Amplified Voices

Daryl McGraw - Power of the Five Year Plan - Episode 10

September 20, 2020 Amber & Jason - Criminal Legal Reform Advocates with Lived Experience Season 1 Episode 10
Amplified Voices
Daryl McGraw - Power of the Five Year Plan - Episode 10
Show Notes Transcript

Daryl is well-known in criminal justice reform circles in Connecticut. Come hear his story of how he turned his life around and gave back to the community through reentry and addiction recovery services. On the evening we're posting this episode, he's being inducted into Connecticut's First Hall of Change. He is founder of Formerly Inc. Daryl, holds state certifications as an Addictions Counselor, Recovery Support Specialist, and a Criminal Justice Professional. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and a Master’s Degree in Organizational Management and Leadership, both from Springfield College. Prior to entering the human service field, Mr. McGraw held several leadership positions in the hospitality field working for Fortune 500 companies
Here's a link to Formerly Inc

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Daryl McGraw - Transcript

Intro: [00:00:00] Everyone has a voice; a story to tell. Some are marginalized and muted. 

What if there were a way to amplify those stories; to have conversations  with real people in real communities; a way to help them step into the power of their lived experience. 

Welcome to Amplified Voices,  a podcast, lifting the experiences of people and families impacted by the Criminal Legal System.

Together, we can create positive change - for everyone.

Jason: [00:00:31] Good morning and welcome to another episode of Amplified Voices. I'm your host, Jason, here with my co-host Amber. Good morning, Amber.

Amber: [00:00:40] Good morning, Jason.

Jason: [00:00:42] Morning. And today we are lucky to have Daryl McGraw. Darryl McGraw is formerly incarcerated. He is the founder of a business called Formerly Inc. He'll tell us about that. And he also is the Senior Re-entry Analyst at Central Connecticut State University. 

Welcome and good morning Daryl.

Daryl: [00:01:02] Good morning. Good morning. How you guys knowing Jason and Amber? Thanks for having me.

Jason: [00:01:06] So to really get us into this. If you could tell us a little bit about what your life was like before you were involved with the Criminal Legal System.

Daryl: [00:01:17] Alright, cool. 

So I grew up in Stamford, Connecticut; I always say the West side. So I grew up in Stamford on the West side. That's the best side. 

You know, a lot of times I talk about my story and I think about it early, because I always liked to talk about it from a trauma perspective. 

Growing up, at six years old, my dad decided that, you know, he wanted to leave the family. So he had a conversation, a brief conversation with me and he told me that, you know, he was leaving and I was now the man of the house .

Jason: [00:01:45] At six years old?

Daryl: [00:01:45] At six years old.

So that was a game changer for me. That was, that was different, right.

Jason: [00:01:49] What was his profession?

Daryl: [00:01:51] He was a military guy. He worked at the post office. He was kind of a free agent type of dude anyway, though. Like, you know, I have so much love and respect for my dad. 

I think that going through his process, cause we all have one; I don't think he really knew where he fit in at as a father. I don't think he, you know... Like me personally, I'm a dad. So I'm present, I'm giving instructions, I'm giving advice. I'm in that leadership role. 

That wasn't really his thing. And, you know, when we talk about parents, when we talk about interactions with our parents, they did the best they could with what they had. You know, that just wasn't a scene. He passed away, so I've never really had an opportunity to talk to him on this side. You know, when we were friends, we were smoking weed together and stuff like that. At a later age, that was the only connection we had.

Jason: [00:02:34] How many siblings.

Daryl: [00:02:35] It's just me and my brother. So, I have a brother, um,  who is three years younger than me.

Jason: [00:02:39] Okay. So now you're the man of the house.

Daryl: [00:02:41] Yeah at six years old he told me I was the man of the house, which you know, that changed the dynamic for me.

Instead of riding big wheels and watching cartoons, I have more responsibilities like being that latchkey kid. I had a shoestring around my neck, with a key on it. My responsibilities was to drop my brother off at the babysitter, get on a bus, go to school, do first grade, get out of first grade, come home and get my brother and then go in our house and lock the doors and be quiet, because I was like our first family secret.

When I give talks about trauma; a lot of people talk about sexual and physical abuse. My first trauma was actually my dad leaving. And now as an adult, I could see that separation really changed my trajectory.

Jason: [00:03:22] That's a lot of, lot of pressure at six years old, an...

Daryl: [00:03:25] Yeah, you're right. And that's what I try to emphasize when we talk about this. And then my mom, single mom - shout out to the single moms that listen on your call. You know, for her, we used to have a lot of adult conversations - like I was the only person like, you know. 

So we moved into, I guess they would call it the projects, but ours was a little bit different. It was an apartment building - 120 family. The interesting thing about that; it only had three dads in our whole apartment building. So here's 120 families with three dads. 

And when I talk about that, I say, well, imagine one parent not being there. And then think of the role of that parent. What did that parent do? Like, some people say, "Oh, my dad was the cook." Oh, well that means if your dad left, you probably wouldn't eat right. Or vice versa or my mom was this and so on and so forth. 

So for me, my mom, you know, she was a single parent. We grew up in this apartment building. And the interesting thing is, like I said, there was only three dads. 

And just one memory. Like, there was a lot of trauma and violence growing up where we grew up. And the one that I remember is being about seven to eight years old, and one of the fathers in the building had, um, shot the mom and then she made it out into the hallway and there was a smear of blood on the wall. And no one ever came and cleaned the blood off the wall.

So my friend lived on that floor. When it was time to go ride bikes or whatever, I would still go up there. And as far as I know, that blood could still be on the wall, right? And that was over 30 years ago.

Jason: [00:04:53] What did that do to your whole mindset?

Daryl: [00:04:56] You know what? It didn't do anything. Because at the time it was just the way things were. So what we see a lot of times or what I say a lot of times:  "It was just the  air we breathed"

You don't really know that you're going through trauma. Like you don't know - if everybody's going through it, then it's not a traumatic thing. It's just "Hey, somebody got shot on the seventh floor and there's blood on the wall. All right, you wanna go outside and play?" 

I was growing up a lot different than a lot of teenagers. I was growing up in the street. Where we lived at, the West Side was a little bit down the street. You had to walk a little further to really be on the West Side. And for me, that's where everything was happening at. 

And, you know, what's interesting? All of the adults would be like, "Don't go to that West Side. " So as soon as my feet could get somewhere, the first place we went was to the West Side. 

And it was a different world. It was, it was violence. It was drug dealing, prostitution, gambling. The mob ran numbers over there. So as a young kid, we were just in the midst of all of that. And it was - to be honest - at the time, it was fascinating, because it was like no life ever. 

But the interesting thing is that, where we lived at was far enough away that we had this like, sense of community - which is why I do the work I do today, trying to replicate that sense of community with everybody, like kind of looking out for each other. But yet you can go down the street and it's complete chaos. 

But in our little project, we all like looked out for each other. You carried each other's mothers, groceries, you know. You still respected adults.

Amber: [00:06:25] This is one of the things that I really like that you're sharing -  is there was that sense of community, right? So people did look out for each other.

Daryl: [00:06:33] Yeah.

Amber: [00:06:33] However, it was kind of like a community trauma with some of the conditions that were happening. Am I hearing that right?

Daryl: [00:06:40] Yeah, no, you're exactly right, Amber. 

This is like a village mentality, right? When we're talking about the village raising the child  - and peoples like, "Oh, if I got in trouble then so and so's mother would beat me and then I would go home." That really didn't happen in my world - kind of hands off there. But yo, if you messed up with miss so-and-so, you can best believe she was going directly to your house.

And it was a different vibe too, also. I think that you could approach someone's parents back then, whereas today more people are like less inclined to do that. Like, if they told my mother something, she would address the issue. 

There was a guy, mr. Clark. He would stand on the stairs of our project, kind of like the King Lion or something in a jungle, right. And he would stand there and he'd have his suspenders on and he would be overlooking like the kids and everything. Then you'd be playing and he'd stop you in mid freeze-tag and be like, "Hey, come here." You're like, "Oh man, what's Sam want?" And Sam would be like, "Go get me a Pepsi." Like, you had to do it.

And you know, even when we got older as teenagers - we're selling drugs and stuff - and Sam would be there. He'd be like, "Yo, come here." You're like, "Man, Sam, I'm trying to,  you know..." But out of respect, no matter what age you were, you went and got that soda from Mr. Clark. 

As an adult today, you know, I respect the values that Mr. Clark instilled in us. Like, he didn't say much, but what he said meant a lot.

You know, and everyone has a Mr. Clark. Everybody has miss so-and-so and all of those people in those communities. He was a role model for us. He didn't have any kids either, so he was kinda like the grandfather/dad too many of us. He raised a lot of people just by him standing on those steps. Sometimes you could go sit on those steps and he would just give you so much knowledge and wisdom in his own way.

I couldn't recall any of the talks that we would have, but I know they were instrumental in that, you know, when you sat there - he was like E.F. Hutton,  If you remember - everybody listened. And sometimes he could hold court. It'd be like, man, it'd be so many kids sitting on the steps just listening to him. He was very instrumental. When he passed away it was a huge loss. 

But then we had so many people... This, white guy, right, that used to come our neighborhood. His name was Mr. Longo. And he would come with a bag full of balls and these long sticks of gum. 

He'd dump the balls out in the playground. I don't know if he was getting paid. I don't know why he, he would just show up. And for years he would come into the projects and dump these balls out and break out pieces of gum, and he had wisdom. 

So even in today's time - we talk about black lives matter. People go to marches, you know -  you get your coffee, you got your sign and you go to the march - but you never engage with the community. You never get engaged with other people of other colors. You just go to the march. Like, "Ah man, it was dope. It was 5,000 people at the March." 

So I say to my white friends, "How many black people did you meet?" They're like, "Oh, well we didn't meet any. We stopped at Starbucks, we got our signs, we marched." I'm like, "But there was 5,000 people there."

I say to my black friends, "5,000 people, that sounds dope, man. How many white people did you meet?"   (and they would say) "Oh, we didn't meet any white people. We just went me and Joe and..." I'm like, so the whole thing of the March was lost because there was never any engagement. There was nothing ever taken away. 

So, I used that because Mr. Longo really came into the hood, dumped these balls out, we played kickball and whatever. He held order in the playground. He'd break off these pieces of gum and and then he'd leave. And he did it for years, like years, like, right. 

So, We had interaction with Mr. Longo and other people like him, you know, that were all part of our culture growing up. Which is interesting, cause I hadn't thought about him in a long time.

Jason: [00:10:23] What was school like for you?

Daryl: [00:10:25] School was, you know, it was interesting. I think that pressure of not having that dad, I think about it now. But growing up, it was just kind of like, I had found this power of being a class clown and cracking jokes and stuff. And I learned now that that was my way to take my power back. Because when my dad left, I was powerless. I couldn't stop him from leaving, right. I couldn't do nothing about that. But then I found that I could interrupt the classroom and take the power from a teacher. And that was amazing. That was amazing. Like, you know, so I did it a lot.

Jason: [00:10:54] So you were popular with the kids, but not so much with the administration.

Daryl: [00:10:58] I was a nice kid. I just didn't know when to stop. And if could keep going, I would keep going. I didn't get a lot of phone calls home in reference to that, but I know that I was disruptive and I was disruptive because I liked the attention. You know, when I do talks about trauma, I talk about that being one of my first real tastes of power.

So school was like that. And by the time I got to high school, it was a different kind of power, right. You're talking 85, 86. That's when the crack game came in and we started to realize that there was money in crack cocaine. We were selling a lot of crack cocaine and making a lot of money.

Jason: [00:11:33] So take us through that. So you were in high school... 

Daryl: [00:11:36] Yeah.

Jason: [00:11:36] ...and someone said, "Hey, why don't you start selling this?" Uh, how did you get involved in that?

Daryl: [00:11:41] Now, now Jason, yo, let's write this book man. Let's check this out. This is crazy, right. 

So, I used to work in a law firm, so let's go back a little bit. My mom was really cool. My mom worked at general electric. And she worked in the mail room - she was like the head of the middle room. So, I had a really cool shop, right. 

So, my mom used to bring us to work on Saturdays and we would help her sort the mail. So I learned the mail-room game early. My dad worked at the post office, so I'm destined to handle mail, right - for some reason, right. 

So, my first job after school - you know, you had an after school job. Well, soon as I I turned 16, I got a job and it was working in a law firm. Like I was the supply guy, the pen guy, you know, certain lawyers like certain pins. 

I was telling my friend the other day. I worked with this old white lady named Marian. And she was a supply person for like a million years. So, but she's about to retire, so she's teaching me this: this guy likes this pen, this guy likes that pen.

So, it was amazing. So, I started making some decent money in high school. like, I was probably bringing home like 700 bucks every two weeks, which was a pretty nice piece of change. I never forget my mom saying, "I think you're making more money than some of these guys' parents ." And she was like, "What are you going to do with all this money?" I was like, "I don't know, mom." It was money. I could buy sneakers. You know, whatever, right. 

So, I will never forget one day I didn't have to work and I went home and none of my teenage friends were out in the playground. Like, we used to hang out in the stage-coach, drink beers and snap on each other, right. 

So, nobody was there this day, they were hanging on the West side, and I'm like, man, what's on the West side?

So, I go over there and there they are sitting in the West side holding it up and, you know, just chillin. And I'm like, "Yo, what's going on?" And it's like, "Oh, yo, we gettin money." I'm like,  "Gettin money?" And they're like, "Yeah." 

So, one thing led to another. That particular day somebody stole their stash or something. They had stashed it into rocks and somehow they got robbed.

It was on a payday and I had $721 in my pocket. And my friend said, "Hey, didn't you just get paid?" I was like, "Yeah." He's like, "Let me get your mon..." I was like, "No. Why would I give you my money?"

Jason: [00:13:49] This is just some guy you know?

Daryl: [00:13:52] No, no. This is one of my childhood friends. I used to hang out with them, but they had already been in a drug game and I didn't know. I didn't know what they were doing. They were just like, kind of disappear for a few hours and then come back. So it wasn't like it was early.

Jason: [00:14:07] You've known him your whole life.

Daryl: [00:14:08] My whole life, yeah.

Jason: [00:14:09] They're selling drugs and you're this responsible young man. 

Daryl: [00:14:13] Yeah.

Jason: [00:14:14] Going into the mail room at general electric and doing whatever and working in a law firm.

Daryl: [00:14:20] I'm like this square dude with this shirt and tie goin to...

Jason: [00:14:23] So it sounds like they're about to make a business proposition.

Daryl: [00:14:26] Yeah. So when a guy says to me - and this was one of our older friends, so we've been hanging out as much, but I had a lot of respect for him. So he was like, "Let me get your money. Let me get that seven. We'll give it back to you in like two hours." I'm like, "No." He said, "We'll give you double back in two hours." I said, "Well listen" - they persuaded me to give them the $700 - I said, "But I'm going to stick with you till I get my money back." 

So, that consisted of me going to New York with them  - because we only lived 15 minutes from the Bronx  - so jumping on a Metro North, going to New York, buying the crack cocaine in New York. I don't even know what's going on, I'm just watching my 700 bucks. I'm like, I just need my money back. Cause I really don't want to go home and my mom be like, "Yo...."

Amber: [00:15:06] "Where's your money?"

Daryl: [00:15:07] "Where's your money?" 

And I didn't want to say "Well I invested it in crack," or whatever. I still probably didn't even know what it was at the time, right. 

So, we go and then we get the drugs and I'm like, Oh man, this is not going to work. As soon as we get back...

Jason: [00:15:20] And you're still like 17 years old, right?

Daryl: [00:15:22] Yeah, I'm like 16, 17. 

I'm like literally more concerned about getting my money back. And at this point I'm just like, man, this is not going to work out. 

So, we get back and we're off the train for 30 minutes at best and not only is my money back, they're like, "Here's your seven. We can give you this other seven - which is your 14 and you can go home - or we'll keep your seven and now you're invested in this." And not only are you invested, but you're not even like my friends. I'm like their boss now because I got a solid investment in their little, whatever it is.

So, yeah, that's how I got introduced to the game. 

Amber: [00:16:00] So, that's the beginning.

Daryl: [00:16:02] That was it. I was hooked because the money was plentiful. It was a lot. 

Jason: [00:16:06] Were you using?

Daryl: [00:16:07] No, I didn't even smoke weed, I didn't do anything. We drank beer, but it wasn't to that point. But it didn't take long before we had a brilliant idea of taking the crack cocaine and putting it in a weed. And why? I can look back to that day that we did that and that strung a lot of my friends out, as well as myself. That became my drug of choice. That became a very passionate relationship. 

But what I want to go back to is - growing up, it was a lot of violence, right. Six years old, we saw the mom shot, but also the adults would be like, if that guy keeps bothering you, you pick up something and hit him in the head with it. That would be the advice. 

Everything in our environment was solved with violence, and witnessing violence, eventually becoming a perpetrator of violence. So, even at that point in time, I had a few fights and my dad left, so I was the man of the house and I was a skinny kid. So I had to fight. I had to fight a lot or at least win the fights that I had.

Jason: [00:17:05] This is like a critical moment for you.

Daryl: [00:17:06] Yeah.

Jason: [00:17:06] What could have gone differently for you not to have crossed that line?

You know, I hate to say this, but if my dad was present - because you got two parents, you got four eyes - or if I had another adult that was really just watching me. 

Our building, it's got windows on both sides. My mom lived on the front of the building. Her view was the highway and Pitney Bowes. The other parents that lived on the other side of the building, their view was the West Side. They could see everything. They can hear everything. And I know a lot of parents over the years heard stuff that we were doing or saw us going back. 

One mom said to me one day, "I'm looking out the window. I see you guys go into that West Side all the time." She like "It's nothing but trouble over there." I was like, "Oh, nah, we got friends over there." But she knew it was too much back and forth from that West Side. And then we're coming down the street; I'm sure you could see us count money. 

But if somebody had intervened.

Amber: [00:17:59] What kind of advice would you give to parents? You know, you said there were parents that may have known on what was going on. How would they have felt empowered to help that situation rather than feeling more helpless against it?

Daryl: [00:18:13] There was a couple of things going on. Like, my mom wasn't down with that at all. My mom started to see things like the things that... and my purpose in that whole thing was, to buy the things that she could buy us, right. She was on a limited income. She made really good money for her as a single parent, but it wasn't like the new Nikes. It wasn't the, you know, whatever we wanted type of money. It was, you know, you got what you needed, but it wasn't that... 

So seeing things that, number one, we can't afford. And where'd you get it from? And, I mean, it's only so many, "My friend let me have it" or "My friend let me borrow it" or, you know?

Jason: [00:18:56] A couple questions. 

So, your involvement with the police; when did that start? And was there additional trauma that was going on? Was there additional escalation, um, violence, anything like that that you want to share?

Daryl: [00:19:08] So ,1991 was the first time that I actually went to prison. 

I got arrested for possession. I was on the West Side. And we would put our drugs in like a paper bag and ball it up like trash and we would sit it on the trashcan. Well, The narcotics squad was on the top of a building. They had binoculars. They were watching me.

So when they would pull up, we would just walk away from the garbage can. Well, this particular day, they pull up, they jump out, I walk away from it and you can hear him on a walkie talkie. He's like, "Yeah, the tall guy right there with a red shirt on." 

So they're like walking up the street, like they're not grabbing me. And they grabbed me. And they're like, "Come with me." And they're like, "Where's it at?" "Where's it at?"They're "Oh yeah, brown bag in that can right there, you'll find it." They  grabbed that and then I was arrested. 

And, um, so then I ended up going to summer's prison - which everybody told me that, you know, you go to Bridgeport Correctional. Everybody's there. I was like, Oh, all right. 

Well, so when I went there, I knew people there and it wasn't that bad, but the next morning - you know, because it was my first time in - you got to go to Summers to get your prison number. That's a whole different ball of wax. It wasn't the County jail that everybody told me about.

The next morning they brought me to summers and I was in G-Block down the hall from Death Row. The guy next to me had 162 years. They set somebody on fire like the week that I was there. Somebody else has got the next slit from ear to ear in the chow hall. And so I really found myself in the jackpot. I was like, Oh, Whoa, this is crazy.

Jason: [00:20:38] How old were you in 91?

Daryl: [00:20:40] I was 18 or 19 because I had just missed the cusp of going to MYI. So when I went to Summer's Prison, I had a real reality check and I had to learn really quickly how to do things.

Jason: [00:20:52] Given what you've been doing, were there are people in there that you knew?

Daryl: [00:20:55] Oh yeah. But ended up being in a cell with a guy that was - his mother and my mother were friends. I didn't know him, but I knew of him. And then when I walked into the cell; I knew who he was, he knew who I was. And he had been there before so he kind of showed me the ropes of how to do things, you know.

Amber: [00:21:13] So Daryl, I just want to unpack a little bit. 

Daryl: [00:21:15] Yeah.

Amber: [00:21:16] You know, what you're saying is: it was kind of a thing, you know, it's like, "Oh yeah. You're gonna, gonna get arrested. You're going to go down to the jail." And it was just part of the lifestyle that you knew many people that had had that experience. Is that what you're saying?

Daryl: [00:21:29] Absolutely Amber that's dope that you say that because going to prison was a badge of honor. Some people go to college, but going to prison was like the thing. And for me, because I didn't just go to Bridgeport Correction or I didn't just go to the county jail, I went to the prison. And then I came home when all my teeth and everything.

So, some of them old school guys, they were like, "Yo, what was it like?" So, of course I was scared to death, but once I got to the street, they were like, "What was it like being in prison?" So of course I was, "Oh man, it was nothing man. You know, I was down the hall from death row. I was doing my thing", right. That elevated my street cred, because here I am, an 18 year old kid, went to prison, survived. 

So, now I already knew what the worst of the worst of my actions could be. So, I just kept doing what I was doing for many years. I spent like 20 years in the streets, selling drugs, using drugs, and my total prison stints all-together was about 10 years.

So, I spent 10 years in and out of prison on the installment plan. The escalation of my drug use; it went from selling drugs and making a living doing that, to getting out saying, you know, really want to be a drug dealer, but I don't want to stop using drugs. So, I went back to that corporate lifestyle that I had earned early, and I was able to get these really good jobs that paid decent money. 

And I had other hustles, so I stopped selling drugs. But I would do other things. I would do other criminal behavior. Like, whatever was going on, I was in it, but it wasn't about the drugs. And the only thing I did in the drug game was buy them. So I continued to use crack cocaine for years and years.

Jason: [00:23:07] Could the system have done anything different for you along the way? Like, could they have changed the course of your life at any point in a way that would have gotten you to where you are today, sooner?

Daryl: [00:23:17] Yeah. And the system could have offered a lot more services, right. 

You know, we say that and that's like, "Oh yeah, the system", but there was nothing mandatory. You could go to jail today and sleep on your bunk. You can get 10 years and just stay on your bunk. There's nothing mandatory. Like, they don't have a high school diploma, maybe you should get a high school diploma. 

And then the other piece that I want to point out is that I realized that I was institutionalized. So, my institutionalized behavior is this: when I'm in the street, I'm doing all kinds of criminal stuff or I'm doing crime, crime, crime, right. But then when I get locked up, I'm a model, model prisoner. I'm going to meetings. I'm setting up the meetings. I'm going to school. I got folders. I got the notebook. 

So it took me years to realize that I was institutionalized. In that minute I needed a structured environment in order to function. And when I started to realize that I was like, wait a minute, why do I come here  - and like CO's are like, "Man, you're not like these guys." And I'm like, "I'm exactly like these guys." And I didn't like it because that wasn't a good stigma to have like, "Yo, you're not like these guys. Why do you keep ending up here? 

You know, I had a Sheriff say, "Man, you know what I hope one day..." the one thing I admired about him was he always came to work and he always smelled good.

He always had some like, some real like dope cologne To this day, I only wear top quality, really nice cologne. 

You guys are openin it up. I feel like I might have to send you guys a check, cause this is starting to feel like a therapy session, right? I feel like you guys are tele-therapy or whatever, 

But yeah, he used to smell good. And I seen him one time, once I got my life together. And you know, we only talked once and he had told me how proud of me he was, but. It was like, people like him, when he would be like, "Yo man, there's something about you, man. This is not your life. I hope you get it together." He said "I hope you somehow pull it together."

Amber: [00:25:11] So Darryl, tell us a little bit about like - while this is going on - your personal relationships, in terms of who you might have had around you; family, friends, different people while you were kind of experiencing this in and out and behaviors and all of that. What did that look like?

Daryl: [00:25:29] You know what? I was a loner, so I got high by myself. I did a lot of stuff by myself, so I really didn't have a network. I just met a lot of people, but I didn't really bring them in. So it was easy for me to be a chameleon and play a lot of different roles and wear a lot of different masks. When I was working corporate, I was a corporate guy, but when I.. And the thing about it, the interesting is, how I caught my last arrest was something similar. And for years I played in and out of the street. 

So I would go to work nine to five, shirt and tie, you know, and deal in that world. But the second I got out, like five o'clock, I'd go home and I put Timberlands on and hoodies and I would hang out on the street. So I had what I thought was the best of both worlds. And I thought I was really good at navigating these both worlds. So, I would be in this corporate world during the day. But then at night I would be in a hood in the trenches. And so, I was trying to navigate both worlds. 

So, my network was small. But it was interesting the people that came in and out of my life like that, that dropped little jewels on me. Like, there was a cab driver name Pops. One day I got into his cab and I was sad. Says "Hey man.." He said, "Why, why, why you so sad today?" And I was like, "Ah" - something with my friends. He said, "Ah, the only friends you got is those friends in your head." That was just like a jewel. 

And then there was this  CO that said, you know, "I went fishing today with my son. What do you think about that?" And I was like, "Did you catch any fish?" He's like, "It's not about the fish." And there's just like little things that at the time meant nothing, but today mean so much more.

Jason: [00:26:57] You know, I heard of you because of the good work that you're doing on reentry.

Daryl: [00:27:01] Yeah, yeah.

Jason: [00:27:01] Ambers' heard you speak a number of times.

Daryl: [00:27:04] Really Amber?

Amber: [00:27:05] Yeah. I was at the symposium for the sentencing commission and saw you on the panel there.

Daryl: [00:27:11] Okay, okay. Cool,  cool.

Jason: [00:27:13] So you're a recognized leader here in Connecticut. You work at a university. You have your own company. How did you get from there to here?

Daryl: [00:27:24] All of that was research. So, I always say all of that stuff was my in depth research that I had to do to get here. 

You know, it's interesting, my last arrest was May 7th, 2007. I was pulled over -  DWB "Driving While Black". And this officer pulled me over and, you know, he said I was on my cell phone, but I wasn't. He was targeting me plus he knew that I had something to do with drugs, he just didn't really know what.

Jason: [00:27:47] This is in Connecticut?

Daryl: [00:27:49] Yeah. This is a new London, Connecticut. 

And the interesting thing is, I kinda told you guys how I would dibble and dabble with the street. So, during the day I worked as like a operations manager at a hotel, but at night I would go home and I would smoke crack all night. I would drive my nice car into the hood. I knew a lot of people from my reputation of being a street guy. And I had like a nice car. You never seen me during the day and I always showed up at night. 

You think about the perception; maybe they thought I was like, the guy dropping the drugs off. I was actually the guy buying drugs, I just happened to have a decent car because I had a little credit. But I always showed up same time every night. They probably thought I was like the kingpin, right. 

So one night, guy pulls me over after I purchased my drugs. He says, you know, "I pulled you over cause you were on your cell phone." I was like, "Bro, I wasn't on my cell phone." We're arguing, we're going back and forth. And I say, "You know, reason you pulled me over is because I'm black." Well, he was black too, so that really wasn't a solid argument, right. 

And I reached to get my license and my registration, and he grabbed me by the neck and he started choking me. And he was choking me on the side of the road and my foot hit the gas and the truck pedal. And when it did that, the engine revved and he let me go. When he let me go, I drove off. This is May 7th, 2007.

Jason: [00:29:07] As you're telling this story - you know, you're in this choke hold - and now we're here in 2020 and there's so much that we're seeing with George Floyd and others. What kind of impact does that have on you?

Daryl: [00:29:18] I appreciate that, Jason. I really appreciate that, especially for your listeners to hear the fact that when I saw George Floyd on the ground, I go right back to the night on May 7th, 2007. Anytime I see anybody assaulted or murdered by the police, I have to thank God, that, that wasn't me. That could have easily been me. I came very close to dying that night. 

So, when you see George Floyd or you see somebody begging for their life in the hands of the police, you know; it was just me and him on the side of the road that night when he decided to grab me by the neck and started choking me. And I drove off. And so I ended up driving home. 

So, I brought all the police to my nice quiet street, cause now they're chasing me. When I got there, I got out of the car and i was like "Officers , what's going on? What's all the commotion about?" And they started tasing me. And they were tasing me and tasing me, and I was in a fetal position and they laughed. They were laughing, just like the brother in Rochester that  just got killed in Rochester, New York, who had a mental health episode. I was him. 

Police officers around me. They have a taser in me and they're tasing me and tasing me and tasing me. So when I saw him naked on the ground in Rochester, I think back to May 7th, 2007, when I was in the fetal position and they were tasing me on the ground and they were laughing. They were laughing and calling me a scumbag. 

I hadn't done anything to anybody. I ran from the police, but I ran because the dude choked me. And I didn't know what his next move was, you know, and I thought it would be best to just go home. 

So it might not be happening to me now, but I'm still traumatized by it. No different than slavery was traumatizing to all Black and Brown people. That's still traumatizing, right? 

So, all those things that happened, people are like, well, "I don't understand why, you know, people are upset." Well, because:  imagine the person that looked like you, that that can happen to you, you know. 

So, September is recovery month and we're supposed to be celebrating recovery. But I was telling people: it's very hard for me to celebrate recovery when I know that I've made all these accomplishments and I've done all these things; I've gotten so far in life, only to - I can be driving in my car and get pulled over and be murdered. 

So, the degrees, the accolades, the awards, don't mean shit on the side of the road when a cop is having his moment. So, um, that's the problem. 

So, May 7th, 2007: when they tased me, they bring me to the hospital, cause they have to take the prongs out of your body. At that moment, I was laying in the hospital bed, and there were two cops, a doctor, and a nurse in the room and they were like looking at me. And the nurse had this like disgusted look on her face. And I was like, man, what is she looking at? She had this look  of like she's never seen anything so disgusting. 

And I realized she was looking at me. I was covered in dirt. You know, I probably didn't smell so good. Just got teased. I was high. You know, it was just the bad scene. And it was at that point that I said, you know what, I don't know how I'm going to get out of this - like change my life - but today is the day that I change my life. And I really didn't know how, I just knew.

Jason: [00:32:21] That was the moment.

Daryl: [00:32:21] That was the moment. 

Here, I left my house - that morning I was working in like a hotel; operations manager; making decisions - and then I made a decision that night that almost cost me my life. It had to be over. Something had to change. 

And so, with that being said, they brought me to the police station, and the cop said that my bond was $250,000. And I was like, "For what?" He said, "Oh, the officer said you dragged him 20 feet at 20 miles an hour with the vehicle." I was like, "That didn't happen." Oh yeah, dash cam wasn't working. 

So here's another situation: now I made a decision to go out, get high, I got choked, I got tased, and now this cop is saying that I assaulted him. So now, here I am, who's going to believe me? Now I'm on a quarter-of-a-million dollar bond, all based off of one decision. Now, this situation is getting worse. Like, wait a minute. 

Long story short, I went to prison and I ended up getting four years. But while I was waiting for the four years, they put me in Hartford Correctional Institution, West Wing, 25 Cell. I'm then the cell by myself. I'm screwed. I'm on a quarter of a million dollar bond. I don't know what to do. Cracked out. I'm losing my job cus the stuff is in the paper - the way the cop said it, like. My life Is literally, in my mind, over.

The interesting thing is that some guy came by my cell and he said, "Hey, I got a book for you to read." And I was like, "Man, I don't want to read no books, man. I'm in prison, man. I'm bout to go down." And he said, "Nah, nah, I want you to read this book." And the interesting thing is, I don't know who this guy was. Never seen him again. Don't know his name, nothing. 

S o he slipped the book under my door and it was The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. I don't know if either one of you knows this book.

Amber: [00:34:13] I'm very familiar with the book.

Daryl: [00:34:14] All right, so you know, Amber, right? You on this page, right? So check this out. 

It's a 40 day spiritual journey. My court date was 41 days away. 

Amber: [00:34:24] Wow.

Daryl: [00:34:24] And I said, "Oh God. God you want me to read this book?" Right? I'm thinking God sent this book especially, directly to me. So I said, man, you want me to read this book so I can get out of jail, because I think God's a bondsman, right? So, I start reading the book. I'm reading the book like -  this is divine intervention - God sent this to me. 

So, like, I'm in this cell and I'm writing. I'm writing like one page. So, what you have to do is each day you do a chapter. So, day one I'm writing like a page, but by day 25, I'm doing like pages, chapters. I'm writing and I'm writing and I'm going in, like, there's not enough paper or ink. I can't stop. I'm writing like how I want my life to change. 

So during this time, this is when I start really identifying journaling. And I wrote this five year plan while I was in prison. And one of the things that I realized during this process is: day 40 came and I was going to go to court the next day. And I was in this same cell. It's hot. There's no AC. It's an old jail. You can hear the Jamaican music from the club next door playing at night. I said, "God, man, I want to go home. But if you don't want me to go home, I get it. I'm cool." But I found purpose in this cell. The purpose is to use your story as a tool for others so they don't have to go through everything that I did. 

So, next day I go to court and I really want to go home though. The judge gives you four years. No nothing, just four flat. So, my lawyer cried, but I was excited. I was like, man, I got this purpose. Now that I found this purpose, it doesn't matter if I'm in jail. It doesn't matter if I'm free. I'm bout to try this purpose thing out. 

And you know, every jail that I went to, I started really taking jail more serious. The groups I was taken I really was raising my hand. Before I would just go to the group, yeah, yeah, yeah. But I was like "Yo, I was smoking crack. I got arrested. This stuff was going on." And I started telling my story in these groups. 

One of the facilitators, he said, "Yo man, I want you to be a peer mentor. You know, you come down and you help me set up meetings and stuff and you work with the guys." 

So I did that in every jail that I went to after that. Before I even got there, I would get to the AP room, somebody would call me down and say, "Hey, we heard about you." So the word started to spread about this peer mentor dude, he's phenomenal. So, I wouldn't even have to apply for the job. Soon as I get there, they would put me in the Addiction Service Wing, and I started working. 

And then I started meeting counselors and I said, "Listen, I got this five year plan that when I get out of prison, I want to be a drug counselor." Cause that's all I really wanted to be was a drug counselor. I just want to be a drug counselor. I want to wear sneakers and tell people to stop smoking crack. That's what I want to do. That's what I thought I wanted. So these counselors are like, "Yeah", they seen it in me and they started to like, let me facilitate little groups and stuff.

You know, long story short, I got out of prison, June 10th, 2010. Six composition books full of a five year plan, and my life trajectory of what I wanted to do, and a resume, and a GED. 

When I got out of faxed my resume to Sound Community Services in New London. The lady called me like 10 minutes after I faxed the resume. She's like, "Hey, can you come down here? We need to talk to you." And I was like, "Yeah, sure." So I had like one shirt, one tie, old black pair of shoes that I do some Vaseline on to make them look new. Jason you don't know about that. It's a Martha Stewart tip. I gave it to you for free, don't worry about it. 

So, I shine my shoes up and then I go there, and the lady was so excited when I walked into the interview. She was like, "Oh my God, we never had anybody from the Department of Corrections ever apply for a job." Because on my resume it said, State of Connecticut, Peer Mentor,  Department of Corrections. That was my job for the last three years, so I wrote it down, right. So she was like, "What was it like working with those prisoners?", you know. And I was like..

Amber: [00:38:14] Oh no.

Daryl: [00:38:16] Yeah, yeah. So, here I am now, I got this shirt and tie on , and I'm like ah man, she thinks I worked for the state. So I said to her, I said, "Well, I was an inmate in prison. I wasn't like.." She was like, "Oh." So, she closed her folder and she said, "We'll be in touch." 

So I laughed and I left. About four days later they call me back and leave me this like, "Hey, can you come back down here?" So I say to my girlfriend, "They want me to go back down to that place that I just interviewed for."  She said, "You probably got a warrant. I wouldn't go anywhere near that place. "Cause now they know who I am, right. 

So, I didn't listen to her. I threw the shirt and tie on  and I went back down there. And I walked in there and there were two ladies in there. I'm looking around and say, yep, I'm going to jail, cause this lady's gonna tell me how they can get the job and the other lady's gonna go get the police.  I'm going to jail. I already know what it is. 

So she said, "Sit down" and I'm like, "Nah, I'm good. What's up? What y'all want?"  She said, "Sit down." I'm like, "no, I know how this is gonna go." Cause I'm thinking I'm going to jail. I know I'm going... This is, this is a set up. 

So she says, "Well, we reviewed your resume. We checked your background." And I was like, yeah. And she's like, "It's pretty bad." I was like, "Yeah, well I was pretty busy. You know, that's what it is." She said, "But we'd like to offer you a position because, um, we have a bunch of people in the next room over there that have bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, but they don't have what you have. They don't have lived experience. So we want to give you a shot. 

That was my start. I was in prison. I was a peer mentor for three years. I got out and I got a job as a Recovery Support Specialist, which is just like a peer mentor in the community, with a laptop, a cell phone, and a company car.

Jason: [00:39:52] Now at this point you've been to prison. I mean, were you still struggling?

Daryl: [00:39:55] You know, through that process that we talked about, and more, that 40 day spiritual journey really opened my eyes to like why my life was like that. Or why wasn't I utilizing my life in a better way. You know, we all have purpose. Every one of us on this planet has a purpose. Why wasn't I using my purpose? Why wasn't I walking in purpose? 

And I thought about it - for all those years prior, I was walking around with no destination. There was no purpose. I was getting high. I was selling drugs for what? It wasn't like I was selling drugs for a house. It wasn't like I was selling drugs for a business. There was no purpose. I was just selling jobs. 

I was even working at those companies. I wasn't trying to be CEO. There was no goal. But the second that I started to identify that there was purpose..And there's no end-game to this. My purpose is, when you guys call me and say, tell your story - absolutely - because even if one persons life is changed by me coming here and doing this, my job is done, right. That's the work that I do. 

Jason: [00:40:54] When did you become a father?

Daryl: [00:40:56] 1998. 

So, my first child was born while I was in prison - my oldest daughter. And that was crazy because when I got arrested, I went to prison while she was in her mom's belly. So, while I was in prison, she was born. So, I was holding her and by the time I got out of prison, she was running in and out of the visiting room.

Now at that point in time, I really decided that I was done. 

Jason: [00:41:22] Were you a different type of father from your own father?

Daryl: [00:41:25] You know what, I thought I was until I went to prison that last time, and I went through that process and I started to realize that, you know, me being in and out of prison is no different than my dad not being here. And this is what I tell other fathers, like, you know. Yeah, you want to be a really good dad, but the things that we've said we wouldn't do, our dads did, we did. Yeah, I didn't just leave but I ended up in prison. So I'm not there. I'm not present. 

So, that was one of the things that I had to change. It was like when I changed my character, certain things no longer become  acceptable, right. But I also wanted to be a present dad. Like me and my son, we have a lot of conversations; my daughters, we have like in depth conversations; and they know. Like, I'm sure they're tired of me telling my story, but you know what, without the story we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be able to do a lot of things that we get to do. Is there struggle, absolutely.

Jason: [00:42:14] When did you create formerly Inc?

Daryl: [00:42:17] So, Formerly Inc was created 2018.

 Just to move back just a little bit. While I was working at that place, you know, I was making pretty decent money. I wasn't on drugs. I got a raise to $16.10 an hour and I was like, Whooh, I'm killin um, right. And, you know, so I wasn't on drugs. I didn't go to clubs. So I was bringing on some pretty decent money, which is what I thought, right. 

But I told my boss, I was like, "You know, I'd really like to make some more cash." She says, "Well, only you can make more money is by going to school. You kinda need some degrees." Cause I still had the GED thing going. 

So, I went to Springfield College on the weekends, you know. 2013 I got a Bachelor's Degree in Human Services. The look on my mom's face, whose seen me walk in and out of courtrooms, in police cars - to see me walk across that stage and get that degree, man was amazing.

Amber: [00:43:06] People can see me, but I'm smiling so big.

Daryl: [00:43:09] Yeah, yeah, you are, you are, right, right. 

So, I got the Bachelor's Degree and then I went back and got a Masters in Organizational Management and Leadership. I'm an addictions counselor. So, when my boss who hired me, who took the chance,  she said, you gotta go to school. That was on my five year plan to go to school, right. And then eventually one day I thought, 10 years from then, I'd get a Master's Degree. I didn't know that that five year plan would be accomplished in three years. Within three and a half years I had already had everything that I had already set out for the five year plan. So then I had to start doing some other stuff. 

So I started like doing speaking engagements and like, you know, just little things and showing up at training. People started to notice me. So a professor at Yale university noticed me. She called me one day, she said, "I think I got a job for you." I said, "Yo, I got a criminal record. There's no way I'm working at Yale University. I gotta  a really good thing going over here. These people know me. They know my history. I'm straight."

At that time, I was just running a young adult center for troubled youth, in the same facility, right after the tragedy at Sandy Hook. So, I started working with troubled youth. So now HR, lady says, "We don't normally call people and say we want them. So I think you really should take this offer into consideration."

Amber: [00:44:23] Right.

Daryl: [00:44:23] I was like, "Yo listen, I got a good job here." But I listened to her. And then one thing led to another and I got hired with the Yale University Department of Psychiatry, working with the Commissioner of the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. So, I did that for three and a half years.

Within six months to a year, I was promoted to Director of the Office Recovery and Community Affairs for the State of Connecticut. So I went from one state ID, my jail ID, to a state ID, working as a Director in the Executive Suite of the State of Connecticut. 

I learned a lot there, you know. But we have some, you know.. I'll say this because I want to be straight with you guys. When I was in the street, you know who your enemies are, because you know who you're beefn' with. When you're working in those state organizations, you don't know who your enemies are. And there's a lot of backstabbing and politicizing and stuff that's going on. 

So, it was interesting that I had helped a friend start a house that, you know, we wanted to help people like me because, when I got out of prison, my kids mom said, "You can stay here as long as you don't use. You use, you're out of here." Little, did she know, I had a five year plan. I got six notebooks. I got 40 days spiritual journey. She don't even know. But I had told her this a million times, right. So, she let me stay there. 

So when I got in position to have a few things, I talked to this pastor, I said, "Yo, let's give people a bed. Let's give people a place to stay, like I got." So we did that and it was cool. You know, he ran it. He did the day-to-day and, you know, I basically supplied the place, cause I was fortunate to move into a bigger house. Instead of me renting my house out, we basically donated it is an in-kind, people could stay here and get their life together.

One guy in particular, who's a friend of mine, decided to go out one night around four in the morning and buy heroin and he overdosed and died.

Amber: [00:46:26] I'm so sorry.

Daryl: [00:46:27] Yeah, it was, it was rough for all of us. I never got over it. And to see the impact of that and then his funeral was actually on my birthday. It was really close to his family. It was a rough time for everybody. 67,000 people died that year of overdoses. 

So, when I went back to work, they were more concerned with the spin and my relationship to the Office of Recovery and my friend dying in a house that I'm affiliate... so one day they told me that was my last day. They told me that, you know, conflict of interest. There was no conflict of interest, but whatever. 

You know what, at the time, when I was at the state level, I thought I had arrived, but it wasn't. When they told me it was my last day I went home, you know, I stayed home all summer. I spent every dollar I had in my 401K cause I was so depressed. And I didn't want to work. I was getting job offers like left and right. People were like, "What are you going to do? You're free from the state. What are you gonna do?" I'm like, nah, I'm just chillin. 

I said to myself, you know what? I don't want to feel like that again. I don't want somebody ever to be able to tell me, "Today's your last day." I didn't like that, you know. I work hard. My reputation speaks for itself. I give everything I got. We help people in every way. I felt like I did everything right and still somebody could just kick you when you're down. 

Remember the blood on the wall, with the kid when I was six years old? When my friend died of an overdose, nobody at the state - this is the Office of Recovery. This is the State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services - no one came to me and said, "How you doing? Sorry about that for your friend." Nope. They were so worried about newspaper articles and the spin. And I was like, wow, no one said to me, "Hey Daryl, sorry your friend passed away. That must be terrible for you."

Amber: [00:48:21] "And are you okay?"

Daryl: [00:48:22] Yeah. "And are you okay?" Just like with the kid, with the blood on the wall, no one said, "Hey, how are you guys doing with that?" So, they didn't do that. 

I said, you know what, I'm going to start my own organization. Cause the same work that I was doing for the state; people are still calling me. "Hey, can you come and speak?" "Can you come and teach?" And so, I turned that into a business and I'm hoping that, God willing, next year we start to hire more and more people like me and train them. I get to train people. I get to do all this different stuff. 

Trust me, I'm broke. I'm struggling. But you know what? At the end of the day, no one could ever fire me. And I'm living in purpose, man. I get to meet cool people like you guys. Do stuff like this. I'm living the life, man.

Jason: [00:49:02] That's fantastic. And you're also doing some work with Central Connecticut State University, right?

Daryl: [00:49:07] So, yeah, I partner with Central Connecticut. 

Andrew Clark heard me speak a couple of times. The work that the IMPR, Institute of Municipal Policy and Research, the stuff that they do is phenomenal. 

Amber: [00:49:18] Phenomenal, yeah.

Daryl: [00:49:19] It's kind of on the edge, right? When we're talking about opiate crisis, they want to talk about, Hey, but what about the crack epidemic? We ain't talking about that, like. So, they turn it a little bit. So, I always loved their work. 

So, he said, "You know, we'd love to get you on a team." And it's funny because that journey was crazy too because the HR person didn't want to hire me initially, because I had a criminal record, even though I had worked for the state, I've worked at the highest level and I'm the first African American director in that role.

Right now I'm the Chair of the Police Accountability Task Force for the State of Connecticut. I went from being choked and tased, to sitting,  telling chiefs-of-police, how to move forward and work with their departments. 

God has been really super, super, amazingly good to me. And I can't complain.

Jason: [00:50:01] You have a lot to be proud of and your kids have a lot to be proud of you for.

Amber: [00:50:05] I think it's really important that you shared the story and came to where you are now, because part of the purpose of our podcast is really to inspire people. 

Daryl: [00:50:14] Yeah.

Amber: [00:50:15] To understand that, when they're in that valley, right, they're struggling with collateral consequences of a criminal record, or they're struggling with an addiction or they're struggling with something. There is hope. There's hope to move forward and really make a big difference in the world. So you're really the beacon of that.

Daryl: [00:50:34] Yeah, when you talk about resilience. There's many times I could of gave up, but that's not who we are. And you know, you're right though, it's all about inspiration, and.. There's family members - there's that mom let's saying, "Man I wonder if he's ever gonna get it right." 

Like my mom. My mom says she would hear the sirens and think that it was me, they were coming for me. Or she always wondered if it was me getting arrested or if they were gonna knock on her door saying I was dead. And now my mom - that same mom who went through this whole thing -  now I had the opportunity; that house that we were putting people in, she stays there now.

Jason: [00:51:09] That's phenomenal.

Daryl: [00:51:10] Talk about full circle. You talk about being able to say, "Mom, you know what? Just like nobody can tell me I'm fired, no one can tell her she's evicted." 

Man, you know, I'm getting chills just telling you that.

Amber: [00:51:21] I'm over here, tearing up again.

Jason: [00:51:25] I mean, your story is phenomenal and it's no wonder you've gotten so much recognition. 

Before we wrap up, I want to ask you: is there anything you want to plug, you know, how people can get in touch with you or do you have a project you want people to know about?

Daryl: [00:51:38] Yeah, man. I want ya'll to bring me back. I want to be part of yall community, man. I love this. This is dope, man. 

This was the best and the highlight of my day. I had a rough week and this is truly the highlight of my day. 

So, you know, like I'm on Instagram at Harriettubman18.  Because, you know, Harriet Tubman, when she was free, she went back in and got people. That's what I'm doing. I'm going back in and I'm pulling them out of the darkness, you know. Like prisons, not only just physically free, but mentally free. So, that's my goal to keep going back in and grabbing as many people as we can get bringing them out. 

You know, I'm on social media. I'm on Facebook as Daryl McGraw. But if you're on a diet, don't follow me because I do not eat healthy. I'm always eating like cheeseburgers with bacon. And so, if you're on a diet, I get people that always like inbox me like, "I was really trying to diet until you posted that picture." I'm probably gonna post something in a few cause I'm hungry.

We do have  a website Formerly Inc : www.formerlyinc. A lot of people think it's incorporated, but it's like formerly incarcerated.

We actually got a connection with the, uh, Farmers and Families. Um, this big thing where we are able to feed 1500 families this week for free with produce and stuff. We're just constantly giving back to the community, man. That's what it's about. 

Also, I have an office in new London. 106 Truman street, New London, Connecticut. We do trainings. We do technical assistance. Helping organizations engage with the formerly incarcerated. Also been doing a lot of implicit bias. 

We're looking to hopefully get into some deescalation training with police officers. You know, people are like, "Oh, well we do that all the time." I'm like, "Well, you know, for me, when I interact with a police officer, I'm always in deescalation mode. My tone is different. My hands are clear. Maybe the police can take that and flip it around, you know what I mean? Because the stuff that we're seeing in the community... and I really appreciate this opportunity and what you guys are doing to put it out there and putting the voices out there for people, because sometimes there's a lot of misconceptions about criminals and people who make bad choices.

All my decisions were based around my drug use. Yeah, I had some really cool opportunities, but as long as I continued to use drugs, I continued to make the wrong decisions. I'm here to advocate for those, who we're advocating right now. 

The prison system right now is that the lowest that it's been due to COVID and everything like that. But if you listen to the narrative of these presidential elections that are about to happen, They're talking about being tough on crime and all this. Well we already no that there is racial disparities in the prison system. 

We they need to fill the prisons back up, where do you think they're going to do their shopping? They're going to be looking for Black and Brown people because we make up 65% of the prison system - 67% the and last time I checked. 67% is black and Brown, right? Well, we only make up 14% of the population. Something's wrong there, but that's the next podcast you guys do with me?

Amber: [00:54:31] Right. Absolutely. I'm glad you pointed that out.

Daryl: [00:54:33] Yeah, definitely, definitely. 

Jason: [00:54:36] We may have to have you back on, you've got...

Daryl: [00:54:38] I'm with it man. Let's go. Let's go.

Jason: [00:54:41] The fact that you are, where you are today is super inspirational, as Amber pointed out.

Daryl: [00:54:45] Thank you.

Jason: [00:54:46] It's a pleasure to get to know you and talk to you a little bit. And I hope that even outside of the podcast, that we get to grab that coffee. 

Daryl: [00:54:54] A hundred percent.

Jason: [00:54:54] Thank you again. Thank you for being on.

Daryl: [00:54:56] Yeah. Cool.

Jason: [00:54:58] And, uh, until next time, Amber.

Amber: [00:55:00] I'll see you next time.

Outro: [00:55:11] You've been listening to Amplified Voices; a podcast, lifting the experiences of people and families impacted by the Criminal Legal System. 

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