Henry Lewis/ Class 1: Values

by Henry Lewis

16. Who are you?

I’m a 32 year old black man from N.C. I’m charismatic, selfless individual with great leadership skills. A good speaker and I understand people well. Im very respectful and all of my friends enjoy my sense of humor. I’m willing to help others in any situation. I want for others what I want for myself: To be a SUCCESS.

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

I have an GED and I’ve taken college courses in Sociology. I am skilled in the Electronics and Automotive Industries. I’ve been studying the stock market since I’ve been incarcerated. I haven’t always worked a steady job. My troubles with the law stem from me selling drugs and having a rebellious attitude for authority figures.

18. What are you going through now?

I’m going thru a life-changing experience.

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

19. Time remaining to serve.

4 years to the door. I must use that time to grow, learn and improve.

20. One month after release.

Working and adjusting to being with my family and children.

21. One year after release.

My own place, car, and saving money. Building my credit history and credit score.

22. Five years after release.

On my way to being financially stable, opening my own business, investing in the market.

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

According to their own biased views. I believe in giving people a second chance.

24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:

In good and bad ways, but t.v. isn’t reality.

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

Im doing what’s best for me and my future. And laying a foundation for success.

26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?

People say they want better but their actions are not in accord with their statements.

27. In what ways is your adjustment different?

I follow my heart and stay true to myself.

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

28. High security.

most of the ppl in a high are never going home and they have no hope for their future. there’s so much tension and most ppl are into the politics of prison. ultimately it falls on the individual.

29. Medium security.

they have more opportunities and they offer vocational courses that are nationally recognized. but still it on the individual.

30. Low security.

never made it yet.

31. Minimum security.

never made it yet.

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

Nobody likes prison, I hope. Only time will tell. If the person does not have the skills they may end up coming back even if they do not want to. We have to know something is better. I do!

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

They don’t get involved in prison politics. They stay focused and positive minded and they use their time for their benefit. Each day is a new beginning.

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

An individual can plan and work towards goals (short and long term). It’s also beneficial to form constructive habits but education is the key to success.

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

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

3 years

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

I would hope they’re optimistic and willing to give people a second chance. Some people go home and screw up again and that leaves a bad impression on former prisoners.

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

Success. But most people don’t begin their preparations right now. they somehow believe that they will do everything once they are released.

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

They expect long termers to stay out the way and maybe offer words of encouragement to people who are on their way home.

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

Someone who is programmed to function within all of the parameters of the institution.

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

Michael’s journey absolutely refutes the stereotype. Its a perfect example of someone not letting their conditions limit what they can accomplish. Our only limitations are those we place on ourselves.

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

Every impediment to his success, Michael overcame. This was his driving force. There’s always opposition when we are on the right course.

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

His vision of bettering himself and knowing the type of individual he wanted to be. He had a clearly defined objective.

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

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

The highest level. I’ve changed my attitude completely and alot of my circumstances have evolved. It all starts with self.

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

My long term goal is to be self employed. I have short term goals of learning how to run a business as well as learning my  trade. Im taking vocational training courses that are recognized on the outside. I also read lots of self help materials.

45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?

An aspiration is something envisioned and can be worked towards achieving but a fantasy is merely a thing wished and hoped for.

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

Planning and working on my short term goals and also staying focused on my long term goal. I have a vision of where I want to be.

47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?

I try and stick to my schedule as much as possible.

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

Things unexpectedly beyond my control so all I can do is worry about what I can control.

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

I stay positive and focused on my future. My mind is completely free. I’m constantly networking and seeking ways to better myself and set up situations that I can benefit from.

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

There will be many but I wont take no for an answer and I’ll never give up on myself.

51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?

Success is perpetual, with every achievement this bar is raised another level and there’s more to be done.

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

From others I receive experience which ultimately results in Inspiration and motivation.

53. Where did those choices lead?

Those choices led me to the streets and to prison, now I must rectify my wrong and go back and rebuild what I destroyed as far as my community.

54. What did you value then?

I valued having fun and living without a care. I also valued other people’s opinion of me. NOWHERE!

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

Im their example and I want to show them how and where I stumbled so they won’t suffer from the same mistakes that I’ve made. I want to guide them better than I was guided. I will explain to them that there aren’t any shortcuts in life. If you want something you must earn it and never expect something for nothing. I’ll help them understand what they will be facing in the REAL WORLD.

56. What would you do differently if you could?

Nothing.  I have no regrets.  I am focused on my future and what I can control.  My knowledge is more thorough and complete and I’ve learned so much from my mistakes.  I’ve learned things that some people go through a life time without learning.

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

I’m more disciplined in my thoughts and actions.  I’ve evolved into a more complete individual.  I’ve learned to accept the consequences of my action as well as the responsibility to be more conscious of my actions and the effects thereof.

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

It’s a continuation of progression.  I try and do more today than I did yesterday and I intend to get better with each passing day.  There’s no middle ground, I understand that with each day I can get better (consciously) or worse (unconsciously).

59. Identify the values by which you live.

I’m committed to living a more responsible and accountable life.  I’ve learned to embrace change and I’m no longer resistant to changing.  I know that it takes courage to live the way I desire.  I act upon the knowledge.  I’ve acquired patience and knowledge precedes my speech and actions.  I’ve also acquired patience and I understand that It’s not all about me and my selfishness.  I’m no longer the selfish individual that I use to be and last but not least, I fear God.

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

I live my life today the same way I will live upon my release.  I have nothing going on in my life that I would be ashamed of or wouldn’t want to share with others.  I deliberately do what’s right at all times.

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

They shape as an individual; at the same my foundation is built upon the values.  When people look at me, they see a physical reflection of what’s within.  I have a duty to hold myself to a higher standard because of my knowledge and experiences.  I know better so I must do better.

62. Where does your allegiance lie?

My allegiance is with God, my family and the people who I trust.

63. Are values situational or absolute?

Absolute.  I refuse to compromise who I am and what I stand upon.  The same effort I applied to living a criminal lifestyle is the same effort I’m putting forth to change for the better.

Leave a Reply


Copyright 2018 The Michael G. Santos Foundation