Colton was brought into this world March 1998, in Nampa, Idaho. Within the year his parents would separate and Colton would move to Northern Idaho with his father. As he began to grow alcohol, drugs and violence surrounded him. One day, 5-year-old Colton, told his dad he wanted to be just like him when he grew up. His dad passed him a beer and cigarette and told Colton he better learn to smoke and drink like him. Once he had tasted his first beer Colton would begin to steal sips of his dad’s drinks when they were lying around the house. One day he tasted whiskey and would begin drinking heavily as a 6-year-old boy. At age 7 Colton tried drugs for the first time, making it a weekly habit. Soon he would realize his high wasn’t enough and he tried cocaine and other hard drugs. Colton learned by age 10 he could make a lot of money in the drug world and he began dealing. By 6th grade, Colton found a love for wrestling and learned as he became highly addicted to drugs he could use losing weight for wrestling as an excuse for the dark circles under his eyes and extreme weight loss. Through all of the violence, alcohol, and drugs he maintained A’s and B’s in school.
Colton was taught through actions violence was a way to live the life you want. He often got into fights and was encouraged to do so. One of his earliest memories was that during family get-togethers his parents, aunts, and uncles would put Colton and his older brother in a mock ring and place bets as to who would be beaten up or knocked out first. He also recalls, while at his grandpa’s house, his older brother hit him over the head with a beer bottle, Colton had a pellet gun in his hands threatening to shoot his brother out of anger. His grandfather and family became furious and told Colton that if you pull out a weapon you use it and if he would’ve shot his brother he wouldn’t have gotten into as much trouble. As violence continued to surround him at home, the drug leaders would learn of Colton’s aggression and use him as an enforcer for people who owed money. His dad would soon learn Colton driving back and forth between Idaho and Washington to pick up drugs to sell in Idaho. Knowing this Colton’s dad sent him back to Nampa to live with his aunt.
Nampa was a second home to Colton, as every two weeks to a month he would live with a new relative. Once arriving in Nampa he began hanging out with his old friends and family, began fighting, and got involved in drugs. He would attend parties and fights would be line up for him, at times he would fight six times a day. One night after drinking with his uncle and cousin at Lake Lowell the police showed up, realized he was intoxicated and attempted to arrest him. As he sat in handcuffs Colton would begin to kick and head butt the police until they took him to the hospital. Doctors told him he was a dead man walking as he blew a 3.8 and a 4.0 equals death. After this incident, Colton attended court where he was sentenced to one month and put on probation. Two days after his release he was back with his uncle and cousin drinking. His uncle passed out in the truck and the boys took the liquor and started walking. The police stopped Colton and his cousin and slammed him on top of the police car. Enraged, he began swinging at the police. This time Colton would go back to juvenile detention for a year and be released on good behavior.
Once Colton was released he began using drugs and alcohol again. After six months, he was driving his friends to a gas station to purchase beer and cigarettes, as he was sitting in the car he realized his friends were robbing the store. He was now an accomplice to a robbery. Days later while at the gym US Marshals would arrest him and take him back to Juvenile Detention. Two weeks went by and Colton was released due to a lack of evidence. He went back to his aunt’s house, during an argument his aunt began hitting him, he would try to block the blows, eventually grabbing her arms so she couldn’t hit him anymore, and left. His aunt called the police and police began patrolling the area looking for Colton. As he hid in a ditch he saw police at his aunt’s house; knowing he had drugs in his bag he ran to a nearby friend’s home who drove him to his brother’s house in Kuna. When he arrived a friend informed him that her 13-year-old sister was at a house of 20+-year-olds who were using drugs and it wasn’t safe. Colton and his brother went to go pick her up and the men wouldn’t release the girl for some time. Once they let her go with Colton and his brother the police were called. The next morning US Marshals arrested Colton and his brother. Once again he was in juvenile detention. He was not only tried for his parole violation but aiding and abetting from his previous crime. Colton decided to offer a plea bargain for one of the three felonies, the other two would be dropped and he would no longer face 25 years to life on each felony. He found himself in juvenile detention for another year until his next court date. As he sat in jail he remembered his family telling him he will be just like his mom, arrested for the first time when 12 and eventually land himself in prison.
This is when Colton’s story begins to change; I met Colton summer 2015 at Juvenile Detention. During the first day of healthy relationship class, I noticed him not engaging. He didn’t want to talk and if he did he was cracking jokes about the class, and he was rarely looking up. The second and third month was the same. However, I made it a point to always ask him a question about himself; whether it was, what’s your favorite color or do you like sports. Sitting at my desk after the third month I received a letter in the mail; it was from Colton. “Dear Kaitlin, I ain’t good at writing long letters surprisingly. I told you I would write you and I’m a man of my word…at first, I took the class as a joke but it actually works, writing down that stuff and looking at everything opens your eyes to different worlds.” In the fourth month of classes, he began to participate and ask questions. The next month I received another letter, it included his 20 year-goals, “Join the military and receive my diploma.” Month six, Colton was all but teaching the class, answering every question, asking how to pursue healthy relationships and telling the new kids who were joking to stop because the class is important. In his last letter he wrote, “You are the sixth person I have ever trusted in my life.” I began writing him back, my phone rang, and it was Colton telling me he was released before his hearing. He asked if I would write the judge a letter and if I was serious about anger management classes. I wrote a letter for his release and we began anger management classes.
Colton has been out and sober for 9 months, attends counseling when he can, completed anger management courses in July, maintains a full-time job and drops by the office weekly for check-ins. We are now in the process of finding him a program to get receive his diploma, as he wants to be the fifth person in 3 generations to graduate. He still maintains hope of getting his felony dropped for completing three years probation and wants to serve our country in the military.