Adjusting to Prison

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 [...]

Quit Rewarding Failure

As I listened to the NPR broadcast at 5:00 AM this morning, I heard that many Americans were livid that executives at AIG would be splitting a bonus pool of $160 million. Executives at AIG had led a failed business model that has contributed to our global economic crisis. Taxpayer funds have been used to [...]

Prison Furloughs Can Lower Recidivism

American citizens have a vested interest in preparing offenders for successful re-entry into society. Those who leave prison without strong networks of support, without employment prospects, without a fundamental knowledge of the communities to which they will return, and without resources, stand a significantly higher chance of failure. When offenders revert to criminal activity upon [...]

Prison Guards Interfere with Corrections

Brenda asked me two questions with regard to my article entitled They’re Prison Guards, Not Correctional Officers. Brenda wanted to know whether I thought guards were trained to harass prisoners or whether the culture conditioned them to abuse their authority. She also asked whether I came across any prison guards who were not abusive. When [...]

Locking More People of Power in Prison Will Promote Prison Reform! Bring in the Governor!

News reports show that federal law enforcement officers have arrested the sitting governor of Illinois. Governor Blagojevich may soon follow his predecessor, Illinois’ former governor Ryan into federal prison. I’ve been locked inside various federal prisons since 1987, and it always pleases me when formerly influential members of society join our community of felons. Besides [...]

Watch For Prison Visiting Rules

Visiting in any federal prison requires discipline. That lesson sometimes eludes newer prisoners. The rules in every prison where I’ve been confined for the past 21-plus years specifically stated that prisoners were allowed to hug and kiss their visitors briefly at the beginning of each visit and again at the end of each visit. Most [...]

The Inspiration Behind Walt Jones’ Prison Adjustment

Kara wrote a comment in response to an article I wrote about my friend Walt Jones. She was inspired by the positive choices Walt had made as a long-term prisoner and hoped that her brother, who also was serving a lengthy prison term, could follow Walt’s example. Truthfully, the story I wrote about Walt did [...]

Beware of Roman Frabrizi in Prison

I’ve met scores of con artists during the more than 21 years I’ve served in prison. New prisoners should avoid interacting with them. I say con artist, I’m not talking about the men who led Ponzi schemes or who were convicted of the various fraud statutes. Those types of white collar offenders filled federal prison [...]

Why I Write About Prison

I’ve written more than a million words about the prison experience. Through the pages of several books my publishers have brought to market, and countless articles, I describe prison from a long-term prisoner’s perspective. Administrators don’t like that I work so tirelessly to expose this creepy underbelly of society. Like the boundaries that separate prisoners [...]

Motivating Prisoners to Make Positive Changes

In the fall of 2008, Forbes.com invited me to contribute an article on the concept of Power in Prison. As a long-term prisoner, I considered the opportunity a privilege. Intrigued with life inside the society of felons, readers issued a top ranking to the article. My wife, Carole, periodically checks the article and prints comments [...]

Why I Don’t Watch 24 From Prison

Millions of Americans tuned in to watch Jack Bauer defeat terrorism on the popular television series, 24. As a prisoner at Taft Federal Prison Camp, I was not among them. Many of my fellow prisoners watched the fast-paced show. They rely upon television to escape the loneliness of confinement. Even in a minimum-security camp, longings [...]

Successful Adjustment to Prison Does Not Happen by Accident

Writing about prison adjustments is an important part of my adjustment. I have been serving time in prison for longer than 21 consecutive years, and thriving through confinement is one subject that I know a lot about. I began my term inside a high-security penitentiary, and I remained locked inside those walls for longer than [...]

What is life like at FPC Fort Dix?

A  reader recently wrote to ask me a question about what life is like at the Federal Prison Camp at Fort Dix. He wanted to know what an individual should expect on the first day of placement in a prison camp, and what the typical routine was like. For more than seven years, I was confined [...]

Prisons Fail to Prepare Prisoners for Society

A noted historian named David Rothman wrote in his book, Asylums that prisons were total institutions. Those of us who live in prisons must function within the rules and policies that prison administrators set. Prisoners do not necessarily abide by all of the rules and policies, though they must function within them. For example, prison [...]