Journal Entry 


Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, encourages people to develop tools, tactics, and resources. It doesn’t matter what stage of the journey a person is in. 

This guidance doesn’t only apply to justice-impacted people. We can use this lesson throughout life. The sooner we learn to live by this concept of personal development, the sooner we begin living as if we’re the CEO of our life. 

Developing tools, tactics, and resources helped me prepare for success during 26 years in prison. The strategy helped me to recalibrate and build businesses during my first decade in liberty. I continue using the technique today, so I’m writing about the tools, tactics, and resources I’m developing now.

Tools / Tactics / Resources

Today is Sunday, July 30, 2023. I woke up at 3:30 this morning with enthusiasm. I have written the manuscript for a new workbook to distribute to the Prison Professors’ community. The workbook will show others how to build an initial release plan and then how to evolve the release plan into a living, working document. 

The Release Plan workbook is a tactic, a part of my overall strategy to advocate for reforms. I will use this resources to build coalitions. Those coalitions will help me to persuade administrators and legislators to change laws and policies. Those changes should incentivize a pursuit of excellence. 

Incentivize Excellence:

If we want more people to leave prison as good neighbors rather than good inmates, we must follow the same principles that define America—we incentivize excellence. We create systems that encourage people to work hard.

Although I want to see those changes, many people oppose my vision. They detest talk of reforms that allow people to work toward earning freedom. I face such resistance routinely, and I need a tool to overcome those objections. 

Our new platform, Prison Professors Talent, will profile thousands of people who commit to preparing for success after prison. If I can highlight those people, I’ll have a resource to persuade taxpayers, employers, administrators, and legislators on the value of such reforms. As Zig Zigler said:

“If we can help other people get what they want, we can get everything we want.”

People in prison do not know the challenges I face in arguing for reforms that include:

  • Work release programs,
  • Expanded use of furloughs,
  • Access to Compassionate release,
  • Reinstatement of the US Parole Commission.

Understandably, people in prison miss their families and their liberty. They do not fully grasp the implications of what follows when a federal judge says: “I sentence you to the custody of the Attorney General.” At that moment, the person transitions from the judicial to the executive branch of government. Administrators in the Bureau of Prisons will carry out the judge’s order.

The Code of Federal Regulations gives The Bureau of Prisons considerable discretion. Congress has vested the agency with the power to determine where a person serves a sentence. Thanks to policies during the COVID pandemic, we have evidence that the Bureau of Prisons can manage people more effectively in home-confinement-type settings than in a federal prison. 

“As of May 27, 2023, BOP had placed 13,204 individuals into home confinement under [the CARES Act]. As of May, just 22 of those people had been returned to prison for committing a new crime.”

The Niskaanen Center: safer-smarter-and-cheaper-the-promise-of-targeted-home-confinement

With Prison Professors Talent, we’ll have a new resource to further our advocacy. The new workbook I began to format this morning will help me show people in prison how to build effective release plans and memorialize their commitment to excellence. We’ll soon make it available on our website.

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