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James Michael Anderson

crossed hands of James Anderson

I came to prison in 1996 at the age of 17. I was a first time offender, yet guilty of making the worst choice imaginable; an act that took the life of an innocent person. Shame consumed me.

Although I’ll never be able to right the wrong I’ve done, I’ve spent the last 22 years trying to do things that make a difference. I’ve earned three college degrees, published a book to raise money for charity, and participated in numerous political positions within the prison to improve the lives of those both behind and outside these walls.

What has meant the most to me was a program I led for many years in which I’d sit down with at-risk youth to share my story, and to stress the importance of their choices, education, and goals for the future. I was their age when I failed to do the right thing. I owe it to them, and to everyone else, to make the right choices from here on out.

My writing? Well, it’s simple. It’s like oxygen in a place that’s oftentimes hard to breathe.

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