Eric Ardoin: It took me years to realize the amount of damage I had perpetrated upon the victims of my crimes—people who were innocent but just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
This is a collection of articles from incarcerated men who were arrested as juveniles, yet were tried and sentenced as adults. In light of recent legislation in California (SB 260/261), some of them will be given a second chance through the possibility of early parole.
In the meantime, it is their desire to share their stories with the public and with each other. and so we have this Juvenile Offenders Series and other articles. Their stories reflect their own individual experiences--of people who have had to “grow up” in prison because of their crimes.
The stories in this series are real and personal. They also illuminate long overlooked questions regarding our legal system: How did these souls get there and what really happens to them once we’ve locked them up and thrown away the key? What are the effects of long-term incarceration on these adolescents?
Anthony Andrew Ferguson
Dangerous Minds The same energy that is used to destroy can be used to build. It’s a simple matter of the application of knowledge. The same energy that is used to build a prison can be used to build a palace. It’s a simple matter of the vision of the architect. The same energy that […]
A Prisoner Expresses Regret s I write to my beloved mother (my Beautiful Black Queen), I express many thoughts that I have contemplated over the years and yet did not have the courage to write. Here are some of those meditations: “As always, you remain in my prayers, and I hope God will continue to […]
Ronald Patterson: My friends and I were fascinated with players, hustlers, gamblers, dealers, and gangsters because they played by their own rules, despite the law. Ignorantly, we admired and emulated them and would eventually turn into monsters who killed people and destroyed our community.
Louis Gomez: In prison, I’ve played the bad guy, the victim, the revolutionary, and the good guy—nothing seems to be the perfect fit.
Joey Vasquez: Being a hurt kid who felt abandoned by my parents, I thought I had to prove myself to others for my self-worth. And becoming a barrio star seemed like the best way to prove my self-worth.
James Elrod: Having no real concept of what honor really is, I resolved in my own twisted logic and rationalizations that I would be the toughest, “downest,” and most loyal white gang member I could be.
James B. Elrod: Equally as destructive as the violence in my home was the fact that, from my earliest memories until I was around eleven or twelve, my brother (four years older than myself and the recipient of most of my mother’s violent attention) sexually and physically abused me.
Esteban Tabarez, Jr. : Being gay on the outside is hard but is even harden on the inside. Many inmates or even guards do not accept or tolerate you—many automatically believe you are in jail because you must be a sex offender due to your sexuality.
LA Progressive is proud to present a collection of articles from incarcerated men who were arrested as juveniles, yet tried and sentenced as adults. In light of recent legislation, some of them will be given a second chance through the possibility of early parole.
Johnny Martinez: I found the father figure and brotherhood I was seeking in a group of street thugs. Eventually, I joined a gang and began using drugs. The first drug I used was marijuana, followed later by heavier drugs such as cocaine and PCP.
M.E. Vigil: When my father passed away in 2004, I had already been locked up in Pelican Bay for almost 14 years straight. I was never given the chance to say good-bye to him.
Anthony A. Ferguson: On January 25, 2002, I committed an assault with a firearm on three Santa Monica Police officers. For my actions, I was sentenced to 34 years in state prison. For years, I have sought a way to express my remorse to the officers for my crime against them.