I didn’t for a minute think that God could change my circumstances; that’s not why I turned to Christ. I still expected to die in some prison fight as a natural consequence of my gang activity. But I did know that I would be right with God, and that one day my dad and I would be together in heaven.
I knew this because I had read the New Testament, especially during my times in solitary confinement (aka "the hole"). I don't know how many guys read them on the range (regular population), but the Bibles in the hole were always well worn.
The first time I went to the hole for fighting, I was in no mood for the Bible and threw it out of my cell at the guards before the door closed. These cells are fairly sparse—a raised concrete platform for your bed, a hole in the floor for your toilet (hence nick-name "hole"), a roll of toilet paper, and a New Testament.
After my action, I was immediately pulled back out of the cell, my toilet paper roll taken out by the guard, and shoved back inside. As the door was closing the guard asked, "Do you want the Bible now?" Realizing quickly that this Bible would be the only source of paper I would have for the next twenty days, I said yes.
This is where and when I first read the New Testament from cover to cover. I could relate to the criminal on the cross next to Jesus in Luke's Gospel. The criminal got to go to heaven by grace alone. Just by acknowledging his sin and believing in Jesus. I now understood grace, and asked for it.