Seven Habits of Highly Successful Prisoners–Article One

By · Monday, February 9th, 2009

Prisoners Should Embrace Proactive Adjustment Patterns

Prisoners should not allow the obstructions of confinement to block them from preparations they had to make to succeed upon release. During the 21-plus years that I’ve served in prisons of every security level, I’ve listened to numerous prisoners complain about the lack of opportunities to add value to their lives. Some whined incessantly of boredom. Some griped about living conditions. Some argued that nothing mattered.

Those who thrived through prison adjusted differently. They overcame the challenges wrought by prison administrators by making proactive adjustments. Proactive prisoners understood that the onus was on them to lead meaningful lives, regardless of circumstances.

Rather than dwelling on the freedoms forfeited as a consequence of confinement, or what they had lost, successful prisoners focused on the privileges within reach. It was incumbent upon each to make the most of what he had.

I was 23-years-old when I began serving my sentence. The length of my term meant that administrators would not schedule my release until I had served more than 25 years. Life would go on. My parents would age. My sisters would build families of their own. I would live amidst chaos and negativity. The choice to determine my adjustment, however, would be mine. I chose to succeed.

Every prisoner had to make his own choice. Some men hung their heads in shame. Others rebelled. Weak prisoners sought medication in misguided efforts to assuage anxieties, loneliness, and the many demons tormenting their minds. Experience convinced

Administrators do not consider it their job to make life easy for prisoners. Their level of interest in preparing offenders to overcome the obstacles that come with release hovers between slim and none, and not necessarily in that order. Significant prison reforms are necessary in order to bring change to infrastructures that are designed to extinguish hope. Successful prisoners, however, will not allow outside forces to condition them for misery and failure.

Successful prisoners create their own opportunities for growth through positive adjustments. They understand the importance of bringing meaning to their lives in spite of prison conditions.

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