We’ve passed through July and into the first day of August 2023. Eleven years ago, I woke in August with a lot of enthusiasm. After 25 years in federal prison, my case manager scheduled me to transfer to a halfway house on August 13, 2012. On August 12, 2013, authorities told me I would finish my obligation to the Bureau of Prisons.
At the beginning of my journey, I couldn’t comprehend what it would feel like to spend 25 years in prison. I began serving my sentence at 23 and didn’t have a frame of reference to help me understand what it would mean to climb through multiple decades inside.
Countdowns helped me break through the segments.
Initially, I put my focus on the first ten years. Within ten years, I set goals to make myself a better candidate for success. After ten years passed, I set new goals. August was a milestone because I later understood I would only have to count through 25 Augusts in prison before release.
On August 12, I’ll celebrate my tenth August since finishing my obligation to the Bureau of Prisons.
In many ways, my mind is still inside, or with all justice-impacted people. I’m always thinking about strategies I can implement to make more people aware of why our country should reform the system to incentivize the pursuit of excellence. We could improve the outcomes of the system by changing how we measure justice. Instead of waiting for calendar pages to turn, we should focus on the result. We want people to leave prison as law-abiding, contributing citizens. To get that result, we should incentivize them to show how they’re preparing for success.
Invest in Your Success:
This year, on the day I celebrate ten years of liberty since finishing my obligation to the Bureau of Prisons, I’ll be in Philadelphia. The American Corrections Association is hosting a conference, and I’ll attend to connect with more people who influence prison operations. Considering airfare, hotel, meals, and an $800 fee to participate in the conference, I expect to spend more than $4,000 for this event.
I’m planting seeds for the change that I want to see. I used this same strategy of planting seeds while imprisoned for a quarter century. We must invest our time, energy, and resources to open the opportunities we want to seize.
These daily journals help me communicate with justice-impacted people. They allow me to show how people can use time in prison to prepare for success upon release. Even though I completed my prison term, I’m still working to document the journey. To build coalitions for change, I must show others that I don’t ask anyone to do anything that I didn’t do.
Living transparency helped me to open opportunities while I served my sentence. It still helps me today. I encourage members of our community to think about how they can develop a record to memorialize their commitment to success. We teach those lessons in our course, Preparing for Success after Prison. And through our new platform, Prison Professors Talent, we offer people an opportunity to show how they prepare for success.
I will continue to invest my time, energy, and resources to advocate for reforms that incentivize excellence. I’m encouraging members of our community to do the same. After I write this journal entry, I’ll update my profile page with a new entry for my bio section. I want participants in our course to see that preparations for success do not end. Each time we cross through one milestone, we must set ourselves up for the next milestone. The biographies we create should become resources that we can later use to advance our prospects for success.
Think of your profile as an investment in your future. Develop your profile