Aaron Williams/ Class 1: Values

by Aaron Williams

16. Who are you?

I’m a black male whom been locked up for going on 19 yrs now. I’m a Son, a Father, a Brother , a Friend who got caught up in the life of the drug trade.

17. Describe your background with regard to your education, vocation or career, troubles with the law.

Ged, 1 yr of College, in 1984 got involved in the drug trade after i quit my job after a disagreement with my boss. In 1993 got convicted of conspiracy to sell drugs and one count of money laundry.

18. What are you going through now?

some days are good. some are bad, but i endure. I have support of family , friends and love ones.

Describe your vision of the best person you can become during the following time frames:

19. Time remaining to serve.

I think I can better prepare myself physically, spiritually and mentally with the 4 plus years I have left on my sentence.

20. One month after release.

I would probably be in a halfway house working a job trying to get my life together.

21. One year after release.

At my age I hope to be financially secure giving my Grandchildren lesson from my life experiences in life, also helping the Children in the neighborhood to avoid prison and failure.

22. Five years after release.

At my age I hope to be financially secure giving my Grandchildren lesson from my life experiences in life, also helping the Children in the neighborhood to avoid prison and failure.

23. How do those in society perceive people in prison?

Most people thinks inmates are lowlife, others know people in prison are good hearted n just got caught up. Then there are prisoners that are no earthly good.

24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:

Televison depicts prisoners as the scum of the earth.

25. Compare and contrast your prison adjustment with the prison stereotype.

Before my incarceration i thought prisoners were all trouble makers. But after so many different prison and coming in contact with so many different inmates I’ve learn that most prisoners have good hearts.

26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?

When I first came to prison I thought I had nothing to lose with so much time to do. After several years passed I started to try and better myself and set goals for my release.

27. In what ways is your adjustment different?

Some people in prison never try to change or improve themselves. They come in and leave with the same mentality.

Describe what opportunities for personal growth and development exist in the different prison security levels:

28. High security.

Even though the USP was more dangerous it had the most respect among inmates.  It also had the most programs for growth and development, you could take college courses and learn trades, that was in 1993 when I first came to prison.

29. Medium security.

My first medium prison had a computer class, bookkeeping class and a house building class all of which was really good. My second and third medium prison had very few opportunities to better yourself. A lot of the programs was removed from the federal system.

30. Low security.

By the time I got to a low prison we only had a lot of self help booklets to improve self. We did have a horticulture class. Some jobs offer training is maintenance.

31. Minimum security.

Never been,

32. Prior to release, what do prisoners generally say about their prospects for returning?

Most inmates state that they will never return to prison, but a few do say that they have another run in them. Meaning they will be back.

33. In what ways, if any, do those who never return to prison serve their sentences differently from those who do return to prison?

People who stay out of prison set goals for themselves and keep the focus on those goals. Those who return to prison most time don’t set any goals. My Brother got out in 2001 and have never return to prison, he was my codefendant and got less time than me. So I know you can stay out of prison if you so desire.

34. What steps can a prisoner take to improve chances of success upon release?

Set goals, study, learn a trade or take college courses while locked up, it will pay off in the long run. Take advantage of the program and schooling the prison offer.

Sentence length is not a factor that is controlled from within prison, but adjustment inside prison may influence success upon release. For a better understanding of prison expectations, describe your thoughts on:

35. What length of time would you consider long-term imprisonment?

two years or more, but it’s hard to do 30 days when you have never experience being locked up and any time locked away from friends, family and love ones is considered long to the person doing the time.

36. What expectations do those in society have for long-term prisoners?

Society is so caught up in everyday life that they never really pay attention to prisoner unless they have someone real close to them incarcerated.

37. What expectations do you suppose long-term prisoners have for themselves?

Try to make it out of prison healthy, be prepared to reenter society and try and live a productive life.

38. What do prison administrators and staff members expect of long-term prisoners?

A degree of respect and leadership, someone who try to stay out of trouble and focus upon their release.

39. How would you define a “model inmate”?

You know there is a lot of foolishness among inmates in this prison. Anything you want to get into you can probably find at certain prison. To me if you stay out of trouble and mind your own business and prepare to go home that’s a so-called model inmate. One other thing, model inmates are als is a way the peacekeeper, but thats one of the best kept secrets in these prison.

40. How does Michael’s prison journey support or refute prison stereotypes?

41. What role did the prison infrastructure play in influencing Michael’s journey through prison?

42. What vision governed Michael’s decisions as a prisoner?

The Straight-A Guide includes seven attributes that he describes explicitly in the books Triumph!  And Success! What do the following attributes mean to you?

43. Attitude: What level of commitment do you make to preparing for success upon release?

44. Aspiration: Where do you see yourself at various checkpoints in the future?

45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?

46. Action: What steps are you taking toward aspiration?

47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?

48. Awareness: How knowledgeable are you about the atmospherics around you?

49. In what ways do you reach beyond the boundaries that currently confine you?

50. What do you know about the challenges that will confront you upon release?

51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?

52. Appreciation: What role do others have in your success?

53. Where did those choices lead?

54. What did you value then?

55. How would you guide your children if they were making choices in the same way?

56. What would you do differently if you could?

57. Describe the differences in your life today from the first days of your confinement.

58.  How have your activities from last week led to your activities for this week?

59. Identify the values by which you live.

60. To what extent do your daily activities harmonize with the values by which you live?

61. How do your professed values relate to your perceived role in society?

62. Where does your allegiance lie?

63. Are values situational or absolute?



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