“I knew a person who worked for an insurance company. I’d give her some money and then she’d give me all the information I needed to open fake credit lines.
“I was convicted of distributing a large amount of crack cocaine. I was offered sixty months to cooperate, but I turned it down.
“It wasn’t really a gang. There aren’t Bloods or Crips in Puerto Rico. It was a neighborhood thing. There were no colors.
“I was in college when I started. I was going to school and working at a print shop. There was a drug point outside of my apartment building.
“I’ve organized a lot of programs in prison. One of the classes I started is called Creative Parenting.
“My dad couldn’t handle me. My mother was an alcoholic so he raised us on his own. I burned our house to the ground when I was four years old.
“I was a good student. I did football, karate, basketball, all sorts of activities. I never skipped school.
“I got caught up in a little something. I’ve got twenty days left. Nobody knows I’m here. I’ve got somebody updating my Facebook page for me.
“I was alone with four kids. My mother was sick. I was making $500 a week working at a restaurant in Harlem.
Had to take down Michelle’s photo and story due to a request from someone in the background. So I’m reposting her story — #TBT remix edition.
“I thought it was a bomb at first. It pushed the building, so I was thrown against the wall. Nobody screamed.
“I tried to make some money the honest way as a kid. I tried shoveling snow. I tried a newspaper route.
“My father died when I was six. He drowned on a fishing trip. My mother had to raise five of us in North Philadelphia.
“I was working at a nightclub in Honduras, making $4 a night, and some guy tells me that I can make $6,000 in twelve days just by working on a boat.
(2/2) “One day I stole my neighbor’s benefit check out of the mailbox, and she came looking for it. I was in my mid-twenties, and by that time the voices were very strong.
(½) “My childhood ended early. I was sexually abused by two family members until the age of eleven. It happened every time I went to stay at my grandmother’s house.
“I decided to cut out all the best pictures of my kids and hang them around my neck. I tried to choose ones where they’re smiling.
“He’s a beautiful person. He always tells me: ‘We’ve got to find a way to win by losing.’ In the eyes of society, we’ve lost already.
“My mom was a single mom and there were nine of us. All of the kids worked in the fields. I started when I was twelve.
“This is my fifth time in prison. Every crime I’ve committed has come from my addiction. Best case scenario is I get out of here, rebuild my life, and join the one percent of people who have beaten a meth addiction.