Local inmates draw their freedom

By Holley Nees - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - "I didn't think my artwork would impress anyone like that," said Roberto.

But, his artwork has impressed many people, and several murals later, Roberto has even had a few job offers.

"I've had a lot of people come up here, churches, and paint and body shops want me to go work for them," he said.

For now, he's working as an inmate, on a mural in the Angelina County Jail.  However, it's more than a job for him.

"It eases my mind a lot, I don't stress as much," he explained.

He doesn't worry as much about his family at home.

"That shows me there's people out there that do care, you know, my grandbabies, I got five grandsons, I need to be a grandfather to them," Roberto said.

Drawing gives him a purpose.

He said, "It's helped me a lot to find myself really, you know because this is me, this is coming out of me."

It also gives him a reason to be proud.

"My son came up here, he's 7, and I haven't been around him too much because I've been locked up. And he [saw] the name on the wall and he said who did that? And they said that's your dad. He goes, my dad didn't do that and they go yeah, that's your dad and he got all excited knowing that I had done that. So that makes me feel good," he said.

The Jail Captain, Mark Dearing, suggested the program to the Sheriff and he said it's taught them something more than incarceration.

"They've learned something from here. That they know that they can do something," Dearing said.

It brings the hope of a good life after one behind bars.

Roberto said, "It's a future in this.  I guess I just need everything to start over again."

The writing on the wall symbolizes freedom, something he hopes to gain soon.

Roberto admits, "This ain't no life for nobody."

The inmate said he hopes to be out in the next few months and he doesn't plan on being behind bars again.

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