Richard Hildahl a.k.a. inmate Richard Nisbit # K27451
My name is inmate Richard Nisbit #K27451, but I was born Richard Hildahl, in San Diego California, to a single mother. I’m submitting this statement to The Amends Project in an effort to demonstrate that over the last 5 to 6 years I have undergone an in-depth self-examination of my life. These efforts have resulted in personal growth and maturity, as well as, a high-level of insight. It is my hope that the following will provide you with a greater scope of myself as the individual that I am today.
I will not talk about the facts of my crimes. My crimes harmed many people and I do not choose to hurt anyone further. On writing this statement, I do not intend to minimize my crimes, my roles in them or to detract from the pain and suffering I have caused, rather have come to understand the full extent of my culpability. I make no attempt to justify myself, my sole focus remains on rehabilitation and making a living amends.
Over the past 5 to 6 years I have come to realize that several factors contributed to my life crimes. These factors not only led me to the circumstances of my crime, but also made me someone who was capable of committing these crimes in the first place. To begin with, my early childhood was not ideal. My mother was a single woman with three children. She was neglectful/uninvolved parent. Neglectful parents are oblivious to their children’s behaviors; they seem not to care. Neglectful/uninvolved parents tend to raise children who are immature, sad, alone, and at risk of injuring and or of abuse. This abuse can be found in early childhood but can also be lifelong. As a result of my lack of supervision and discretion when I was a toddler and developing, I was exposed to a lot of crime, sex, and drugs. My mother did not have healthy relationships, so my home (when we had one) was unstable. During this time, I was alone a lot with my older sister (5 years older). Abandonment issues would have a lasting effect on me, and affect my life going forward. During my middle childhood, about age 5 or 6, I was very active and impulsive and could not sit still, all the time fidgeting, talking when I should’ve been listening, unable to stay on task. My mother took me to a doctor and they told her I was hyperactive/ADHD and gave me medication. I had difficulties with school, I became unhappy with who I was and everyone around me. I did not get the medication regularly. I was a wild child. My self-concept and identity became influenced by other opinions of me. This is a time when insecurity really started to be an issue for me. My self-esteem was very fragile. I constantly comparing myself to others. Add to this a long series of hassles, day in and day out. These repeated stresses made things difficult for me. Being neglected, having no positive male role models, and feeling rejected led me to start being antagonistic and confrontational. I would miss calculate or misinterpret social situations, I lacked emotional regulation. This led me to becoming both a bully and a victim. I move onto my adolescence and puberty kicks in, the result is a cascade of hormones and heightened emotions. I had no goals, I was unfocused, and I was not at all concerned about my future. I could not see goals for myself or a purpose in my life, so I looked to my peers, because nobody at home was providing guidance. My peers provided for me, from an already damaged childhood, deviance training. This progress to problem behaviors like: lying, stealing, fighting, and gangs. Further progression to violent behaviors. I chose negative peers, these peers made it easier for me to do wrong by reinforcing crimes.
My emotions would have changed quickly. My negative emotions, however, doubted every moment. Low self-esteem and anger are common. I know now that anger is secondary emotion, it stems from a deeper issue. I also know violence is about power and control. I would become angry because I felt powerless. How did I start to fix it all? Well, first identified my past traumas. I wrote them down, I talked to my support network about them. Being able to understand, has been key to my change and growth. I have been stuck in what is referred to as Arrested Development.
In talking about it with others, I came to realize that criminal behavior and gang membership became coping mechanisms for a lifetime of neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, mental abuse, and sexual abuse. Criminal behavior and gang membership are where I recovered that attention, recognition, and approval I lacked in my home. I could get anything I wanted because I was proficient at being a criminal, in a gang lifestyle, I could assume a leadership role. On top of this, I was sexually active, the girls I was exposed to, were highly attracted to gang members. For me, the temptation was all very hard to ignore. Of course, this all came at a great cost. I would succumb to peer pressure, commit acts of violence, use drugs, drink alcohol, and partake of criminal behaviors. I deluded myself that this was acceptable, because this lifestyle granted me the outlet for all the hurt, pain, despair, and suffering that I was feeling.
I became engulfed in the criminal gang lifestyle culture. Living this way, I was able to commit crimes and be violent, believing that being a gang member could fill the void I had. The gang made me feel accepted by my peers and I was held in high esteem by them. These are people I thought would not let me down like many others did. Of course, I was greatly mistaken. My beliefs allowed me to adopt this new value system, all stemmed from the contradictions within my upbringing. I was told to do the right things and shown the complete opposite. My immature mind was not capable to think in a critical or adult way. I did not have the capability to apply any insight, hindsight, or foresight to my life. I was mentally in a place where I could not begin to even hope or dream. Being that drugs and alcohol was a part of my gang in criminal lifestyle, I used both frequently. What started off with both alcohol and marijuana, was led to later use of methamphetamines and other harder drugs. This would send my life out of control. While on the high, life was great. Once I was not, I would crash back to reality. This made me feel sadness, anger, or to act out on these emotions in a negative way. This lifestyle would cause a great need for money. So, I would steal or commit another crime to acquire more money, so I could use dope. This was definitely one of the contributing factors in my life crime.
I was like most teenagers around me, reckless and impulsive, however add in drugs and it was much worse. I became egocentric, which intern did not allow me to be empathetic in anyway. Being young and immature my judgments, decision-making, and ability to weigh the consequences, were still in the stage of development. By the time my life crime happened my life, my life was out of control. I was a lost kid and really nothing more than a shell of the person that I once was or could have been. I believed my upbringing, gang involvement, drugs, sex, and alcohol abuse are all contributing factors in my life crime.
Despite all I have written here, the reality is, I had a choice every step of the way. I had good people around me all the time. They tried to warn me of where the gang lifestyle would lead me. But, by that time I had chosen to do the wrong thing time and time again. I made the choice to isolate myself and to fully embrace the criminal gang lifestyle. Instead of getting help for doing getting help for drug and alcohol abuse, I chose to use more drugs and drink more. Dulling my feelings and running from my problems was how I coped. Over and over again I made the wrong choices. I may not have known a better way due to my youth, but I definitely knew right from wrong, and I continued to choose to do wrong.
The above contributing factor certainly played a role in my life and life crime, but in no way can I assign responsibility to those contributing factors. I was the one responsible for my choices and the actions. The inability to make the right choices is my failure. This includes all of my choices I made on the night of my life crime.
I am responsible for being out late looking for trouble. I am responsible for my actions and the actions of my co-defendants as we acted together and are equally responsible.
I could’ve done anything other than what I did.
I could’ve acted to prevent it. I could’ve not participated.
I could’ve helped after or called for help.
I could’ve done any number of things; I chose to do nothing helpful.
This is why I am fully responsible for my life and my life crime. I cannot blame anything but myself. Today, it is this insight that has allowed me tremendous personal growth and has enabled me to accept full responsibility. I initially lived in anger and denial about my culpability which explains a lot of my willingness to be violent in the early years of my incarceration. I later came to regret what I did. Then, I soon came to realize that regret is not remorse. I became depressed behind the harm and suffering I had caused. I soon came to the realization that I was living in regret and self-pity. Regret does not equal remorse. Remorse is when you put regret into action.
Only by trying to right the wrongs I have done, by changing my ways and thinking, could I truly be remorseful. This is when I began down the path of self-improvement and living my remorse, living amends. I am no longer that young boy who lacks self-esteem, was susceptible to peer pressure, and who was starving for acceptance. I am no longer the person who holds onto that value system I had adopted as a child. Today, I am a man of self-consciousness and I have completely new value system. I was hard and callous, I am now compassionate and empathetic. I was impulsive and reckless, I am now controlled and thoughtful. For all of the wrongs in my past, I owe a debt and have an obligation to do what is right and make amends for all I have done. So today I live a life that is truly reflective of my remorse and that honors those I have harmed.
As a result, I now live a life where I do right especially when no one is looking. How I strive to fulfill this debt and obligation is to first and foremost denounced my gang membership and I became a drop out, which may cost me my life. In addition, I have actively become a participate with various self-help groups. I also facilitated some self-help groups as well and have become a mentor in many ways. I have also made steps to educate myself and I am currently enrolled at two colleges. This education allows me to give back to others and help them get their GED’s and even embrace higher education. I plan to continue helping others when I return to society.
I have left no stone unturned in my search for rehabilitation and growth. It is my sense of responsibility, remorse, and understanding of the causative factors of my crimes, my new value system, and new Purpose in life, that I have acquired a deep level of insight. There is no returning to my old ways or thinking. I will never be able to fully make amends for my crimes. However, I will not stray from trying every day of my life.
Richard Hildahl a.k.a. Richard Nisbit K27451 (*CDCR changed name at time of in processing)
Age 43 years old incarcerated at age of 16 sentencing
Sentenced as an adult with 25 to life, plus life, plus life.
I have been incarcerated for 27 years at this point.
Letter of apology to CDCR staff:
To whom it may concern,
Please allow me to express my sincerest apologies to the CDCR administration and custody staff for all the trouble and unnecessary work my disruptive and criminal behaviors of the past have caused. This letter is a part of my taking responsibility for that behavior. I am able to see how my behavior was dangerous, criminal, and reprehensible, even putting lives at risk and officers in danger. I have been filled with guilt and shame at the realization of how insensitive I have been as I acted in such an inappropriate manner. Taking time to appreciate the men and women who work to feed, care, and protect me has led me to take time to write this apology to you all.
I have taken the opportunities CDCR has offered me, to rehabilitate myself. I have attended self-help groups and educating myself with college courses. What I strive to accomplish today is done with respect and appreciation for what CDCR staff do for me each and every day. I have taken time to reflect on my past thinking and behavior as well as how I failed to acknowledge how my actions would negatively impact others . Instead, I chose to selfishly act with disruptive, harmful, and criminal behavior, with complete disregard for how I was affecting others. I affiliated myself with a prison gang, and was causing harm to other inmates and staff by promoting and living in a criminal lifestyle. Gang activity, violence, drugs etc. Return today I know words alone are not enough my remorse is expressed through my actions today. I have accepted responsibility for my poor decisions and behavior. I have renounced my gang criminal lifestyle and have embraced a positive, healthy, prosocial lifestyle.
It is my hope that my sincere apology reflects my profound gratitude for CDCR. The help and support you all have given me to be able to deal with my changes has been a blessing to me. I would like to thank all CDCR administration and custody staff, and the educational and volunteer staff as well. You all give selflessly. Thanks to your dedication, mercy, and compassion I am the man God intended me to be at this point in my life. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry.
Richard Nisbit K27451 12 step
It was almost one year before I had stopped using, that I admitted I had a problem, by then it was pulling me down. My compulsive behavior was spinning out of control and if I did not correct it, it would lead to death. I was slowly dying on the inside. I would have to take drastic steps to correct my situation. Running from the problem would not solve it. I knew I could not correct my problem by refusing to deal with it. I had to stand up and openly comment honestly, admit that I had a problem. I needed to correct it. Therefore, I openly and courageously declared that I would change my life with the help of Jesus Christ.
At this point I finally came to a place where I “came to believe”. Coming to believe, was and still, is an essential process to me on my continuing road to recovery. I came to admit I was powerless, then I came to believe in a power greater than myself, then I am braced and surrendered to that power (Jesus Christ). It was at this point I could begin my real recovery process and spiritual growth. It was a gradual process. I had to grow and mature emotionally, and spiritually. I became willing to give up crime, gangs, alcohol, drugs, and other addictions I had acquired over the years. I renounced putting other people or worldly institutions in the role of God. Jesus Christ is my only source of strength and healing I committed myself to a lifetime of recovery, to no longer be in bondage to an addiction.
This is where I completed building my foundation, “the new me “I could see God as my “higher power“ and ask him to come into my life to take total care of my inner self. This was something I had been unable to accomplish in my past. I turned my day today little problems over to him, all my moment to moment frustrations. When I face my frustration frustrating problems as well as addictions, I say to myself “turn it over, turn it over !“. Instead of trying to hide my insecurity with my pride and ego, I chose to break that bondage of past pride and ego. I do not deny or ignore my hurts. I discover healthy new God-given and God directed ways to handle my needs, I become less selfish and prideful. Developing a healthy dependence on Jesus Christ, allowing him to strengthen and guide my daily life.
This is the beginning of me healing. I looked back on my life and began to identify the wrongs I had done, and how they caused me to hurt inside my spirit. I went through my life and allowed that hurts and wrongs to come out. It was emotional and sometimes painful. Some of my hurts in my past were still hurting in my life. I was able to establish trends throughout my life. By putting these events together it helped me to get an understanding about why I hurt, and helped with healing the hurt. Once I began to identify the trends in my life, I began to learn more about myself and was able to remove or change the defects. I began to look like the person that God created me to be. By the grace of Jesus Christ, I could correct these defects. I began to walk on the right path with confidence that at last I am on the right tracks
The healing really began here. Up to this point I was feeling alone and lonely. Trying to struggle to overcome addiction and the behavior it was causing. I was ready to let it all go. Putting into practice my little prayer of “turn it over having done my inventory it was time to admit to God, myself, and another. I had to mitt all my addictions. Talk about what went wrong in my childhood that started me on the road to addiction. Admitting the wrongs that were passed on from parents and family and forgive. I also had to admit wrongs that I had done to others. This helped the guilt I carried to begin to melt away. I felt better about letting this stuff go. Now I could understand my true guilt for past mistakes. This was a positive experience for me. Emptying hurts, wrongs, and garbage of my past. I became stronger, cleaner inside, this made it easier to resist and overcome the stinking thinking I had in the past. I have become stronger, cleaner inside, this made me start to think logically and I was honest with myself. I have freedom from the pet from my past, freedom from that bondage gave me a new peacefulness. As my terrible shame started To break up and disappear, I began to find true peace and friendship with others.
Steps six & seven
Now I began to really see that this is real. I have made a sincere and solid attempt to deal with my problem of addiction deep within me. I had prepared myself to become ready to remove the wrongs from my past, so I asked God to remove the wrongs from my past life. My life was beginning to change drastically at this point. I wanted to be free of the bondage that created so much hill in my life. I went through the acclimated wrongs of my past. I examined those wrongs and put them together with my trends of behavior. This helped me to identify my character defects. My wrongs showed me the problems that need to be Brought to God. I ask God to bring about in me a new creation. I knew it was not in my own power to heal myself. But in Jesus Christ I began to feel comfortable with myself and those around me. I found a new sense of security in myself. Trusting Jesus I was able to believe and claim my healing with all that I am. I did not have to earn it, I could not earn it. It was a free gift, I just had to receive it. I became willing to release my wrongs and effects of the past to Jesus Christ. Then I humble myself to actually do it. Be the real me instead of trying to be someone I am not.
Steps eight & nine
These steps go to God's purpose for us. God created me to love him and to love others. So having broken relationships with other people, I was out of God's plan for me I was walking outside of love. My disruptive behavior is what caused my pain and hurts in myself and this required reconciliation. I asked myself who do I put on my list? The answer for me was all people who have been hurt as a result of my negative and addictive behavior. Even people in the next generations. I asked have I hurt, rejected, Or ignored another person regardless of the relationship? If the answer was yes, I had guilt connected with this relationship. This caused me to hurt deep down inside. These two steps gave me the opportunity to rid myself of guilt or shame by setting the things right again. Making amends has helped me to make a sincere apology. It gave me a wonderful way to rebuild positive and since your future friendships. It was also a very effective way to remove the burden of guilt and hurt connected with old memories within me I got a shock at knowing I was preparing to make an omission of my nasty, out of control conductivity I had hurt. I prayed for good judgment, careful timing, courage, and patience. I wrote letters when it was possible; when it was not, I did the empty chair exercise. I imagined the person sitting in the chair. I talk to them like that, then I prayed after I had finished. More than just my words or talking, today I choose to live my amends. Doing all I can to prevent myself from being the cause of any harm in the future.
When I thought was an impossible task, turned out to be possible and extremely desirable. I came to the realization that I do not want the old me back again. I am through with the old me. Today I value myself, and I like the new me much better. God has called me to live each day to the fullest, “one day at a time“. This is an overcoming point. Here I learn to walk in sane, sober, desirable behavior each day, one day at a time. Everything has started to pay off. In the past I had spent a lot of time on my problems. Today I spend time looking at the living in the solution to. Today I visualize my transformation. I left my problems in the past. I am no longer part of that problem. Today I walk in the solution, Jesus Christ. By taking a personal inventory every day, I can deal with my day-to-day problems as they happen. Haven’t been made a new creation, I know I can do this, not by my own power but by the power of Jesus Christ. I am a new person now, so it was important that I dump the old definition of who I once was. The “an addict“, “criminal“, “gangster”, “druggie”, “thug” Images are now all part of the past. I have to define myself with a new self image. Today, I examine situation’s to see how I can correct it. Keeping my amends at the front of my thoughts. Today, I have learned from my past experiences and I am able to move forward stronger for it.
This is the step that I continue to do regularly throughout the day. This is my spiritual maintenance as I continue to develop a more closer and ultimate relationship with Christ. I wake up with prayer, and never go to sleep without live giving him my successes, and failures of the day. My daily personal inventory is included in my prayer to ask for guidance and forgiveness. I know this new life created within me, Jesus is the strength that gives this new life. I know without him I cannot have gained this new life, and without him I will lose this new life. I have to stay plugged into Christ. I can go forward each day as a new adventure in a life with Christ. My thinking is no longer mine alone, but is in union with Jesus. I have the sense of belonging now. The old sense of doing it alone or being alone is gone forever. I know that even if the whole world is against me, Jesus is with me. I no longer live in a completely hostile world. I am no longer lost or purposeless.
Starting this walk with Jesus into the 12 step program, I expected to be healed of a particular addiction. But I have been healed not only of that addiction. I have received much more than a specific healing. I have received a new life, the gift of spiritual awakening. The addiction, the pain, the healing of addiction have only been steppingstones to a spiritual transformation and renewal. Today I have learned that I am not alone in this walk. I have Jesus Christ and a whole community/network of brothers and sisters as well. I am no longer alone in my search for the answer. I know there are people around me looking for the same solution to overcome. Not only am I call to receive And celebrate this miracle, I am also called to live it and give it away to others. The knowledge that Jesus has given me my sanity and transformed me. If it is worked for me it can work for others also. I do not see my old life cannot come back like a horrible nightmare no life is not perfect but now there is a difference now I have tasted the solution: Jesus Christ
Apology letter to the community
I am writing this letter to everyone, not only in my community, but to anyone and everyone who has ever been affected in anyway by my criminal or hurtful actions.
As a young boy I did not consider consequences. I did not question who could be affected or harmed as a consequence of my poor, negative, or destructive choices. For this and for the things I did, I am sorry, I was immature and selfish. I need to apologize to each and everyone of you, for my irrational, inconsiderate, careless, self-centered, unconcerned neglectful, and harmful actions. I have lied, manipulated, cheated, and abused. I was violent, reckless, and impulsive. I used drugs and hurt others with my criminal lifestyle. I am responsible for carrying a knife for burglarizing washing machines, for petty theft, and receiving stolen property, for burglary, and auto theft, for driving without a license. I am responsible for breaking car windows, stealing cars, and driving stolen vehicles. I am responsible for kidnapping, carjacking, robbery, torture, and murder. I make no excuses, I am sorry. I have worked hard over the past 28 years of my incarceration to overcome my defects of dishonesty, pridefulness, arrogance, resentment, and insecurity.
By utilizing self help groups/cognitive behavioral therapy and education, I have achieved a sense of personal responsibility for my behavior and result in consequences of my negative actions. As a result I have changed my negative behaviors accordingly. My change has been a process, not an event. It took a lot of hard work, motivation, and time to achieve. By having the motivation, taking time, and doing the work, I have made a lasting and positive change in my life. I have changed my attitude and behavior by doing this. I have taken steps to ensure I do not make the same or similar choices ever again. I will not stop or give up. I cannot go back now that I have broken free of that poor way of living and thinking.
I owe you all, and myself, to do better and I will continue to grow and improve. I deeply apologize to you all! I take full responsibility for all my choices and actions. I will continue the amends process. I know it will be a lifelong living amends
My experience with the Urban Ministry Institute
By Richard Nisbit
Over the past three years, I’ve had the privilege to be a student with the Urban Ministry Institute. During that time, I completed seven courses/modules. My classmates met once a week with our instructor for a two-hour long class. Each module/course required 30 to 40 hours of study time outside of class. This included reading, scripture memorization, study time for quizzes, and final exams. For completion I also had the task of writing an existential paper and completing a ministry project.
During my time as a student with the Urban Ministries Institute, I have come to see the importance of Christian leadership, observation, and investing in others. I have come to accept and understand that leaders come in many forms: men and women, mothers and fathers, missionaries, good neighbors, teachers, worship leaders, or even someone who visits the sick. Anyone who God has gifted and called to lead in his church at any level of responsibility is a leader. I have learned the value of healthy community and family relationships through the importance of leadership and examples of kindness.
My studies consist of Biblical studies, Urban mission, Christian ministry, Theology, and Ethics. I have had the opportunity during my class to interact and learn from others and to participate in all aspects as well as facilitate discussion groups; evolving my own leadership skills not only through studies but also through my interactions with teachers and fellow students.
Book report: Angry men and the women who love them
Breaking the cycle of physical and emotional abuse
author:Paul Hegstrom PhD
This book is an examination of the psychological components of various types of abuse. The author Paul Hagstrom, offers us some insights into the ways to identify and overcome the cycle of violence.
This book is about being wounded before the age of accountability and how the developmental process can be frozen. How we can be locked into the age of directives and become dependent, making us unable to make decisions. We will be able to make decisions for others and be controlling in our lives, but our decisions would be made by indecision, circumstances, situation, and other people. This will produce a life of chaos. The author says if you are wondering childhood, you will never reach the age of decision emotionally.
This book explains a lot about my life. How many times I knew what I should do, is driven by my irrational beliefs system and survival method to maintain control. I would do things I hate it because I was driven by my wounds and unresolved conflict. The author explains how I would end up acting like an undisciplined child, doing things I wanted instead of doing what I should do. Although I knew right from wrong, I still lived an undisciplined life.
This book was so in lightning. It opened up my eyes to see how the emotional abuse and feelings of rejection in childhood had put me in the state of arrested development.
The author does say it is possible to overcome this. We can change the wiring in our brains by the choice of well.
This is a very good book. I will recommend it to everyone to read. It has so many answers.