Meet Travis. Travis reflects on how his time spent in a maximum security prison resulted in a sense of disconnection and stagnation. When he arrived at San Quentin, he found himself surrounded by conversations of change, Shakespeare, and laughter. His wife’s pride drives him to be a better person. #FirstWatch


I began my time on a maximum security prison, very isolated time, it was scary, it was definitely scary. The culture was definitely violent, I felt like everything was solved through violence. there was limited communication between people. I feel like people expressed their wants and their needs through anger through hate. There was no support from educators, there was no support from mentors. I became closed off, I became, I felt like my personality turned inward. I’ve always been a really outgoing a really happy and joking person because I felt that I could be prey at any point in time even expressing those emotions to anybody. If I continue to sit in these institutions if I continue to be stagnant, I won’t grow. I’ll never heal. I’ll never end up being a contribution to society. I’ll never end up being able to make amends to my victim shawn. I’ll never be able to show my mother that all this fighting that she’s done for me, my grandfather, all the fighting he’s done for me that it is worth it. I finally arrived here in san Quentin, I remember I got here at night and I looked around and I see the bars and the giant buildings and it was very intimidating and I didn’t believe this was the place I heard about, I did not believe that this is a place of change because it looks like a giant dungeon. And so I go into my cell and I go to sleep and the next morning I wake up and there is all this movement, and I’m thinking where the heck is everybody going. I’m not used to it. I see guys with little backpacks on and holding school books, you know, having conversations about change and the smiles and the laughter. I saw guys sitting on the side doing Shakespeare and I thought what the heck is going on here, where am I? Am I on a college campus? but no I was here in San Quentin. I remember sitting down in a visit with my wife and just telling her hey this is what I am learning. And I saw this sense of pride in her, and I saw her smile on her face. And just seeing, hey look, my husbands changing, and it just made me want to try so much harder. And that was the beginning of a journey that has been none stop, its every single day now of programs and college and it’s definitely been an incredible journey so far.

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