(WFLA) – One wrong choice can land you behind bars for years. In this edition of “Inside the Criminal Conscience,” we take you into the mind of a convicted criminal.
Teze Jones grew up in one of Tampa Bay’s poorest communities. Along the way, Jones reached a point in her life and had to choose to either take the right or wrong path.
The path she chose wound up being one of the worst choices she could ever make.
From a drug fueled life to now being an author and established speaker, Jones courageously shares her story from felon and beyond.
Jones said her first memory is at age four when she was abused at the hands of a pedophile.
“That was when I made the decision that it’s up to me to protect myself,” she said.
“My childhood was this cat-and-mouse type existence to sum people up in a second or two to see if they were safe or not to be around. By the time I was a teen, I was pregnant at 14, had my child the day before my 15th birthday.”
For the next several years, times were tough, but the real troubles began in her twenties.
“I was arrested, I believe I was 28, 29 back in the mid-80s,” Jones said.
She started using crack, not knowing how addictive it would be.
“I thought it was something I could pick up and put down just like I did with a joint or a drink,” she explained.
She found a way to support her family by dealing crack. But one night, she heard a life-changing knock at her front door from Hillsborough deputies.
“They had a warrant for my arrest. I was under federal indictment and caught up in one of the federal sweeps,” Jones explained.
Pregnant with three kids, she said that moment felt like an out of body experience.
“It was like I was expecting Rod Sterling to come out, because it felt like the Twilight Zone and I couldn’t believe that was actually happening.”
Jones spent the next eight months in prison, but said the second she was released she knew right away her life would go in a much different direction. “I had no time for a pity party. I had to get about the business of being a mother.”
On that quest to live a better life, she leaned on her talents of being a “woman of words.” That process led her to write her first book humbly titled “The Crackhead Poet.”
Today, Teze Jones is sharing her story, speaking across the U.S. and to many prisoners as she helps others as she says “by the grace of God.”
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