July 11, 2015

State Prison Advice

While most of my prison advice concerns federal prison, I do offer prison consulting services for those preparing for a journey through state prison. Frankly, whether serving time in a federal or state prison, many of the strategies to thrive remain the same. One must be proactive, think with the end in mind, put first things first, and understand how every activity or strategy relates to the obstacles they will face upon their release. I write about some of these new strategies in my new Prison Gone Bad Class.

Through Alan Eisner, a phenomenal attorney, I met Corey Frisch. When Corey and I spoke I learned that he was facing a sentence of up to 10 years in state prison–a sentence he would later receive. What inspired me about Corey was his willingness to take action. I frequently tell people they should only make the investment to hire me if they are willing to work. No elixir exists to make this all go away in an instant. Instead, one must embrace the journey will be long, with myriad obstacles, but also recognize that best in class strategies do exist to succeed.

By any measure Corey has excelled. Rather than complain about life in prison–or transit–he spends his time preparing. Certainly, he is aware of the obstacles that await him, or any felon. For those reasons he works to grow his network, develop new skills, and prove worthy of a second chance.

I asked Corey to write a guest blog highlighting his first months in prison. Since receiving this blog he has since transferred to Soledad, a prison I know well. Fortunately, a close friend runs a wonderful program there, and I expect Corey to enroll this fall. For those looking to learn more about thriving through prison, I encourage you to read Corey’s blog below. I hope he will consider writing more in the future.

Justin Paperny

Hello there! My name is Corey K. Frisch and I am currently a prisoner of the State of California.  I am 25 years old and this is my first experience with the criminal justice system.

I consider it an honor to have earned the privilege to communicate with a supportive and understanding group of people such as yourselves.  I am grateful to my friend, Justin Paperny, for inviting me to share a portion of my prison journey with you. As this is to be a short log of my experiences thus far, I do not have the space to provide much detail concerning the circumstances of my arrest, except that I am an alcoholic and caught my case while extremely intoxicated. I can provide more detail at a later time.  For now, I will paint you a picture of what I am currently going through.

On March 16, 2015, I surrendered myself to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department after being on bond for close to two years. Six weeks previously, I pled guilty in court to assault with a firearm on a peace officer with “use of a weapon” add-charge. My plea deal provided me with ten years in state prison with 85% to be served. I am extremely fortunate that nobody apart from myself was injured during the course of my crime.

After sitting in the Los Angeles County jail for two weeks, I “caught the chain” and was transferred to my current location (Wasco State Prison Reception Center) to await my “permanent” placement.

I have been in prison for over two months. I am pleased to report that NONE of my experiences on the outside have even come close to replicating the miserable anxiety I felt during the days preceding my surrender.  While I cannot say it’s a party in here, it isn’t nearly as horrific as my mind imagined it to be. I can honestly say that I am doing okay. I am working hard each day and using my time wisely. I have to be productive!

Thus far, I have spent my time in this 200 man dorm reading, writing and exercising. I occasionally watch television in the dayroom as reception has extremely limited resources.  I have read many books here, but the ones that have helped me the most have been Unbroken (like the film) and a spiritual book called The Four Agreements.  These books have reminded me that though I am incarcerated, I have the power to change my attitude and to make the most of the situation.  Earning Freedom by Michael Santos has also assisted me in retaining my dignity, taking responsibility for my actions, and staying productive in a system that thrives on the failures of the inhabitants.

Writing, without a doubt, has been of great help to me. I regularly correspond with members of my Facebook group, “Corey Frisch Prison Support Network” via email and by having a friend transcribe/post my writings to the page on my behalf.  I also recently celebrated my two year sobriety birthday thanks to Alcoholics Anonymous.  Many members of the network are from AA.  I am in the process of writing out my story in hopes of being published in “The Grapevine”, an AA magazine. It would be a great way to stay productive buy sharing my experience, strength, and hope with as many people as possible.

I hope that this brief update has given you a sense of how I am coping with prison life, something I never imagined I‘d experience. Thank you again for reading my words.  I sincerely hope that we can get to know each other in greater depth.

With all sincerity,

Corey Frisch

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