Friday, January 27, 2012

As of this writing the MGSF re-entry program is in more than a dozen prisons, and is working with more than 60 prisoners. Corresponding through email has proved an invaluable tool to help prisoners prepare for a law-abiding, contributing life upon release. To that end, I share the newsletter I emailed to all participants this morning. To learn more about contributing to this worthwhile cause please visit

January 27, 2012

Newsletter # 4

Dear Straight-A Guide Participants,

Those of you who have access to the Wall Street Journal may have seen an article that appeared on page B6 of the Tuesday, January 24, 2012 issue.  It’s catchy title “No More Resumes, Say Some Firms,” gives credence to the message we’re trying to convey through our Straight-A Guide Program.

According to the article, business firms are evolving with regard to their hiring practices.  In the past, businesses relied on applicants resume when assessing whether the candidate would be a good fit as a new hire.  Not any more.  With the proliferation of the Internet, employers are doing away with the snapshot into a potential job candidate’s life that a resume can offer.  Instead, employers want to see a more complete picture of the job applicant.  The Wall Street Journal reports on employers that ask applicants to send links representing their “Web presence.”

In the books Earning FreedomPrison! My 8,344th Day, and Triumph!, Michael wrote extensively about how building his Web presence opened numerous opportunities that he was able to harness from prison.  He encouraged others to begin thinking about steps they could using the Straight-A Guide to build their own Web presence.  To the extent that an individual makes a commitment to the strategy, that effort will pay dividends.

Individuals may have to serve a term of confinement in prison, but that prison term does not absolve an individual of his responsibility to prepare himself for an increasingly difficult employment market.  As the Executive Director of the Michael G. Santos Foundation, I consider it my responsibility to motivate individuals, and that was the reason I wanted to share some of the quotes from this article in the Wall Street Journal.

According to Christina Cacioppo, her employer is “most interested in what people are like, what they are like to work with, and how they think.”  Participants in the Straight-A Guide have an opportunity to document their journey through prison.  Through that documentation, they can show employers exactly what they are like, what they would be like to work with, and especially, they can show others how they think.  Indeed, the Straight-A Guide workbook is specifically designed to provide such data.  The Wall Street Journal now validates the merit of such a strategy.

John Fischer, founder and owner of, says that a resume isn’t the best way to determine whether a potential employee will be a good social fit for the company.  Instead, his company relies upon online data.

IGN Entertainment, a unit of the giant News Corp, which owns Fox News and the Wall Street Journal described its hiring practices.  When IGN Entertainment sought to build its work force, it didn’t ask for resumes.  Instead, the firm sought information from the individual’s Web presence, and several of the people it hired were “nontraditional applicants who didn’t attend college or who had thin work experience.”

Those involved in the Straight-A Guide would be wise to pay close attention to this trend.  A prison sentence may be a reality, but not all individuals will emerge from prison with the same opportunities for success.  Those who prepare themselves will be far better positioned to overcome the hurdle of their felony convictions.  All prisoners should think about the challenges they’re going to face when applying for meaningful employment, credit, business partners, or anything else.  Documenting the prison journey may be one of the best investments an individual can make.  He should recognize that although he cannot change the past, he can take proactive steps that will help him overcome the challenges ahead.

I urge individuals to use the Straight-A Guide website to build a Web presence.  Although I know the costs of email can be excessive, it’s an investment in the future, one that has the possibility of bringing rewards such as success upon release. If I can be of assistance, please don’t hesitate to ask.


Justin Paperny, Executive Director, MGSF

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