The life of crime was no stranger to me. At the age of two I began living with my grandmother and never returned to live with my birth mother. This move was based on my mother having issues with illegal drugs and run-ins with law enforcement. These issues have continued throughout my life. Because of my mother’s issues I never had a parent to guide me as I grew. My father was also absent from my life. Therefore, my development as a person was placed on the shoulders of my grandmother. Though she did the best she could, there were times where she would be physically abusive. The abuse was given in the form of discipline and out of frustration.
Because of my living arrangements and limited contact with my mother, I often found myself angry. This anger came to the forefront in school. My classmates became aware of my living arrangements and would tease and taunt me, saying I was unwanted and unloved by my mother. This would lead me to react physically (fighting) to these comments. Along with the fights, I became truant from school to avoid the situations with classmates.
Also, without a strong home life I started to run away. The combination of all of these factors lead to me being placed into juvenile hall from time to time and on juvenile probation from the age of 13 to 19. I also became a single teen mom at the age of 13 and dealt with the loss of my son only to become pregnant again at 15 and again at 17.
Dealing with the loss of my son and being a teen mother to two beautiful daughters, I had no outlet to speak about my frustrations. Not aware of the damage I was causing my children, I chose to continue to live my life of crime. I stole cars and stripped them to sell parts for money. I sold every drug except for heroin. Pills were more my cup of tea. All this with the help of my older brother who I met when I was 12. Our parents separated us when I was 2 months and he was almost 2.
I was on adult-supervised formal probation from age 19 to 21. Formal probation was imposed after serving a sentence in the Santa Barbara County Jail. The sentence was served for committing a home burglary. Although I was to be on probation for 5 years with search and seizure terms as well as drug and alcohol testing, I was released after only one year. My early termination from probation occurred because I never violated any terms of my probation as well as completed court-ordered anger management classes.
After decades of getting a sense of what prison life could have done to me, I finally began to heed the advice of those mentors who truly believed in me. I began my career as an accountant to make sure I remained self-sufficient. After a 10-year-long extremely abusive relationship, I am now able to continue my education and will begin law school in 2022. My children are healthy, strong, educated, and thankfully never followed in my footsteps of crime. My accomplishments are that I raised my children to be law-abiding citizens full of compassion.