Robert A.

REPRESENT JUSTICE X JR: TEHACHAPI

I'm 30 years old right now and I've been incarcerated since I was 18. I had just turned 18 for about a month and I was doing good. You know, I was going to community college and I decided to go hang out with my old homeboys and I got drunk and I made a mistake and I picked my case up and I got a long stretch for it. I was real sad within myself, you know disappointed within myself cause I had a little girl she was my daughter's mom was pregnant at the time and I came in here and I was just disappointed. I seen how it is in here and in the way that this environment is set up to keep us down and for a long time I was like that, you know, I was doing a lot of dumb things in prison instead of trying to go home. It's just real contagious in here.

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Finally, I just made a stand for myself, and I told myself that I need to change. I don’t want my daughter to see me just with a sad heart and with a heavy heart or my daughter to know me as somebody that’s just been a prison his whole life. At the age of 26, I just decided just to transfer to another yard and for me in here like an outlet for me is art, you know. I draw, I tattoo, I color you know, and it passes my time and helps relieve my stress because I put my passion into my art and I create things that that I’ve never thought I could do. By doing this, we are able to realize something about ourselves, my family, you know, they get blown away because they see like “wow, I didn’t know you could do that”, you know, “I didn’t know you were gifted that way” because, in a way I’ve never shown them, you know that I had a gift of art.

I always now to this day, I always teach, tell my daughter, you know, I always write her every two weeks and just to stay in her ear and let her know that I love her that I care for her that I’m trying to come home and finally my day’s coming.

You know, I’m finally going to get released next year and I thank God for that and I’ve seen a lot of people go home and I’ve seen a lot of people get out and stay out in and be successful and stay with their families and do things and help people and you know, that’s what I want to do because, in my heart, I’m not just a monster that society sees me as. I’m a person I’m a man, I’m a human, I have feelings and I want to be able to help someone that’s just like me. To be able to tell them like, look, there’s a better way, you know, there’s something else you could do. There’s another alternative to what you are already thinking about doing you know, and because I never had that opportunity, I want to be able to give someone that opportunity.