Arnoldo Juarez


There is a kind man that retains a radiant and broad smile despite being sentenced to nearly 3 centuries. He was arrested in 2004 and is 44 years of age. He enjoys walking around the track continuously on the yard and waves with his hands to his friends which he calls “beautiful people.”

Q1 Three centuries? How have you handled your draconian sentencing?

Well, in the beginning of my term, I was very angry and became depressed. When the correctional Department came to pick me up from the county jail to transfer me, I was shackled and put it a van. I will never forget the sad experience, I was shacked with iron chains to my wrists and legs going away forever, I was in deep emotional turmoil. I was broken emotionally and psychologically damaged from my childhood difficulties, so everything compounded despondency overwhelmed me when I arrived to prison so I often avoided other inmates. But I had to battle like a UFC fighter and eventually I found courage to get out of a burden heart and consequently got on my knees and reconciled with Almighty God, my new perspective and healthy emotions made my life lighter, that brought me a mile of bright scented flowers to my life. 

Q2 Are you bitter about the sentencing? 

I was extremely bitter. I had a rough childhood because I was struggled in school and had a meaningless family experience so the punitive action caused me to embroil myself with a world of bad emotions. What caused me to become very bitter and resentful is the fact that no one was armed physically in my case. Around the same time of my trial there was a man that was going to get sentenced to 25-to life for murder. I was sentenced to 3 centuries and the DA proudly proclaimed it in the front page of the newspaper. You know, I have seen many people go home after committing very serious crimes, this was very painful for me. But all the sentiments went away. I came to accept it and came to terms in only blaming myself. 

Q3 Where you more bitter about your childhood experience or sentence? 

Excellent question! My childhood experience was very bitter and sorrowful, even in my dreams scorpions stung me or it seemed. I resented being alive. My resentment about my past aggravated my feelings about my sentence. I was more resentful about my past that effected me and led me to regret join a gang and hurt my community that I was born to. 

Q4 What have you changed in your life? 

All ruined emotions of pain, grief, and bad memories that affected me psychologically and emotionally I had to face to overcome.?? I opened up the gates of hell and utilized demolition tools to free myself. My old criminal mindset and warped mind no longer rules my actions. I am a man with principles, goals and I have a vision. I feel like a diamond from heaven that glitters (grin).

Q5 Out of the blue question: Elon Musk or Mark Besos? 

Wow, you are an interesting journalist. I would say Elon. He is a genius, he can probably engineer a planet and have it suspended in mid universe. That man creates lovely toys like a boy creates rockets with legos. 

Q6 Jesus is standing next to you with his hand on your shoulder, do you have anything to confess?

(Chuckles) my conscious is peering. Definitely, I’m no angel and have flaws but I have expressed them numerous times.  

Q7 Lastly, what is one thing that you believe every soul should know if they want to navigate their lives in the right direction and get to their destiny? 

I see life like an ocean that is vast, boisterous and an enigma. To get to our destiny we all have to drive a big fleet-liner-like boat to get there. But we all have to learn how to drive the colossal and frightening boat; we have to learn how to drive it like a competent captain. Along the way we are going to face adversity in pirates with bad intentions and roaring and tossing of the sea. Obstacles can make us crash into icebergs that can cripple our destiny. We all need understanding in life.

Q8 One more little question. Have you arrived to your oasis? 

Definitely, I snooze on a hammock between 2 coconut threes on the side of a beach. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.