I am involved with a program here called The Redemption Project. Its been life changing for me. Every inmate who chooses to pursue the program beyond its first class has proven that they want to make a difference in themselves and their communities. Its like a filtering process for leaders. I don’t know if its creators meant for it to end up as such, but, in the process of making men aware of their negative actions and its effects; those same men decide to make serious changes. In here that takes courage, tenacity. Your going against the grain of prison. You’ve seen the movies.
No one in prison is guilty. Its a training ground for violence and hate. If you weren’t a criminal before you came here, you’ll be one by the time you leave. So to take responsibility and then advocate for such things publically, that’s a bold move, it immediately separates you.
I bring this up because Redemption has been growing. While new programs and branches and workshops are being created by inmates, we put some of ourselves in those same things. This is where our testimonies come in. 
Our past actions were awful. So when we use this sentence to seriously reflect on what got us Herr, when we make changes in our lives, we have to face the tough moments in ourselves. Like traumas, shortcomings, learned flaws. Any contributing factor. Some things have to be dealt with sooner because they happen while were locked up. This brings on a whole new kind of pain. 
I heard a man tell me a few days ago that while he was locked up his daughter was murdered by her new stepfather. Could you imagine that pain? No man should endure such a thing. But this man, he is using that as a tool to prevent others from his mistakes. He knows that if he had been free, his daughter might still be alive. The guilt and shame this man carries brings about an honest will to change. He’s authentic and real, transparency is prevalent in him. He’s not the only one either. There are dozens of us, we are concentrated in Stafford Creek. All filtered through The Redemption Project. If you ever want to test your compassion, talk to us. We are not using excuses for our mistakes. We are using our mistakes to create positivity in any way possible. 
These men have become my Dads and Brothers, my Children and Friends. We are family, I respect them immensely. I hope one day you will as well. We have helped change one another’s lives, maybe we can help you to, maybe you can help us.

With Love
Jeff Utnage 823469