Monday, November 3, 2009

Why I Write This Blog From Federal Prison

At mail call today, which is typically around 3:00 P.M., I received a letter from a friend I played baseball with at USC.  We hadn’t spoken much since graduating together in 1997. We promised to stay in touch despite going in different directions. I went directly into the world of finance while he went to business school. Well, you know how the story goes. The first year or two we spoke a hundred times and by year three all communication had ended.

Without going into detail, my friend applauded my efforts in attempting to rebuild my life from this ordeal. For a brief moment I wondered how he knew about the “ordeal” when I quickly remembered that I elected to write about my life from prison camp and post it on the internet. It’s a little scary to write about delicate topics. Personally, let alone publicly, it’s not a simple task to discuss my family, crime, friends, beliefs, etc. I’ve often laid in my bunk and asked myself, “Who the hell cares about my prison experience?” The world appears to be crashing and I’m writing about how many phone minutes I receive each month. Once I settle down, I remind myself that this blog can and should help others prepare for their journey through the criminal justice system. I’ve been through far too much to not do something because others may question me or disagree. I derive great satisfaction in helping others prepare for the “battle of a life time” (as one of my attorneys so aptly phrased it). Anyone who encounters the system should understand that life doesn’t end with indictment, conviction and ultimate sentence. I could have prepared better before my surrender to federal prison. I want others to know they can do it better than me. My blog helps me convey those thoughts.

Attorneys are somewhat helpful in preparing for prison, but they’re not felons. My criminal attorneys went above and beyond in representing me, but they certainly couldn’t tell me what I needed to know. What will my life be like today, tomorrow and next year due to a felony conviction? I will help answer these questions as I move forward with my daily postings. I’m convinced now more than ever that my efforts will do more good than harm.

Justin Paperny

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