In this episode, Martin paints his world with words, describing his life now as a sanctuary and a gift. He shares the story of his marriage and its connection to the incredible personal transformation he worked through in preparation to come home. From growing up inside the carceral state, Martin built himself into his best self: a good, normal person.
I am Martin. In 1972, as a juvenile lifer, I was sent to the most violent prison in Michigan. Michigan Reformatory was known as the Gladiator School and it was not misnamed; doing time there was a nightmare. I defended myself against adult predators living there, extremely at times and earned a reputation of being tough. In fact I was just scared but put on a good act; enough that people left me alone. But it went to my head and I let the biggest predator in the world - peer pressure - rule my life. About 20 years later I grew up, and started dabbling in art. I got good and sold a lot of pieces. I have work hanging in several countries but one my best accomplishments is to have a piece hanging in the chambers of USSC Justice Sonia Sotomayor. PCAP was very instrumental in this.
After 46 years, I was released in 2018. Since then I have exhibited at 4 venues with great success. Among other things, I now have my own business; taught drawing classes locally; spoken about mass incarceration at various venues, including the UofM and MSU; and was selected to show work year round at a local shop. After pursuing a formal education, art was the best thing I did while incarcerated, and getting involved with PCAP enabled me to have a better chance at success a after my release. I encourage everyone listening to this podcast to get involved in anything that will prepare you for coming home; regardless of how long that may take.