Letters to the Editor

I'm facing life in prison for $32 theft

Do I deserve life behind a wall for a petty theft I do not remember?

I am a 40-year-old American who has been in and out of prison since I was 19. I am incarcerated and awaiting trial as a three-striker, meaning 25 to life. It's not fair.

Since the age of 6, I was turned over to my stepdad by a mother who said she loved me. His hands showed me wrong. At 13, I started drugs. I would steal from stores for my addiction. There is a disease that comes with drugs: hepatitis. I was running a fever of 103.4 degrees the day of my arrest. Do I remember? No -- who could?

I am here for a $32 misdemeanor theft. The district attorney wants to sentence me to life. It's not a violent crime. That three-strikes law was for murder, rape and child-abuse cases. I don't deserve life in prison. I needed help as a child; I need mental help now -- long-term rehabilitation. I need help with what turned me to drugs. That 6-year-old girl who would cry? I am still her.


inmate, Public Safety Center