave me an understanding. I guess viewing things from other people’s point of view.

Hurting… the way you hurt other people and thinking about all that. It kind of makes you kind of change because I mean it’s one thing when we hurt ourselves and we don’t care but when you really think about how you’ve hurt the people that love you like your family and maybe even if you don’t know who they are and they were a victim of a crime you committed it kind of resonates more. You wonder, how you affect that person’s life for the rest of their life, you don’t know, and I mean it just makes you think twice about I guess doing stuff like that again. Like negative things and I don’t know, I mean I just, I don’t want to come back to prison once I get out. I hope nobody does come to prison. It can really change the past but, through a lot of these groups here, we learn tools and stuff to make better choices so that we don’t come back here or when we go to society, we can, I guess, prove ourselves and earn our place back. I don’t know, I mean just, before I don’t know, that whole acceptance thing and trying to fit in and I don’t know. I mean, it’s all cool, but I mean. our family at the end of the day are the ones that are important and I mean just making the right choices and if not for ourselves for them and I don’t know what else really to say, you know.