Tonight I was speaking with my cell mate. He was describing an incident that occurred between a C.O. And an incarcerated individual. This incident was a perfect example of the hypocrisy and unprofessional conduct that is the nature of the system and its staff members. After breaking it down he pauses and looks at me a moment before saying to me ” I feel bad for you, homie, I don’t know how your gonna make it here”, my cell mate is what we call a short timer, he is going home soon. I am not. I am twenty two years into a forty year sentence begun when I was seventeen. this is what he is referring to. I don’t respond, but I think about what he is saying and I look back over my life and wonder how I made it. 
I have caused trauma and I have suffered it. I have been living in the cells of the state since I was seven and there were times when I almost quit. I remember the darkness brought on by a rope around my neck at twelve, the returning of the light later.

I think of the man I killed, the kid I was. Sometimes when I think back over my life its like I’m trapped in someone else’s dream. It does not seem real.

Then I think of the people I love. My friends in here. I think of the men and woman and others in here with me serving time and how they are such incredible, loving individuals. They have so many reasons to be terrible human beings and yet they are the best humans I know. They are how I keep going. I love them and I am inspired by them. The volunteers and sponsors that cross barriers to come in here fill my heart with hope. I find that even if I could quit myself, I can never quit those that matter to me most. My love is my God and my friends are my family. They are all here beside me. Why would I want to be anywhere else? That’s my answer. I can make it for them.


email me at using James Goodwin # 764730

or write me at

James Goodwin # 764730
Po Box 888
Monroe WA  98272