My name is Michael Santos. I’m with prison professors.com.
I’d love to share some insight for anybody who is a first-time offender or a white-collar offender. The message is also for somebody who has never been into the criminal justice system before. If prosecutors are coming after you, this message is for you.
You see, the decisions that an individual makes at every stage in the journey have enormous impact and influence.
Pathway to Maximum-security prisons:
I don’t know if you saw the video that I posted yesterday. If you haven’t seen the video, find it under my blogs. It’s published under the category of letters from prison. The video profiles an individual who wrote me.
I didn’t know this individual. His name is George. George tells a story about how the decisions he made very early during his sentence resulted in a very difficult journey through prison. In fact, George started his prison sentence when he was about 17 or 18 years old years old.
Violence in Prison:
As everyone does, George faced challenges when he started in the prison system. George responded to those challenges with violence. In George’s case, that violence meant when he fought, he used a weapon. The weapon was usually a knife. George stabbed people in prison. As a consequence of his actions, authorities sent him higher and higher in security levels.
George started at the Federal Correctional Institution in El Reno, Oklahoma. Then his letter describes how disciplinary infractions resulted in going to various high-security United States penitentiaries. The penitentiary was Terre Haute Indiana. Then he had more disciplinary problems. Authorities transferred him to USP Leavenworth, in Kansas. More disciplinary problems led to another prison transfer. He went to the United States Penitentiary in Lompoc, California. Next stop, the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. Marion was a maximum-security penitentiary. Finally, disciplinary problems led George to the ADX penitentiary in Florence Colorado.
George has now been in prison for more than 35 years. Sadly, George serves so much time primarily because of the decisions that he made at the very start of his journey.
White Collar Offenders:
Now I get it. It’s easy to say, “whoa, I’m a first-time offender. I’m a white-collar guy. These types of stabbings aren’t going to happen to me.
I understand that thought. It’s very easy to assume that you won’t face problems in prison when you’re making decisions from the comfort of your lawyer’s office. When you’re making decisions without the insight of what prison is really like, you don’t really know the pressures.
Pressure is something those of us on our team at PrisonProfessors.com understand. That’s why we provide so much free content. Our content will help you understand how to deal with challenges in prison more effectively. We would like all first-time offenders, or white-collar offenders to handle the challenges of prison better than my new friend George, who recently wrote me a letter.
I don’t know if I can call him my friend. In truth, I consider anybody going through struggle a friend of mine. The reality is that George wrote me because he now serves time in a Michigan prison. The maximum-security prison happens to be a client of mine. That prison purchased a course that I designed, wrote, and created for Edovo. George went through the course. Then he wrote his letter from prison. Basically, George said he wished that he had access to the course on surviving prison well at the start of his sentence. The course would have helped him make better decisions in prison. Instead, he went through the course when he had 35 years of prison behind him. The reality is that George may never get out of prison.
For that reason, I’m presenting this information to people.
Some of you may know my story. You may know that I served 26 calendar years in prison. But I served every single day productively. Every single day, I drove toward a pursuit of success. That’s what I teach. In my case, those lessons are 100% authentic. You can read about the journey.
I’m teaching lessons about prison success today because I lived this experience. I feel very passionately about sharing the lessons with other people. I know the lessons can save the life of an individual. The lessons make communities safer. The lessons can make family life better.
By teaching lessons on how to succeed through struggle, I feel like I’m fulfilling a duty. I have this duty to teach because I learned lessons from masterminds. Those masterminds became mentors that I never met. They include Socrates, Nelson Mandela, Viktor Frankl, Martin Luther King, and Gandhi. I learned lessons from so many others. They gave me the strength to power through 26 calendar years in prison.
The Professional Engineer in Prison
Authorities brought my client into the criminal justice system. He’s a professional, an engineer. Still, he found himself wrapped up with a mail fraud charge.
I’m sure that some viewers know how to define mail fraud. Mail fraud is a crime. It means to use the mail for any type of activity that prosecutors, a jury, or a judge, say violates the law. If you put something in the mail, whether it’s an invoice or a bill or a solicitation or marketing material, that prosecutors consider fraudulent, you’re using the mail as a delivery mechanism. That act could potentially lead to mail fraud charges, just like my friend faced.
The engineer didn’t understand mail fraud. Nevertheless, authorities brought him into the criminal justice system. He started at the detention center in Los Angeles. The authorities locked the engineer in MDC Los Angeles for longer than a week before he received bail.
While my client was in MDC Los Angeles, he hoped to get a bail bond. But there were complications in his case. His nationality and immigration status presented problems. He didn’t get bonded out right away. Instead, the engineer had to stay inside the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles for about 10-12 days.
When the engineer first stepped on the tier, he found himself immersed in a population of about 200 people that he had not seen before.
All detention centers confine people from every security level and from every socioeconomic status. Although my client is a highly educated and accomplished professional, he’s locked in an environment that he doesn’t really understand.
In the prison environment, there is a shot-caller. That shot-collar is not just some fictional character from movies and television. White-collar offenders and first-time offenders will see and find shot-callers wherever they go.
Shot-Caller in Prison
What is a shot-caller? How does one pursue a career as a shot-caller in prison?
Well it’s not through the typical resume, or vetting process. The path to becoming a shot-caller in prison is not through a typical headhunter process. Rather an individual becomes a shot-caller in prison because he earns what’s known in prison as respect.
But respect in prison is fundamentally different from respect in society. You may define respect in society differently from the way that people define respect in prison. In society, people earn respect in the same way my client earned respect. He is an engineer. He earned respect by educating himself. He earned respect by learning new skills that allow him to contribute to society. He earned respect by living as a good citizen. In society, men earn respect by being a good father, a good husband, an employer, or someone who raises capital, pays taxes, employs people. Those pathways lead to respect in society.
How does one earn respect in prison?
Respect in Prison
Well it’s different. In prison, people respect is synonymous with instilling fear in the people around. Respect in prison means that people fear you because you’re intimidating. People know that you respond to problems with violence, or the threat of violence, the perception that you will use violence. Violence lifts the character, or status level for people in prison who aspire to become shot-callers.
You may be an engineer charged with mail fraud. You may be a lawyer charged with wire fraud. You may be a physician charged with healthcare fraud. You may be a business guy charged with tax fraud. You may be a teacher charged with downloading Internet porn. But if you’re in prison, you will encounter shot-callers.
I don’t know what crime you face. If you find yourself in the criminal justice system you are going to have encounters with shot-callers. How will you respond to those encounters? Your response will have a material influence on your journey.
I’m not talking about getting out of prison early because of RDAP. I am talking about not getting out of prison at all, or getting out of prison later because you didn’t respond to problems well.
All offenders must make decisions instantly. Can you prepare yourself well? We think that the more you know, the better you prepare yourself for a successful journey in prison.
Learn About Prison
We encourage people to learn in the same manner that you would learn anything else. Research success patterns. Learn in the same way you would coach your child to learn. You would want your child to research the pathway into a good university. Practice those lessons.
My client the engineer had to respond to a challenge quickly. He showed up to the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles. Soon he met the shot-caller on the tier. What does the shot-caller do?
Federal Detention Centers
He begins to ask questions. He’s “prospecting,” as we would say in the business world. The shot-caller asks questions to determine status. Who are you? Where are you from? Who do you know? Who do you run with? Do you have paperwork that validates your status? I want to read
- Who are you?
- Where are you from?
- Who do you know?
- Who do you run with?
- Do you have paperwork that validates your status?
- I want to read the proof.
A shot-caller looks for information. A shot-caller wants to see if a newcomer is a predator or prey. A shot-caller wants to determine whether he can use the newcomer, or manipulate him.
Then the shot-caller puts out a series of tests.
The Prison Test
My friend the engineer tells me about the tests he encountered. He describes meeting the shot-caller on a later occasion.
After the engineer returned to his cell from recreation, he had a surprise. When he walked into his cell, he saw the shot-caller stretched out on his bunk. The shot-caller laid back, with hands behind his head. The shot-caller stared at the engineer.
How does a white-collar offender respond? How does someone who has not been in prison before respond? How would you respond if you walked into your cell and you saw another man lying in your bunk?
A white-collar offender should be ready to answer that question.
George, the man who wrote me the letter featured in yesterday’s blog described how he responded to challenges. His response suggested that he didn’t know the consequences that would follow his response. George used violence. And George has been in prison for longer than 35 years. He doesn’t know if he’ll ever get out.
Let that thought settle for a little. Figure out what went wrong.
Later, I will present another video. I’ll describe how my client, the engineer responded to his challenge.
I’m Michael Santos and I’m with prisoner professors. Please subscribe to our YouTube channel or like us on Facebook. We present many videos that will go into your feed. Just subscribe on YouTube or follow us on social media. Like us on Facebook. Social media shows that I’m 100% authentic.
We provide free information to prepare people for successful journeys through the criminal justice system. If you are that individual who needs one-on-one consulting, please reach out. Contact me. My partner, Sean Hopwood and I, or other prison professors on our team, stand by. We’re ready to help. We offer one-on-one consultation to people who retain us.
As you can imagine, after 26 years in prison, I value my time. My friend Sean Hopwood is a professor of law at Georgetown Law School. He values his time. We provide free information to people who cannot afford to retain us. If you want one-on-one help, call us. We can help. If you don’t have resources to bring us on your team, please use our free information. Subscribe to us on YouTube.