I am 35 years old of Hispanic descent and have been incarcerated since I was 22 years old. I am serving a LWOP sentence at Calipatria State Prison. I am housed on the Delta Yard, where many of us lifer's and inmates are trying to change and better ourselves.
I received an LWOP sentence for first degree murder and four counts of attempted murder. I was convicted in Orange County with “special circumstances“ for discharging a firearm out of a motor vehicle and killing a human being. For a long time, I never admitted or accepted guilt for killing Israel. I never told or spoke to anyone until recently, when I admitted what I did and took responsibility in a self-help group. This group is specifically for us, LWOP's, it’s called LWOP Alliance Group, exclusively here on Delta yard. They were the first people I ever admitted my guilt to; this letter is the second time. It is still not getting any easier and I don’t think it ever will be; it’s something that I believe I will struggle with for the rest of my life. It’s not easy to admit something so heinous.
I don’t like to say I am a better person. IIt feels wrong to say, I’m a better person now. I killed someone, his name is Israel. The truth is, that I AM different now from when I was 22 years old. I am now a grown man; I accept responsibility for the atrocious act that I committed. I was disgusting, naïve, childish, and an insecure human being. All I cared about was myself and the street gang I was from. There’s nothing I can say or do to fix what I did to take away the pain that Israel’s family still feels. I am truly sorry for taking Israel’s life leaving an emptiness in their hearts and in the universe.
I am no longer the 22 year old and I am no longer part of a gang. I have left that life and I am a different person. I am now a true believer of God; I am Catholic and now understand how precious the gift of life is!
Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Joshua A Blount 2019
"The Amends Project"
What do you want to participate in this project?
How important is it to share your truth and experiences?
I want to participate in this project, because I feel a lot of good can be done here. Such as: healing for us, as well as all of our victims and their families. I feel that through our words and actions, “restorative justice“ can have a chance to be understood and grow for us all.
It is very important for me to share my “truth“ and “experiences “. This is how I have come out of the darkness we call "hopelessness". I have to get all the ugly out of my soul. The ugly that I’ve done to others and myself, and of course what others did to me. Sharing my experiences, I hope that kids who are at risk learn from me, so they can see that they are not the only ones who have been through ugly and it’s okay to be vulnerable and exposed. This is how we grow into healthy positive caring human beings.
Sharing has shown me that I’m not alone in this and it has allowed me to have compassion and empathy for others. By doing this, I’ve been able to accept myself once again and truly love myself!
To what is addiction to you in your life?
An addiction, to me, is something that I obsess about and never having enough of it. Something causing harm to me and toxic. Making me compulsive, doing anything to get it. Until it progresses into something I have no control or power over.
I am a recovering alcoholic drug addict who is also addicted to the gang lifestyle. They all fuiled each other to my destruction and demise. I am currently serving a life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) sentence because of my addictions. All of my addictions manifested because of a lot of unresolved childhood trauma, pains, and insecurities, as well as my needs or God-given desires for sex relations; for material and emotional security and for companionship. Known also as "sex, money, and power". So, I obsessed on these things which led me to drinking and drugging to numb my anxieties from either not having enough or from having too much of these needs met. They drove me crazy, because I was not balanced.
The gang gave me a false sense of security and status amongst my peers, "power". This gang was negative and criminally charged, but they accepted me and gave me a negative purpose. The gang gave me a false sense of power, status, and women. The drinking and drugging numbed my conscious and feelings, making it okay to keep thugging. In the end my addictions led me to breaking all of God's Commandments. I lost my humanity and turned into an animal.
What are you afraid of?
I used to be afraid that if people knew who I really was, no one would like me or except me. This is why I pretended to be someone else for so long. I created a false identity calling myself "Temper". Temper was not afraid like Josh was. Temper was tough and respected, or so I thought. He was confident, cocky, arrogant, and girls liked him, or so I thought. Josh was the complete opposite, shy, timid, scared, and avoided eye contact at all times.
I felt ashamed of who I was because I was abused physically, emotionally, and sexually as a child. My childhood monster didn’t live under my bed or in my head. Rather, the monster was real and was my older brother who shared a room with me. It’s been my darkest & deepest secret of shame my whole life. It completely destroyed and humiliated me. I felt worthless, disgusted, dirty, and ashamed. I lost my identity. So, I sought out a new older brother that would actually love me on the streets, because I hated being home. I avoided my real brother at all costs. So naturally, I found older brothers in the gang. I actually felt really loved by them. Even though they abused me by jumping me into the gang. I guess part of me felt like that’s what love feels like. Ultimately I felt loved and accepted by the neighborhood, in a warped and twisted way. I would do anything not to lose these brothers that I felt really loved me. They nurtured my false identity, Temper. Their values and norms became mine. Their enemies were my enemies. I turned from a shy and timid ,little scared boy, into a reckless drunk, violent, evil, and heartless gangbanger. My homeboys never knew what happened to me as a child. I would die of shame if they ever really knew that I was weak, but Temper made me feel powerful and strong.
Ultimately Temper ruined my life and anyone who crossed his path. I killed someone while seeking to hide my shame, feel powerful, and be in control. I was numb to my own pain, so how could I ever feel someone else’s. Now, Today, I am ashamed of Temper and not the little boy Joshua. Joshua is and was a good boy, timid, shy, and happy before my monster ruined my life and robbed me of my innocence.