Deanna's Story

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Deanna’s Story: “Prop. 47 has opened doors of opportunity”

It was the 4th of July, 2004. Deanna, then 34, had spent the afternoon “binging” on methamphetamine, smoking so much of the drug she became oblivious. “I was so tired I just didn’t care anymore,” she said. “I watched the cop car drive right past me, slow down, brake, and turn back around.”

Deanna was arrested for the first time that day, and spent her first night in jail, the first of many. But while Deanna’s tangles with law enforcement were new, her problems with drugs were not.

“I grew up in a large family. My father worked hard to meet all our needs, but our family still struggled with addiction,” said Deanna, who started drinking at 14 and began using methamphetamine, or meth a few years later. “The chances of moving past that unaffected were slim.”

Her problems with the law deepened when she was caught writing a bad check several years later. As her third strike, Deanna faced a prison sentence, but was offered an alternative—a 90-day rehabilitation program.

After successfully completing the first three months and staying clean, Deanna was asked to stay on as a resident, and remained there for the next three years.

Deanna’s faith became a critical part of her life and inspired her to take a job as the junior high youth minister at her church. While the high needs were challenging, Deanna found it rewarding to give back to the community that had helped her overcome addiction.

This October, Deanna, now 45, will have been clean from drug addiction for a decade. And thanks to Prop 47, Deanna had all of her felony charges lowered to misdemeanors this past December.

The change on Deanna’s record presents many opportunities for a brighter future, namely a seat on her county’s juvenile review board. The board, which helps struggling youth and their families address problems and come up with collaborative solutions, reached out to Deanna about a position last year but requested she pursue a record change first.

“The passing of Prop. 47 has opened doors of opportunity– not just for my life, but for me to help the next generation with theirs,” Deanna added. “Just like the pushers and the pimps who go after young people, we need to go after them, but to offer encouragement and hope for their futures instead.”

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