Matt Reports To Marion Prison Camp

By · Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Matt is a prisoner who was scheduled to self-surrender to Marion prison camp in February. He discovered my writings through an internet search and wanted to know how I was able to publish while I served my own prison term. Matt also requested information on prison life and what he should bring with him when he self-surrenders.

As a long-term prisoner, I strive to provide as much information as possible to those who consider the providing of such information my duty as an American citizen and as a man who has lived in prison for longer than 21 years. I have seen too many people come into these subcultures and adjust poorly. Those who make bad decisions often inadvertently, conclude their sentences no better than when they began.

As a prisoner, I do not have direct access to the internet, computers, or even typewriters. I must rely on others to publish my work. That is the reason costs are involved. Yet through the articles available, I provide a depth and breadth of information that will help others understand the prison system in its entirety, and understand how to thrive through the adversity. Those articles explain about self surrendering as well as offer strategies on how to adjust effectively by following what I called a quadrant theory of adjustment.

With regard to Matt’s question on how I maintain an Internet presence while serving a federal prison term, the answer is simple. I work. As I document through my daily journal entries, I follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice of early to bed and early to rise; he demonstrated that such a strategy made a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. By sleeping before 7:00 each evening I’m able to wake and begin working before 4:00 each morning.

Since I have access to pen and paper only, I write by longhand. I send my work home and my wife transcribes my work into a digital file, then loads the article onto the web. This is a family affair and an integral part of my preparations for success upon release. It requires discipline, though the payoff is that it helps me stay focused, motivated, and grateful to be building a stronger network of support while I contribute to the lives of others.

I find writing therapeutic. It allows me to find peace in solitude and it keeps me sane. Should Matt want to document his experience, or should any other prisoners want to contribute, my wife can provide access to our blog for guest contributors. I encourage such contributions, as I strive to help others understand prisons, the people they hold, and strategies for growing through confinement.

Understanding the challenges ahead, however, will prove extraordinarily helpful to all who are about to enter confinement. That knowledge will help individuals make better decisions, avoid conflict, and emerge stronger than when they began.

I wish Matt and others good luck on the journey.

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