To adequately express how this book came to be, we must start at the
beginning - The Foreward.

This book has been put together by a group of people who care. These
people did not get paid to work on this project. Believe it or not, these
people worked to put this book together because they care about
you. They care about young lives taking horrible turns because of bad
decisions. They care about lives cut short by violent or angry acts. They
care about wasted years and wasted lives. They care about the innocent
people, including family members, friends, and even total strangers
who are hurt by these decisions. This book is meant to reach out
to those of you who may be walking that thin line between freedom
and incarceration. This book is reaching out to those of you who at any
moment could make a decision that could dramatically change your
life, cause you to end up behind bars, or even end your life.

It is our hope that the words these inmates share will make you think
about the direction you are traveling. We would love to think that we
could reach everyone who reads these letters but we know that won’t
be the case. Some of you will fight the reality of these words and you
will be the ones who will fill our prisons. Even if this book helps just
one young person realize that it is time to pick a better path, it will all
have been worth the effort.

So we ask you to open your ears, your mind, and your heart as you
read the words of the prisoners who have been where you are and
know where it leads. Many of the authors of these letters bypassed
their educational opportunities so the grammar and spelling may not
be the best. However, the messages in these letters are from the heart
and could be some of the most important lessons you will ever learn.
And please remember what a very wise man once said, “Where you are
today has nothing to do with where you will be in the future. It is just a
starting point.”