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 […]

Does Anyone In Prison Respect Nonviolent, Goal-oriented Prisoners?

My focus has never been on earning respect in prison. I strive to prepare for the life I want to lead upon release, and I do not allow anything to interfere with my progress. In books I’ve written about prison, and articles published at, I’ve described how a different set of values pervades higher […]

Challenges and strategies in prison

I had never been in prison before, and the first time I had to walk through a puddle of human blood, I knew that I was amidst constant danger. I was 23 years old and locked inside the high walls of a high security penitentiary.My goal was to avoid the chaos while simultaneously preparing for […]

Avoiding the Prisoner Profile

Every man in federal prison is assigned to a particular job. At Taft Camp, where I was transferred in June of 2007, I was assigned to work in the food service department. As far as prison jobs are concerned, I consider my job at Taft one of the best work assignments that I’ve had during […]