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Joe Loya's idyllic childhood came to an abrupt end when his mother was diagnosed with a terminal illness. In the two years before her death, Joe's extremely religious father became increasingly violent toward his two young sons-a contradiction that haunted Joe for years. Then, at age sixteen, Joe retaliated during a particularly severe beating and stabbed his father in the neck.
For Joe, this was the starting point of a life of crime, and after holding up his twenty -- fourth bank, he was arrested and served seven years in prison. He continued his criminal behavior behind bars and was eventually placed in solitary confinement-the lowest of lows, even for convicts. Alone in his cell for two years, Joe was finally able to forgive his father, finding clarity, cultural insight, and redemption through writing.