Wednesday, June 15, 2011
In my previous blog I wrote about my contributions in launching the Michael G. Santos Foundation. I served 18 months in a federal prison camp for bad decisions I made as a stockbroker. I feel strengthened as I work to redeem those bad decisions—one way I’m doing that is through contributions I can make with the foundation, which has its purpose in helping more offenders prepare in ways that will help them emerge as law-abiding, contributing citizens.
To achieve this end, I’ve collaborated with my friend Michael Santos in launching the Straight-A Guide. The program is built around Michael’s experiences because Michael is now in his 25th consecutive year as a federal prisoner. During that time, he has prepared himself in ways that assure his contributions to society. He has educated himself, earning both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree; he has published numerous books that professors in universities across America use to educate students on the prison system; and he has built a strong support network. He’s achieved these extraordinary results while serving time in prisons of every security level.
Michael and I are convinced that any prisoner can prepare himself for success in the same way. Prisoners simply must commit to the Straight-A Guide, and that guide begins with the right attitude.
To have the right attitude in prison means one thing: the individual must make a 100 percent commitment to preparing for the challenges that await his release. As long as the individual advances through his sentence with such an attitude, he can prepare himself to overcome. To the extent that he expects interference and obstacles from the prison system, he will not be disappointed.
I wholeheartedly agree that cultivating the right attitude is an essential component in preparing for a law-abiding life upon release. The prison experience has a tendency to extinguish hope. With its numerous policies and procedures, a prisoner frequently feels violated with regard to both his human and civil rights. The prison experience hurts. It begins with the loss of one’s identity, being subjected to strip searches, and being limited with regard to how much time an individual can spend communicating with loved ones. As the days turn into months, and the months into years, an individual can sink into despair.
To negate the influences of confinement, a man who wants to empower himself must cultivate the right attitude. I’m pleased to work toward helping others through the Straight-A Guide. The efforts I’m making will lead to a safer society. In my next blog I will write about aspirations, the second of seven attributes of the Straight-A Guide.
I invite others to join these efforts I’m making to prepare prisoners for law-abiding, contributing lives. Please visit MichaelSantos.org for more information on the Straight-A Guide program. And if you’re expecting a struggle with the criminal justice system, please give me a call.