Rigid Rules Influence Prisoners

By · Thursday, March 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on Rigid Rules Influence Prisoners

One of the reasons prisons rock with violence, gang pressures, and corruption is because the rigid controls extinguish hope. Prisoners live inside the boundaries with a continuous pressure. Granted, most of the prisoners brought that discomfort upon themselves through their criminal convictions. While locked inside the prison boundaries, however, the prisoners adjust to the culture […]

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Measuring Justice Served

By · Thursday, March 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on Measuring Justice Served

As a 45-year-old man, I am coming to that fulcrum where I will have lived more of my life in prison than I lived in society. Truthfully, it feels to me as if I’ve always been in prison. I was 23 when my sentence began. The experiences I had prior to my confinement feel abstract, […]

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Close Prison Camps

By · Thursday, March 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on Close Prison Camps

Bernard Madoff appeared in a Manhattan courtroom and┬áplead guilty to numerous federal crimes. He admitted to orchestrating a Ponzi scheme that swindled victims of more than $50 billion. Jesus Rosales, a criminal justice student, has asked a question that causes me to consider an appropriate sanction for white-collar ciminals. The Madoff case presents an extreme […]

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Educate Prisoners!

By · Thursday, March 19th, 2009 · 1 Comment »

The Pell Grant ought to be available to people in prison. Congress provided that funding to help poor people advance their education. People who have access to higher education make greater contributions to society. They earn higher incomes than those without an education, and the incomes they receive stimulate the economy. Further, the taxes those […]

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Maintaining A Thriving Marriage From Prison

By · Thursday, March 19th, 2009 · Comments Off on Maintaining A Thriving Marriage From Prison

Since I am a long-term prisoner, many people wonder how it is that I enjoy such a magnificent marriage with my wife, Carole. I understand those curiosities. Divorce rates in America for couples who don’t struggle through the obstacles of confinement do not bode well for the concept of marriage. Carole and I are enjoying […]

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Institutionalized Failure Does Not Lead to Corrections

By · Saturday, March 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on Institutionalized Failure Does Not Lead to Corrections

Ryan Thomas asked whether I thought “the institutionalized lifestyle of a prisoner is in itself a way of correcting.” He also wanted to know what I attributed the growth I have made over 21 years of imprisonment if not correctional officers. I appreciate this opportunity to respond to Ryan’s question, and I hope readers find […]

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Reform Prison Guards

By · Saturday, March 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on Reform Prison Guards

In the 1970s, Professor Phillip Zimbardo conducted the famous Stanford Prison Guard experiment. Many academics have cited his findings. Matt Kelley quoted some of Professor Zimbardo’s findings in an article he recently wrote for change.org. The academic experiment at Stanford, together with my own experiences as a long-term prisoner, convince me that when guards enforce […]

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Mentors Guided Me Through Prison

By · Saturday, March 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on Mentors Guided Me Through Prison

The negative influences that exist within the prison system are well documented. In the Second Chance Act, Congress published findings showing that seven of every 10 prisoners recidivate upon release. My thoughts have always been that the three prisoners of every 10 who succeed upon release adjust to prison differently from the seven who fail. […]

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President Obama and Prison Reform

By · Saturday, March 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on President Obama and Prison Reform

I feel confident that President Obama will take significant steps forward with regard to prison reform. I know that our country faces significant challenges going forward. American citizens are rightfully concerned about the economic crisis that has brought high unemployment. They want to see reduced costs and expanded coverage for health care. They want reforms […]

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Prisons Divert Billions of Tax Dollars From Education and Health Care Programs

By · Saturday, March 14th, 2009 · Comments Off on Prisons Divert Billions of Tax Dollars From Education and Health Care Programs

Rachel and Ana asked me some poignant questions on prison reform that I appreciate. An article I wrote on work-release and study-release interested them. They are criminal justice students and they understandably expect prisoners to pay a price for the crimes they committed against society’s laws. Rachel thought it unjust that people in prison could […]

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Prison is Hard on Prison Families

By · Thursday, March 12th, 2009 · 2 Comments »

Thomas Ross is a fellow prisoner who serves time with me here at Taft Camp. Like millions of American families, his wife and children struggle through these challenging economic times. As a federal prisoner, however, Thomas does not perceive any mechanisms through which he can contribute. The helplessness that comes with confinement really complicates his […]

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Prison Environments Influence Prison Guards

By · Thursday, March 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on Prison Environments Influence Prison Guards

Sarah Dooley asked me whether I thought the prison environment influenced the behavior and attitudes of those who staff prisons. My answer is yes. Administrators at every prison establish the culture that exists within the prison boundaries. When they admonish staff members for interacting with the prisoners on human being to human being level, they […]

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Sex in Prison Visiting Rooms

By · Thursday, March 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on Sex in Prison Visiting Rooms

Cindy Bedolla wrote to ask whether my wife and I ever violated the visiting rules of a federal prison. She also wanted to know whether we ever saw other prisoners violating the rules with their visitors. I’m grateful for this opportunity to share my experiences and to help Cindy understand more about prison life. As […]

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Prisoners Have Right to Marry

By · Thursday, March 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on Prisoners Have Right to Marry

Molly Woods asked me some questions about people who marry in prison. I am thrilled to talk about prison marriages, as I married Carole in a prison visiting room. My marriage to her has been the greatest blessing in my life. Our relationship inspires me to work harder to prepare for the obstacles I must […]

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Prisons are Profit Centers for Lobbyists

By · Thursday, March 12th, 2009 · Comments Off on Prisons are Profit Centers for Lobbyists

Linda Pacheco is a college student who is expanding her understanding of the prison system by reading my work. I welcome the privilege of being able to contribute to her education. Clearly, she understands that I write from the perspective of a long-term prisoner. In an article I wrote about the interests of prison lobbyists, […]

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