Free at Last

Vallejo native Reigh E. encountered early exposure to crime and violence, normalizing destructive behaviors; yet, motivated during incarceration, he actively engaged in programs to improve himself.

Reigh E. grew up in Vallejo, California and was exposed to crime, drugs, and violence as a young child. Over time, he began normalizing these destructive behaviors and felt that using them was the only way to survive. Reigh walked around with a “don’t mess with me” attitude. Many people warned him that his criminal lifestyle would eventually lead to prison or death, but he didn’t care.

As a teenager, Reigh developed a substance use disorder and used violence to “solve” his problems. Despite numerous jail stays, Reigh believed he would beat prison. Eventually, his lifestyle caught up with him, and at 20 years old, Reigh was arrested for a serious crime and sentenced to 15 years to life.

No Longer Invincible

Prison was a wild experience, rooted in the same dysfunction that he grew up in. Once the fog cleared from the drugs and alcohol, Reigh realized he couldn’t lie to himself anymore. He needed to gain a sense of balance and positivity if he was going to survive.

His recovery started when he processed his actions’ lasting effects on his friends and family. Through self-reflection, Reigh began to accept his past and learn about the man he wanted to become.

Turning it Around

Despite his uncertain future, Reigh stayed motivated and took advantage of all the programs and services to better himself while incarcerated. After considerable insight and work, Reigh became addicted to positive energy and doing things that kept him balanced, including exercise, yoga, and reading books on self-development. Education also became a top priority. Reigh took college courses while incarcerated, which proved instrumental in his attitude adjustment.

Life on the Outside

After three parole hearings and 20 years behind bars, Reigh was given a second chance to live life as a free man. He began studying Human Services and Social Work to help high-risk juveniles who are incarcerated break the cycle of substance use, violence, and criminal behavior.

Today, Reigh is proud of his sobriety and ability to abstain from toxic people and situations. Aside from his family, he’s built a strong support system comprised of staff from his community college.

Related Resources

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Published On: September 6th, 2023|Categories: Second Chance Stories|

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