Roll Call With Chappy

Ep. 8 It’s Never Too Late! Transformation & Finding Purpose After 17 Years in Prison with Carlos Vasquez


Peter “Chappy” Meyerhoff sits down with Carlos Vasquez. The two met not long after Carlos was released from prison six months prior to this conversation.

As a child, Carlos dreamed of becoming a baseball player, and he had a seemingly picture-perfect Catholic upbringing. Everything changed around the time he turned 13 when he discovered that his father had a secret family. Almost without warning, his dad abandoned his real family to be with them, forcing Carlos’s mom to take on three jobs to support her children. Not long after that, his 16-year-old sister became pregnant, and Carlos himself hit the streets.

He was quickly initiated into the gang life and committed his first crime—armed robbery—at the age of 15 and, at 18, he was faced with a 20-year sentence with two strikes. Now suicidal and thinking he would never leave that place, Carlos went to prison with the intention of “being the craziest person that anybody has ever seen.”

13 years into his sentence, however, his life took a dramatic turn. He recalls being in the hole, totally alone with his own thoughts, and asking himself the question, “I’ve made it this far and I’m still alive. Why am I not dead? Maybe I need to do it.”

He mulled over that thought for the next few days until he and a chaplain crossed paths. He offered Carlos a Bible, which he proceeded to read cover-to-cover. Around the same time, he received a letter from a friend who had just received a 110-year sentence. That friend was 15 years old, and it was partly due to Carlos’s influence that he went down a similarly dark path.

That was the final straw for Carlos. He committed—to God and to himself—that he was going to change. He decided to take back control of his life. At the same time, he believes that God led him to become a role model for men and boys who are currently going through the same dark phase he did.

In Carlos’s own words: “Something told me: ‘You’re not supposed to just walk away. You’re supposed to put yourself back in that place and help change the culture. Use your influence. Use your leadership and communication skills to help these guys find the inspiration to change.’”

CONNECT WITH CARLOS VASQUEZ:

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/carlos_s_vasquez/?hl=en

Instagram partnershipforreentryprogram - https://www.instagram.com/partnershipforreentryprogram/?hl=en

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