Stay Out of Trouble and Keep a Positive Attitude while Serving a 45-years

By · Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Living in prison is not easy. I know because I began serving my sentence when I was 23-years old. Now I am about to turn 45. It’s been a long time, yet I feel blessed with all the opportunities that have come my way. Although I expect to serve between three and five more years, I feel grateful every morning when I open my eyes, and I thank God every night before I sleep.

The reason my adjustment has progressed so well is that I have always focused on emerging successfully from my prison experience. I knew that I would be serving multiple decades, that I would lose the opportunity to father a child or enjoy the privileges that so many others take for granted. Yet instead of dwelling on what was prohibited because of my prisoner status, I focused my energy on the opportunities I could create. I never expected anything from the prison, and I disciplined myself to avoid or minimize my exposure to altercation.

In my earlier years, while I was confined in higher security prisons, on occasion I had to walk through puddles of blood. I have seen more violence than I would have liked. Yet because of my adjustment decisions, I never struggled through a single altercation with another prisoner or staff member. I kept to myself, always in pursuit of the man that I wanted to become.

As a consequence of working toward very clearly defined goals, I could easily numb myself to the chaos around me. That strategy enabled me to keep a clean disciplinary record. Instead of courting trouble, I lived in constant pursuit of educational credentials, or opportunities that could add meaning and value to the lives of others. By focusing on positive projects, I felt as if I was living with a purpose. That prospect was much more palatable to me than living the shiftless life of prison. Although I have been confined for longer than 21 years, I feel as if my mind has been free. That has made a huge difference.

Administrators responded to my adjustment by transferring me from high-security prisons to medium-security prisons. Then I advanced to low-security prisons, and since 2003 I’ve been serving time in minimum-security camps. I’m currently at Taft Camp, and with fewer than five years remaining to serve. I’m feeling very blessed.

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