Looking ahead 10 to 20 years, what’s the first thing you would do if you had the energy, time and resources?
That question was posed in 21 informal, random interviews in San Quentin. Included were 16 men in blue, three outside volunteers in the Prison University Project and two outside volunteers with the Marin Literacy project.
After leaving prison and discharging their parole, many are interested in starting their own businesses.
“I would start my own company in technology,” said Larry Histon. “It would give me an opportunity to live a good lifestyle and give back to my community.”
Thao would open up a resort in Thailand, Orlando Harris would start a lawn service and then a landscaping company, and E. Phil Phillips would go into the music business.
“I would start a record label and start it out with my own music,” said Phillips.
Others want to focus on personal interests, involving family and leisure. John Holmes would travel to Denmark, Brigido Mariscal would go back to work to put his kids through school and college, and Enrique Gabriel would visit his mother’s tomb.
Some of the men in blue say they would engage in altruistic activities involving social service, faith, or advocacy for reform. Michael Fields said he would “work to help those who are less fortunate” than him.
“…work to help those who are less fortunate…”
David Basile would reach out to at-risk youth. “I would start a youth-mentoring program in L.A. through Homeboy Industries and L.A. Kids on a Mission. I am networking with them now,” Basile said.
Rafael Calix said, “I would eat a vegetarian diet, organically, and become an advocate for organic farming to end the disparity of governmental support of chemical farming, which causes more health hazards than alcohol and tobacco combined.”
Trenton Capell would go into the missionary field and preach the Gospel.
Terrell Merritt said he would be an advocate for those that live on the margins of society. “The way to tell the success of a society is in how they treat the people in the margins, and I would like to be their voice because I have been in their shoes,” Merritt said.
All five volunteers interviewed said they would volunteer even more than now. Sue Pixley of Project REACH said, “I would probably teach more math. I would continue to teach pre-calculus at the university where I work, and I would continue to volunteer for Project REACH.”
All three PUP teachers would continue to volunteer as teachers or tutors for the San Quentin college program.
Two expressed interest in personal activities. “I would like to start a family,” said Steve Weber, a math tutor. Rachel Walsh said, “I would go out and have adventures.”