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Who is Shawn Balva?


I was born in Englewood, New Jersey. At age five, My family and I moved to Las Vegas where I was raised. I grew up playing football but eventually went down a path of drugs and crime. It was through my negative life choices that I was sent to prison at 21 years old to serve an eight-year prison sentence.


But I didn’t allow the shackles of prison to shackle my soul. There, I became close to H-shem and to His Torah. I used my time only to exercise and study. I learned with the help of other inmates there how to study Gemara, read Hebrew, read Aramaic, and be able to study all forms of Torah books. 


Being a creative thinker, I put pen to paper in a very creative way. I inspired many people through my writings, being published in a few magazine articles, writing a book, and writing all sorts of Torah thoughts based on my confined situation. 


Now a free man, I live in Las Vegas, Nevada, continuing to live a Torah-observant lifestyle. I urge others, no matter their level in Judaism, to always have faith and trust in H-shem. With these traits, a person can make it through anything, even a place called “prison.”


Prison Time

May 2016 - September 2016

Pahrump, Nevada

Federal Detention Facility. Design-build. The 200,000 SF, 1,072-bed prison includes 204 cells and eight 96-bed dormitories. It also houses food service, commissary, warehouse, laundry, administration, visitors, medical and intake facilities.

September 2016 - August 2017

Victorville, California

The Federal Correctional Institution, Victorville are two medium-security United States federal prisons for male inmates in Victorville, California. Part of the Victorville Federal Prison Complex, it is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

August 2017 - February 2022

Otisville, New York

The Federal Correctional Institution, Otisville is a medium-security United States federal prison for male inmates located near Otisville, New York. It is operated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, a division of the United States Department of Justice.

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