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Where we belong

Kevin Garrett

Over thirty years ago I got heavily involved in drugs, into the streets, and ultimately into the criminal justice system. I was snared into a system that was unjust, unfair, and financially burdensome for taxpayers. 2007 marked the end of my “hard knocks” learning period. As life started getting better and clearer, I began to see that two things were at work back then that contributed to not only my own, but many people of color’s criminal justice involvement: lack of resources and lack of knowledge.

The resources I couldn’t do anything about. However, knowledge had always been within my grasp! Eleven years ago, a prominent Fort Worth Oilman helped to change all of that. He provided the initial resources that I might get an education that would eventually propel me into a life of respectability, service, and hope. “This [my former life] is not where you belong,” the oilman said. “There are so many people who are intelligent and capable but don’t understand that they can go forward in life if they push themselves.” Push I did. Many naysayers said, “what makes you think a formerly incarcerated, formerly addicted, and formerly homeless person go get into law school?” My reply: what makes you think I can’t?

When I take phone calls from family members seeking help for their loved one inside a county jail, I remember the oilman’s words in my head, “this is not where they belong.

Kevin Garrett
Aug 11th, 2019
About "Peer Voices" - We believe that true systems change can only come from being informed and led by peers. This space brings the voices of lived experience such as TJP's own Peer Policy Fellow Kevin Garrett and other peers who are passionate about systemic change in the justice and mental health system. In speaking their truth and telling their stories, they provide courage, hope and support to each and every one of us engaged in this difficult work.

Category: Peer Voices |

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