MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2009

Ninety-Nine Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp

I am pleased to introduce myself to the readers of PrisonNewsBlog.com. My name is Justin Paperny and I am coming to the end of an 18-month sentence I served for violations of securities fraud. I graduated from the University of Southern California, built a career as a stockbroker at Bear Stearns, and then UBS. Some bad decisions I made with regard to one of my hedge-fund accounts led me into problems with the criminal justice system and the prison term I served at Taft’s minimum-security camp.

I self-surrendered to the camp at Taft in late April of 2008. Although I would not have expected it when I began, my time in prison has been some of the most productive of my life. Administrators awarded good time as a consequence of my avoiding any disciplinary infractions, and a few months of halfway house time so that I could conclude the final portion of my term as a quasi citizen. As of this writing, I’m pleased to have advanced to within 100 days of my scheduled release from Taft Prison Camp, on May 20, 2009.

With hopes of helping those who may anticipate a journey through the criminal justice system, I offer my experiences, observations, and what I have learned from others with whom I served time. Those who visit the archived postings at JustinPaperny.com may read about my initial adjustment. Writing has become therapeutic for me, and the discipline of committing to memorializing each day of my confinement has empowered me. Whereas other prisoners I have met struggle through the complexities of confinement, thinking and writing has made my time in prison a period of introspection. I intend to share my final 99 days in prison with family and friends who follow my entries at JustinPaperny.com, but also with the wider, more diverse community at PrisonNewsBlog.com.

As I push through these final 99 days, I want my readers to know that I feel well prepared and optimistic about meeting the challenges that await me. I know that I will be leaving confinement to face the toughest economic conditions of my lifetime, and of course I will have a felony record that blemishes my résumé. Nevertheless, I have learned lessons through this prison experience that imbue me with a new confidence. I feel as if I am emerging as a better man, with clearer understandings of how virtues like integrity, ethics, temperance, and a sense of balance will assure my success in overcoming whatever obstacles lie ahead.

Through these daily writings, I invite readers into my world. It may be the world of a prisoner, though I do not feel any shame. I am remorseful for having used poor discretion that entangled me into a crime, harmed my reputation, and contributed to financial losses. Yet my period of penitence has helped and I feel as if I’ve reclaimed a modicum of dignity with the responsible way by which I responded to the problems I created. Through the efforts I’ve made to atone and through my continuing efforts of contributing to society, I feel as if I am ready to walk out of this prison with my head held high and my good character intact. Ninety-nine days to go.

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