Gabriel Reyes - C-88996
Address: PO BOX 7500 D4 - 203
DOB: November 16, 1965
Marital/Family Status: Father of 4 daughters; son; brother; uncle
Prison Status: Serving 25 to life under the 3 strikes law for burglury of an unnocupied dwelling. 10 years in the SHU.
Years Incarcerated: Current sentence - 11 years; Total time spent in prison - 18 years
Education: GED and one year pursuing an AA degree from Coastline Community College, long distance learning.
Hobbies & Interests Human Rights; Government and Law; Youth at Risk and Education; Substance Abuse Prevention; Animal Rights; the Family Unit; P.R.O.T.E.C.T., Roots and Shoots, The Jane Goodall Institute

How Far Is Heaven 1 How Far Is Heaven 2 How Far Is Heaven 3 How Far Is Heaven 4

Facts Royalty Unicorn

Gabriel Reyes
Doug White
Jack Morris
Robert Montenegro
Robert Stockton
Gabriel Ramirez
Martin Villa
William Castro
Robert Amezcua
Personal Statement
It is my hope and goal to help today’s youth become more aware of the world around them and also of the ramifications of their actions and choices; both big and small.

One way I hope to do this is by sharing my own experience with them and the penalty’s that I suffered because of my own unawareness. I believe that today’s youth has been neglected by the government in that at-risk youth need more community programs to educate and teach them, as well as guide them and listen to them.

I believe that I can relate to these youth in such a way that a positive impact can and will be made, each and every child, teen and person can be changed if only the time and chance given.

I was born in Los Angeles, California in what seems like a lifetime ago, but yet at the same time seems like yesterday. I was raised in a small city in the suburbs called Hawaiian Gardens, its borders a mike by a mile. I had a decent childhood and ate my share of county foods: cheese, peanut butter, and of course that good powdered milk! It wasn’t an uncommon sight to see kids playing in the street – using car door handles for bases and drive-ways, mail-boxes and other things as boundaries and end-zones. Another common sight, just as today, was seeing kids hanging out on the street corner, not doing anything wrong (most of the time), but just hanging out for the sake of hanging out and being with friends. I grew up on that same street corner.

I was an all around good kid back then, played sports year round – little league, Pop-Warner Tackle Football, City Flag Football, City Basketball and anything else that came up in-between. In grade school I was an above average student. No one, including myself, could imagine the life I would soon live and the wrong choices I would soon make. However, reality would soon come knocking. I was the youngest of six children; 3 sisters and 2 brothers. My parents had been divorced since I was in diapers and I was raised by a good man who became my step-father, but my brothers continued to be the main source of influence in my life. I not only followed their foot steps in sports, but also to the street corner as well, and this is my story.

I was about 10 years old, in the 5th grade and the youngest in the bunch, when I found myself along with several of my childhood friends whom I have known since pre-school, played sports together and who shared a common bond, we all had older brothers, uncles and family members who hung out together and were Homeboys. There on that day we faced the fact that becoming a Homeboy was no longer an assumption, but now a reality that we all already knew and lived in, the question we faced was not whether to be from a Barrio, the question was only to what extent and what click we would be from? At that time, as today, each click would be made up from certain age groups. The active clicks then were “Los Locos,” “Los Chicos,” “Los Pequeños,” and now the newest click that we would make there sitting in a circle in front of Fergerson Elementary School. This click would be called for a short time “The Baby Angeles,” an idea of course from an older Homeboy given to his younger brother who was now sitting in our circle; the name would change and forever be “Los Tinys.”

This first choice I made in becoming a “Tiny” would eventually lead to my drug use, dropping out of sports, and crime. By the time I was 13 years old I was well on my way in drug use and crime, spray painting walls, and gang banging. Gang banging was nothing new to me, I had been around it all my life. I grew up on a street corner; our house was located right on the corner that the Homeboys hung out on. There were always Homeboys around my house kicking back with my brothers or uncles, which made our house a target for rival gangs from the surrounding cities. Thus, seeing a Homeboy get shot was nothing new to me. Dodging bullets and violence was part of my childhood. In the room I shared with my two brothers we had bunk beds and _ the time the top bunk was not used because of the many shootings that would occur.

Death by gang violence was not uncommon. My earliest recollection of this violence was when I was around 7 years old and my uncle was stabbed to death by rival gang members at a party. Another incident, which had a personal effect on me, was when I was about 12 years old. A Homeboy, a friend of my brothers and someone I looked up to, was killed on my block late one night by a rival gang. This Homeboy, called “Apache,” was always dressed neat – pants with a sharp crease, T-Shirt, a pendleton draped over his arm, a bandana on his head and spider sandals on his feet. Whenever I would see him coming down the street I would make it a point to wait for him to pass by just to hear him say “q-vo homes”, and he never let me down! Being acknowledged by an older Homeboy was a big thing. And just like that one night he was gone, killed by gang violence.

By the time I was 17 years old I was using PCP and dealing it, using cocaine, and had experimented with Heroin. I had been to Juvenile Hall on an assault charge and had left home on several occasions. I spent a short time living with my father in Watts, in the territory of a gang called “Elm St. Watts.” I also had family (cousins) who lived in Watts in an area called Grape St. Watts (Watts Varrio Grape) and there I continued in my drug use and hanging out on the streets. My parents always tried to teach us right from wrong and my mother didn’t tolerate most things I did that were in her control. Living in the Barrio was out of her control at that time and her and my step father working full time was a must. Drugs and crime she did not tolerate and gave me a choice, drugs or home? So I left home and involved myself deeper into that lifestyle; I had no care and no one to answer to and thought I knew all the answers. At 18 years old I was facing prison time for two counts of armed robbery. I was found guilty and given a prison sentence of 5 years. I was soon thrust into a different kind of violent world where my drug use and criminal behavior was accepted as the norm.

My first prison experience started with education at a minimum security prison where I earned both my high school diploma and G.E.D. I mailed them both to my mother in the hopes of giving her some type of happiness and hope in her baby boy. But soon being a street gang member would remind me of the obligations I had to it, and in prison I would get involved in many prison riots, stabbings, crime and violence. By the time my first prison term was over, and in that first year, I would find myself going from a minimum security prison to one of the most violent and maximum security prisons in California, which at that time was old Folsom state prison. I was only 19 years old and learning all the tricks from hardened and seasoned convicts.

I paroled at the age of 21 years, and soon was back on the outside doing drugs, using heroine and cocaine. Prison had done nothing to make a difference in my way of thinking and I was soon back behind prison walls within a few months. Back in prison serving a 16 month sentence and still not paying any attention. I paroled again and fell right back into the same cycle. Again, I found myself back in prison looking at a 6 year sentence, this time however I managed to find the time to get my girlfriend pregnant and left behind to give birth alone and raise a child without a father for the first three years of her life. Once again I paroled from prison, this time to a daughter and soon-to-be wife and family. After the first year I was free and doing odd jobs and making money any honest way I could, I had another baby; another daughter.

However, soon I would once again make the wrong choices and revert back to my old habits and after about three years off freedom I would find myself back in jail facing a sentence of 25 years to life for burglary under California’s “Three Strikes Law”. I was subsequently found guilty solely on the basis of a smudged finger print found at the scene of the crime which matched 10 others, but matched mine more closely. With my criminal record it was an easy fit. I could not take the stand on my own behalf because of my past history and trying to explain it. I was sentenced to 25 years to life, and now have been in prison for over 10 years. Once I arrived back into the prison system I was put into isolation called the Security Housing Unit (SHU) because of my past prison conduct and sent to Pelican Bay State Prison. Now here I have sat with plenty of time to think about all I have done in life and to see at each step how foolish and unwise I was, but most important I have realized that at each point of destruction in my life I had a choice to make and I chose wrong! I also learned that if I would have listened to everything my mother told me I would not be sitting here today a thousand miles away from family and loved ones locked in isolation trying not to go insane!

Over the course of my years I would experience the death of many Homeboys, shootings, stabbings, and fights; I myself would be involved in many of them. You would think that these things would make a person think about changing direction in their lives. But it’s hard to change directions on a freeway when all the cars surrounding you are headed in the same direction and you don’t know where the off ramp is located. I had no road map to follow, only the flow of traffic. Today things are different for youth, there are many resources available to help you find the off ramp and get you out of the fast lane and headed in a direction towards a positive future and a long happy life without violence, drugs and negativity. I offer you today, through my own experiences, a look into your future if you continue to live a life of destruction, ignorance and carelessness. I give you a road map of the path not to follow (only you can decide the path you travel). This road map I offer you is a diagram of all obstacles, pot-holes, bumps, road blocks and deadly curves that you will no doubt encounter traveling on the road of bad choices.

We all have choices, some big and some small, but both just as important! Every choice we make leads to the next choices, every action leads to the next action, and both choice and action have consequences. The consequences of bad choices are a very high price to pay: freedom, loved ones, death and despair. Ask yourself if you are willing to pay this price. As for me this price has been too much. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could take it all back and live life over again and do things differently. This is my story; I hope you have listened and that your own story will have a better ending. Remember, every day we are given a chance to start life over and new, it’s all up to you! We all have a choice, what one will you make?