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Meet The Fathers Joseph Martinez

I am a father of two who has served 3 years for federal convictions. I struggled daily and wanted to change my lifestyle but couldn't find the means to get help. ​ In my family we all started having kids very young. I was barely fifteen when I had my son. I was in ninth grade and we rented a house, I was going to school and was trying to be a father and an adult. I grew up right away, trying to be a good role model and responsible person. But then I started doing drugs at 17 and my life started to spiral out of control. For about eight years, I would get into a pattern doing good, and then falling back into my addictions. After I was arrested in Texas, I was afraid that I was going to be looking at serving 30-40 years. I was transferred from all over Texas, and then moved Maryland’s prison system before finally landing in New Mexico. I had lost my family’s trust, and none of them wanted to help me anymore. I was greedy and doing what I could to make money for my own needs. I came first and they had enough of it. I had enough of it.

I’ve been out for almost two year now and continue to work on myself. Because of my past, I know that it will always be a work in progress, but will continue to work hard every day. I want to be a part of my kids’ lives and if something ever happens, I want to be there for them. I always want to be there for them. To me, being a father is a man who is works on his priorities and is responsible. I should have been doing this a long time ago.

Since being in the program things are different for me now. I have my CDL. I am on my own, I have my own place to stay. I’m not staying with relatives. It’s harder to be with family members when you’ve been someone who’s done wrong in the past. Because of this program, I have become more reliable, trust-worthy and proud of my accomplishments. It feels very good.

 

Working In The Program

I’m a Master Builder in Custom Wood projects. My first job was at a local sign shop where I learned a little bit of woodworking by making wood signs for the State of New Mexico. I also worked with my grandpa for a few years who was a contractor. I’ve always known a little bit about framing and stuff like that, but this is my first time working in an actual wood shop. I try to teach some of the other guys who don’t have any basic carpentry skills.

 

I’ve been with the program a little over three years and I first heard about it when I was in jail and they offered a parenting class. It hasn’t been three years in a row, because in the middle of that time I went back to prison on a probation violation.

This program has given me a second chance. It’s given me an opportunity to do something right. Certainly for me and I think for most guys, we don’t want to live the criminal lifestyle and keep doing wrong but they don’t have the resources or the second chance to turn it around. And this program has given me a second and even third chance. This program is an opportunity. They tell you, if you start here and go through this at the end you’ll have something, you’ll be back to being a man and a father. And I’m not at the end, but at least I’m closer to the door.

The relationships you make here are the heart of the program. Everyone here hold us accountable. We are all responsible for coming to work for our scheduled shift and everyone will keep you to it. We work as a team and make sure that if someone can’t come in, the rest of the team will pull together to make sure work is done to our high standards. It’s that closeness, knowing that we have each other’s back. That’s a good feeling. We all stick together and that’s the healing part. Sometimes you go through a bad period of time and they stay with you through it. They tell you to stay grounded. You can see that the PSRs are not just doing their job, they really put their heart into it. They get attached to us, and we notice. And you see the effect. The rate of guys going back to jail is less than half. You appreciate that people care and you don’t want to let them down.

If a guy is ready to make a change, be a sober person, be back in his kids life, be a responsible man, be a father figure, I know that if you go through this program and you apply yourself you can do it. It’s not easy. You have to go to classes every day and put in the legwork, but it’s worth it. If you’re ready to change your life and build your character, you need to get in this program.

My pattern is to do good and then fall back. Living on my own and sustaining myself helps me make sure I don’t go back to doing the things I used to do. This program gives you lots of opportunities, like getting a trade license. They never say you have to do it, but if you work the program and take advantage of the classes they offer you can make a change. The second time I got in the program I made a commitment to take the classes and take advantage of the opportunities given to me.

The leaders of the program really care. You can tell. If you start to fall back they talk to you. As much as I’m willing to help myself, they help me. If you’re working hard, they’re going to work hard for you. A long term goal for me is to be able to volunteer here because I feel obligated to the program because it’s given me the sense to do good. They’ve helped me and I want to help them back.

I feel like I’m just now starting to be that responsible person again who can pay his bills and support a family and be a dad. The addiction took grasp of me for so long; I just now finally have gotten out of it. That feeling you get that everything is going right and that phase of your life didn’t last forever and you don’t have to keep running feels good. Knowing you can be a good person.