by Steven Dybvad


I’m so frustrated, all I want to do is work out each day, continue to sculpt my body into a healthy and desirable one, but right now I can’t do an kind of cardio, running, anything that has to do with using my legs other than walking because my injured knee still has a sharp pain. Achieving a great body takes a ton of hard work each and every day and it doesn’t just happen overnight, I’m nowhere close to the body I want. Missing another day of working out is having to delay another day for the body that I want. Working toward long term goals like this is new for me, I’m used to living an in the moment life of instant gratification as a result of my extensive years of substance abuse. Now I work on many long term goals each day, goals that benefit my future and my children’s’ future, but I’m also a creature of habit and if something happens that disables me from adhering to my daily routine, then it tends to mess up my day, frustrating me, causing me to feel unaccomplished for the day. This knee injury that’s keeping me from jogging, lunging, squatting, or doing jumping jacks is causing me to feel unaccomplished each day and it’s really bothering me. I know that I have to listen to my body when it says to take it easy, I just don’t have to like it.

by Steven Dybvad


I’m so frustrated, all I want to do is work out each day, continue to sculpt my body into a healthy and desirable one, but right now I can’t do an kind of cardio, running, anything that has to do with using my legs other than walking because my injured knee still has a sharp pain. Achieving a great body takes a ton of hard work each and every day and it doesn’t just happen overnight, I’m nowhere close to the body I want. Missing another day of working out has to delay another day for the body that I want. Working toward long term goals like this is new for me, I’m used to living an in the moment life of instant gratification as a result of my extensive years of substance abuse. Now I work on many long term goals each day, goals that benefit my future and my children’s’ future, but I’m also a creature of habit and if something happens that disables me from adhering to my daily routine, then it tends to mess up my day, frustrating me, causing me to feel unaccomplished for the day. This knee injury that’s keeping me from jogging, lunging, squatting, or doing jumping jacks is causing me to feel unaccomplished each day and it’s really bothering me. I know that I have to listen to my body when it says to take it easy, I just don’t have to like it.

by Steven Dybvad


Today during my victim’s awareness class, our unit caseworker spoke up about having knowledge of my blog. He told me that he was informed by other staff members with the intentions of causing uproar. He told me that the other staff told him in hopes that he would get upset about the security of this prison and do something about it, but he told me that there’s nothing he would do because I’m not breaking any rules. He also stated this in front of the class with a purpose. He said that he was happy to see that I’m doing something productive with my time in prison, preparing for my future and he wished that more inmates would be productive with their time. This made me feel great, it doesn’t hurt to get a little validation every once in a while.


I had a wonderful visit with my mother today; I always enjoy our time together. The electricity was still off, but the sun was shining through the windows well enough to see each other and have a great conversation together without any distractions. Because the vending machines weren’t working we both separated early so that I wouldn’t miss out on lunch and my mother was hungry as well, but it was just my luck that as soon as we parted ways the electricity came back on and the vending machines started working again, but oh well, I’m just glad that I was able to share some quality time with my dear, sweet mother.


I got an email from my daughter today. It sounds like she’s having a really difficult time at home right now. I’m so upset with myself that I continue to be situation where I can’t do a single thing to help my children, no matter how much they may need their father, I’ll remain stuck here in prison for at least another 18 months, unable to save them from anything. Things like this continue to remind me how important it is to continue my recovery from addiction, taking every step I can possibly take to insure the quality of my future in success, not just for myself, but for my innocent children that need a stable, loving, dependable father in their lives and for the rest of their lives.
It is finally warm enough outside that we were able to go outside. My friend, Kurt and I ran an easy three miles around the track. I wanted to run more, but Kurt was exhausted, I ran by his side to motivate him and he did great, three miles nonstop is a huge improvement compared to what he could run last year. Last year I ran an average of five to eight miles a day, but this year my goal is to run an average of ten miles a day.


Apparently my blogging has once again upset more prison staff members, yet I just don’t understand why because I haven’t created a single problem for anyone, I haven’t broken any rules and I certainly haven’t jeopardized anyone’s’ job. I was pulled into someone’s’ office who asked me about my blog, how it gets updated, who does the updating, etc., I was even asked how I send my writing home and instructed not to lie because he already knew the answer. I simply answered his questions, but I wish I had asked why he was asking me a question to which he already knew the answer. Then he proceeded to tell me that he knows I wrote his name in one of my entries and he told me never to write his name, ever again, for any reason, whether it be good or bad. He also said he didn’t know why I was even allowed to have a blog, it’s not against the rules, but he wishes it was. I just don’t understand why he’s so bent up about this, because everything I do in here is to improve the quality of my life and my future, which includes my blog. I’m taking steps to make sure that I never return to drugs, crime, prison, or early death. I thought that’s what staff members would want from an inmate, but instances like this really make me wonder…
Unfortunately for some reason they didn’t allow my friend Kurt to move in my cell with me, I really have to wonder if staff may be using this bed move as a way of trying to make our lives uncomfortable for having a blog.
Long story short, I know that I’m not breaking any rules, what I do in here is for my own personal growth and future and I will continue to make good, honest, open decisions just as I’ve been doing these last three years of my imprisonment. Of course I agreed not to ever name any staff again and I will keep my promise, but I will never bite my tongue when it comes to maintaining the promise that I made to myself and my family and that is living my life in prison like an open book, holding myself accountable for my life, my choices and all that goes on in my life.


On Sunday I ran three miles, yesterday I ran 4.25 miles and today I made it to five miles before my legs started to fail. Slowly but surely I will make it up to my goal of running an average of ten miles a day, but for now I’m a little relieved to hear that there’s going to be a snow storm tomorrow, I feel extremely sore, weak, exhausted and I could use a break from working out, tomorrow’s storm just happens to be a good excuse, one that will keep me from feeling guilty about not working out tomorrow. All this year I have been dedicated to busting my butt every day, working out hard and eating healthy. Some days I workout three hours and some days I workout close to five hours. This is the same way that I’ve lived most of my life with everything I do, no matter what, it’s either all or nothing with me, and this is where my severe addiction to substances comes into play. I just have to be extremely careful with every choice that I make in life, making absolutely sure that no matter what I do or become attached to, that it’s a valuable decision, one that’s healthy and wholesome for me, my family, my future and the people around me.


This winter seems like it’s lasting forever, just when it starts to warm up and you think it’s gone, the cold, wind, snow and ice comes right back. I just want to be able to go back outside on a regular basis to jog everyday like I did last summer. When I was at Lebanon I couldn’t wait to come here and experience some weather, it had been a whole two winters that I was stuck inside, unable to experience any kind of temperature fluctuation, in a high security prison, locked down 22 hours a day, unable to go outside during the cold seasons. From Lebanon, I knew that Madison was an open camp, meaning that one has to go outside to get to anywhere because all buildings are separated. Being deprived of Mother Nature for so long created a yearning for anything, cold, hot, snow, rain, it didn’t matter, I just wanted to feel closer to earth, a sense of freedom if you will, but now, after walking through cold, miserably wet snow and ice at least three, four and five times a day, just to get to chow or any other kind of appointment, one can get sick of this bad weather pretty fast. This crazy Ohio weather also tends to play a role on my mental, emotional frequencies. Seasonal affective disorder continues to take control of my state of mind, however it’s nowhere near as strong or debilitating as it used to be since I’ve taken control of my addiction to substances and my diligent dedication to eating healthy and maintaining a regular fitness routine.


Finally we get a day with the temperature nice enough for the guards to decide to open up the track again. I was so anxious to run, there was no stopping me from getting at least five miles in before I quit. Unfortunately I didn’t quit even when a pain in my right knee was telling me to quit and now I’m suffering the consequences. Yesterday I jar my knee while trying to run around the tiny little basketball court because the track wasn’t open. Having to make sharp turns around the court injured my knee, I felt a little pain yesterday, I thought it was no big deal, but as soon as I started running the track this morning I could still feel a little pain in my right knee, yet I kept running anyway. Toward the end of my run, my knee started to tighten up and increase in pain, yet I continued to push through, determined to reach at least five miles. I achieved my goal, but it came with a hefty price. As soon as I stopped running, my knee became sharp and excruciating. I returned to my block, got in a hot shower hoping to feel a little better, but so far no good. Now I have a bag of ice wrapped around my knee, on my bed, with my leg elevated in a homemade sling that I tied to the top bunk. Now all I can think about is how long it will take me to heal up until I can go running again….

by Steven Dybvad


My Grandmothers’ health is deteriorating. The last time that she came to visit me she was using a cane to walk around, now she’s apparently having other health problems that are common with old age. This is just a very difficult subject for me because my grandma has always been so strong and healthy and now I’m wondering how much longer she’s going to be on this earth. I’ve already lost my Aunt Norma from inside prison; the thought of losing another loving member of my family is eating at my soul. I always thought I would have more time to turn my life around and show my loved ones how I can really be the man I was meant to be. Just like my Aunt, Norma, God bless her soul, I want to be able to show my grandma what a great grandson I can be, I want to show her how I can stand on my own two feet, support and love my children, attend every important occasion, come to the rescue when someone is in need of my help, etc. So many things I wanted to do with my life, so many times I convinced myself I had all the time in the world to turn it around and now so much of my life has past, making it too late for so many things, so many dreams. I just hope and pray every day that my grandma sticks around for many more years to come, along with the rest of my family and loved ones.


My mother was going to come visit with me today, but I had to call her and suggest not to come because the snowy weather is getting worse and I wouldn’t forgive myself if she got into some kind of accident, especially with my father being out of state she would have nobody to rescue her. This was not easy for me, being able to see my mother face to face, give her a great big hug and kiss, talk to her about life, so many things I was looking forward to. Getting a visit from family is something that most any inmate would cherish and anticipate. Fortunately for both of us, my mother has a business conference to attend close by here next weekend where she’ll be able to visit with me after. This works out well for the both of us and I won’t have to worry about her getting into a car accident because of the bad snow storm that is if weather permits.


This morning my celly got hauled off to the hole from the chow hall for disrespecting the guards and destroying state property. Apparently he had his inmate ID in his pocket when it’s supposed to be visibly clipped to the outside of our shirts at all times. When the guard asked my celly why he didn’t have his badge out, he said it was in his pocket, he then reached into his pocket, pulled out his ID, broke it in half, then handed it to the guard. The guard asked him why he broke his ID and he said “what are you going to do about it, take me to the hole?” The guards of course cuffed him up and carried him off to the hole. Any other time I would be excited and relieved at him being gone and having the cell all to myself for a while, except now this complicates the goal of getting my friend Kurt moved in here. If they let my old celly back in this cell, he’ll be unable to switch places with Kurt because no one who gets a ticket, or in any kind of trouble can move for three months after. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that my celly doesn’t return and the unit manager allows Kurt to move in.


I’ m starting to learn a great deal on the guitar now. I continue to practice every single day for at least an hour or two, sometimes three. I get into a zone of practicing and repeating what I know until it starts to feel natural, then I practice some more. Now I’m starting to get callouses on top of existing callouses on my fingertips. Every time I get together with my friend Kurt for another lesson he comments on how he can tell I’ve been practicing. Not only am I excited about learning the guitar, because it goes deeper than that. I’m excited about the improvements that I continue to make in my life, achieving goals that I’ve set in place, growing and moving forward instead of destroying my life and that of my family through substance abuse. Every day, every decision I make is made with serious thought for my future, no matter how big or small, no matter how immediate or how gradual the outcome may be down the road; I make sure that it’s the right decision and a responsible one.


This morning a female guard started cussing and yelling at me as I’ve seen her do to many other inmates. She was yelling at me about my porter job, which is sweeping the floors along with two other men that have the same job as me. The guard started cussing about how the floors were a mess and we weren’t doing our job. I calmly explained to her that the guard who hired me said not to sweep and mop until 10:45 every morning and the time was only 9a.m. at the time. I also explained that I do my job every single day without being asked and there was absolutely no reason for her to be raising her voice at me in a disrespectful tone. After that, I didn’t have any more problems with her, but I know if she yelled at me again I would have gone straight to the sergeant to file a complaint. I never disrespect a guard and I expect the same in return. It’s not a guards’ job to yell or cause problems, there job is to try to keep problems from escalating.


The electricity has been shut off in the entire prison and the prison next door as well and it’s been this way for more than 24 hours. From what the guards tell us it could be this way for another couple of days. They told us that a cable underground has snapped and now they have to locate the break, dig it up and fix it. On top of all that, they’re keeping us locked in our cell until it’s fixed, letting us out only for chow. We can’t even take showers, we have no hot water. So we’re stuck in our cell with no lights to see, I can’t even shave my face, which is a bummer because my mother is coming to see me tomorrow and I always try to look my best for her. My friend, Kurt had a visit with his mother this morning, he told me that there’s no lighting or anything else working in there either, he said the vending machines don’t even work which is also a major bummer because eating some decent food is something we all look forward to when getting a visit from family, but of course it’s not the end of the world, it will be a blessing to see my mother, just as it always is.

by Steven Dybvad


Apparently the unit manager has taken notice of my work in the Straight A Guide To Success program and my book that I hope to have printed in the near future. I believe another inmate may have told him about my work, however it is that he took notice I think he might be a little impressed with me. He told me that some benefactors are coming in next week and he would like for me to speak on behalf of the inmates. Mr. Emmons, the unit manager didn’t give me enough detailed information as to who these people are that are coming in, except for the fact that these sponsors make contributions for the children of inmates who want to go to college and don’t have the money or resources to do so without help from others. Regardless of why these individuals are coming to visit this prison, I told Mr. Emmons that I would love to speak on behalf of the inmates. I will always jump at an opportunity to show others how a convict like me can make clear cut choices to change my life around and take the necessary steps to do so starting from inside these prison walls, in preparation for a successful future as a law abiding, contributing member of society after release.


I just had a video visit with my parents; fortunately today the kiosk wasn’t shut down, enabling me to spend an enjoyable hour talking with the both of them while watching them relax in the comforts of their home, something I look forward to doing as early as the end of next year. What really made our session together exciting was hearing them explain how Justin Paperny offered me a job as a prison consultant when I’m released from here. I’m so excited! This is an amazing offer that I won’t even hesitate to think twice about accepting. To be able to earn a living practicing the very principals that enabled me to take control of my life and future is a major blessing. To be able to give back to the same program that provided me with the tools necessary to create a life for myself and my family is one that I can’t ignore.


Apparently there’s a big uproar on the internet about our prison food service company, Aramark serving us food that’s not made for human consumption. This is an unfortunate issue that all of us inmates were already aware of. Many of the kitchen workers have told us about the boxes of food labeled ‘NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION’, but all we could do is talk about it because of the rigorous pat downs after every kitchen worker leaving the chow hall, unable to carry out any evidence. Well thanks to a lady that was recently released from Marysville penitentiary for women, who was smart and keen enough to get a few of the labels from the chow hall, out of prison, then posting them on the internet, people can start to believe us inmates. Apparently word around the prison is that the food that was once questionable and/or labeled not for human consumption is now coming shipped in boxes without labels. It looks like Aramark is making an attempt to cover up their tracks, when I wish they would just feed us better food.


My daughter is going through some really difficult times at her home right now. It just eats me up inside that I can’t do anything for her but pray and send her letters of encouragement.
My so called speech in front of these benefactors turned out to be a crock. I went down to the gym, prepared to talk about my life as a drug addict, a criminal and the changes that I’ve made to become a success- full, law abiding, contributing member of society upon release. I thought that I was essentially making a pitch to these individuals to shed a little light on the benefits of making contributions to a good cause, one that would help children of convicted criminals have a chance at getting a good education, instead I quickly realized that these individuals were pitching to us (the inmates) to donate our own money to their cause. My unit manager was extremely unorganized and misinforming on this entire fiasco, I’ll have to think long and hard about offering my services to this system before getting any and all necessary information about said subject.


I continue to work hard at accomplishing my goals each and every day. I workout out for at least three hours every morning immediately after breakfast, giving myself just enough time to take a shower before the guards lock us down for count. After count I always sit down with the same three men to play a game of spades and talk about the latest gossip while waiting to be called for lunch. After lunch I either have a victim awareness class that I’m taking, or I go to lift weights, only three assigned days a week is our limit. If I’m not lifting weights, or in class, then I’m editing my book, or blogging, or reading, or practicing my guitar, which I might add I’m really starting to catch on quick, I love practicing so I do it all the time, sometimes I do it for hours on end. No matter what it is that I’m doing, I keep myself busy all day with activities that are in harmony with my goals for a successful, fulfilling future after my release. I can honestly say that I haven’t felt this alive since I was a little kid. I just wish it didn’t take me coming to prison to save my own life. I just thank God each day that I am still alive.


Having a video visit with my parents over the weekend was very nice, but hearing that my parents were getting ready to go pick up my son, Taylor and his big brother, Dakota go to a new local go-cart track was even nicer to hear about. It sounds like my son spends a lot of his time at home playing video games, up all night without anyone to tell him otherwise, or for that matter give him the option of even doing anything else. The last time that Taylor came to visit me he had really dark circles around his eyes from being up all night, which was very hard for me to see, knowing that there’s nothing I can do to help my little boy, who needs his daddy so much. This gives me so much pain, but it also gives me so much drive and motivation to insure the success of my future, so that I never have to be separated from my children ever again.


I’m hoping that if all goes as planned my good friend, Kurt and I will be bunkies. Occupying the same cell is important to us because we share a common goal of creating a better life and future for ourselves. We also share similar interests and hobbies like fitness and playing the guitar. Being cellmates will just make it easier for the both of us to do things like guitar practice without bothering the other person, we can also respect the quiet time necessary for us both to accomplish writing, reading, blogging, etc. There are many benefits to having a good celly. Having a cellmate you don’t get along with can make time in prison more difficult, this is something we can both attest to.

by Steven Dybvad


I’m so excited; I finally got my guitar today! After waiting all morning in the recreation department for staff members to show up and give me my guitar because I was told to be there first thing this morning and the recreation staff was three hours late, messing up my whole workout routine, so needless to say I was extremely frustrated, but in the end it was all worth it. After stringing up my guitar, tuning it, getting a few lessons from my good friend Kurt and practicing all night, my fingers are very sore. I’m very happy to add guitar practice to my every day routine from here on out.


My fingers are so sore from practicing cords on the guitar that I just can’t practice any more. So far I’ve learned and memorized three cords and I wish that I could learn and practice more, but I can’t do a thing because my fingers are so sore that they hurt to the touch, even to type this journal entry is uncomfortable, however I will keep practicing every day because I know that eventually my fingers will toughen up.


There’s a lot going on today;- My good friend Kurt’s’ parents are meeting up with my parents for lunch, then I’ll hopefully be having a video visit with my parents if the kiosk is acting right, after that the anticipated super bowl will be on TV. and I’m quite sure this place is going to be a madhouse of angry, happy, excited and extremely loud men, screaming at the television, giving each other high fives, or cussing each other out. Personally I’ll be watching the game for the commercials and the halftime show, other than that I could take it or leave it. What I look forward to is talking with my parents, asking about their lunch date with Kurt’s’ parents and finding out how well they got along. It sounds like hey might have a lot in common, I really hope they hit it off, they all share similar struggles with having children addicted to substances, doing time in prison and focused on making a better life and future after our release.


After some really hard chemotherapy, my uncle Scott recovered from throat cancer. Scott lost a lot of weight during his treatment, but the tumor is finally gone and now he’s on his way to a difficult, yet sure recovery. From what I understand, throat cancer has the highest survival rate of all cancers, but here in prison that’s not always the another inmate in here that I know who is suffering from the same disease; unfortunately his odds of living are slim. A couple of weeks ago the prison finally shipped this inmate out to have surgery after waiting for much longer than a year, while the tumorous cancer progressively got worse he waited and waited, now that he’s back from the hospital, he tells us that they were unable to remove all the cancer and now he’s just waiting to die. This was a disturbing thing for me to hear, knowing that if this man was free he would more than likely survive and recover from this cancer, just as my uncle Scott has done. Cancer, like many other deadly medical issues is a problem that’s fear in prison to a degree higher because everyone knows that proper treatment is just too expensive for the state to pay for a bunch of convicted criminals to get better. I personally believe that being sentenced to years in prison is punishment for our crime enough, so why should we be punished even more?


My friend Kurt is going through difficult times, trying to come to terms with his lengthy prison sentence amongst other issues like adjusting to living in prison with people who act like uncivilized animals. As a result, Kurt has been avoiding going to the chow hall, just like I was doing at Lebanon, eating nothing other than the rood from commissary, which is very unhealthy because commissary food doesn’t provide vegetables, milk and other nutrients the body needs to live and feel healthy, needless to say that going to the chow hall at least once a day for such items is necessary. Well Kurt hasn’t been to the chow hall in weeks and now he’s suffering the consequences, Kurt has been sick lately, with symptoms much like I had at Lebanon when hair started falling from my face. Finally, today, after hounding Kurt, explaining the benefits of the chow hall, relating to his fears in a way that won’t hurt his pride and telling him that he’ll feel better if he eats some fruit and veggies, I got him to join me at lunch. I care for Kurt, I see much of myself in relation to him and for that reason I will continue to push him as I would want someone to push me. Around Christmas I was very down and depressed, missing my family and Kurt was there to tell me to suck it up because things were going to get better, he helped me, and all I want to do is help him because helping other people helps me at the same time.


Today I had to take my guitar back down to receiving because it was titled improperly, so in order to avoid having it taken from me on a routine shakedown and possibly get a ticket, I decided to inform my unit manager and he instructed me to take it down and have it retitled. I’m not sure when I’ll be getting it back, I hope soon because I’ve been extremely focused on practicing every single day for at least one to two hours, if I could I would practice longer each day, but my finger tips are still very sore, although they are starting to get better, forming callouses. I just got my guitar back, I’m so happy that I don’t have to mess up my daily routine by missing out on a day of practice.


I saw another good friend of the family on the news today, he was at a local ski shop, talking about the weather, explaining how this years’ cold, snowy winter just reminds him of how winter used to be years ago.
The jpay machine has been off line for the last two days again, the only two days that I usually get a video visit from my family. This is so frustrating for me, especially when I look forward to having a good conversation with my family all week and all week the computer has been up and running just fine, until now when I really need it to work for me. I’ve sent jpay so many complaints that now they won’t even allow me to send them any more complaints. I just wish that there was more I could do about this injustice. It seems as though jpay continues to take advantage of us as inmates without any other options but to use their services.


Finally, after constantly bugging my unit manager every time I saw him I got part of my paperwork that my parents mailed me weeks ago and was stopped for security purposes. The unit manager said that I still couldn’t have my facilitators guide, but more importantly then that; I got the final copies of my book to edit and send back home. I can’t wait to finish my book and have something substantial and of sustenance that I can say I achieved, completed and from hard work and living life with better morals and values has this been created.


My friend Kurt is starting to go to the chow hall with me, little by little he’s starting to face his fears, accept his reality, and take his life by the reins; he’s even working out in his cell in the mornings like I do. I can’t take credit for his growth, however I feel good in knowing that I did my best to help him, showing him how living in prison is what you make it, leading by example and trying to throw some subtle words of encouragement his way. Many times I needed someone other than my family to lift me up over a conversation on the phone; many times I needed a peer in the same predicament as me to give me advice or encouragement. I’m doing what I would want someone to do for me and giving help helps me in return.


Often the food at the chow hall just isn’t enough for me, I feel as if I’m hungry all the time. Since I quit eating bread and potatoes, which is a big part of every prison made meal; often the meal doesn’t have much else to it. Now that I’m burning off an abundance of calories every day from my intense workout, hunger is an ever present thought. I buy and eat snacks from the commissary, but healthy choices are scarce and expensive as well, so naturally I run out of things to eat before going back to the store. Trying to live a healthy life in prison isn’t always easy.


Tonight I have my first official guitar lesson that I signed up for more than a month ago. I already get lessons from my friend Kurt who can play the guitar very well, but the way that I see it is that if I get lessons from two different people then I can learn twice as much twice as fast. As far as practicing, I’m starting to catch on with what I’ve already learned very well, I think I have a real knack for playing, I love practicing, I look forward to it every day and I can’t wait to learn more, get better and start playing real music.


It took me a lot longer than I planned, but I’m finally finished with making Valentines cards for my loved ones. I just hope that they all make it to their destinations on time, especially the one to my lifelong friend that I call my sister, Gretchen who’s way down in Florida.
Guitar practice continues to get better and better, I’ve dedicated myself to practicing every day for at least one, two, even sometimes three hours a day. It felt good to hear Kurt say to me that he could definitely see I’ve been practicing by my improvements. It’s funny because as I think about it, back in my teenage years when I first took guitar lessons, each time I would go in for another lesson the teacher would tell me that he could tell I had not been practicing. Now that I truly want to learn how to play the guitar and I’ve made a conscious decision to put forth the effort necessary to learn it and learn it well I can already see it paying off.


Once a month an inspector goes through each unit, tallying up points for cleanliness and taking points away for dirt, contraband and disorganization. After giving each unit a score, depending on how well we scored depicts the order in which we’ll be called to the chow hall. Usually we do pretty well, getting first, second, or third place, but this month we got last place for having broken showers, making us the last unit to go to the chow hall for each meal the rest of the month. Normally this wouldn’t be a concern for me, except now having to go to breakfast late is cutting in to my morning workout routine, causing me to cut back on repetitions. Now my usual three hour workout is a 2 1/2 hour workout. I just hope that next month we score enough points to get back in the top three units to go to chow first.


Since I left the county jail, coming to prison almost two years ago I haven’t heard from my biological father, Jim. Well now somehow Jim has tracked me down, as I see a letter from him slide underneath my cell door with the rest of my mail, emotions come rising back to the surface. I figured he wasn’t writing me because he didn’t have access to my inmate number that’s required in order for me to receive a letter, but he must have convinced a guard or someone he knows from the outside to look me up. His letter was brief, but he touched on some key issues that have my mind and heart racing. Jim said that he knows I don’t want to speak to him, but he wants me to know how sorry he is for all the pain he’s caused me in my life, he wants me to give him one more chance to show me that he can change, he wants to be a part of my life, get to know my children, have a healthy relationship together, etc. This statement from him is a hard pill for me to swallow for several reasons. Regardless of all the pain that Jim has caused me in my life, my heart wants to forgive and accept him because I myself have made many horrible decisions in life for an addiction to substances that has hurt my own children tremendously, something I told myself I would never do long before I even had children, I said to myself time after time that I would never be the kind of fatherless man that Jim was and yet here I am, in a prison cell, away from my own children, unable to care for them. I’ve hurt my children numerous times and I desperately want them to forgive me and be as much a part of their lives as I can possibly be. I’m sure that Jims’ feelings are similar to mine and my soul can’t dismiss these facts of our lives intertwined. What I defiantly can’t dismiss is the fact that Jim has proven to be a horribly bad influence that I can’t be exposed to in order to insure the future of my success in life.

by Steven Dybvad


Today was my first day on a new porter job. A couple of days ago I asked the duty assignment guard to switch my old job of cleaning the microwave area because it was becoming a pain to maneuver around the crowd of inmates trying to cook their food at the last minute when they’re all supposed to be locking down in their cell for count. So the guard agreed to change my job over to trash cart. All I have to do is push the trash cart down to the shipping dock once every morning and empty the trash bags in the dumpster. I enjoy this job much more, now that I don’t have to wait for inconsiderate people to get out of my way to complete; also I get to see a part of the prison that most inmates aren’t allowed to go near, the shipping dock, which is right by the gates to freedom.


I feel extra guilty about my drug addicted, criminal behaviors that led me to prison this time of year. I’ve robbed my children of a father and extra gifts for Christmas, I’ve robbed my parents of a son baring gifts of love and joy, I’ve taken away the happiness from my family and friends when they think about me and the reasons why I’m not there for the holidays. I often tell myself that I’m supposed to feel this way as a self-inflicted punishment for all the wrong I’ve done in life as a drug addict. I know that this is a very unhealthy state of mind for me; it’s just so hard to kick. As a result of the weather, I’ve been unable to run on the track, this only amplifies my depression. After making so many Christmas cards for people I felt extremely drained and worse off about my current position in life. Having to express my condolences to my cousin Aaron and my uncle Roger about losing their mother and wife and my favorite aunt just didn’t feel right to me, it wasn’t something I should have expressed on paper, or in a Christmas card, it was something I should have done in person, but I couldn’t because I’m in prison, I couldn’t even attend her funeral, this only makes me more sad. I just want the holidays to be over with and I hate that I even have to feel this way, like Scrooge.


I’m glad I finally have someone to talk to about serious issues and to hold me accountable for my actions, someone from inside these prison walls. Even though I have to be able to function in prison without the help of others, it’s important for me to seek out individuals with the same goals and aspirations as me and it’s a vital part of my recovery for the rest of my life. After I’m released from prison it will be my responsibility to find healthy, sober, successful people to be a part of my life. Kurt helped me to get out of this unhealthy holiday funk that I’ve been in lately, he reminded me of all the good that I’ve done with myself since my arrest and how far I’ve come with my recovery, too far to take any steps backward. Sometimes it’s so much better to hear it from someone else, even when I already know what the answer is myself


Today is Christmas Eve, a time for family to get together an enjoy each other’s company. One day I will get to experience these joyful holidays with my family again, and I will do everything to ensure that I never have to be away from my children or the rest of my family for Christmas ever again. I still have two more Christmas holidays away from my family, this is a hard pill for me to swallow sometimes, but at least I’m more than halfway home now. Merry Christmas everyone!


Merry Christmas! I was pleasantly surprised to see many people wishing each other a merry Christmas. Usually many inmates are generally grumpy, unapproachable men, mad at the world around them, but today I can definitely feel a touch of the holiday spirit, spreading joy throughout the compound.
My parents are driving with my daughter down to Disney World in Florida to meet up with the rest of the family for Christmas. I was able to have a video visit with them while they were driving down the road. They were driving through Tennessee at the time, which made it a little difficult to get a clear signal, so the visit kept cutting in and out and there was a delay on everything I said, but regardless it was very nice to see my family’s’ faces on Christmas Day.


I finally got a new picture ID to wear around prison every day. All inmates have to have a picture ID clipped to our clothes at all times for security reasons. This last year has been difficult for me to prove my identity every time a guard or staff member looks at my ID, whether it be going to the commissary, or just getting stopped walking somewhere, the staff had a hard time believing it’s me because I’ve lost 100 lbs. and grown longer hair since my last picture was taken, my picture looked nothing like me. Now, with my new photo ID I shouldn’t have any more problems with the guards not believing that I am in fact Steven Dybvad.


It’s finally the end of the year, 2013 is almost over. I’m so happy to start a new year, this means one year closer to going home. Often people out in the world, mostly adults don’t want to see time fly by, it just reminds us that we’re getting older, but here inside prison every inmate wants to see time fly by. For prisoners, we all want to go home, and another year gone means another year closer to home. After listening to Depak Chopra talk about living in the moment and not dwelling on the past or future to come, but when you really want to go home and be with your family and children it’s impossible not to think about the future. I just need to continue working on my life for success after my release, and often when I focus on being a better man, I think about a better life in the future, which I guess isn’t all that bad as long as I don’t get stuck thinking about what is to come and more about what I need to do right now.


My mother convinced me to download some daily affirmations from a man by the name of Depak Chopra. I’m so glad that I downloaded these affirmations because now I’m hooked; this man has some extremely interesting words of wisdom about life and the thought process. Depak talks about how powerful the mind can be, so powerful that it can overrun our bodies; he calls our bodies the battleground of our minds. This has been so true for my life, so many times I can relate to the damage that my mind has done to my body, over and over again I’ve allowed my mind to take control of everything, dragging my body through the mud. Depak simply gives awareness to utilizing the tools we already possess to take control of our lives. He’s also very spiritual, quoting scriptures and the power of having God in our life. By practicing some of these daily meditations, I feel that I can grow even more and be at peace with myself and the torment that I continue to put myself through as punishment for my past decisions. Depak says not to dwell on the past or the future, it only causes us to hold on to pain and also pleasure, exercising and strengthening addiction. Listening to this album gives me peace; I can’t wait to download more.


Today is yet another day, but still just like yesterday, nothing has changed, just doing time.
My family is still in Florida, and they will be for the rest of the year. This is great; I’m just hoping that they’re having a great time, enjoying each other’s company. I miss my family very much, I miss them every single day and it never gets any easier. I only hope and pray that it gets easier for my family…


Often I sit here in my cell and think to myself that today is exactly like yesterday, so what could I possibly write about in my blog. I often get frustrated because I literally spend entire day thinking about what I could write and still I come up with nothing. Today is one of those days, exactly like yesterday and still I draw a blank.


New Year’s Eve! I’m so happy to put another year behind me. Just like last year, I have a resolution to eat healthier and increase my daily fitness routine to the max. Since the cold weather has kept me from being able to run lately, I’ve been slacking, and there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s messing with my mental/emotional stability. I do not enjoy these old feelings of depression trying to take over me and I refuse to let it affect my life any worse than it already has. So until it gets warm enough to be allowed to run the track, I’ll be doing other things in my cell like running in place, jumping jacks, suicides which I believe is when you drop down and do a push up, then jump up in the air and repeat. This will be my focus until I can go back to doing what I love and miss which is running. It’s amazing to me how much physical health and fitness controls mental/emotional strength. I just want to have a better, more stable, more consistent year and I know that it all starts up here in my head.


Happy New Year!!! It’s finally 2014; another year of incarceration is behind me, a memory of the past that I will never have to relive again. Renewing goals and setting them higher will continue to be of the utmost importance to me, this year and every year after, for the rest of my life. I’m a true believer that constantly finding new ways to stimulate and refresh my goals and aspirations for a successful future are crucial, such as doing things like downloading Depak Chopra for healthy words of inspiration.


Today it was literally snowing inside of the cell block dormitory. Outside the wind and snow was blowing so hard that the snow blew in through the ventilation system and fell down from out of the vents in the ceiling. That’s not the only indoor weather issue we’ve had lately here in my unit, just a few days ago our heater broke, causing it to be cold for an entire day, then our water heater broke a few days ago, leaving us to having to take extremely cold showers. Unfortunately the water is still cold, showers are unbearable, we have to step under the frigid water to get wet, step out to lather up, and then rinse off as fast as humanly possible.
On a more positive note, I have stepped my new workout routine and I feel awesome, it’s amazing how much fitness really cleanses the mind, body, and soul.


I’m so awfully sore from over exerting my muscles yesterday during an intense workout. I tried to work out some of the soreness in my body by doing some stretches, even doing some more pushups, but nothing seemed to help, I can hardly even take off my coat, or go up and down the stairs. I usually enjoy the soreness, but today it feels more like pain, where as any other time the soreness feels good, as a reminder of how hard I worked to improve my health.


Today is a little better than yesterday, except now I’ve caught a cold that seems to be going around the unit. Looks like another day of taking it easy and hoping for a quick recovery.
On a good note, I had a video visit with my mother and father today that went real well. It sounds like a lot of things are in motion, with the rest of by book editing printed off and on the way here for me to finalize my editing. I also have more of Michael Santos’ books on the way here, along with the facilitators guide for running the class. I can’t wait to get this class up and running, not just to help others, but also to help myself as another phase of my recovery and development to a successful life and future.

From soreness to severe pain, my muscle feels torturous today. Last night I could hardly sleep a wink from uncomfortable pain, I feel as if I did more than just tear some muscles, I feel as though I’ve injured myself. For the rest of the day I’m going to rest on my rack and pray that I recover quickly.


At 40 degrees below zero with the wind-chill we are all locked in our cells. Everything is controlled movement until the weather gets better, even when going to the chow hall we have to move in a supervised group, one block at a time. Coming from a level 3 prison, this is something that I’m use to, as this was an everyday occurrence at Lebanon. Being locked down today is a reminder of the horrible place that I came from and a pleasant reminder of how hard I’ve worked to have the privilege of coming to a better prison, one where I’m not locked down for 22 hours of every single day, in filth, with endless mice and cockroaches, and I could just go on and on. So, at the end of the day, even with all of the pain, soreness, sickness, being locked down because of the weather, I have so much to be grateful for and even more to acknowledge my commitment to change for a good life ahead of me.


From sore, to injured, to sick, this has been a tough week for me. This is my third day with a cold ad I feel worse than ever. I can’t remember being this sick in the three years that I’ve been locked up. The only reason I’m sick in first place is because of all the other many inmates that are sick in here, passing it around to one another, it’s like a giant petree dish in here, with no escape. The unfortunate part of being sick in prison is having to endure the illness without taking medication. If I were to fill out a medical kite to see the doctor, it could take a few days to be seen, at which time I could be feeling better by then and still have to pay the five dollar fee for the appointment. Many times, even when being seen by the doctor, we won’t get a prescription for meds unless it’s a major illness because doctors are persuaded to save the state from too much spending; this is also a result of many inmates without illnesses taking advantage of the system. As for me, I feel so bad right now that I’m willing to take a chance and pay the fee in order to get better.
We’re all locked down again today because of the dangerously cold weather. Many inmates complain that the prison staff will use any old excuse to lock us down and not have to deal with us, I just think to myself that if they had come from a real prison like the one that I just came from, and then they wouldn’t be complaining about such a petty issue. I just continue to thank God that I’m in a better place.

Dear Mom,

You and me have such a bond that could never be broken, so don’t think for one second that a wedge can ever be placed between us, you are my rock, my guiding force, you give me strength to keep fighting for my life when I feel lost, I want Taylor, my son to feel the same about me someday.


I worked very hard to sweat out my fever and cold and it paid off. Here it is, on a store day, three days after getting sick with a cold, now I’m finally able to buy medicine and I don’t need it any more. Needless to say I will be purchasing cold medicine anyway, if God forbid I do get sick in here again, at least I know I’m prepared and able to start taking medicine immediately in order to quickly nip the cold in the bud.
My parents spent the better part of their weekend printing off the facilitator’s workbook for the Straight A program on the internet. I’m really looking forward to helping other inmates get started in this program that has given me a new direction and helped me to change my life in prison and my future after release. I’ve reached out to many directors in this prison who generally send me to another director, but I intend to keep trying until I can officially get this class active and available to any and all inmates that want a better future for themselves.


Even though I’m thrilled that we have a service that provides us with emails and video visits with my family, the system still has many flaws. Today was probably the fifth time I had to miss out on a video visit because the prehistoric computer system was down, keeping any of us from logging onto the system to do anything, from just checking our emails to downloading music, or having a video visit like the one that I had scheduled today with my parents. What makes it worse is that my parents have to prepay for every visit which costs ten dollars and is a big pain in the butt to get reimbursed for. The general consensus around the prison seems to be that because we’re inmates with no other alternative choices the Jpay company continues to take advantage of us, and our spending much like the oil companies, except everyone gets gas when they pay the price, we inmates only seem to get what we pay for half of the time. Often many of us send in complaints to the company and all they do in return is send us a well-articulated speech that consists of an apology, a hollow promise to fix the same continuous problem, and a thank you for our money and services. I have personally sent in a few complaints and all I get is another copy of the well-practiced apology letter that I’ve read so many times over.


I’m back to being sore from working my muscles through strict training, but this time it’s a good soreness like it should be. Today was even warm enough that they opened the yard up, so I convinced my friend Kurt into running the track with me, it felt great, I really missed being able to do this every day, it’s such a relaxing stress reliever, it seems to be a necessity for my body chemistry and family history of depression. Physical fitness seems to be the most natural form of healing for the mind, body, and soul.
After working out for the third time today I took a nice, long, hot shower, with my eyes closed, letting the hot water beat down on my sore muscles without having to worry about anybody watching me, this is a luxury that I didn’t have last year at Lebanon penitentiary, where men had to shower three and four at a time. Sometimes there were men having sex in the shower, so I would just have to skip taking a shower all together and take a bird bath in my sink, other times I had to worry about the wondering eyes of curious inmates, adding to the daily stress of that particular prison. Here at Madison we have single man showers, closed off from view with full length curtains. This is just one of many personal celebrations of my own growth and payment for hard work to do the right thing, stay out of trouble and on the track to a successful life.


Lately my porter job of running the trash cart to the dumpster each morning has been causing me problems by interrupting my daily morning routine of working out. Normally the trash run is called at a specific time each morning, but that hasn’t been the case for the last few weeks. I usually start my workout as soon as I come back from running the trash around 8am, but lately they haven’t been calling me to run trash until around 9:30am, that’s between one and two hours longer then I normally have to wait. Running the trash isn’t a simple task, I have to bundle up with warm clothing, so I can’t just workout in my gym clothes and go whenever they call me, I have to be ready to go when they call me in order to meet the rest of the trash runners with our escort that has to follow us because we go next to the gate where trucks come and go. I also workout with my headphones on for motivation and getting in a zone, so I can’t just put on my headphones and workout if I have to listen for them to call me. I can’t just quit or change jobs because I just convinced the guard to give me this new job, so I guess I’m just going to tough it out and hope that it gets better.


I’ve been waiting since last week on some packets of mail that my parents sent me, which contain the facilitators guide to the Straight-A-Guide program that I have been more than anticipating to help some interested inmates get started on. Well today the unit manager called me down to his office to bully and intimidate me by scaring me into thinking that I’m not allowed to have this paperwork that my parents spent a weekend printing out, organizing, and mailing out to me. This man tried to tell me that I would be considered as starting a gang if I continue to pursue a program that I’ve been excelling in for more than two years now. I know that if one of my mentors was faced with this same problem, they wouldn’t just give up without a fight and that’s exactly what I’m going to do, I’m going to fight for my right to improve the quality of my life, my future success upon release, and working to help other inmates to do the same for themselves. This unit manager tried to convince me into letting him dispose of my paperwork, or mail it home, I told him I would not let that happen if I had anything to say about it, he then told me that he would try to talk to higher officials that I have already tried to contact and also fill out some forms to see what he could do. I personally think he’s feeding me a load of bull, but if he thinks that I will just give up, or forget about this whole issue then he’s got another thing coming, my life revolves around this program that has helped me get a grip on the success of my current day to day life and future from here on out.


Our regular morning shift guard finally offered me a better porter job and of course I jumped at the opportunity. This is a job that better fits my personality and my personal quirks as well. Health and sanitation s the title of my new job, basically it consists of taking a chemical soaked rag and wiping down everything that inmates regularly touch from day to day, such as door handles, railings along the steps, book shelves, etc.. This new job better fits my daily routine in the sense that it won’t interfere with my exercising, or any other scheduled goals that I set for myself daily.


My new strict diet and workout routine has improved the quality of my day to day living and I must admit that I feel great! I’ve cut bread and potatoes out of my life completely and switched any sugary sweets with fruit and nuts. This is by far an easy task because the chow hall serves bread and potatoes with almost every single meal in order to keep us fed and full efficiently. However eating better does get better with every day that passes because every day I feel better than the day before. Aside from my diet, my workout routine is back in full force and it is also improving with every day that passes. Now I’m back up to a thousand crunches, 500 pushups, 500 squats, a thousand jump and jacks, other cardio, and finally running in place for at least an hour every single day. According to my days on the track when it was warm outside, an hours’ worth of running was an average of six miles, at a mile every ten minutes. I can already see my waist is tightening up nicely, and by the time it gets warm enough to go outside, I should be fit enough to take my shirt of and feel good about how I look. Not that it matters to me to look good around a bunch of other men, but feeling good about myself has always been important to me.


For a quite some time I’ve been contemplating cutting off my long hair, well my mother and son convinced me to do it while talking at my visit yesterday, so I told them that I was going to cut it all off as soon as I got back to my block. I did start to try and cut it as soon as I got back, but my hair was just so long that it made my clippers lock up, so I had to get my friend Kurt to sit down today with a pair of scissors and help me cut it off before I could shave it with the clippers. Finally it’s all off, and even though I do feel better, I also feel sick to my stomach to see how badly my hair is thinning on top; it’s a great deal thinner than it was before I left the county jail and decided to let it grow out. I truly believe that the stress from living in a prison as dangerous as Lebanon played a huge role in the rapid loss of my hair, just as it did to the bald spot on my face that still remains to this day. This is just another one of many reasons for me to continue the path of growth, improvement, and success for the rest of my life. My addiction to substances is the cause of so many of my bad decisions, making my sobriety forever my number one priority above all else.


I just had one of the best days in a very long time. I just got back from a wonderful three hour visit with my mother and son. I missed my family so much, all I could do was hug my son tight, kiss his checks and I never let go for the entire visit. We had a good time, we talked, we laughed, we ate snacks, we even took turns reading a book out loud to each other, and I enjoyed myself tremendously. Unfortunately I get visits less often here than I did when I was at Lebanon because this prison is close to an hour away from my family, whereas Lebanon was only about fifteen minutes away from home, but I knew this information before signing up to come to this prison, it was a sacrifice that I was more than willing to take in order to have a less stressful day to day life, in a better prison, further away from home. Although missing my family and seeing them less really makes me wish I was back closer to home.


I had an uncomfortably close call with another inmate today. After everyone in the unit attended a fifteen minute video on sexual harassment, we all had to stand in line to sign a paper acknowledging that we just watched the video, well of course some of the men chose not to wait in line, trying to decide just when they might get a chance to cut in. One of the inmates, already known for being a big bully who likes to pick his shots with the little guys decided to cut in front of me and take the pen from my hand in order to sign the paper. Being in front of a large group of my peers, I was left with no choice but to say some rotten cuss words, displaying my distaste for what this guy just did. He then said a few words in return, causing the guard on duty to tell us to break it up. We both walked off and later on the inmate confronted me again, asking if I was through, or if I wanted to fight about it in a cell, I then responded by pointing out his size, reminding him that he disrespected me by cutting in front of me in the line, something I would have surely ignored out on the streets, but in here , in front of all the men I have to live with every day would undoubtedly have led to someone else trying to take advantage of me, thus opening up the flood gates. I told this man that I wouldn’t fight him because it wasn’t worth it, but I also pointed out to him that I would like to see him act this way with someone his own size, instead of always picking on the smaller men. This man is getting ready to go home in a month, which is generally the most unpredictable of inmates, because they have nothing to lose, they steel, borrow without intending to repay, and they fight without any concern because they could spend the rest of their time in the hole without a care in the world because they know that they’ll be home soon. All of the men that I socialize with told me that I made a good choice and I responded accordingly and that I should stop letting it bother me because it’s over with. I just hate the fact that my future isn’t always in my own hands in prison, at any instant, in the blink of an eye another careless ignorant inmate could cause my world to come crashing down, my temporary home in my cell to be uprooted, and my entire daily scheduled life to be demolished. These are some of the sad facts of prison life that I will never adjust to, I will never miss after my release, and never forget for the rest of my life.


I’ve been doing tremendously well with adhering to my goal of eating healthy food and working out harder each and every day of my life. I continue to stay away from bread and potatoes in the chow hall, switching the main course for the vegetarian substitute, which is often soy. I also make healthy choices when purchasing items from the commissary, that means no more chips, no more sugary sweets, just fish, nuts, fruit cups, and granola bars. Unfortunately this is about the extent of healthy food from the commissary. I’m not sure why they won’t sell any kind of packaged vegetables, or fresh fruit, or other healthy items at the commissary, maybe it’s because it wouldn’t be a popularly sold item, but I do know that there is more men than just me that live and eat healthy each and every day and having a choice to purchase healthy food from the commissary should at least be an option.


I get so frustrated with this whole jpay system sometimes. For two whole days the computer was just fine, not once was it shut down off line, which is rare because it’s been shutting down far too often lately, so this morning I had a video visit scheduled for 9am and what do you know, the computer is off line again and it has been the entire day. I was really looking forward to seeing my parents on the computer screen, having a good conversation, and of course sharing the good news about possibly getting into a halfway house six months prior to my release date. Now unfortunately my family will more than likely find out through reading my blog, and I’ll also have to wait until next weekend before I get to talk with them again. I don’t understand why such a complex computer system should have any reason to shut down so often in this day and age of technology. Some of the guys say that it’s probably because of the bad weather because the system never shut down this often over the summer.


I discovered something amazing today. I just found out that I qualify for transitional control; this means that I could very possibly leave prison six months early by going to a halfway house. A halfway house still isn’t home, or complete freedom, but it does mean that I could get a job on the streets and even get a weekend pass to go home with my family, spend time with my children and be better prepared for my future after release. All this time I thought that I had no choice but to do my five year sentence in prison, this means that I could very possibly be spending Christmas of next year with my family. I’m so excited about this new information; I can’t wait to share the news with my family.


I continue to work extremely hard on my diet and fitness routine each and every single day, and it is surely paying off with noticeable tightening and toning of my torso, not to mention that I feel a great deal stronger and more energetic than ever. More importantly then my physical improvements, my mental/emotional stability has improved exponentially, I feel so much better each day, so much stress has been alleviated from my everyday life, I’ll never stop cruising down the path I’ve chosen for a better life.


Finally, after weeks of waiting, my guitar has arrived. Today I was called down to the package room to sign for my guitar, but unfortunately I’ll have to wait a few more days for it to be titled before they’ll let me have it. Like everything else of any value in prison, property must be titled in order to cut down on theft and/or trading and loaning. I’ve been extremely fortunate not to have anything stolen from me since coming to prison, even while at Lebanon I value and respect my property enough to take any and every necessary step to keeping and maintaining what little amount of things I’m allowed to possess in here. I just can’t wait to start learning and practicing an instrument that I’ve been wanting to learn for so many years.


I’ve spent about four hours today just on working out alone, I feel sore and exhausted, but I love it. Mentally I continue to feel stronger and stronger with each day that passes and I remain dedicated to a healthier lifestyle, and it’s not just working out, it’s also living healthier all together, by always watching what I eat, drinking lots of water, taking vitamins, etc. Now I have a good understanding and respect for why so many people are choosing to live a healthier life each day. My addiction to substances has taken so many years off of my life and now I can sense that I’m finally taking steps to add some years back on so that I can stick around for my children, their children, and if I’m lucky perhaps my grandchildren’s’ children.

by Steven Dybvad


I’m starting to understand more clearly why I’ve been so down lately. Of course the holidays play a major role, but I also realize that I haven’t been able to jog recently, due to the cold, frigid temperatures the yard has been closed off to the inmates. The prison changed the guidelines for closing the yard from 25 degrees to 35 degrees. I need to acclimate a new winter routine in order to keep my head straight. I feel so powerless when I’m sad, out of control of my emotions. These feelings are very uncomfortable for me because they remind me of an old way of life that I no longer want to experience. Over these last couple of years, working hard to change my life and future, I’ve learned that I am the master of my emotions, by making daily decisions to increase quality of life; I automatically increase the quality of my thoughts and process of emotions. This is a part of my life that I can never forfeit in order to function on a level of success. Even when I’m doing well, things like the holidays away from my family are going to get me down, but if I’m working hard to constantly improve my life, the sad parts of my life won’t be as difficult to recover from.



I’ve been working very hard to help another inmate in here to get started with the Michael Santos foundation and working in the Straight A Guide. It’s been a difficult task for me to get him the information he needs and to get connected with the program. This has been a little frustrating for me because I desperately want to help this man get started on working towards a better life with a promising future. Every day Kurt continues to express a genuine interest in the program, I just feel that this should be an easier task for me as helping others to success is a part of my own growth and recovery and all that I’ve been able to do for Kurt so far is tell him about the program and show him some of my own personal work. Unfortunately in order to leave Lebanon and transfer over here to Madison I had to abandon all of my books and workbooks, because we had to stuff all of our personal belongings into a tiny little box and all that I could fit in it was my clothing, hygiene, and some important paperwork. I’m waiting on my mentor, Justin Paperny to send me more books and info. But it just can’t seem to get here soon enough.


My friend Kurt continues to impress me with his dedication to changing his future, starting from inside of these prison walls. Today Kurt came up to my cell with a bunch of printouts from the web site for the Michael Santos foundation and all of the information about the straight A guide program. I can see his excitement for wanting to change and I can hear it in his voice, it reminds me so much of how I first felt when I started this program and it brings all those great feelings back to the surface, that’s why I want to help him so badly and continue to help more men like Kurt who want to help their selves. Having someone like Kurt to talk to about improving the quality of our lives is an essential part of my own recovery. Accountability is a lesson straight from the Straight A Guide, I need more people then myself, mentors and loved ones from the outside to hold me accountable for my life, and it’s my responsibility to seek out worthy peers. I have no doubt that God caused us to cross paths in order to help each other.


I often have to remind myself that as a drug addict I tend to obsess over things easily, like waiting to hear back from a friend or family member at home, or even wait on things like information on programs to start classes. In here my obsession increases tenfold because of the abundant amount of time to think about things, day after day in a cell, whereas outside these prison walls life goes on and people tend to function at such a high passed speed that things just don’t seem as important at the time, and for that matter individuals probably don’t even have the time to respond as expediently as I would expect, as I can see every hour on clock of every day as it moves by slowly, obsessing about things that I would like to accomplish and do it sooner then I’m able to, or even have the resources to get them done. This is a combination of my compulsiveness and imprisonment, one that I must learn to control better and think more clearly about before getting frustrated about something I have no control over in the first place


I had great video visit with my mother and father today. Lucky for me, I went to plug in my iPad just minutes before my scheduled visit, unaware that I had a visit scheduled for today. It was enjoyable to see my mother and father siting in the finally finished new addition to their beautiful home. As my mother sat in front of the window, she turned the laptop outside for me to see dad shoveling the driveway, something so ordinary to see makes me feel so close to home, I’m so thankful for this new technology added to the state prisons, being able to see my family in their natural habitat is so very comforting, but of course it doesn’t beet being able to give my loved ones a big hug and kiss, then again I can’t watch my talented daughter play the piano and sing for me from inside of a visitation room.


The snow just continues to fall, it’s a beautiful site to see, to walk through it to get to the chow hall is exhilarating, it makes me feel alive at a time when things tend to feel so farce and un-real. I welcome the change in weather; in here another season for many inmates means that we’re another big step closer to home. Often when winter or summer comes I here other men saying that they just have so many more winters left before they get to go home, as for me, I only have two more winters left to go after this one, that may seem like a lot, but for me it’s more than half way home. Bring on the New Year!


Finally, for the first time in the entirety of my imprisonment I was able to start attending my first of many classes that I’ve signed up for. Today I started a class called victim awareness, basically it’s a course of exercising situations where we all take a look at various situations when laws are broken and people are victimized, then we try to communicate wrong decisions, how others were hurt, whether it be physically, or emotionally and then try to discuss the necessary consequences of said actions, openly and honestly. Unfortunately it seems to me that many of the inmates in the class are only attending for the incentives instead of wanting to improve their quality of life or make any changes for the better. A lot of the men were just joking and laughing about everything, making loud outbursts and creating ridiculous answers to class questions, just to get a rise out of the other inmates. I can see that I’m going to have to do a lot of tongue biting, fortunately my buddy Kurt is in the class with me, so we sit next to each other and make the best of it.


Yesterday was extremely stressful for me. Taking pictures was no walk in the park, it was a madhouse. After getting all the guys together to walk down to the gym, we saw that the place was packed with inmates waiting to take pictures. There was no organization, the guards weren’t enforcing any kind of line to wait, men were scattered about, some were doing pushups and pull-ups to get a muscle blow, others were oiling their skin for the photos, people were grouped up acting crazy, and I felt completely out of place. The guys and I that came with me to take the photos just wanted to get it over with, only to find out after an hour and a half of standing around that we would have to wait another day and come back. All I can think about is just getting this over with; I’m to the point where I don’t even care about the photos anymore. I will never do this again.


Today is picture day. Every once in a while this prison holds a fund raiser that includes personal pictures for the inmates, to take alone and send home to family and also to take with other inmates together. My publisher and mentor, Justin Paperny suggested that I get pictures taken with other inmates to add to my book. I thought that this was a great idea, so I purchased the maximum amount of photos to take with some of the men I’ve gotten to know. During my stay here at Madison I’ve come to know some very interesting men with some very interesting life stories from inside and outside of these prison walls. Upon getting to know these individuals, I’ve asked them one by one for their permission to write about them, possibly putting them in my book, or on my blog, surprisingly almost all of them said yes. So I had my father type up a personal release form, giving me permission to write about them and one by one they all signed the forms. In the process I’ve taken notes about their life, their crime, and for some their many decades spent behind bars for their crime without the possibility of ever being free. I look forward to telling their stories.


Finally, we were able to get pictures taken care of today. I held off as long as I could before gathering all of the guys together and heading down to the gym in an attempt to avoid all the madness that I quickly discovered with yesterdays’ picture pile up in the gymnasium. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get photos with all of the men I planned for. Kurt, who I am very excited to help progress his way through the Straight A Guide program with me was at a visit with his family at the same time that photos were being taken. It would have been nice to add another positive, hardworking, driven for success type of inmate to my book or blog. The other man, James Radar wasn’t able to take a picture with me because the flash from the camera would cause him to have a seizure. James has a very interesting story of life from inside and outside of prison that I look forward to writing about as soon as we finish going over detailed specifics of his story which he has already given me signed permission to write about. At the end of the day I was still able to get some good photos of other interesting inmates that have also given me signed permission to write about


A dear friend and neighbor of mine just lost his wife and two children in a horrible fire. A couple of days ago I saw a tragic fire on the news take the lives of a mother and two boys in Kettering. Of course this news took my breath away because my son, Taylor has a brother and lives with his mother on the very edge of Kettering. The news never reveals names and specifics right away for lack of information, so my mind and heart was racing. This morning I saw an interview of the man who lost his wife and two boys and I realized it was my neighbor; he was so upset that he could barely even talk. I knew this couple very well, we all use to hang out often, our children use to play together and now they’re gone. Life is so precious; we never know when our last day on earth is going to be. I’ve taken life for granted for far too long, and now I couldn’t be more afraid of losing another loved one from inside this prison. If I was to die today there would be nothing good to say about me, no legacy to leave behind, just bad memories. Every day I work to secure a better future, and I pray that God gives me yet another chance to create better memories for my children an my loved ones.

by Steven Dybvad


This is awesome! I just received my new jp4 i-pad less than an hour ago. This is really going to take me some getting use to, when it comes to electronics like this finicky touch screen, I feel like a new born baby, fresh into the new world, trying to figure out what’s what. I keep fat fingering all the keys, seeing that I’ve typed a mistake, having to backspace and then retype. None the less I’m really enjoying my new toy. This will officially be my first personally typed blog entry that my mother and father didn’t have to type after first reading my hand written journal then transferring everything. Now all they’ll have to do is cut and paste the e-mails that I send them.


Some days are difficult for me in here, some days are easy, and some days are just plain, uneventful, and hard to write about something when absolutely nothing is going on.
One thing that I have been doing lately is talking more to some of the inmates that I associate with. Next month the prison is providing pictures for the inmates, with the option of having pictures taken with other inmates. So I’ve decided that like Michael Santos’ books I intend on writing some interesting stories about them, their lives before prison and what led them here. Of course I first had to ask them for their permission to write about them in my blog, or perhaps my book. Generally they all seemed thrilled about the opportunity to be in a book, or even blogged about. First I have to clear everything with my publisher and make sure that I’m following the proper procedure when writing about other inmates, but I look forward to the process.


Many difficulties continue to surround the kiosk/jpay system. There continues to be long lines waiting to plug in our iPad to upload and download info. Many inmates are spending time looking up music to download to their pads and as a result many people argue to the point where they talk about going in each other’s cell to fight it out. I do my best to avoid these problems by getting up before the guard unlocks our cell door first thing in the morning, but even then there can still be a line of people at times, over all there tends to be less friction. Also at times there’s so much activity that the kiosk system overloads and shuts down for the duration of the day, causing everybody to waited until the following day to get back on the computer, which isn’t the end of the world, but it does cause problems for people that have a video visit scheduled on the day that the system shuts down, forcing families to reschedule. This is a new system within the prison and I’m sure that sooner or later all the kinks will get worked out.


I continue to get along with my celly on a level of tolerance, but it seems as if he’s created a bit of trouble for himself with other inmates. Not just one or two, but several inmates have approached me with information that my celly has gotten himself into debt way over his head. This is an extremely reckless behavior that concerns me, for repercussions of his poor choices could possibly spill over into this cell, which is also my “house” , my only fortress of solitude, with all of my possessions that I’ve fought hard to keep, even in one of the worst prisons in the state of Ohio I was still able to hold on to everything I own, unwilling to allow another man take advantage of me, or take anything from me for that matter. Anyway, my cellys’ poor choices may lead to another man coming in here to beat him up, or take his possessions as payment for what he owes them, apparently from barrowing food from the store man and also placing football bets with the ‘ticket man’. If this happens there is a possibility that my property could be broken, or even taken if mistaken for being that of my cellys’, which means I can’t allow this to happen, so now I have to go run damage control thus insuring that nothing happens to my stuff.
I can’t be too mad at my celly because I made very similar poor choices my first time I was locked up in 2009, and I too suffered the consequences, by getting jumped, having my shoes taken from my feet, and getting hauled off to the hole, all for simply getting food from the store man, unable to pay the money back in time. I guess maybe my celly just has to learn the hard way like I did. As for worrying about my stuff, everything has been taken care of. Because of my disciplined daily life, coupled with my blog and my book in the making, I’ve earned a certain level of respect, not to mention that I never barrow a single thing from anybody, or owe any money. The individuals that my celly owes money to have promised that they will stay out of my cell.


Before I start documenting information about some of the inmates I socialize with that have already agreed to let me write about them in my blog and/or book, I first have to make sure I’m well within the guidelines of the law. I think it would be safest if I first either obtain a form of some sort that each individual can sign, or just create my legal form. The only thing is that I don’t know the law well enough to ensure that I’ve covered every detail, thus insuring that I don’t face any future law suits. My publisher, advisor,



Today I received a newsletter in the mail from a church in Florida. After reading the newsletter I noticed that there was a blip from one of my blog entries included in the newsletter. It was right under a quote from George Washington, expressing his gratitude for God during the time of Thanksgiving. My quote was also from Thanksgiving, on November 24, 2012, it read: “I’m thankful that God has chosen to keep me alive for a greater purpose in life. I’m also thankful for my beautiful children, and the comfort I have knowing they are safe and protected.” This is a great feeling for me because it means that my writing and experiences here in prison are not only being noticed by other people, they are helping people too. Knowing in some way helping others is therapeutic for me; it solidifies my hard work and is an acknowledgement of my progress, replenishing me with the fuel I need to continue on the path in life that I have chosen for myself. I do need to point out that I’ve been on this path long enough to realize that I don’t need a pat on the back for doing the right thing. As a man I need to make responsible choices that consist with the life and future that I want for my children and I. Getting a newsletter with my blog in it is just a perk, a perk that lights up my day. Time and time again I’m shown the blessings in life, from God, even in the darkest of places.


One of the men that I socialize with from time to time has expressed a lot of genuine interest in my work and the Straight A Guide program. After several conversations about my blog, my book, the Santos foundation, and also seeing some of the work that he does, as far as writing and steps for personal growth, I can tell that he’s very serious about making changes in his life. He’s asked me to get all the information and books surrounding the Straight a Guide program and I’m very happy to help him. Having someone to talk to about making changes for personal growth and a successful future is invigorating. This man is college educated and his intellect speaks volumes that match his hunger for self-improvement. I look forward to more conversations with him and possibly working to help guide him along the Straight a program. Often I find that many men are just doing their time, waiting to get out and get back to whatever it is that they were doing before, other men have hopes and dreams for a new and better life, but aren’t willing to, nor think they have to put in the work to get where they want to be, and many others have just given up hope all together. It’s just refreshing to have a conversation with someone who shares the same values and aspirations as me.


I had another awesome video visit with my parents today. Skyping is a great new feature within the reason that allows us to spend time together when my family can’t find the opportunity to make it out here. I really enjoy the video visits, because even though I’m unable to give my loved ones a hug and a kiss, I am able to see things that aren’t possible to see when they physically come here. Today my parents played a video of my daughter singing at high school. Caitlin was amazing, her voice brought tears to my eyes. I never would have been able to see or hear her voice from a normal visit because families are unable to carry in thing like phones, or ipads with videos on them. This way I can see some of the special occasions that I miss out on, or even be a part of some of them if my family is to schedule a visit on a day like Thanksgiving, when the whole family is over at the house for turkey dinner, I can take part in the moment, almost as if I’m home with the family for the holidays. This is about as good as it gets in here.


In the state of Ohio, inmates are allowed to order musical instruments. For a long time now, ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to learn how to play the guitar. In the past I’ve squandered away many opportunities to learn. While growing up, my parents bought me a guitar and paid for me to take lessons, I just didn’t have the discipline to take the time out of each day to practice, and I was too worried about hanging out with my friends and getting high. Well now I have another rare opportunity to learn how to play the guitar, without the day to day distractions from the outside world, where it’s very easy to get caught up in the fast pace of attaining a successful, professional career, all the while juggling quality time with the family, maintaining health and fitness, attending special events, and the list just goes on and on. So I call this another rare opportunity, where my wonderful mother and father are blessing me with the purchase of another guitar, so that I can finally learn how to play guitar and show them my gratitude by perfecting the talent.


Well its official, the yard is closed today due to the 25 degree weather. This means that I c some cardio work here in my cell. I can’t let the cold stop me from achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself.
Yesterday I saw the coolest thing outside of my window. There was a hawk that just killed a pigeon, with its’ muscular talons gripped around it, ripping out its’ feathers to get to the flesh of the bird. It was like watching a cool episode of National Geographic.


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about shaving the hair off of my head. I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that my hair is falling out of my head. I haven’t cut my hair once since I was first sent to prison in May of 2012. It’s getting really long, but the longer it gets the more it starts to look thin on top. Jim, my biological father is as bald as bald can get, so losing my hair is not only hereditary; it also seems inevitable so I might as well just accept my fate and move on.
I continue to get letters from people that I spent time with in the county jail and my old cell mate from Lebanon penitentiary. It feels good to know that I’ve in some way had an effect on people that I come in contact with in my journey through incarceration. I always take time to write back to the people that write to me, to let them know that I’m still on the path of success for my life and my future. Of course I always ask how they are doing as well, I let them know that I’m pulling for them to do better, and that I have no doubt they can improve the quality of their own life and future if they just work hard.


Well it’s that time of year again, the holidays, and with the holidays comes the holiday blues. I always tend to get a little down in the dumps around this time of year, when all of the family gets together. I miss my family so much and it doesn’t get any easier with the years passing, if anything it gets a little harder to deal with. This year will be especially more difficult for the entire family, having suffered the loss of my Aunt Norma earlier this year. Holidays will never be the same without her and there’s no doubt that this will be on everybody’s’ mind.


This year I’m going to make as many Christmas cards as I can for my family over the holidays. I’ve already started to get a head start making stencils in order to mass produce the cards, seeing that I have a lot of cards to make for family and friends,( around 20 ) I need to get ahead of the ball game with an early start. Today I made a trip down to the arts and crafts department to purchase materials for making the cards. Materials from arts and crafts were not cheap, but it’s still cheaper than buying all the cards I need for the holidays and I know that my own personal touch will be more appreciated. I’ll also be able to use the materials that I picked up today for more cards in the future.


Now that it’s getting cold outside, the yard is only open every other day for each block: meaning that the gym capacity can’t hold the entire prison, so each individual block is rotating turns for us to go to the gym. This isn’t a problem during the summer because most of the inmates are on the yard instead of in the gym and now that it’s cold the gym gets over crowded. On the nights that we don’t have outside recreation it gets ridiculously crowded in here, and very loud too, not to mention that it’s nearly impossible to do anything like get on the phone, kiosk, or use the microwave or computer, but at the end of the day I really have no complaints. Even though it sounds like I’m moaning about something, I’m really not, I just needed something to talk about and what better to talk about then a current affair here at Madison.


I had another wonderful   visit with my parents via Skype. Thanks to the wonderful world of technology,   I almost felt as if I was at home with the family, walking around the house,   looking at the new addition, enjoying the scenery. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving   day, when my children, along with many other family members will be there.   I’ll be able to see them all at once, in my parents’ home, gathered together,   almost as if I’ll be there with them.
After my video visit, the guard on duty got a call from the office. Whoever   it was that called him stated that I was talking about him during my visit.   What happened was that the guard mentioned to me that I needed to cut my hair   when he was standing next to me during my visit. My mother, unable to see the   guard on her screen, asked me who I was talking to. I simply told her that   the guard made a joke about my long hair, end of story. Whoever it was that   was monitoring my visit thought that it was somehow important enough to call   down here to tell the guard. Fortunately I didn’t get into any kind of   trouble, seeing that I have a good repore as a trouble free inmate. The guard   and I both just laughed at how petty the issue was


My mother said that my uncle, Scott is going through treatment for cancer and it’s starting to take a toll on him. I just hate to hear about my family going through more difficult times. What really bothers me is another one of my grandmothers’ children having life threatening medical issues has to be taking a major toll on her. She’s already lost two of her children, losing another child would be devastating for her and of course the rest of the family as well. Fortunately my uncle, Scotts’ cancer isn’t as serious as my aunt, Norma’s’ cancer was, but when is cancer ever not a concern?… The only good thing that has come from this whole situation is that it has refocused my grandmothers’ concentration from the passing of Norma to the well-being of Scott. Scott is a very strong, very healthy man; I have no doubts about him recovering from this disease. At the end of the day I have to believe that God placed this temporary problem in my family’s’ path in order to ease our pain and help us to move on and move forward with the rest of our lives, laying the final stone of putting the loss of such a valuable member of our family to rest, Norma Jean Chandler.


Upon returning from my   morning five mile run around the track this morning, I saw that my cell was   completely demolished. At first I thought that maybe my celly did something   to make the guard on duty angry enough to tear our cell apart. Our cell was   not just searched in a routine shake down fashion. First of all the clean   clothes from my drawer was thrown on the floor, the dirty clothes from my   laundry bag was mixed in with my clean clothes, thrown on my bed and all over   the rest of the room, the desk was yanked away from the wall, an just about   everything else I own was thrown around. In frustration and confusion I   walked out to confront the guard, but on the way there another inmate told me   it was in fact the unit sergeant that tore my cell apart. The only possible   reason that I can think the sergeant did this to my cell is because of my   conversation with my mother about a comment from one of the guards during my   video visit. Of course this bothers me very much for a number of reasons,   mainly because I make it a point to follow every rule to the letter so that   run ins with the law like this never happen, secondly the guard on duty the   day that I spoke of him during my visit knew that I wasn’t saying anything bad   about him, I simply told my mother that the guard had made a comment joking   about my long hair. After talking to some of the inmates about how destroyed   my cell was, they said that I should place a formal complaint, but to me this   just seems like rocking the boat a little more when all I want to do is put   this all behind me. One thing that I’ll never stop doing, like Michael   Santos, is writing about my everyday life as a man trying to create a better   future from inside of these prison walls.



It’s just amazing to see how many people check their selves into the hole because they can’t pay a debt they owe to people that run a store, or gambling tickets. This is what is well known as ‘checking in’. This is such a common occurrence here in prison that everybody knows what checking in means. When someone says that so and so checked in, the question that usually follows is “who did he owe money to, or who wants to beat him up and why?…” Several men from my cell block have checked in this week. Fortunately my celly chose the higher path and finally got all of his debts paid off. I’d like to think that maybe I played a small part in influencing my celly to try to establish a more solid and honest reputation for himself. When I first learned of my cellys’ financial debt problems, I told him that as men in prison we don’t have much in here but our word, and if people can’t respect us, or believe our word in here, then we have nothing. It’s more important to establish a reputation as an honest man that can be trusted then it is to succumb to a temporary urge to eat a box of Twinkies that you can’t afford to buy in the first place.


I had an amazing video visit with my daughter, Caitlin the night before last. We sat face to face and talked for an hour, about everything possible, but more importantly I got to listen to her do what she loves to do best; sing, play piano, guitar, putting on a star performance for me. I am so proud and happy about the person that my little princess has transformed into. Caitlin is already starting to act like a mature, responsible adult, light-years ahead of her parent’s maturity level at that age. Caitlin has beaten her hereditary instincts to abuse substances and become addicted to them, she’s broken the family cycle of getting pregnant before graduating high school, she gets good grades, she’s extremely talented, and the list goes on and on. I am so proud of my daughter; I only wish I could say I had more to do with influencing her good choices in life thus far. The most I can really say that I’ve done is show Caitlin what not to do in life. One thing I can say is that my mother and father have played a huge role in brain washing Caitlin to making the right choices, and for that, my gratitude goes far beyond words.


I just got more copies of my blog printed out from my parents at home. I dove right into editing everything so that I can hurry up and send them home to get my book finished up and sent to my publisher, Justin Paperny.
There’s one thing that made me feel really good today, it’s something another inmate said to me. The man that I’ve been talking a lot to about the Straight-A program, Kurt Domini gave me signed permission to talk about him. I gave Kurt some of my blog to read, and after he read them he told me about an entry I wrote about how I talked about my hopes and aspirations of reaching out to another individual in a similar situations mine and giving them the hope and inspiration to want to make a change with their own life. Well Kurt told me that I’ve inspired him, I could see that he was genuine and sincere and that touched my heart. I’m so thrilled and happy to be able to share my convictions for change, a better life, and a successful future.


I got to see both of my beautiful children today on a video visit. Both Caitlin and Taylor spent the night over at my parents’ house. Taylor didn’t hold much of a conversation because he’s only eight years old, but I still got to ask him questions about his home life, siblings, school, and other things. I learned that he loves to spell and do math problems, just like I did when I was a kid, so I gave him a little spelling b and some math problems, he did great. Even watching Caitlin and Taylor bicker back and forth was amusing for me to see. One thing that really bothered me was hearing Taylor talk to Caitlin about dying and having some sort of death wish. Even though Taylor was probably just joking, it was very hard to hear my eight year old little boy talk like that. The hardest part of being in prison is the separation from my children and hopeless feeling of knowing that I can’t do a single thing to protect them, only hope and pray that God watches over them and keeps them safe.


It’s been two whole days that we’ve had the kiosk shut down, making it unable to log on, download our emails, or check our new incoming emails. This is very frustrating for me and the rest of the inmates. Yesterday I was scheduled to have another video visit, and because of the machine being down I was unable to have it. I just hope and pray that the kiosk is up and running in good condition by Thursday for my scheduled video visit with the entire family on Thanksgiving. I”ve been looking forward to this for some time now, and I would just be crushed if I had to miss out on such a special occasion because of a faulty outdated machine.


As a result of my reputation as an individual that stays out of trouble, I’ve been given another job as a porter, just like the job I was gave before I left Lebanon. Unfortunately there are a few men that are upset about me getting a job that I didn’t even ask for, when others have been asking about the job for some time now. Some of the men are blaming racism as the reason for me getting the job. The inmates are not calling me a racist; they’re calling the hiring guard a racist that only hires white men. I personally think it only has to do with model inmates getting first crack at the good jobs, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that I’m in the middle of a controversial topic that I would rather not be part of. Having to run damage control on an issue as sensitive as racism in prison is something that I make darn sure I done get involved in, now that I’m stuck in the middle of it, politics in here require me to talk to certain people I would prefer to stay away from in order to stop any further rumors from escalating into more problems. This is a few minor steps to attain resolution on my part, but still something I would have rather avoided.


Today the prison held a special Thanksgiving game of bingo in the gym. The gymnasium was packed with inmates from the entire camp, trying to win a game of bingo. Each winner received a prize bag with things like hygiene and candy. I didn’t win, but the game was a fun break from the monotony of everyday prison life.


Working on all of these Christmas cards is very time consuming. I stay very busy each day, sticking to my regular routine, adding time to draw and construct cards is difficult and can also be frustrating, so I do what I can to break it up and spread out my time spent on everything, considering that Christmas is still a month away.
Once again the holiday blues have set in and are starting to take a toll on my mind and body. My head and face started to break out in bumps, so I scrubbed my face vigorously with a wash cloth and dial soap, then I put far too much acne cream on and went to sleep. After waking up the next morning I noticed that my O.C.D. behaviors have resulted in serious burns on my face. Now my acne is gone, but my entire forehead is blood red and starting to scab up badly. Everyone that sees me asks what happened to my face, telling me it looks horrible, adding to the stress that I’m already feeling for this time of year.


Once again another video visit of mine fell through today. I had a visit scheduled for today, set in place of the one yesterday that I had to miss and once again this faulty machine is shut down. With todays’ technology I can’t possibly understand why a computer system would ever shut down as often as this one does, and yet here we are. This is the sixth day in a row that the kiosk continues to shut down, leaving us unable to log on, have visits, or even update our emails. Maybe it’s a combination of the holidays affecting me emotionally, but this has been a rough couple of days for me. As a prisoner, away from my family, I’m just ready to get Christmas and the year 2013 behind me, and on to the next one.


My celly is driving me completely insane! He has a type of infection under his arm that is most likely staph, like some child he can’t stop messing with it, touching it, trying to squeeze the infection out, and then touching things in our cell before washing his filthy hands. I keep on asking him over and over again to wash his hands and stop touching things that we both use, like my own hand mirror, the door handles and many other things. He has no respect and a complete disregard for me and my own belongings. I caught him using my hydrocortisone cream today shortly after I asked him not to. I’ve gone way past the point of patience, now I feel as if there’s nothing else I can do but hope he doesn’t cross the line that I’ve drawn in the sand before we end up in a childish fist fight. My frustration has turned to anger, my anger is beginning to feel like rage, and now I’m past the boiling point of reason, I’ve said all that I can say. I feeling like this about another human being, especially on Thanksgiving Day, and what’s worse is the thought of having no choice but to resort to violence. I have never been a violent person, it’s just not in my genetics, but I certainly feel that way right now. All I can do is ask for God to give me the strength to make the right decision in this matter.


One thing that really made me feel great during my phone call home with the family was having my cousin Alicia pick up the phone, talk to me and wish me a happy Thanksgiving. This felt especially great because I always thought that Alicia despised me, repulsed by the decisions I’ve made over the years as a drug addict. I really thought that Alicia would never want to talk to me again, and yet she reached out to me with a joyful, loving voice and heart, this made me feel so warm inside, it brings tears to my eyes as I write this, and most importantly it renews my hope and faith that I still have a fighting chance to regain the relationships that I’ve lost over the years.


The day after Thanksgiving I was able to call home and talk too many of my family members. This made me feel great, I miss my family so much that it hurts, and the pain just multiplies during the holidays. Talking with my family may feel good and fulfill some of my emotional needs at the time, but after it’s all over and I’m back in my prison cell and in my head the pain only increases. Sometimes it’s hard for me to admit this on my blog because I’m afraid my family would try to avoid contact with me more often in an attempt to save me the heart ache, not realizing that it would only hurt more not to talk to them at all. This is a vicious cycle of pain and anguish that I’ve created for my family and I, something that I will never forget and always hold onto as reminder of the life I never want to live again, or put my family through once I’m free.

by Steven Dybvad

Monday, September 16, 2013.

Over the last few days I’ve had to force myself out of bed in order to get the day started and stay on top of my routine and accomplish my goals. My brain and body is trying to shut me down from a spell of depression, but I fought back, not allowing my system to shut down, knowing the history of my past the power of depression in the knowledge of experience that absolutely nothing good comes from getting down in the dumps. No special peel was needed to fight this depression. My clear head and sober thoughts have kept me afloat self-aware of sound mind, enabling me to continue making rational decisions always thinking about and results consequences and repercussions good or bad there’s no longer any excuses for poor decisions in my life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I fought my depression and I one. This is a new milestone for me in the progress of my hard work for a better life. Before I was getting depressed on a very regular basis and it became fewer and further between. As a result of my journaling, sobriety, physical health and conscious effort to change all aspects of my life and future. I’ve come so far with my life each day that goes by I become more sickened by the old drug addicted life of crime that I once lived.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013.

I’m really making good use of my time each day and I continue to get excited about my progress in life. Reaching goals and becoming a stronger, healthier man each and every day. Last week my mother sent me a huge packet of my writings for me to edit and each day I dove into it with great enthusiasm, underlining, highlighting circling spellchecking and crossing out. Now I’m already finished ready for another thick packet of my writing to edit anxious to have my first book finished and cherish that wonderful sense of accomplishment after living a life of destruction.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013.

Save I’ve spent a great deal of the day working on cards and letters to family members and friends lately I’ve been purchasing cards from the commissary rather than creating my own. Sometimes I feel it’s more important to make one from scratch. When this to someone close to my heart. However, sometimes I get wrapped up in my day-to-day routine, making it difficult to draw a picture or a card from scratch because these things can easily take up a lot of my time on days like today I made the exception having to skip out on my strength training but I will not skip my jogging for. It’s too important to me to maintain my running for my health.

Thursday, September 19, 2013.

I just found out that the three greatest young women on the planet are coming to visit me on Sunday. My grandmother, my mother and my daughter will be here that’s for generations spending quality time together in three generations of beauty and wonder I can’t wait to see them. I know it’s going to be very emotional with my grandmother here. I haven’t seen her in almost 3 years and with the recent loss of my aunt Norma It won’t be easy to contain the flow of tears. However, in here at my new prison Madison. I no longer have the constant added pressure of acting tough in order to secure my chances for safety. Of course, this is still a prison and I still have to be very careful of what I do, but fortunately, this is a much safer place and I don’t have to look over my shoulder or watch my back nearly as often as I did at Lebanon, where I had to watch my back at all times. I just can’t wait to talk about whatever topic of conversation comes up without having to worry about who’s watching or listening in.

Friday, September 20, 2013.

In an attempt to escape, my cell mate I’ve signed up for the owner block the owner block is a big difference from my block. First of all there are no cells. It’s just one big dorm area with beds; this seems to be the only part of the honor dorm that is unappealing to me. But there is a great deal of benefits to being in the honor block for the most part the inmates have exceptionally good behavior because every inmate has to be ticket free for at least one year in order to even qualify for the honor block the block also has other benefits, such as a weightlifting room available at all hours of the day, it has a videogame room along with some food vending machines available to the inmates with the type of debit card that is connected to our personal accounts. These are just some of the reasons that I decided to turn in my application for the honor dorm.

Saturday, September 21, 2013.

Today my nerves are running high. I’m anxiously awaiting my visit. Tomorrow with three beautiful woman my anxiety stems from hoping for the best possible visit I just want to keep our conversations together upbeat and continuous I’ve been thinking about this all day because it’s not very often I get to see them even less now that I’m in a prison further away from home. The anxiety that I’m feeling isn’t severe it’s just that this visit is very important to me. Therefore, taking up a lot of my time and thought.

Sunday, September 22, 2013.

I just returned from my visit a wonderful visit with three wonderful women. This being our first visit together. Here it Madison, my mother was unaware that she had to book a full day at the front desk prior to the visitation, making our time together short-lived however any amount of time around the people that I love is cherished and will carry me through. In till my next encounter there’s so much more that I want to talk about, but I’ll just have to wait until next time.

Monday, September 23, 2013.

Today was a little difficult, pulling myself out of bed again this morning. I miss my family and I feel I was robbed of my time spent with them during my visit. Yesterday. Now of course these are just some personal feelings of mine possibly a little selfish. As a result of my imprisonment so I didn’t allow it to take control of my day. It’s just that days like this make it a little harder for me as if I have to drag a bag of rocks around everywhere I go. Fortunately for me, my bag of rocks are never as heavy as a used to be when my life was full of drug abuse stealing, lying, and all of the guilt that comes with it.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013.

I found some hair on my razor that I cleaned thoroughly after every time I finish shaving. The only problem is that I’m not completely sure whether or not my cell mate. Use my razor so I just had to throw it away. What’s upsetting for me is having to live this way each and every day I have to place my items in an extremely specific way sort of booby-trap everything that I own just to make sure that my stuff hasn’t been used, or contaminated by my cell mate my razor is only two days old. I wasn’t ready to throw it away but unfortunately, because of the distrust I have in my cell mate. I had no choice.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013.

Today is my 34th birthday any other birthday of mine in here. I was just going about my business trying hard not to remind myself that I’ve grown yet another year older behind these prison walls. This date. Today is different and a great deal more important to me than just some random birthday. Today is my halfway marker today means that I’ve done half of my time in prison. That’s actually to a half years complete and to a half years left to go. Yes I’m halfway home. March 25, 2011 marks the start of my prison sentence in March 25, 2016 is my release date once again today. I’d much rather celebrate the fact that I’m halfway home, rather than the date of my birth.

Thursday, September 26 2013.

I’m coming down with another major toothache last night. My tooth was throbbing so bad I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I couldn’t even sit and watch the television because it hurt so much. Last night I had very little sleep from my tooth pain constantly waking me up. I put a slip in to see the dentist. I just wonder how long it will take me to be seen at Lebanon prison. It was pointless because it would take more than a month to be seen, well after the pain is gone. But here some of the guys I asked told me the dentist as well as the doctors here are pretty good at getting inmates in for appointments quickly.

Friday, September 27, 2013.

Save one of the greatest gifts I could ask for at this current time in my incarceration has just been given to me freedom from one of the worst cellmates I’ve ever had. My cell mate just moved to another block and I couldn’t possibly have asked for anything better than this a few months ago my cell mate placed a request to be moved to another location where his brother is and today they granted both of our wishes. Now I have the entire weekend to myself in this cell. All I have to do now is try to find someone that I can cohabitate with and get the Sgt. to let this person move in with me before. They just throw anybody in here with me getting someone’s cell move approved by the Sgt. should be much easier now that I have an empty bed in here. My fingers are crossed for next week but for now I will enjoy the warmth in solitude from having this cell all to myself for the entire weekend.

Saturday, September 28, 2013.

An entire night of solitude with this cell all to myself was a rare moment of peace and serenity that I’ll continue to cherish for the rest of this glorious weekend until they assign a new bunk mate to my cell at which time I hope and pray that we can get along with each other, but more importantly I hope that my new cell mate will be clean and organized with unquestionable hygiene, maintaining a clean environment is extremely important to me as well as my health. I really don’t think that this is too much for me to ask is this is a common expectation amongst inmates.

Sunday, September 29, 2013.

On last Thursday. I turned in a kite to be seen by the dentist for a toothache and amazingly enough I was seen the very next day. This was unheard of at Lebanon, my last prison it would’ve taken at least a month be seen by the dentist. Unfortunately, the doctor said that the only thing he can do is extract the tooth. I told him that I would try to deal with the pain for I just can’t stand the thought of losing yet another tooth at this time so he gave me some ibuprofen and sent me on my way.

Monday, September 30, 2013.

Finally, the new media pads are available for order. I wasted no time being one of the first in my block to order the iPad so that I can soon start typing all of my Journal entries on the computer and sending them home directly via the Internet. Soon my daily writing will not only be just a little easier for me but more importantly, I’ll be reducing a great deal of work for my mother and father at home and this really excites me not to mention that I just can’t get enough pictures from home and now I’ll be able to get them more often because I parents will no longer have to acquire the supplies for printing off photos than milling them to me., just three at a time instead. Now they can just send me pictures over the Internet.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

I’ve had an awesome last few days. With this cell all to myself, but soon. By the end of the day it will all come to an end. The guard on duty just informed me that I have a new cell mate on the way here from CRC the reception center. This means my cell mate is going to be a new prison or with a new sentence instead of an old prisoner coming in from another prison as a result of good behavior. This can either be very good or very bad for me in terms of getting along with this new individual. Either way it goes. I believe that God will take care of me just as he always has I guess it won’t hurt to keep my fingers crossed in hopes for a little good luck and fortune.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

At first I thought my worries about a new cell mate were over but now I’m back at point A, late yesterday afternoon my new cell mate arrived in right away. As soon as we started talking to each other. I could tell we were going to hit it off great. We shared similar qualities habits once and needs but unfortunately as soon as he got acclimated. The guards made him moved to another cell for medical reasons of having to be restricted to a bottom rack. So even though I have the cell to myself once again I would much rather have the cellmate that I just lost because of my chances of getting a roommate as compatible as a guy who just left are much slimmer than the chances of another cell mate, like the one before him. Oh well fingers crossed.

Thursday, October 3, 2013.

Sometimes when I brush my hair it comes out in clumps making me believe that I’m losing my hair. As a result of the stress from prison. This form of thought causes me even more stress leading me to believe that my hair is falling out even faster. I continue to get wrapped up in these vicious cycles of partially self-inflicted stress sessions that seem virtually impossible to get out of what’s crazy is that I know 90% of what’s going on is in my head which means I just have to change my thinking, but this process is so much harder than it sounds especially when I’m absolutely convinced of something like my hair falling out even more now that my past dresses have already shown me by causing a large bald spot on my face more than 10 months ago and is never grown back. I can never again grow full beard without having a bald spot on my cheek the size of a silver dollar.

Friday, October 4, 2013.

I was very happy to hear the ministry out of Florida noticed my blog and the minister was so pleased with one of my blog entries that he asked Justin to ask me for permission to print it in one of their newsletters or pamphlets of some sort. My mother who already gave them permission because she knows me so well. She knows that I would do anything to be able to help other people, even if my writing just touches one single soul. It would be a great and proud accomplishment for me and my own work to change for a better life.

Saturday, October 5, 2013.

This prison has a very fast turnover of inmates often people are going home or being transferred over to the minimum security level side of Madison, which is a separate prison altogether. The cells around me continue to empty out then fell back up with new prisoners or inmates transferred here from other higher-level security prisons because of good behavior. I have a feeling that it won’t be here as long as I thought I continued good behavior will result in my transfer to the minimum security side within a year.

Sunday, October 6, 2013.

I just had a wonderful visit with my mother and my son. They are such a joy to spend time with. I cherish every single moment and I carry that time shared throughout each day after sometimes it can be difficult to talk to my mother without creating far too many emotions for her to deal with my mother is extremely affected by my circumstances and the continued aftermath of the wreckage that I created in so many lives. I hope and pray every day for faster stronger healing in everyone’s life.

Monday, October 7, 2013.

I may have had a wonderful time visiting with my mother and son yesterday but it’s never easy. The next day when I miss my family even more. It’s a difficult reminder of the life I had to forfeit and the children. I abandoned guilt begins to take over as it should for I am the only one at fault for the circumstances I’ve created often I try not to write about this for I fear that my mother my try to avoid another visit to keep me from hurting but being away from my family and children hurts even more.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013.

I’ve already gotten my third letter from individuals at my previous institution Lebanon correctional. I expected to get a letter from mild cellmate, but with my minimal exposure to that prison. I had no idea when the fact. I would have on others. They all want to know what this prison is like and if I’m still continuing to live my daily life in the same fashion as far as staying away from drugs, alcohol, tattoos, gangs, etc. well of course I’m happy to send them a letter and let them know that I’ll never stop working hard to ensure my future success, never to return to that old and destructive way of life.

Friday, October 11, 2013.

The last two days have been very hectic one dorm at a time a team of HVAC workers have been blowing out the vents in our cells in preparation for the winter and an average of 2 to 3 days to complete each unit they make us stay in the gym for the entire day allowing us to come back to our cells in the evenings. Unfortunately, they’re not even finished with our unit and they won’t resume their work again until Tuesday of next week.

A few things have changed in the last few days I got another cell mate who seems to be okay so far and I’ve also changed my daily schedule as far as my workout routine along with having to change the times in which I complete other daily tasks. This hasn’t been easy for me because I get used to doing things a certain way, making it difficult for me to adjust, but fortunately I’m doing better instead of jogging in the evening I’ve had to switch to jogging in the mornings because the guards are closing the yard earlier and earlier in the evenings and soon. I’ve been told that the yard won’t be open at all in the evenings for the winter. This means that I’ve had to change around my morning routine in order to accommodate for the rest of my daily activities.

Monday, October 14, 2013.

Today I had one of the guards call me down to the guard desk where they sit at a computer all day. The guards started off by asking me my full name then he told me my parents’ names and where they work, what their phone number and addresses my last three phone numbers and addresses the guard also went on to telling me my crime exactly how I did it and I began to wonder how he knew so many details about my life and why he was so curious so I asked him. Apparently some of the other inmates want to know what I’m in for and they asses guard to look me up. The guard said that all my information was from Google search. The guard went on to asking me about my blog, and how exactly I’m able to update it from inside prison. I started to wonder why he was breaking so many of his own rules as a guard, just to find out more about me, but then I reminded myself that I no longer have anything to hide. I live my life as an open book and will continue to do so for the duration of my life. So I gave him. Short answers to the point and went on about my business confident that the only person at risk of trouble is a guard for looking me up on Google on the prison’s computer system.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

Today they’re back to blowing out the vents which means that were going to be stuck outside for the duration of the day and possibly tomorrow. Also.

Due to another fog on the yard were locked in our cells unable to go anywhere. This means that there prolonging the HVAC team from doing their jobs and one more day of us having to be stuck out in the yard until they’re finished.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013.

Today was another long day kept away from our cells because of the vent cleaning, but finally there finished.

Because of the rain. We all had to be locked in the gym area. The entire day and as a result inmate’s nerves were on edge. Tempers were running high and people were fighting all day. Many men went to the whole today. This is the most action I’ve seen since I left Lebanon and yet I still felt completely safe in these environments, which are many blessings better than the hellish place that I came from.

Thursday, October 17, 2013.

My new routine is a little difficult trying to adjust to still I’m so used to coming back from breakfast to shave drink some coffee while I write in my journal. Maybe catch some morning news or send out an e-mail now when I come back from breakfast I have to get dressed and ready to run with my jogging buddy then when I come back I get in the shower, shave write in my journal clean up my cell and prepare for lunch since they also do strength training in the afternoons. This means that I have to take to showers every day instead of one. After running at the end of each day and my skin has to adjust to this by using lots of lotions, but I kind of like this change because of my obsession with being clean. I really enjoy being able to take multiple showers. I’m just not sure if it’s good to feed into my OCD.

Friday, October 18, 2013.

A few weeks ago I ordered some new running shoes through a fundraiser program that comes around the prison. A couple of times every year. To my surprise when I went down to pick them up from the package room I saw that they gave me a different pair than the one I ordered when I told the guard that they gave me the wrong pair he told me that they were probably out of the ones I ordered so they just sent me. The next best pair of shoes. I told him that I didn’t want them because they’re not even running shoes their basketball shoes. The whole reason I bought new shoes in the first place is because my original running shoes are coming apart. I run an average of at least 150 miles a month making a good pair of running shoes and necessary tool for my fitness routine. Unfortunately, the nice guard told me I had to deal with my new basketball shoes and I needed to get out of his face because he was tired of looking at me. Oh well life goes on and I digress.

Saturday, October 19, 2013.

Being in this lower security prison with less violence and more time out of ourselves every day has enabled me to interact with more individuals with less trepidation. What I found is that there are many interesting people with good hearts as time goes on in here more and more people spark up a conversation or ask me to join them in a game of cards. Less guarded as a result of a better environment I except in what I find is that there are many good people who just did some bad things in the past and my instincts to judge them for their crime lessons with each interaction to my surprise, I found that some of the most dangerous criminals who have been serving the last 20 to 30 years in prison for things like murder happened to be some of the most humble people with good attitudes less likely to act out of character. I’m realizing that these guys are paying for their crimes and very possibly deserve another chance. Whether it is in this life or in the afterlife is all up to the man upstairs and not me. We are all God’s children.

Sunday, October 20, 2013.

Some days like today. I find it very hard to forgive myself when I think about my daughter Kaitlyn getting ready to turn 17 years old. It’s her senior year in high school. She’s learning how to drive from her grandfather, instead of her father in the list just goes on and on, making it very easy to get depressed about the life I created not just affecting myself, but everyone in my life but also times like this remind me that I need to continue to move ahead with my goals for successful future never to create another destructive path that ruins everybody’s life I’ve come too far to look back or go back to my old wicked ways of addiction and instruction I have a great future in store and I will never stop working hard to achieve the life I’ve always dreamed of.

Monday, October 21, 2013.

The cold frigid morning temperatures outside or making it difficult on my jogging routine but I still refuse to quit having to bundle up in sweats and long johns then putting my prison issued blue pants and shirt on over top of everything in accordance with the rules then once I get to the track. I have to take off my prison blues to job. It’s very cold in the morning so it takes a lot of extra stretching and a few laps around the track to warm up, but it quickly changes from warmed up to sweating profusely than after each lap. My close get heavier and heavier saturated with sweat my close way me down making my running more of a strain but it’s always worth it. After I get back to the block ready for a shower rested and relieved from stress. I love what jogging does for my mind as well as my body. For this reason I know that I’ll never stop. No matter how difficult the benefits outweigh the bad.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013.

It was 35° outside this morning another very cold start to my jogging routine the guard on duty this morning almost didn’t show up on the yard because he was complaining about the cold and if he hadn’t shown up, we would have been forced to go back inside there was only a few of us on the yard to begin with, making it easier for the guards to rationalize not having to do their job. I was also told that they do close down the yard. If the temperature drops below 25° that’s just 10 less degrees in this morning. No matter what my situation may be there is no more room for excuses. Just like Michael Santos if I’m from the track I will resort to running while standing in place in my cell. I’ve done it many times before at Lebanon and I’m not afraid to do it again.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013.

This camp is rare compared to many other prisons in the state of Ohio. Madison correctional is an open compound. This means that in order to get to any single destination such as from point a to point B one has to walk outside every building is separated from each other. Most of the other state prisons in Ohio are a single building at Lebanon from September of 2012 to March of 2013. We never stepped foot outside because the yard was closed for the cold season. Here it Madison we have to walk outside just to get to the Chow Hall and I love it. Walking to breakfast through the first snow of the year was exhilarating been exposed to Mother Nature at work is almost like a small taste of freedom.

Saturday, October 26, 2013.

For the last few days I’ve been getting edgy frustrated down in the dumps wondering what’s wrong with me that I realize that I’ve been thinking a lot about my daughter’s birthday coming up next week sober realizing how much of her life. I’ve been absent from how much I’ll continue to miss out on in the future and most of all how much hurt and pain I’ve caused my little princes just tears me apart. I know that once I’m released, I’ll be the best father I can. But no matter how much I do them this point on I can never change the past.

Sunday, October 27, 2013.

I’m finally starting to adjust all the sweaty close, I have to wear in the morning when I jog but I fear that my new schedule won’t last much longer. Lately it’s been around 30° on average. When I go outside in the morning. That’s just 5° more that can be before they shut down the yard. Soon it 25° they’re not going to let us outside for our recreation only to the Chow Hall or other appointments but not for any yard activities all have to go back to running well in place in my cell. This is going to be hard for me because I become addicted to jogging and the benefits that come with it every day.

Monday, October 28, 2013.

Prison really has my mind in a whirlwind. I believe that now that I’m no longer in a constant state of worry for my personal safety. My mind has more time to think and wonder. I thought that being in a better prison would rid me of my depression. The fact of the matter is that I’m still in prison and I’m only halfway through my sentence this past 2 1/2 years of incarceration has been very long, I’ve missed out on a great deal of my family’s lives. Even before I got arrested but now I’m sober and it’s oh so clear to me how much damage I created from my past choices as an active drug addict. My past choices will now and forever affect me. My family and most importantly my children for a lifetime to come. These are facts of my life that are often hard to cope with, especially around occasions like my daughter Caitlin’s birthday.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013.

17 years ago a beautiful baby girl was born into this world. I myself had just turned 17 a month before. Kaitlyn’s birth in mature unable to completely understand the life-changing responsibilities that I had just acquired my party life and addiction to substances was already on a downward spiral my daughter Kaitlyn was a true blessing from God but I was just way too hardheaded to see it at that age I still thought I was invincible under the impression that I could still make bad decisions and also still have plenty of time to turn my life around in the future, I went through life with this crazy form of thinking for way too long and before I could snap out of it. My life is flashed before my eyes. Now I’m a 34-year-old man showing my age going bald teeth rotting from my life on drugs celebrating my amazing daughter Kaitlyn’s 17th birthday from inside of a prison cell. Now I hate myself for a lifetime of bad decisions that is now affecting my wonderful, innocent children every day I work hard to remain sober and change my life ensuring the success of my future and that my children but I will always have to live with that horrific wreckage of my past and that is a lot to chew on by the time I’m released from prison. My son Taylor will be 10 my daughter Kaitlyn will be a 19-year-old adult out of high school already in college and I’ll be a stranger a bad memory desperate to build a relationship with my family if they’ll even let me. I do talk to Kaitlyn often through e-mails and letters and my son Taylor comes to visit with me as often as my mother can bring them today I couldn’t possibly be more proud of my daughter and all of her accomplishments as a young woman, but it’s also a vicious reminder of the father that I’ve never been to her my sobriety has awakened so many unfamiliar feelings in my life and shown me a harsh reality that can often be overwhelmingly difficult for me to deal with. So I pray and I give my life to God, asking for his help is all I can do.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013.

Inmates here it Madison have begun to start picking up their iPads from the receiving area. Starting yesterday one of the time and only four inmates from each unit to pick them up. They already called another four inmates for today which means no more pickups. In till tomorrow. I haven’t received my iPad yet, and many other inmates are waiting as well, but hopefully at the latest, I’ll be picking mine up by next week. Then I’ll finally be able to set down the pen and paper and type and send my daily blogs via J pay e-mails. I look forward to being able to save my parents from having to convert my writings to blogging on the Internet.

Thursday, October 31, 2013.

I was very pleasantly surprised when I received a kite I sent out not too long ago to get on the list for school this prison as a horticulture program. I’m extremely fascinated with plants, gardening and all that is connected to nature. Plus, I would really like to add, gardening to a part of my future aspirations of running a food business, but that’s another story. So anyway, the teacher that runs a program told me to keep an eye open on the pass list to start class I’m so excited I know a guy in my block that attends the class currently he said he knows the teacher well and he was going to put in a good word for me and get me to the top of the list and sure enough it worked. I’m very grateful for this because at Lebanon it was more than impossible to get into a class I was on a waiting list just to get on the official waiting just this program also gives me one good day, every month, which is an added bonus. But not the reason I applied. I simply want to ensure the quality of my future and success.

Friday, November 1, 2013.

Well unfortunately I haven’t yet received my iPad. But no worries, I know I’ll be getting it soon enough. I just can’t wait to start typing my blogs. Personally, and also download my family’s pictures. Perhaps order a book, or even a new dictionary. Considering I had to leave my other one behind at my last prison but at the end of the day I really just can’t wait to get a new toy to keep me occupied.

Saturday, November 2, 2013.

This morning I had my first video visit with my mother and father. This was also my first time ever, Skype being with anyone. The history of my drug addiction has set me far behind on the evolutionary scale when it comes to current technology. I’ve never even touched and iPad before. Nonetheless, I had an enjoyable time, Skype being with my family and we already have another date set for tomorrow morning.

On a sad note, I just found out that yet another member of my mother’s side of the family has cancer my uncle Scott has HPV which I’m told was discovered enough time to be treated but this will still be a difficult road ahead for the treatment and healing of my uncle Scott along with the rest of my family especially after just losing my aunt Norma to breast cancer a few short months ago.

Sunday, November 3, 2013.

I was very pleased to have another video visit with my mother today on the date of her birth I was able to see her face and wish her a happy birthday. That’s about as good as it gets for me right now. Well I’m still in prison.

by Steven Dybvad

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Well I’ve yet to finish editing all of my blog writing for the completion of my first book be published, but I feel as if I should continue to do my daily journaling in order to stay focused and on the right track.

Not a whole lot has changed in these last couple of months. I’m still on intense daily workout routine, approximately 2 to 3 hours every day, I feel healthier than I’ve felt in many many years.

As a result of my good behavior, I’ve been awarded a security drop which means that I’ll be transferred to a better prison. This is still a drawn-out process that could take as little as a few months, or as long as a year, but regardless I’m on my way out the door.

I’ve also been asked to be one of the unit porters. The guards and the other porters think that I’m a great candidate because I stay out of trouble. He Porter is someone that does odds and ends work for the guards, such as cleaning showers, mopping floors, changing, trash bags, etc. The plus side of having this job is it we get to be out of ourselves for a large part of the day. This is huge when compared to being locked down 22 hours of every day. This is a job that all the inmates want, so I think I’ll take the job, unless I see this causing any kind of problem, in that case, I won’t hesitate to quit immediately.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Today my cell mate and I are supposed to be switching cells with some guys from the second floor. My cell mate and I paid them five dollars each for the move. The only reason we are trying to move is because eventually the entire third floor that we currently reside on is going to be converted into a faith-based program. If this happens it for remove downstairs, we could very well be moved out of the block entirely. I don’t want this to happen because the other blocks are much more violent, along with many other corrupt activities that I want no part in. So I will keep my fingers crossed for remove today. This will be my very first move, since I’ve been in this prison nearly 14 months now, I’ve been very fortunate to have the same cell.

For some reason we didn’t get moved to the other cell. Tomorrow I’m going to have to go down to the caseworker’s office and find out why.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

I just had an amazing visit with my mother and son Taylor. I enjoy every single second, showering Taylor with all the love, hugs, and kisses that I could possibly give him. Fortunately the prison allows me to hug Taylor for the entire visit, so most of the time he sits on my lap and I love it. Unfortunately the prison only allows me to get my mom one hug and kiss before the visit starts and then one hug and kiss when the visit is over. I just thank God I’m allowed to have any contact with them at all. Hopefully soon I’ll be transferred to a better prison, where the rules for visitation are as strict as they are here.

Mom told me that my daughter Kaitlyn just had her tonsils removed and now she’s a tremendous amount of pain as a result of her surgery. I hope she feels better soon, I’ll be praying for you sweetheart.

My mom said that she’s also injured herself, pulling a muscle in her back. This is a bummer because she has a dance competition coming up soon. Get well soon mom, I love you all.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

I’ve been up order for a few days now and it’s nice. Although my job assignment of cleaning showers only takes about 20 min. each day, my cell door stays unlocked all morning just in case I’m needed to help out with something else. Even though my new job gets me out of my cell a bit more. Often I find myself not having any reasons for staying out of my cell in the day room area. The other porters are always hanging out, playing cards, or talking amongst each other, but I choose not to get involved. I still work hard to live by the strict guidelines Michael Santos lived by successfully for 25 years in prison. I refuse to let my guard down for a single second, and I continue to pray that God will guide through each day.

Monday, August 12, 2013

It feels great to be writing in my blogs again. Even though Justin made the suggestion that I should take a break from it until I finish writing my book, I felt as if I just wasn’t following through on all of my daily responsibilities, sort of slacking in a sense. As a new man, recovering from a life of drug addiction and crime, I realize I need things like my Journal for accountability, to stay on track, as well as keeping my family and friends informed and updated on my growth and recovery to a successful life.

I still work extremely hard on my health and fitness each day. It’s very important for me to focus on strengthening my body and my health. I spent so many years destroying my body, my life, and so many lives around me. In order for me to turn my life around, I have to change every single aspect of the life I once lived as a drug addict. I believe that I’ve been more productive with my life these last two years, since my parents introduced me to Justin Papery, and the Michael Santos program that I’ve ever been as an adult. I truly believe that God has spared my life and let me to prison, so that one day I can help to save others. I will fulfill my destiny, my calling, my future and success.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It’s funny, I really wanted this Porter job so that I could get out of my cell more during the day, move around and burn off more daily calories, but even though my cell is now unlocked for half of the day, I have no reason to leave my cell. There’s no extra work for me to do, I’ve asked several times, and my own job of cleaning the showers only takes me 15 to 20 min. to complete. I could sit at the day room tables and talk or play cards with the other inmates, but I’m just not going down that road. I’ve been successful at staying clear of trouble and other problems by minimizing my exposure to others and I intend to keep it that way.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Compared to the torturous temperatures of last summer’s heat and humidity, this summer has been heavenly. I can remember last summer as vividly as if it was just yesterday. Many days it was so hot that even when sitting absolutely still, in nothing but my boxers, I was sweating profusely, unable to even write in my journal at times, for the sweat would stop my pen from working on paper. It was so hot that it was all I could think about, day and sleepless night, not to mention that being 90 pounds heavier didn’t help at all. Now I thank God for the school summer, plus what’s even better is that I’ll be in a better prison next summer where I won’t have to be locked inside of a sweat box all day like we are here.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I’m so excited! I’ve been logging on to the kiosk every chance I get to find out if my security level drop has been reviewed by the corporate office in Columbus, and approved so that I can get on the waiting list in order Ride out to my new institution. Finally that day has come. Today after typing a letter to my mother, I checked my status for any changes and sure enough, my security level has dropped from a level III high-security, to a level II medium security, also my request for transfer to the prison of my choice, Madison has also been approved. This means that I’m now on the waiting list to ride out of here. I can’t wait for this next phase of my sentence, moving forward in my recovery and progress made for my future. Many people have been here for years because they can’t stay out of trouble long enough to get transferred to a better prison. This just goes to show not only myself, but it also helps my family see that I’m working hard for a better life.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Unfortunately the two inmates my cell mate and I were going to switch cells with don’t qualify to be moved because they have only been in that cell for less than 90 days. It looks like it might be in my best interest to look for another suitable cellmate to move in with before they start moving all of us from the third floor to another block. I could use a change anyway, sometimes change is good, and it can help the time go by a little faster. It can be tough to find a good cellmate in here its slim pickings, but who knows, maybe I would get along even better was someone else.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

So often I think about my future after release from prison and just what exactly I’m going to do with the rest of my life. I think about my home, making improvements, creating an atmosphere that would compel my children to come over as often as possible, if God willing, I’m lucky enough to have them want to live with me, will that would be a dream come true. I think about being married to a good woman and even having more children. More portly I think about my profession, how might going to support myself and my family, something lucrative enough to retire comfortably from, and even be able to leave something behind for my children after I pass on to the afterlife. Before coming to prison I never thought about my future, I just couldn’t seem to get past thinking about my next fix. I thank God every day for saving my life. My life was saved with prison, instead of sending me to my death, self-inflicted by the life I was once living.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

What a great day my mother surprised me at my visit today with the greatest gift, my daughter Kaitlyn. She told me that she was going to come see me next month, just before my birthday, so I was thrilled to see her when I walked into the visitor’s room. When I came back to my cell, adding our photograph to my album, and viewing the photo from her last visit, I noticed it’s been exactly one year since I saw her last. Both photos were dated 8/18, one was from 2012 the other was today. I only wish I could see her more often. We had a wonderful visit together; we talked about everything and before you knew it or two hours were up. It felt so great to see her. I’m feeling high, up in the clouds from all the love I received today. These are the moments I need to remember to keep me going, moving forward, working towards my goals, thus ensuring I never even come close to returning to the life I once lived that led me to this prison, far away from my family and children.

Monday, August 19, 2013

I’m still so thrilled about having seen my daughter Kaitlyn yesterday. I had such a great time with my two favorite ladies yesterday. We talked about so much; no time was wasted in silence, except for when we were stuffing our faces with the junk food from the vending machines. Kaitlyn is blossoming into an amazing young woman, I’m so very proud of her.

The fog is so dense all around the prison that they won’t even let any inmate out of our cell. I’m told that for security purposes, if the gun towers around the razor wired fences don’t have full visibility of the yard, then they won’t take the risk of allowing us to move around. If someone was to attempt an escape, they might not see where we are.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I’ve never been more ready to leave this disgusting prison, all around me people were constantly getting sick, breaking out in staph infections, cockroaches are everywhere, dirt, germs, etc. I could go on and on about how felt it is prison is. What I do know is that most other prisons in the state of Ohio are kept clean to a much higher standard. One man in my unit just had to have his entire left arm removed due to a staph infection left untreated by the doctor. He just turned down a settlement offer of $150,000 because his attorney told him he could get at least half $1 million. If you ask me I’d rather keep my arms.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

So I continue to learn valuable lessons of passing judgment towards others. In prison it’s very easy to come in even more biased. Cultures are very separate and at times very different from one another. It’s difficult to remember that many people were raised in a completely different environment than others, thus creating multiple personalities from extremely opposite sides of the spectrum as to the way one was raised in the environment that I grew up in. There’s a man that moved into the cell down the hall from us this smells so bad he stinks up the entire block. The smell activates my gag reflex is regularly. I believe it may be the worst thing I’ve ever had the smell. People would make jokes about throwing buckets of soap, chemicals, and scented oils at him, or in his cell, or hose him down in the shower; I would find the jokes funny and laugh along. One day we asked the guards about if there was anything they could do about this guy in that horrific smell. That’s when all the jokes stop being funny to me. The guards told us that he was born with some kind of skin disease and that he has no control over his smell. The guard said that he even takes multiple showers every day and tries to cover up his scent with baby powder and scented oils, even give him new sets of clothing once every month. Now I feel guilty about laughing at all the jokes, judging a man on his hygiene, wishing he would do something about it. This just goes to show, never judge a book by its cover.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Lately I’ve been thinking about the problems that I’m going to face upon arriving to my new parent institution. Even though Madison is a lower-level security prison with less problems of violence lurking around every corner, it’s still going to be a prison, filled with criminals, and I’ll still be the new guy. People are going to test me to find out who I am and what I’m made of so to speak, this is just the natural order of prison politics. Just like Michael Santos, I’ll continue to avoid problems and minimize my exposure to others as much is possible, but this time if I’m attacked in any sort of way, I’ll be ready and with my newfound health and strength, I’ve got a lot to give. I only hope and pray that never has to come to that.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Yesterday was evening recreation for my unit, usually last from 5 PM to around 7 PM, but last night there were a number of large fights throughout the prison, restricting any movement for all inmates. As a result we were all stuck on the yard until almost 9 PM, well after the sun went down. Being out of my cell and on the yard extra time didn’t bother me at all, but what did bother me is that we were unable to take a shower after going back to the block, having to sleep on my clean sheets, all dirty and salty from sweating on the yard during my jog and work out. Now I have to spend the day cleaning the sheets and pillowcases after having just done my laundry. This wouldn’t be so frustrating if laundry wasn’t so difficult to get clean when you have to wash everything out of a bucket.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

I had just finished up a phone conversation with my mother, stepped in the caseworker’s office to find out if my grandmother’s visitation application has been approved yet, and what do you know to my excitement I find out that I’m being transferred to my new institution next week. I’m very excited, surprised, and nervous all at the same time. I had no idea I would be getting transferred to my new prison so soon. I’ve heard many stories of other inmates having to wait as long as a year to ship out after having their security lowered. My security was dropped less than a month ago wow! This is awesome. The next step in my journey to a successful life. However this is going to be a long nerve-racking week for me, much like anticipating your first day of high school, only this feels worse. I’m aware of the adversities I’m going to have to face having to adjust to my new surroundings. I’m just ready to get it over with.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

For the first time quite a while I’ve had trouble getting to sleep last night. My mind is racing and my nerves are strong high with thoughts of the unknown adversities I’ll soon be facing in my new prison, with my new atmosphere, and new convicts. First impressions are important, once again I’m going to have to act like a hard ask, and that’s just not my biological nature. At the end of the day, I know that everything will be fine. With continuing to make good healthy ethical decisions in God on my side this too shall pass.

Monday, August 26, 2013

I just learned why the prison is shipping us out to Madison correctional faster than usual. Madison used to have a sex offender program, but now the program has been moved to another prison, so they have a lot of empty space, at Madison that they need to fail. Not only does Madison have a lot of empty beds, but Lebanon, my current institution, which is the disciplinary institution, has a large waiting list of other inmates at a disciplinary status that need to be transported over here, so they’re moving us out of here as quick as they can in order to make room for the inmates that really need to be here more than a man like me who stays out of trouble I’m so ready to go.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Anxiety is running high. I’m ready leave this godforsaken prison, onto a much better prison, never to return, only looking back from the transport bus, just to remember where I came from, and how far I’ve progressed in this journey to a successful life.

I’ve accumulated many personal items during my last 14 months here at Lebanon, more stuff that I’m allowed to take with me. The prison only lets us bring what can fit inside a small locker box, and nothing more. So now I need decipher what I’m going to take and what I need to leave behind. This isn’t easy for me, because in here we cherish everything we have. However I’m more than happy to forfeit some of my belongings in order to get the heck out of here. Thursday, August 29, 2013 first thing yesterday morning I had to pack up all of my personal belongings and turn them in. Here it is, around 8 PM, just a few hours after arriving at my new institution Madison correctional. Today has been an extremely long exhausting day. At 3:30 AM this morning the guard woke me up to get dressed and ready to transport. I and six other guys dressed in orange jumpsuits, and then the guards shackled our ankles to each other and change our risk to our waste. For the entire day we remain shackled, making it very difficult to eat our bags of breakfast and bags of lunch. Using the restroom was even more difficult. Both my ankles and wrists are very sore, from along 14 hours in chains, but at the end of the day, it was all worth it. I already feel safer and more comfortable in this medium security prison. I have much more that I could talk about, but it’s been a very long day and I would like to get a little more acclimated to my new surroundings.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Adjusting to my new surroundings isn’t easy. Regardless of how much better this institution is than the last, it’s still a prison. It’s almost like trying to deal with those first day of high school jitters, only multiply that by 1000 times. Last night I took my first shower, in a single stall, right in have to be so close to other naked men that one had to be extremely careful not to bump into each other. It felt great to be able to wash myself without having to worry about the wandering eyes of another man.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Being able work out in the yard without a time constraint was awesome. I was outside yesterday for hours and hours. Going from the sandy dirt track at Lebanon, where one had to be extra careful not to twist an ankle to a very smooth track that’s made of concrete. The difference in difficulty to ease of running was night and day, I felt as if I could run all day, and that’s basically what I did. I was outside for so long running and walking in between breaks that even with my sunscreen on I still got a little burned, but not too bad. However I was extremely exhausted this morning, making it hard to get out of bed, but of course I can no longer waste days away sleeping without feeling a load of guilt, so I got up at 7:30 AM rather than my usual 6 AM.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

This place is so much cleaner than Lebanon, if you ask me, I think that Lebanon should be condemned and torn down. Here it Madison, everything has a fresh coat of paint, all the walls, floors, and surfaces are cleaned daily with strong chemicals. Here there is no more cockroaches running around, scattering underneath my feet, leaving little traces of feces behind on everything. The windows are all clean and clear, with the sun shining brightly on everything, helping to fight and kill germs and bacteria.

Monday, September 2, 2013.

It seems like every time I turn around I see another person here that came from Lebanon. Every time one of them recognizes me. They stop me and ask me how I like it here. Of course, it’s so much better here in the always agree with me commenting on the many differences between both prisons. I was obviously very close minded at Lebanon thinking that I was the only one desperately trying to get away from that cockroach infested hellhole. This just goes to show how much I’ve been focused on just myself and the many changes I need to make in my life. This is a progress they can never end. Always meeting to set new goals for myself moving forward constantly improving my chances for success in minimizing any chance of ever returning to prison again.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013.

The last few days here it Madison have been tremendously therapeutic for me even though I’ve worked out for two hours every day at Lebanon. The other 22 hours of every day were spent locked in a tiny little cell hunched over on my mattress unable to sit up straight just to keep from hitting my head on the top rack. Here it Madison, there’s so much freedom. The only time they lock us in our cell is for headcount three times a day for about half an hour I could stay here on the yard walking around running the track irking out for the entire day if I wanted to and lately I have because my body as well as my mind as needed it desperately so many kinks and tighten muscles have loosened up these last few days I feel so alleviated and rejuvenated my self-discipline and hard work toward a better life certainly paying off in Michael’s book the street a guide to success. He highlights the importance of taking the time to celebrate our achievements so that we may recognize them continues to move forward, setting new goals to work for. Well, today I’m doing just that. Maybe it’s time for me to reevaluate myself and set some new goals.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013.

Even though my day-to-day life in this new prison is much better dealing with the new cell mate is never an easy task. I’m trying hard to bite my tongue. My cell mate is very young he doesn’t exactly know the proper prison etiquette for that reason I’m trying to give him some leeway I’ve drawn my line in the sand with him and yet he just continues to cross it from bad hygiene making messes and using my own personal property without asking me first and more moving to another cell in this prison is an easy, I first have to get permission from the sergeant present him with a valid reason for moving and hope for the best. Unfortunately, the sergeant said that is not moving a single man for at least a month before he makes any decisions. So I’m just going to have to white knuckle it for a while. This is my first time and it certainly won’t be my last.

Thursday, September 5, 2013.

Save your Madison every inmate has to have a job at Lebanon. I didn’t want a job for certain reasons, most importantly, because I didn’t want to risk too much exposure in such a violent prison with multiple occurrences on a daily basis at this point in time. I’m a little more excited about working having a job means that I’ll be busy with fitness journaling book editing on top of a job. This will help the days go by even faster. I’m told that most new inmates are placed in the kitchen for their first job. It may only be four hours a day, but this is fine by me because it ensures that I still have sufficient time each day to keep up with all of my other personal responsibilities.

Friday, September 6, 2013.

I just can’t get over how much better my body feels now that I’m able to be up and moving all day long instead of being confined to a dirty nasty cockroach infested 5 x 9 cell for 22 hours of every day. God is truly blessed me, showing me that hard work toward a better life of less sin and more ethical behaviors has many benefits. This is just a glance at the good things coming my way. A grain of sand in the sea of good life a glimmer of hope and a new taste of inspiration on never stop believing that God in his divine intervention is what saved my life by guiding me to prison instead of a grave is shown me that I have a much greater purpose. One that I’m not yet to even comprehend.

Saturday, September 7, 2013.

Well it looks like I was wrong about the whole job situation. Yesterday I sat down with classification for my job assignment just to find out that there are currently no jobs available for me. Apparently, now that the sex offenders have been replaced with regular inmates there are no longer enough jobs due to the increase of inmates so now if I want job I have to be on a waiting list just like everything else the river signed up for. I’m really contemplating signing up for the dog training program the only downfall is that it may take up more time that I have available for myself in the day.

Sunday, September 8, 2013.

The more that I think about it the more I realize it wouldn’t be in my best interest to apply for the dog program the matter how much I love the companionship of a dog it would take up too much time in my day to train and care for inevitably cutting into my jogging strength training, and most importantly my journaling and book writing dog trainers have to be with their dogs at all times, with the exception of meals and visitations. I must fight the urge is for the warm company of man’s best friend I have the rest of my life to be a friend a good dog but for now I have to focus on continuing to improve the quality of my life and success for my future.

Monday, September 9, 2013.

No matter how much my surroundings of improved dealing with the nasty habits of another cell mate can be extremely stressful. I think I’ve only seen this kid take one single shower in the two weeks I’ve been here last night. I woke up to his disgustingly dirty socks falling on me from his top bunk waking me up from my sleep, causing me to be so disgusted and upset that I couldn’t even go back to sleep. I’m constantly finding his balled up snotty tissue on the floor and I don’t think I could possibly be any more upset than I am right now it’s affecting my day and messing with my entire thought process all that I can do right now is pray for more tolerance and patience with thoughtless men who have absolutely no respect for others.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013.

The company transition is taking over our food services finally the fact the new Mills that we are eating are not frozen TV dinners as was once rumored was also a rumor that the food was going to be less portion sizes and more bland than before. And of course, like everything else I ever hear from another inmate I take with a very large grain of salt. What do you know who are pleasant surprise the food quality is actually improved. I had high hopes for this from the very beginning. Besides, I couldn’t possibly see the food we were already evening get any worse than it already was before the portion sizes have remained consistently the same in the food just got a little bit better. Speaking of rumors. The word around town about Ariel Castro’s death is that he was actually murdered by two inmates with little help from some of the guards of course like all the other rumors. I never believe anything until it’s been made factual but I must also take into account that some things turn out to be true. More commonly true when the topic is some sort of criminal act, such as the alleged murder of Castro.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013.

Soon my journaling will be easier for me as well as my parents as of right now my blog goes through extensive process before being posted on the Internet. First I write everything pen to paper and Mela home to my parents once every week than my father reads my blog out loud undoable vocal program told Dragon which is converted to print on the computer screen. Finally, my mother proofreads everything retype sit and cut and pasted to my blog. This takes a great deal of time and effort from both of my parents, who have full-time jobs to worry along with all the rest of their daily responsibilities as life goes on in the world. Thankfully for prisons in attempts to keep up with today’s technology. This will all be a thing of the past bias soon as the end of this month or next month. The J pay company will be providing all inmates with the option of purchasing and iPad. This has capability of sending messages to and from family and friends across the Internet then I’ll be able to type all of my blogs and book writing. Send them home to my parents to post on the Internet, saving them a ton of time and effort on their part. I’m so thankful for all the things that my parents continued to bend over backwards doing for me and will be extremely happy to be able take away just a little bit of stress from their daily lives. I’ll also be able to download pictures looks music and many other things. With this new system. I’m very excited about this.

Thursday, September 12, 2013.

Running more miles on the track continues to get easier and easier for me with every day that passes keeping up with a strict workout routine has become as necessary to my daily life as breathing. Maintaining my health and my sanity couldn’t be a more important factor in leading to a permanent future of success. It was always unclear just how many laps equal to mile Lebanon’s prison. But here at Madison. It’s literally set in stone for laps equals 1 mile each and every day I run an average of 4 to 7 miles on top of the rest of my workout that’s about 16 to 28 laps around the track. I love it in the morning I walked the track dropping down to do push-ups along the way until I can bleat 500 to 1000 in the afternoon I find a spot on one of the many pull-up bars doing pull-ups and dips into my arms would allow me to do anymore. Finally, in the evenings. I generally skip dinner in order to keep from cramping up while running that I fix a light and healthy meal in order to replenish my body. But not so much as to cancel out all the hard work in burning calories. After losing 90 pounds from 260 pounds down to 170 pounds I have been able to maintain 170 pounds for the last couple of months. I feel better about my life and health. Now then I felt in far too many years.

Friday, September 13, 2013.

Save something seems to be happening to me. I feel as if I’m being struck by an awful and familiar wave of depression. This is very troubling to me since I’m in a much better place you would think that depression is the last thing I would expect but I do have some good ideas as to where I should pinpoint the core of my problems. My long-lasting sobriety and my strong will to do better with my life have enabled me to see things with certain clarity that I never had before. I can attest to that. This wave of sad feelings as a result of many issues and not just one, I could sit here all day writing about what’s wrong in the world but I don’t feel this would be helpful or productive for me right now but I can say is that it’s never easy trying to adjust to new surroundings, all the while missing my family at home worrying about their well-being and wondering if there’s something they’re not telling me about.

Saturday, September 14, 2013.

Save this funk of my old and familiar state of depression is starting to get on my nerves for quite some time I’ve consistently made it a priority to get out of bed no later than 6 AM in order to ensure I complete my daily routine and today I didn’t wake up until after eight missing breakfast and placing me in a bad mood. I know this feeling. It’s far too familiar to me and I simply refuse to allow some chemical imbalance in my brain to run my life I’ve come so far taken so many steps forward. I’m finished with taking any kind of step backward. At least I know what’s going on with myself, I’m in a new Prison, which feels like a new sentence in my mind and body is trying to tell me I’m sad this I can fix this is just a temporary problem. But no matter how temporary. This is I can’t afford a letter hold me back in life.

Sunday, September 15, 2013.

I’m having an extremely difficult time dealing with my new cell mate right now and I hope and pray that I don’t end up in the whole for three months, all because of this young punks extremely reckless behavior and disrespectful attitude toward me and my personal belongings. I caught this guy using my deodorant. I immediately told him never to ever use my deodorant or anything else of mine for that matter. I told him that it’s apparent to me that he has no respect for me or my stuff and I now have lost any respect for him. All he said was okay man and then he walked off without a single apology now is passively acting even worse, like a two-year-old child. I fear could escalate to a physical fight resulting us both going to the whole. So I pray God please give me the strength and guide me to the right decisions

by Steven Dybvad

Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer is really starting to show its nasty face. In the past, before coming to prison, summer has always been my favorite season of the year but now, it’s a torturous scorcher. Just like last year, this cell has become unbearably hot to even sit absolutely still, it’s impossible not to break a sweat. Now it’s back to washing my bed sheets every other day.

There is one good thing, I have going for me, and that’s my weight. Last summer, at more than 80 pounds heavier, I realize just how uncomfortable it was to be heavy, will I sweat profusely more than my skinny cell mate. This summer, at 180 pounds, opposed to last summer’s 260 pounds, I can definitely tell a major difference, and that makes it all worth the constant effort and hard work at my health and fitness.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I was finally able to get a moment of Mike caseworker’s time in order to speak with him about my security review. He quickly looked me up on the computer and told me they will be reviewing my case with me next month. I then proceeded to ask him about my chances for a drop in security level and if there are any other possible steps I can take to increase those chances. He simply told me he would go into further details in my security review and as long as I haven’t been getting into any trouble my chances are good, as far as doing anything more than that, he had no other suggestions. The fact that I’ve worked very hard at staying away from any trouble keeping a clean prison record is very reassuring for me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Finally, the Ohio State penal system is catching up the times. They just finished installing a system in every block enables us inmates to do a large number of things such as sending and receiving e-mails, instant grams, Skype being with family and friends, check our personal accounts, or anything to do with our prison status. This is although the company J pay, who will also be providing iPads to anyone who wants to buy one. The iPad will allow us to download e-mails, pictures from family, and even books games, music, and many other apps that I’m not yet sure of. JP just sent a representative in here to show us the iPad and give us a brief crash course on how to use these new toys. As inmates were all very excited like kids in a candy store!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

I’m finally starting to see my arms and chest build muscle and show definition from all of the push-ups and pull-ups that I’ve been doing almost every single day for the last six straight months. I’m hooked on health and fitness, it makes me feel so much better about myself every day, physically, mentally and emotionally, I’m stronger because of it and I know that I’ll never turn away from this new healthy lifestyle.

Friday, June 28, 2013

I was a bit frustrated to find out that I could have participated in a fundraiser this past Monday which consisted of a 5K race on the rec yard track. Unfortunately none of the staff members had the decency to place a sign up sheet in our dormitory. For small fee of two dollars, any inmate able to complete the 5K race was taken to a pizza party in the chow hall afterward. The funny thing is that I’m more upset about missing out on the race, rather than the pizza. I love running and I’m even more interested to see how well I do in comparison to other runners, because there isn’t that many people I see run out on the track when I go outside, and I very rarely miss a day

I was also disappointed to find out my counting of laps around the track in the miles was incorrect. According to the recreation coordinator a mile is to a half laps, instead of the two labs that I was originally told. I thought I was running an average of 10 miles a day now it looks like around 8 miles regardless of how many miles I run each day, I know I give my 100%, and might improving health is proof of that.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

I felt a great deal of mixed emotions today, as a washing old friend on the news getting arrested for robbery. This was another one of many unhealthy friendships, but I knew this man very well. We first met at a halfway house, where he was Mike caseworker, I then asked him to be my sponsor, and finally after leaving the halfway house, he allowed me to move into his own home. After a while I started using drugs again, and even though he had well over 10 years of sobriety he co-dependently supported my addictions, even helping me acquire illegal substances, thus creating a very unhealthy friendship for the both of us. Now I see his mug shot on television, face shrunken in, a clear sign of an active drug user, fitting his desperate criminal arrest, robbery to support a vicious habit, the exact same reason I’m now currently serving five years. I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and is affected family, whom I also know very well.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

I was so thrilled to see my mother for a visit today. However our time spent together just wasn’t easy today. My mom is clearly affected by the loss of her sister and to top it all off, she had to come and see her only son in a prison facility. I watch her cry and all I want to do is hold her tight and cry right along with her, but I can’t, I couldn’t cry in front of all those inmates, so I had to suck it up as best as I could. I couldn’t even put my hand on her shoulder to comfort her because I’m not allowed to touch her during the visit, and that in itself made me want to cry even more. All that I can do now is say that I love you mom, God is watching over us all, one day this too shall pass.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I’m very upset with myself right now. My past decisions have caused so much pain in so many lives. Right now in this grieving time of sorrow, suffering the loss of Norman Chandler, the last thing my mother needs is more things to worry about, like her son in prison. I feel like a problem compounding more problems. I should be at home counseling my mom, bringing her hot homemade soup like any good loving son, but instead she has to drive out to a prison, crossing razor wired fences on her day off of work, just in order to see me.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In order for me to focus my attention entirely on my first book to be published at, or around my projected deadline, set with Justin Paperny, we’ve all agreed that I would put my daily journal entries on a temporary hold until I reach my goal. During my visit with my mother this past Sunday, she mentioned already already sending me a packet of my journals to get started on deciphering my book. So I’m guessing this might be my last entry, at least for a little while. In till then, if anyone would like to reach me, you can write me at

Steven A Dybvad

#665 – 418

P.O. Box 56

Lebanon, Ohio 45036

I wish everyone the best of future days to come God bless


Copyright 2020 The Michael G. Santos Foundation