Reporter Edie Campe interviewed four participants in the program for this series.
Here is what they had to say:
Daniel Spicer, age 25
- When were you arrested?
Dec. 23, 2003.
- When are you supposed to be released?
With the six-month time cut from this program, I'll be out June of 2007.
- Do you have any children?
One. A two-year-old daughter.
- What lead to your arrest?
I wasn't on meth at the time, but I was on some prescription drugs. I was abusing them. I wasn't taking them like I was supposed to and I was drinking whiskey with them, which I really wasn't supposed to do.
For some reason I got this idea to break into a jewelry store and take everything they had. Well, the day that I did it, some people had seen me and thought I looked suspicious. I was drunk and on these pills. They wrote down my license plate number and they called the police. I had broken into it in the night.
The next morning, the police put two and two together. They ran my plate. They found me and they searched me. Of course, I had everything out of the jewelry store.
- Did you break into the store to gain items to sell for money?
Yeah, to buy drugs.
- When did you get involved with meth?
When I was, I think right around when I was 17. I had already quit school.
- What are you going to do when you get out of prison?
My family has supported me the whole time. I think they will help me with whatever I want to do. Actually, I would like to go to college. I think mainly I need to get a job and move somewhere where I don't know anybody and nobody knows me. I think that would probably be the best thing to do.
- How did you find meth?
Through the people that I was hanging out with. Not necessarily the people I grew up around, but the people I got to hanging out with.
- Do you think you'll have a problem staying away from drugs after you are released?
I think I won't have a problem staying away from meth. Anymore I despise it from when I got sick off of it. It was kind of a wake up call. I think if I just stay around my family and work I think I'll be OK. A lot of the things I have learned here was how to deal with people that would want to try to get back into my life that I wouldn't want to be around cause the people are doing drugs or selling drugs. I've learned a lot of different ways to deal with situations instead of getting violent and stupid. I wasn't real violent, but I was real edgy when I was on drugs, real edgy about stuff. I think mainly I just need to stay away from people that I was around before. That would be a big step in staying clean, staying away from the people I did drugs with, unless they are clean. I still don't think that would be a good idea. Just be done with them all together.
- Why did you write to The Brazil Times?
My family called my probation officer to try and find out what they were going to do to me on my probation violation, to tell him that I was in this program to try and better myself. They had no idea what this program was. So I got together with everybody else that's from Brazil, and we came up with the letter that we wrote. They thought it was a really good idea too. So the court would recognize the program. Not say, 'You didn't do anything while you were in prison, you should just stay in there.' If something ever happens, they'll recognize this program as a good program for people who are getting ready to come to prison. They can give them the option. I think this should be a option for them to maybe sentence people to this when they come to prison. Not just sit locked-up and do nothing.
- What phase of the program are you in?
I'm in phase three. I should graduate in about two weeks.
- What do you suggest for meth users? How would they find out they have a problem, other than getting into trouble?
I think really that anybody that does any type of drug, they have a problem with it. Obviously they are doing drugs, whether it is to escape from whatever is in their life or just to get away from reality. I think if they are doing anything, they have a problem. I used to think that I didn't have a problem. I thought I could control it, but obviously I can't because I'm in prison cause I was doing the stuff. It's hurt my whole family. It's hurt my daughter. She barely even knows who I am. I haven't been around, I've been in prison.
I think anybody that is on any type of drug, they should get help. They should think about their family and the people that they hurt when they're robbing people or whatever they're doing or not being around their family. I can remember when I was 17, I didn't even eat on Thanksgiving because I was on meth. I didn't even go around my family because I wasn't hungry.