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Young is incarcerated in a medium-security prison outside Richmond, Texas, 45 minutes southwest of Houston. At 47 he is one of the oldest inmates in the unit, a trusty who is afforded more freedom than most. One morning this summer Young sat across from a reporter, the men separated by dense wire mesh above and below a thick pane of dirty glass. Young smiled when told that his son resembles him. There was little else for him to smile about. "I wanted to be a better person, but I just got caught up living that fast life," he said. "I'm disappointed in myself, being in here, but life goes on. I'm trying to do what it takes to be a better citizen."
He said he keeps a scrapbook of newspaper and magazine clippings detailing Vince's career. On Saturday mornings in the fall he lines up at the prison recreation center before it opens at eight, so that he can get a good seat in front of the television. "Even when the Longhorns are playing, you've got people who don't like sports," Young said. "Sometimes you get problems." He writes letters to Vince but sends them to his own mother, Betty, who lives in Houston, and to Felicia.
Young was told that his son resents him. "You can't blame him for that," the father said. "I just know our relationship could be better if I was out there with him. I'm doing this interview so people will know how his dad feels about him. I always wanted to set a good example, but like I said, I just got caught up."
What would he do, Young was asked through the mesh, if he could meet with his son now? "I'd hold him, hug him, tell him I'm sorry and I love him as a son," said Young. "I want him to know it hurts me to be here, not seeing his games." He paused and rubbed a hand across his face. He nodded at the reporter's notebook and said, "I'd appreciate it if you'd write all that down."
the women in Vince's life hope he will someday make peace with his father. "Dad knows he can't make up for all those years," says Vintrisa, who writes to her father once a month. "Vincent is eventually going to understand, and everything will work out."
Felicia says, "We have all fallen in life. Ain't nobody perfect but Jesus." Now 48, she says her partying days ended on July 27, 1996 ("When God called me," she says), two months after Vince's 13th birthday. She telephones her son every morning at five o'clock and reads a piece of scripture into his voice mail so he can listen to it when he awakens.
Still, it's difficult to imagine a reconciliation between father and son. Vince has, indeed, tried to not be like him. As a teenager he protected his older sisters from unwanted suitors. "Vincent was big," Vintrisa says, "and if some guy was around we didn't like, Vincent would just give him that She's my sister look, and that guy was gone." He gave away both sisters at their weddings. Vintrisa, now divorced, called her little brother's cellphone on June 19 to wish him a Happy Father's Day because, she says, "I always thought of him as my father."
As part of Vince's college course work, he spent the early part of this summer working as a teacher in a program for at-risk children ages 12 to 14. A week after his obligation ended, he returned to C.D. Fulkes Middle School in Round Rock, just north of Austin, and surprised his former students.
"Can you stay?" shouted 13-year-old Sara Garc�a.
"Why do you want me to?" asked Vince.