INMATE TO INMATE MENTORING
Selections from Shakespeare Behind Bars Inmate to Inmate Mentoring
Questions – Audubon Youth Development Center Juvenile Participants
Answers – Luther Luckett Correctional Complex Adult Participants
Q: What do you miss most of everything?
A: That would be my wife and children and my freedom. I came to prison in 1989 and I’m serving a 40 year sentence. I have 23 straight years behind the fence. When I committed my crime I lost everything. I have seen my son twice on a visit, and he is 35 years old. I haven’t seen my daughter since she was 3 weeks old. In the last 2 months I have received a couple letters from them. I can only hope they continue to write. This is what happens when someone makes the wrong choices in life. I wasn’t with my children when they were growing up. To this day I don’t know if they want anything to do with me when I get out. This is something I have to live with on a daily basis. I miss everything about life.
Q: How can I fit in?
A: Look within yourself and acknowledge what truly makes you happy, what it is you want out of life, and who it is you truly are. Let me assure you that if you’re feeling a sense of loneliness and isolation, if you feel you are an alien in this world, that you don’t understand yourself, your life and those around you, and that no one will understand you, you are not alone. Those strong feelings are rather universal feelings. Even the most confident looking person has at times similar feelings. Things will change outside when you make the change inside.
Q: If you could change one thing growing up as a kid, what would it be?
A: What I would change about myself growing up is I would talk about my feelings more. I was raised up that emotions get you hurt in the long run. So I bottled up 90 percent of my emotions. I if would have just found someone to talk about these feelings. Why I felt the way I did? Was it normal to feel this way? What do I do with my anger? What is a safe outlet for it? These questions would have saved me many, many years in prison.
Q: I know I made some bad decisions, but even when I get out of here I think I’m going back to the same life and my community because I guess that’s who I want to be – a thug. Hopefully I wake up one day because I don’t want to be away from my mother and little sister.
A: My teen years were similar to yours. I was ganging banging, selling dope, robbing people, and chasing fast money. The whole gang life is drafted around you following another man’s dreams, having loyalty to a name, and doing crime for another man’s benefit. You pour all your love into the streets and in exchange, the streets send you to prison. Do you think that is a fair trade? You ride and die for your so-called hommies, and when you are locked up, how loyal do you think your hommies will be? Let me give you some numbers. 1 out of 5 people you hang out with will write a statement or testify against you in court. Let’s say you make $5,000 or $10,000 off selling drugs, it sounds like you’re doing good huh? Although in the real world, that’s not even lawyer money. Trafficking starts at 1-5 years and goes up from there. If you have a gun with dope, you’re looking at 15-20 years and Feds might even take the case. Either way, a terrible loss for you. I wish you the best in life and hope I never see you, but I’m going to be here for a long time.
Q: How can I keep from smoking weed?
A: A very good friend of mine was working as an x-ray tech at a local hospital. One night he was forced to work a 24- hour shift and on the way home he fell asleep at the wheel and caused a wreck that took the life of another driver. A truly terrible accident but here’s the kicker. After he was pulled from the wreckage and while he was in ICU for two weeks they drew some blood and discovered he had “recently used marijuana.” A week before at his girlfriend’s graduation party he smoked 2 joints with some other people. Think about that, a whole week had gone by but because he had pot in his system, a traffic accident turned into a murder charge. Just a little harmless weed huh?
Q: What are the benefits to being good and doing the right thing?
A: In all reality there is only one reason to do the right thing and be good and that’s because being good and doing the right thing is – THE RIGHT THING TO DO! You know the difference between right and wrong. Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, especially when you’re around “Friends” that involved with the wrong things. I’ve been in prison for over 25 years now. Stop for a minute and imagine how long that is. Yeah, I was the life of the party for a while, but in the end you will get what you got coming to you and I for one do not want to see that happen to one more young person – especially you!