Julius Lige @julius-liege ?

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Julius Lige/ Class 8: Relationship Training

September 18, 2012 in Relationships, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

200. What relationship do you have to others in the world?

As a man with a strong spiritual faith I feel obligated to embrace every human being as a child of G-d. Therefore I’m willing to contribute to society in any way that I can. I am open to building relationships with all people, with the intent of unifying my community.

201. To what extent do the decisions we make have an influence on the lives of others?

As members of society, we are held accountable for our actions. We must be aware of the fact that our decisions affect the lives of others. Living a value based life influences good decisions, which set an example for future generations.

202. In what ways does a relationship with God influence the choices we make or behaviors we pursue?

My relationship with G-d influences me to make choices that relate to spiritual values. I rely on my strong spiritual faith to guide me to improving my life. Presence of G-d will always influence me to make positive choices in life.

203. In what ways does our relationship to anyone else influence the choices we make or behaviors we pursue?

As I complete the remainder of my 10 year prison sentence, I understand how my negative choices affected my relationship with my family. With a different perspective on life, I will not allow any negative choices to disrupt my relationship with my family again. As I move forward in life, I will structure my decisions around the core values that I live by.

204. If everyone in society made decisions from the same code of personal values that we embrace, how would the world advance or decline for future generations, including our children?

If people in society made decisions based on good core values, this world would advance, which would create a better environment for future generations.

205. To what extent do your choices and behaviors match the choices and behaviors you would want your children or people you love to see and emulate?

As result of my commitments to live a value based life, I’ve shown a great deal of progress towards making good choices. I understand how important it is to lead by example, therefore through my actions I influence my children to embrace similar values.

206. What does it mean to you to live with integrity?

Living with integrity means to basically live by the values that are important in life. Your actions must demonstrate these values as you respond to the many challenges that life throws your way.

207. What does it mean to you to serve a prison sentence or to confront adversity with dignity?

Confronting adversity with dignity means regardless of the circumstances you’re facing, you will adapt to the situation from a position of strength. Your mental toughness and values will carry you through any predicament.

208. In what ways do your relationships with other prisoners influence your possibility for success upon release?

While I serve my time in prison, I try to minimize who I choose to associate with. With that in mind, relationships I have built will influence my chances for success in many ways. My circle of acquaintances are men who are intelligent, business oriented people who share similar values as I do. We learn from each other, which helps us prepare for a successful return to society.

209. How do your relationships with other prisoners influence the way that prison staff members assess you?

As a prison I can never understand how staff evaluates other prisoners. I’m a strong believe in accountability, therefore through my experience each individual is responsible for their own actions. The circle of guys I associate with understand accountability, but we have no control over how staff perceives us.

210. In what ways will your relationships with other prisoners influence the probation officer who supervises your release?

I believe through my relationships with prisoners who are doing positive things, probation officers will understand that I have made the necessary adjustment towards redirecting my life in a positive way. Once I’m released, I will remain focused on surrounding myself with positive people.

211. What efforts are you making today to influence the relationships you will have in the months and years to come?

My efforts today consist of me remaining focused on living a value based life while continuing to work towards building a powerful support network. I believe creating strong relationships with people who are in positions to assist you, increases your chances for success.

212. In what ways can you influence relationships with people beyond prison boundaries while you’re incarcerated?

While incarcerated, I strongly believe I have influenced relationships with people beyond prison boundaries positively. Through hardwork and effective communication, my number one objective is to improve my life. Through my efforts I’m able to reach people and cultivate relationships beyond prison boundaries.

213. How would maintaining relationships with people who embrace criminal values influence your potential for success upon release?

People who embrace criminal values can affect my potential for success upon release negatively. After serving a 10 year prison sentence, I can no longer maintain relationships with individuals that embrace that lifestyle. I am focused on succeeding upon release, therefore I will not expose myself to criminal activity.

214. In what ways do grooming and personal appearance influence your relationship with others?

My personal appearance will play a key role in regards to building relationships with others. People tend to respond positively to those who are well groomed and well dressed. I clearly believe that an individual must dress for success.

215. How do writing skills influence the potential for opening new relationships that may lead to success upon release?

Good writing skills allow you to communicate effectively. Through writing, you have the opportunity to reach people from all demographics, creating relationships that may lead to success upon release.

216. In what ways are you working now to nurture relationships that may help you succeed upon release?

I am now working to nurture relationships that will help me succeed upon release by continuing to build my skills in areas of my life that need improvement. As I build my skillset and maintain a high level of physical fitness, I am communicating to my support network that I am using my time wisely.

217. What influence will your relationships with others have on your possibility for success upon release?

I believe as I continue to maintain a healthy, strong marriage with my wife, it demonstrates a high quality of character and values. People in society will recognize the loyalty in my marriage as a sign of strength and stability, which will create opportunities for success.

218. How would prospective mentors respond if they were to hear you attribute your predicament to the choices or actions of another?

I have always accepted responsibility for the actions that lead to my conviction, therefore prospective mentors will understand that I have acknowledged my reckless decisions and I am now moving forward in life, making value based decisions.

219. In what ways does the blaming of outside forces strengthen or weaken your potential for success upon release?

Blaming outside forces weakens your potential for success, due to the accountability factor. An individual who accepts responsibility for their actions demonstrates their strength, knowing that excuses are a sign of weakness.

220. How do your relationships with others influence the people closest to you?

I utilize my relationships with others to expand my knowledge. I learn positive information that I can apply to my life. My family will benefit from my relationships with others because of the positive influences I receive.

221. To what extent does living with transparency, or as an open book, influence relationships?

I believe owning up to the bad decisions you made in the past allows you to grow. Relationships will be influenced positively because individuals will realize you are open about your mistakes. However, those mistakes don’t define the person you are today.

222. How would behaving one way with one group of people and another way with others strengthen or weaken your potential for success upon release?

An individual must be consistent with his behavior no matter what group he’s interacting with. It’s a sign of weakness when an individual’s behavior is inconsistent. People recognize confidence in a individual who displays consistency, which opens opportunities for success.

Julius Lige/ Class 9: Financial Literacy

September 18, 2012 in Financial Literacy, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

223. How would you gauge your level of financial literacy today?

Clearly I have improved my level of financial literacy. The time I’ve spent in prison has given me the opportunity to focus on my financial future. I’ve educated myself on the financial markets, business plans and investments. Through financial literature I’m always in pursuit of advancing my financial knowledge.

224. To what extent would you suppose that financial literacy relates to your probability for success upon release?

I’m confident that financial literacy clearly relates to success. No matter what level of financial stability you’re seeking, you must be knowledgeable in all areas of finance.

225. What opportunities exist for prisoners to improve their financial literacy?

Prisoners have opportunities to expand on their financial knowledge by communicating with other prisoners who have a strong financial background. Also, it’s up to the individual to educate himself by reading financial material and participating in study groups.

226. How would you summarize the total costs of your imprisonment?

I would summarize the total cost of my imprisonment as a significant amount of wasted tax payers money. It has also been a major blow to my family structure. I will spend over 7 years in prison, at an estimated expense of $220,000 of tax payers’ money. Tax payers are also missing out on the taxes that would have been collected from me as a full time employee contributing to society.

227. Describe ways in which in an understanding of the stock market may help you value investment opportunities.

Understanding the stock market opens many opportunities for successful investment. Through researching stocks using technical and fundamental analysis, an individual can gain knowledge of when to get in and out of the market. It is important to obtain knowledge of the market, it can have a positive impact on your financial future.

228. How would improving skills to analyze the fundamentals of a particular stock lead to becoming a better small businessman?

By developing skills to analyze stocks, an individual can learn how companies are evaluated as far as performance, earnings’ growth and investment returns. Individuals with knowledge of the financial market can apply the basic fundamentals to a small business, increasing their chances for success.

229. Describe the level of thought you are giving to your financial future.

I’ve given an extremely high level of thought to my financial future. I’m entering the last phase of my confinement, therefore I’m either working on or discussing business plans and employment opportunities daily. I understand the importance of preparation; I will continue to use the remainder of my time to prepare myself for a successful financial future.

230. Describe the level of preparations you are making to prepare for retirement.

Preparing for retirement is included in my future financial plans. At 37, I will explore the many financial retirement options available. My wife and I plan to allocate the maximum amount of our income towards retirement. We also plan to establish a business that will continue to generate income throughout our retirement years.

231. In what ways would an understanding of the U.S. tax code contribute to your preparations for release?

Understanding the US tax code can benefit an individual in many ways. First and foremost this knowledge allows you to avoid any criminal offenses related to US taxes. Also, if you own a business, you can benefit from the many tax breaks offered to businesses.

232. What is your understanding of entrepreneurship?

My understanding of entrepreneurship is that it allows an individual to be self-sufficient, creating opportunities for unlimited success. Through education and skilled development you can learn the principles of business, and ultimately through experience you will become a skillful entrepreneur.

233. What would you attribute as a primary reason for business failures in the United States, and why?

The primary reason for business failure in the US, results from a lack of planning and execution. Business owners must have a clear plan of how they are going to operate their business. They must hire smart, efficient employees to help manage and execute daily operations.

234. If you were going to run your life as a business, how would you describe your preparation to succeed?

I prepare by being disciplined, resourceful and determined to succeed. I set fitness goals and through a clear plan I accomplish that goal. Being determined allowed me to accomplish my educational goals. By utilizing my network skills, I was able to gain knowledge of the financial markets. Through my public speaking program, I improved my communication skills. I am preparing for life as if I was preparing to run a business.

235. What resources do you have available to you now?

My available resources come directly from my support network. I will combine my skill-set with the people who are in position to assist me in executing my business aspirations. My team will consist of intelligent people led by no one other than my beautiful wife.

236. What potential markets exist for you?

Initially, I will seek employment in the fitness industry as a trainer or in the trucking industry as a local driver. Patiently, I will then strategically create an opportunity with my team to launch a residential care facility business, with aspirations of expanding to multiple locations.

237. What level of resources do you anticipate having on the day of your release?

As I prepare for release, I am in process of forming a strong support network. My team will consist of professional people who will assist me with my transition back into society. Therefore, I anticipate having a high level of resources based on my skill set.

238. What level of earnings do you project during your first three years after your release?

My initial earnings after release is projected to generate between $45,000 to $60,000 annually. Through my research of both the trucking and fitness industry, I anticipate having the opportunity to increase my earnings every year. I project to start at $45,000 annually and in three years reach above $60,000 annually.

239. What level of earnings do you project during your first decade after your release?

After the first decade of my release, I project a level of earnings that will provide my family and I a very comfortable living. Through a successful business I expect a high level of financial stability. With drive and determination, I will execute my business plan, earning an annual salary exceeding $150,000.

240. What action steps can you begin taking to increase your financial literacy?

Financial literacy is obtained through networking with individuals who have strong financial backgrounds. With the proper guidance from such individuals you can then research financial material that pertains to your financial interests. Reading business magazines, the Wall Street Journal, and other economic-related material daily, also enhances your knowledge of finances.

241. What relationship do academic credentials have to enhancing financial literacy?

Academic credentials relate to enhancing financial literacy based on skill set. It requires a certain skill set to accomplish academic credentials. The same skill set is required when an individual is seeking to enhance financial literacy.

242. In what ways would fluency with mathematical concepts and equations enhance your potential earning power or opportunities upon release?

Fluent mathematical skills will allow you to evaluate business opportunities in terms of potential profits, growth expectations and daily operations. Also, mathematical skills provide an individual employment opportunities in industries that require competent math skills.

243. In what ways would developing your skill with regard to reading, writing, and speaking enhance your potential earning power or opportunities upon release?

Reading, writing, and speaking skills can enhance opportunities to earn a good living by allowing an individual to communicate effectively on a high level. In regards to business employment, or networking, an individual must possess these skills which enhance opportunities to succeed.

244. Describe the types of books that might broaden your financial literacy and thus help you prepare for success upon release?

Books that may broaden my financial literacy are on business, written by successful businessmen. Investment and stock market books also have good fundamental information in that particular area of financial literacy. Books on economic theory provide an individual knowledge of our economic structure.

245. What resources will you rely upon to make financial decisions in your future?

My financial decisions in the future will relate to the values that I now apply to my life. I will continue to rely on resources that guide me to make value based decisions.

246. To what extent do you anticipate investment decisions having a role in your future?

I anticipate investment decisions to play a key role in my future. When I reach the level of success where I’m making educated decisions on investments, I expect to make financial decisions that will impact my future tremendously.

247. Describe the resources you anticipate relying upon as you advance in age.

As I advance in age, I anticipate relying upon resources that will generate income through business and successful investment. I expect my wife and I to combine our resources, creating financial stability throughout our retirement.

248. What role will these resources play in sustaining your life?

Through the resources created from our careers, business projects, and investments, I expect an income stream that will allow my wife and I to sustain a comfortable living throughout our retirement.

249. How will you adjust your tolerance for risk as you age?

I will adjust my risk tolerance as I get older to a more conservative approach, knowing that the majority of my financial success will come prior to my retirement years.

250. What influence would another problem with the criminal justice system have upon your financial stability?

Another problem with the criminal justice system could destroy my financial stability. I am committed to making value based decisions in every area of my life, therefore I don’t expect to have any encounters with law enforcement.

 

Julius Lige/ Class 7: Support Network

August 20, 2012 in Straight-A Guide Curriculum, Support Networks by Julius Lige

174. In what ways do you perceive relationships with people you knew prior to confinement to evolve over the course of your imprisonment?

It’s a struggle to maintain relationships with people you know prior to confinement. As I move towards my sixth year in prison, many relationships I once considered to be strong have slowly faded away. My relationship with my immediate family remain strong, but has evolved into a more distance relationship which makes it vulnerable.

175. In what ways have you nurtured support networks during the time you’ve served thus far?

I nurtured support networks during this time I served by sharing visions an aspirations. Through my actions I’m showing my support network changes I have made as a person and the necessary steps I have taken to create opportunity. My support network followed me as I accomplished the goals I set, I’ve reassured them that I’m determined to succeed upon release.

176. In what ways will the support network you have in place now contribute to your success upon release?

With a strong support network in place, financial, leadership and spiritual contributions, along with dedication of peoples’ time, will play a key role in my success upon release. Good relationships are important for an individual that is being released from prison. Many doors will open which enhance my chances for a successful career.

177. In what ways would you build a strong support network while you climbed through years of imprisonment?.

In order to build a strong support network, an individual must reach beyond the boundaries of prison, and build relationship with people who are in position to help them. My support network of professional people can mentor me, give me advice, and help guide me in the right direction. Through self-improvement and positive changes, an individual’s actions will prove to their support network that they are worthy of their contributions.

178. In what ways do support networks or the lack of support networks influence prison adjustments?

Prisoners use support networks as motivation, therefore the impact it has on an individual’s adjustment is monumental. Prisoners rely on their support network to keep them knowledgeable about what’s going on in society. Also, because of a prisoner values hs relationship with his support network, he’s influenced to work hard to improve his skill set and also avoid any disciplinary issues with the prison.

179. To what extent are the values that those in your support network embrace harmonious with the values you profess to embrace?

My support network embraces the values of hard work and discipline, never looking to take short cuts. They’re law abiding citizens who place a high value on leadership, faith and family. My goal is to evaluate their values in learn to incorporate those values into every aspect of my life.

180. What steps are you taking now to build or nurture your support network?

My body of work continues to speak volumes for me. Through my participation in programs such as the SAG program and TOAD (those outspoken against drugs) program, my support network is able to follow my progress which reassures them that I am taking necessary steps towards improving my life.

181. In what ways can those in your support network facilitate your aspirations?

With aspirations of becoming a successful businessman, I expect the professional people in my support network to help guide me towards achieving that goal. Through mentorship and leadership, I can rely on my support network to facilitate and create opportunities.

182. In what ways is your support network helping you now?

I rely on my support network to keep me informed of potential job opportunities, research industries for business, and also update me on what’s going on in society. Members of my support network are professional and business oriented. Therefore I am comfortable with following their offered advice, which is preparing me for the many challenges I will face upon release.

183. What level of allegiance do you pledge to your support network?

I’m 100% committed to my support network, knowing that through our relationships we can help build each other. I may need their support now while I’m confined in prison, but eventually I will be able to help them in many ways.

184. What incremental action steps can you to take to bring people you do not currently know into your life?

Through my work as a public speaker in the prison outreach program, I position myself to meet people who are also passionate about working with our troubled youth. My involvement in the SAG program allows me to share my aspiration, and goals, with members in society, with a possibility of reaching a sponsor who can guide me in the right direction.

185. What thoughts do you have about people who would be most influential to your possibilities for success upon release?

I am optimistic they will have a positive influence on my potential success upon release. As I continue to build my career, I will rely on their influence to guide me towards success.

186. Who are they?

Professional people who place a high value on faith and family. They are driven businessmen and women who hold positions of leadership in their community. I am influenced by their actions. These people have accomplished goals that I aspire to accomplish one day.

187. What interests do they have?

I assume through the actions of their work, my support network consist of people who are passionate about helping other people. Their contributions range from coaching youth sports, financial donations and creating structured housing for at-risk youth. I expect to have full participation in similar programs.

188. How can you make them aware of your aspirations?

My goal is to continue to work hard towards building a network of people who share similar aspirations as I do. I reach out to those people by documenting my work and sharing my progress through letters, emails, and websites (such as the S.A.G. program).

189. What impression would your adjustment through prison thus far make upon them?

My adjustment through prison thus far has been completely transparent. When I began my prison sentence, my goal was to build my skillset, improve my fitness condition, and earn academic credentials. Through hard work and a daily discipline program, I was able to achieve those goals. I’m convinced my adjustment to prison will leave a good impression.

190. In what ways are you working to cultivate mentors?

I cultivate mentors with the work I do. My participation in programs such as our prison outreach program allows me to network with individuals who share the same passion as I do, which creates a mentor relationship. Through their years of experience working with kids, I have learned their effective methods of reaching out to our youth.

191. In what ways does your behavior or activities within prison boundaries influence your relationships?

My behavior within prison boundaries reflects the person I have grown to become. With a clear understanding of what it take to succeed upon release, my daily activities demonstrate a level of commitment that will turn my aspirations into reality. Through my actions I will create a positive impact on my relationships.

192. How would you assess the preparations and commitment your closest acquaintances make to a law-abiding, successful life upon release?

I clearly understand how important it is to surround myself with good law abiding people. Therefore my closest acquaintances are committed to living value based lives. After serving a ten year federal sentence, I can’t afford to associate with anyone that doesn’t share the same values that I do.

193. If you were to receive a disciplinary infraction, in what way would that influence the support network you’re striving to cultivate?

A severe disciplinary infraction would be a major setback. My support network expects me to complete the rest of my sentence free of any disciplinary action. They understand while I’m in prison that minor infractions from policy changes and/or misunderstandings are possible.

194. What relevance does the phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know” have to you?

The phrase “It’s not what you know, but who you know” has significant relevance. In today’s society knowing people in positions of power can provide you an opportunity that may not be available based on skill alone.

195. To what extent would your actions show that you’re conscious of the influence others have on your prospects for success upon release?

My actions show clearly that I have a different perspective on life. The necessary changes I have made come directly from the positive influences of others. I use the advice I receive and strategically apply it to my life.

196. How can a prisoner open more opportunities to broaden his network of support?

A prisoner must communicate effectively to broaden his network of support. Through letters, emails and social websites, a prisoner can share his work, articulate his ideas, and cultivate relationships.

197. How would your transition to society change if you had a job offer in place before your release?

With a job offer in place, I believe my transition into society will be successful. Securing employment is one of the key components for an individual being released from prison. An individual will then have time to focus on reconnecting with family, while working towards creating other opportunities.

198. What steps will you begin taking now to broaden, nurture, and protect your support network each week that you remain in prison?

I will continue to broaden, nurture, and protect my support network by remaining focused on living a value based life. Through my daily activities, I will take advantage of any opportunity that pertains to improving my life. I will continue to communicate effectively with my support network, allowing them to evaluate my progress as I move closer to my release date.

199. How will you hold yourself accountable?

Accountability is very important to me. I have a daily program that requires me to be disciplined and focused, therefore as I work through my daily schedule, I emphasize the importance of using my time wisely and productively.

Julius Lige/ Class 6: Communication Skills

August 2, 2012 in Communication Skills, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

151. Describe situations you can recall when inadequate communication skills led to decreased opportunities in your life.

Possessing adequate communication skills is very important in today’s society. When pursuing business or job opportunities you are evaluated based on how well you speak. As a young adult, I recall a time my lack of communication skills caused me to miss an opportunity in my company’s sales dept.

152. Describe situations where stronger communication skills may have enhanced your prospects for success.

As I began to mature as an adult, my communication skills advanced which created opportunities for me. I can recall a situation where my effective communication and network skills allowed me to create a partnership with an individual that was very knowledgeable in the appliance installation business. Through our partnership, I enhanced my chances for success in that industry.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

Communication skills is a necessary skillset that allows you to articulate knowledge and information from one individual to another. Possessing communication skills create opportunities therefore I continue to work towards improving my communication skills.

154. In what types of ways can improving communication skills assuage the burden of confinement?

Improving communication skills become beneficial when dealing with the burden of confinement. As a prison you must utilize all the resources that are available to make it through your prison sentence. Therefore communicating through letters, emails, social media, and phone calls, an individual can build a dependable support system for himself.

155. What types of influence do communication skills have on an individual’s prospects for success upon release?

Possessing good communication skills will enhance an individual’s prospects for success upon release. Through networking with individuals who have experience in industries you may want to pursue, job opportunities are created and relationships are established.

156. How can developing communication skills open opportunities through imprisonment?

Through the development of good communication skills, an individual can build a solid foundation establishing relationships with professional people who are in positions to open opportunities. An individual cannot allow the challenges of imprisonment to discourage his ambition to reach beyond the prison boundaries.

157. In what ways can an individual take clearly-defined, measurable steps toward improving communication skills?

An individual can take measurable steps toward improving communication skills by reading extensively, understanding the content of what they’re reading, and writing a book reports or summaries. By doing so, it provides the skillset that allows the individual to articulate ideas and express the knowledge they have learned.

158. In what ways have you taken measurable, deliberate steps to improve your communication skills?

Over the course of my adult life, I have always worked towards improving my communication skills. Now that I’m incarcerated it allows me to focus even more on becoming a better communicator. I expand my vocabulary by reading books, writing essays, and participating in public speaking programs.

159. What value do enhanced communication skills offer to a prospective employer?

Enhanced communication skills offer a prospective employer the benefit of hiring an employee with a skill that’s valuable to the company. Companies operate efficiently when individuals communicate well. Because companies have their employees interacting with customers, investors and vendors, companies place a high value on communication skills, with the purpose of maintaining good relationships.

160. How can a prisoner convey the extent of his communication skills and his personal investment to improve such skills?

As I was work towards building skills, accomplishing goals, and earning academic credentials, I understand it is important to share my work with my support system. By communicating through letters and emails, I send copies of my academic accomplishments, business ideas and documents of my completed self improvements programs.

161. How does the prison experience influence an individual’s development of communication skills?

The prison environment can influence an individual to develop poor communication skills. It’s important for an individual to focus on becoming an effective communicator. An individual cannot allow the negative language spoken in prison to hinder his development.

162. In what ways do developing communicating skills resemble the development of physical fitness?

Developing communication skills has similarities to developing physical fitness. Daily physical fitness exercise requires commitment, discipline and enthusiasm. If you apply the same values to communication exercises, such as reading, writing, listening and speaking, an individual’s ability to articulate ideas will improve.

163. What does it mean to read with a purpose?

To read with a purpose means to read literature that specifically pertains information beneficial to improving your life. Although all reading is good, I prefer to reading material that relates to building my career, expanding my spiritual knowledge, which creates opportunities.

164. Describe the pattern of books you have read throughout your term in prison. What kind are they and why do you read them?

Throughout the years of my incarceration, I have read many books I would consider to be inspirational biographies. Quiet Strength, The Secret, Think Big and Uncommon are just a few. Reading these books serves a purpose by inspiring me to improve in areas of my life that needs improvement. Also I enjoy reading business books, such as How to Establish a Group Home and Real Estate. These books offer insight on businesses I plan on pursuing.

165. In what ways do books you read prepare you for success upon release?

The books I read play a key role in preparing me for success upon release. Be reading books that expand my knowledge of subjects pertaining to my career goals, gives me the opportunity to learn the basics of that particular industry. Also, the biography books I read offer learning experiences, describing individuals who overcame setbacks in their lives similar to what I’m experiencing serving a 10 year prison sentence.

166. When you consider the amount of free time available to you on a typical day, how do you determine the most effective ways to use it toward preparations for success?

I pay close attention to how I utilize my free available time. Throughout the day I schedule time slots in which I allocate time to work on projects, such as fitness plans, business, study groups, public speaking, and financial markets. Sports have always been a part of my life, therefore I do spend time watching sports on TV. Also, I spend free time on reading and writing.

167. In what ways do you work to improve your dexterity with language, using words, sentences, and paragraphs to communicate ideas?

I work towards improving my dexterity with language when discussing business topics, world events, basically during everyday conversations. I communicate ideas through email, letters and phone conversations. It’s very important that I improve my dexterity, therefore I make a complete effort to articulate ideas intellectually at all times.

168. How would you describe the argot of the imprisoned class?

The argot of the imprisoned class is a level of communication that doesn’t meet the requirements of an individual who’s committed to living a productive law abiding life upon release. Individuals must separate themselves from the prison stereotypes by communicating intelligently and professionally.

169. In what ways does the jargon of imprisonment compare of contrast with the language in the society you expect to encounter upon release?

As an individual who has transitioned to living a vaue-based life, I expect language used in my social circle to reflect individuals who are intelligent and well spoken. The jargon of imprisonment does not means those requirements. Individuals in prison use reckless language due to the negative environment.

170. What does an individual speaker’s enunciation convey to his listeners?

An individual speaker’s enunciation convey his level of intelligence to their listeners. Well spoken individuals have the ability to articulate their words and ideas, leaving a positive impression on their listeners.

171. In what ways do an individual’s grooming habits or manner of dress communicate his values?

An individual’s grooming habits and wardrobe communicate that individual’s values and professionalism. Perception is a very important, therefore as I aspire to become a successful business, I will place a high value on presentation.

172. To what extent does documenting a prison journey communicate an individual’s commitment to success upon release?

Prisoners who have taken the necessary steps to improve their life will benefit fro documenting their prison journey. Through documenting accomplishment while in prison, an individual’s progress can be shared with people who are in a position to offer opportunities.

One of the exercises Michael embraced to develop his communication strategy included writing book reports. In Earning Freedom, he wrote that books opened opportunities that contributed in meaningful, measurable ways to prepare him for triumph over the obstacles he expected to encounter. Each book had a purpose, and to stay on course, he used the following format to write his book reports:

  • How I came across the book (title of book):
  • Why I choose to read (title of book):
  • What I learned from (title of book):
  • Ways in which (title of book) will contribute to my success upon release:

173. In what ways would writing similar book reports contribute to the development of your communication skills and preparations for success upon release?

I believe that writing similar book reports will enhance your knowledge of the information you retain from the book. Through writing, it contributes to the development of communication skills. Articulating your thoughts and translating those ideas to words is a necessary skill set that will contribute to success upon release.

Julius Lige/ Class 5: Self-Improvement Training

July 3, 2012 in Self-Improvement, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

126. When you assess your environment, what opportunities for self-improvement can you create or seize?

My environment offers many opportunities for self improvement. I’m doing time in a federal prison camp, there’re individuals from all professional backgrounds confined at this prison camp. Opportunities come to those who have the network skills to capitalize on unlimited amounts of valuable information circulating throughout the camp.

127. What is your interpretation on the value of self-imposed structure of free time?

Individuals who utilize free time to build on their skills, character and health create structure for themselves, which is valuable when pursuing opportunities. It’s important to use your free time to build your brand, the impact it will have on your life will be priceless.

128. What relationship do your daily activities have to the vision you have for your life upon release?

My daily activities has a direct connection to the vision I have for my life upon release. Through my daily studies, and research on career opportunities, I establish the connection with the vision I have for my future. Also my daily fitness activities provide good health and a nice physique which relate to the longevity I envision for my life. My daily connection with G-d through prayer and scripture provide a spiritual foundation on which I plan to expand upon release.

129. Imagine that you were to replicate your activities or use of time yesterday every day or your sentence. If you did, what level of preparation would have to triumph over the obstacles that await you upon your return to society?

If I were to replicate my activities from yesterday, I would begin with my 5am wakeup, in which I prepare for my 6am prayer and work out. By 7:15am I’m done with the workout, I then eat breakfast while watching a half hour of CNN news. After speaking with my wife on the phone at 8am, I spend 45 minutes answering questions out of the SAG workbook. At 9:15am, I’m back on the yard doing a cardio workout. After lunch, I do some research and take notes for my future business plans. I then watch an hour of NFL live on ESPN, followed by reading a few chapters out of Donald Trump’s book, THINK BIG.

130. What activities within the prison environment can you pursue that will enhance your strengths?

All the activities I pursue daily while in prison will enhance my strength. My experiences through the years have strengthened me, learning from different individuals I’ve met over the years. Also while utilizing the resources within the prison environment, I have increased my knowledge through education, developing communication skills and advancing my physical fitness.

131. What activities within the prison environment would you categorize as a weakness?

I would categorize excessive television viewing, table games and hanging with crowds as a weakness. An individual must utilize his time wisely, creating a daily program that will help build his skills.

132. What activities within the prison environment would you perceive as offering opportunities?

I would view the education programs they offer here as an offered opportunity. Although education programs are limited to a junior college level, they still allow you to remain active in building your skills through college courses. Also, this environment allows you to focus on fitness conditioning, which improves the body, allowing you to improve your self presentation and good health.

133. What activities within the prison environment do you perceive as threatening your prospects for success upon release?

There are many activities within a prison environment that I perceive to threaten my success. I choose not to allow myself to fall victim to the temptations of hustling, drug/alcohol use, and excessive playing of table games. As a prisoner who is focused on success, I must not have any involvement in negative activities.

134. To what extent do the activities you pursue inside the prison environment contribute to your strengths and opportunities?

The activities I pursue in the prison environment contribute to my strengths and opportunities in many ways. My daily activities play a key role in preparing me for the many challenges I will face upon my release. My skill development will open new opportunities, creating personal growth as I begin a new chapter in my life.

135. What steps do you deliberately take to minimize your exposure to weaknesses and threats?

My daily activities require me to focus on my goals. Therefore my exposure to weakness and threats are minimized due to the time I spend working towards creating opportunities upon release.

136. Using the SWOT-assessment technique, how would you assess your decision-making process prior to imprisonment?

Prior to my imprisonment, I would assess my decision making as being reckless. I was living my life without positive values, compromising family to earn money hustling. With money and my social life being top priority, it caused me to make decisions based upon short term success and not life long longevity.

137. In what ways can the SWAT-assessment technique guide your decisions as you prepare for success upon release?

The SWAT technique keeps an individual focused, emphasizing on preparation for the challenges that await him upon release. An individual must not allow the prison environment to influence his decision making. He must utilize positive resources in the prison environment that create opportunities.

138. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant one: low-risk/high-reward?

Activities that fall into quadrant one: low risk/high rewards, include exercise, reading, participation in educational programs and networking. It’s important that a prisoner includes activities that enhance their skillset into their daily schedule.

139. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant two: high-reward/high-risk?

Individuals who choose o engage in activities such as hustling, fall into quadrant two. Some prisoners are so removed from society with limited family support, they choose to generate resources by hustling, which is high risk/high reward.

140. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant three: low-risk/low-reward?

Any activities an individual participates in that does not improve their lives, falls into quadrant four. Individuals must balance their recreation time, with the necessary time needed to focus on building skills.

141. What types of activities in prison fall into quadrant four: high-risk/low-reward?

High risk/low reward refers to individuals who view institution property as their personal possessions. Controlling televisions, table seating and table games – those are the activities that fall into quadrant three.

142. To what extent do your consider risk-reward analysis when assessing activities, interactions, or time allocation in prison?

Whether or not I’m in prison or at home with my family, I understand the importance of utilizing my time wisely. Therefore, I have high consideration of risk-reward analysis when assessing activities, and time allocation in prison.

143 What type of self-improvement programs would enhance an individual’s prospects for success upon release?

Education programs, such as college courses, vocational classes, business study groups are all self improving which can enhance an individual’s prospects for success upon release.

144. What thoughts have you given to the type of employment you want to pursue upon release?

Although my ultimate goal is to establish a business, I understand initially while living in transitional housing I must pursue some sort of employment. Fitness training and local truck driving are two considerable thoughts I have given to the type of employment I want to pursue upon release.

145. Define the qualifications necessary for the type of job you want to pursue?

The qualifications that are necessary for fitness training begin wih completing the personal training certification course. Also you must develop a skillset that will allow you to apply the fitness knowledge to a training session. Local truck driving begins with completing the 8 week CDL truck driving course. Truck driving is a felony-friendly industry, therefore the opportunities for those being released from prison are promising.

146. How do your self-improvement programs prepare you for the type of job you want to pursue?

My daily activities prepare me for the type of job I want to pursue mainly because of the time and effort I invest in self-improvement programs. I’m required to be disciplined, determined and accountable – values that I will apply towards my job upon release.

147. What types of self-improvement programs can you pursue independently that will enhance your prospects as a candidate for employment upon release?

I consider the college courses offered here at the camp to be a great self-improvement program. Earning academic credentials will enhance employment opportunities. Also an individual must be clear on what industry he’s going to pursue, find a program or study group in which he can expand his on his knowledge of that particular industry.

148. In what ways do academic credentials influence an individual’s candidacy for employment?

Academic credentials play a key role for individuals seeking employment. Opportunities are offered to those with higher levels of education, making it difficult for those with a lower level of education. Today’s job market is very competitive. Employers evaluate prospective employees based on their skills and academic credentials.

149. How do prospective employers gauge the value of academic credentials?

From my personal experience in the job market, employers gauge the value of academic credentials based upon the position they’re seeking to fill. Service and labor positions usually are gauged by experience. Corporate office and medical positions place a high value on academic credentials.

150. What types of self-improvement steps trump academic credentials?

Academic credentials are a very important step towards self-improvement, but an individual must first focus on improvement in areas such as discipline, honesty, and integrity, knowing that choosing to live a value based life enhances their chances for success.

 

Julius Lige/ Class 4: Life Management Skills

June 5, 2012 in Life Management Skills, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

105. How would you define your life management skills?

I define my life management skills as being creative, responsible, possessing leadership and always planning ahead. An individual must have a clear plan, and along with that plan, the necessary skills to execute it. With the right attitude, aspiration, actions and accountability, I would apply my management skills towards achieving my goals.

106. What types of decisions influence how you will emerge from prison?

Every decision I make is directly to related to my emerging from prison as a better husband, father and man. From the time I wake up at 5am, my decisions are influenced by aspirations I have of improving my life. From the food I eat, to fitness training, and numerous educational work I participate in, I am always in pursuit of emerging from prison successfully.

107. In what ways does your daily schedule determine your potential for success upon release?

I begin my day with fitness training, knowing that conditioning my body will allow me to work at a high pace in any industry I choose to pursue. Also, my daily work on research and various projects is a skill I can apply to any job or business environment. My schedule requires for me to be disciplined, focused and accountable, qualities I can apply to any business opportunity.

108. How do personal relationships influence our prospects for success?

Developing personal relationships play a very important role when it comes to creating opportunities for success. Applying networking skills and communicating effectively, allows you to strengthen personal relationships which create value in every respect.

109. How can we cultivate and nurture personal relationships that may prove helpful through our prison journey and beyond?

Through professed value, such as honesty, accountability, loyalty, and respect, personal relationships are cultivated and nurtured. Friendships grow, and relationships are valued, which prove helpful through your prison journey and beyond.

110. In what ways did Michael’s decisions at the beginning of his term lead to the opportunities that opened for him through the decades he served?

Michael decided at the beginning of his term to live a value-based life. He solidified himself among his peers and mentors as someone who displays persistence, doing whatever it took to accomplish his goals. His hard work led to the opportunities that opened for him through the decades he served.

111. In what ways have the decisions you made from the day of your arrest influenced your life today?

I decided from the day I was arrested that I would focus my time on improving my life. Through spiritual faith, education and physical fitness, my life has been redirected in a positive way. I live a value based life, knowing that opportunities await me upon my release.

112. How would you compare and contrast the initial adjustment decisions of two prisoners who offered their profiles?

When it comes to comparing prisoners profiles there is one that stands out clearly. My good buddy Thomas Ross. T-Ross is a disciplined individual. He keeps a very organized schedule. He spends his time in prison wisely, earning academic credential through Chaplin College while also dedicating himself to fitness, establishing himself as one of the more knowledgeable fitness trainers on the compound. Contrast to the way T-Ross spends his time in prison, there are many prisoners who have no clue about preparing themselves for successful release. They spend their time hanging with the crowd, watching TV for most of the day, and not pursuing any educational programs that will help them succeed upon release.

113. In what ways does your prison adjustment compare or contrast with the individuals profiled?

I compare my prison adjustment to the individuals who have similar objectives as me. Preparing themselves daily for a successful life upon release. I relate to a prisoner who works hard, knowing that if he advances his skill set, it increases his chances of success upon release.

114. In what ways does your prison adjustment compare or contrast with the type of career trajectory That Greg Reyes or some of the other successful businessmen described?

My prison adjustment is similar to the type of career trajectory described by the successful businessman. The men describe the same commitment, vision, and determination that I have shown as I have worked towards accomplishing high goals. I will try hard to emulate their success.

115. What steps can you take in the time that spans between now and your release date to prepare for a law-abiding, fulfilling life?

The necessary steps I will take between now and my release date to prepare for a law-abiding and fulfilling life begins with me remaining focused on the challenges that await me. I will continue to work hard on solutions to overcoming those challenges and building a skill set that will provide financial stability and also committing to always making value-based decisions.

116. In what ways are your interactions with others in prison and beyond purposeful?

With the versatility to interact with individuals in prison who are focused on success and also interact with those who are less focused, gives me a visual perspective on how important it is to spend my time in prison wisely. I utilize my relationships with those who are focused to learn valuable skills that they possess.

117. How do your interactions with others relate to the individual you aspire to become?

I aspire to become a successful businessman. Therefore, my interactions with individuals who are successful in business are influential. I have a purpose to learn as much as I can from those individuals which will improve my chances of having success in business.

118. What types of activities, interests, and discussions motivate or inspire your closest acquaintances?

As I finish the remainder of my time in prison, I strategically surround myself with positive people. My closest acquaintances are men who are intelligent, family orientated with strong spiritual faith. We discuss business plans, family issues, and world events. We are also guys who understand that physical fitness is very important, therefore we study fitness and apply our knowledge to our workouts daily.

119. In what ways will the relationships you cultivate help or hinder your aspirations?

My relationships will help my aspirations in many ways. The men I associate with in prison all possess unique skills. Therefore, we network by sharing information and bouncing business ideas off one another. With such solid relationships in place, it allows me to receive different opinions on realistic views regarding my business goals.

120. If Red had a stable job with opportunities for growth, what do you suppose would have tempted him to revert to crime?

Regardless of the stable job with opportunities for growth, Red must live a positive value-based life. Values that will help him make good decisions and not allow him to jeopardize his freedom. Apparently, Reds transition back into society lacked focus.

121. In what ways could a prisoner manage his life to persuade prospective employers that he lives by different values from men like Red?

A prisoner must remain focus, reassuring his employer that he’s discipline, reliable, and skilled. Living a value base life will not go un-notice. Through those actions, most employers will perceive you as an asset to the company. Unlike Red, you can not allow temptations influence your decision making.

122. How does an individual’s diction influence perceptions?

When a individual is working toward creating opportunities for himself, he must understand the importance of possessing communication skills. People judge you according to how well speak. As I prepare for success upon release, I will continue to focus on expanding my vocabulary.

123. How does an individual’s personal grooming and presentation influence opportunities?

Personal grooming and presentation are important when seeking an opportunity. The impact it has on companies looking to do business or companies looking to hire a new employee is very influential. Individuals with good personal presentation increase their chances to capitalize on their opportunities.

124. With regard to the attitude attribute of the Straight-A Guide, what does it mean to make a 100 percent commitment?

In regards to the SAG program, making a 100% commitment means to give a complete effort towards success. Living a value based life will compliment those efforts, which solidifies your commitment. Individuals who understand the dynamics of the program will benefit by following the blueprint and applying it to their daily life.

125. How would you assess your acquaintances with regard to the attitude attribute of the Straight-A Guide?

When assessing my acquaintances attitude, they possess similar attributes of the SAG program. Through their commitment to succeed upon release, we share a common bond. Individuals who are less committed, I tend to have less interaction with.

Julius Lige/ Class 2: Goals

May 9, 2012 in Goals, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

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

I strongly believe a person success upon release from prison begin with discipline. Having the discipline to avoid any criminal activity, embraces an attitude of willingness to work hard to succeed legitimately. With the right attitude, faith, family, and finance are values that will provide a concrete foundation.

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

When a person makes the commitment to live by their values, everyday life decisions are made in accordance to those values. Living a value based life requires you to demonstrate conduct related to your values.

66. How does a person strengthen his integrity?:

A person integrity is strengthen through their ability to live accordingly to their values. Through actions, they must live by the words they speak, and through thoughts, they must believe in themselves, responding to any adversity from a position of strength.

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

The day a prisoner is release from prison, he will be confronted with the challenge of transitioning his life to complete independence. No longer will he be provided three meals a day, clothing, and shelter. His daily responsibilities will increase tremendously. He must seek housing, transportation, employment, and medical coverage immediately.

68. Housing:

To secure housing cost, a prisoner must accumulate enough saving to pay rent for, first month, last month, and a security deposit. With that in mine, an estimated move-in cost, will be $2500. I suggest a prison save an additional month rent $1000, in case of an emergency situation. Total amount for housing $3500.

69. Household furnishings:

Furnishing a household can become expensive for a prisoner. With that in mind, a prisoner must spend his money wisely for shopping for household items, such as living room and bedroom furniture, cooking and kitchen appliances, also electronics. I estimate a prisoner will spend $5,000 on household furnishings.

70. Clothing:

An individuals appearance plays an important role when seeking opportunities. Therefore, the prisoner must accumulate enough money for a business wardrobe, along with a social and athletic wardrobe. I estimate that an entire wardrobe cost around $5,000

71. Transportation:

Transportation cost for a new dependable vehicle ranges between $25,000-$30,000. Therefore, an individual will need a 10% down payment of $2,500 to $3,000. With a job and good credit, the bank will issue an afforable car note with $350-$400 a month. With that in mind, my estimate for transportation costs is $5,000. $3,000 down payment, $2,000 for five months car payments.

72. Incidentals:

With an estimated monthly spending cost of $3,000, an individual must keep $36,000 in his account. The monthly $3,000 covers bills and expenses. With financial stability in place, a prisoners transition into society is less stressful.

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?:

After spending years in prison, most individuals who are released from prison come home to a limited amount of financial resources. In order for an individual to have a successful transition into society he must have financial resources. Individuals will need $5-$10,000 cash to begin his quests towards creating financial opportunities that will allow an individual to utilize his skill set comfortably in a job environment.

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?:

Perspective landlords, employers, creditors, and others in society will hesitate to offer opportunities to an individual who disclose his criminal record. However, we are living in a society with a large number of ex felons. Therefore, it’s possible to overcome the many prejudices that are shown by members of society.

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

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

With an understanding that the US job market is predicted to suffer for the next few years, I am preparing myself by developing a skill set for two different industries. Plan A and plan B, will consist of me being knowledgeable about the fitness training industry and diesel industry. Both industries are felony friendy, with opportunities to reach pay scales of $45-$65,000 a year. With a stable job in place I could then focus on executing a business plan, establishing residential care facilities.

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

Candidates for employment in the fitness industry are certified through personal training companies that require them to know general information about fitness, nutrition, and anatomy. Candidates for employment in the trucking industry requires them to attend a trucking school, complete an eight week course, and pass the written and drivers test. I am studying to take both fitness and trucking tests upon my release.

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

A prison record influences possibilities for employment negatively. Due to societies perception of convicted felons, there are many obstacles prisoners will face in regards to employment. Each prisoner is held accountable to prepare himself to overcome these obstacles through education and skilled development prisoners will increase their chances to land opportunities in the workforce.

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

According to an article in the Oakland tribune, the unemployment rate in my East Bay community has improved. The unemployment rate is lower than the previous year which is a sign of progress for our economic future.

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?:

Regardless whether the unemployment rate is high or low, an individual with a criminal history will face challenges. In the industry that I plan on pursuing, my individual skillset will allow me to succeed during bad economic times.

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

Preparing for a successful career upon my release, is something I focused on when my imprisonment began. Therefore I plan on securing a job within 45 days of my release.

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?:

I expect to be released to the halfway house, therefore I’m required to pay 25% of my gross earnings to the halfway house. I will budget the remainder of my monthly take home pay, using 25% for daily expenses and depositing 50% into a savings account.

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

The average household in America earns between $40,000 an $50,000 a year.

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

I anticipate my income to be in the same range of the average American household, with that in mind, combining my income with my wife’s income, we will exceed that yearly average.

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

When we obsess on issues beyond our control, we begin to introduce the emotions that create stress, such as anxiety, discouragement, sadness, hopelessness, and anger. Those emotions only complicate the issue, therefore you must focus on things you have control of.

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

Strategically, I overcome the despair that accompanies imprisonment, by focusing my time on preparing for a successful release.

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?:

The behavior that leads to such outcomes usually stems from a prisoner’s involvement in contraband, violence or any disruption to the prison.

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

Harsher prison conditions require you to put up with prison politics, race riots, and prison gangs. In such a tense environment, the ability to prepare for success upon release becomes much more difficult.

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

Behavior that leads to harsher conditions influences the lives of those in our support network with disappointment. It’s a major letdown to our family and friends when a prisoner behaves recklessly and is transferred to a higher level institution. They become more worried, knowing that their loved one’s safety is jeopardized in harsher prison conditions.

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?:

Regardless of how a prisoner is perceived by staff, he is responsible to make an individual effort towards towards personal growth and development. Although his accomplishments may not be recognized by the system, he will receive acknowledgement from members of society on his positive transformation.

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

An individual cannot depend on the system to encourage them to work towards reconciling with society. It is a prisoner’s responsibility to overcome the many challenges of prison and to prepare themselves for law abiding lives upon release.

91. Describe the goals you have set?:

As I complete my final years of incarceration, I have set several goals. I will continue to strengthen my spiritual faith by reading chapters from the Bible daily. I will work hard everyday towards obtaining knowledge in fitness, with a goal of completing the certified fitness training course before my release. I am continuing to study and learn about the trucking industry as I also have aspirations of starting a trucking company. I will continue to improve my public speaking with a goal to one day speak to kids in the community I once negatively impacted.

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

My goals relate to my professed values in many ways. I must show discipline in order to reach my goals. I will use skillsets to execute my business plans. Integrity, fitness, marriage, and spirituality are values that I will apply to my daily life as I work towards accomplishing my goals.

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

Through my everyday activities, such as exercising, researching the Bible, and studying material for future business plans, I have learned to gauge my success by evaluating my performance and knowledge daily. Everyday assessments allow me to work on areas that need improvement.

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

With a clear understanding of my goals and the impact they will have on my life, strategically I work towards combining each goal so they can work in tandem to prepare me for success upon release.

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

By achieving all of my goals, my goals will influence my prison adjustment with a direct impact on my character. It takes discipline, focus and determination to remain committed towards achieving goals. Each day I wake up in prison, my focus is on enhancing my opportunities for success, and not allowing the prison system to disrupt my momentum.

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

As the goals I reach begin to work in tandem, I will apply them to prospective opportunities that will increase the chances for success upon my release.

Julius Lige/ Class 3: Accountability

May 9, 2012 in Accountability, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Julius Lige

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

Documenting daily progress using a accountability log will help provide opportunities for success in many ways upon release. Documentation gives an individual a reference point, it demonstrates commitment as you make incremental progress towards achieving your goals.

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?

As I document my values, goals, and commitments to preparing for a law abiding life upon release, I expect minimum recognition of my progress and efforts from the probation department. My documentation is for personal motivation and to enlighten those in my support system about the progress I’ve made towards improving my life.

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

Accountability logs give potential employers or support networks a document they can reference when evaluating an individual’s character. When an individual has made commitments to make positive adjustments while in prison, the document becomes valuable.

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

Accountability logs keep an individual focused on accomplishing their goals. Documenting their daily progress allows them to implement their values and stay true to their commitments. When an individual accomplishes their goals, they can apply those same goals towards business, career and athletic success.

101. How do universities evaluate which students to admit?

Universities evaluate which students to admit based upon their high school grades, test scores and extracurricular activities. University admission offices use those types of accountability logs to assess a student’s strengths and weakness.

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

Most financial institutions rely on an individual’s credit report, debt to income ratio and payment history in regards to extending a loan. If there are any discrepancies among these categories, your chances of having credit extended will be reduced.

103. What governs investment decisions that people make?

In regards to making an investment decision, people decide whether to invest or not based upon the potential to earn a profit. An individual evaluates the performance of the investment, which is usually documented history and forecasted profit projections.

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

My response to the question above supports the value of the accountability log. In fact, it gives a clear example of how documentation plays a key role in an individual’s success. When a prisoner tracks his progress as he returns to society, it allows him to evaluate himself and focus on areas of his life that require improvement.

Julius Lige/ Class 10: Leadership

April 18, 2012 in Leadership by Julius Lige

251. What does leadership mean to you?

My perception of leadership is an individual who possesses the ability to direct, orchestrate, and pursue a deliberate course of action. To show leadership means to utilize your skills to accomplish your goals, regardless of the circumstances.

252. In what ways have your past decisions prepared you for leadership?

Prior to my incarceration, I embraced a lifestyle of criminal activity and reckless decisions. Now that I had made the necessary adjustments to improve my life, I use my past behaviors as motivation to continue to make value-based decisions.

253. Where does leadership begin?

Leadership begins with an individual choosing to live by values and principles related to being a leader. An individual must embrace the principal role of leadership while being confident through his decisions and actions he is capable of overcoming any circumstances.

254. In what ways can an individual measure his capacity to lead?

An individual can measure his capacity to lead by demonstrating his skills related to leadership. Through his actions he will have the ability to evaluate whether he possesses the necessary skills required to be a leader.

255. In what ways can an individual measure his effectiveness at leadership?

An individual can measure his effectiveness at leadership, by evaluating his accomplishments, progress, and success in meeting his objective. Good leaders also possess the skill to persuade people to embrace their vision, leading them toward success.

256. What does it mean to have a vision?

To have a vision means, to create a mental image of something that does not yet exist, while identifying a clear plan that will transform the image into existence. When an individual is leading a project, he transforms his vision by creating a plan, and executing that plan.

257. How does a leader gauge the effectiveness of a plan?

A leader gauges the effectiveness of a plan by evaluating the progress he has made towards reaching his objectives. As a leader follows the course of his plan, he holds his self accountable to make the necessary adjustments, addressing any complications while completing the plan efficiently.

258. Why would leadership require accountability tools?

Leadership requires accountability tools because it provides discipline, allowing a leader to materialize his vision effectively. A leader uses accountability tools to keep him on course as he works towards meeting his objectives.

259. How would a leader make the most effective use of accountability tools?

Accountability tools require a leader to gauge his progress as he takes incremental steps towards materializing his vision. An individual can rely on his accountability tools to provide discipline, allowing him to remain on track as he works towards accomplishing his goals.

260. How would you describe leadership by example?

An individual leading through his actions demonstrates values that relate to success, while inspiring others to embrace his vision.

261. What does leading with integrity mean to you?

Leading with integrity means demonstrating leadership qualities that releate to good character. An individual must show actions that he’s committed to living a value-based life, knowing that as a leader he is operating from a position of strength.

262. In what ways does personal leadership require an individual to put the concerns of others ahead of his own?

Personal leadership requires an individual to put the concerns of others ahead of his own, because a leader values the concerns of others, knowing that it’s important to honor the request of others which shows commitment to being a leader.

263. How can our behavior in prison influence the lives of those we ask to support or sponsor us?

While in prison an individual must understand that behavior can affect members of his support system. My support system expects me to make decisions that lead me to improving my life. I cannot afford to make poor decisions that will be a major let down to those that love me.

264. When living within the restrictions of prison boundaries, where can we turn for leadership training?

Leadership training begins with your attitude. Then you must develop skills through educational programs and reading books. There are limited resources within the prison boundaries; therefore an individual must network with those that possess leadership qualities.

265. Describe an individual who has leadership skills that you admire?

I admire the leadership skills demonstrated by my wife. My wife doesn’t allow my incarceration to affect her efforts to succeed in life. She has expanded on her credentials, maintained our home and raised our children, utilizing her leadership skills to persevere through any challenges she encounters along the way.

266. To what extent would emulating such leadership traits influence your prospects for success?

I believe emulating my wife’s leadership traits will positively impact my prospects for success. I expect to combine our skills and pursue a clearly defined goal that we set for our family’s success.

267. In what ways do our day-to-day actions show our commitment to personal leadership development?

My day to day actions demonstrate the level of commitment I have made towards improving my life. Developing leadership skills is a part of that commitment, therefore I focus on using my time wisely, progressively moving towards accomplishing my goals.

268. How can a commitment to personal leadership development while in prison influence your relationship with people you haven’t yet met?

People are inspired by those who possess leaderships qualities. Developing personal leadership will leave a good impression with people by demonstrating accountability, skill development, and good character. People gravitate towards individuals who possess such attributes.

269. In what way can the Straight-A Guide influence your prison adjustment?

The Straight A guide has influenced me to reach beyond the prison boundaries by creating a strong network system. By doing so, I have developed resources, skills, and a reliable support system that will enhance my opportunities for success upon release.

270. In what ways can the Straight-A Guide influence your prospects for a law-abiding, contributing life upon release?

Making value-based decisions is an important part of the Straight A guide. I expect to follow the curriculum and apply it towards how I conduct my life, living a law abiding life and become a contributing member of society.

271. In what ways will you use the Straight-A Guide going forward?

I will use the Straight A guide as I move forward in life, reconnecting with my family and building my network system. I will also use the Guide to keep me on course as I build my career and execute my business plans.

 

Julius Lige/ Class 1: Values

April 13, 2012 in Straight-A Guide Curriculum, Values by Julius Lige

16. Who are you?

My name is Julius M. Lige. I am 36 years old, married with three beautiful daughters. I define myself as being a family man with a strong Christian faith.

I am highly motivated to become a successful business man. I relate to the importance of values such as faith, family, finance, and fitness. I am always in pursuit of opportunities to improve my life. Some of the strategies that I pursue include education, networking, and accomplishing goals I set for myself.

Since my imprisonment began in 2007, I made a commitment to walk out from prison as a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better son, and a better leader. I began working toward that transition by focusing on my physical fitness. I’m proud that through discipline and hard work I dropped more than 100 pounds.

After achieving that goal, I turned my focus to education, with aspirations to work in social services. To that end, I enrolled in Taft Community College through the correspondence program. I’m proud to report that in the spring of 2010, I graduated with an AA degree in social science.

I am now involved in a prison outreach program where I go out to local high schols and speak to the kids about the dangers of drugs and gangs. I have one teenage daughter of my own, and two more who soon will be teenagers. Because of my love for them, I feel deeply passionate about helping young people make better decisions than I made as a younger man.

Through all of the work I do in prison, I feel myself serving God’s will and trying to prove worthy of the many people who love me. I’ve been blessed with a magnificent wife who has supported me through this difficult experience. She is a source of inspiration for me, and because of her love, I am certain that I will walk out of here stronger in every way.

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

When I began serving my prison sentence in 2007, I knew that in order to emerge from prison with opportunities, I would have to take advantage of every educational proram the prison had to offer. To that end, I began studying at the Taft Community College. In the spring of 2010, I earned an associate of arts degree in social science. Also, through the Taft prison educational prorams, I received numerous certificates for my mastery of such subjects that include financial planning, parenting, wellness, and public speaking, among others. I am now studying through the National Federation of Personal Trainers through a correspondence proram to become a certified personal trainer. Besides that area of study, for the past year I’ve incorporated studies of the futures commodities market into my daily routine. As a youth growing up in Oakland, California, I allowed negative influences in my community to detract from my education. Although I was a student athlete, I repeatedly underachieved in the classroom. That pattern of behavior resulted in my not graduating from high school. Because of my aspiration of playing college football, I continued my education by enrolling in Junior College. I played two seasons of JC football, earning 30 transferrable academic units. After spending one semester at the University of Texas A&M, Kingsville, I put my education on hold and began to seek employment. In September of 2005 I heard a knock at my front door. The fact that it was 6:00 in the morning seemed unusual for an unexpected guest. I was right. It was the DEA. I was arrested that day and charged with possession of PCP. I am now serving a 120-month sentence in federal prison. Prior to this case I experienced minimal amounts of trouble with the law. I spent one night in city jail in 2002 for possession of marijuana. I’ve never been convicted of any weapons or crimes of violence. Prior to my incarceration, my employment history dates back ten years with consistent work. I developed skills as a home appliance installer, a warehouseman, a delivery truck driver, and I worked in a hospital’s material management department. As an employee, I possess the capable work skills and effective communication skills that are necessary to grow within any company. Because of my hard work, I was always viewed by my employer as a productive employee.

18. What are you going through now?

As of now I have completed four and a half years of my 10-year prison sentence. Being incarcerated has been a learning experience for me. It has given me time to focus on becoming a better person. Because of that focus, I have created many opportunities that will help me upon my release. Through my faith in God and my family support, I am confident that I will not make the same kinds of poor decisions that I made prior to my incarceration. In an effort to hold my family together, I express my love to my wife and children every day, always emphasizing that we must work together to strengthen our family connection. I work hard every day preparing myself for a successful reentry into society.

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

19. Time remaining to serve.

During the time that I have remaining to serve, I certainly will use my time wisely. I will continue to work on advancing my skill levels in numerous areas. Specifically, I intend to learn more about how the commodity futures markets operate. Also, I will work to improve my public speaking skills through the prison outreach program in which I participate. I expect to devote numerous hours toward my clearly defined aspiration of becoming a certified fitness trainer. I will take the necessary steps toward accomplishing that goal. Each day I renew my 100 percent commitment to walk out of prison as a better man, a better husband, father, son, and leader.

20. One month after release.

I expect to have accomplished all my short term goals within one year of my release. Most importantly I intend to have re-establish a strong loving bond with my wife and children. Through hard work and discipline, I will continue to live a clean and healthly life, exercising four to five days a week, fullfilling my commitment to remain in top physical condition. I will work consistently to contribute to society, providing leadership, while living as a positive role model in my community. Through evaluating my first year of release, I will determine what adjustments are needed to accomplish my long term goals.

With the combination of skill, drive, and preparations that I am making today, I am confident that I will secure employment within one month of my release. That employment should resolve my need to establish financial stability. As long as I am financially stable, I will have time to bond with my wife and children. Indeed, I expect to reconnect with my entire extended family.
As long as I have my family and employment issues resolved, I expect that during my first month of liberty, I also will be prepared to being the next phase of my plan to launch my career as a community leader. I have clear ideas about what that means. I come from an area where numerous young people were exposed to bad influences. It’s my role, I think, to work toward helping people make better decisions. I have a business plan in mind that will lead me to fulfill that role as a mentor, guide, and community leader. During my first month of liberty, I am hopeful that opportunities will be in place for me to advance the vision.
What does that mean?
Well, I’ve given a lot of thought to that question. The people who need my guidance most will never be able to pay me. I must rely on community sponsors. So my job now is to prepare myself in ways that will persuade community sponsors to step up and join my efforts to cultivate leadership within our community.
That’s the reason I’m working so hard right now. I’m using the Straight-A Guide as a model to build my brand, to build awareness among people in society. I want others to know how hard I’m working to overcome the indignities of imprisonment. I want others to judge me. Because I intend to be ready. And during my first month of liberty, I expect to point back to this very document that I’m writing today, on June 28, 2011.
I expect to come home in March of 2014. By April of 2014, I expect to stand in front of an audience of business leaders and community activists. I expect to articulate the vision I had and the steps I have taken to implement that vision. My call to action will be for those community leaders to sponsor me by writing a check that will me to make a living while helping others reach their optimal performance as law-abiding, contributing citizens.
That’s my vision for the first month of my release. First I must secure employment; second I must reconnect with my family; and third, I must begin to implement the plan I’ve been working so deliberately to build.

21. One year after release.

I expect to have accomplished all my short term goals within one year of my release. Most importantly I intend to have establish a strong loving bond with my wife and children. Through hard work and discipline, I will continue to live a clean and healthly life, exercising four to five days a week, fullfilling my commitment to remain in top physical condition. I will work consistently to contribute to society, providing leadership, while living as a positive role model in my community. Through evaluating my first year of release, I will determine what adjustments are needed to accomplish my long term goals.

22. Five years after release.

Potentially through hard work and a profitable business, my wife and I expect to enjoy financial stability five years after my release. With the Straight-A Guide incorporated into my everyday life, I expect to have frequent speaking engagements that will allow me to articulate my Straight-A Guide message to the youth. Because of my commitment to live a positive life, I will play an active role in the church, while spending quality time with family, and coaching football. I expect to have a solid foundation five years after my release.

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

Society percecption of people in prison can generally be opinionated. Since over 2.3 million people are in prison, there’s a large population of Americans who have family members in prison. Majority of our society view prisoners as being dangerous, manipulative, dishonest, and a threat to the safety of society. While others view prisoners in a more individual perspective, understanding the fact that all prisoners are not career criminals, and anyone is subject to human errors. Making a bad choice in life doesn’t define who you are as a person, but because of society’s misperceptions, prisoners are often prohibited from lucrative opportunities even after trasitioning into law abiding citizens.

24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:

Prisoners are portrayed on television programs and movies as being thugs, drug addicts, guy’s with tattooes who engage in homosexual activity. Hollywood has over exaggerated many of these stereotypes, influencing the public to believe all prisoners participate in such a lifestyle. With today’s news media seeking higher rating, crime are often broadcast to support hidden political agenda’s, persuading member of society to vote for laws that are tough on non-violent crimes, which contributes to the United States world leading incarceration rate.

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

26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?

My adjustment is similar to the prisoner stereotype in many ways. I’m constantly reminded that society will view me as being a possible re-offender, despite the significant progress I’ve made to improve my life. The prison system identify each inmate by his or
her number, similar to a product in a warehouse with a serial number or bar code, therefore I
hold myself accountable to prepare for a successful re-entry into society.

27. In what ways is your adjustment different?

My adjustment is different from the prisoner stereotype in that regardless of how challenging prison may be, I will not allow prison to discourage my drive and determination to succeed in life. Through edcation and the mastering of skills in numerous area’s, opportunities await me. Also with a thriving marriage and beautiful children, I will not allow seperation from my family affect our family bond. Unfortunately many prisoners and their families fall victim to seperation, which contribute to a very high prison divorce rate.

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

28. High security.

Opportunities are limited for prisoners who serve time in high security penitentiaries. In a environment with such hostility and tension, a prisoner primary focus is always on safety. With political rules and racial seperation, prisoners are limited to who they can associate with. To create any opportunities in a high security prison, a prisoner must isolate himself from the negative instutional lifestyle.

29. Medium security.

Opportunities at the medium security level are also limited. In a environment controlled by racially influenced gangs, a prisoners safety is threaten by young gang members who seek to gain respect and prove their loyalty. Prisoners with aspirations of personal growth must remain discipline and focus, while minumizing their social circle.

30. Low security.

Prisoners serving time at low security institutions are exposed to the same level of violence as the higher institution, but with less frequent occurrence. Opportunities for personal growth increases at the low security level, prisoners who are commited to improving their lives, create stratagies that allow them to grow.

31. Minimum security.

Minimum-Security Camps are less likely to have any violence at all, therefore prisoners who are selfmotivated often create opportunities for themselves. Vocational programs and prison workshop are offered at the higher level prison. Majority of the camp population consist of businessmen and corperate executives, therefore opportunities are created through networking and group discussions.

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

Prisoners are usually confident about not returning to prison. Most prisoners leave prison with the attitude that their going to do right. Unfortunitely the moment things go wrong, their survival tactics come into effect, which usually result to them engaging in criminal activity.

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

Those who never return to prison serve their sentence differently. They are aware of the many challenges convicted felons face, therefore their focus is on creating strategies and network systems utilizing their time wisely. Those who do retuen to prison usually are prisoners who glorify the negative prison lifestyle.

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

I believe the necessary steps you must take to improve chances of success upon release began by making positive adjustments in specific area’s of your life. Also committing yourself to accomplish clearly define goals, knowing that these goals will create valuable opportunities upon release.

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?

I would consider five years are more to be classified as long-term imprisonment. When a prisoner has spent five years away from society, things can change for the worst. Relationships with family and friends began to suffer, also in most cases, financial stability is destroyed.

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

People in society have low expectations for long-term prisoners. They view long-term prisoners as liabilities, threat to the community and untrustworthy. With such a negative perception from society, long-term prisoners find it difficult to reach success do to the prejudice they often encounter.

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

I believe most long-term prisoners expectations are high. Motivated by such a long absence from society, most long-term prisoners have the attitude that they have something to prove. Unfortunately they fail to give proper consideration to the challenges that await them once their released.

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

Administrators and staff members expect long-term prisoners to understand the basic operations of the prison. With that in mine, they rely on long-term prisoners to educate and inform all new inmates on how the prison flows. Staff also suspect some long-term prisoners to use their experience and influence to scheme, conspire and manipulate the system for personal benefits.

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

A model inmate is a prisoner who abides by all rules. Model inmates are always in quest to impress staff, therefore in every possible way they try to avoid confrontations and any disruption to the prison.

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

Michael’s prison journey support and refute prison stereotypes. During his journey he experienced negative behaviors by inmate and staff that support prison stereotypes, such as violence, racial politics, and discouragement from staff. I believe also Michael’s journey refute prison stereotypes, his decision to educate himself and not allow staff to discourage him, demonstrated discipline, skill, and determination.

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

I believe Michael used the prison infrastructure as motivation. Serving a 45-year non-violent prison sentence allowed Michael to focus on the many talents he possesses. Despite the obstacles Michael faced year after year he was determine to overcome the difficulties of the system, which allowed him to accomplish valuable goals.

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

Michael’s decisions were results from his vision to emerge from prison with opportunities and resources that would solidify his chances for success unpon release. Although he had to serve a lengthy sentence, he was confident that through education, and skill development he could overcome the obstacles of prison.

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 attitude and aspirations that I have regarding improving my life require a strong commitment towards preparing for a successful re-entry into society. I am determined to have success upon release. therefore I utilize the resources that are available to me, to create value to my life. Also my commitment requires daily assessments and personal evaluations.

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

I see myself two years from now, at the begining of 2014, leaving prison with the neccessary skills that will allow me to financially contribute to my family right away.
I can then focus on reconnecting with family and friends. Through my strong christian faith, and the blessing from God, I will accomplish all my clearly define goals.

45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?

What distinguishes my aspirations from a fantasy, is the significant amount of work I put towards preparing myself for a successful re-entry into society. Everyday I’m constantly seeking opportunities through business plans, employment plans, and skill development.My continuous hard work everyday will distinguish my aspirations from a fantasy.

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

The necessary steps I take towards my aspirations began with my strong spiritual faith, understanding that through Gods blessing I’m capable of achieving success. Being physically fit is a top priority, therefore I utilize 2 hours a day for exercise, knowing that maintaining a good physique can create opportunities. Keeping a strong family bond is very important to me. Therefore I minimize my daily phone conversation, which allows me to communicate with my wife and children on a daily basis through the month. Through out the day I create time slots for studying, and also to participate in educational programs. I research material for future business plans, career plans, and skill development. I am well prepared to over come all obstacles that await me upon my release.

47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?

I measure progress through my actions. Everyday as I work towards accomplishing my goals, I hold myself accountable to produce result. I’m always in pursuit to gain knowledge and skills that will help improve my life.

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

I’m very knowledgeable of the atmospherics around me. I understand the dynamics of the prison infrastructure. I strive to break through all barriers that are formed against me.

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

I reach beyond the boundaries that confine me through my public speaking. I’m fortunate to be apart of a wonderful prison out reach program. Our program allows me to visit schools in the Kern County area. Through my experiences, I convey positive messages, describing the consequences behind drug and gang activities.

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

I’m aware of the many challenges that will confront me upon release. Everyday I prepare myself to overcome these challenges. I anticipate for these challenges to be difficult, nevertheless I am confident in my ability to succeed.

51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?

I celebrate success when I see the results from my hard work impact other people lives. After losing over 100 pounds three years ago, I am always approached by other inmate who inform me that there inspired by my weight lose. They explain how it motivates them to do the same.

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

My family plays a major role in my success. Through their support I am motivated each and everyday to work hard towards improving my life. Also I am grateful to have associate myself with intelligent, knowledgeable people while in prison. Men who I consider to be mentors.

53. Where did those choices lead?

Actually the ninth grade was a pivotal point in my early life. As a youth growing up in the inner city of Oakland,CA my mother new she must keep me active in sports to avoid losing me to the street. So every year my brother and I played football for our city’s youth team(Oakland Dinomites). In 1989 at age 14, I had a growth spurt, that year I was to big to play youth football, and to young to play high school football. With countless amount of unsupervised time, I made the decision to sell drugs. That choice lead me to develop a hustler mentality, which contribute to me being incarcerated today.

54. What did you value then?

As a young teenager influenced by street life, I compromised the core values that my mother instilled in me to embrace the values of the streets. I valued money ,respect , and material assets. Those were things that I understood to be important in the drug game. On the flip side, I valued many other things, such as playing football, socializing with friends, and skill development.

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

If my children were making choices in the same way, from an authoritative father position, I would guide my children towards making smart, discipline choices. Using tactics such as describing my experiences in detail dealing with consequences behind my negative choices.

56. What would you do differently if you could?

If I could rewind time and change some of the choices I made early in my life, clearly I would focus on the few years I spent in high school. My attitude towards education would change tremendously. Education would have been the top priority in my young life. With my priorities in place, opportunities in athletics and business may have been more obtainable.

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

As of today, I have spent over the past five years of my life incarcerated. Looking back on my first day of confinement, I believe my life differs in many ways. First and for most my relationship with God is much stronger. Also because of my 100% commitment to leave prison a better man, husband, and father, I’ve incorporated education, physical fitness, and skill development into my everyday schedule. My attitude towards life today is more focus, and discipline than it was five years ago.

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

As for activities from last week, connecting with what I’m actively doing this week, starts with my fitness training. Last week heavy strength training, this week heavy cardio training. Combining both weeks, gives me a balance exercise routine.

Last week I began researching information on potential colleges for my 15 year old daughter. As a sophomore in high school the information I received emphasize on the importance of good testing skills. Also I received information on tuition cost, room/board cost, percentage of black students, and popular majors.

59. Identify the values by which you live.

I live by values such as discipline, loyalty, integrity, spiritual faith, professionalism, and fitness, just to name a few. These values are important to me as I continue to work towards improving my life.

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

My daily activities harmonize with the values by which I live, in every way. From the time I pray in the morning before my work outs, to the discipline I display as I work hard towards improving my skill set, my values create my foundation by which I stand.

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

My role in society will demonstrate leadership, discipline, and hardwork.Those values allows me to redirect my life by utilizing the time I spent in prison to advance my skill set, earn a degree, improve my physical fitness, and strengthen my relationship with God. With these values in place, I will return to society a better man, father, and husband.

62. Where does your allegiance lie?

My allegiance lies with my family. Motivated by their love and support, I am obligated to show my gratitude, by working hard and accomplishing goals. My family inspires me everyday, as I continue to make incremental steps towards a successful re-entry into society.

63. Are values situational or absolute?

The values I live by are 100% absolute. I am committed to live a values based life. I understand that the decisions I make in life must align in accodance with my core values.


Copyright 2017 The Michael G. Santos Foundation