Nobody first thinks of prison as a land of opportunity. For most of the men and women who are sentenced to time in Oregon prisons each year, prison is, at best, a course correction. For some its a forced detour around a road that was falling apart. For others, a prison cell is a timeout from the life they look forward to jumping right back into.
Michael grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, running away from an abusive home at 12 years old. He went to live with his grandparents. His grandfather would take him to work with him over summer breaks and teach him about life. Life was good, then it wasn't. Michael's grandfather passed away when he was seventeen, leaving a void. He coped the only way he knew how, hiding behind a bottle and then drugs. The need to get high led to poor choices landing him in an Arizona prison at 20. He paroled to his mothers house here in Oregon. He was doing well for a while and then eventually started drinking again. This led to drugs, and Michael started getting in trouble. He tried several times to get sober but failed. Then he found himself running around with the worst group of people, and ended up in prison for the second time, paroling in 2012.
Trevor became involved with drugs at an early age. By age 14, he committed a crime and was sentenced as an adult. He spent his first two years of incarceration in county juvenile facilities, followed by six months in county jail. He spent the next three years at an Oregon Youth Authority facility, where he studied and earned his high school diploma before transferring to DOC to finish his life sentence.
Anne Maries story starts out like many. She graduated from high school, obtained an associate degree, married, and had two children. She worked a variety of jobs. She divorced and remarried. Raised to be family and budget oriented, she was an independent soul who did not ask for help especially when she needed it most. The result was a choice that resulted in a 15-year sentence.
George started his path to prison early in life. Growing up with divorced parents who did not establish boundaries, he didn't take life seriously or participate in what he calls a manners education. He completed high school and went on to attend a welding trade school, but he had already become involved with the wrong crowd. When he felt taken advantage of, he would retaliate.
Rich's troubled life began at age 12 and by age 14 he cycled in and out of jail until he was finally sentenced to serve prison time. He finished his sentence, returned to the drug scene, and quickly returned to prison. This cycle happened five more times. Robert G entered prison at a young age with no real work history.
Before prison, Diana had what most would call a successful life, but when her stepdad passed away right after she finished high school, she started using alcohol as a coping mechanism. The behavior continued during college and her career, eventually spiraling into excessive drinking and other reckless behaviors. Her choices resulted in a prison sentence from a vehicular accident which injured a person.
He grew up in a home where one parent was abusive and the other the epitome of love. He's not sure why he chose to follow one over the other. His downward spiral of self-hatred culminated in a failed relationship, a bank robbery, and an attempted suicide-by-cop. The police officer realized the truth of the situation: Joe was crying out for help, even though he didn't realize it at the time.
Daniel Freemans work history before incarceration was reforestation, gathering forest products, or any other job where he thought he didnt have to show up on time or could be his own boss. He liked it because he could keep drinking and using drugs. When he entered DOC custody, it was his 53rd arrest cycle.
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