“Power from drug dealing was replaced with a life of peace” says transformed former prisoner Glen Roberts
His customers were addicted to the drugs but Glen Roberts was more addicted to the power that came with dealing.
"When you sell drugs and people are addicted to them," Glen explains, "they will do whatever you tell them and they will make you feel like a king."
This feeling stemmed from growing up in a poor family without some of the nice things other kids seemed to have.
Glen was 11 when his desire for cool clothes lead to stealing because he thought it was easier than washing cars and odd jobs.
He began breaking into lockers and selling his "findings" at the local flea market on Sundays.
At 14 he was discharged from the army cadets for stealing and selling Army equipment.
Glen began taking drugs and rebelled against his parents, thinking their hardworking ways were slow and he had found a more efficient road to success.
At 16 he was selling marijuana and hanging out with street gangs, finally experiencing the kind of belonging and popularity he had longed for in high school.
"I had girls, friends and constant excitement," he says. "I felt like I was really on the right path in life; I was popular and I fitted in."
Glen lived by the law "Do what thou wilt", justifying his unethical behaviour by saying he was merely "robbing from the rich".
“[At Albany's prison church]
... I felt completely welcomed”"I had a real hatred for any authority. If I was told, turn left, I would go right," Glen says.
Glen's parents were forced to spend all their savings on lawyers to keep him from going to jail, only for him to return to his lifestyle as a drug dealer.
Eventually Glen's actions caught up with him and he was sent to Casuarina Maximum Security prison, then relocated to Albany Regional Prison where "my cell mate was beaten up twice by two different people within the first hour of us being allocated the cell."
The next day when a prisoner invited Glen to the church service he agreed for some reason, despite the risk of becoming a target.
"When we walked down to the church area I felt a warm, calming atmosphere like the rest of the jail was behind us and I met all the guys and felt completely welcomed," he describes.
For the second time in his life Glen felt like he belonged somewhere, only this time it was not for his power or success but simply for being himself.
His addiction to power was soon replaced by a hunger to know more about God.
"I ended up giving my heart and life to the Lord Jesus after praying with a guy named Marlin," he says, "and I soon developed a thirst and a hunger to know everything about the Bible and God."
"My mindset began to change. I went from thinking I would go back to society after jail to a life of crime to thinking that if I was smart enough to make it in life the wrong way, surely I was smart enough to do it the right way," Glen adds.
Soon he spent every moment he had learning more about God and praying with his friends, notably Kevin Barry Nolan, one of Perth's well-known criminals who had also given his life to God.
"This was one of the many amazing Christian brothers that God had brought into my life and I am so grateful to the Lord for that time in Albany Prison," Glen says.
Later in Wooroloo Prison Glen began a Bible study for the prisoners, where even the toughest, non-Christian criminals encouraged and admired him.
After prison Glen had to start from the bottom, working a menial job.
"But God worked with me. He has built a great life for me surrounded by good friends and a great family," he says referring to his wife and twin boy and girl.
Glen now has a passion for leading Bible studies for drug addicts and prisoners, working closely with Prison Fellowship and two friends he met during his time in prison.
"Now I pray God can continue to use me and my past experiences for His glory I am His humble servant to do with as He pleases." •