About the Bureau of Prisons

By · Friday, October 17th, 2008

My wife sent me an article from BOP.gov that is titled About the Bureau of Prisons. The article states that the BOP “helps reduce the potential for future criminal activity by encouraging inmates to participate in a range of programs that have been proven to reduce recidivism. My experience of having been locked within various BOP facilities over the past 21-plus years suggests otherwise.

I began serving my sentence inside the high walls of a United States Penitentiary. After serving several years locked inside those walls, I transferred to prisons with lower security levels. In 2003, administrators transferred me to minimum-security camp.

I would like to say that I earned my way into camp, but all that really mattered was the turning of calendar pages and my clean disciplinary record. During my imprisonment I worked hard to educate myself and prepare for a law-abiding life upon release. I studied, earning an undergraduate degree from Mercer University, and a graduate degree from Hofstra University. I’ve published several books that help readers from around the world understand prisons, the people they hold, and strategies for growing through confinement. Yet in all the years I have served, I’ve never felt “encouraged” by the system that held me. In fact, the prison system has not treated me any differently from the prisoner who narcotized himself with soap operas and music videos.

To thrive in prison requires a significant amount of will power and discipline. Prisoners should master discipline and expect interference rather than encouragement from prison administrators. Those who want accurate descriptions of strategies to thrive through prison should read the articles available on MichaelSantos.net.

Those who read Bureau of Prisons propaganda statements like the one I quote above would be fooled into believing that the Bureau of Prisons makes an actual effort to prepare individuals for successful, law-abiding lives upon release. Yet high recidivism rates confirm that prison administrators focus on preserving the security of the institution, and place little emphasis on encouraging inmates.

Prisoners who want to thrive must think creatively and live goal centered lives. They should not expect prison administrators to give a hoot about accomplishments, the pride and cheering must come from within.

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