Profiles and Stories

New Prisoners Should Prepare Family Before Self-Surrendering

John was a fellow prisoner at Taft Camp who was going through a difficult adjustment. The trouble was not so much the 14-month sentence he served, but rather the pressure he felt as a consequence of his not being able to meet the financial needs of his family. John said that he could have made […]

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 […]

Gang Banger and Lifer Show Model for Reform

I met Walter Jones at Taft Prison Camp. Many of the prisoners at Taft were serving time for white collar crimes. They were well educated, serving sentences that rarely exceeded five years. Walt was different. He was a former hardcore gang banger with more than 12 years of incarceration behind him. Walt’s time in prison […]

Ice Pick Leaves Prison for Compton

Ice Pick is 35-years-old, and he has been incarcerated since he was 21. He was sentenced to serve 30 years, but a judicial decision resulted in Ice Pick’s sentence reduction. He transferred to this minimum-security camp in Taft, California because his time cut resulted in reclassification. Ice Pick hails from what he described as a […]

Top Ten Prison Reform Goals, Article 4: Prison Reforms Should Include Partnering Prisoners with Community Leaders and Mentors

Blinky and I were confined in the same housing unit when I began serving my term. He had been incarcerated for ten years and he had a set pattern for serving time that I found typical of the penitentiary. Every morning he left for work in the prison factory, where Blinky presided over an operation […]

Top Ten Prison Reform Goals, Article 2: Prison Reforms Ought to Offer Incentives to Transform Prisoners into Students and Teachers

Our prison system churns out repeat failures at an alarming rate. As a prisoner who has been locked in various prisons since 1987, I’ve learned a great deal from the thousands with whom I’ve served time. Personal experiences, observations, and lessons I’ve learned from others convince me that I know the prison reforms necessary to […]

Dan is Getting Out of Prison

After 14 years of imprisonment, Dan is going home. Dan has been incarcerated since the summer of 1994. At the time of his arrest he was a 25-year-old without much more of a formal education than the GED he earned in night school. He had been working in an Arizona gas station when friends who […]

Professional Sports Agent Serves 60 Months for Smuggling Cuban Athletes

In September of 2008, I had an opportunity to speak with Gustavo “Gus”¬†Dominguez at Taft Prison Camp. Gus was a founder of Total Sports International. He built a thriving career as a sports agent for Major League Baseball. Many of Gus’s clients played for the Cuban national team before they fled Castro’s oppressive regime for […]

Criminal Probes and Indictments for White Collar Crimes

A few months ago I interviewed Jeff, a corporate executive serving a prison term at Taft Camp. A bad investment decision he made on behalf of a publicly traded corporation for whom he worked in Northern California led to an indictment for wire fraud. The corporation notified federal authorities when the investment went bad. Through […]

What Second Chance?

Two months after the passage of historic legislation, Second Chance Act, designed to reduce recidivism, administrators continue with obstacles that hinder successful transitions from prison to society In April of 2008, President Bush signed the Second Chance Act of 2007. According to an overwhelming majority from both houses of Congress, the legislation had several purposes. […]