"Only One Mistake Away": Ariel Beltran Speaks His Truth
To be honest, more than likely it [prison] is what people think it is. What people need to know is that prison is what you make it. The one thing I would like society to know is that people do change. Not all of us do, but there is a good percentage of those who actually change.
I'll be 41 in August and I've been here [in prison] since I was 20. When I committed the crime that landed me here, I was 19. It took a long time for me to mature mentally, but it did happen. We're not savages in here. We feel. We love, too.
What society needs to understand is that you're only one mistake away from joining us. It doesn't matter where you were once you get here. All that matters is that you change for the better so that you can contribute to society once you finally get out...if you finally get out.
It's very difficult to change because [in prison], you're in a negative atmosphere whether you are dealing with inmates or officers; but, for those who want to change, they do. Nothing worth having comes easy, but we do change. You will be tested so it's up to you [the inmate] to change or remain stagnant.
PEACE, Ariel Beltran