November, 2008

Was My 45-Year Prison Sentence Just?

As readers may know from my books and articles available at, my position is that we could create a more effective system that better serves the needs of society if we created programs that encouraged prisoners to prepare for law-abiding lives upon release. Justice should not be determined with the initial sentence, but rather […]

Seduced by the Glamor of Cocaine, I Deserved a Prison Sentence

Prior to federal authorities opening a criminal case against me, I had never known anyone who had served time in prison. My parents reared my two sisters and me in a relatively affluent, north Seattle suburb. They were small business owners and provided every opportunity for success. I lacked the good judgment to appreciate all […]

How To Stop the Flow of Drugs Into Prison

Administrators in high-security prisons use a variety of security measures designed to stop the flow of contraband into prisons. Despite their efforts, drugs remain a problem in prison. Drugs enter institutions through visiting rooms, through the mail, and through corrupt staff members. The smuggling of drugs into prisons is particularly problematic in secure prisons. Ironically, […]

Does Mandatory Education Help Prisoners Prepare For Release?

In federal prison, those inmates who cannot offer verification that they have earned a high school diploma or high school equivalency are required to attend classes. A staff member assigned to the education department oversees a cadre of inmate tutors who assist those who are mandated to attend. Prisoners who lack high school equivalency and […]

Why I Set High Standards for Myself in Prison

I strive to be the best in the world at what I do. That means I must measure my progress not in accordance with what others in society achieve, as they have resources that are beyond my reach. I measure my progress every day, and I compare the growth I make with others who have […]

A Long-term Prisoner’s Reaction to Bush’s Clemency Orders

As I sat watching the CNN broadcast on Monday evening, November 24, 2008, I read a streaming announcement on the bottom of the screen. President Bush had commuted the sentences of two federal prisoners and granted pardons to fourteen other people. Although that news should have filled me with optimism, I was filled with a […]

President Bush Will Pardon Turkey before Humans: A Pardon Primer

I am about to pass my 22nd consecutive Thanksgiving holiday as a federal prisoner. President Bush, I am sure, will take yet another opportunity to pardon a turkey. If history repeats itself, President Bush will not show such compassion to the more than 200,000 people serving time within the federal prison system. This President has […]

Prison Reforms We Can Believe In

Ultimately, society relies upon these prisons as tools to encourage law-abiding behavior. Yet flaws within the design of the prison system render it less effective than its potential. Statistics show that more than six of every ten people in America’s prison system return to confinement after their initial release. Reforms can lower those recidivism rates […]

Does Writing Influence My Status in Prison?

I’ve never fit the profile of a long-term prisoner. Rather than adjusting in ways that would bring me power through violence, I focused on educating myself. Instead of thinking about living in prison, my total commitment was in preparing for the life I wanted to lead upon release. That strategy required me to suspend my […]

Does Prolonged Prison Exposure Leave a Negative Influence?

People who meet me for the first time have a hard time believing that I have been in prison since 1987. When I tell them that I served more than 16 years in higher security prisons before administrators transferred me to minimum-security camp, they think that I’m exaggerating. Yet it is true. Almost all of […]

Overhaul the Prison System: Prison release based on merit not calendar

If society does not expect prisons to do anything more than warehouse human beings, then prisons succeed brilliantly. Yet, if taxpayers want a better return on their massive investment of public funds, then they need to overhaul the prison system.I am hopeful that the change our political leaders promise to bring to our country will […]

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want To Be by Jack Canfield is a book that encourages the readers to take responsibility for their own success. The book was divided into six sections, each of which contained scores of short chapters that offered strategies for reaching one’s highest […]

Love affair grows in a prison marriage based on love and commitment

Readers sometimes write me with questions about my marriage and my wife. They want to know how we keep our love alive and whether we anticipate challenges when we begin living together. Through books I’ve written, and articles available on, I’ve described my relationship with Carole, whom I’ve known since grade school. I am serving […]

Does Anyone In Prison Respect Nonviolent, Goal-oriented Prisoners?

My focus has never been on earning respect in prison. I strive to prepare for the life I want to lead upon release, and I do not allow anything to interfere with my progress. In books I’ve written about prison, and articles published at, I’ve described how a different set of values pervades higher […]

Who Protects the Female Prison Guards?

In the prison system, every staff member is considered a prison guard first. It doesn’t matter whether the individual works as a secretary, a receptionist, a nurse, or any other position. If the individual works for the prison system, that individual has an obligation to work toward preserving the security of the institution. When I […]