This is the first time I am writing for this website and it took me a year and a half. I wanted to document my experience in prison from the beginning, but I would always tell myself I didn’t have much value to offer on here or no one would be interested. When I finally worked up the strength to share on here, I had it quickly knocked out of me again by the challenges that came with living in a prison.
It’s difficult to maintain a positive and/or productive attitude when you have such little control over the experiences of your life. I’ve been sent to the hole (solitary) for catching COVID and getting sick. I deal with random raids and have been yelled at, swore at, and insulted by staff for asking about their poor implementation of a law passed to benefit prisoners.
Last week a guard and an inmate got into an altercation and the inmate is now sitting in the hole for “assaulting staff.” There has been an increase in raids and pat and frisk orders since then.
Another inmate is pursuing a PREA charge against staff (claiming sexual misconduct during a pat-down search). That inmate is also now in the hole for his own “protection.”
The atmosphere around here lately had me feeling I should wait until I was in a more confident place before writing this, but I waited a year and a half already and I know the timing will never be 100% right, especially while I’m in prison. So here I am, sharing the truth of my insecurities and frustrations, not just cherry picking the positive moments to put on display and appear like it’s easy for me to overcome all the burdens of being in prison. It’s not.
Perhaps that’s where my value is to be found, in sharing honestly with you what it’s like to be a man trying to figure out how to keep his head up while in prison as he navigates his way back home. Sometimes I feel more lost and lonely than I ever have. Other times I find overwhelming moments of joy and love, flowing from my heart.
I will share all of this with you and I hope you come back here every once in a while to hear some more of my story.
Keep your heads up,
This Post Has 9 Comments
Robyn Hayden14 Apr 2021
Bravo Pepe – Thank you for your honesty and bravery.
Al Bodnar15 Apr 2021
It took a while but you have written for the first time, when you felt it was appropriate. Great first letter, Hopefully it was a relief for you to say what you needed to say.We will all be looking forward to your next post whenever you are ready.
Sahara Markoya15 Apr 2021
I’m proud of you pa! Can’t wait to read more as you write
Tiffany15 Apr 2021
Hi Pepe. I’ve come to your blog hoping to find answers. In a way, my sons’ father is very lucky. He got busted with methamphetamines, cocaine, marijuana, xanax and an unregistered handgun AND he was a felon in possession of that handgun. He also got a charge for false informing – he didn’t give his name BECAUSE he was on the run from work release in another county. We weren’t together, but I *almost* turned him in while he was on the run because I could see trouble coming. All the drugs he had on him were drugs he was selling, so I’m not sure exact amounts but I know it was more than personal use. Many of his charges were dropped in his plea bargain, and he was sentenced to 8 years, suspend 4, with 197 days jail time credit. A year later he has maintained sobriety, (his prison is crawling with drugs) he’s gone through all the suggested programming while he was in there… anger management, recovery stuff, parenting classes… so he filed a motion to modify his sentencing but it has only been a year. The court denied his motion since he has 3 charges waiting for him in the county he was on the run from work release in. Right now, he’s feeling pretty low and upset. On one hand, I feel he should look at the bigger picture and remember it could have been a whole lot worse from the very beginning… But on the other hand, I understand why it’s so frustrating… The US Prison System is not exactly a center for healing and reforming. It almost feels like it’s setup for failure. (Hmmm.) I remember reading about you and your family Preparing for Freedom and I was hoping I could come here and maybe get some ideas on how to help him construct his own plan that he may be able to work on and towards while still incarcerated. If you have any suggestions at all it would be greatly appreciated, but either way I hope you’re doing well and can keep your own head up. I’m sorry you have seen the obstacles and troubles you have seen while you’ve been in there, and that you’re only just now starting to write because of them. I’ll keep following your blog for sure. All the best wishes and vibes sent your way.
Krissy2 May 2021
Good to hear from you, Pep—thinking about you often. I’ll try to get through Ishmael before we meet again so we’ll be able to talk about it. Take care of yourself.
Joaquin10 May 2021
Looking forward to your continued efforts. Much love.
Colin (Burnem)11 May 2021
Always your words are inspiring Pepe. Your actions as well. Thank you for sharing the experience, as wholly as you can, without the cherry picking. Your experience, especially when conveyed honestly and insightfully is so valuable. Keep your head up, Im learning more guitar and cant wait to play for you when you get out.
Mark Leonard14 May 2021
Love reading these. Keep your head up.
Mike McAndrew21 Jul 2021
I love reading these. Keep up the good work and stay strong.