Kimberly Gutierrez, age 28
CDX X 35875
San Francisco, CA
16 when involved.
I grew up in the system. I was seven when my mother went to prison. Selling drugs. I’m first generation from Nicaragua. We came when the Sandinistas took over and got amnesty here in ‘79/’80. We grew up in the Tenderloin. My Dad was in and out of the house and prison. I had three siblings so it was four siblings in foster care. I always ran away. I was in nine placements. I would go back to an auntie’s home or I would be on the street. I would steal to survive or ask my auntie for money. I dropped out of school in 7th grade. I was never gang affiliated. I was never really abused in the foster homes, but I never felt comfortable in any of these homes. When I was homeless I would ride the bus all night. I would do that in sixth grade. The city is very busy so I could hide out in plain sight by being on the bus. There would be times my Auntie wouldn’t let me in. She would call the cops when I was AWOL. The cops would pick me up and drop me at a shelter. Originally I would be charged with trespassing then I would go to juvenile detention for petty crimes, fighting stuff like that.
My Mother is a strong woman. She was good with us. I feel I cheated my community. I started with selling drugs and stealing from stores, small businesses. I would do things like purse snatches. The first time I was in Juvie I was 13 or 14. I was in isolation for my whole stay there. San Mateo Detention. I would be in my cell for 23 hours and out for an hour. It could be months or weeks. Once I was in isolation for three months. Looking back on it… it was pretty counter-productive. The first time I was in San Mateo holding. I had no mattress, no personal clothes. I had gone in for fighting. I was arrested and confused. I knew I was in trouble. That’s what happens to you when you break the law. Juvie was terrible but I had no understanding. They did bad things to me when I was pregnant as well. When you come to a facility I know I have rights but they are not respected. It is inhuman to do this to a kid. Mental health wasn’t there. I saw five or six counselors but they were overwhelmed by their caseload. You don’t know what the hell is going on. Juvie was a couple of trips. I was wild on the streets. I got direct filed on me for this. I got 21 years.
It was night, I had a gun. I was with two friends, all women. They are now both free. They put it on me. Our victim was a man. Just a careless act. I had a gun because I ran on the streets. I felt safe with a gun. The man didn’t do anything to merit his life being taken. I was angry. I realize a lot of the men had no respect or fear of me. I wanted that respect or fear because I wanted to be left alone. I was confused and trying to find an identity. Back then I was just waiting to die. This was in 2004. I have done 11 years and at least 12 to go. I am eligible for parole after 21 years.
My baby is with her father. My baby is now 10. I had a son as well when I was in custody. He is 8 ½ years now. The same father. He won’t be part of my family but maybe my children will. I’m working on it. I am considering what my duty is as a mother and as a woman. I am always in a program. When I was young I straddled the fence. When you come to prison you have to fight, be feared and respected. It is like being an animal. I was participating in the wrong things and it got me into here. I am still going to groups and programs here. I want to be a woman and stop acting like an animal. I am sincere about the changes I want to make and not just saying it because it is expected. I got my GED and now doing college math and science. I am working with Coastline. They work the higher education on-line programs in prison. In isolation is also in C over C, SHU. There is no college program there. It is a privileged they won’t give you. My first parole hearing was due April 29th but it was postponed due to a lack of parole commissioners.