Journal Entry 

 Turning Trials into Triumph 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Stories of Resilience Behind Bars

In January 2024, I suspect that family members of both Donald Trump and Joseph Biden shared something in common with every person in prison. They worried about the prison experience and how it would influence their lives.

While I served my sentence, I understood that when powerful people come into the prison system, opportunities for reform open. People begin to see the challenges of confinement. Arguments for reform become more acceptable. This year, I will work harder to bring more attention to the need for such reforms. When people with political influence start serving time, we get a bigger audience for arguments on the need for reform. 

If people serving sentences invest time and energy to memorialize the many ways they prepare for success upon release, they advance the cause.

At Prison Professors Talent, we recognize that the journey through incarceration is not just a personal trial but an opportunity for societal reflection and change. Our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” is designed to foster resilience and empower individuals to turn their trials into triumphs.

Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Resilience is the ability to adapt and grow despite challenging circumstances. In prison, this resilience can manifest in various ways – through education, skill development, or simply maintaining a positive outlook. Our course encourages people to harness this resilience, using their time in confinement as a period of growth and preparation for a successful reentry into society.

Your Role in Reform and Resilience

Participants in our course play a vital role in our advocacy efforts. By engaging in self-improvement and sharing progress, participants contribute to a larger movement toward prison reform and societal betterment. We want to show that it makes more sense to measure justice through an individual’s effort to reconcile with society and prepare for success than to wait for calendar pages to turn.

If a person builds a record showing that he or she is not a danger to society, has a place to live, and an opportunity to earn a taxable income, society improves. We want more people to join this initiative–and we want powerful people to see why it makes more sense to incentivize a pursuit of excellence than to lock people in confinement.

Our course encourages participants to:

  1. Define Your Success: Start by defining what success means to you. It could be educational achievements, skill development, or personal growth.
  2. Create a Plan: Develop a clear plan outlining the steps you will take to achieve your goals.
  3. Stay Committed: Remain committed to your plan, adapting as necessary to overcome obstacles.
  4. Share Your Story: Your journey can inspire others. Share your experiences and progress with us at [email protected].
  5. Join the Movement: By participating in our course and sharing your story, you become part of a larger movement advocating for positive change in the prison system.

Request a Book for Further Learning

To aid in your journey, we offer resources that can provide additional guidance and inspiration. If you insert “Request a Book” in the subject line of your email to us, we will donate a book from our resources, subject to availability. These books include:

  • Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Sentence
  • Success after Prison
  • Prison! My 8,344th Day
  • Release Plan 2024
  • Preparing for Success after Prison

In conclusion, remember that every trial can be a stepping stone to triumph. Your resilience and efforts to improve not only shape your future but also contribute to the broader goal of transforming our prison system. Together, we can turn adversity into an opportunity for growth and positive change.


Michael Santos
Founder, Prison Professors

Critical Thinking:

“Resilience Mapping” activity:

  1. Resilience Inventory: List challenging experiences and identify the skills or strengths developed as a result.
  2. Goal Alignment: Align these strengths with future goals, both personal and professional.
  3. Action Steps: Identify specific actions to utilize these strengths in achieving goals.
  4. Story Sharing: Share stories of resilience and how to use experiences for positive future outcomes.

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