Colin Walsh/ Class 3: Accountability

by Colin Walsh

97. Describe your thoughts on whether accountability logs would help, hinder, or provide indifferent to your opportunities for success upon release.

I don’t only believe accountability logs will help, I know they will.

Prison is a dark, mysterious, and hidden place. Where all prisoners are hidden behind a think black curtain. This curtain hides to everyone and anyone the truth of prison. Therefore society is left to assume that prison and all prisoners are like the ones they see on TV. This isn’t true, and the only way to prove that it isn’t is through documentation. The only way for a prisoner to prove that they are different is through detailed logs showing the truth.

Accountability logs prove a small hole in the black curtain that obfuscates prison.  This hole provides society with a new perspective and concrete evidence that a prisoner is different than what is expected.

98. In what ways will probation officers respond to efforts you’ve made at documenting your values, goals, and commitment to preparing for a law-abiding life upon release?

Unfortunately, I’ve met and dealt with many types of probation officers over time. Juvenile, county, state, and federal. Over time, I have built some level of trust with all of them. But I didn’t create this trust overnight without any effort. I had to overcome a great deal of bias. I believe having accountability logs can significantly expedite that trust building progress.

Every probation officer that I have met, always will initially begin with some kind of questionnaire. A lot of the questions that they ask are contained in the Straight-A -Guide. The questions may not be exactly the same but they do always ask about goals, values, accountability, life skills, etc. Probation officers ask these questions to assure themselves whether or not this person can sustain a law abiding life. Based on that they decide how extensively they need to monitor this person. If one—through the Straight A Guide—could show their probation officer that they will be able to sustain a law abiding life. I believe this will enhance trust and ease pressure on this person.

I’ll never forget the first time the probation officer came to my house. He parked an entire block away from my house to try and sneak up on me. Then he came to my door wearing a bullet proof vest with his right hand gripped on his side arm. He made me lock my friendly Rottweiler in the other room. He would address me as Mr. Walsh and showed no sign of any expression. Then months later he would drive up to the front door of my house, driving his personal car, no bullet proof vest or his gun, he became friendly with my dog and began to address me by my first name. This level of comfort took time but I believe leaving prison with proof –through accountability logs—will greatly speed this process.

Through my experience with probation officers, I know their tendencies. I know what they like to see and what they don’t like to see. I know one thing that they do like to see is effort. I believe showing them one’s accomplishments in prison will greatly enhance one’s standing with them.

99. Elaborate on ways that full transparency with regard to your prison adjustment through accountability logs can influence potential employers or support networks.

Providing full transparency through accountability logs, provides society a clear window to look directly into one’s life. This window, for a prisoner, gives society an entirely new perspective.

As for me, I believe accountability logs provide tangible evidence that refutes society’s predetermined prejudice. They provide proof and documentation of accomplishments. And clearly show my journey along the way. I believe I know what society will expect from me as a “felon.” Therefore, I must prove that I am better than what they expect. One can say they are different but without some sort of documented proof, their life is still a mystery. Accountability logs solve that mystery and offer documented proof, for society, to see one’s accomplishments and prove them better.

100. Describe the role accountability logs played in their success:

I believe that accountability logs are imperative to success. These logs serve us the gauges of one’s life. Without these gauges, one cannot tell how fast or slow they are going, how far they went, how far they have left to go, or what direction they are headed. Without accountability logs, one cannot see where they are going or where they are coming from. Therefore, in order to have success one must need some form of accountability log.

101. How do universities evaluate which students to admit?

Based on my understanding all universities use some form of accountability log to evaluate potential students.

Whether it is one’s high school transcripts, SAT, ACT scores, honors and accolades, sport awards, letters of recommendation, community service, a glance at one’s social media profile, or any other record. Universities rely heavily on these types of accountability to try and gauge a person’s character.

These logs help the college discern an applicant’s capabilities, strengths and weaknesses. Then ultimately accept or decline the application based on this information.

102. What information do creditors consider when deliberating on whether to extend loans?

Creditors of any type search for some type of credibility. They want to decrease their risk of losing money and want to be assured that there is a good chance of being paid back.

Creditors usually find this credibility through accountability logs. These logs include credit reports, payment history, various ratios, and any other history they can find.

All of these logs provide proof to creditors of one’s character. A bank will rarely extend a loan based on someone’s word. They need documented proof—through accountability logs—which proves one’s integrity and character.

103. What governs investment decisions that people make?

Any decent investor relies heavily on accountability logs. Investing in general is taking a bet on the future. An investor is always trying to guess what will happen in the future.  Since one cannot predict the future, they must rely on the past logs in order to make an intelligent investment decision.

In investing there are various types of accountability logs. Publications such as Investor’s Business Daily and The Wall Street Journal publish thousands of accountability logs daily. There are also company financials which one can use to find various ratios. Also publically traded companies must file quarterly “accountability logs.”

The list of accountability logs available to investors is vast.

Good investors then use these logs to create their own logs then use these to make investing decisions. 
As I write this now, a man is sitting next to me. He is here every day for hours reading the Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily, reading the accountability logs, taking notes, making his own logs to help his investment decisions.

Investors aren’t fortune tellers, although some may seem to be. They study the logs and find trends. These trends govern their investing decisions.

104. How do your responses to the above questions support or refute the value of accountability logs?

The previous four questions prove the necessity for accountability logs. It proves they are imperative in the making of intelligent decisions. 
Personal accountability logs give documented proof. This proof provides anyone with the necessary information on that person to aid in the making of a decision.

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