Life Goals—Advice From Behind the Bars


We've all grown up in towns, cities and only know how to live the gangster lifestyle. It's the life we all know when we were growing up, but to be truthful, once you start to hit the Big House (prison), you'll see that everything you put your life on the line for ain't really worth it. All that bloodshed for a lost cause.

For you youth that still have another chance to make it home, change for the better. Life out there is so beautiful. Build yourself a strong foundation, a beautiful family. Work a good job and leave that dope and gangster lifestyle to the past. The only people we hurt is our kids, mothers and fathers, and grandparents. Your so-called homies will eventually forget about you, but your family will always stay strong. I've read a lot of your pieces and through the lines I've read, I see a lot of you want to change for the better. Follow your heart, not your homies.

When you follow your so-called homies, you end up in this system. Stop while there's still a chance for your freedom. Most of the guys I talk to here in prison wish they would have never took that ride with their homies, or got loaded. Now they're living in hell (prison) for the rest of their life. Most of these men got busted at sixteen and seventeen years old. Now they're in their forties and fifties, and are never going home. These are the times we have to sit back and think of our life goals and the journey we want to take in life.

Life Goals

Most people have goals in life from the time they do a lot of wishful thinking.

If we ever intend to achieve our goals in life,

We must be willing to make those sacrifices

To overcome the obstacles that stand in our way of reaching those goals.

I know life in this world could be a never-ending struggle

And at times we all feel frustrated.

When circumstances seem to prevent us from doing or getting something

The trick is to not let it discourage you.

Stay positive by taking a different approach.

Sometimes situations have a way of working themselves out

When they seem impossible, we just need to stay focused and on track

With what you really want out of life and not settle for anything less

Than your dreams and goals in life.

If you set your mind to it, and have courage and inner strength

To believe in yourself, you could conquer just about anything.


I'm afraid to part and lament, having done so,

Afraid to surrender you my all to gain the loss of you.

I'm afraid of losing the fragrance of the rose you embody

Afraid that, like a bird from open palms, you'll fly away from my side

Afraid to hold you in my arms and not be able to retain you with all my might

Afraid to realize there isn't enough time

Afraid of losing control like a kid in a tantrum

Afraid to call and realize I'm yelling

Afraid to die and realize I'm living dead…

Dreams of Paradise

You wander through the corridor of my mind

Undaunted courage propelling me ever forward

Time has no meaning when we're together

Here in the depths of my mind, I go there quite often

Just to get away

But I find myself back here day after day

There's one thing that keeps me going forward

And this is knowing that you'll be there

When they let me go

For now, remember –

No matter the time or the distance, we're together or apart

Our hearts say “forever us” deep down inside.

This writing was originally published by The Beat Within, a juvenile justice system writing workshop, which has generously allowed The Crime Report to share. Since 1996, The Beat Within’s mission is to provide incarcerated youth with consistent opportunity to share their ideas and life experiences in a safe space that encourages literacy, self-expression, some critical thinking skills, and healthy, supportive relationships with adults and their community. Outside of the juvenile justice system, The Beat Within partners with community organizations and individuals to bring resources to youth (between the ages of 11 -17) both inside and outside of detention. We are committed to being an effective bridge between youth who are locked up and the community that aims to support their progress towards a healthy, non-violent, and productive life. The following pieces come from our weekly workshops which were recently held in one the 18 juvenile detention facilities – from Hawaii to San Francisco to Washington DC – we venture into each week. From the writings we produce the national publication, The Beat Within. For more information please visit us at

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