Posts tagged ‘california department of corrections and rehabilitation’

May 25, 2011

How Can a Changed ‘Me’ Help My Family and Society? – by David Jennings, Jr.

I’ve been incarcerated 36 months and I have a month-and-a-half remaining. During the onset of this term, I realized that, with this being my first time in prison, a door had been opened up for a return into this system multiple times, or a permanent residence in this system.

I was 26-years old at that time and I knew from Day One that this wasn’t something I wanted to make a lifestyle out of: prison. I’m the father of three boys, ages 3, 4, and 5, the youngest of whom I haven’t even had the chance to hold in my arms – because of the error in my thinking – in order to tell him that he has a father who loves him. He was born while I was fighting my case.

I have two uncles who went through the system before me. I wondered if I was in the same cell or walking the same yard they had experienced. It hit me that one or all of my sons could wonder the same thing about me when they grow to be the age one reaches when one could be put behind bars; if they would be in the same cell in which I had been; or walking the same yard I walked; or might have any of the experiences I’ve had while going through the system. I thought about those things, and I didn’t want that for them. I knew I had to change my thinking.

When I lost my freedom, the mother of my children promised me that she would wait for me. That lasted about a year. We wrote back and forth, speaking about how much we loved each other, how much we missed each other, and what we were going to do for each other when we were reunited. Then came a period of unanswered silence. I would write her, begging her to write back – but, no answer, which lead me to curse her out in letters. And still no answer. I didn’t want to accept that she moved on. Well, I got a letter in which she told me that she, in fact, had moved on.

I felt victimized. How could she lie to me? How could she do me the way she was doing me? Then I realized that I had done it to myself. I used to be real selfish on the streets. And I was continuing my selfish thinking in prison. I acknowledged that negative thinking, and I have taken responsibility for my actions. I got myself locked up. I’ve taken myself away from my family. Through my selfish actions, I caused her to need someone to be there with her to take care of her needs, as well as the needs of my children. This is in no way, shape, or form meant to be a sob story. But, to be honest, this is an example of the error in my thinking.

My point is that my personal experiences have taught me so much. Accepting the responsibility of my actions has truly been an eye-opening experience. The consequences of one’s actions run deeper than what appears on the surface. When I saw how much I was responsible for, I realized that I was changing, because I made the choice to discontinue pointing the finger elsewhere. No longer thinking selfishly as a child does, I’ve grown into a man. Now, as a man, I pray to God for my family to be restored. I pray that I can be the leader my sons and their mother need. I pray to continue growing. I pray for success.

I’ve put my faith in God and He’s the one who has changed my thinking. All I did was listen to what he’s been saying to me through my experiences. I have faith that He’s going to restore my family. If it happens, then there is nothing He can’t do. All of the people around me will hear of what He’s done for me. For I will always proclaim His goodness toward someone who didn’t deserve it: me.  Amen.

David Jennings, Jr. is incarcerated in Lewiston, California.

May 25, 2011

“How Can a Changed ‘Me’ Help My Family” – by Terrel Dupelay

I am encouraged to write about a changed ‘me’. I can help my family the best possible way I know by showing them that I have actually changed mentally, and for the better, I’ve changed my whole self, first and foremost. I have learned over the years in my life that I cannot help anyone else unless I help myself first. So, by my own changing the way that I think and the way I view a lot of situations I encounter in life into opportunities which will turn my negatives into positives, I can then be of help to them. I truly believe that the “G-Man” up high and my being incarcerated have helped me to do that.

Also, my taking advantage of every opportunity to advance myself and being a leader by example in showing positive actions can be more motivation for them to do the same. Overall, it all starts with me, I believe. As long as I continue to strive to be the best person I can, and continue to grow and expand myself each and every day that I’m blessed to see, then that would be a great help to my family and others around me.

Also, I would like to tell my brothers, Torrin, Damion, and Trovelle to continue to keep ya’ll heads up, because ya’ll ain’t forgot about. To my mother and the rest of my family: I love you all and miss you all a lot. To my ‘patnas’ ‘Gene, Zach, Juan – thank you for the support. Special thanks to Mr. Hook Mitchell for giving me this opportunity to express my thoughts in publication. If I’ve forgotten anyone, my apology, and much love to all ya’ll.

Terrel Dupelay is currently incarcerated in Lewiston, California.

May 21, 2011

The Innocent – by Keon Jefferson, Sr.

My uncle, Marvin P. Walker, Jr., has been an inmate in San Quentin’s (California) ‘Death Row’ unit for more than 30 years. After nearly three-and-a-half decades, my family has received what some may call “justice.”

After being lead by what I believe to be none other than God, a high-ranking official within the U.S. [appeals] court system decided to review my uncle’s case.

Once the file was opened, it did not take long before serious discrepancies stood out to this official. In short, these discrepancies within my uncle’s case were so extreme that this official not only immediately decided to “pull” the death warrant that was issued to my Uncle Marvin more than 30 years ago, but also ordered the convicting county, Santa Clara County, to prepare to re-try his case with new evidence, because evidently the initial evidence was not sufficient for a proper determination to be made.

Now, after three decades of appeals, and after three decades of sitting on Death Row in solitary confinement, and after three decades of trusting that God would intervene before the state of California decided to execute him, “Justice” prevails. But, after all of this, could there ever truly be justice for my uncle?

I was given this news by my mother over the phone while calling her from the institution in which I’m currently residing. And, when I heard her relay this news, it took everything in my power to hold back the tears of joy. You see, I know the pain my mom and her siblings have gone through all these years: the pain of having to travel for hours to be searched, scanned, harrassed by C.D.C.R. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation), and then put in a “cage” just to hug their brother. The pain of having to make these trips to inform their brother personally that his momma is gone, then his daddy.

I watched both of my grandparents hope and wait on God to bring back to them their son – to no avail. So, to get this news gave me such excitement that I had to share it with somebody. Hook Mitchell, as someone I could always talk to about anything, was someone I went to. He listened and decided to ask me to share the story.

The most important thing I’ve learned from my uncle’s experience is to wait on God. His justice always prevails.

Although our justice system has taken more than 30 years of my uncle’s life, I truly believe that God has new beginnings for him.

Please, readers, google Marvin P. Walker – San Jose Mercury News – for more information on this matter.

If you know someone who has potentially been wrongfully convicted, do as this U.S. court official has done, and do your best in the interest of justice.

Thank you for reading my plea, and may God continue to strengthen us in our faith. I’m extremely grateful for this brother, Hook, and the way he has given me the opportunity to shed some light on this matter of my uncle, Marvin P. Walker.

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Keon Jefferson, Sr.  is incarcerated in a facility in Lewiston, California.

Action Words is RED!‘s department of writing and art by currently incarcerated individuals around the world.