It’s been 129 days since that first day of intervention, since he flopped onto his bunk bed at rehab in Piru, since the altercation with rehab staff, the head butt, the police who responded and found five outstanding warrants for his arrest.
For nearly three months James was locked up, bounced from one jail to the next, popping up each month inside the Santa Clarita Courthouse waiting to be sentenced.
James pleaded no contest and was convicted in July of five misdemeanors, all committed when he was homeless and stealing to feed his heroin addiction - drug possession, under the influence, hit and run and petty theft.
Today, however, on Sept. 8, James has done his time and leaves one of the state’s oldest and biggest jails, housing more than 15,000 inmates, and returns to Piru to begin serving 270 days of rehab - this time court-ordered.
Once in the sunshine outside the jail, flanked by his mother on one arm and the man who promised rehab on the other, James confesses:
“This has been a very humbling experience,” he blurts out. “I miss the outside a lot. Before I took it for granted.”
He has more to share before they get to the car. “I’m ready for the program,” he says, reflecting on jail one last time. “There is no love here at all.”
Did three months in jail do anything to change him? His attitude towards drugs?
Time will tell.