Arkansans Organizing 4 Justice

I was arrested in June 2001, and I came to prison eighteen months later with a life sentence.  At court, I had a public defender who depends on the state for his compensation.

My sentence is the result of a plea deal the public defender talked me into.  Looking back with that I’ve learned, it was a bad deal that I never should have taken.  As in most cases, the state is the only one who got the deal.

When I first came to prison I was despondent.  Everything looked hopeless and because I had learned “lifers never get out”.  Continuing on my self-destructive path I was using drugs to escape the reality of my situation.  When I couldn’t pass a drug test that all came to an end.

Serving my punishment for the failed drug test gave me time to reflect upon my life.  Reality set in as I recalled many of the special moments spent with members of my family.  Though the majority of them have abandoned me because of this, my dad has stayed by my side.  I also have a son who was seven when I was arrested.  He and I were very close at that time and my mistakes have deprived my son of all the things a father provides to a child.  Though they are unaware of their influence, they have inspired me to change my life.  It’s for them, my family, and now myself, that I strive to be a better man.

I’ve spent the last eight years making positive changes to my life.  Once change is that I’m learning new skills.  I’ve taken up leather work and have gotten pretty good.  Unfortunately, du to some transfers, I am not able to do any right now.  However, I do expect to be back at it real soon.

Currently, I’m taking a paralegal course through correspondence.  I’m maintaining a good average in the course and I’m a third of the way to becoming a certified paralegal/legal assistant.

I also use my time and skills to help others.  Though I am not a writer and my skills are average, there are others who are less fortunate.  I help them with paperwork, letters to family, letters to court, and even letters to foreign consulates.  I assist others to the best of my ability.

During my incarceration I’ve helped to educate others.  I’ve a master electrician who worked for the same company for eleven years.  The majority of my experience is in the industrial field with work on some big projects such as Bud Walton Arena.  I worked maintenance here for about seven years, and during that time I taught the trade to several men.  One has obtained his license under me.

I’ve grown a lot over the last eleven years and I’m not the person I once was.  The path I’m on now is a much more fulfilling one and I’ll continue on it whether I’m a prisoner or a free member of society.  Though I once thought my situation to be hopeless, I no longer feel that way.  I’m working to be a bigger part of my son’s life and I hope to inspire him and influence him in a positive way.  I hope to once day have the opportunity to do the things with him that a father’s supposed to do.  And, I hope to one day be the son to my father that he has known me to be.

I’m Lance Owens, inmate 610855, and this is me at a glance.

Cummins Unit

Grady, AR