How old were you during your offense?
What was your sentence/charge?
I was sentenced to 25 -- life for aiding and abetting 1st degree murder
How long did you serve?
12 years, 1 month
What has been the most meaningful experience/life lesson you have learned up to this point that you would pass on to others who are about to experience reentry?
You can’t make up for lost time and you can make the most of the time you do have. You may have a desire to go back to a life that you knew once you’re out, but you can’t. Life is different. However, you can learn from the past and apply what you learn every day. “Learning and growing” is my personal motto.
What has been the most shocking thing you've experienced so far in reentry?
People in prison are more direct and open. People outside aren’t as willing to accept your openness and truth especially around an individual’s past. You can’t lead with “heavy things''. I’m also getting used to people’s preference for texting vs talking (though it’s not my preference). I’m also wrapping my head around “ghosting”. It’s not possible to “ghost” someone in prison so you learn to work things out! Out here people can choose the easy way out, but it’s not always the most productive or healthy approach.
What has been your favorite experience in reentry?
Freedom - the ability to drive around, hang out with friends, talk to people as equals
When were you released?
I found out I was going to be released 4 days before I got out on April 17th 2020
What were the circumstances around your release?
I was commuted by the governor after being granted clemency. Basically, it was determined that I didn’t commit the crimes I was charged for. I didn’t go to the Parole Board for review, which is normally required. I felt validated by being granted clemency; I worked so hard to get out early for my kids. It has meant a lot.
What was the county of your offense and what was the county of your release?
I was release in SLO county, and convicted in Santa Barbara county for my offense
What have you been doing since your release?
I’ve been building my relationship with my kids - I had Thanksgiving dinner with them, their mom and her husband. I spent the night there with them. It was a real feeling of family. I am proud that I was able to disagree with my kids’ mom and not get too flustered - I’m proud of my self-control.
I’ve been employed since week 1 of my release - I was promoted to a management position in 5 months. I really worked hard and applied myself. I’m really proud of my accomplishment and that it helps keep me from having any inclination to go back to any sort of criminal living.
What are you planning to do post-pandemic?
I want to take my kids to universal studios and see the world with my kids.