Journal Entry 

 Lucy Lawless 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

We’re delighted that one of the largest criminal justice agencies in the United States ordered more than $100,000 worth of our books in July. Thousands of people will now have those resources, and they’ll use them to prepare for success.

For more than six weeks, the Bureau of Prisons has featured our work on the home page of the agency’s website. Besides the BOP, we continue to expand relationships with state prison systems across the nation. Later this month, we’ll travel to Philadelphia to attend the American Correctional Association’s conference. I look forward to interacting with Directors, Wardens, and Reentry Coordinators.

We’re grateful for every opportunity to help more people in jails and prisons prepare for success.

Earlier this morning, a person in prison sent us the following message:

“Thank you for sending the newsletter. I wanted to respond sooner, but I had no money in my account. When I got paid, I needed to order hygiene supplies. I am 58 and I have been in prison 11 times. I don’t want to return and would like to have more of your books. They help me learn. I don’t want to go back to my old behaviors. Please send me the books in your newsletter, because I cannot afford to buy them.”

Person in Federal Prison

Our nonprofit will honor that request and order those books today. We are committed to helping people who want to help themselves.

We know that our nation confines more than 1 million people. They need resources. By executing our plan, we can provide those resources to people in need, regardless of their ability to pay. Ideally, we strive to teach people how to teach themselves.

Since the COVID pandemic, we’ve invested more than $1 million to build our digital products business. This business distributes books and courses across the nation. With an insatiable demand, we anticipate our business will grow to generate more than $10 million in annual revenues. To show our commitment to teaching people how to teach themselves, we donate at least 10% of those revenues to fund our nonprofit’s mission. As anyone can see through our new platform, Prison Professors Talent, we expect to contribute more than $300,000 worth of goods and services to our nonprofit in 2023. 

Through the books and courses we create, we reach more than 300,000 justice-impacted people. We will triple that number within two years to reach more than 1 million people.

If we can help more justice-impacted people prepare for success, we can reduce recidivism rates and help them emerge with their dignity intact. Our platform will also bolster our advocacy, helping us show others the value of incentivizing excellence. We’re continue to build a case for:

  1. Federal work-release programs,
  2. Expanded use of home confinement,
  3. Meaningful access to release mechanisms for people who earn freedom.

Building opportunities to prosper requires early preparation. If people do not prepare, they become vulnerable to bad decisions. They leave prison with little in the way of resources. They struggle to land on their feet. If they can’t make it, many people feel emasculated. They begin to lie and cheat and revert to the same type of crime that led to their imprisonment in the first place.

Take the case of Sam. Sam reached out to us after authorities released him for his second fraud conviction. We opened an opportunity for him to earn an income. He lost his way and reverted to the same type of lies and deception that led him to prison in the first place. Customers complained. Since he would not comply with our policies, we removed Sam from our firm.

Rather than go on to build a career that would support his family, Sam struggles. He writes under pseudonyms to mask his identity, continuing his pattern of fraud and deception. Recently, he’s adopted the name of “John Eastman” and “Lucy Lawless.” Sam cannot succeed because he did not prepare to succeed, as evidenced by the many complaints we received.

Our courses teach people how to use time inside to build lives of meaning, relevance, and dignity. Imprisonment may block people from launching businesses while they serve their sentence, but they can always sow seeds for a better outcome. 

As we teach in our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, people can always work to:

  1. Build a more robust vocabulary,
  2. Develop writing skills,
  3. Learn to read more effectively and deliberately,
  4. Write a comprehensive release plan,
  5. Improve critical thinking,
  6. Become a self-directed learner,
  7. Work on tools, tactics, and resources that will accelerate success.

I never ask anyone to do anything that I’m not doing. Although our for-profit companies are growing, I remain passionate about helping justice-impacted people prepare for success. To prepare for success, a person should commit to transparency and living a values-based, goal-oriented life, with integrity and dignity intact.

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