After six parole hearings and 29 years in prison, Mike Webb, a beloved Kid CAT member, was found suitable for parole.
“Mike Webb is one of the most compassionate and committed persons that I know,” said Charlie Spence, Kid CAT Chairman. “We will all miss him very much, because he has been such a positive impact in our group and in this community.”
The youngest of three children, Webb was born and raised in Los Angeles by his single mother.
“Growing up without a father was tough,” he says. “I didn’t have anyone I could turn to, to learn how to be a man.”
At the age of 5, Webb’s father left his family to be with another woman and her kids, which left him with deep insecurities and resentments.
“My life began to spiral out of control when my father left,” Webb says. “When he left, I felt rejected and that I wasn’t worthy of his love.”
From the ages of 5 to 10, his grandfather tried to fill the role of a father.
“The only thing that kept me going was my grandfather,” he says. “But when he got murdered, I just gave up on life and sunk into depression and became numb.”
The absence of a paternal figure led to behavioral problems and expulsion from 10 different schools.
“I became very destructive and took my anger out on other kids at school,” he says.
When Webb got into his teens, he turned to the streets.
“I wanted things that my mother couldn’t provide for me, so I started robbing individuals in the neighborhood,” he says. “Robbing people gave me a sense of power and control that I didn’t have in my own life and I became addicted to that power.”
His addiction to robbery would result in a murder during a botched carjacking.
“Four days after committing my crime, I was arrested for first-degree murder-robbery,” he says.
After being convicted, Webb was sentenced to 25 years-to-life at the age of 19.
“I didn’t know what 25 years-to-life meant,” he says. “When it finally sank in, I didn’t think I was ever going to get out.”
In prison, Webb continued the same behavior.
“When I came to prison, my mentality was that I wasn’t going to be no punk or victim, so I victimized others,” he says. “I would run into people’s cell and take their properties, clothes, canteen and jewelry.”
In 1997, Webb was sent to solitary confinement for extorting people.
Over the course of his incarceration, Webb accumulated seven write-ups ranging from disobeying staff to inmate battery.
In 2002, Webb had an intervention at the behest of his building officer.
“The C.O.s asked my cellmate to talk to me, because I was out of control,” Webb says. “So my cellie sat me down and talked to me like he was my father and told me that if I ever wanted to get out of prison, I needed to change, and that he would help me.
“That’s when I started to change my behavior and started attending Alcoholics Anonymous, which I still continue till this day.”
But the change for Webb didn’t come easy; his past would repeatedly come back to haunt him.
“From my first board appearance in 2004 to the next four hearings in 2010, 2011, 2015 and 2016, my extortion charges in 1997 played a role in me being denied parole,” Webb says.
Taking the lessons he had learned, he would often share his testimony with the youths he interacts with.
“I mentor at-risk youths through a program here called Real Choices, and I also write for The Beat Within, a youth publication,” Webb says.
Through his job assignment in Receiving and Release, Webb shares his experience with newly arrived young prisoners.
“I try to help them understand the consequences of their decisions that they make here in prison and the impact it can have on their families because of those choices,” he says.
“Today, I realize that I not only harmed my family, but the choices I made have also caused irreparable harm to my victims and community.”
On March 8 Webb was found suitable for parole.