Henry Lewis/ Class 2: Goals

by Henry Lewis

64. What values might lead a person to success upon release from prison?:

Honesty, faith, discipline, patience, education.  We must create plans and work each day towards accomplishing their goals.  Proper preparation prevents poor performance.

65. How does a person ever become his values?:

By staying true to self and practicing what you speak.

66. How does a person strengthen his integrity?:

By constantly striving to accomplish more renewing their commitment each day.

67. What immediate challenges will a prisoner confront the day his prison term expires?:

He will have to provide himself with food, clothing and shelter.  There won’t be any more accommodations courtesy of the BOP.

68. Housing:

A first months rent and deposit.  Also a savings of 3-6 months of living expenses.  At least $3,500.

69. Household furnishings:

$500.  He could buy decent furniture from a yard sale or possibly find someone who would be willing to donate furniture.

70. Clothing:

$500.  Work clothes are sufficient, plus work boots.  Sacrifices will have to be made.  Again, people donate clothes to the goodwill all of the time but most people have too much pride to shop there, not me.  I have bigger necessities than clothes.

71. Transportation:

$40 a month.  A city transit pass is sufficient.  If the job is within walking distance, I could walk.

72. Incidentals:

$300.  Things happen unexpectedly.

73. How much in the way of financial resources should a prisoner expect to need in the way of financial resources to transition to society?:

Approximately $5,000.  More or less depending on where they live.

74. How will prospective landlords, employers, creditors, and others in society respond to an individual who discloses his criminal record(s) and history of imprisonment?:

A credit history can be reestablished.  An individual will have to be persistent in finding work and a place to stay.  Someone is willing to give us that second chance and we may have to encounter many “no’s” before we finally get that “yes” that we are seeking.  This should be expected, I won’t take no for an answer.

Describe the job market in the sectors for which you would like to find employment::

75. What range of income does the market offer?:

Average $28,000-40,000.  I will be seeking employment in both the automotive industry and construction industry (electrician).

76. What level of education or experience do candidates for such employment typically have?:

Entry level.  Must have learned from on the job experience.

77. In what ways will a prison record influence possibilities for employment?:

My chances are pretty good because my past is my past.  I’m in the now and I know what must be done in order to receive and maintain employment.

78. Where is the general employment rate in your community?:

I know they are high, but not exactly sure of number.

79. How would you expect the general employment rate to compare with the unemployment rate for people with your background, considering prison record, educational record, and experience?:

My record may make potential employers reconsider hiring me but there is always a shortage of skilled workers in the work force.

80. How much time do you anticipate needing between your release date and securing the job you expect to land?:

I expect to ultimately work and control my own business.  Until then, I will have to work for someone else.  I would estimate that I will need 5 years, including schooling and experience to open my own business.

81. If halfway house placement requires forfeiture of 25 percent of gross earnings, of your monthly take-home pay, how much do you anticipate you will keep during the time you’re in the halfway house?:

At least 2/3 of the net pay.  No less than 1/3.

82. What do statistics show that average households in America earn each year?:

I would have to guess maybe $24,000-32,000.

83. How so you anticipate your income will compare with that average one year after your release from prison?:

I expect to be within that average or at least very close.

84. What emotions do we introduce when we obsess on issues beyond our ability to influence?:

Stress.  I’ve learned to not worry about things I can’t control.

85. How can we overcome the despair that accompanies imprisonment?:

By continuously focusing on what’s in our plans and making preparations for success.  We must use our time wisely and efficiently.

Michael wrote about the numerous ways that his behavior could lead to the extension of his prison term or the aggravation of his prison conditions. No one wants to serve longer prison terms or serve sentences under harsher conditions. :

86. What types of behavior lead to such outcomes?:

Aggressive, irresponsible behavior.  Drug and alcohol abuse.

87. How do harsher prison conditions influence an individual’s ability to prepare for success upon release?:

A lot of people are not strong mentally.  The harsher the conditions, the more likely that person may return to prison.

88. How does behavior that leads to harsher prison conditions influence the lives of those in our support network?:

It makes them question our commitment to changing for the better.  Actions speak louder than words.

89. Although the prison system offered ways to lengthen a prison term or aggravate the conditions under which a prisoner served his sentence, what objective mechanisms exist within the system for a prisoner to distinguish himself in a positive way?:

Education oneself and surrounding yourself with like minded individuals.  Maintain a vision for the future and do what you can to work towards that vision.

90. How then does the system encourage individuals to work toward reconciling with society, prepare for law-abiding lives upon release, or earn freedom?:

It doesn’t.  It’s designed to last forever.  People must learn to make well minded choices.

91. Describe the goals you have set?:

My first goal is to establish and live an honest, drug and crime free life.  Get out of here and build some stability for myself financially.  I will be a positive influence in my children’s lives.  I will build a support system consisting of family and people who will have a positive influence on me and vice versa.  I plan on having my own business, establishing my credit history.

92. Describe how your goals relate to your professed values?:

Family first.  My values correlate to my goals.  Each value I possess is in parallel with a goal that I desire and will work to attain.

93. How clearly can you gauge your level of success toward each goal you set?:

With each day, I renew my commitment to reach these goals.  My short term goals and plans are the initial steps taken on a journey to my success.  It’s a long road, never ending.

94. In what ways does one goal lead to the next?:

There’s always another motivation to climb after one has reached what he thought was his summit.  We learn so much on our way to success that one can always set the bar higher and higher.

95. If you achieve all of your goals, how will they influence your prison adjustment?:

My goals have nothing to do with prison.  I’m only here physically.  My mind is completely free.  I happen to sleep here, that’s all.

96. How will the goals you set influence your prospects for success upon release?:

They will ensure that I never return.  I’ve found that if one isn’t living with a purpose, then he really isn’t living, he’s visiting.  Before I only valued money and whatever I wanted.  I’ve unlearned selfishness and that’s a beautiful thing.

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