Monday, November 25, 2013

Sinful Destruction

Since the age of fourteen, I have been a sex addict. My addition started and ended with pornography. I had opportunities to have sex, those I always refused, not wanting to become my father. This led me to justify my pornography addiction, "At least I am not hurting anyone," I often told my self, "its ok it's only in my head." I"I would never act upon these fantasies." For eight years, whether I was in a  relationship or not, my free time revolved around Pornography and fantasy.
I had conflicting feelings about Pornography on one hand I enjoyed it, the way it made me feel, always drifting and living in fantasy world. Whenever anything got tough Pornography was there to ease me. It brought me escape and joy, "It was my drug". Even though Pornography brought me pleasure, it brought me disgust in myself. After I entered a serious relationship, had kids, and got married, I was still trapped in my addition. No longer did it bring me much joy, but the need kept me addicted.
Pornography led to many fights, it led my wife to think she was not good enough. Ultimately, I allowed it to lead me to hurting my wife and my two children. At the age of thirty, after sixteen years of me choosing to led Pornography run My life, the storm finally hit and left nothing in its wake. 
The months leading up to this disaster, I was finally noticing how out of control I was. By this time, it was too late, or so I told myself, I was scared to ask my wife or anyone else for help. I was arguing with myself and, unknown to me at the same time I was arguing with God.
"I'm not hurting anyone..Pornography keeps me from hurting the ones I love."
"You need help." I told myself
"Your wife loves you and will help you." God told me.
"No, I can't....No, I don't want too."
For months, this went on; finally, God said, " I want to save you from sin." I have given you e very change: however I see that the hold it has on you is to strong." So he allowed the storm to hit, I was arrested. I lost my family and losing them, I lost  everything important to me. However, in jail God gave me friends, to help me and guide me. People who were facing the same thing as I was. Never once did God leave my side, slowly he led me to see through the pain. Through the guilt and remorse I felt. He showed me that this was more then Punishment.
What I did caused mt to lose my life. However, God took the opportunity to show me how I could save my soul.
If you are in prison, I hope this helps you to see that seeking help is the correct thing to do. There is help there, do not be afraid, like me because it can and will get worse if you do not.
Finally, if you are in prison know that it is not over, no matter your length of time, there is ways to better yourself if you try.  You can be presented with better paths of life to take.  You just have to be open to seeing them. "Just know it's never to late."

Written By: Christopher Hartford

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

“Into the Depth of my Despair”

By: Michael Wayne LaDeaux

My story begins with my mother, whom my father is to blame for her overdose. His departure is her reason for her attempt and failed overdose. Through this very unfortunate event I was discovered. I’m her 1st and only child. My father did not believe I was his, so he left her on her own. I was born on Feb. 8th, 1984.At the time my tribe Rosebud did not have a hospital, so I was flown to Yankton, S.D.

My environment as a youth consisted of physical and mental abuse My mother raised me on her own with little support from my grandma and other relatives.. My mother had her own demons, especially on alcohol. She would bite me on the face for looking like my real father, punch and kick me, make me stay up and listen to music with her while she drank. I went through many unfortunate events pertaining to abuse. We also lived on the streets, hitchhiked from one place to the next.

To a certain extent I have empathy for her. We had many hard times but always seemed to manage. Then came an individual who I would consider, and to this day still call my father, Fred Davis, Jr. I was blessed with the best of company in Fred. They got married on Feb. 2nd, in Sioux City Iowa. I was thankful to finally be able to experience family life. My mother was acting like a mother, and I had the best step farther ever. But once again history would repeat itself, more unfortunate events.

Alcohol was the major problem and down fall in their relationship. They would fight, argue, and cheat on each other. Guns were big in my house used on humans, not animals. Make a long story short my father Fred shot up my mothers, brother, emptied a clip on her outside our apartment in Sioux City Iowa. We both thought she was hit when she dropped but she was just playing dead. I was placed in and out of foster homes, usually until one of them got out of jail. Eventually they went their separate ways, got a divorce, Fred and me still have a solid bond. To me, he is my real father in this life and into the next.

Between 9 and 13 years old my childish ways met there demise, I was arrested and charged for “aggravated assault, home evasion, burglary, C.H.I.N.S., runaway and kidnapping. “  My association with the “ Santana Bocc Crips “ and “West Side Locos” didn’t help my situation. I was a foolish follower, and gullible to belief systems that were non-beneficial to me. I was sentenced to the “Department of Corrections” until (21 years) old, and sent to the “State Training School in Plankinton, South Dakota.”

I was to remain incarcerated there until a juvenile prison was built or until I was fully rehabilitated. Rehabilitation never came my way for many more years to come. Family at this point kept a great distance from me. I was officially the black sheep, an outcast. So instead of bettering myself, I because and embraced becoming a product of my environment. I no longer wanted to simply be associated with any particular group. And considering I’m not from the west coast, it only made sense to join the “Insane Gangsters,” better known as “Insane Mafia-South.” Within this group of individuals I replaced my real-family. I no longer looked to my family for support.

I now invested my time in the intelligence and insight of “Insane Mafia,” this consisted of earning my keep, putting in work. In no way am I attempting to glorify my situation. My point is to be completely honest. Moving on, I ended up in the 1st Juvenile prison once it was built. I also was in “Patrick Henry Brady Boot Camp” in Custer, South Dakota, and living Center A & B.  The state training school a couple more times. I added more and more charges to my juvenile record. consisting of “assault on staff, escape twice, and participated in the riot that eventually closed the Juvenile prison.

I turned 17 years old and (D.O.C.) was tired of me, and sent me to the Glory House in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I was only there 1 day and went on the run. I hung out with older gang members, enjoyed the praise from my own crew,(Insane). Got an old English “M” tattoo on my face, and a nine by my eye, a tear drop as well. I spent most my time consuming alcohol, weed and allot of meth, some cocaine. I was a dealer, addict, junky all wrapped up in one big dysfunctional mess. I treated my body as “no temple of God,” but as the “devils playground.” I wanted to die, to me life was pain, death was my release. To me, family and friends were over rated cause nobody really cares. This negative mentality and poor out look on life continued on for some years. One night out, I was drinking with my homeboys and some girls, the owner of the house started flipping out. I was pretty drunk and my homie was passed out in the corner. Everybody was exiting the house, I was trying to wake up my homie. The owner who was a girl was crying on the phone to someone. Se stopped crying and hung up the phone, noticed me and told me I didn’t have to leave.

She started hitting on me, telling me to stay. I just wanted to leave and honestly had no interest in being with her. Eventually her boyfriend and whomever else she had spoken to on the phone showed up. She then started crying again, and out of no where someone said are you trying to rape her. I said “Hell no”. I left my homie and that house. About 3 blocks away the police pulled me over and questioned me on the issue. I was honest and had nothing to hide, they took me back to the scene and I was identified as the one who just left. So I was hand cuffed and taken to Minnehaha County  Jail in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Arrested and charged for rape. I was never convicted and was released 4 days later. But during my time in maximum security I reached out to God. I came to him with tears in my eyes, and a heart full of animosity. My prayer was simple but very sincere. I said, “God I did not do this crime. I respect and love women. It is not in my nature to do such a thin. I don’t know you very well, but I need you right now, so please help me out.”

The next day I was released, the charges were dropped. That was my 1st real, genuine connection with God. I called and he picked me up instantly and answered my request. During my short time in confinement, only one person came to visit me, my father Fred. Everyone else turned his or her back on me. Just assumed I was guilty. People, even family smiled in my face, but talked about e negatively behind my back. It was my 1st real wake up call pertaining to finding out that your real friends are.

I have nothing bad to say about those people who had no faith in me at the time. Mostly cause I didn’t do anything good. I never earned their respect or trust. I was a gangster, Mafia Man, nothing more.  The education I was in possession of came from the hard knocks, not a classroom. My knowledge also about God the creator was vague. But I knew in my heart, I wanted to know more about God. So I started to pray more and attend church as well. One thing I always had access to was the gospel, plus my grandpas was a pastor. I was still riding the fence through, sinner & saint on the weekends.

I was attempting to balance the good and the bad in my life. Meaning I wanted to change, to be a better son, brother and friend. I truly wanted to know God. But I also wanted to stay loyal to my crew “Insane Mafia.” I felt I owed them especially considering its all   I’ve ever known. From an early age, I was always considered an equal in this circle of brothers, 1st before last, last before 1st.

My struggle balancing the good and bad only got worse. It made me very depressed, so I turned to drugs. I started to shoot up meth, I would be up for , 2 or 3 weeks, my longest binge was 31 days. Before long was only bad company. I was just a guy with a “M” on his face. One night I sat by my lonesome in the basement of my house listening to Fleet Wood Mac over and over. I had a loaded pistol and was contemplating suicide. I asked God to give e a sign or a reason to live. He came to through again, my cell phone rang.

My family was inviting me to dinner. I was extremely sad and said, “I’m high on dope,  are you sure you want me around.. I have been up for weeks?” They did not even give it a second thought, simply said” see you soon and hung up.” I did me another blast and decided to walk over to my grandma’s house. Half way there a cop car went by me and slowed down, before it could even turn around I went into a brick building. That building was church and come to find out it was Easter Sunday. I ended up staying for the entire service.

I sat in the last row in the corner of the church by myself. I had a black hoody on, all black dickies and a read bandanna one. Meth and needles in my pocket, spun. When the service came to a close, the pastor came to my seat and shook my hand. Told me it’s going to okay, then he sat next to me. People then began to line up and shake his hand and mine. I started to cry cause I found my reason to live. It found it amongst strangers in a church in Sioux Falls, S.D.

So I decided to make my departure from those I considered being brothers. Instead of getting through the point, I agreed to go out and have some drinks. I was nervous, but committed to change and to God the creator. Long story short, I passed out and some crimes were committed.  The police and a detective were looking for me. A guy with a “M” on his face. There was a warrant out for my arrest. I eventually went to Minnehaha County jail, and was charged with intentional damage to property, 1st offense.

I complete my sentence of 8 years in 15 days, no parole. There’s so much more to my story, and someday through my actions the good will out weigh the bad. Today my mother has cancer and lives in Oklahoma City We converse and I no longer dwell in my despair. I have forgiven her. My father, Fred, continues to be my father today.. Spends most of his time selling native American craft items, and riding his Indian Motorcycle. Through all my trials and tribulations, I have found me an angel who has yet to grow into her wings, her is Brandy Lynn LaDeauz.

She’s my sunrise and my sunset,  I love my wife and am thankful for her unconditional love and support. While in the penitentiary, I have received my diploma and received many certificates. I will soon be attending “Sinte Cleska University in Mission, South Dakota. My goal is to be the best Chemical Dependency Counselor. I want to assist troubled youth, and help families. I am a sinner and a saint. But no longer am I unfortunate or an outcast. I’m not Insane Mafia. I’m a Christian. My body is a temple of God, not the devil’s playground. I’m content inside these walls with being an individual

My advice to the many walks of life that encounter my story, don’t let your past dictate and determine who you are today. I look forward to the day I get to be a father. I will encourage and guide my children with love and compassion, and understanding.

I’m known as “M” face here inside the penitentiary, one day I only want to be known as Michael, or dad. Cause to try is the fail, to apply you must do. My future is bright and I am thankful and blessed to have my farmer buddy Rogness, Jimbo and Bobby Dep. I now know what it’s like to have brothers. Thank you to the entire P.P.R.  family.  God Bless!

Michael “M-Face” LaDeaux

Jerimiah 29:11

Monday, August 19, 2013

William Conway's Story

My name is William Conway and I'm an inmate in the South Dakota State Penitentiary, serving a 15 year sentence for 1st Degree Armed Robbery. I'm much more then that though. Believe me, figuring that out was the hard part.

You see prison has a  way of making you look at yourself. Some take only a glance and, not liking what you see, stop looking. Others though look deep inside themselves. As you look you beging to ask yourself the  questions that really need to be answered. Y0u start to ask the questions that can lead to change. Let me tell you something. If you've lived a life that led you to prison then changing should be pretty high on your priority list.

So what are these questions? A good start is: Who am I really? What am I about? Inevitably you'll get to a pretty standard question every inmate asks themselves during their time. To me, answering this question with unflinching honesty is what makes all the difference between experiencing real change and staying the same. That question is: How did I get here? Understanding our past is a key component to building a positive future. We must have a clear view of where we've been in order to better navigate the road ahead. A couple of things to clarify this thought.

One: Honestly assessing our past, while discouraged by some, is critical to avoiding similar or the same pitfalls that have gotten us into trouble before. We must examine the road begind to teach us wht turns to not take and what roads to avoid altogether.

Two: While I believethis rearview assessment is ncessary. It is important to not stare into the past for long periods(Obsessing) Doing so wil almost surely cause a cruash. For some, there is so much wreckage behind us that taking in too much at one time causes us to throw our hands up in defeat. Feeling overwhelmed by the task. We cannot allow ourselves to give up. If we do we  are destined to repeat these same mistakes because we still have not learned from them.

Still as hard as it may be, we cannot be half hearted with our level of honesty. For honest self-appraisal is a key to lasting change. It is easy to blame the system, our up bringing, our addictions and others. However, without truly owning our part in the choices that we have made we run the risk of surrendering the only power we do have. The power of choice. In the past we may not have felt like we had much choice in the things we did. We were slaves to our worapped perceptions and destructive patterns.

However, having now become aware of our power of choice we have the opportunity to choose differently. What a freedom this can be. As inmates, our choices may be limited in some ways. What we wear, what we eat, even who we live with are sometimes not up to us. The choices that really matter through are ours. How we act and react to situations. What we say and how we think even.

Before we may have said and done things simply out of reflex. Even now, the prison environment tries to dictate our behavior with the idea tha we have to live by a certain code(so-and -so said this or did that so I must react i nthis way). This is a fallacy.  No matter the situation we are free to choose our response. So it is imperative that we slow down and take the time to choose wisely.

We must also remember that change is not only a process but a continuous one at that. It is a work that will never be done. As we change and grow what's important to us is likely to do the same. We must continue to examine ourselves and our motives daily. So that we don't fall back into patterns of destructive behavior. The door to personal freedom is opened and closed by our choices. What will you choose today?


"Willaim Conway is 32 years old from Sioux Falls S. He was raised in NW Iowa where his parents and younger sister still live. He has a wonderful fiance' who he looks forward to marrying after his release. He has 7 children, 40 boys, and 3 girls, and is working to rebuild his relationships where possible.

He is an active member of the cornerstone Prison Church and is on the Outreach Committee there. He is also an Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) facilitator and he often meets one-n-one and in s mall groups to discus recovery and rehabilitation.

He hopes to one day be a part of a ministry that helps others like himself but also youth. So that they many avoid similar problems. For now he is focused on becoming a better father, being the sort of man his fiance' deserves, but most especially a better man of God."

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Testimony of Robert Johnson

I remember when I was younger it would take an act of God to make me miss a day of school. Now I'm in the middle of spending 10 years in prison, then 15 on Parole. The transformation from a nerdy kid to a convict did not happen over night.

It really did start with very small burt very stupid decisions. Choosing to skip a day of school, or not doing an assignment turned into missing as much school as I went too. Not feeling the need to go to school left me all of kinds of time at night to party.

Since I could sleep all day I started drinking on week nights as well as weekends. I eventrually started smoking pot out of curisoity. The experience just grew my curiosity and need for a better more extreme high.

The drug use put me in crouwds where braking the law was not only viewed as okay but encouraged. I learned to solve my problems by fighting. I started to steal, not because of my durg use  but because it was viewed as a reasonable way to make money. Your morals have a tendancy to rise and fall depending on the people you surround yourself with.

All of this lead me to making a decision on whther or not I was going to rob a casino. Unfortunatly I made the wrong choice. On July 1, 2009 I was arrested for first degree robery. I was sentanced to 25 years with 10 years suspended. My prison realease date is May 2, 2019 and my parole release is July 31, 2034. I use to live my life like it was a short life. Now I realize life is long and I will have to live with the decisions I have made for many years. I have lost most of my friends and hurt all of my family. Im going to miss out on  10 years of my daugthers life. Worse then that she will go without a real father for 10 years.

The choices you make now will effect the rest of yoru life. If you make the right ones now you will have the tools and knowledge to live the way you want. If anyone needs advice or more information you can contact me at, Robert T. Johnson #10429  PO Box5911 Sioux Falls, SD. 57117

I was once  told a smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from others mistakes. I hope you can learn something from my mistakes.

Robert Johnson

Monday, April 8, 2013

April 8, 2013

Greetings from Cody Marshall De'Sersa

Greetings, and thank you for taking a few minutes to read about P.P.R. and some of what's going on with us. My name is Cody Marshall De'Sersa, and I am so honored to be affiliated with this group. It gives me a chance to help other men realize that our creator put us each in uniquie situations and experiences with a purpose. P.P.R. has given me a chance to redeem myself, validate my existence, and repair some of the harm I've done.

It has taken me a while to write my introduction. I 've considered how do I label myself and present myself to you. I am so much more than the labels I could put behind my name. I've been so blessed in so many ways. Yet I've made some terrible choices in my life. The labels I'd like to claim are the ones I've failed at. Father, Husband, son, uncle, brother. And if I tell you how and why Ive failed it would bring back my feelings of helplessness, uselessness, sadness, anger, etc...And eventrually I will discuss my failures, for most people success only comes after some failure. For now I will throw out at you some of the labels I can claim as successes and progression.

I am the current GED Tutor here ath the prison. I've had the job for the past 5 months in April. My boss and i put the largest group of men eligible for testing in front of the GED test. Here at the prison, and amazing, not one man failed not one test. It is personal effort by each of those men..I cannot claim any of their acomplishments as mine. But I did help prepared them. I was active in the every day math and writing tutoring, and I continue to work with and prepare the guys "My guys" to take the GED test and recognize how this accomplishment of a GED while in prison is actual a huge accomplishment. Do you know how hard it is sometimes to do a good thing in a bad place
So as a tutor I feel like I can say I am somewhat effective. My effort has been validated by sending a group of men in front of the GED test and not having anyone not pass. My boss is checking members to see if that has ever  been done.

One of the things I talk to my guys about is their roles as fathers, big brothers, uncles, sons, big cousins, and howwaccomplishing something is viewed by the younger people in our lives. And also how we as men are responsible to and for the people who love us.

I'm not perfect, far from it.. And I still struggle with making the best choice  available. But I am aware of my issues. And one of the messages I push is balance. First is Role and Role Responsibility, and their balance. Aside from the GED, I am the Secretary for the Native American Council of Tribes(NACT) and I have lots of duties(responsibilities) as an executive officer of the group. I am also a team captain-player/coach of a intramural league basketball team. So, I stay busy, cause all the while I am a member of PPR and in that role I am a counselor, big brother, mentor and friend.

Aside from the ways I stay busy as a immate. I have 3 kids in foster care and my heart is hurt.  My mom is losing her battle to cancer. My sisters are lost in misery, my nieces and nephews are suffering, my heart is hurt. I don't even want to bring up my role as a "significant other." Sure I have a sad story, just like anyone elses in here. Yet I choose to have a good attitude. I choose to overcome and perservere. Too many people love me. To many need me to succeed. And even if there weren't the people who want and need me in their lives. My God, my creator put us each here for a purpose again. I am thank ful for the opportunity to share some of my story with you. I am more thanful that you are reading this. There is a plan. Have faith that God does love and need you. I truely believe this..

FInally I want to close for now but I would like to mention that we have become motivated to be a better man in each of my roles. I had to look into my self and I am ashamed of all the wasted oportunities and uncapitalized potential I had. But its never to late, and its no ones fault but my own.  I grew up without a father. I am in the generation  of a large group of fatherless males, who are now fathers.I don't blame that circumstance on any of my choices. I made my own mistakes.And now in quest to become a better man, proud of my ancestry and hopeful for a better tomorrow. I have developed some character building strategies for me like men. And I am sure there are women in similar situations. And it is our responsibility to come together and make our world better.

Some of you may now the story of the man on the beach throwing strafish back into the sea. In not find out about that person throwing the starfish back into the sea, and become one. Every one of us can make a differance. Until the next time.  God Bless!

Cody M. DeSersa

Friday, March 29, 2013

A Changed Life By August Burley

I came from a broken home and a broken family. My mother was addicted to drugs and my father passed away when I was two years old. My mother had five children from four different men.  I started taking a lot of drugs at a very young age. It seemed that I was always in trouble at school. I fought with other students a lot,  and  even told teachers that I  was going to kill them.  Eventually, I dropped out of high school in my junior year at the age of 19. This broken lifestyle of mine continued until I ended up in prison.

In June of 2003, I was arrested and taken to prison to serve a lengthy sentence. This is when I realized how worthless my life had really become. My family would not talk to me anymore and I lost all contact with the outside world. It hurt because I never received any pictures of my daughter or anyone else for that matter. This is when I decided that I was going to kill myself. I felt that I had nothing to live  for anymore. I was really set on going through with it. However, I was scared because, I had herd about Jesus Christ and that you couldn’t go to heaven if you committed suicide. I was encouraged by a few lifers(guys who aren’t getting out) to go to some of the religious activities at the prison. So I started attending Cornerstone Prison church services and Bible studies along with other ministries activities. I  gave my life over to God and because I was involved with the church, it changed my life forever. As the church grew, my faith grew along with it.

I decided to make this time in prison a positive aspect in my life. I was going to make real changes to my life. I was no longer alone in this prison. This church made me feel very welcome. I started to belong to a family that cared about me and really loved me. I had become a part of the Cornerstone family and I was very happy. You don’t need to have any one on the outside (even though it would be nice); you only need the family of God. I have now obtained my GED and have learned how to use a computer. I have also learned a trade in custom cabinetry. I am happier now than I have ever been in my entire life even though I am incarcerated in the South Dakota State Penitentiary. I just want to say thank you to God, the Cornerstone Prison Church and the inmates who cared about me and saved me from suicide

If my family could only see the grown man that I have become; they would not even recognize me. I think about it often, and wonder what they would say.

God’s Gift
By Charles Long 2007

To destroy a gift
Given from Christ
Corrupting the temple
At pleasures price

Why me oh God?
So many cry
Failing to see
Caught in a lie!

Freedom of choice
To take or give?
To love or desire
For whom do you live?

Forgiveness is given
When learning to love
With trust and faith
In God above

Then through Christ
Might we rejoice
Giving to God
Our freedom of choice