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.
It’s easy to identify those who will re-offend and come back to prison vs. those who will get out and be successful. So why not implement programs that REALLY focus on the 66% who will re-offend? In order to identify those who will re-offend vs. those who will stay out, I have randomly selected and interviewed 2 inmates.
Here’s an interview I did with a guy who will come back to prison:
Paul is a 35 year old white male.
He’s been in and out of prison 4 times.
He currently has 2 years left before he gets out.
His rap sheet is long: robbery, burglary, I.D. theft, possession of stolen property, possession of stolen vehicle, eluding, etc. And his infraction history includes: tattooing, failure to provide a UA, dirty UA, etc.
I asked him, “How did you end up in prison?”
He said, “Drugs and addiction.”
I asked him, “Who are you?”
He paused. He was stuck. I wanted to help urge him along, but I kept quiet as he processed the question. It literally took him 45 seconds before he said, “I’m a charismatic, outgoing, loving guy who is easily influenced. I know right from wrong but I always choose wrong for some unknown reason. My priorities are all wrong. I’m selfish and unresponsible [sic]. I always make excuses and justify my wrong actions.”
He said for himself that he is “easily influenced.” So why not influence this man with positive, meaningful activities that inspires great intrinsic motivation?
I asked him, “How do you spend your days?”
He said, “I play cards, workout, and kick it with friends.”
I asked Paul, “What do you want to do when you get out?”
He said, “Run a business and be a father. Enjoy life.”
I asked, “What type of business?”
He said, “A Tow Truck company. Or a Barber Shop. I’ve even been thinking about a Detail Shop.”
I then asked, “What are you doing now, while in prison, to ensure success?”
He said, “I’m reading a book on small businesses. I think about it a lot. I need to start writing things down.”
The last question I asked Paul was, “Will you come back to prison?”
He said, “I hope not.”
There’s no question in my mind that Paul will come back to prison. Every sign points to it. However, things might be drastically different for Paul if he was engaging in meaningful activities that would tap into his Intrinsic Motivation.
Now here’s an interview I did with a guy who will get out, stay out, and be successful:
Terry Essick is 33. He fell in 1999 and gets out in 2019. He got 20 years for 1st degree murder.
Infraction free for over 5 years.
Spends his days going to school, studying, working out, dog program, and applying what he learns.
Says he’s in prison because as a kid he lacked structure and proper guidance, which lead to an unhealthy lifestyle.
Describes himself as an outgoing, charismatic, empathic, kind, caring man who is very stern when need be.
Upon release he wants to get into small business management (fitness related). And invest in real estate, and other commodities such as energy, and the stock market.
To prepare for these future events he takes college courses, reads educational books, and watches educational programs. He’s already earned his Certified Training Degree. With his knowledge, he mentors others in here.
Now here’s something that surprised me. I asked him, “Will you be back after you get out?”
He said, “I don’t intend to. But you never know. I mean, I don’t know what fate has in store for me. If someone hurts my family or anyone I love, all bets are off.”
After that last comment, I went from believing there’s no way he’ll be back….to, he very well could be back. I mean after all, he is in for killing a man who was harassing his mother.
Real Love Letters: Falling in love through writing. The connection. The journey. The romance.
How could a vibrant, intelligent woman fall in love with a man in prison? To most people, it makes no sense. I don’t even fully understand it. Yet, I’m referring to my situation. HOW COULD THIS HAPPEN? That is the question a lot of people ask. And if they don’t ask it, they’re thinking it! The answer is better SHOWN, rather than told.
I invite you to follow our blog: Real Love Letters. It shows how a shy, introvert, Mormon girl falls in love with an outspoken, extrovert…who just so happens to be a convict serving 43 years in prison.
My wife, Suzie, and I know we have something special and unique. A powerful love unlike anything we’ve ever known. And now we have decided to share it with the world. We share our back and forth dialogue that started with a Prison Pen-Pal Ad, and continues all the way through falling in love and getting married.
I feel truly blessed that such an amazing and wholesome woman entered my life.
Real Love Letters is a testimony that true love knows no boundaries.
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.
“I think it would be helpful for the audience to understand how you personally were affected by Occupational Deprivation.” ~Sandra Rogers
That single sentence stood out to me and is where the title of this post came from. First, I had to understand the meaning of Occupational Deprivation (OD). As far as I can tell, it means: The lack of meaningful activities. Hmmm…all of my activities have had some type of meaning behind them.
I hustled, gambled, sold drugs and tobacco.
The Meaning: to make money.
I got in fights.
The Meaning: to earn respect and to release pent up frustrations and aggression.
In a Penitentiary, or a Correctional Center, these truly are meaningful activities. If I want to spend the rest of my life locked up and miserable! Early on in my incarceration I knew I had to change. I wanted to change! (For an in-depth look, please read my ebook, Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary)
The cure to Occupational Deprivation is Meaningful Activities. But for years, I was denied. I asked numerous DOC employees for help. The answer was always the same, “No. Those programs are for short timers…you have too much time.”
My misconduct would continue and I’d end up in the hole. Again! I shed many tears in The Hole. Because that’s when & where reality really hit! Prison. 43 years. The pain I’ve caused others. Isolation. Being a failure. A loser. The list goes on…
One time when I was in the hole they cuffed me and escorted me to the recreation enclosure. On the way there I saw a flier advertising Anger Management and Victim Awareness. These classes were available in the hole. Two classes I desperately needed. So I submitted a kite requesting them.
To my surprise, they denied me. The reason: I wasn’t doing enough time in the hole.
That pissed me off! While in population I’m denied for having too much time. And in the hole I’m denied for not having enough time. But if I seriously hurt someone and get, let’s say,12 months in the hole, then I’ll get the classes and my long prison sentence is no longer a factor.
It’s logic like this that’s so discouraging.
Lucky for me, I have a strong will and a burning desire for redemption (see: Redemption, It’s My Choice). Despite set back after set back, I continued to seek understanding as I took moral inventory of myself. As I write this and reflect back, I now see that I had the desire to get better, but I severely lacked in the “meaningful activity” department. Therefore, I struggled.
Occupational Deprivation was my program! And I suffered greatly because of it.
Today, my life is full of “meaningful activities.” And as a result, I’ve never been happier or more productive.
I go to NA Meetings, which I gain so much wisdom & knowledge from.
I’m in The Dog Program and I have the privilege of loving a dog named, Yahoo.
I graduated from my Redemption and Roots of Success classes because I wasn’t told, “No. You have too much time.”
I’ve started reading Influential Books, which I thoroughly enjoy.
I mentor those who are ready to hear positive messages. I lead by example so my words have greater impact.
I’m the nations leading blogger from behind bars.
I have meaningful relationships with the people I call Friends.
I have a job passing out commissary to thousands of guys.
I prepare healthy meals for myself and I workout regularly.
The list of “meaningful activities” goes on and on….and my most treasured one is my marriage. I have the most caring, loving wife any man could ever hope to have. Suzie has blessed my life beyond what I thought possible. The love I feel for her in my heart is stronger than any other feeling I’ve ever known.
All these “meaningful activities” have completely wiped out OD. Perhaps I should’ve titled this post, “How I Am Affected By Meaningful Activities.” Because this is where the beauty is. This is where true transformation is realized.
Its great to learn new terms and articulate my journey under the umbrella of Occupational Therapy. But the truth is: If someone wants change, they must want it for themselves, then relentlessly pursue it everyday for the rest of their lives.
It is now, after I am well on my way, that I make the connection between “meaningful activities” and rehabilitation. It would’ve been nice to learn all this years before I did. Better late than never.
I’ve already done 21 years of a 43 year prison sentence. I’ve spent many nights laying in the dark, wondering WHY? HOW?
Why me? How did this happen? Why did I do the things I did? How did certain thoughts enter my mind? And why did I act on them?
The process of answering these questions was long and complicated. I’m still seeking answers.
To answer the questions WHY and HOW, I had to read many books. Books that offer absolute truth, love, spiritual understanding, and universal laws. Such as: The Power of Now, The Science of Mind, As A Man Thinketh, The Bible, The Purpose Driven Life, From Onions To Pearls, The Four Agreements, The One Year Love Language Minute Devotional, and The Receptivity Project (just to name a few).
First and foremost, I have a burning desire to change. Otherwise, influential books would have no effect.
These books, my desire to change, and the support from thousands of people, have given me new perspective and answers.
I recognized my thought atmosphere was polluted. I understand why it was polluted. Because I was born and raised in an unstructured environment riddled with abuse and violence.
By giving my attention to abuse and violence, I automatically embodied it. As a baby, kid, ad teenager, I was clueless that I attract the likeness of this embodiment. I was clueless that thoughts become a thing. I was clueless that my mental state takes on form, color, and temporary reality.
Had I known that from birth, my entire life would be completely different.
Well, I know it NOW! And it’s never too late to turn your life around.
By reading influential and powerful books, I have cleaned up my thought atmosphere. I now nurture my mind with positive material full of TRUTH, LOVE, and UNDERSTANDING.
These wonderful books help change lives if you truly embrace change. They have enabled me to experience a deeper level of consciousness that instantly heals.
We outwardly experience our state of consciousness. Our actions are a reflection of what’s within. These books have taught me so much! They have given me true understanding. Once I truly understood, I was then able to truly change.
My transformation started with the simple proposition of the creative power of thought. And from this recognition I discovered that circumstances and conditions are formed and held in place by the power of the mind.
What a wonderful discovery!
This law applies to all!
If I can do it from in here, then anyone can do it from out there.
Keep your eyes on your own. If you get caught looking at someone’s visitor, whether it’s their mom, sister, grandma, wife, girlfriend, whoever, and you could end up looking at some boots upside your face back in the cell block.
Bruce is a nice young fellow serving 14 years for second degree murder. All through his school years he played sports and had lots of friends.
One night he went to a party with friends. This was a high school party, so everyone there ranged from 15-18 years old. Bruce was 17.
The party was going good, everyone was laughing and having fun. Then it happened.
Eight football players from the rival high school walked in. They were loud, rude, and disrespectful. When asked to leave, they refused.
Push come to shove and a brawl broke out. Most people ran. Within seconds, Bruce and his six buddies were getting man handled by the bullies.
Bruce panicked. He ran to the kitchen and grabbed a random kitchen knife. He had no intention of using the knife. He just wanted to break up the brawl and persuade the bullies to leave.
It didn’t work out. One of the bullies attacked Bruce. Bruce stabbed him. The stab wound was fatal.
Two years into a 14 year sentence, Bruce was enjoying a nice visit from his mom and sister. As the conversation flowed and the mood was light, his sister leaned in close and said, “That creepy guy keeps looking at me.”
Bruce turned his head and saw exactly who she was talking about.
It was 37 year old Ray Ray. A known sex offender.
Bruce turned his chair, then pointed his finger directly at Ray Ray and said, “That guy right there? That’s the guy who can’t keep his f*cking eyes off my sister!”
From that point forward, Bruce kept Ray Ray in his sight. The mood shifted. Tension could be felt. Bruce was pissed!
After the visit, Bruce confronted Ray Ray.
“Why were you staring at my sister!” he demanded!
“I saw you. Don’t f*cking lie to me.”
“I’m not lying. I wasn’t looking at her.”
Bruce snapped! Talk time was over. Bruce kicked Ray Ray in the nuts without warning. Hard!
As Ray Ray bent over in pain, Bruce grabbed him by the hair and kneed him in the face 3 times. Ray Ray fell to the floor. Bruce stomped on his face twice, then said, “Don’t you ever look at my sister again you piece of sh*t rapist.”
Moral of the story: It doesn’t matter what you’re in prison for. Don’t look at other peoples visitors. Period!
Forty-three years in prison sucks for more reasons than I care to list. But the good news is I’ve realized the power within the mind. No matter what the situation is, life is an attitude. And my attitude is within my control.
One of my favorite philosophies is, “With every setback or hardship comes an equal seed of opportunity.” It’s almost an art form to recognize and apply this philosophy. Because the opportunity always comes during a dark troublesome time. A time when the negative seems overwhelming, and accepting the grief & heartache seems like the only option. Don’t get me wrong, grieving in moderation is necessary for healing. Just don’t make a habit of it and let it ruin you. Instead, take a step back, clear your head, and look for that “equal seed of opportunity.” If you can’t find it, create it. Impose your will and make it happen.
Here’s just one example of how this equal seed philosophy has helped change my life: my setback is forty-three years in prison.
What could possibly be EQUAL to that? The truth is, nothing. It’s simply too long. There’s no coming back from such a harsh blow. It’s over! I’m done. I quit!
Lucky for me, my mind doesn’t think that way. I believe in this philosophy with all of my heart, and I will create my equal seed of opportunity. Such as: sober living, healthy diet, exercising daily, straightening out priorities, self improving, and focusing on a positive life style. All those are great. But are they EQUAL to forty-three years in prison??? In my mind, the answer is NO. Not even close. The philosophy says there is an EQUAL SEED OF OPPORTUNITY. Forty-three years in prison is extraordinary. Therefore, my equal seed must also be extraordinary. So I came up with earning 47-60 million dollars over the next twenty years. Is that EQUAL to forty-three years in prison? I still say NO. But it definitely brings more balance to the equation. My goal to earn millions is already a definite plan, and the wheels are in motion. I now have definite purpose. I will not stop until I reach my goals.
What fuels me? How about a forty-three year prison sentence! The man in me now realizes how the boy in me altered my life forever. It angers me beyond belief. It now fuels my passion, and that is to do something extraordinary with my time here in prison. I refuse to take my incarceration in vain. I have to make this time work for me, not against me. I need redemption, for myself more than anyone. Once I achieve that, I will strive for redemption in the lives I have hurt. I have a strong desire to give back to all those I’ve hurt. No matter how big or how small, if I’ve ever hurt you, then you are a part of my redemptive mission. Please read my blog titled, Saying Sorry Isn’t Enough.
My passion to make millions has now become a healthy obsession. It’s the main topic of my conversations, thoughts, and dreams. It has consumed me in a healthy, positive way. It sets the bar of balance high. When I achieve financial success, I expect all my other personal characteristics, morals, and attributes to elevate along with it.
Without the hundreds of little details, my plan is really quite simple. I am writing prison literature, self publishing, and selling my work worldwide using the greatest marketing tool in the history of the world: Social Media. (aka: The Internet).
I am building my own publishing company called, Stone City Publishing. My short term goals are to learn the publishing business by publishing my own books. My long term goals are to have hundreds of titles by dozens of inmate authors, all selling worldwide under my network of prison literature, AKA: Stone City Publishing.
My genre is one that has appeal to millions of people all over the world. PRISON! I will write and publish dozens of books.
Here are my first five titles:
Stone City: Life In The Penitentiary – This book brings the reader deep inside prison society and truly exposes the realities of prison from my perspective. Stone City is full of pictures that were taken with illegal cell phones smuggled in by convicts.
Chirpy…The Amazing Jail Jailbird – This book is about a baby bird I saved & raised for fifteen months inside a max security prison. It’s a story you have to read to believe. Pictures included.
101 Ways To Get Your Ass Kicked In Prison – The title is self explanatory. Prison fights are wicked! Learn about what causes them, the weapons used, and the consequences.
Prison Ink…The Art Of Hate – This book is full of pictures showing off tons of prison tats. Learn how they’re paid for, what they stand for, and all the drama they cause.
How I Made Millions In Prison – This breaks down the entire process from the first idea to the first million dollars. I share philosophies and basic concepts as I build Stone City Publishing from behind bars.
My agenda is up front and simple. I’ve found my EQUAL SEED. It’s on!
If you have any Q’s or comments, feel free to respond and drop me a line.
Have a great day.
“With every setback there’s an equal seed of opportunity.”