Prison as Part of my Future

By · Monday, October 27th, 2008

Provided I receive permission from the parole officers who will supervise my release, I hope to build a career that will help individuals avoid prison, and that will help those forced to struggle through prison emerge successfully. Besides working with at-risk adolescents, I hope to lead seminars inside of our nation’s prison system that will help individuals discover and commit to strategies that will enable them to overcome the adversity of confinement.

I empathize with the more than 2.4 million people who serve time in American prisons. Ever since my term began, I have worked to prepare myself so that I could become an effective spokesperson to bring about meaningful prison reform. As prisons currently operate, I am convinced that they miss opportunities to help offenders prepare for better lives. Instead of “correcting,” our nation’s prisons only warehouse human beings. That approach, according to my experience, has no place in an enlightened society.

Prison has been all that I have known since 1987. I was 23-years-old when I began serving my term and I am almost 45-years-old now. If laws remain the same, I expect that I will serve more than four more years before release will come. After more than a quarter century of being locked in prisons of every security level, many would think that I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with prisons after my release. Yet I expect that prison will always be a part of my life.

It is not only the lower classes who struggle through prisons. Those who serve time for white collar crimes, also, suffer from the loss of hope. Prisons separate individuals from family and community for years or decades at a time. Those in prison can benefit from positive role models who have endured the experience. After having served time in prisons in every security level, I feel confident that I can present positive messages to all people who are locked in prison. My experiences qualify me to deliver messages with credibility, and I hope that I can build a career that will help others achieve their highest potential.

Without question, prison has been the experience that has influenced my thoughts. Despite knowing that I would serve many decades inside, I knew that my adjustment inside prison would determine the life I could lead upon release. By focusing on educating myself and contributing to society, I could live with hope. That focus has enabled me to build a career as an author, to marry and build a family with an extraordinarily beautiful and talented woman, and to communicate with thousands of people through my Web site. The preparations I have made will keep me working with prisoners for the rest of my life. I hope to inspire others to grow in positive ways.

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