Marko Avramovic @marko-avramovic ?

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Marko Avramovic/ Class 7: Support Networks

December 13, 2012 in Straight-A Guide Curriculum, Support Networks by Marko Avramovic

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

People change and when you are not around they tend to forget about you before you went to prison.  My immediate family is still here, just without my father who passed away not long ago.  I still have friends that support me but the relationship is not the same anymore.

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

The ways are limited to us.  I use phone, email and phone calls to show people that my bad decisions don’t make who I am.

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

They will try to help me find a job and since my love for them is great, I will use that as a reminder of what I ought to do.

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

There is always a lot of ways if a person really wanted to have people beside him as a support.  There is several web sites for prisoners where we can seek help, education, job opportunities, etc.

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

The support can make our time much easier because it gives us a reason to prove ourselves to them that we can go thru this and become better than we were prior to prison.

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

Half of the people I talk to has never been in trouble with the law and using them as an example, I tend to be a law abiding person myself.

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

I try to write as many blogs as I can on different sites and I do this right here which I think people find brave.  I like to send pictures out to people who can actually see the proof of my changing.

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

They are going to help me find a way to over grow the boundaries that await me upon my release, such as people’s suspicion that as a convict I cannot do as good as others.  Together we will prove them wrong.

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

Letters, emails, pictures and phone calls that way everything is going to be alright.  They mean the world to me and help my time go by faster and easier.

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

I tend to show them thru my work, exercise and communication, that their time is worth of spending on me.  I show them each and every day that I’m changing me to another person.

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

Communication within people is the key for meeting people that we don’t know.  Opening profiles on sites brings people into our life!

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

I am grateful to have people around me that show me support and I use them sometimes as an inspiration, that pushes me forward.   I cannot let them down and that is enough reason for me to advance.

186. Who are they?

They are people who are worth of my being a part of their life.  All of them are highly educated, law abiding citizens who await for my release, so I can join them in living normally.

187. What interests do they have?

To form a better life for their family and people around them.  Every single person I know has a plan for future and works 100% to fulfill a dream.

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

By showing them what my goals are and what I do to make them happen, how far I get and how much work I put into it.

Marko Avramovic/ Class 6: Communication Skills

December 13, 2012 in Communication Skills, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Marko Avramovic

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

When I applied for a job and the interview went all wrong just because I had a poor knowledge of the language.  That is what you get when you first come to America from across seas.

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

When you can express what you have on your mind and when your plans come out of your mouth in a nice way as a sophisticated speech, you can go anywhere and do anything.

153. What do communication skills mean to you?

They mean a lot to me because I’m going to have to use them upon my release.  That is the way we are actually separated from other living creatures, we can talk and communicate by using words and signs.

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

Skills help us communicate with people from the outside of these walls and by that we get to prepare ourselves for life, we get to know more people, our support group grows, etc.

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

The better we represent ourselves to people the more opportunities we are going to have, opportunities such as jobs, relationships, housing options, etc.

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

With knowing how to express yourself, you can actually show people in prison that you are not just an inmate but a human being as well.  You can communicate with your family and let them know that even though you are in here, you are with them too.

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

It takes practice.  Reading, writing, listening and speaking is all it comes down to.  The more a person tries to speak in public, the more comfortable he gets because that is when all that practice comes into a play.

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

My being from another country required me to put a lot more effort into learning English than a normal citizen.  Until today’s date, I have learned reading everyday, presenting myself to people, writing as much as my time allows me, etc.

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

Employees represent a company whether they interact with customers, shareholders, coworkers, suppliers, partners, etc.  they create a wage of a company and that is why employers value communication skills.

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

By writing we actually put what we know on a piece of paper and that is an actual proof of what we have learned.

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

This place is not going to do anything good for an individual and especially not in improving the speaking skills because we are surrounded by slang, poor communication and uneducated people, so any actual improvement requires more effort.

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

Both of them require a lot of work and dedication and if left alone, can cause a lot of damage.  Fitness, gaining weight and poorer health and communication becoming less interactive and less self-esteem.

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

Books are knowledge and different books contain different messages and ideas.  I read non-fiction books and all of them help me learn information that are going to be useful to me upon my release.

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

The question above can answer this one too!

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

They contain information that I did not know before and sooner or later there will be a situation where I am going to use that information to show people that I know a lot about different topics.

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?

In here, I got all the time in the world to learn and try to better myself which I do by developing my body through exercising and my mind through reading and studying and that is basically what every day is like in here.

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

Some people are just naturally at using words and communicating with others but as I mentioned before, I am a foreigner and that requires more effort.  I try to wright and read as much as I can and it is not like I have a choice by speaking it.

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

Poor, arrogant, full with slangs, some people are actually proud to be here and they do not need to speak or write in a normal way.

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

Based on the way I use English language, I do not expect anybody on the outside to notice that I have spent some time behind the bars because I am a well educated young man who knows what he wants and have enough respect not to use prison terms.

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

Pronunciation of the words, dropping words, etc., can change the view of the listener.

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

To be a leader, I have to look like one.  That is the reason why I am always groomed, clean, nicely smelling, etc., that plays a really big role because who does not know you judges you based on your looks.

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

People tend to judge us while we are in here but if we can show them in our journey what we had been doing while locked up, they can change their mind.

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? 

Talking alone sometimes can mean just a little bit educated but by writing down from what a book had done to help us prepare for the outside life.  Clear as day.

Marko Avramovic/ Class 5: Self-Improvement

December 13, 2012 in Self-Improvement, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Marko Avramovic

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

I try to distance myself from other prisoners because I cannot let anybody slow me down. I do associate with some people but the best way for me to learn something is on my own. 

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

Having a schedule based on what you are going to work is important just for the simple fact that you remind yourself all the time what your goals are and that leads you to success. 

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

Everything I do in here is going to benefit my life upon my release. From exercising to reading and writing.  I am changing physically and trying to change mentally so I can show the world that the prison does not make who I am. 

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? 

Yesterday I got up at 5am, worked out from 5:45-7am.  Ate breakfast, took a shower, went to work at 8am.  While at work I try to memorize 20-30 new Spanish words each day!  11am lunch and I was back in my room studying Spanish and going over my book.  5pm workout again (stomach and cardio), 7:15 dinner.  So if I continue like this, I will be just fine. 

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

I developed an ability that I did not have before I came in and that is listening and observing the people around me.  It helps me understand how people move, why they do what they do, different cultures, etc. and all of this is going to help me reach my goals on the outside.                    

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

Anything we do in here to waste our time and that is table games, watching TV, talking empty and so on.  I repeat again, prison is what you make out of it.                                                

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

Now to learn over here, we got all the time in the world to work on ourselves and if we choose wisely, we can do whatever we wanted. 

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

Dealing with a simple minded inmates.  By this I mean getting involved in situations that can cause conflicts.  We know what we can do but we can just guess what another is capable of doing over a TV, table game or sports.

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

Just the fact that I have a big number of people around me that show me support and love, show me that I am doing something right.  I work hard and the results started showing.  My will to change brought me to you guys and I think that is a big deal. 

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

As I mentioned above, staying away from trouble-making people and places is the best way to avoid problems. 

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

It is sad that I had to come to prison to realize what the real values of our life are.  I made bad decisions, left and right, did not think about the future at all, just money and partying.  Decision making process BAD! 

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

It makes us see our weak points, our strengths, helps us prepare for the challenges that await us after we go out. 

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

Activities that I do on my own such as studying, reading and writing, exercising, thinking, etc. 

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

Playing against the system in order to gain something good for yourself.  Michael had an experience when he tried to collect the date for his book about the prison system and they sent him across the state line and he could not see his family, etc. 

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

Watching TV, playing games, wasting time in global.  Everything that is done in order to just pass time falls in this group. 

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

Everything that involves a disciplinary action against an inmate.  That is called hustling in prison and it is never worth it but some people are in a bad position and they do it. 

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

I am always aware of my surroundings, I mean, you have to be and I am the one who chooses what I am going to get myself involved in, based on the risk level. 

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

Any class that is gonna teach us something new and useful might be very helpful.  Classes such as welding, core class, automotive, Microsoft word, etc.,  All of those classes are helpful because they teach you new ways to get money. 

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

Since the first day I got locked up, I kind of knew that I wanted to be in fitness world and I want to open up a language school. 

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

FITNESS:  knowledge first of all and the HFPT license.  MY SCHOOL:  also knowledge and certificates to show the proof of the knowledge. 

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

It gives me more info on the subject, I can see different situations, different scenarios.  I can basically improve my level of understanding and knowledge. 

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

Writing, speaking, reading skills are always good to work on.  One has to set up the goal and to figure out what is the necessity for the job he is looking for upon release and just work on that.

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

It is important to have something to show when you apply for work because you have to remember in the eyes of the employer we are just a man at first with a criminal record. 

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

All of them prefer people with a degree no matter where you go.

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

Honesty, dignity and basically being a man.  No degree or university can give you that.  You have to work hard in order to get an honest and good life.

                                       

Marko Avramovic/ Class 4: Life Management Skills

December 13, 2012 in Life Management Skills, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Marko Avramovic

105. How would you define your life management skills?

I can freely say that I am good at achieving my goals.  Once I have a vision in my mind of what I want to do or because I go for it with full force and 100% commitment whether my goals are connected to sports, fitness or business.

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

All of them do!  What I do everyday and the way I move around and interact with people influence my re-entering into society.  The way I take care of myself, what I eat, the way I exercise, what I read, all of it influences me to some way.

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

The fact that I hardly have any free time to waste shows me that I on a good way to because successful upon my release and if I had done the same prior to my arrest, I would have never gone to prison in the first place.

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

We are whom we hang out with!  That simply means that if we surround ourselves with people that try to do good and actually try to do some positive things, we are going to do the same.

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

As I said above, great minds think alike.  So if we show people around us that we are serious about what we do, the same minded people are going to encourage and join us in the fight.

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?

In every single way!  If he had come in the system like most of the convicts, he would have never been in a situation to receive my letter now J and thank him for that way of thinking.

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

My life has changed a lot since I got arrested.  I think in a different way and now I have a vision how my life should be and I have goals to achieve.  Goals that are going to make my family and people around me live better.

Now I know what the real values of life are and what to respect and who deserves to be a part of my life journey.

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

I can compare my adjustment to the closest person to me in here, my friend Mike because his schedule is similar to mine and plus he is my workout partner which on it’s own, takes a lot of patience. On the other hand, there’s a lot of drop outs around us.

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

It compares to most of the profiles in Michael’s books, of course the positive ones because I have not done anything to waste my time in here.  Every moment is dedicated to the world on the other side of the fence.

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?

As like him, I have been working hard to get where I am mentally and physically and will continue to do the same until the day I leave.

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?

Right now I’m working on securing my income upon my release and I’m trying to develop as many skills as I can that will keep me moving through my life.

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

It is a fact that prison is what you make out of it.  There is people within these walls that a person like me can learn a lot from and that is what I try to do.  Learn as much good as possible.

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

I keep company to people that are intellectuals that can teach me things that I did not know before connected to business, fitness, new languages, etc.

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

Intellectual conversation, dedication in everything I  do drives a lot of people close to me because there is not a lot of people with that ability.

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

Until now, I have had a couple of business opportunities, just because of my relationships with the right people.

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

Some people are just tempted by “easy money”, even though after serving all that time in prison, Red had a really good job upon release but that was just not enough because he could not just let the old Red go.

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

I have to show myself and people in society that I am a worthy and hard working person.  That the bad decision that I made before does not decide who I am.

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

Through talking to a person, one can see whom he is talking to.  The way of talking shows how educated a person is and how polite.

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

Whenever a person works, he/she represents a company, so that being the case, a person’s appearance and looks play a big role in hiring.

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

It means you gotta put yourself into achieving your goal 100%.  Everything you do or say has to be connected to the values by which you have plan to live.

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

If somebody is talking one thing and does another, I do not even bother myself by talking further with him except a casual nod or hi, how are you.

 

Marko Avramovic/ Class 3: Accountability

December 13, 2012 in Accountability, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Marko Avramovic

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

They help for sure because the logs remind you what you are working for at all times.  Without it one can quit and not feel any guild but when you see the paper, it’s not that easy.

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?

They are probably going to be stored because they are not used to that kind of dedication and discipline.

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

You can see the progress, the hustle that we put into achieving our goals!!  Normal people know how to appreciate time spent on making ourselves better people.

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

All of them got the best out of the situation, that we found ourselves in and by accepting the fact that our past life does not do us any good, we are forced to change the flow of our destiny.

101. How do universities evaluate which students to admit?

Based on the scores from the different tests, attendance, sport skills (rewards, etc).  Basically, they try to adopt people that make the school look good.

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

They rely on credit card payments, credit reports, and if you follow the plan, you are going to be just fine.

103. What governs investment decisions that people make?

Several things:  first they make sure there is profit to be made and that they see through the history of the business.

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

My responses above show that it is a must for a prisoner to keep accountability logs to navigate him through a really rough path of imprisonment and to serve as a reminder of his own goals.

 

Marko Avramovic/ Class 2: Goals

November 18, 2012 in Goals, Straight-A Guide Curriculum by Marko Avramovic

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

Hard work and dedication.

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

When he completely practices and believes in his own values.

66. How does a person strengthen his integrity?:

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

Family issues, old life challenges, finding a job, reunion with people, etc.

68. Housing:

$10,000-1,000,000.

69. Household furnishings:

$5,000-10,000

70. Clothing: 

$500-1,500.

71. Transportation:

$5-1,000.

72. Incidentals:

$2,000

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?:

I am not sure because I have never been in this situation before and the answer would be a quest.

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?:

It all depends on a person.  I think that the person’s books, mind and behavior play a major role in that area.

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

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

All the way from $15 per hour, up to $50 per hour.

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

GED.

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

Well a lot of places do not hire people with a record, so the best solution is self-employment.

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

Above 10% for unemployed.

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?:

I would honestly expect the unemployment rate to be higher.

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

One month.

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?:

50%.

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

Among 2 people, $50,000-80,000.

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

When my plans go through, I expect more than average.

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

Helplessness, anger, rage, sadness.

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

By focusing on energy or something useful.

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?:

Living as a prisoner, not as a man.

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

It has a bad influence because it minimizes the resources and space for improvement.

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

By that we built our communication with people that support us and they lose faith in us.

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?

Except a couple of good vocational training classes, I cannot think of anything else.

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

There is no way for us to earn freedom except to snitch on somebody and that is not a good way to do so.

91. Describe the goals you have set?:

To master Spanish, to get in the best shape possible because that is going to be the must in the business field I am going to be in.

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

Explained above.

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

I can see the progress as I go.

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

Making one goal happen is what drives us to start going toward another one.

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

In that case I would know I am not as good as I want to get but that I am better than I use to be and it would make this whole thing easier.

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

Above answer is good enough for this question too.

Marko Avramovic/ Class 1: Values

August 1, 2012 in Straight-A Guide Curriculum, Values by Marko Avramovic

16. Who are you?

I am Marko.  I am a son, a brother, a boyfriend, a volleyball player, a Spanish and many more languages speaker.  I am a partner, a cousin.

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

I finished the veterinary studies in my country and was involved in a Business College (NVCE) in VA prior to my arrest.  The circumstances made me fall weak and accept an offer that put me on a journey to prison.

18. What are you going through now?

A lot of emotional stress that is caused by people disappearing from my life.  My father died 2 months ago and he was the most important person in my life.

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

19. Time remaining to serve.

I am going to keep on improving myself the way I have been in the past two years.  So I say that I am going to look great, know more languages, have at least two businesses, plans, etc.

20. One month after release.

I am definitely going to be a better son because I will be next to my mother that I have not seen in 5 years and a better brother.  They are going to be proud of me.

21. One year after release.

I am a personal trainer and an English language teacher.

22. Five years after release.

Have my own gym with a lot of clients and my own school of language.

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

I would say that depends on a person to person.  Some see us as trash of society because they do not know better because they believe what they see on the TV or hear on the radio so they believe no prisoner can be good.

24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:

Never as good people, rarely you see somebody who is presented in a good manner so it is not a surprise people will judge us.

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

Just say that I am not a type of a guy who sits and watches the tv all day or plays games.  I live to learn and to improve and that is where my time goes to.

26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?

Only in being in between four walls with the rest of them.

27. In what ways is your adjustment different?

Already explained above.

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

28. High security.

It does not matter where you are at.  Prison is what you make out of it.  If you stay out of problems and focus on the world on the outside, you are going to be able to improve yourself no matter where you are!!

29. Medium security. 

Same as above.

30. Low security. 

Same as above.

31. Minimum security. 

Same as above.

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

Most of them swear that they are never going to see prison again but most of them come straight back because they do not do anything to change so they go right back where they left off.

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

The way I do it!  Leave your gangster life behind and focus on the things that matter such as your family!!!

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

1.  Find what could be useful to do upon release!  2.  Focus on achieving your goals by learning the things necessary for succeeding.   3.  Stay on it!!!  Do not just say you are going to change, do something.

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?

Anything over a year for people that realize their mistakes from the get go and over 20 for people that go right back to the old ways.

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

I do not know why, but whomever I talk to they say that they expect people to go right back.

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

To stay out and be successful, rich and enjoy their life.

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

Very little.

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

For me a model inmate is somebody like Mr. Santos!!!  People with ideas and will power to follow them.

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

Not a lot of people are like him.  Most of us say but never do, so I guess that is the difference.

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

It did not help him that is for sure, it made him look at life differently.

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

To become a better man, husband, son to change and correct his mistakes.

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?

On a scale from 1 to 10, I would say 9 because most of my day is dedicated to studying and working.  I believe in myself and I know I can do better and stronger.

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

As I have said plenty of times to myself and others, I am shooting for the stars, once I finish this and that is why I am going through all of this.

45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?

Work you put in to make the aspiration come to realization.

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

I put at least 4-6 hours a day in different books and 2-3 hours in my workouts.

47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?

By taking daily blogs.

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

Really good, I know what to avoid in order to have my peace and quiet, in order to study and do more.

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

Spiritual and through email.

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

I know that is hard but my will to succeed is much greater than those challenges so I know that with the support of people that love me, I am going to be just fine.

51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?

The proof is in the pudding they say so when I start to see the results that is when I celebrate.

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

I receive emotional help from several people and that is what gives me the energy to keep on going.

53. Where did those choices lead?

To the successful career.

54. What did you value then?

My parents opinion, happiness, love, acceptance.

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

I would support them.

56. What would you do differently if you could?

Listen more to the people that cared about me instead of chasing after glory!

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

Have I known where I wanted to be in the future, the first day I did not know what had happened and what was to be expected.

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

It is a snowball reaction, once it keeps on rolling it gets bigger and bigger.  I follow a routine and all events are connected and played in advance.

59. Identify the values by which you live.

Honesty, hard work, dedication, spirituality, etc.             

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

 If I were not living by my own values, I would have been a hypocrite, so I try to live fully by them.

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

I do not know a lot of people out there that have values like me.  I just made a mistake so when society sees that I have changed and that I am a good person, they will except me.

62. Where does your allegiance lie?

No answer.

63. Are values situational or absolute?

Depends what you make of them.  For me they are absolute   because that is how I live my life.  Here and there you might add something but the same values are always there.


Copyright 2017 The Michael G. Santos Foundation