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 Don’t Gamble in Prison 

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Michael Santos

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If you want to succeed after federal prison, make sure you don’t complicate your life while inside.

Below I offer a simple video to tell you the one thing you should never do in prison and then I’m going to tell you why.

No one should gamble in prison.

I know that gambling is a big industry out here and a lot of people get a lot of excitement, particularly as we get closer to the big seasons, whether it’s football, or basketball, or baseball. A lot of people in prison go inside and they want to pass the time. They get involved in sports, and of course, to make the sports a little bit more exciting, they want to have a personal investment in the sport itself. They do that by gambling.

Regardless of which federal prison you’re in, there will always be some bookie that’s running a card game, you try and pick the scores, or just straight up gambling, but let me tell you why it is the absolute worst thing to do in federal prison. Number one, you can get yourself in a lot of trouble with other inmates, so there is enormous downside potential but no upside potential. What do I mean by that? Well yes, gambling may help you pass the time in some type of artificial way, but let me tell you what the downside is.

In federal prison, you have a spending limit. There’s only so much money that you can bring into your account. If you have resources outside and you’re able to afford $500-600 a month, that is really what it takes to advance your life in there. $500-600 a month is about what I spent. I’ve been out of federal prison now for five years, but I can tell you that while I was there, $500-600 a month was about what I spent. That would cover my telephone costs, that would cover the cost for using the quasi-email system, that would cover the costs for all the commissary that I would buy, which are the food items, clothing items that I would need, personal hygiene items. $500-600 a month just got you by. If you had that, you could get just about everything you needed.

Let’s say that you had a victory in gambling and you won $500-600 additionally. There’s no upside. You can’t get anything more with another $500-600 in prison. If you have $500-600 a month in prison, you’re living at the top of the food chain. Let me tell you what happens if you lose. If you lose money in federal prison, you’ve got massive complications. Here are what those complications are.

Don’t gamble in prison!

Number one, you’ve got to find a way to pay the other person. If you’re going to pay them with prison currency, you are effectively depleting your own ability to use your resources because of the spending limit. You can’t buy the $300-400 worth of commissary items that you’re going to need and also pay your gambling debt. You’re gonna have to really struggle. Even if money is not the issue, the logistics of paying your debt in prison will complicate your life in there. That’s one of the reasons that gambling has an enormous downside.

Let’s say though that you have learned a little bit about federal prison and how to operate a hustle out there. You realize that the real way to do any type of business in the underground economy of prison is to pay people on the outside. So you have somebody in your network send money to somebody in this person’s network. Okay. Well, you’ve introduced an element of risk into your life because you still have to communicate that message from where you are to people on the other side of the boundary. That is a potential risk that can do a couple of things.

One, it can extend your stay in federal prison, and two, if not extend your stay in federal prison with a new criminal charge, it can extend your stay in federal prison with loss of good time.

it can complicate your life in prison by resulting in you getting transferred to another institution, or you spending your time inside of a segregated housing unit. What is the upside? None because regardless of how much you win, your life really doesn’t improve in there. In fact, you create a sense of envy a lot of times from other people.

What if you gamble with somebody and you win and the other person doesn’t pay you? Now you’ve got a real problem because you have to deal with that complication. If somebody chooses not to pay you while you’re in prison, you could be perceived as being weak, as being subjected to prey where other people will prey on you. You have to remember that the prison system is a very different environment that you’re in outside here.

In society, if you don’t want to see or interact with somebody, you don’t have to. You can block their calls, you can block them on your social media, you can block them from ever having to see them, or you can just go in the other direction, but in federal prison, you’ve got a closed community. You are with these people every single day and it’s like living in a fishbowl, meaning everybody’s watching what everybody’s doing. If you made a bet and the other person didn’t pay you and you didn’t do anything about it, guess what? Massive complications. Okay?

I’m not going to say that there aren’t some people that make quite a bit of money in prison from a gambling bracket, but there are complications with that as well.

Anytime you’re dealing with somebody in prison, you are dealing with somebody who is in a weak and vulnerable state. They may not say that. They can put on the front that they are strong and confident and in control of the situation, but it’s impossible to be strong and in control of the situation when you’re dealing with other people in prison because you never know what’s going on in their lives.

One person’s wife may have left him, one person’s wife may have taken all of his money. One person may have an issue where he’s cooperating with the government and trying to get out early and so he’s collecting information that he can feed to the government. One person may have ambitions and aspirations of running a gambling ring so he can make the enormous sum of $2,000, $3,000, $4,000 a month, which is a massive victory in prison, but the reality is to run an underground operation of that scale in that environment, you are making yourself incredibly weak because other people are talking on the phone.

You can’t control that and you don’t know what they’re saying on the phone. Further, you don’t know how they are communicating to other people.

You are putting yourself in a very vulnerable and weak position with massive downside risk and really very little upside potential. To win a couple of thousand dollars a month is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but the downside is enormous, particularly when you consider that it could result in you getting charged with new criminal activity.

I cannot tell you how many times during my 26 years of imprisonment I saw the FBI come into the prison and round up a group of people who were running a gambling ring and charged them with new criminal conduct and just totally disrupt somebody’s life. So gambling is one of the things that I think has massive downside potential, no upside potential, but yet it is very popular in that environment because people are so out of sorts that they need something, particularly weak-minded people, need something to cling to to keep them going.

My advice and recommendation, find something that is going to benefit you that you can do while you are in there that will allow you to come home strong, as I say, with your dignity intact, ready to succeed, not like a lot of the charlatans that you see coming out of federal prison that put themselves on type of a platform where they masquerade as if they got a lot of knowledge in federal prison but they’ve really never done anything. Look to be the best in the world at what you can be.

You’re never going to be the best gambler in the world from inside of a prison. Whatever you want to do when you come home, figure out what can I do while I’m in prison that will allow me to grow stronger, that will allow me to come back with some type of a leverage that I can use to accelerate my success? If you can do that every single day, that is what the definition of mastering prison is. Figure out, what is the best possible use of your time? Apply yourself with 100% commitment. Hold yourself accountable.
If you’re on this very deliberate path where you can see success, where you can create a plan that will take you there, where you can put priorities in place and you can execute that plan every single day, that is the mark of a winner. That is what you will learn if you reach out to my partner, Justin Paperny, whose contact information is right below. That is what you will learn if you go through any of our courses.

If you go on this path, you don’t have to worry about what’s the worst thing that you can do while you’re in prison? Instead, you can be thinking about what is the best thing that I can do in prison? Then you apply yourself every single day, confidence is restored. You know what you’re doing and you come back strong.

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