REPRESENT JUSTICE X JR: TEHACHAPI
This the first time I've ever done anything like this in my life and it's the first time I've ever been on a mainline, on a yard I'm usually, I don't know if you've heard about Pelican Bay Corporate SHU (Secure Housing Unit). I've spent 17 years isolated by myself. They put us, this is a little 41A but then they have something worse called Pelican Bay Corporate SHU, it’s the SHU, security housing and I spent 17 years there. So for this right here, this is kind of nerve-racking for me, but I'm trying to get out, be a better person. Just trying to do better man, So bear with me guys.
Hello outside world. My name is Richard. I’ve been incarcerated 25 years straight now. I spent time under the law of California three strikes law. I’m in here for a non-violent crime. Some people call it unjust, some people call it just depending on who you talk to or what side of the political spectrum you sit on. But at the end of the day I’m here and I’m trying to make the best of it. Of those 25 years, I’ve spent 17 of those in Pelican Bay and Cork and SHU isolated by myself.
For those of you who don’t understand what the SHU is, It’s basically a deprivation unit where they just isolate you by yourself if you’re considered a threat to the security institution or involved in gangs or they just feel like putting you away, keeping you away from society and I spent a lot of time there, lot of the deprivation, a lot of isolation.
You have a lot of time to reflect on your crimes on your family on your friends. You pretty much lose touch with reality for a little bit if you’re not focused on educating or reading or exercising and exercising your mind and your body and I spent many years back there never thinking I would have an opportunity like this to present myself in a humane manner because for the most part if you’re in the SHU, they dehumanize you and this opportunity is I’d like to bring out to the world is that, I am human.
I do have feelings and I still know that people care about me out there. I made the transition and I’m not ashamed to say it to disassociate myself from the gangs and all that. I think that was one of the best better choices in my life because a lot of good things that happened to me, for one God came into my life and he put me back in contact with my family. My nieces, Denise and Marissa who I love dearly. Hope you guys see this. And to make a fundamental change and just to show that the world and everybody out there that change is possible no matter where they put you, how they talk about you, or how they treat you. At the end of the day like many say, you have to bloom where you’re at. You have to blossom where you’re at, and that’s what I’m trying to do.
Since being out of the SHU, I’ve been able to go back to school. I got my paralegal certificate. I’m a certified paralegal, certified and servant civil litigation personal and retorts. I help the guys out the best that I can. I’m going to college, who would have thought I would be in college? I have 32 college credits. I only have maybe a year left until I get my associates in Administrative Justice and Liberal Arts. And that’s something, man, for those guys who know me or who knew me would never have thought this would even be possible. I think I’m only the second person in my family ever to go to college except for my sister Laura.
For me, it’s a great accomplishment. I get a little emotional because this is all new to me. This before used to be a taboo coming before the public. But it’s important for me to carry the message to the world, not just to the United States, and to everybody to know that for a lot of us that are incarcerated and for a lot of us who have written us off, we still have a sense of worth. We still have love and respect to give back. I think we still have many things to accomplish in my life, I do. And with the help of Mr. Scott Budnick, all the production team that’s here because for the people who are looking at this, let me tell you guys there’s many many guys who dedicated their time to come and share a little bit of time and spend their time with us when they could be with their family friends. Yet. they’re here putting our message out there and that’s something that most of us, all of us guys, excuse me, all of us guys are humble and grateful for. So there’s a lot of guys who are working behind the scenes, that nobody sees and they don’t get the credit so I want to make sure all the production team gets their due right now and when people put on a production or a film like this remember there’s a lot of guys behind the scenes. So I’d like to just say thank you to everybody. Thank you for the team. Thank you Scott for the administration and for you. The public to get a chance to get a feel for us and see who we really are and you know, hopefully one day I’ll be out there in society, and I’ll be able to give back to my community and just be a better person and so people don’t have to fear me or be scared of me or like hey that guy just came out of prison or look at him. But just to look at me as a regular human being and I thank you all for the appreciation for the time and just take it easy and God bless.
Thank you, Thank you very much.