Path to Prepare for Success 

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Sequence 18

7- Path to Prepare for Success?

When we’re living amid struggle, it’s sometimes hard to accept the importance of all our decisions. Reflecting on lessons I learned while serving time brings back memories of the many types of pressure I felt. 

  • Prison separates people from our families and communities. 
  • We live in an environment where other people watch us all the time. 
  • Some people want to build or protect reputations. 
  • Others want to run away or hide from their past.

Each person adjusts differently. But each person’s adjustment influences the life ahead. Sadly, many people leave prison to experience:

  • Further complications with law enforcement,
  • Unemployment or employment in dead-end jobs,
  • Homelessness.

Good preparations can lead to success after prison. And I’m very passionate about sharing the lessons leaders taught me. Since I served more than 26 years inside, I hope to build credibility with my audience. Throughout this self-directed course on Preparing for Success after Prison—and through all the courses I create—I pledge honesty and promise never to pursue any path I did not follow.

In August of 2013, I completed 9,500 days of imprisonment. Since returning to society, I’ve been committed to sharing strategies that masterminds taught me. I want people to make the connection between better decisions at the start of their journey and a better chance of building lives of meaning and success. 

Since my release, I’ve worked consistently to improve outcomes for all justice-impacted people. To succeed at a higher level, I will need to influence legislators, persuading them why we need mechanisms and incentives that encourage more people to work toward earning freedom. Those lawmakers and prison executives will want to see data. To persuade them to change laws or policies, our team will need to prove that people who work through the courses we create at Prison Professors have:

  • Lower levels of violence or disruptive activities,
  • Higher levels of participation in educational programs,
  • Fewer disciplinary infractions,
  • Self-directed growth strategies,
  • Better prospects for higher levels of income upon release,
  • Lower levels of recidivism.

I invite participants to collaborate with me in making this case to improve the outcomes of our nation’s criminal justice system. To succeed, we will need to work together. I’ll share how this concept of building a self-directed, values-based, goal-oriented adjustment strategy influenced my time in prison and led to massive opportunities once I got out. 

If participants want family members to follow along, they can always steer people to our websites:

Those who chose may open a profile to document their pathway to success by visiting:

We’re 100% transparent and 100% committed to improving outcomes for all justice-impacted people.

The Path:

I’m grateful for every dialogue I have with leaders who work in corrections. It takes a lot of courage for administrative leaders from a prison system to interact with me. After all, I’m a man that served time in prisons of every security level. When those leaders open opportunities for us to bring educational content into prisons, they’re fulfilling a dream that started for me when I was locked inside a solitary cell, facing life without the possibility of parole.

Since I began serving my sentence, I’ve worked toward reforms that would empower administrators to incentivize excellence. In my book: Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term, I describe how the multi-step strategy I learned from masterminds guided my path. They helped me persuade legislators understand the power of incentives. In the California prison system, we have milestone credits; in the federal prison system, we have First Step Act credits.

The political climate is far more conducive to meaningful reform than when I served my sentence. Many people in leadership positions believe that we need to teach and inspire people at the start of the journey; opposing forces want to take us backwards, and repeal laws that incentivize people to earn freedom through merit.

We need to continue efforts to help more people grasp the importance of motivating people as the days turn into weeks, the weeks turn into months, and the months turn into years.

As participants work the lessons of our course, I’ll present what I learned from masterminds. They inspired and motivated me, teaching me to introspect and think about the decisions that brought me to prison. Through those reflections, I learned how to engineer a pathway that would lead me home, with my dignity intact and opportunities to prosper.

Questions:

What path will you take?

In what ways will the decisions you made yesterday influence your future?

In what ways will your actions this week influence your future?

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