In yesterday’s journal entry, I described changes to our new platform, PrisonProfessorsTalent.com. We invite others to use this platform as a resource. We believe it will help people working to earn higher levels of liberty as soon as possible, and we think it will influence prospects for higher success upon release.
Anyone may participate in the project by sending an email invite to [email protected]. We’re always recruiting university interns to assist us with this project, as it will become an integral part of our advocacy campaigns. By profiling 10,000 people who use their time inside to prepare for success outside, we will convince influential people to changes in policy and law that will incentivize a pursuit of excellence.
A compelling profile should begin with a biography. Those who’ve gone through our course, Preparing for Success after Prison, know that Frederick Douglass inspired me to think about bios at the start of my sentence. His life story shows us the power of memorializing a life story.
Although born into slavery, Frederick Douglass wrote three biographies. He used those biographies as practical tools that would advance his life. Over time, he became one of the world’s most influential advocates, leading to the abolition of slavery.
Regardless of what goals a person wants to pursue after prison, each person should consider the power of the internet. People frequently scour the internet before they make decisions.
- Before hiring a person, employers frequently use the internet to learn what they can find about a person’s background.
- Before doing business, people look online to see what they can understand about a person.
- Before purchasing a product or service, a person may research people with whom they’re about to do business.
- Before extending credit, lenders will use the internet to learn what they can.
People who want to prepare for success after prison should think about those challenges. Building a public record helped me immensely, and it’s one of the reasons that I recommend others do the same. Although I served 26 years in prison for a greatest-severity drug offense, my criminal background does not block me from opportunities.
People do business with me because they can see the methodical, systematic steps I took to prepare for success after prison. Building trust begins by telling our story.
When writing a biography for an online profile, consider the audience. That audience may include the following people:
- Administrators in prison who have discretion over release dates,
- Probation officers that may decide how much liberty to grant,
- Employers that consider offering income opportunities,
- Lenders who may extend capital, and
- Anyone who wants to open a relationship.
When searching online, those people will likely see government press releases. If a person takes time to write a biography, people will see how hard a person has worked to make amends and reconcile with society. A good profile will give people a different perspective, shaping new opportunities.
As an example, people can view the biography I wrote under my profile. It shows the entire journey, with many links that anyone can easily follow. Those links show authenticity. They show the methodical steps I took to prepare for success upon release. By writing that biography, many opportunities opened—as anyone can read about in my book Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term, or by going through our course, Preparing for Success after Prison.
The stories of Frederick Douglass, Nelson Mandela, Viktor Frankl, Mahatma Gandhi, and others inspired me. They showed me how to use time in prison to prepare for a life of meaning, relevance, and dignity upon release. If participants write their biographies, they will go a long way toward showing their resilience. By showing resilience, opportunities open.
Below I offer some tips for writing a compelling biography:
Introspect: Write about all you’ve learned by going through this experience. Show that you’ve developed a deeper understanding of all your previous decisions that led to where you are today.
Self-Awareness: Show that you have a clear understanding of your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Demonstrate that you don’t make excuses but set goals and pursue success.
Resilience: Shape your narrative by focusing on the plan that you’ve made to overcome and triumph over a criminal background. We’re all human beings, and we all fall. When we have the strength to stand up and own our past, we begin to carve a brighter future.
Goal-Setting and Planning: Describe what you’re striving to achieve and show the systematic steps you’re taking to advance your life. By showing that you know how to work through challenges and prepare for success, you open more opportunities for people to support you.
Iterative: Develop your biography over time. It should become an integral part of your release plan. Use your bio to show that you’re becoming more valuable over time and show your hard work on personal development.
If you’d like to begin building your profile, email [email protected].
Prison Professors Charitable Corporation
32565 Golden Lantern Street, B-1019
Dana Point, CA 92629