Journal Entry 

 Building after Crisis 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

This morning I began working at 4:30 a.m., eager to resume progress on the new platform we’re building. In my view, this tool can lead to a massive change. It is part of a long-term plan for my ministry of reform. I want to see changes in the law that will incentivize prison systems with opportunities to incentivize excellence.

I can paraphrase the wise person who wrote that if a person loves being productive, he never works a day. I feel I’m being productive, living a purposeful and intentional life.

My writings always profile the decisions that led me into the prison system. They also show that regardless of bad decisions a person has made in the past, they can always work toward sowing seeds for a better outcome. We must live transparently and openly and never ask anyone to do anything we do not stand behind. I learned these lessons from leaders who inspired me while serving my sentence. 

Many people in prison, unfortunately, live without hope. While prison terms separate them from the people they love, malcontents influence them and fill them with negativity. I hope to show those people a better way.

Succeeding After a Crisis:

To overcome a crisis, a person needs a plan. One plan isn’t the same for everyone. To start, a person should define success. Then the person should set clear and SMART goals. Then, a person should adhere to the plan, using the principles I wrote about in our course, Preparing for Success after Prison. They’re easy to follow:

  1. Define success,
  2. Set clear goals,
  3. Show the right attitude with a 100% commitment to success,
  4. Aspire to something more than current circumstances,
  5. Act in ways that harmonize with the plan,
  6. Create accountability tools to measure incremental progress,
  7. Stay aware of opportunities to grow, and make others aware of the commitment to excellence,
  8. Live authentically, developing tools, tactics, and resources that advance the plan,
  9. Celebrate achievements, no matter how small,
  10. Live in gratitude, appreciative of all the blessings in life.

In building our new platform, Prison Professors Talent, I’m hoping to profile thousands of people who work to prepare for success upon release. This website will become a tool that I use to advance advocacy efforts. While opposing forces like Governor Desantis argues that Congress should repeal the First Step Act, I’m striving to show how laws that incentivize excellence lead to better outcomes for society and for justice-impacted people.

We’re striving to show the value of:

  1. Authorizing federal work-release programs,
  2. Expanding the use of furloughs,
  3. Providing meaningful access to compassionate release and commutations,
  4. Reinstating the US Parole Commission or indeterminate sentencing systems.

If a person is not a threat to society, and if a person has a job, and a place to live, we would benefit from reforms that would allow prison systems to let people serving their sentences on home confinement. 

To succeed in advancing these arguments, I need to build more influential coalitions. The new platform will become a tool I use to advocate, and I’m convinced it will help.

Today is Sunday, July 2, and I look forward to working all day on this project—a prison ministry for me.

Those who want to participate in our project should send an invite to [email protected]

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