April, 2009

Prison Reform For Justice

Recently I contributed an article for the readers of change.org that describes the absurdity of using the amount of time spent in prison as the primary gauge of justice. We need prison reforms that will encourage more offenders to work toward reconciling with society. That type of prison adjustment would yield far more in the […]

Prison Author Joe “Black” Reddick, My Friend

The New York Times published a feature article by Peter Duffy that described my friend Joe Reddick as a prison author. I knew Joe as Joe Black, which was the name he used in prison. I feel very proud to have played a role in influencing Joe to develop his writing talents as a strategy […]

An Open Letter to President Obama from a Prison Wife

April 16, 2009 President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW Washington, DC 20500  Re: Michael G. Santos, #16377-004 Dear President Obama: I write this letter in support of the Petition for Commutation of Sentence submitted by my husband, Michael G. Santos, federal registration number 16377-004. President Obama, you will find no better […]

Action on Michael’s Petition for Commutation

Michael had some interesting/exciting news yesterday. He learned that someone from the US Pardon Attorney’s office called administrators at Taft Camp with a request for his most recent progress report. In late March, Michael submitted an updated petition for commutation of sentence to the US Pardon Attorney. His petition has been on file since 2003, but […]

Spreading Awareness for Prison Reform

David C. Fathi blogged on some of the absurdities associated with the Prison Litigation Reform Act in the Huffington Post. He called for new prison reform legislation that would amend laws that make it so difficult for those in prison to seek justice for abuses they suffered during confinement. As a long-term prisoner, I am […]

Prison Reform Will Come

Senator Jim Webb introduced a congressional bill to establish the National Criminal Justice Commission on March 26, 2009. That bill has wide support, and upon its passage, it will create a commission to study the criminal justice system and reform the process. The commission will pay particularly close attention to the prison system. After 18 […]

Preparing for Happiness Through Adversity

The headline that crossed the news this morning revealed unemployment rates for March at 8.5 percent. That’s a number I watch closely, as it suggests the struggles I expect to face after I complete a quarter century in prison. If the unemployment rate is at 8.5 percent for all Americans, for those coming out of […]

Senator Stevens Escapes Justice

As I waited in my prison cubicle for a census count to clear this morning, I listened to an NPR news broadcast over the radio describing how the former Senator Ted Stevens would avoid a term in prison. Senator Stevens had been convicted on political corruption charges last fall. Ever since then, I’d been waiting […]

First Quarter Report, 2009

April of 2009 marks my 260th consecutive month in prison. Some may think that serving so much time in prison could lead to insanity. I remember reading about the character Dr. Manette in Charles Dickens’ classic novel A Tale of Two Cities. That character went crazy during the 17 years he served in prison. In […]

BOP Director’s Misrepresentation to Congress

Harley Lappin, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, issued a prepared statement to a Congressional committee on March 10, 2009. In Director Lappin’s lengthy statement pertaining to the Second Chance Act, he expressed that an integral part of the BOP’s mission indicates that “the post-release success of offenders is as important to public safety […]

Reduce Recidivism Through Reform

As a society, citizens ought to expect our $59 billion prison system to do more than warehouse offenders for the duration of their sentences. When we lock offenders inside abnormal communities for years or decades at a time, we condition them for non productivity. Rather than encouraging redemption, prisons extinguish hope and breed resentment. This […]

Furloughs Reduce Recidivism

All prisoners hope for furloughs, but not all prisoners qualify. I have never known a prisoner to deny a furlough. Though many prisoners recognize that they do not meet the criteria for furlough consideration and so do not apply. In federal prison, a prisoner must advance to within two years of his release date to […]

Hard Working Prisoners

I am a firm believer in the power of work, responsibility, and trust as motivating factors to inspire positive prison adjustments. Administrators could make much better use of these virtues to reform offenders. To succeed, they ought to look to the same types of incentive systems corporate leaders and small business owners use to motivate […]

Prisons Do Not Inspire Growth

Prisons used in moderation serve as a useful tool for society. Used in excess, however, prisons lose their potency. I was convicted of a nonviolent crime in 1987 and I have been in prison ever since. My adjustment has made me better qualified to offer positive contributions to society, though I do not attribute my […]

Prison Administrators Resist Change

Through the Second Chance Act, Congress found that those who spent lengthy terms in prison lost touch with society. When prisoners released, they lacked sufficient support to establish themselves. Such weakness led many prisoners to recidivate, lifting the costs for society. In passing the Second Chance Act, Congress hoped to help lower recidivism rates. Prison […]