A long journey from petty criminal to husband and father

Even after his wife gave birth to twins, Jay Coleman, now 51, admits he remained enamored with the high he got from committing crime rather than being a family man.

“I hadn’t had the responsibility of having children long enough to develop that sense that, ‘Okay, I may not think about the future for myself but I have to think about the future for my children,” Coleman said in a recent interview. “I wasn’t there yet. I wasn’t there for many years.”

In 1981, less than a year after the birth of his children, Coleman was arrested for robbery and sentenced to prison in upstate New York for 25 years-to-life. It was during this separation from his family that Coleman evolved from petty criminal to a responsible father and husband.

In this series of interview clips, Coleman, who completed his 25 years and rejoined his family on October 28, 2005, talks about his first crime, his eventual incarceration and how he worked to strengthen his family ties from behind bars. This is the first clip of the series.

About Sandeep Junnarkar

Sandeep Junnarkar is the founder and editorial director of Family Lives Behind Bars.