Warehousing vs. Rehabilitation as the Goal of Prison

I would like to believe that rehabilitation mattered in the prison system. If rehabilitation mattered to the system, administrators would have released me many years ago. After all, during my first eight years of confinement, I earned an undergraduate degree from Mercer University and a graduate degree from Hofstra University. I was 31 and as […]

Serving a Prison Sentence Without a Gang

Prison environments frighten those who have never been exposed to confinement before. Television shows and popular myths influence perceptions. New prisoners have heard stories about  prison gangs, prison rape and brutal guards. In reality, the worst part of prison is the unknown. When I began serving my sentence in 1987, I didn’t know anything about […]

How Prisoners Focus on Goals in the Midst of Negativity

Prisons are volatile environments. The infrastructure is one that extinguishes hope. Many of the men who serve time choose to abandon thoughts of the outside world because they cannot project themselves decades into the future when release dates loom. Some respond with violence, or with bullying others. Despite my having served more than 21 years […]

Why I Set High Standards for Myself in Prison

I strive to be the best in the world at what I do. That means I must measure my progress not in accordance with what others in society achieve, as they have resources that are beyond my reach. I measure my progress every day, and I compare the growth I make with others who have […]

The Success Principles by Jack Canfield

The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want To Be by Jack Canfield is a book that encourages the readers to take responsibility for their own success. The book was divided into six sections, each of which contained scores of short chapters that offered strategies for reaching one’s highest […]

Reflecting on the Long Prison Sentence I Serve

I made the bad decision to sell cocaine when I was in my early 20s. That decision led me into criminal charges, indictments, convictions, and a 45-year prison sentence. Despite having no history of violence or prior imprisonment, my sentencing judge and the U.S. prosecutors wanted me to serve a significant portion of my life […]

Why I Don’t Succumb to Prison Influences

I have never embraced the values that prison environments perpetuate. I recognize prisons as exquisite designs to condition offenders for further failure. My interest has never been in cultivating a reputation within prison boundaries. Rather, I have always thought about the life I wanted to lead upon release. While I was beginning my term inside […]

How I Avoided Prison Subcultures

Prisons are like mini communities, totally separated from the wider society. Those who live inside find cultures that differ in remarkable ways from the America that most citizens know and love. In what I call the real world, citizens strive to reach their highest potential. People earn respect by working to educate themselves, by contributing […]

Why Don’t More Prisoners Take Advantage of Improvement Programs?

America is a magnificent country because it inspires hope in all of its citizens. Anyone who applies effort and works toward excellence can succeed. Every American has the power within to reach meaningful goals. Those who live in prison, on the other hand, struggle through constraints that are much more like communism than the society […]

How to Avoid Problems and Violence in Prison

During the more than 21 years that I have served in prisons so far, I’ve never had a single altercation with another prisoner. I’ve been in minimum-security prison camps since 2003. Prior to that year, however, from 1987 I served time in prisons of higher security. I walked through many puddles of blood, lived amidst […]

When Prisoners Ask Me for Guidance

After more than 21 years in prisons of every security level, I am usually the most senior prisoner in any institution where I am held. Others who are serving time frequently ask for my guidance. Rarely do I offer any suggestions pertaining to their legal standing, as I am not a lawyer. My area of […]

Marriage in Prison

Frequently I receive letters from readers who’ve read my books about prison adjustments. One letter that I received today asked me questions about how I met my wife Carole, about how we married in a prison visiting room, and about how we have cultivated our love through all of the tribulations and turmoil that are […]

Stay Out of Trouble and Keep a Positive Attitude while Serving a 45-years

Living in prison is not easy. I know because I began serving my sentence when I was 23-years old. Now I am about to turn 45. It’s been a long time, yet I feel blessed with all the opportunities that have come my way. Although I expect to serve between three and five more years, […]

How I survived Prison Without Becoming Anyone’s “Bitch”

Despite the more than 21 years that I have served, I have not once had an altercation with another prisoner. That was by design. I completely understood the perilous environment in which I was forced to live. Men with whom I was confined, especially during my first decades, were violent and predatory. Some were rapists. […]

Pass It On Seminar

Description of my participation in dynamic personal growth seminar, Pass It On, at Taft Camp, led by Scott Evans. As a long-term prisoner I am grateful for every opportunity to learn and interact with society. Yesterday, on April 11, 2008, I felt fortunate to attend a three-hour personal growth seminar that administrators at Taft Camp […]