Blogging is such a great tool for rehabilitation. That is one reason why Suzie and I created Stone City Blog. We want all inmates to have access to this new and effective rehabilitative tool.
I’d like to encourage everyone who reads Stone City Blog, to reach out to the bloggers, and prompt them. Ask them critical questions that will inspire deeper thought and self reflection. By doing so, you could be that one thing that inspires great change within an inmate and his rehabilitative efforts. Stone City Blog gives you access to over 1,000 posts written by over 100 inmates. All of these inmates can be contacted via email (JPay).
In this post I will respond to THREE PROMPTS from Sandra Rogers.
PROMPT #1) How will you achieve a balance between redemption and rehabilitation?
This prompt is awesome. It brings a whole new dimension to my thought process. Until now, I’ve never ever even considered such a question. Redemption and rehabilitation go hand in hand. For me personally, I can’t achieve one without the other.
My rehabilitation efforts are a daily process. Everyday I’m focused on love, compassion, and understanding as I live in an environment full of hate, conflict, and turmoil. It’s my job to rehabilitate myself while in the belly of the beast surrounded by demons. I do not react to negativity with negativity. Instead, I remain focused on my goals and dreams as I use my energy in a positive productive manner.
On a scale of 1-10, if my Rehabilitation is at a 8, well then my Redemption has to be at least a 4. Because Rehabilitation is Redemption to some degree. 4 and 8 is not balanced. Therefore, I need to get my Redemption up by at least 4 points. I can do so by contributing to society in a positive way. Such as saving dogs and doing volunteer work. Hey, I do that.
PROMPT #2) How will you find a balance between Selflessness and Selfishness?
By keeping in close contact with mentors I trust and respect. Such as Suzie, Alana, Sandra, and maybe even professional counselors. They will help show me the way and keep me focused. They will prompt me to a deeper level of consciousness and self awareness.
If it is brought to my attention that a segment of my life is unbalanced, then I will do whatever it takes to balance it out. To simply answer this question: I will seek the advice of all those who are educated, and those who have great perspective and insight.
Meanwhile, in here I enjoy great balance between working out, eating healthy, watching football, and reading & writing. (Selfishness)
And then (Selflessness), helping others, sharing, and volunteering.
PROMPT #3) What are the markers of the above mentioned kind of balance?
Happiness. The ultimate marker is happiness. When my life is truly balanced, I’m at my happiest. Regardless of my environment. When aspects of my life fall out of balance, my happiness is the first to suffer.
Another great marker is the opinions and perspectives of my mentors and the people I love, and how THEY view me. If they are happy with me and proud of me, that is a great indication that I’m achieving a high degree of balance in my life.
Thank you Sandra for such thought provoking prompts. The insight and self analyzation that it takes in order to answer these questions are very valuable. Your on-going prompts have taught me more about life and myself. They invoke deep thinking and self reflection that is critical to any type of rehabilitation.
It is my prayer and hope that everyone can recognize the significant value that is hidden within inmate bloggers and critical thought-provoking prompts.
Remember my NA series and all those NA Meetings I attended? Well they just now paid off in the form of good time. My release date has been adjusted from 8-9-32 to 3-7-32. I haven’t done the math, but according to DOC, that’s 155 days!
Upon receiving this good news I was also informed that I will be getting back an additional 90 days at my next review in August. All I gotta do is remain infraction free, stay in The Dog Program, and receive positive evaluations.
It feels good to be going the other way. To be earning good time rather than loosing it. To be living in harmony rather than conflict. To be progressing rather than regressing. To be making friends rather than enemies. To be focusing on the positive rather than the negative.
For almost 23 years my environment hasn’t changed. PRISON! It’s still full of misfits and misconduct. But what has changed is my attitude, perspective, outlook, and priorities. During my quest to seek knowledge and understanding I’ve learned that the mind is like a garden. Either you can intelligently Cultivate it, or neglect it and let it run wild. That’s why its crucial for me to constantly cultivate my mind by weeding out all the wrong, useless, destructive, impure thoughts. And nurturing my mind with right, useful, constructive, positive thoughts.
By constantly pursuing this process of mind evolution, I am starting to reap the rewards. Such as: I found my beautiful soulmate in Suzie, I made it to The Honor Unit, I got accepted into the dog program, I’ve met new people and have devolved new friendships, I’m no longer getting in fights or hurting people, and I’m earning back good time. Just to name a few.
For years I allowed my mind to run wild. The results were devastating! For more on the devastation you can read my ebook titled, STONE CITY : LIFE IN THE PENITENTIARY.
I was oblivious to the fact that a deeper level of consciousness existed. I was mindlessly wandering through life, and inappropriately reacting to everything life threw at me. With a neglected mind, I didn’t stand a chance. But with a new and improved cultivated mind, I have so much hope and excitement for today and the rest of my life.
If you had the power to be happier, to change your environment, and to have better relationships with friends and family, would you use that power?
Of course you would!
So why don’t you?
The power is within you.
Take the first step and read : “AS A MAN THINKETH” by James Allen. This book will teach you LAWS OF THOUGHT that cannot error. By reading this quick little 55 page book, you’ll be taking a crucial step towards intelligently cultivating your mind. I hope you feel inspired.
The following poem was written back in June of 1996. Back then I was a drug using, drug selling, violent little badass. I was at Walla Walla, living with Mikey and Jeff. When we were using drugs and smoking joints people use to walk by our cell, look in, and fiend. A lot of guys would stop at our bars and try to make small talk in hopes it would lead to a free hit, or a joint.
(To read more about this crazy time in my life, please check out my ebook called, STONE CITY: LIFE IN THE PENITENTIARY. Specifically, Chapter: 7.)
TAKING THE EDGE OFF PRISON LIFE
Waking up slow to the practical jokes,
where coffee is a must and everyone smokes.
Take a deep breath you can smell the green,
as the broke walk by they look in and fiend.
People say I’m gone how I wish that was true,
the fact is that I’m here so let me tell you what I do.
I kick em in the face sometimes I choke em out,
But then I get away with it and that’s what its about.
So please don’t mess because I gotta confess,
when it comes to fighting dirty I’m one of the best.
So what if I’m small so what if you’re tall,
within ten seconds guarantee you will fall.
The hell with taking the edge off prison life,
its more like taking your head off with my prison knife!
That poem illustrates just how sick my thoughts were. As a result, my actions were extremely destructive. I was oblivious to the fact that I induced my own suffering and hardships.
Now, it is with a joyous heart that I share a more recent poem that was written on 10-25-13, in the midst of enlightenment and spiritual awakening. I am so blessed to have this gentle love in my life. THIS is what takes the edge off of prison life for me these days.
THE MAGIC OF HER LOVE
Love is like magic, at least it is for me.
I pulled a rabbit out the hat, and her name is Suzie.
She transformed my world, a cold hard place.
By showing me a warm soft glow, within the beauty of her face.
Our situation is unique, and to some very strange.
But there’s nothing in this world that love can’t change.
Her love is so pure, understanding and kind.
She loves with all her heart, body, soul and mind.
Her love is so powerful, it reaches my core.
Her love is a love I’ve never felt before.
Her love is a love in which I’ve been seeking.
Her love is a language in which I’m now speaking.
Her love is the love that inspires my life.
Her love is the love that I’ve found in my wife.
A lot has been going on. I do my best to remain positive and stay upbeat. But I must admit, sometimes it’s super hard. Back in August I was on a softball team that was argumentive, disorganized, and dysfunctional. So I quit.
Soon after I quit, I hear a knock on my cell door. It’s the coach. “Why’d you quit?” he demands! Right away I see he’s hostile and emotional.
I tell him, “Because it’s too stressful and I’m not having any fun. Guys are arguing with each other and we’re loosing too many games.”
He says, “Well then f*ck you! I’m done f*cking with you!” Then he slammed my door.
I immediately get an adrenaline rush. I almost open my door and call him back. But I don’t. I accept it and let him walk away. Because the last time I entertained such irrationality, I ended up knocking out the dude. And that cost me my EFV’s for 5 years. (see: How I Lost My EFV’s For 5 Years)
Today I’m a changed man. I’ve learned from my past. I try my best to avoid conflict.
So what could I have done to avoid this entire situation? It’s actually quite simple. I should’ve finished out the softball season with a positive, optimistic attitude. Regardless of our record and all the negativity.
I’m getting pretty good at avoiding physical confrontations. However, I need to work on avoiding confrontational situations all together. This has proven to be very tricky. I can be minding my own business, doing my own thing, and then suddenly find myself in an undesired situation.
So shortly after this whole softball fiasco, the Sergeant calls me in his office. He tells me that my celly, Dicky, is requesting that I be moved out.
Dicky is disabled and bound to a wheelchair, therefore we are in an ADA cell. These cells are bigger and have wider doors for wheelchair access. Which means Dicky always has top priority to live in these spacious ADA cells. So if he wants a celly gone, it’s always the celly who gets the boot, never him.
I’m genuinely surprised by this news the Sergeant it telling me. Dicky and I get along fine. So I ask the sergeant, “Why?”
Basically, Dicky said I’m too clean. I clean the cell too much. And that I organize his area when it gets too messy. Which I do. But Dicky and I have had discussions about this. And he said its all good!
So as the Sergeant is telling me all this, I’m confused. None of this is making any sense. REALLY! I’m getting the boot for being too clean and organized. What’s really going on?
Well it didn’t take long to figure it out. As soon as I moved out, Dicky moved in one of his dope fiend buddies. Dicky is an addict himself. He’s a pharmaceutical junky. He goes to pill line multiple times everyday. He keeps hundreds of pills hoarded in his cell constantly. But I guess the legal drugs aren’t enough.
Since I got kicked out, Dicky has been going downhill fast. Some dude ran up on him and in front of everyone and said, “Listen you punk ass bitch, that sh*t you gave me was bunk and I’m not paying you a f*cking dime!”
Wow! In front of God and everybody. Dicky was now exposed. Shortly after that, someone must’ve went and told. Because they suspended his visits. Tore up his cell. Took apart his wheelchair (looking for drugs). And subjected him to a piss test. Dicky refused the UA because he was dirty. Refusing a UA is a Major Infraction. Dicky is now out of the dog program.
It all makes sense now. Dicky kicked me out of the cell because he wanted to get high and sell drugs. And he knows I’m not down with any of that. So he reverted back to his lying manipulative ways to get what he wants. (see: Living With A Compulsive Liar)
When the Sergeant first told me I was getting kicked out of my cell, I was upset and stressed. But now I’m very thankful. It took me over 6 years to get in The Dog Program. By living with Dicky, he jeopardized my livelihood with his sneaky manipulative misconduct.
In a piece I wrote called, Stone Catchers: I Quit!!!, I talk about overcoming these exact type of challenges.
I know what I need to do. Now it’s all about having the strength, courage, and intelligence to successfully cope with any and all situations that come my way.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9
I quit softball. I temporarily quit Stone Catchers. And sometimes I feel like giving up and smashing out some of these fools. It’s time I quit quitting. Giving up is NOT an option. Violence Is Never The Answer.
MY PRAYER: Please God, continue to give me the strength to endure and overcome. Guide me, guard me, and protect me as I continue my journey. Amen!
Remember when Hillary Clinton used the term “deplorable” when she referred to Trump supporters? Well, she was right. There are deplorable people mixed in with Trump supporters.
But WOW!!! Look at what her ”deplorables” are doing? Violence, hate crimes, racist graffiti, vandalism, rioting, all over the country!
It just goes to show that evil exists on both sides of the aisle.
The campaign trail was littered with insults, offensive language, lies, corruption, scandal, hate, and a host of other negative adjectives. By both candidates.
But that is in the past and the election is over. The people have spoken, and Mr.Trump is our new President. It’s time to rise above all the rhetoric, and focus on Mr. Trump’s actions as President. And so far, he’s been impressive.
I don’t expect the ”deplorables” to accept this fact in a peaceful, loving, mature manner. They will continue to hurl insults and act out as they focus on all the negative they can find and even fabricate. They will remain pessimistic, hostile, combative, and unsupportive. Even as President Trump successfully makes America great again.
No matter what he does, the deplorables will remain in a state of misery.
Ask yourself, do you have any of these deplorable characteristics? Are you stuck in the past and focused on negativity as President Trump moves this country forward?
By ”moving forward” I mean rebuilding our infrastructure, creating jobs, improving healthcare, taking care of our veterans, strengthening our military, and fixing the economy… just to name a few.
If you doubt that President Trump can do all that, well let me remind you of the 2016 Presidential Race. Many experts seriously doubted that he would ever win the nominee. And even more experts said he would NEVER NEVER NEVER win the election.
Did you see how he miraculously re-landscaped the political map? He won battleground states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. These are states that Republicans have been trying to win for over 30 years! And he did it relatively easy, with very little money. How? Exactly how he said he’d do it, by appealing to the “left behind” workers and delivering a message of economic revival.
So go ahead and doubt your new President if you want to. But I warn you, DON’T BET AGAINST HIM! The man is a beast and he gets desired results. I will continue to mark his progress and point out milestones along his journey to making America great again.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s die hard deplorables will continue to ignore President Trump’s amazing accomplishments. They will be too preoccupied focusing on a comment he made when he rated a Miss America contestant a “4” because she had small tits!
Get over it! Move forward. And use your energy to support your new President in a positive & productive manner. It’s never too late to change…especially for the good!
God Bless America.
As a juvenile, I served 18 months at Green Hill. I was out for 14 months before I put myself in prison with a 43 year sentence. Approximately 80% of the kids at Green Hill end up in prison. So I asked myself, “What would it take to significantly reduce that number?”
The answer is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Drastic means requires drastic measures. Here’s my proposal:
Once the juvenile has been found guilty, sentence him to 20 years in prison. Send him to a Maximum security prison full of violent convicts. Make his prison stay uncomfortable and scary. Make this juvenile believe that this is his life for the next 20 years!
But really, its just an elaborate deterrent program that the juvenile knows nothing about. In reality, he gets 18 months (or whatever his juvenile sentence calls for). But he doesn’t know that. He thinks there was some bogus clause in the sentencing guidelines that allowed the judge to give him 20 years in an adult maximum security prison.
As for the Maximum security prison and convicts, they’re in on it too. It’s a specially designed program in a designated section of the prison. Everything is controlled and designed to truly reach these “unreachable” out-of-control juveniles.
As his actual sentence of 18 months starts to wind down, he gets a letter from the court that says he won his appeal. This will serve as an exit strategy that will release the juvenile without exposing the program.
WHY THIS PROGRAM WOULD BE WIDELY EFFECTIVE
You can lecture a juvenile until your blue in the face, and you still won’t reach them. Some things they need to experience for themselves. NOTHING could reach these ”at risk” juveniles the way this program could.
When I was at Green Hill I knew 80% of us would end up in prison. Green Hill is where I learned of that statistic. But who cares? I was the other 20%. So I spent my 18 months kicking it with Crips, Bloods, BGD’s, and thugs. I smoked weed, dropped acid, drank pruno, lied, cheated, stole, and fought. I sold drugs and cigarettes. Green Hill was the absolute worst for me! I came out WAY WORSE than when I went in. I only wish there was an effective deterrent program, like the one I just mentioned. Because I know without a doubt, if it’s done right, it will save juveniles from a life of incarceration.
Please read: How To Engage Those Who Continue With Misconduct
Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Every marriage faces choppy waters. Divorce is at an all time high. Just the other day I heard a guy in here talking about how he’s about to “fire his wife!” He’s tripping on her because she’s slow-walking his food package.
Actually, no it’s not. So many men in here play games with love and emotions. They are not sincere with their love. They are users and abusers. They continue to use until the money dries up, or till they get released. These type of relationships are scattered throughout prison visiting rooms all across America. It breaks my heart and it’s sad to see.
I sincerely love my wife with all my heart. All I wanna do is love this woman and make her happy. No drama, no stress, no arguing, no fighting.
Wouldn’t that be sweet?
Oh, it is!!!
Suzie and I enjoy a strong circle of harmony. But every now and then, we find ourselves in choppy waters. In those times, it is my duty as a husband, to take positive steps that will change the emotional climate and calm the choppy waters.
Smooth sailing in the sea of love is always possible when true love guides the heart.
I’m not perfect, and I still have a lot to learn. But one thing I know for sure is that I love my wife with all my heart and I will forever cherish her and the sweet love she gives me. My #1 priority in our marriage is to treat Suzie with nothing but love, understanding, compassion, and respect.
Our mantra: LOVE CONQUERS ALL!
There’s so much I can’t give this magnificent woman…at least not right now. But what I can give her, is the unconditional love she desires and longs for. I can always give her my very best! When it comes to our marriage and our love, I will always put forth effort, as I maintain faith and hope that our love will only grow stronger throughout our journey.
I love you my sweet Suzie. Thank you for blessing my life with your precious love.
STEP FOUR: We make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
I did STEP FOUR years before I knew what it was. I did it in the form of writing, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary. Today, STEP FOUR offers an opportunity to get re-acquainted with myself. I’ll embrace this opportunity and do it. In order to get an accurate and complete picture of myself, I must include my LIABILITIES along with my ASSETS.
GUILT – A feeling of responsibility for having done something wrong.
I feel guilt constantly. My wrongdoings are irreversible. They can never be made right. I must live with the consequences of my actions for the rest of my life. I refuse to let this hinder me in any way, shape, or form. Instead, I will use it as motivation to live out the rest of my life serving others within the spirit of love.
SHAME – To bring disgrace upon.
I’ve let down so many people, especially my family. Shame has always been something I’ve felt. But just like GUILT, it has given me great cause to turn my life around and be the best I can be.
RESENTMENT – To feel angry or indignant about something.
For years I had strong resentment towards my father for the abuse he inflicted upon me. Today that resentment is still there. The difference is now I use it as an illustration of how NOT to be.
SELF-PITY – Feeling sorry for oneself.
It’s hard to admit, but yes, there has been isolated times when I’ve felt sorry for myself. However, I made my bed and now I must sleep in it. I have no one to blame but myself. Self-pity never served me well until I learned to accept full responsibility for my actions. Now, when that twinge of self-pity starts to creep in, I am reminded that I am the captain of my own destiny. And what I do today will affect my tomorrow.
ANGER – A feeling of great displeasure or hostility.
Oh my! I’ve lived a large portion of my life in anger. What a shame! What a waste! I’m learning that anger is a choice. So is stress. When either one of these emotions rear their ugly heads, I have a choice. I can feed into them and give them energy, which enables them to grow big and strong. Or, I can swiftly counter them with love and understanding as I move on to a calmer, more peaceful, loving section of my brain. That is a choice that only I can make for myself, and that no one else can control.
CONFUSION – To fail to differentiate from something else.
I didn’t even realize the severity of my confusion until I opened my heart and mind to love and understanding. Even then, it took time, along with the art of reflecting on the past with comparisons of today. Only then was I able to achieve clarity.
Not too long ago, all these LIABILITIES (and more) were detrimental to my wellbeing. I allowed them to affect me in a negative manner. I used them as an excuse to lash out. I used them to justify my misconduct.
Within those very liabilities, I also find my ASSETS. Such as the ability to focus on the positive that exists in each and every liability. I’ll conclude this post with a list of newly recognized ASSETS that NA has allowed me to discover. At the top of the list is my wife. Her steady love overflows into every area.
BEING CLEAN & SOBER
For years I engaged in misconduct. As a matter of fact, I pretty much wrote a book on it. It’s called, “Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary.” Today I reflect back to those sad days (and beyond) and I ask myself, “What could’ve reached me? What would’ve it taken for me to change my negative lifestyle?”
The answer is clear: meaningful activities that inspire intrinsic motivation, guidance, mentoring, and I needed mental practitioners who would’ve constantly provided positive reinforcements.
I dream and hope for a program that could change countless lives all over the country. The details are complexed, but the concept is simple:
Offer programs that inspire intrinsic motivation. Every state has multiple correctional facilities. So implement specific programs in the facilities that are best suited for those specific programs. For example, one facility could specialize in automotive and mechanic programs, while another facility specializes in animals and veterinarian programs. Lessen the criteria of these programs and make them available to those who have never had such opportunities.
Strategically place mental practitioners around the facility to offer positive reinforcement, mentoring, encouragement, etc.
Work with outside companies that will hire some of these highly skilled men the second they’re released.
If this simple, realistic concept was properly implemented nationwide, I guarantee the recidivism rate would be lower than the current 66%.
Back in 1994, I was in a drunken rage and shot 4 innocent young men. It is only because of their strong will that no one died. I got what I deserved: 43 years in prison. I’ve never appealed it. I’ve never seeked clemency. And I have no desire to be paroled.
I take full responsibility for my actions and I accept my sentence in full. I have about 13 years left to serve. I refuse to take my incarceration in vain. I am determined to match and exceed all my negative behaviors of the past, with present and future actions of love & compassion towards all of humanity.
My crimes of the past has set my bar extremely high for the present and future. As of today, I’m nowhere near where I need to be. I know I can never right my wrongs. But I can and will use it as motivation to give it my very best.
My setback is a 43 year prison term, and the fact that I hurt 4 people and all their friends and families, and all the bystanders and their friends and families, and all of my friends and family. Therefore, my equal seed of opportunity has to be extraordinary. And that’s exactly what I’m striving for.
The consequences of my crime has and will continue to inspire great change.