Seeking Redemption: For Life Outside of Prison

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Hello, My name Is Rafael Figueroa, I am currently incarcerated at Ironwood State prison. I was 17 years old when I was arrested I was sentenced to 35 to life with the possibility of parole for attempted murder. I am now 29 years old. I’ve been here 12 years and I could say in these 12 years I have grown into a respectful and self-disciplined man. Let me tell you a little about myself. I was raised by a single mother with two kids living in poverty which describes most of us. My father left when I was one so I don’t have any memories of him.  My mom ended up meeting someone and getting married and having my little sister. A few years later I found myself in the streets, Meeting new people who actually took care of me. I had adopted all the wrong values in life. I wasn’t able to live with my mother, for who knows what reasons.  I found myself then abandoned once again by the other person that brought me into this world. Due to the events in my childhood, I developed abandonment issues. She left me with no other choice to precede hanging out with gangs to feel the love and guidance from a family that I was missing. I was able to stay with a friend and actually was able to eat a cooked meal and shower. This was my only way of survival as a teen. Seeking their acceptance and approval I embraced their destructive belief system.  On 12/26/02 I was arrested for having possession of marijuana and was released shortly after. Just a few days later, on 1/1/03 I was arrested for possession to sell a weapon and was sent to camp.  On 1/24/04 I was sustained for battery and sent to camp. Then I caught this case (03/29/06) I know what I have done was wrong. I live that day over and over again and that will continue for the rest of my life. I committed a horrible crime and I make no excuses for it. I deserve to be here in prison. During these is 12 years I’ve matured into a humble genuine man. This wasn’t easy there are a lot of obstacles I had to overcome. My rehabilitation is an everyday process and I’ve achieved so much throughout the years. I believe there is always room to grow and improve in you.

 My Educational achievements and rehabilitation consist of the following:

High School diploma- A.A in Behavioral & Social Science and Alcohol and Drug Specialist (still in progress)-(G.O.G.I) Getting out By Going In( In process to become a Peer Coach started 3/31/16) – Alcoholics Anonymous & Narcotics Anonymous (AA/NA Since 2/18/16) – Through A.R.C. criminal & gang members Anonymous (CGA completed) – Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP Completed 12/10/17) – Inmate Peer Education Program (I.P.E.P in process) – Anger management (1/23/17) – Parenting  (8/29/16) – Restorative Justice ( in process) – Y.O.P Youth Offender Program (AA/NA) 13 week workshop (completed) – Facilitator for (G.O.G.I) Group – Arts and Corrections (completed) – New Life Behavior Ministries (correspondence started 6/8/15) – ECS Prison Ministry of Northern CA. (correspondence) (completed 48 units of study 10/20/17) – P.R.E.P Partnership for Re-Entry Program (started 4/6/16) – Crossroad Bible  Institute  ( correspondence Started) - Alternatives to Violence (started) Currently enrolled in a computer coding program The Last Mile Stone- Code 7370

 I have learned how to deal with my anger and identified my triggers and coping skills. These rehabilitative programs helped assist me with removing my character defects and replacing my old gang mentality with a new healthy set of principles. My rehabilitative efforts had a profound effect on my positive decision-making process. I can now make a positive decision instead of negative ones without reacting the way I used to. Since turning my life over to the power and will of Jesus Christ I no longer have a fear of abandonment and I am no longer a violent person. My main priority in life now is to be as much as I can involve in Jesus Christ and to become a good husband to my fiancée and become a positive role model to her children. I am currently in college studying for my Associates of Arts in Social and Behavioral Science. My goal is to become a youth counselor. I want to share my personal experience with the youth so they can avoid going through what I went through and not learn the hard and painful way. I know that I do not deserve to have my freedom back. I committed a horrible crime but I am no longer the same person. I have committed myself to a life of service. My commitment is to mentor youth offenders. I am aware of the sad fact that no matter the amount of good deeds I do, it will never diminish the harm I’ve caused. As I matured I developed an understanding of the destructive lifestyle I have lived. This is how I came to feel genuine remorse. The shame and regret I feel compel me to change and services as my deterrent to ever regress to the callous teenager I once was.  If I am given the opportunity to return to society I will be part of the solution instead of the problem. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your time and support.

With love and respect

Rafael Figueroa

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