Ja-el Crenshaw said though he would protect his loved ones, he “never had to stand up” for anyone – except for himself.
Crenshaw recently completed a year-long stint in the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility, the largest prison in the Philadelphia Prison System, located in the Mayfair area of Philadelphia. He was incarcerated after he pled guilty to stabbing his cousin. Crenshaw said his cousin attacked him and Crenshaw stabbed him to defend himself.
“I pled guilty to get out earlier,” Crenshaw said, adding that it was his first run-in with the law so the persecutor gave him a deal. “But it wasn’t justified. If it was justified, [my cousin] would have been in jail with me. He attacked me.”
Originally from West Philly, Crenshaw moved to North Philly six months ago after being released from prison. Though Crenshaw said it wasn’t difficult to transition back into society, the prison environment was not easy for him.
“I wasn’t used to being locked up like that,” Crenshaw said. “It was just you and the security guard.”
Now, Crenshaw is living off disability payments from the government. He used to do house repairs, which he said he misses.
“I tried to go back,” Crenshaw said, “but it was too hard with my breathing issues.”
Ashley Nguyen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.