Blog Article 

 Back to Prison: Day 2 

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Michael Santos

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We’re on the second day of our tour to improve outcomes for people in prison. Today we’re in Clayton, Missouri. We’re working from hotel rooms as we further our mission.

November 2, 2022

On the second day of our prison tour, Carole and I home based out of a hotel in Clayton, Missouri. This quaint suburb, about 20 minutes from the St. Louis airport, offers great parks, great restaurants, and has a vibrancy that we enjoy. Typically, I travel alone for speaking engagements. I am grateful that Carole is accompanying me for this long trip to advance our efforts toward prison reform.

When administrators invite me to speak in a prison, I always try to coordinate schedules to arrive in the community at least one day early. Since Carole’s with me, we both wanted to incorporate some fun into the trip and we’re glad that we found the Clayton community.

We travel from a small airport in Orange County, California. The flights from OC frequently require me to change planes, either in Phoenix, Dallas, or Chicago. When airlines cancel flights, they sometimes make it difficult to catch connecting flights. For that reason, I always try to book the extra day of travel.

Despite being away from our home computers, both Carole and I stayed productive with our laptops.

In the early morning, we left our hotel to exercise in Shaw Park. Following our exercise, we stopped in a grocery store to purchase fruit and bottles of water for the hotel. Then Carole worked on administrative tasks related to our for-profit business while I resumed work on a new biz-dev project for our nonprofit.

The new biz-dev project relates to what I described in yesterday’s message—when I mentioned the digital courses. I’m broadening my relationship with digital providers. We’re distributing our courses to people jails and prisons through the relationships we’ve built with tablet providers. Through the Edovo app, more than 120,000 people access Prison Professors. Within three years, we’ll expand the distribution to more than 1 million tablets.

I’d like people who part of our community to understand why this opportunity advances our efforts to improve outcomes for people in prison.

The tablets will allow us to gather data we can use to influence decision makers. Each time a person completes one of our courses, the tablet registers the completion. People who complete courses to prepare for success upon release, I hope, will also avoid disciplinary problems in prison.

If the tablets collect data from 1 million justice-impacted people, we’ll be in a better position to influence stakeholders. We’ll show legislators and administrators the importance of incentivizing people to work toward preparing for success upon release.

With persuasive evidence, we’ll show that people who work to prepare for success upon release are less likely to recidivate. If we gather that data, we’ll have compelling evidence. The evidence will help us build arguments on the need for release mechanisms, including parole, or home confinement. We will not need to wait for prison administrators to convey the power of these programs. Instead, the data we collect from the tablets will give us sufficient proof.

I worked on developing those relationships with tablet providers today—and I filmed more videos to go on those tablets.

Then, I rented a car. Tomorrow, in the early morning, I’ll drive the rental car from Clayton to Greenville, IL. According to my map, the drive will take about an hour. At 8:15, I’ll make my first presentation in the federal prison complex.

I’ll report on that event in my next message.

Until then, I wish every person in our community peace.

Stay strong and look to a brighter future.

Sincerely,

Michael Santos

(Again, please disregard the typos while I send these daily updates.)

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