Journal Entry 

 Vision Beyond Bars 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Vision Beyond Bars: Crafting a Future After Incarceration

In the silent solitude of a cell, where the world outside seems like a distant dream, the power of vision becomes a lifeline. After my arrest, officers locked me in a solitary cell. I remember looking through a narrow window and seeing the moon. I remember feeling as if my incarceration had separated me from the world, as if I was on a distant planet while the world went on. 

I needed a vision. The vision would help me create a plan on how to get back to society, with my dignity intact and with opportunities to thrive. I would have to prepare.

Every person in prison should develop this vision–a vision of returning home strong, with opportunities to thrive.

People in prison need a vision that pierces through the steel bars and concrete walls, reaching into the realms of possibility and promise. For people in prison, the journey towards a meaningful future often begins with the ability to envision a life beyond the confines of current reality.

We have to see something better. In our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, we offer lessons in module 4: Aspriations

The Seed of Possibility

Every great achievement starts with the seed of possibility planted in the fertile soil of the human mind. It’s the unwavering belief that despite the past, the future holds endless potential. This belief is not a mere escape from the present; it’s an active creation of a future where one’s current circumstances are but a chapter in a larger, more triumphant story.

The Canvas of Imagination

Imagination is the canvas upon which we paint our aspirations. For the incarcerated, it’s a space where freedom is not just physical but intellectual and spiritual. It’s where we devise strategies and hone skills. It is where we rebuild, brushstroke by brushstroke, into someone new—someone equipped for the challenges and opportunities that await upon release.

The Architects of Their Destiny

Those behind bars who become architects of their destiny understand that building a future requires more than just daydreams. It demands a blueprint—a plan meticulously crafted with the tools of education, self-reflection, and the wisdom gleaned from others’ experiences. It’s a plan that acknowledges the barriers but focuses on the pathways around them.

The Pillars of Progress

The journey from incarceration to a crafted future rests on several pillars:

  1. Education: Knowledge is the key that unlocks many doors, leading to personal development and professional opportunities.
  2. Mentorship: Guidance from those who have walked this path before can illuminate the way forward, providing insight and encouragement.
  3. Community: Building a supportive network creates a foundation of stability and shared resources, vital for reintegration.
  4. Wellness: Physical, mental, and emotional health are crucial for sustaining the energy and focus needed to pursue long-term goals.
  5. Purpose: A clear sense of purpose fuels persistence, driving individuals to overcome obstacles and stay true to their vision.

The Stories That Inspire

In our course, we delve into the lives of those who have turned their incarceration into a launching pad for success. We learn from the likes of Victor Frankl, who, in the throes of a concentration camp, found the profound power of purpose and meaning. We draw inspiration from the resilience of Nelson Mandela, whose vision for a just South Africa sustained him through 27 years of imprisonment.

Your Blueprint for the Future

As you engage with our materials, you’re not just passing time; you’re constructing the blueprint for your future. The principles you’re learning—the discipline, the resourcefulness, the unwavering commitment to growth—are the same ones that will guide you in the free world.

The Invitation to Build

As you lay the foundation for your future, remember that the barriers you face can become the bedrock for your greatest achievements. We invite you to join us in this journey of transformation. Let the vision beyond bars become your reality, and let your story be one of boundless potential realized.

And if you’re ready to take the next step, to turn your vision into a tangible plan, reach out to us at [email protected]. Let’s build that future together, one where the bars become a distant memory and your vision a living, breathing testament to the power of hope and hard work.

Your Task:

Describe the progress you made in building your future over the past week. Then, elaborate by writing about what you’ll accomplish next week.


Michael Santos,

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