When the judge gave her life with no parole, she said, "I couldn't breathe. It was hard to breathe for a long time."
For the first five years she kept to herself. As a lifer with no chance of parole, she initially was barred from prison self-help programs; they are reserved for inmates who actually might get out. But, she said, "I didn't want to die in here."
So she started remaking herself. She co-founded a Juvenile Offenders Program. She gave Skype presentations to hundreds of teenagers in the Central Valley. She volunteered on a "Scared Straight" project for at-risk kids. Once a high school dropout, she is working toward a college degree. She also works a janitor detail at the prison, clearing trash.
Her file is filled with testimonials lauding "her work ethic, positive attitude and exemplary behavior." In interviews, the staff was complimentary, as were other inmates. The young ones see her as a mentor.
"Now she's a grown woman," said Alicia Freyding of Mexicali, Mexico, a former inmate who last year bunked with Lozano. "They've taken half of her life, and I think that has just made her stronger."
Lozano said she cheers when other prisoners are paroled and is hopeful for herself. "We cannot keep throwing away children," she said. "How can we say children cannot turn their lives around?"