When StoryCorps visited Danville Correctional Center in Illinois, one of the inmates who told his story was Carlos Rocha.
Carlos grew up in Chicago, and, like his brothers, joined a gang. In 1998, he was arrested for weapons possession. Just before he was to be released on bond, Carlos got into a fight with another inmate and killed him. He was sentenced to 24 years behind bars.
Click here for the transcript.
At first I felt a lot of hate. I broke down because I thought it was karma for what I had done. I kept thinking back about the victim in my case and I thought, Well this guy, you know, he had a daughter. He had a wife and mother. They're going through what I'm going through right now. I'm told that the daughter came to see me once when I was in the county jail. But she just came in to see who I was and I never got a chance to talk to her.
You know, I think it was drilled into us when we were younger, you're supposed to hate this guy, or hate that guy over there. You just hated him because he was on the other side of the street. I think about that every day. I think about how I could have been different.
I think the judge, when he sentenced me, he said that when I would be released I would be an old and patient man. And I think I'm accomplishing it.
Danville Correctional Center