I was sentenced to 50 years (40 suspended) at the age of 18 for non-violent crimes. I spent my entire sentence in Maximum Security Facilities. AMA.
From the age of 12, I abused drugs and alcohol. I spent my teens addicted to drugs, committing a variety of "little" crimes, and shuffling from one reform school to the next. As soon as I turned 18, I hit the big time.
I went on a drug binge using stolen checks and credit cards obtained from a series of daytime burglaries. I was eventually caught and charged with 32 different felonies. There were enough in penalties that I was facing the rest of my natural life in prison.
I was offered a plea deal of 50 years with 40 suspended. I had to serve 10 years in prison and then 10 years in probation. If I was convicted of anything else during that time, I faced having those 40 tacked back on. I took the deal and promised to myself that I would turn my life around.
I served 6 years in a maximum security prison, with 4 being credited for good behavior. I have been free for 17 years. Cracked.com will be publishing a personal experience article that includes a bit about my story (the final draft was really good!) in the next week or so, but I wanted to give the full picture of life as an ex-con for those who are interested.
My name is Chris Cash. I went from drug addict to prisoner to married father. I created /r/ExCons, and with the help of /u/kinggutter and /u/expeal, it spawned our Wiki. We hope to make it the best and most up-to-date resource for people who can't seal or expunge their criminal record and need to live with the worry of a red flag on their background checks.
Together, we also launched a non-profit this week, Rexcons, in order to raise enough funding to allow us to convert the Wiki into a paper version that will be supplied to inmates upon their release, starting with one facility we hope will serve as a model to others.
Along with the fact that the criminal justice reform movement has some real momentum behind it - the ban the box order by President Obama as well as the bi-partisan bills introduced by the Senate and the House, for example - I am excited about the major push towards providing real rehabilitative opportunities to those who earn them.