Journal Entry 

 Friday, July 7, 2023: Supplement 

Michael Santos

Michael Santos

I’m about to send a series of emails to introduce more about our new project, a project that we hope you’ll participate in.

The subject line will include dates since July 1. Each email represents an example of an exercise I’m recommending to everyone in our community. Together, they will help readers understand the reasons behind our new project, Prison Professors Talent. 

If you’re on this email thread, you’re in one of our databases of names. Some of you I know, most of you I don’t know. You should know the reasons behind our new advocacy project. I’ll provide a backstory to help those who don’t know me. Those who know me may skip to the next subheading.

Backstory:

I served 26 years in federal prison and concluded my obligation to the Bureau of Prisons in August 2013. Since then, I’ve worked daily on advocacy, striving to change policies and laws, allowing more people to work toward earning freedom. Since I’d been in prison for multiple decades, I had to take an innovative approach. I went through several iterative stages: teaching in universities, publishing, investing in real estate, and building businesses. To the extent possible, I created jobs to employ formerly incarcerated people. Like anyone else, I’ve gone through ups and downs, but I’ve always focused on the goal: advocating for changes that would allow more people to work toward earning freedom. Those efforts influenced changes like the First Step Act, a law that will benefit more than 100 thousand people.

Opposition:

Many people want people to serve the time that a judge imposes. They do not like the concept of incentivizing excellence. I receive this message a lot.

Even President Trump recently said on Fox News that he would fight for laws to execute all people convicted of drug-trafficking offenses if elected again. Governor DeSantis argues that we should repeal the First Step Act because he views it as a get-out-of-jail-free card. When advocating for change, I’ve had to respond to leaders who argue that people convicted of white-collar offenses should receive harsher sentences.

Tools, Tactics, and Resources:

Those who’ve gone through my course, Preparing for Success After Prison, will have read of my deliberate, disciplined approach to advocacy. 

Step 1: I have to define success; for me, it’s to advocate for changes that will allow more prisoners to work toward earning freedom.

Step 2: I need to create a plan that will advance possibilities for success.

Step 3: I need to put priorities in place.

Step 4: I must build my tools, tactics, and resources to accelerate progress and refute the opposition.

Step 5: I need to execute the plan.

Anticipating that we’ll see more people opposing me, I created a new tool. I based on the tools that helped me while I was in prison. I write about the importance of adhering to a disciplined, deliberate strategy in all my books. We must create a release plan to show why we deserve relief. Then, we need to use that release plan to advocate for ourselves.

With an effective release plan, I opened many opportunities throughout my journey in prison. A release plan helped me to:

  1. Earn university degrees,
  2. Because I earned university degrees, I brought more mentors into my life.,
  3. With more mentors, I opened publishing opportunities,
  4. By publishing, I expanded my support network,
  5. More people in my support network led to websites where I could document the progress I. made,
  6. By documenting the progress I made, I could build more support,
  7. With more support, I got married in prison,
  8. By getting married in prison, I advanced my prospects for success upon release,
  9. With more people in my support network, income opportunities awaited me when I got out,
  10. With income opportunities, I could work more effectively to advocate for changes to laws and policies that would lead more people to earn freedom.

Prison Professors Talent

The new tool I created will allow more people to memorialize their preparations for success upon release. By making those stories public, we’ll become more effective in our advocacy. We’ll be able to show why we need laws and policies that incentivize people to pursue excellence. I can use those stories, I hope, to convince more people why we need changes that open more opportunities for people to earn freedom.

If you’d like to be a part of this change, send an invite to [email protected]. Our director of advocacy, Aleyah, will accept all invitation requests. She’ll follow up with more information on how you can work to build more support. 

Journaling, for example, became a helpful strategy for me in building support. It kept me on track. Participants in the program can record their journals, too. Those records of working to prepare for success built me a lot of credibility when I got out of prison. They can help you, too. Since I never ask anyone to do anything I didn’t do—and I’m not still doing today—I’ll send my journal entries for the past seven days. Use them as an example to start journaling to a higher level of liberty.

Respectfully,
Michael Santos