Sunday, June 19, 2011

I’ve been writing about the Straight-A Guide, a comprehensive learning module prisoners may use to prepare for law-abiding lives. I’m pleased to have a collaborative role with Michael Santos in designing the module. I used it to grow during the time we spent together at the Taft Federal Prison Camp, and I personally witnessed how hundreds of other prisoners did the same. I’m still using the Straight-A Guide today.

In my earlier blogs I wrote about the first three attributes of the Straight-A Guide. They include Attitude, Aspiration, and Action.  The fourth attribute is Accountability, and that’s essential.

While we were together at Taft, I had to hold myself strictly accountable. I was serving about one year for a violation of securities laws. Had I not joined with Michael in embracing the Straight-A Guide, I easily could have wasted that year inside. Instead, I assessed the changed circumstances of my life. My felony conviction would preclude me from earning a living as a stockbroker. I had to prepare in measurable ways to succeed upon release, and to do that, I had to hold myself accountable.

To that end, I created accountability logs. I knew exactly how much progress I needed to make during the time I served in Taft. To launch my career as a speaker, I had to write a book about my experiences. That aspiration became the catalyst that led to my book Lessons From Prison. By forcing myself to write every day, I emerged with my aspiration a reality. It helped me launch a new career during the worst economic conditions of my lifetime.

But I was an educated man before I surrendered to prison. What really impressed me was how I saw other prisoners embracing the concepts that Michael taught with the Straight-A Guide. They came from disadvantaged backgrounds. Yet they used the guide to change their lives. Other prisoners were willing to learn from Michael, as I was, because of the achievements he had made while enduring 25 years in prison. His own commitment inspired others, and the Straight-A Guide provided the template anyone could follow to do the same.

My young friend Charlie Day is a great example. He didn’t have much guidance and it wasn’t long before he was sucked into actions that led to prison. Now he is on the Straight-A Guide, taking clearly defined action steps and holding himself accountable with the same kind of accountability logs that I used. His commitment to the Straight-A Guide is preparing Charlie to emerge successfully rather than return to the streets.

I was released from Taft Federal Prison more than two years ago. During that time I’ve travelled the country speaking about what I’ve learned from prison and promoting the books I wrote. Mostly, I’m proud to have launched the Michael G. Santos Foundation. It exists solely to combat the huge problem of recidivism in our nation. Because I personally benefited from the Straight-A Guide approach to preparing for a return to society with values, skills, and resources to succeed, and because I witnessed how others did the same, I’m now making a 100 percent commitment to building a world-class foundation so that we can spread the Straight-A Guide message.

How will I hold myself accountable? That’s what I’m working on now. I’m designing a principled plan that will lead to my raising $500,000 in sponsorship over the next 12 months. It will enable the foundation I lead to help more prisoners prepare for their return to society as law-abiding citizens. I succeeded by using the Straight-A Guide, and I personally witnessed others doing the same. It’s the reason behind my new commitment, and the reason I ask that you join my efforts to build a safer society by reducing recidivism in measurable ways. Soon I will publish a detailed organizational plan that shows how I will hold myself accountable, pursuing goals in a principled way.

It is never too late to start preparing…Download Lessons From Prison Now to discover what is truly possible in federal prison.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

The Complete Guide to Shortening Your Prison Term Through RDAP

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This