Leal just needed time to think.
Locked up in Corcoran Prison, the West Side gang member had been in and out of custody multiple times. Time was something he had a lot of.
By 13, he was in a gang. Leal's father was in a gang, but did not push the lifestyle on his son. Leal learned it on his own, surrounded by friends and relatives attracted to the streets.
His mother and uncles battled drug addiction. The territorial threats of rival gangs and the drug culture were his constant companions.
At 21 he was on parole when he first came to Hope Now. Leal had no idea it was a Christian ministry and like so many, was only there for a job.
That first time out, Leal never really left the gang. A re-arrest and another stretch in Corcoran