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vines

I met a guy when I was 11 and we never went out but kind of fooled around he never took me serious even though I loved him so much. After 5 years of no contact at all I called him to tell him how I feel and he pretended to be interested and said he would call...but he never did. He is in jail now and I went to see him. I have been in contact with him for about 3 months now. I have shown him so much support. I lent him $400.00 for his lawyer and $50.00 for books and I write almost every other day and I always accept his collect calls and do three way calls for him when he needs them. Do you think he is keeping in touch with me because he needs support/help? Or has he actually realized that I truly love him. I've sent letters telling him exactly how I feel. What do you think? Am I being dumb? I wanna hear your point of views...thanks for all the ones that answer my question and all the luck to everyone in there.

To the person who has a love interest in jail:

This is a tough situation you are in, and the fact is that no mater what I or people tell you, it is you who has to trust your own judgment and do what is best for you and your emotional well-being. I do suggest you pull back your support a little bit and see how he reacts to you. Supporting a person in prison emotionally and spiritually is a gift, but they should not become a financial burden or get to the point where they expect material things from you, such as money or you running errands for them. You do need to take under consideration his treatment of you while he was on the streets. Do not allow yourself to be played. You obviously have a good heart. Make sure you let the good common sense I feel you have guide you in your decision. Good luck my friend.

With you in prayers - Luis D.
New Jersey

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I'm a 17 year old female and I got a shitty life its not like Iím in a gang or anything its just I have a lot of shit to deal with I lost my mother when I was only 11 year old and now all I have is my dad and my sister and I donít get down with my father like talking bout he is on drugs and shit. I donít have any RESPECT for him. He lost it all when he sit in front of me and my sister fucked up. Well if this letter gets to you and I hear from you then I will tell you more but till then keep ya head up I know how it is.

Hi Jessica,

Your letter did get to me in more ways than one. Life as a teenager is difficult as it is but to you it has been more than any other teen. You are one strong female! It sounds like you are stronger and more mature than your father. Sometimes parents tend to be weaker than their kids when faced with problems too great for them to deal with. You see Jessica, when faced with problems they can't solve or something happens that they have no answer for, it frustrates them. Think about it Jessica. They are adults; they are parents; they should have all the answers, right? They should be able to solve everyday problems and have answers for why things happen. When they realize they don't have answers and they can't solve problems, they feel lost, helpless. They all deal with it in different ways. Some become more attentive with their kids because they know that their kids have many questions that need answers. Others become more involved in their work and other activities; and there are some parents that just throw in the towel. They throw themselves away to avoid reality.

Now as for you, Jessica, live has been tough on you. No te dejes ni te rindas. Don't give up. You seem to be doing something right. You didn't mention much about yourself or your sister and the stuff you go through. Your letter was short and it spoke volumes. It painted a picture of your life. You mentioned that you will tell me more, so I'll be waiting for a letter that I'm sure will illustrate your person to me. Until then Jessica, cuidate mucho.

Respetuosamente - Alex M.
California

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Iím 16 years old and where I live there are a lot of crews and gangs and I donít really donít have any interest in joining one because I know you get nothing good out of it. But my problem is I like to dress like a gang member, you know, Iím bald and I wear very loose clothes but I do it because I like it not because I am a "Wanna Be" and Iím writing to ask you if thatís ok or should I change that?

Elvis

Elvis,

Youíre right nothing good comes out of joining a gang. I wish I was as smart as you when I was 16.

So it donít make no sense to try and dress like something you know you donít want to be. And you know the answer to the question you ask, No! You should not dress like a gang member. Iíll give you one of many reasons why not. You can get shot now a days just for wearing the wrong color. So why put yourself in that danger?

Richard M.
California

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I am planning to become a corrections officer, I really want to be a cop but I know that I have to crawl before I run. I do not plan to be an asshole seeing as I am only 5'5 145lbs and a female any inmate could easily hurt me. My question is this: Will the inmates hurt the guards that are fair. By hurt I mean rape, beat, or kill. I just want to know what to expect. As I said before I plan to be firm but fair, but I am concerned that they will attempt to hurt me and I want to know what is the best way to avoid that. I have one more question. How many guards would you say get hurt by an inmate and why?

Jessica

Jessica,

Well, your question really gave me something to think about. So you plan on being a corrections officer? Thatís good.

What can I tell you; yeah guards get hurt too, not so much. But 9 times out of 10 they bring it on themselves. I can only guess what theyíre thinking but it seems like, to most of them, weíre nothing, so we are treated like nothing.

I could tell you this much, if you work on a level I, II, or III youíll be a lot safer than on a level IV.

Iím 29 right now and picked up my number when I was 18 so I guess itís fair to say I know a little something. And ďfirm but fairĒ to us are the assholes. The C.O.s who realizes weíre the ones who have to live here get along better with inmates because they just come to do their 8 hours and go home, where as other C.O.s make it a habit of getting in everyoneís business.

Now really think about this. If you come to work looking for someone who may be drinking, why would you want to go mess with him? If heís right their enjoying himself Ė for you to come along and remind a drunk itís against the rules to drink is asking for problems. We look at it like this, ď we ainít bothering you so donít bother us. Iím not saying donít do your job because as prisoners we know how far we can push it.

Thereís two kinds of C.O.s, the ones who are just here to do their job and then thereís the ones on a power trip of ďyou canít do thisĒ or ďyou canít do that.Ē

Iíll put it like this: you treat the prisoners the way you want to be treated and donít forget weíre sill people. Just because Iím in prison and doing life, doesnít mean that things ainít happening outside these walls that I feel. Iím going to share something with you and you can take it however you want.

On June 5th my dad passed away. My mom let me know that morning. We went on lock-down the 24th of June. All that day, I kept asking a C.O. to let me call home because I wanted to speak to my mom. It was around 9:00 in the morning when I first asked. He knew my dad passed away. He kept saying Yeah, yeah, yeah but I never got a phone call, and my mom passed away that night. So Iím left with knowing I could have talked to her one last time had it not been for the C.O. Was I mad? Hell yeah!

Itís just something to think about because I said that to say this, when youíre dealing with a prisoner, you never know what heís feeling or going through a any given moment.

Iíll tell you one last thing before I go, prisoners never forget and if you treat us like humans, youíll get back 100%. You treat us like dogs, well then you ask to be bitten.

Good luck and God bless you - Richard M.
California

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I am 22 yrs. old and I have a boyfriend who is in a gang and he doesnít want me to join or anything but he does say that he will get out for me. He is a lot older than me and I want to know if it is as easy as he is saying it is to get out or is he just saying that to pacify me and my feeling about gangs. He also is not even around his gang right now but when I ask him he becomes very agitated with me. I am kinda scared to leave him because he has said that if I left and get a new boyfriend he would hurt him so what I want to know is do you guys usually follow through with what you say? I've already been with him once through his prison years and I donít think I can do it again.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Not every gangís the same. If they were, then theyíd all get along. But I do know if youíre older itís easier to walk away than if, letís say for someone who just joined a gang. And if you really have the respect of your homeboys, and they see another homie getting his life together, they ainít going to trip. But it all has to do with the way you go about it.

If heís saying heís going to hurt you, that should be enough. Why in the world would you take the chance and find out if he means it or not?

You want some real advice, look in the mirror and if the woman looking back at you wants to be treated like a bitch then have out with your boyfriend. But if you want to be treated like a person and not live in fear, well that one should be easy; walk away.

A real man or woman, if theyíre sure of themselves as a person, thereís no need to scare another person into staying with them. But if thatís what is happening to you, youíre living a lie because itís not the love he wants you around for, itís the control.

Richard M.
California


Dear friend, your short letter is indeed one of the most touching pieces of correspondence Iíve read. So many promising young women find themselves in your situation, and I am amazed with the clarity in which you view your situation. I cannot presume to give you a specific course of action though I sense you do know where your path should lead. Bear in mind that when a man utters a threat, that he is likely to follow through if only to provide you with proof of his ďmachismo.Ē That withstanding, also keep in mind that it is generally never a good idea to end a relationship by transition into another. Anger fueled by pride is bad. Anger fueled by pride and directed/guided by emotion is catastrophic. I wish you well.

Michael
New Jersey


You donít need to join a gang so please stay out of them. Iím not a gang member but Iíve been around a lot of them and as far as getting out of a gang, itís nearly impossible. Joining a gang is for life, well most of them are. Itís good that your boyfriend doesnít want you to join, so listen to him. When youíre with someone, you shouldnít be scared of anything, but if that person is scaring you then you shouldnít be with that person. True love is not pain but comfort.

Thereís about 50% of a chance that if a person says he or she is going to do something, theyíll do it. It all depends on the person. Sometimes itís just a joke. Plenty of people say things but theyíll never do it but like I said, it all depends on the person.

Listen, you are a young beautiful woman and if you feel awkward with this guy, then you donít need him in your life. Donít waste your time on something thatís not worth it. Wish you luck and take care. Stay out of trouble.

Edwin T.
New Jersey


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You canít depend on a website to change a personís life on what they should do because they are going to do what they want. I have been there where I wanted to be in a gang. I could if I wanted to be but I donít and its not because of some website itís because I cant kill someone or hurt my family in heart. I am not saying its ok because its not. I just hope people make the right turn until then just pray.

Thank you for reading. BabyBooh

Baby Booh,

You called it right, ďYou canít depend on a website to change a personís life.Ē And I agree with you, ďThey are going to do what they want.Ē I hear you loud and clear when you say, ďYou didnít join because you canít kill someone or hurt your family in the heart.Ē

But what about the ones who donít have any family who give a damn about them? Who is going to tell them how this gang life shit turns out? Who is going to tell them the real truth? And who is it that they end up hurting?

The fact that you are not willing to kill anyone is a powerful statement. And it is something to have pride in yourself about. Killing is not hard; itís having to live with yourself afterwards (sometimes years later). The truth of what was done hits home and rips your heart out. I am doing life in prison for killing a man and that is where I belong for what I did.

Murder is one of the cold hard facts of gang life. When people come to the point in their lives where they are willing to fight of a color or a corner to stand on then wars start. And when wars start, then the guns come out. Bullets donít carry names. They will destroy anyone that happens to get in the path. It doesnít matter if it is a three-year-old kid or a hated enemy, the bullet will do the same amount of damage. When I chose to fight for a color, I became responsible for any and everyone that got hurt because of my actions.

The guy I killed being dead, being gone out of this world is bad enough, but what about his mom, dad, sisters, brothers and anyone who ever loved him. What about their pain? I did that to them too. And they sure werenít stupid enough to be out there slinging bullets for some stupid color of some shot out chunk of sidewalk to stand on. But damn, Baby Booh, maybe if when I was young and still just a kid trying to live life the best way I knew how and still not hip to the long-term effects of my actions, if I would have seen a website like this one? Who knows, maybe I would have been more informed and not made some of the decisions that I made. And you bet you are right that I would have done what I wanted. My point is if I would have known more, I might have wanted to do some thing other than what I done.

Thatís my take on why we need these kinds of websites, Baby Booh. Kids are a lot smarter now than they were when I was a kid, so if they get real info, they make smarter calls and donít throw away their lives for nothing like so many of us have done.

Stay strong and be you - Rick M.
California

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I have been writing to a guy in jail for a couple of months now. The ironic thing is that I never talked to him until he went to jail. See we met once before he got locked up but nothing really happened. I have been writing to him and I have grown really close to him. When I decided to write to him my intentions was to provide him with support and hope but little by little I have noticed that I'm beginning to like him. We have exchanged pictures and have talked about some great topics. My question is how do I know if the person is being authentic? I know that a lot of prisoners are in total solitude which leads to them to deeply rely on other people. There has been some occasions in which he asks me not to stop writing to him because I'm his only support. I was just wondering...has anyone fallen genuinely in love with an inmate. If they have how did it happen and how did they know it was true?

Sunny

Sunny,

Iím sure there are those who have genuinely fallen in love with an inmate. Clues to him being authentic are: he puts his concern for your happiness before his own. The bottom line is we are supplied with the essentials for survival here and in most cases can support yourself by drawing cards, doing laundry, cutting hair, etc. Most of us come here knowing very little and either learn how not to burden others by taking care of our own needs, or become better beggars creating situations where we become the responsibility of others. If this dude is for real and ready for a sincere relationship, itís my opinion he will focus on how he can stimulate you emotionally, be your sounding board and your best friend. He will speak to you from his heart!

Brian
California

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I am 15 going on 16. I have an ex-boyfriend up in the pen. Should I wait for him? Start a new? Keep writing back? Go see him?

Thanks, Shorty

Shorty:

My advice to you would be to leave him. Not to start anew, as you say, but to wait. Your life is too precious to be wasted on relationships now. You have many years ahead of you that God wants to bless you with. Listen to what God says about his love for you in John 3:16. It says, "God loves you so much that he sent his son, Jesus, into the world, that if you believe in Him you wouldn't perish, but have eternal life." God wants you to succeed in life. In Jeremiah 29:11 is says that He wants to give you a future and a hope of a better life. He also wants you to accomplish the future and complete the hope that He has for you.

God doesn't want you to be full of regrets. Think about it. If you pursue another relationship, what do you think will come out of it? I'll tell you what can happen: kids. Your boyfriend can leave you or go to jail and then what? Welfare and lots of diapers, with pain and tears. In the future, you will wish you had studied and stayed in school. That's why you should concentrate on school right now. You can do all that you set your heart to do with the skills that you get from school. You can use them for a better future. But if you plant your time now on relationships and friends, you can look forward to your fruits being pain and suffering in the future. The Bible says that what you sow is what you'll reap (Galatians 6:7). So let us sow to a better future. God really loves you a lot and wants what's best for you. When you are at a more mature age, then it would be appropriate to establish a relationship. Remember, plant to get your best fruits.

Eddy
California

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Hello - My name is Sasha and I have a question for the prisoners that molest young women or women at all. What's your problem? People like you should be locked up and there's no excuse for it so don't even try to make one. And I do know how women feel when they get molested cause it happened to my sisters. Me and my other sister even got gang raped. So what's your excuse, you were drunk?

And another question for the prisoners that join gangs, why do you guys like doing that? You know that's your shit but I am just saying, my dad just got out and he still bangs. I was brought up with all my family banging and I used to bang but I slowed my role cause I was always in trouble for fighting and stabbing a girl. So that's too much problems. Well those are my questions.
Thank you - Sasha

Dear Sasha,

Hello. I'm Jesse. I couldn't find anyone who was willing to answer your questions. I myself don't associate with anyone like that but I wanted to be of some help to you. I never participated in any gang rapes but I have been aware of them happening. It's messed up that some people get a kick out of that!

Sasha, I wanted to congratulate you on your courage for speaking out about your hardships. There's a lot of young women who hold everything inside for different reasons. I encourage you to keep letting your voice be heard so that you will help some of those who have been in your situation. And I'm glad to know that you're slowing down in your gang life. I've given it up and am now trying to keep kids from joining gangs. I wish you well in your future. Take care.

Sincerely, Jesse G.
California


Hello Sasha,

My friend asked me to answer some of your questions. Well, my name is Angel and I am locked up in YA and I hope that I can answer your questions in full. Well, I don't know what to tell you about guys that molest young women or anybody at that. I would like to ask them the same question myself. When you said people like that should be locked up, that's true. But society looks at anybody that commits a crime like that too... They say, "throw away the key." Am I right? I'm sorry that it happened to you. I bet you wanted to kill that guy, huh?

Well, I am an ex-gang member and I don't know why I joined a gang. I guess it was where I found love or was accepted. I liked all the drugs, girls and parties. I'm not trying to sound like I'm a goodie goodie now or a nerd. I'm just a normal guy, I guess, but before I was a total airhead. It's good that you "slowed your role." But about your family... all I can say is try to help them. Talk to them more. Ask for help. Try to let God work in your heart. Feel Him in your heart.

Well, Sasha, I hope you get this message because I'm no counselor. I'm just 18 years old and trying to change my life and I hope that you look deep down in your heart and try too...

Angel


Well Sasha, you are asking the fools that are in for molesting young women or kids. Well let me tell you that I am not one of them. I personally wish that all the fools that do that, that they should all be killed because I would not like someone around my family thinking about molesting any of my sisters. And let me tell you that if there are people in here that are in for any molesting or raping a woman or kids, well they are not going to be around that long. See I don't know where you are from, but in California state prisons, fools that do that, let me just tell you that they will never feel safe while they are in here.

Well Sasha, I am sorry for what happened to you and your sister. And about your sister that got gang raped, well probably your sister should start going to parties that she would know people that her friends would have her back. Well, in my neighborhood we don't do that. I can't say about other neighborhoods. Everyone has their bad people. And you are right there is no excuse if someone does that. I am with you on that. Well, Sasha, it is good to hear that you have changed your way of life. The only thing that I can say is keep it up.

With great respects - Rafa
California



Hi Sasha,

This letter is in response to your questions. Your letter was a very sad one, but I could tell that you have a strong character and that the rough life that was dealt to you has matured you beyond your years. I can't really answer your questions but I can tell you that no child molester walks the line. As soon as it is learned that a child molester is on the yard, he is dealt with very harshly. They keep those kind of people separated form the general population because they run the risk of getting stabbed to death. The state protects humanity in general. And the questions about gangbanging... you should know that a person growing up in that environment gets sucked into that lifestyle.

I admire you for having the courage to reveal that you were raped. It is a very hard thing to do and I can't even begin to imagine the torment the act must have caused you emotionally. The same thing that happens to child molesters in prison happens to rapists in this place. I don't consider rapists and child molesters men because a man would not do that to a woman or child. I hope you continue to maintain your head up and never lose your courage. I want to give you a little advice Sasha and that is to begin doing things for yourself. Don't do self-destructive things because you feel that nobody loves or cares for you. Start doing things you truly enjoy. Those things that fulfill you and make you feel whole.

Respectfully - Alex
California

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Why did you choose Islam or Christianity and why did it work for you?
Thank you - Stefanie

I chose Christianity because as I read the Holy Scriptures I became aware that Christianity is worshiping God and God only and that there was more dedication in worshiping God through Christianity and a better understanding in what the Bible says through the help of our teacher the Holy Spirit. I learned to humble myself to God and others alike, to treat people with the respect one would want. Going to Bible Studies and sharing the word with others brings joy to one. And others that see you always happy, smiling and full of light and wonder how someone can be so happy in a place like this. But God can surpass all things. Christianity has worked for me in so many ways because I stay faithful to God through His word and God has guided my path. Though we go through trials and tribulations, God has always been there to comfort me.

Sincerely, Jesse G.
California



Hi Stefanie,

Your question requires a long answer because I have to tell you about the feelings I was going through at the time when God started working in me. In the Bible, it says that sometimes it takes a big event that has a big impact in your life to help a person open his/her eyes and start questioning the purpose of life. For me that big event was ending up in jail and at that time I felt like a zombie. I didn't have many feelings. I didn't care about myself or anyone else. To describe it better, I felt like if I was dead in side. That went on for a little bit until I started going to Mass. I was brought up Catholic and when I was in those services the songs they used to sing started getting to me, working in me if you will. There was this one song about the lost sheep that helped me decide to learn more about God, so I started reading the Bible. I gave up lying and bad words and started working on being a peaceful person. In those days I felt such joy that I was always smiling. I started learning more about how Jesus Christ lay down his life for the sins of the world and that through Him eternal life was accessible to anybody. But it wasn't as easy as it sounds. I was having a hard time walking away from the gang and if it wasn't for an angel in the form of a beautiful lady that God sent to help me, I don't know how I would have done it. Then I accepted Jesus as my savior. What made my faith stronger was that when I prayed my prayers were answered.

Respectfully, Alex
California



I do not know if I can actually say I chose Christianity over the Islam religion when I came into the prison system. The fact is that when I was on the outside, although my family did not attend church on a regular basis, our beliefs were always that of the Christian faith.

Coming into the prison system, I believe I was already a Christian; however, I did not live and follow it as I should have. It was when I found myself in a 6'x4' cell, feeling the weight of my life's sins and the loneliness of guilt, that I desperately called out to God. It was then that I began living my beliefs.

I do not know where my faith came from that day I called out to Him, but I did know He was listening. From that day I began talking more to God. After a week I was handed a small red Bible. It was then that I spiritually began to grow. I was being reborn into His knowledge, wisdom, and in love He offers through His Son Jesus Christ. (By the way, I do not believe that small Bible given to me at the time I called out to Him was a coincidence. I called out and He responded through His word - the Bible.)

That was in 1989. It is now 2001 and I still have not stopped talking to Him. He is my strength and the one who helps me stay on a positive path. I do not know where I'll be in 10 or 20 years from now. I will not stop helping others and doing things that enlighten young people's lives. I'll live day by day with the HOPE that one day I will be free in Heaven. I thank Jesus Christ for that.

By the grace of God, William G.
New Jersey



Dear Stefanie:

May the Lord guide your life. This is a good question, but in order for you to understand my answer, you must also be a true believer. Well here goes, I've only been in prison for about three years, so before asking Christ into my life, I had to search my heart and asked why I hadn't called on Him before my present situation. But then it led to this verse from the Bible that said it all to me, Psalm 34:17-18 "The righteous cry out and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, and saves such as have a contrite spirit." That was me, I was finally broken. I also realized that I never felt I needed God before now. I called His name from time to time for selfish gains, but even then I would look around for other means of help. But after coming to prison, this was something new. I couldn't call family or friends. I just wanted to die, for real die. You see I had never been to jail before or for that matter even in trouble. I was lost. I have children whom I felt I let down. Then I learned from the Bible, that if we didn't serve the one and only God "Jesus," then we are serving the god of this world, "Satan."

After realizing that I was dead way before I came to this place, I figured I would save my life and my soul. I do not have my physical freedom, but I do have my spiritual freedom due to my faith. Christianity works for me in this place and in any other place or situation I might find myself in. Amen!

Sincerely, Robert L.
New Jersey



Dear Stefanie:

My name is Rashawn and I chose Islam because I feel as though being a Muslim has made me a better person. I mean Islam has made me more disciplined by having to make prayer 5 times a day. By praying 5 times a day and reading my Holy Qu'ran, it keeps me focused on Allah (God). A lot of things that I used to do when I was a Christian, I can't do because Islam doesn't allow it. Islam has taught me a lot about Allah and that Jesus was only a prophet. Islam has shown me the truth about Allah.

I used to be a Christian but Christianity wasn't really working for me, and by reading the Holy Bible I found that the Bible has a lot of contradictions in it but the Holy Qu'ran doesn't.

Rashawn V.
New Jersey



My name is Hakeem. I am a Hispanic Muslim. I did not choose the faith of Islam, I was born into it. My parents were Muslims. They are now both dead but their way of life now lives within me. The Islamic Faith if followed and lived accordingly, is a beautiful thing. To me, my faith is a way of life, it is not just a religion. The discipline embedded in me through my faith and beliefs thereof makes handling the situation and environment I find myself in that much easier. It works for me because of the set parameters in which I must function.

Hakeem
New Jersey

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I would like to know, is it right or wrong of me to fall in love with someone who is locked up? This is someone I have never met, someone sort of gave my address to this guy and for three years already, I have been writing back and forth with this person and I think I am falling in love. I know you probably know where I'm coming from, could you tell me should I wait or no?
La Poeta

La Poeta,

To answer your question, no it's not wrong to fall in love with someone who is locked up as long as you're sincere and straight forward. You've been writing this person for three years already so you should have a pretty good idea as to what kind of individual he is (as much as you can through letters) and whether or not you are right for each other.

So as far as waiting or not, only you can truly answer that question because only you know your own heart and knowing that, you have to ask yourself, are you willing to overcome all the obstacles that stand between you? If you are, then be prepared for hardship but knowing beforehand, you shouldn't allow it to take away from the relationship you're trying to build. If not, then just be straight up about it and if nothing else you can still be friends and share your thoughts and such on paper, no feelings hurt and no set expectations.

Sincerely, Chris
California



Dear La Poeta,

I read your e-mail about falling in love with a person who is locked up. Well, my advice to you is to get to know this guy better. You said you've never met this guy and he got your address from someone else. Well, I'm going to tell you strraight out that most of these guys in here say just about anything to the girls they write so that the girl will keep writing. Most of the time when we get out, we lose contact with the girls we were writing to. After spending some time in jail we want to enjoy our freedom. Some get out and just party, hang out, do drugs, and end up coming right back in here. What I'm trying to say is to be careful with this guy you're falling in love with. Think about it very well. Ask him for a picture and see if he's for reals. Not all of us are the same but most of us get out and the only thing on our minds is to sleep with as many girls as we can.

You should also think about your future. Is he going to change his ways? If he bangs are you going to be worrying about somebody shooting or jumping him? Or is he going to be in and out of jail all his life? Don't let the sweet talk fool you cause love hurts, especially when you get played. Good luck La Poeta.

Con respeto, Sal
California

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Hi,
My husband and I operate a juvenile prison ministry and I would like to ask one question so that I may share the answer with all the juveniles that I come in contact with.

If you had one chance to say something to these juveniles that are incarcerated, what would it be?

Rev. & Mrs. R.

Dear Rev. & Mrs. R.,

My answer to you would be, "Have you finally found God and do you have faith in Him? And if so, do you honestly put all your trust in God and not rely on yourself to make things right"? I hope that this answer (question) can be of some help to you. This was my personal question I asked myself when I was incarcerated. Thanks to my faith in God, I am now free to share the Good News, which is his gospel that set me free from many burdens that I would have to worry about if I hadn't found and put my trust in Him.

Well, I hope that my answer can be of some help. Take care and God bless!

Sincerely, T.N.
Recently released

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Hi!!
I have a boyfriend who is in prison. He's in there for domestic violence against me. I love him to this day but I'm afraid how he will turn out after he is released. Do prisoners realize what they have lost and say they are going to change only because that is all they think about? Once they are out they just go back to being the same as they were.

Let me start out by saying first of all that in prison some people or prisoners look down on, or should I say frown on, those who are in prison for domestic violence but it also depends on what prison or who you hang out with. As for when he is released back out to the real world, he himself is responsible for his actions. He will keep being violent to you as long as you let him. Love is one thing but abuse is something no woman should ever have to endure in her life.

Yes, people in prison do change for their benefit and for their family. While in prison you do a lot of thinking about what you're not going to do and what you should have done. Some also say that "when I do get out it's going to be different," but in reality more than half the people that are released from prison go back to their old ways and end up back in prison saying to themselves again that same old lie, "when I get out... when I get out." I hope you can open your eyes before it is too late. Don't get me wrong, a lot of people do get out and do good and never come back. As for him telling you he is going to change, it's probably because he needs the correspondence and if you are sending him money, buying him books and so on, that could be the reason. Also he knows that you are terrifiied of him. At this point, he is telling you anything that sounds believable just to have you wrapped around his finger. Just to let you know, some people do go back out there and never cnange. Please keep this in mind.

Respectfully, Albert
California

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Why do young people believe that the easy way out is the best way out?

I do not believe that young people take the easy way out because they believe it is the best way out. Of course, I am speaking from personal experience. As a young person I would take the easy way out because it was easy. Back then, I would just do the first thing that came to mind, or react to things because I felt a certain way. I can now say this from hindsight because back then no one could tell me that I was doing the wrong thing by doing the easy thing or taking the easy way out. I just wasnít thinking of alternative ways of doing things, so there was nothing else to compare whether one way was easier than the other. At 38, I can now advise young people to weigh their options, to never do the first thing that comes to mind, to do the right thing to do - the right thing for you, your future, and the well being of those you love. A friend who is a prisoner in New Jersey State Prison in the City of Trenton, N.J., sent me a card that said, ďThere is but one rule of conduct for a man - to do the right thing. The cost may be dear in money, in friends, in labor, in prolonged and painful sacrifice; but the cost not to do the right thing is far more dear; you pay in the integrity of your soulís content, and for a timely gain you barter the infinities. By: Archer G. Jones.Ē So I try to live by these words.

Sincerely - Luis D.
New Jersey

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What should I do when my fiancť, the father of my daughter, who is in prison believes lies that people tell him about me?
For some reason he's mad at the entire world. I wish he'd relax and go back to being himself. I don't want to lose him over stupid stuff.
Susie

When I first got locked up, I felt lonely and I felt that nobody cared about me. And every time I talked to my girlfriend, I asked her a lot of questions and sometimes I would get the wrong answers. And it hurt a lot to hear something that you donít want to hear. When I was in the county, I didnít listen to my family but I was listening to my friends. And they were telling me things that were making me think about my girl, and every time I called my girl and asked her something, she would tell me something different and thatís when the problems came because now I was thinking that my friends were right. I understand that they are trying to set him up because a lot of us in prison are here for that.

My friend, the best thing that you could do is go and visit him and talk to him and tell him how you feel. Ask him why he doesnít trust you. Let him know that he has a beautiful daughter and now you are the father and mother to that kid. As of right now, the only thing that matters to him is himself and he wants everything to go the way he wants because nothing else really matters to him right now. YOU have to make him understand that you are alone now and you have to think about the child. Yes you love him and you would do anything to get him out, but now he has to take one day at a time and work on his case and make sure that the lawyers tell him the right things. I will always pray for you and your daughter and hope that he will come home to you. Put this in his mind, that he is living in a world of hate and pain, and that those people around him are trying to bring him down. Life is hard and we donít know why things happen to us.

Hector S.
New Jersey

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Why does a person given only love and understanding use me for 3 years because they felt lonely and when finally free, not need me? Why do the majority of you play with the sentiments and most sincere emotions like love?

First of all, let me apologize for your mistreatment. There is no excuse for what happened to you. Too often men in these situations feel that people on the outside that express concern for them are there to be used for their pleasure. I often see men who daily mistreat and lie to their wives, girlfriends, and others. I think that it is despicable but it does occur. Some will say that they are just doing it to survive in this place. Others make the excuse that they are using you before you can use them. Still others make the excuse that ďEverybody does it.Ē The real reason is that they are selfish single-minded individuals who are unfeeling and sometimes unable to care about anyone but themselves. Although you may not think so, you were blessed when this person was freed and walked out of your life. Any relationship you might have had would most certainly been unfulfilling and one-sided. It is not possible to go back and regain the three years that you put into this person you spoke about, but it is possible to use that time as a lesson for the future. Having survived a devastation like the one you have been through, consider yourself a stronger more in tune person. Keep one final thing in mind as you look back on this incident in your life. This had nothing to do with any fault in you! You are not responsible for the poor actions of anyone else! Take some time to work on yourself. Once you have become the person that you want to be, then find someone who will be for you everything that you desire in a companion.

Nathaniel T.
New Jersey



Unfortunately, it is not only people who are incarcerated who play on emotions. Whether man or woman, free or imprisoned, this act is part of human nature. The plain and basic truth is that there are vultures who prey on the emotions of others in order to make themselves feel better. Another term of them is players.

There are little or no differences in the game from a person out in society and a person incarcerated. The free person plays on emotions to gain sexually or to gain material items. A person imprisoned plays on emotions to gain support and in a way to escape the confines of these walls by having someone to talk with out there who can ease their pain.

Vultures are what they should be called! But it is not everyone; it depends on the person. Whether free or not, man or woman, these are the trials of life and unfortunately this person hurt you and preyed upon you. But you have to carry on and though I canít tell you how to safeguard yourself form these vultures because they are everywhere and would present themselves throughout life, I would say donít be bitter towards those who are incarcerated or even in society. Just take it as another one of lifeís many tricks.

Eric N.
New Jersey



Women get betrayed by men after the man is no longer incarcerated for a number of reasons, one of which is that women, not all women, seek to make the man who is incarcerated happy as opposed to probing the incarcerated manís motives, intentions and past experiences with other females.

A manner in which she could do this is by having long conversations with the individual. She must be logical and put aside her emotions and desires for the moment. Ask about what his beliefs are as well as get into his past. Attention must be paid to every single word that comes out of his mouth. Analyze everything in his demeanor: smirks, body language, stuttering or any indication of his uncertainty, etc.

She must not show him any sign that sheís overly submissive to him. Furthermore, she should ask about the women of his family and the relationship between them, especially his mother!

Next she should check for any signs of vanity (arrogance), as well as the individualís ability and inability to be honest. The way to do this is by going out and checking up on everything that he may have told her, using all of the above information that he had supplied her with.

Women should do this continuously until she finds an error in what he has told her previously. She will eventually because no human being is perfect. Once she finds out what that error is or was, then she should come back to that gentleman in a mature manner. If his demeanor changes and he becomes angry, a red flag should come up. That should alert the woman, but in most cases, this warning goes unrecognized by the female which exposes her to problems which she could have avoided.

The women of this era between the ages of 18 and 35 are so caught up in material and physical anatomy of the incarcerated man. They usually make life altering choices based solely on what the man looks like or the material objects he might possess. In doing so they settle for much less than what they are worth. The prisoner knows this, because from the very beginning, just like the woman is trying to find out what she can about him, he is observing and analyzing her as well.

If she is weak, she will become a victim of his betrayal if he is not one of the honest people in here. If she is not certain who she is, and what kind of a man she wants, this will definitely happen. Contrary to popular opinion or belief, there are some good men who are innocent of the crimes which they were convicted of, who are in jails and prisons all around the country. Yet others may be guilty and changed completely from who they were. Then you have some guys like some women who are selfish and full of games, who do not seriously hold truth, honesty and dignity in high regard.

A woman can certainly minimize the risk of this problem of being played by men by simply examining their self worth. Also by not allowing their emotions to creep in while they are still in the learning stages of getting to know the man. Furthermore, she should realize that how cute or well built a man is has no importance relationship-wise.

Get to know the man by asking the important questions and the first time that he lies to you about anything he should be considered a liar. Therefore, regardless of what he has or does not have or what he may look like, she should move on.

A Prisoner
New Jersey



In this question, you yourself gave the answer. He left you when he was let out because he did not feel alone anymore. He had freedom now to access more people, family, friends, etc. It sounds cruel but it is the truth and the truth sometimes hurts. But I want to be clear on one point. You should not blame all because of the few, because of an ignorant, immature person who did not appreciate the pure love you gave to him.

Not all of us (convicts) like to play with the sentiments of others. Now I want to emphasize something that is very important. It is very easy to represent yourself as the blameless victim of all your situation but you know better. Something tells me that you are a very smart woman and therefore I do not have to be exceedingly deep in the explanation of all your problems. You already know the answer of your questions. So please stop the accusations and admit that you are not blameless. Please believe me when I tell you that I understand your pain and disappointment because I went through the same. I hope with all my heart that youíll find the true happiness and true love.

Carlos B.
New Jersey



We are incarcerated so we have a lot of time to think and come up with the words that would make a woman fall in love. We can get into your mind. Once the intellect and the truth are implanted, everything else is easy. We are alone and we have to do everything in our power to keep that person. We donít really play with the sentiments of a person. The person lets us play with those sentiments.

A Prisoner
New Jersey



There are a lot of people here, other places, and even outside that mislead a lot of women. Love is a serious commitment. Many are scared of falling in love; many donít know what love is or how it feels; many donít know how to love; and many donít want to love. Maybe that person had one of these problems and plus, there must be something wrong with that person if he or she doesnít want to be loved. Love is something that has to be shown. Of course saying it sounds good but when you really feel it, then you hear it, it feels much better. You have to understand that there are people that use other people and there are others that are sincere. You just picked a bad apple from the bunch; thatís all. It happens to many of us. Just donít let it bring you down. Always keep your head up and go forward. Never go backwards. There are many that play with emotions like love and there are many that donít. The ones that do play are cold-hearted people and they donít know what theyíre missing. No one should play with someoneís feelings but there are many that do. Love is not a game. Love is a commitment that we all need and share. Love is a key to someoneís heart and when you love someone, you feel complete and thatís a beautiful thing. Love is hard to find and the ones that donít play, have or are looking for that type of love.

Sincerely yours - Edwin T.
New Jersey

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I have so many questions and advices for friends also many regrets of friends that are long gone and passed away. Even though above everything that has happened, which is a little since Iím still very very young I always thank God for everything and for always being there for me. You see I know that many people blame things on God for what is their mistake because its always their mistake because God does not commit mistakes that's 4-sho.. And I know a lot of ugly things happen and everyone asks themselves why God let it happen but those people are what I call ignorant and especially for blaming God and questioning Him. Well I know you might be like: what the heck is this little girl talking about? What I really want to know is if you have accepted Christ as your one and only savior? Also I wanna tell you that if you have done so you're not alone because if you walk thru the guidance of God {hooo boy} would you have joy and peace. He is the best and even if your family, friends, and such turn their backs on you there is someone that never ever forgets or turns it's back on his kids and that is Jesus Christ your savior. So I leave you with this words and phrase but I want you to think about it really good because by just having faith in God it might seem like something real little but it has a lot of action, meaning and more.

Aura

Dear Aura,

I agree that there are a lot of people who blame God for a lot of things but that's cause their minds are troubled and they simply don't know about God and about how God works through people as myself, a prisoner who helps people in a small way but it can be of help to someone for a lifetime. Yes, I have accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior and consider myself God's child and humble servant in His name.

Aura, before I end this letter I want to tell you that I encourage you to ask questions. You consider yourself a little girl cause your 17 but a lot of you 17 year olds are a lot smarter than most people now a days. Stay strong in Christ and God bless.

Your friend - Jesse G.
California

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Hey, I hope you can answer me this one! I was with my daughter's father for almost seven years. I have stood by him through everything; you name it and I stood by him. There was not one single year that he was not in prison and that we spent a full year together, but I chose to fallin love and stood by that as well. I never did him dirty in any way and I have been busting my ass to care for our daughter and try to get him the help that he has asked for with regard to rehab and a job so we can start a life free from his "prison holidays". Well about oh, three months ago maybe longer he sent cops to my house saying I forged some documents using his name, and I got a letter talking shit to me about some whore he is apparently talking to, not to mention other things. I want to know from anybody, if having your "lady" stand by you while locked up is important, then why the hell did he do me like this? I really would love to know so if anybody can tell me, respond.

Carolyn

Dear Carolyn,

The so called man you got is not a real man because any man should love to have a woman like yourself next to him. If you was with him through thick and thin and he never appreciated it, thereís something wrong with him. I understand that heís your daughterís father and that you love him, but personally he doesnít deserve to have you. If heís doing you dirty with another girl or just doing you dirty period, that means that he doesnít love you truly. Itís your decision to put up with that or not. Itís very important when a lady stands by you when youíre locked up. He did you like that because he doesnít love you and if he did, heíll never hurt you in any way. Love is only a four letter word but it means so much. Iím sorry for what youíre going through Carolyn. I hope this answered your question.

Edwin T.
New Jersey



Carolyn,

Show me a heart that has not been broken and Iíll show you a heart that has never experienced love. It is obvious to any intelligent man that you are a woman worth fighting for. If your foolish boyfriend cannot discern the radiance and beauty of a good woman like yourself, it is because he is blinded by his own selfishness and immaturity. Yes, I am sure you are struggling, trying to do your best to raise your daughter, but hasnít this experience made you a much stronger person? You have found strength and courage you didnít know you had. We donít always understand why life throws us these curves, but we have learned from experience that every heart break weíve had weíve become more determined to survive, no matter what. Isnít that right? Now just think of how beautiful a person these hardships have made you. Thank god for your daughter and move on with your life. Donít allow the bitterness of this relationship to destroy your noble spirit. God did not place a burden on you that you were unworthy to bear. Stand tall! There is a good man just waiting for the time to meet someone like you. Believe in yourself and you shall be able to do great things. Remember, little mistakes give birth to big improvements. If you can stand by a no good man, just think of how blessed youíll be when you have a good man to stand by. God made the woman strong so that she could endure. Without women like you, we men have no future. In parting I say, ďThe path of duty is the way to glory.Ē You are already standing in the light of glory. You just canít see it yet. (smile)

James C.
New Jersey


Carolyn,

To have a woman stand by our side while weíre doing time is really important. A guy who is lucky enough to have a woman like you stand in his corner has something that is precious and few and he needs to cherish that and thank God for the good thing heís got. Apparently your ex didnít realize what a good thing he has lost but you shouldnít trip or lose any sleep over this fool. Youíre a good strong woman that plenty of guys would love to have by their side, including myself. If you were with this fool all these years and you were there for him all this time, he had an obligation to be there for you to treat you right and to give you the respect and appreciation you deserve. By sending the cops to your house he showed you he was a selfish, punk, rat. The only thing he cares about is saving his own ass. If he was a man and he cared about you and his daughter he would never have said anything. But this person is a weak, punk, rat. I personally donít have any respect for people like that and you shouldnít either. Youíre better than that and you deserve someone better than that.

Sergio
California


Carolyn,

You, like myself and so many others, have sacrificed yourself to prove your self-worth so you would be rewarded with some love and loyalty. Unfortunately, you like myself and so many others, got burned at the stake because (speaking from my own experiences) I found someone who seemed to fit the bill, seemed to be what I wanted. What I didnít know at the time was that I was feeling a certain emptiness inside that I didnít even try to put my finger on. I only tried to find something to fill that hole, instinctively thinking I could teach whatever I found to fill the gap and to be what I wanted, instead of looking at reality with an open mind and not a wishful mind, connecting the dots where there were none.

Bottom line for me is this - people will act true to character if you let them. Someone saying that they love you Carolyn does not in any way obligate you to love them in return. Once I learned to separate the thoughts and desires from my head and the thoughts and desires from my heart, I learned to see others more for how they were and are now instead of how I wanted them to be. Carolyn, please donít let your past experiences tarnish your future experiences. Listen to your heart. I believe this is where you, like myself, will find your truth. Be loyal to that first. This is Brian signing off for now.

Brian H.
California

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I think you could be innocent and good but you maybe just chose the wrong life. Is that true?

Melecio

I think everybody could be good, but if you hang around bad people you will definitely be influenced into their darkness.

Mike D.
California

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Is it always true that men in prison are just playing games, or does love ever happen this way? I am not naive, at all, and I was helping a friend find her ex thru a prison pen pals site when I spotted an ad for a man I had to send a letter to. Now I have an ex who was in for 6 years, and I know about the games and bs, and I like to believe I can't be played. (He didn't do me wrong, it just didn't work out. But we met after he was out.) This man I met seems very sincere, and sent me a pic right off of himself and seems more concerned that I might be playing games than he is. He doesn't ask for anything and isn't disrespectful, and has a lot to say that feels real.

Brenda

Brenda:

In all honesty, the majority of the times prisoners don't know or care what you may feel, and they'll play you like a fiddle if you let yourself [be played]. Yet there's many who have been incarcerated for a long time and learn to value and appreciate a woman and can definitely fall in love. Now, I don't know the details of your situation, so I'll just give you a little advice on what you did mention. First, the dude sounds like he's secure about his looks. He might have an ego issue, and by him turning the tables on you stating he thinks you're playing him, brings out alarms. Sounds like drag to me, but I could be wrong. Take your time with him. If it lasts more than a year as it's going now, then you're a lucky woman, because respect and loyalty are what prisoners value most of all.

Respectfully - Oscar
California

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Who is God to you? What has He done for you and are you grateful for what He has done?

Oscar

God for me is All Powerful, Supreme of the universe, our Boss who watches over all of us. That is who God is to me. God has done a lot for me. Through His mercy I was able to stop taking drugs and everything that is sin before His eyes. He also has permit to me to move forward with my life even though I am behind bars, far from my family. He has helped me to grow mentally and physically so I do not fall back into my past mistakes that brought me in here in the first place. I will always be grateful to him. Thank you All Powerful God for everything.

Angel C.
New Jersey


To Oscar:

God is my everything. He heard my cry after coming here and I was saved. Donít get me wrong; I now realize Heís been calling me my whole life but I was hard-headed, so it took this situation for me to call upon Him.

God has made me a new man. I no longer walk or act as I did. I think the most important revelation was love. God really loves us and He has allowed me to love others, not for what they can do for me, just because. My God is a very good God even when He says no. I donít always understand why He allows things to happen but Heís God and I know He loves me and you. Give him a chance. He wonít let you down.

A Prisoner
New Jersey


Well Oscar,

God is the Father of Fathers. God is merciful, love, reliable, understandable. He listens to our prayers. God is something that we can never be, perfect. God has done many things for me, but there is one thing that I thank Him for the most and thatís forgiving me for my sins. God is good, all the time.

Edwin T.
New Jersey


Well Oscar,

God to me is the Supreme Being. God is the universe itself and everything in or around it. God is the constructor of all paths which we walk.

God has done a great deal for me, though small in nature but grand in scale. An argument can be raise as to why Iím locked away. However, to question such would be to question destiny and fate itself. One must accept his/her calling without malice.

Every time I succeed, itís Godís will and every time I fail, itís Godís will. So yes, Oscar, I am grateful because I know got is designing a man who is balanced in spirit and wise in mind.

Eric N.
New Jersey


Oscar,

First of all, I am a monotheist. I do not believe in a god. I believe in a creator. I believe that a god can be anything or anybody, but a creator of all who can neither be called a male or a female, a power above all power. I believe in all religions. If it was meant to be one right religion, then it would be only one. So I try to learn from all religions. That it has showed me to respect all peopleís beliefs and cultures. I believe that people limit themselves by learning one religion. People criticize others for their beliefs without even learning what itís about. They segregate themselves. Look at each other as followers of the devil. If people try to take the time to learn about each otherís beliefs and see that it is not too far off than their own, the world would be a better place. Yes I am grateful, because it has shown me how not to hate but to have respect for everything and everyone.

Otto S.
New Jersey


Oscar,

I do not believe in God, never the less worship any religion. I do study and respect the religions of our world. For me personally, I am in control of my own destiny and anything within the realm of reality that needs to be done is all up to me. Not always in life will one get their way regardless if they worship and/or practice a religion. But for the most part with awareness and sincerity one can achieve what their minds conceive, and with mental strength and physical dedication one can be able to endure and understand the upsets of life. Itís not religion or a God that does anything for anyone; itís what we must do for ourselves and Iím grateful for who I am.

Giovanni
New Jersey


Who is God to me? Well, I guess I must say what is God to meÖ God to me is faith: that part of me that keeps going, keeps me in order, makes me feel like everything will be just fine. I pray, but see its that alone, that knowing that when I close my eyes and thank or ask whatever it may be, in that moment; when I open my eyes again, I have faith that my prayers will be answered. Faith is God to me.

It has done everything for me, from as allowing me to make up in the morning and be able to look myself in the mirror, to writing the word on this paper. It gives me a personal relation with it and my own opinion and decision. Of course Iím grateful for Him, cause through Him I have faith. Faith is my security that one day I will be whatever I have prayed to be.

Jean M.
New Jersey


My god, who I look up to is my mom. She is the old and mighty one, for if she didnít give birth to me I wouldnít be here. She went through all the pain and suffering for me that led me to being here and gave me sight to see, smell, touch, hear and taste. I give her the utmost respect. Thatís why when people ask me who is god, Iíd tell them my mom is. However many people see god as many things and all of them are right. My god is everything and always been within and I canít do without. And that god is my mom.

Angel
New Jersey

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My brother got locked up and I miss him so much but the question is why do people look at us like we are bad kids just because the color of are skin or where weíre from and the way we dress? People judge me also because my bro. is locked up. They look at me and say, ďOh you think you hard cuz your bro is locked upĒ!! And I tell them, ďYou think that is something to be proud ofĒ? I want to know what should I do to make them stop talking shit and leave me alone? The ways I handle it is by getting loud with them and telling them to fuckin mind there business but that's only gonna get me into trouble at school. So please write back to me and tell me how I can go through all this pain. Thank you.

Sincerely - Sasha

Dear Sasha,

You have a complex question. Iíll try my best to answer it.

For all those people who look at you bad, different, or down because of the color of your skin or where youíre from, well there are a lot of ignorant people in this country. The truth is that if you donít have blood from the native people of the Americas, the Aztecs, Mayas, Apaches, Toltec, Yachis, etc., then you are from the other side of the ocean Ö Europe, Asia and Africa. All these people, after 400 years of being on this land, they call themselves Americans. Well that is not correct. The proper nationality name for all of them its European-American or Asian-American or African-American, etc. though only if they were born here. If anyone asks me about my origin, I tell them I am Mexica (Nahuatl), Mexicano (Spanish), or Mexican (English). I wonít add or use the word American because this word doesnít exist in our language Nahuatl. As for where we came from, I didnít come from anywhere; this has been the land of my ancestors for thousands and thousands of years. Itís Mexica land. Historians know that America is a substitute name.

Regarding your clothes, donít let the small stuff bother you! How to handle the situation with all those people talking shit and getting on your business? I think your best bet is silence. Sometimes silence is a powerful weapon because if you talk shit or get loud with them all youíre doing is going down to their level. You donít want or need to go that low. Instead you should study hard and show yourself and those fools that with your skin color and XXXL clothing and all the troubles with your brother, it wonít stop you from getting a good education because our people have brains!

Always remember a man or woman with a briefcase can do more damage than ten men or women with machine guns.

Good luck - Juan
California


Sasha,

When people look down on other people, they think they have a superior opinion and the right to voice that opinion to people they look down on. Whatever ainít in the mainstream culture gets put down and criticized. Weíre not a part of the mainstream, which is one of the reasons they donít like our skin color, the way we dress, or where we live. Plus they are afraid of us. What they do is not right, but we canít waste our energy battling every prejudice conclusion someone else comes to. What they donít understand they try to dismiss, but weíre still here. We canít make people stop talking about us, but we can affect what they say. When someone trips and rides you about your brother being locked down, invite them to go with you to visit him so they can learn for themselves how much your brother being in prison hurts you. Offer to share your experience and I know for sure very few if any of them will agree to go with you, and theyíll stop talking so much. And the next time they try to bring it up kindly remind them you gave them the opportunity see for themselves and they didnít want to go. The more they are reminded of their fear to go visit him and see for themselves, the less theyíll talk.

Antonne H.
New Jersey


Hi Sasha,

Iím sorry for all the pain youíve been through, and I wish I could say you wonít see anymore, but I can tell you of a friend who can help - Jesus. Trust me; He can help. Now about your brother, heís your brother and let no one change whatís in your heart. The love you have for him is a gift from God. This makes it even more important for you to get closer to the Lord, and as you get closer to Him, the closer He will get to you and you can always ask Him anything.

Now, to the people who judge and cause you to lose control and get in trouble, then you tell me, whoís in charge! Donít feed into that; stay strong and I will always keep you, Sasha, in my prayers.

A prisoner
New Jersey


Well Sasha,

The only thing I could tell you is that you have to ignore the ones that bother you. I know it is not easy, but you have to do it. I know it hurts and it gets you upset, but this is the only way. Iím sorry for people judging you incorrectly but thatís how people are. People judge others falsely every time. Itís sad, but thatís how itís going to be. It only shows that they are immature, but you canít stoop to their level. You know two wrongs canít make it right. Just donít pay attention to them. Keep your head up and stay strong.

Edwin T.
New Jersey


Sasha,

People are always judgmental. In your position, you face judgment for something your brother did. I can tell by what you wrote that you are hurt and confused.

It is hard when a loved one is taken away, but it becomes even harder when people rub it in. First off, you have the right idea by defending who you are, but to black out and get loud is only going to make more problems. If you allow people to get under your skin, then your pain becomes their joy. It is all a part of human nature to find happiness in anotherís misery.

You are without a doubt strong in your spot. So if you want them to stop talking and let you be, I suggest that you ignore them. I know it sounds weak but people hate being ignored and eventually theyíll get the point that you donít want to be bothered.

Now, how can you deal with all your pain? Each person is unique. I truly cannot give a clear answer on this, but I can say that with time and outlets, your wounds will heal. You have to understand that these things happen but you can use outlets to release anything that burdens your heart. There are many outlets such as writing, poetry and drawing. These are all ways of allowing what is in your soul to be released.

Just one more thing: remember that people judge others out of their own ignorance. If they do not understand something or someone, they cast judgment. Itís their ignorance in the end that will hold them back in life, and it will be their ignorance that will leave them wondering how you have become great in life and they havenít.

Eric N.
New Jersey


Sasha,

When one person does not understand another, they will always be judgmental. People do not take the time to find out who they really are. You will always be looked down upon by some because of the color of your skin. It is a terrible thing to say in this day and age, but we live in a racist society. We are not accepted for who we are inside, but what we are outside.

As we become adults, we forget what it was to be a teenager. Every generation of teenagers goes through being judged. Remember Sasha, always remain who you are. Do not change because that is what they want. Are they really better than you to judge you? Their lives have no meaning. They do not know who they are, so they try to take out their frustrations by looking down on you to make themselves feel better. So when these people judge you, do not let it bother you. You know who you are. At times, we forget who we are because we are too occupied worrying about what others say about us.

Your brother getting locked up has nothing to do with you. But yet, you are still being the one who is getting burned about it. If your brother was successful, it would still be going on, ďWhat, you think you are too good for us? You think it is all about youĒ? When you look in the mirror and are happy with who is looking back at you, donít worry about what others may say because it is all about you and just being you.

Otto S.
New Jersey


Sasha,

The reality to your first question is that we are products of our own environment, meaning that the majority of people of color and of the minority races of this country are usually raised up in an environment of low income, also known as the ghetto or neighborhoods. And our life styles are usually an expression of our experiences. Unfortunately, hard times and tough living conditions result to crime. And with all that added up, the ignorant usually tend to stereotype those from the ghetto.

However, it shouldnít be what others think of us that brings us down. Instead, we should confront the ignorant and prejudiced with our ways and our actions. Forget expressing words of anger or retaliating in a violent way. That would only make the ignorant and prejudiced believe they are right. If you feel different than what they believe, then you must prove them wrong by foremost believing in yourself regardless of how you choose to dress, what race or color you are, and what type of music and movies enjoy. And that is by caring about what is best for you as opposed to caring about what others may think of you. And sooner or later, the people who truly count in your life will appreciate your achievements and know you as being the great person you are. And just maybe, youíll be your brotherís inspiration which will help him in his own struggle.

Giovanni
New Jersey


Sasha,

The main reason why people would discriminate or look at you as if you were a bad kid is ignorance. Those who look at you like that because of the color your skin are probably afraid of you and do not know how to deal with it so they unconsciously give you dirty looks without realizing it. Some would do it because they see the beauty in the color of your skin and knowing that theirs would never be as beautiful, it angers them. Some were just raised up by their parents to not like other people who are not of the same race. The same holds true for why people look at you like that because of how you dress or where you are from.

About people judging you because your brother is locked up and what you should do to make them stop taking shit and leave you alone? First of all Sa3ha, you should never allow the things other people say determine what you do. Trust me, I understand that it is painful when people who do not even know you make judgments against you, but that is exactly why they make the judgments because they do not know you. You should try to speak to them without going off and try to find out why they think the way they do, while letting them know who you are. Let them know how you feel about their judgments in a polite and peaceful manner and work with it from there without getting emotional. Counteract their negative attitude with a positive one and if they do not change for the better then stay away from them. The love, diversity and beauty that you can bring into their lives would be a waste to them not you.

Pucho
New Jersey


Sasha,

So you think you're the only one life has shitted on? The world is filled with people who's life is so screwed up that they don't know which way to turn. The one sure thing is, you must change your attitude. To do this you must change the way you think & act. Think positive! Sure, your brother is in prison, & he may justly deserve to be there, but you're not in prison. Don't let your brother's negative behavior influence your decisions. Always speak & act with intelligence. You have a chance to do great things with your life, don't waste it by defending a senseless position. I am sure you are a beautiful young woman in body. Now make yourself the same in mind & spirit.

James C.
New Jersey


Sasha:

People look at us different because a lot of people represent us wrong. You know, some of us have to pay for others' mistakes. As for people judging you because your brother is locked up, well you shouldn't ever tell anyone when you got a loved one locked up, and try not to bring your brother up. If they know, and if they ask you a dumb question don't answer them. Just act like if you didn't hear them. You got to learn how to bypass comments and questions such as those. I hope my advice assists you. Good luck.

Sincerely - R.S.
California

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I have a boyfriend who is in boyís school I am 9 months pregnant and he has been in boyís school ever since I was 3 months pregnant. He says that he is very stressed out in there which I totally understand but he and his family do not seem to understand that I am under a lot of stress also. The boys school is letting him be released for the birth but he has to go right back and he wont be home for about 4 or 5 months after that. How do I make them understand that I am under a lot of stress also and that they should have some sympathy for me too instead of always acting as though he is the one with all the stress when he has control over what is going on in there and the choices he makes and I do not?

Thank you - Ashley

Ashley:

I hear what you're saying. I'm sure you're stressed. Also, your boyfriend is going through the same. He doesn't have no control--others control his every move. I'm sure he would rather be with you. Just simply tell his family to stop being inconsiderate, that you also need their support. They can't do nothing about him--he's stuck. But they can make life more comfortable for you. After all, you're having his baby, and I'm sure once you feel less stressed, so will he and his family.

Respectfully - Oscar
California

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If you could have one wish, what would it be?

Glenn

If I could have one wish, it would be that you, and all who are reading these words will come to know God through Jesus Christ His Son, to know Him as our Father, to have the Father-son relationship that Jesus has with Him. Jesus is the one who would rather die on a cross for our sins than to live without you, Glenn. Our lives on this earth pass by so fast, and no matter what we may own or who we may be, we're never satisfied. In this temporal body, the minute you're born, you begin to die, but the gift of God is eternal life with Him and Jesus. A gift is just received and not worked for. It is meant to be used and not hidden away. This hope of eternal life gives us true joy, despite our circumstances in this short life. Anyone, no matter who he is or what he has done, can freely receive this eternal life that is found in Jesus Christ. Receive Jesus in your heart and life and see for yourself if these things are true. Glenn, thank you for asking a question that gave me the freedom to say what's in my heart. God bless you and your family, and may He open your heart to His word. "Read your Bible" John 11:25-36

Alex P.
California


If I could change something, the first thing that I would change is the law because they are the ones who are hurting our kids today.

Hector S.
New Jersey

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My boyfriend is in jail right now, but he snapped on me when I looked up some information of a crime he committed in another state. He's telling me it's a DUI when according to the internet records and the records of the Department of Corrections it states that he was convicted of child abuse, neglect and injury. It's like he's not being honest because he's saying DUI when the records down there are reading child abuse. It's like he's mad at me for trying to get to the bottom my own doubts. I mean why would he tell me DUI when the record says differently?

To the young lady whose boyfriend is in jail:

Jail records are open to the public. If you see what heís arrested for, that is why he is there or what he got convicted of. He doesnít want you to know anything and thatís why heís mad. Itís your choice to continue to be with him even after youíve read some of his record on-line.

Jesse G.
California


Your boyfriend didn't tell you the truth because he could be ashamed of the charge, or possibly, he is telling you the truth as he sees it. He could have been driving under the influence with his child on board, and along with the DUI, he would also be charged with child abuse for putting the child in danger. I can't justify his reaction to your snooping into his record, yet I believe you should have talked it out with him. Apparently there's no trust, and if you're having such a problem with his past convictions, then you need to take a second look. Me, personally, I would have sent you on your way, yet I would have told you beforehand if you had asked.

Oscar
California


From what I read, it seems to me that it means that you might leave him if he admits to it, or if he does not want to let you know that he has kids and how he treated them. I don't know about the internet, if it's true or not, but if you have his paperwork from court, those papers don't lie about the crimes or whatever he did.

Armando G.
California

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