"This used to be on ever letter I got from my son. He was so young and he thought I could fix everything, make it all better and get him home. I haven’t seen this on any of his letters for a few years now and it breaks my heart that I could not fix this 💔 He realizes he won't come home for a long time and mommy could not fix it." Brenda Sontag
"When discussing the greatest challenge I faced upon entering the penitentiary as a kid, it would be easy for me to write about the difficulties I was confronted with as I had to learn how to survive in prison. But as hard as it was to adapt to my new surroundings, there was a greater challenge I faced . . . I had to learn how to forgive myself, and move beyond my failures, and find hope in my future." -Juvenile Lifer
At sixteen years of age,
I threw my life away
committing a mistake that only took minutes,
on a cold October day.
The outcome of my decision,
still effects me till this day
sixteen years later
a price I still must pay.
Some people call this justice
others say it's sad
you have those that sit and wonder,
what keeps me from going mad?
It's hard to accept the truth
my life the system took
Though I admit what I did was wrong
you must understand
as a child my mind was gone.
So much drugs and alcohol,
clouded my judgment to what was going on,
That's no excuse, the responsibility is mine
yet does all of this time
really fit the crime?
I hear people talk of a second chance
but does that apply to all?
Will I get a chance to show the world,
I can rise after such a fall?
No one knows the man I've become
focusing still, on what I've done.
Yet how do I correct the mistakes I've made,
if I must spend my life
stuck in this cage?
A troubled teen is who I was
And educated man is who I've become
One that knows the sorrow he has caused,
I live with guilt behind these walls.
Maybe one day things will change,
and I'll live my life in a different way?
One without prison guards
instead, surrounded by those close to my heart.
Until that day I carry on
When times get tough,
I try to remain strong.
Knowing this . . . .
nothing lasts forever
The sun will shine again,
after this stormy weather.
by Henry W. Molina Jr. – Wynne Unit
Dedicated to all of us fighting for freedom
Isolated, but not forgotten is my situation,
In a struggle for freedom but faced with so many limitations.
Been fighting against becoming institutionalized for over 20 years,
Tried defiance, tried bucking the system, but I switched gears.
You see, more mature I became, in spite of so much pain and loss,
Growing up in an environment where having integrity came at a high cost.
Still in high school when I was snatched into the system,
Homecoming, first job, barely learning to drive.. so, am I too, a victim?
Not claiming to have been perfect or without fault or any blame,
But I really didn’t comprehend how my actions could have an everlasting stain.
I came in a child with no hope, no purpose, and no direction,
To having a GED, vocational training, and college education.
I found God, or rather, He found me, is a more accurate description.
All these amazing people advocating for “Second Look” makes hope more than fiction.
Answer me this, and I’ll end these words searching for empathy,
Are YOU the same person now, that you were at 17?
Can 60 years at 17 be labeled “closing the book”?
See…who I am now, the man I’ve become - deserves a “Second Look”!!!