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RICHARD R.

As you can see in my artwork, my goals are [1] to one day own a successful business, [2] have a fantastic salary that I can build my life on, [3] have my own house/car, [4] build my empire so I can make my life and my family’s life better, and [5] make an impact on the lives of felons so they can make their own lives better for themselves and their families.

Having a criminal record impacted my goals because it’s like a barricade stopping me from moving on to bigger and better things in my life. It has changed my goals because it makes it difficult to succeed. People who see my criminal record judge me. The more I try to make my life much better, the more it feels like they don’t want me to move on and make something of myself. I don’t want to grow old not doing anything in my life just because of my criminal record.

Being charged as an adult affected me emotionally because of the things I saw while in an adult jail at a young age. It was like living in hell and then coming back from hell. It was a horrible pit. Memories from that time are still popping into my head. I can still hear the noises in my head of people getting beat up and other inmates sharpening up knives. I will never forget those noises. That’s how it affected me emotionally.

In the last three years, I’ve come a long way. My criminal record makes it difficult, but I have still been a youth leader with the Just Kids Campaign and completed the B’more Green Brownfield’s Program where I earned 8 different federal and state certificates in the green energy sector. I am determined to succeed and create a better life for myself. I started from nothing, and I am getting there.