Chris S.

REPRESENT JUSTICE X JR: TEHACHAPI

So my name is Chris, I'm 29 years old. I've been locked up since I was 22. I got locked up for robbery, grand theft auto and exhibiting a deadly weapon. I was young, I was stupid, immature. What got me to that time, I was ... I grew up in a single-parent home. My mom always worked. So she left me and my little brother by myself. My dad lives in Tennessee so I didn't have a father influence. I guess you could say, I didn't feel loved, as I should. I was loved but I didn't see it that way.

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And so I went looking for love in all the wrong places, and my homies and I joined a gang. I was out there, gang banging and robbing, and doing drugs and all that. And that’s what got me here. And even when I came to prison, I still didn’t change at first. I was still part of gangs and beating people up, and I caught four more years on top of the five years that I caught for a total of nine, because I did what’s called a removal, and beat a dude up because somebody else told me to do it.

I spent 10 months in the hole and I had a come to Jesus meeting in myself, like, “Man, I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be here.” The hole is administrative segregation. It’s no human contact with anybody else. You’re always in handcuffs anywhere you go. No phone calls, no visits, nothing, and I spent 10 months back there. It’s where they put troublemakers and when I was back there and I caught the four years, four more years on top of what I was already doing for the robbery, I just felt like, “Man, like this isn’t what I want. I don’t want to keep doing this. I miss my family, I miss my friends. I miss my mom. I miss my little brother and my dad.” So I made a change then and I came to this side. Now I’m not active. I’m not an active gang member.

Nowadays I’m a programmer. I go to college, I take college classes. I go to all kinds of groups, to try to better myself and so I can help somebody else along the line. My goal when I get out is to finish, get my Master’s in counseling, to be a troubled youth counselor maybe when I get out because I feel that that’s when I started when I was young. Nobody was there to tell me not to do what I was doing, and I want to give back and I want to be that person to help the kids, our youth growing up now, to try to keep them out of this situation.

I’ve been locked up for a total of seven years. I’ve been at this prison for a year and a half. I go home real soon. I go home in eight months. So I’m trying to set myself up for being better, to be able to help other people. It’s for success.