Love Makes Prison Easy

By · Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Yolanda Perez read my report from the Fourth Quarter of 2008. From that article, she rightfully realized how fortunate I am to have such a loving, magnificent wife. I thank God and count my blessings for Carole every day. Yolanda had a few questions for me about my thoughts on release. 

She wanted to know the reactions I expect to have on the day I walk out of prison boundaries. Some people may find me unrealistic, but I feel as if I am totally prepared for the challenges that await me. I may have nearly 22 years of imprisonment behind me, but I have used every one of those days to prepare myself. I know that economic challenges exist, but I am well educated and extremely disciplined. I am 45 and eager to live with my wife as part of a committed marriage. I am enthusiastic at opportunities to make meaningful contributions to my world. 

I do expect to feel some awe with regard to the advancements made in society over the decades that I have served. Technology did not exist when I began serving my term to the extent it does today. I will welcome opportunities to use the Internet for the first time, to talk on cell phones, to listen to an I-Pod or MP3. I expect other experiences may bring me joy. I don’t remember the feel of eating with a metal fork or using a knife to cut meat. I have not submerged myself in water since 1987. Of course I am eager to experience living with my wife. Prison rules have limited me in many ways, though I’m confident that I will react favorably to the experiences that await me, especially the freedom to touch and kiss my wife without limitations imposed by administrators. I am ready.

Yolanda also asked me to elaborate on what my life in prison would be like if I did not have such a caring wife by my side. Life without Carole would be sterile, empty, and without hope. I would not have reason to smile, and sadness rather than optimism would consume me. If I did not have Carole, I would not feel complete, and I would lack the inspiration that drives me to work harder in preparation for the life I am determined to give her. With Carole’s love in my life I feel like a human being, like a man. Without her, I would know that I was nothing more than a prisoner. 

Finally, Yolanda asked whether I thought I would have any fears upon release. I do not anticipate any fears to complicate my freedom. I am disciplined. I do not use drugs or abuse any substances. I do not expect to ever drink alcohol. I am well educated and expect to create employment opportunities. I will abide by the conditions my parole officer imposes, and I expect to lead a meaningful, law-abiding life. The preparations I have made over the past 21-plus years give me a peaceful confidence. I feel as if God is with me, and that by living God’s plan, I will lead a fulfilling life, whatever comes. I will be a good citizen, and a great husband.

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4 Responses to “Love Makes Prison Easy”

  1. I have the most magnificent husband!

  2. Jessica L. says:

    March 5, 2009

    In “love makes prison easy” article, you had mentioned, “If I did not have Carole, I would not feel complete, and I would lack the inspiration that drives me to work harder in preparation for the life I am determined to give her.” Lets’ say you didn’t have her and knowing what you had said is how you would feel, well, what would you need to do in order to feel as if you had someone? Since you know how it feels to have a caring wife…For the prisoners who don’t have a wife or loved ones, what would you recommend them to do to keep themselves in a positive environment in prison?

    Do you know anyone in prison who attempted and/or succeeded in the act of suicide/and is this because they lacked having family support? Did you ever feel like joining a prison gang, if not, is that because you have Carole? Would you be as committed to your wife as she is to you if she was in your shoes? (If she was the one that had to serve a long sentence)

    Some other questions I would like to ask unrelated to this article are:

    One of the most important goals of any correctional institution is to help the prisoners change their criminal behavior and avoid recidivism after release. Since it’s known that it’s nearly impossible to change one self (because most people don’t or don’t know how to). How did you change from someone who committed a crime to someone who is less likely to be involved in recidivism? Did you wake up one day and that was it or how long of a process was it to change?

    Displacement is a pretty big ordeal in prison. This is when prisoners are transferred to facilities far away from their communities to serve their sentence. Reading your “Inside” book, I’ve realized that you have been displaced several times. Do you feel displacement is unnecessary?

    Do you feel that prisons today have dehumanizing living conditions? What has changed significantly over the years… has the conditions got better or poorer?

    I’d like to better understand how you came about committing the crime you did. What was your intent for doing it? What was your childhood like and how did you grow up?

    This following question(s) is actually for the Carole Santos. It is known that nearly no one thinks about the woman of an incarcerated husband. The “Prison Wife” is the forgotten one, as she waits at home for her husband. Our society takes care of the sick and the dying but the prisoner’s wife is overlooked. The wife gets faced with insoluble problems, whether it’d be financial, emotional, psychological, social, health problems to face alone, and children to take care of. (If you have a child with Michael) it must be hard for a woman who must tell her son/daughter that their dad is in prison and won’t be coming home for a long time. No one thinks about the wife that must choose to become a prison wife, visit the prisons and be judged by everyone or walk away and deal with the pain and the loss of a man she had so many hopes of. what would you do in this case? Lastly, I would like to know what prison actually does to family members of the incarcerated. How is it possible to cope and get through this difficult time in your life?

    Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Santos so much for taking the time to read and trying to answer my questions, I really appreciate it!
    -J. La Scola

    • Hi Jessica,

      Thanks for your questions. I’ll post Michael’s response as soon as I receive it back from him, and I’ll answer your questions to me as well.

      Take care,
      Carole Santos

  3. John says:

    Dear Mr. Santos,

    My name is John, and I read the article “Love Makes Prison Easy” and I have a few questions.

    I would like to ask a question regarding the statement, “Without her, I would know that I was nothing more than a prisoner.” If you didn’t find Carol what would you being doing during your sentence to make it easier on you? I truly believe having a loved one or family member to support you through hard times, helps to make difficult situations easier. Do you recommend doing what ever you did to find love to other inmates? I can tell for someone that should be so angry over what happened, you seem to have a good attitude because you have someone there for you. It is very hard to find a good woman when you’re not in prison. Sp how did you manage to find Carol while incearcerated?

    Carol I have some questions for you too if you have time. How did you find Mr. Santos?
    I read somewhere you guys got married, congratulations to both of you. How is the wedding process done in the correctional system?
    I have another question for you unrelated to the article. Do you ever think about what you would be doing now if you were never convicted? What do you think your life would be like today?
    I feel that such a lengthy sentence for a nonviolent crime is unreasonable. I wish you both the very best. Thank you both for taking time to do this good deed.