Journal Entry 

 Wednesday, December 27, 2023: Innovating Inside 

Picture of Michael Santos

Michael Santos

Title: Innovating Inside: Creative Ventures in Incarceration

In the confining environment of prison, creativity isn’t just an outlet; it’s a survival tool, a means to forge a future. My own journey, serving a 45-year sentence, stands testament to this. With no possibility of parole, I faced a stark reality: I had to find a way to prepare for the world I would reenter decades later. This experience is captured in my book, “Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Sentence,” a narrative that I hope will inspire and guide others in similar circumstances.

The Necessity of Creative Thinking

Incarceration poses unique challenges, demanding innovative thinking and resourcefulness. For people living in these conditions, the act of envisioning a different future is in itself a creative process. It involves asking profound, Socratic questions about one’s existence and future. In my case, these contemplations became the bedrock of strategies I developed to succeed both during and after my sentence.

Strategies for Success

  • 1. Problem-Solving: Being in prison means facing numerous obstacles, each requiring a unique solution. It’s crucial to cultivate a problem-solving mindset, which can turn challenges into opportunities for growth and learning.
  • 2. Continuous Learning: Education doesn’t stop with formal schooling. In prison, learning can take the form of reading, writing, and engaging in deep, reflective thinking.
  • 3. Planning for the Future: Long-term goal setting is essential. Envisioning a life post-release and taking steps towards that vision, even in small ways, builds a foundation for future success.

Preparing for Success after Prison

Our course, “Preparing for Success after Prison,” is designed to help people in prison develop these essential skills. We focus on empowering individuals with tools for self-improvement, resilience, and planning for a successful reentry into society.

Invitation to Participate and Share

We invite you to join us in this journey of preparation and self-empowerment. Share your progress, challenges, and aspirations with us at [email protected]. If you include “Request a Book” in the subject line of your email, we can donate a book from our resources to support your journey, including titles like “Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Sentence” and “Success after Prison.”

Critical Thinking:

  • 1. Reflective Thinking: Consider the challenges you face now. How can these be reframed as opportunities for growth and learning?
  • 2. Goal Setting: What are your goals for life post-release? Start detailing steps you can take now, however small, to work towards these goals.
  • 3. Creative Expression: Find a medium of creative expression that works for you, whether it’s writing, art, or another form. Use this as a tool to explore your thoughts, feelings, and aspirations.

In conclusion, “Innovating Inside: Creative Ventures in Incarceration” is more than a concept; it’s a pathway to resilience and success. By embracing creativity and strategic thinking, people in prison can lay the groundwork for a future filled with hope and opportunity. Let’s embark on this journey together, transforming challenges into stepping stones for a brighter tomorrow.


Michael Santos

Founder, Prison Professors Talent

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