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 Prison Professors Talent 

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Michael Santos

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Today I’d like to tell a story that led me to build Prison Professors Talent. I offer this suggestion to show each recipient of this newsletter to think in terms of building change. We always have to invest in ourselves–but to create opportunities, we also have to invest in others.

As the director of a nonprofit, I have a responsibility to a board of directors. Two members of the board are successful business leaders, and the third member is a former Assistant US Attorney. Imagine how difficult it is for someone like me–a man who served 26 years in federal prison, to persuade such distinguished people to partner with me.

Why did they do it?

Because I convinced them that our nation incarcerates too many people, and those people served sentences that were far too long. Further, while people served their sentences, the system could obliterate hope. People could lose access to educational opportunities, and they would fall further behind in being ready to prosper upon release.

For that reason, I asked them to support the initiative. My job is to create pathways for people to prepare for success. That is the reason that we began with an introductory course, called Preparing for Success after Prison (PSAP). It’s now a First-Step Act approved program.

The PSAP program only spans 30 hours. People in prison need more educational material to prompt them to learn. For that reason, we began building “master classes.” Our mission is to distribute these books and courses to people. To fund the cost, I build relationships with business leaders. 

Many of those business leaders want to see results. They are happy to provide funding, provided that people in prison are working to build pathways to a more successful life upon release. Our nonprofit began funding Prison Professors Talent as a mechanism to help people in prison show that they’re worthy of more opportunities.

If I can show that more people in prison are preparing for success, I am confident that I can work to change the system–by opening more opportunities for people to work toward earning freedom, in incremental steps. This new website makes it easier for us to accomplish that goal, as anyone can send responses to the questions we ask through our workbooks to our team of interns, and they will build profiles for anyone who wants to participate.

If you’re on this newsletter list, I hope that you’ll participate. And I hope that you’ll work toward building a story that you can leverage to open new opportunities–just like I do.

Yesterday, for example, I visited a technology company that makes boxes, a bit larger than the size of an old telephone booth. Inside the booth, it projects a hologram. A hologram is a virtual image. I wish that I had a way to show you a picture, but the hologram is a like a real person created through technology. I am working to develop a relationship with the company that would allow our nonprofit to license the technology. Then, we’d be able to bring the boxes to prisons and install them in housing units. I’d bring in all kinds of experts, making them appear as holograms to teach more courses that will help people prepare for success upon release.

No one should work harder than you on your success. If you’d like to start, open a profile with Prison Professors Talent: it’s free! To further your success, I offer you a question:

Today’s Question:

  • What book most influenced you to begin building a pathway to prepare for success?

PS: If you’d like to begin building a profile to memorialize your journey, take the following steps:

Step 1: Send an invite to [email protected]

Step 2: When our team accepts, send an email with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your number
  • Your location
  • Your sentence length

Step 3: Any time that you feel like responding to one of the questions I present through the newsletter, send a response to the email above.

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