Phillip Jamison/ Class 1: Values

by Phillip Jamison


As a young boy, I would constantly be slapped around by circumstances, for I thought of myself as a human being affected by outside conditions.  I truly believed that I was a product of my environment who society frowned upon due to my ethnicity and physical appearance.  Following this faulty belief only resulted in fabricating a false image of myself, which later grew into habitual patterns of steroid abuse and alcoholism.  As I worked to achieve the successful American image through any means possible, these patterns grew into criminal behavior.  Despite my need to succeed, my actions only constituted in losing an 11 year military career, my wife and earning a long-term federal incarceration.  In the long run the internal scars left from the unbearable stress and anxiety that comes from the day to day life of a convict will stick with me for the rest of my life.  With all things to consider, the pain of discipline would have been far-less greater than the pain of regret.

In the month of February of 2012, I began involving myself in a behavior modification program known as the Straight-A-Guide.  Though confined within the dark and lonely pitfall of imprisonment, the Straight-A-Guide helped me to foster the skills and knowledge I needed to progress myself into a greater modeled “AUTHENTIC” law-abiding citizen.  Further, it educated me on how to properly seek out methods on achieving personal growth within the prison infrastructure.  The Straight-A-Guide became the paradigm shift that changed my life for the better.  Through the process of reeducation, I learned how to expand the quality of my life by creating values to adhere to and setting clearly defined goals to achieve.  In addition, as I ventured through prison I diligently continued seeking out new methods on achieving positive growth.  Through this process I discovered a drug rehabilitation program known as the Residential Drug Abuse Program or “RDAP”.  This program allowed me to confront my struggle with drug addiction.  RDAP fortified me with more wisdom and knowledge that will support me in dealing with life’s challenges beyond imprisonment.  Every piece of knowledge gained on this journey is an extra tool I can add to my arsenal to succeed.

The real challenge, however, begins on the day I am released from the clutches of confinement. Beyond the ex-felon, it is my duty and responsibility to live my life in accordance to the principles of good conduct.  I will lead with integrity and convey the knowledge I’ve learned from the Straight-A-Guide.  Although I was once trapped in a concrete prison, this entire process of reeducation started out as a small seedling.  Through the saturation of commitment and the fertilization of willingness, it precociously developed strong shrubs with tough pliable shoots – later maturing into an everlasting  pliant willow tree.  “And blessed are the flexible for they shall not be broken” –McGriffy, Michael.  The roots of this development will stick with me through the rest of my life…

16. Who are you?

The greatest gift a man can receive is the gift of fatherhood. As a proud father of 2 beautiful little miracles, both of my children were born prematurely and with special needs.  But, through many prayers and blessings, they’re now living healthy peaceful lives.  Throughout my life, I have always demonstrated to be a highly motivated, goal oriented individual who consistently aimed for success and totality.  In spite of this, I’ve learned that life has many obstacles. Although this may be true, how one chooses to overcome these obstacles molds them into the people they are today.  As each of us  overcome the obstacle we can learn from our strengths and weaknesses, because ultimately true strength is the flower of wisdom, but it’s seeds are action.

Growing up in the once small town of Vacaville, CA, life was simple.  Throughout my childhood I was a quiet skinny little kid who occasionally got picked on, but always found a way to deal with the complications through hobbies.  With this said,  I loved martial arts and enjoyed spending time with my father the most.  As I slowly matured, I began learning that I’m part of a legacy of military warriors.  My father served in the Vietnam conflict, my grandfather served in the Navy during the Korean War, my 2nd grandfather served in the Army 442nd Regiment during the Battle of Anzio and my great grandfather served in World War 2.  With this in mind, I knew from the young age of 12 that I was destined to one day serve my country, honor my roots and join the military.  I began preparing myself for the ultimate goal of being a United States Navy SEAL. Throughout my teenage years, I would consistently train in area’s such as swimming, running, calisthenics and martial arts because I firmly believed that “the vision of the future must first build on the strength of the past.”

At age 16, I successfully earned my black belt in Taekwondo.  Later I began demonstrating good leaderships skills by teaching children and adults discipline and self-defense.  Shortly after high school I left for Navy basic training in Great lakes, IL.  Upon leaving Great Lakes, I received orders to the USS Thomas S. Gates (CG-51) where I would spend a few years as a Deck Seaman and a Gunners Mate, operating heavy and light machine guns along with various other small arms.  Additionally, I would operate our ships larger weapons systems such as the Mark 45/5 Inch Gun Mounts and SMS Guided Missile Systems.  This job was highly rewarding and a great stepping stone for my Naval career which required a high level of self-discipline, and keen attention to detail skills.

In the year 2003, I finally received orders to Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training (BUD/S) class 249.  While entering into a winter class at 5’7 and 135 pounds soaking wet, I knew that I had to learn how to embrace the cold waters of Coronado, CA.  Although my nerves were shot for the many challenges that lie ahead, I was mentally and physically prepared to face my dream head on.  BUD/S is a 24-week training program that develops a Navy SEAL candidates mental and physical stamina and leadership skills.  The United States military classifies SEAL Training to be the toughest military training in the country.  As the training progresses one day after the other, the exercise scenarios grow harder and more intense.  This goes with say that the Navy SEAL motto is “the only easy day was yesterday.” To complete a goal of this magnitude requires a strong indomitable spirit, self-discipline, determination and an optimistic mind.  One has to be willing to look beyond the obstacle!  SEAL’s are given the best training of any other military unit in the country and  the highest government funding which grants them the best equipment or “tools of war.”  But ultimately, it possess a team camaraderie like none other.

As I successfully completed a majority of the training, a chilling challenge emerged. This was a challenge known as “Surf Torture”.  During Surf Torture the entire class is ordered to link arms and walk waist deep into the ocean which was averaging 52 degrees Fahrenheit.  The class is then required to sit-down, lay back and endure the harsh pain of the liquid ice and heavy beatings from the waves for hours.  Hoo-yah hypothermia… Through this evolution, seconds seem like minutes, minutes seem like hours and hours feel like an eternity.  On this day, I discovered that this training was to much for me to handle at the time.  With this said, I gave up…

After dropping out, I was required to wait 2 years before re-submitting a request to repeat BUDS training.  Through time I allowed the shame and devastation of failure to conquer over me.  As I looked at my glass half-empty,  I decided to experiment with Anabolic Steroids.  For this reason, I felt that steroids could increase my ability to complete BUD/S training upon returning.  As I looked into the future I was optimistic on what I saw ahead.  Years later I became a weapons support team member of an elite Explosives Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit out of San Diego, CA. In addition, I was married and had 3 beautiful children and plenty of hobbies.  My duty assignment at EOD required a firm level of responsibility, for I was delegated to control all of the teams ammunition, arms, and explosives asset materials.  In essence, many would define this as a life of “totality”.  However, through time the use of this drug only resulted in undesirable consequence.  This destroyed relationships, it ended my career in the Navy, and altered my life.  Ultimately it never allowed me to ever return to back to BUD/S.

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

Steroid Addiction + Pride = Grandiosity

My addiction grew so far out of control that I made the irrational decision to market equipment from my job station as a method of feeding my grandiose lifestyle.  At age 30, on 6 Nov. 2009 I was interrogated by Naval Criminal Investigation Services (NCIS) and Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in San Diego, CA.  I openly took full accountability for illegally selling government equipment without a license.  Shortly after the interrogation, I retained a civilian criminal defense attorney to help me face the issue at hand.  On 14 Jan. 2010, my 11 years of honorable military service came to an end.  Despite not having a criminal history of any sort, as well as my history of never having any None Juridical Punishments (NJP’s) in the U.S. Navy, I was sentenced to 30 months of incarceration followed by 3 years of supervised release on 4 Nov. 2011.  Needless to state, the pain of discipline would have been far less greater then the pain of regret.

Through pre-trial, I made use of my time wisely by going to school full-time with the goal of pursuing a Bachelors in Business and Administration at San Francisco State which will also be followed by a Masters Degree.  But when I was away from the college books, I was a co-owner of a mixed martial arts studio in Vacaville, CA where my partner and I had 32 students.  We would teach various disciplines such as the art of Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and ground tactics.  In addition, I was in the process of gaining a license to compete in the profession fight organization known as “King of the Cage.”

Prior to my stay in Vacaville, I was living in Ventura, CA taking college courses at Ventura Community college and working full-time at an internet marketing firm in Agoura Hills, while my pregnant wife remained in Bakersfield with her family.  Months later, my son was born.  However, his birth called for an emergency cesarean section due to his arrival time being 2 months earlier then his scheduled due date.  After his birth, the stress of having to be an absent father and husband grew greater due to my work and college being 200 miles from them.  Whether things became to complicated, I knew they were counting on my success for a better future.

18. What are you going through now?

I am currently in my 3rd month of incarceration.  Since I’ve been a resident of Lompoc Prison Camp, I have dedicated my time to becoming a certified “Toast Masters Speaker”.  I’m also continuing with my educational courses through Coastline College still eager to pursue my educational goals.  In my spare time I focus a lot on my Michael G. Santo’s Guide and improving my physical fitness abilities.  Regardless of being incarcerated with in the prison system and following legal rules as well as inmate rules, I still adhere to my military rules.  Just like the Navy’s 4 weapons safety rules, here are my 4 inmate safety rules.  1) Treat every inmate the way you want to be treated.  2) Never put yourself in a venerable situation where your forced to fight, because the ending results will be the S.H.U. where you have “lost” good time.  3) Keep your mouth closed and your ears open when needed especially in the presents of a CO.  4) Keep an opened mind and stay under the wire…  Don’t be a man who walks around posturing up to around the inmates, for arrogance brings challenges.  “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked and bridle, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” — Bruce Lee

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

19. Time remaining to serve.

During the time I have left to serve her at LPC, I plan on remaining as positive, self-motivated and an optimistic individual.  Once a day, I’ll think of new inputs I can annotate with in my Michael G. Santos booklet.  I plan on constantly going one direction in my physical fitness abilities which is up.  Everyday I’ll thank God for blessing me with my two kids and my loving parents who have demonstrated true meaning of unconditional love.  Through them, I have seen that “when we love someone, it isn’t because the persons perfect, it’s because we’ve come to love an imperfect person perfectly.”  THAT’S UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!

20. One month after release.

First things first, I’m going to give my mom and dad hug and thank them for supporting my through my days of incarceration.  With in this time I will either be in a halfway house or better yet, living with my parents until I gain enough income to support myself.  I should be enrolled back in college finishing off my Bachelors in Business and Administration.  In addition, I will return back to the Mixed Martial Arts gym, teaching students martial arts as well as gaining more clients for the company.  This will be a challenging.  However, “the 1000 mile journey begins with one step.”

21. One year after release.

By my one year mark of release, a plan on fully earning the trust of my probation officer.  In this year and beyond, I’ll be a man of true to myself, show honesty to others and live a life of solid integrity.  I will be living in my own apartment and have custody of my kids.  Also, I should be moving along into my next semester of college.  “As I look forward, I am very optimistic about the things I see ahead.”

22. Five years after release.

By this point in my life I should be at the complete state of tranquility and totality.  I will have earned my Masters Degree in Business and Administration, owning my own home, have a wonderful paying job. Both of my kids should be 8 and 9 years old and in elementary school.  The best part is the time I once served at Lompoc Prison Camp will be behind me for good.  Amen!

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

As once a member of society whose never been convicted of a crime until recently.  I’ve noticed that people have a bias outlook towards prison inmates as well as former inmates.  They perceive them to be a danger to society and generally make the assumption that once a prisoners released back society, they will only find themselves facing the harsh end of another sentence.  If members of society could learn about the backgrounds and true character of some prisoners, they could perhaps make the discovery that “every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.”

24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:

Hollywood has tendency of putting prisoners out there to be heinous, lawless, and hateful people.  The character television presents a prisoner to be is usually an evil person who preys the weak.  Many times I have watched movies and television shows which include men and women serving time in a correctional institution not only to end up hearing the person to my left say the words “lock them up and throw away the key”, for such a petty crime.  Don’t get me wrong, but I’m a firm believer that anyone who murders in the 1st degree, rapes or molesters children should without a doubt be held to the highest degree.  By committing such a heinous crimes, there’s no debt that could be returned to a people whose lost there loved one of the life you took or no return of the dignity from the person you forced yourself onto.  The individual committing the crime can’t ever be corrected.  However, people connected to a white collar crime and other crimes unrelated to those can be.

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

Regardless of once proudly serving my country in the worlds finest Navy, I am still looked upon as a typical prisoner.  It goes with the quote “you can do a thousand great things and never be noticed for it, but do one bad thing and everybody hates you”.  I can see it in the eyes of most of the correctional officers I’ve encountered here.  They see me as another rotten apple at the bottom of the crate.  The prison system creates a type of bad energy in which it makes an individual feel unworthy to society.  However, there are a select few who have perceived me as a young man who made a terrible decision while at his crossroads.

26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?

There are some inmates who look at me as a man who was once a soldier and other inmates who look at me as another fish in the shark tank.  The inmates I have found myself creating a bond with are men who once served in the U.S. Military such as my bunkmate Jerry George who once served in the U.S. Army as a Frontline Observer FO in Vietnam.  He has been serving a 37 year sentence since the 70′s.  Whether I’m in an element filled with men of torn spirits, low moral or men who tell you the words “you can’t.”  I still make it a point to discover new ways in bettering myself as a man.  As my father once said, if you exhaust the body, proceed the mind and cultivate the spirit, one can overcome any odds.

27. In what ways is your adjustment different?

Regardless of being an inmate amongst many others.  I consider myself to be a different prisoner stereotype.  None the less, in the eyes of the correctional officer staff, I’m just another individual serving time at a federal prison.  Whether I’ve made the ultimate decision to commit a federal crime, I strongly believe I’m different for many reasons.  I believe one is due to my uprising as a child which comprised of a high level of discipline for my father is a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces and a Vietnam Veteran.  His discipline from his uprising in addition to the discipline and responsibility he has absorbed through his time in the military pasted onto me as a young child. Other reasons are my educational background, my services to the country via U.S. Navy and my motivation and positive attitude towards daily life, while I’m in a harsh element or not.  Also, I’m an anti-gang  related and not tattoo’d from head to toe.  My boys where the men back at EOD!  But one of the greatest area’s that separate me the most from other inmates is my constant feeling of regret.  I will always be forced to live and deal with with the burden of once letting the U.S. Navy down and my chief.  Many other inmates don’t feel regret…

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

28. High security.

A person of this security level houses individuals serving time for committing crimes of the highest degree. A high level penitentiary offers educational programs where an inmate can be given the opportunity to earn a degree.  However, due to the lack of motivation and the willingness to move forward in an element where positive moral fails to flow.  Inmates learn the drive to yearn, earn and learn. Like a concrete jungle in a maze filled with heavy activity. Mental toughness is a key element.

29. Medium security.

Gang activities amongst the inmates are just as active in a medium facility.  Violence can run high and self esteem can be low. Many inmates choose to take advantage of the opportunities the prison has to offer. Medium’s can house inmates serving life sentences, murder, and more. So safety and awareness is a constant.

30. Low security.

The tension is lower  that at a medium. But you are not out of the jungle just yet. The quadruple stacked razz sharp serpentine wire still houses inmates who have been charged for murder and individuals who have committed rape crimes. Safety is still paramount. Although this may be true, the opportunities for growth increases. Prisoners hold more of a positive attitude because they are closer to home, and they hope to transfer to the camp.

31. Minimum security.

I can personally state the the nature of a minimum level prison shares the same characteristics of a military boot camp. Inmates are dressed in classic military greens, bedding must be tight and the hems must be folded 6 inches from the top.  Personalities and overall inmate moral levels are high. There are drug programs, rehab programs, and recreational activities. This is the last step prior to release.

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

I’ve yet to encounter an inmate stating they will return. The many men I have met here at Lompoc Prison have generally made the statement that they plan on not going back to the previous life they once lived. Facing a society with a felony conviction can be tough. Employers will constantly question an individuals integrity and deny hiring to the point of an individual feeling as if they are paddling a canoe up a stream.  Personal growth and education is key to an individuals relevancy to today’s society.  The opportunity to move forward in life actually begins the day you step foot on prison grounds.  How an inmate chooses to utilize his time while incarcerated may have a direct reflection on their ability to progress forward after release. The vision of the future may be built on the strength of the past.

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

Education, education, education! This begins with developing a map of how you plan to create a better you. Your probation officer and future employers want to see that you’ve taken the personal initiative to better yourself and expand your schedule.  In addition, once must commit to a financial plan of saving x amount of money.

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

One must discipline themselves and honor their commitment to be successful to better their chances after release. Like a Marine sniper once told me “when you aim for perfection, in the end you discover it was a moving target.”

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 think that anyone away from your loved ones, especially your children is enough punishment. However, I would consider three years of prison long-term.  Within three years of your absence from family or society in general family may forget about you and economical challenges occur.

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

They may expect one to lack integrity and look down upon them.  They may see one to be a threat to society and parasitic. Rather than reaching out to help another citizen or looking beyond the criminal, they’d rather pass judgment.  In the end, it shouldn’t matter who you once where, but only who you are now.

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

For the time I’ve been incarcerated, I have met a number of long term inmates. Some have held positive mentalities, while others are depressed and delusional.  I’ve heard 3 inmates state that they’ve been continuously battling the govt for years over their imprisonment for unfair sentencing.  Their hope is to be one day be successful, resulting in a heavy counter suit as a reward. In the end the years pass by unsuccessfully. Many do focus on what they can do upon release; others are aware of the odds and reduced expectations and work hard all day, developing themselves. Sun Tzu once stated”strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” The road to creating a better you begins in hell and ends off with a heavenly result. Trying to create your own heaven through wrongful practice at the beginning will only result in creating your own hell in the end… Failing to achieve personal growth could result in an inmate going back to his old law breaking ways as means of getting ahead financially while back in society.

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

Staff, I have noticed, are the “cattle drivers” while the inmates are the catle. They perceive a long term prisoner to lack trust and disobedient. Rather than building up moral and creating a more positive atmosphere, staff and administrators would rather be unsupportive. In the realm of corrections, how can one be corrected while the systems lacks any personal growth support.

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

A broken man with a crushed soul. They lack motivation to drive forward and many stop caring. Many choose to lay down and just die rather than getting back on their horse and riding to success. In a surrounding that could drive one insane, many inmates just give in and accept it. Many accomplish nothing.  They leave having accomplished nothing.

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

His story supports and refutes prison stereotypes.  It aids in showing the true character and nature of a man in prison. I learned that no matter how hard he worked it may not change the way you are treated. He is just another inmate, despite all he has done. He shows that no matter what is going through, we can rise above it.  By suppressing inmate stereotypes, one can become better educated and achieve personal growth. Inmates must leave prison and be released back to society a more confident individual.

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

No matter what he did he was treated the same. Mr. Santos described it to be communistic like. It generates the same characteristics as the first phase of military training camp in the same form of breaking down a soldier. But the military camp breaks them down, only to rebuild them. Here when you are down they kick you. They expect us to find our own method of growth and development. The foundation here hinders an inmate to properly prepare themselves to face society.

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

Mr. Santos had a vision of living a successful life upon release. Rather than dwell on serving a sentence of 45 years he worked hard and developed skills and knowledge to help him reach his goal of living each day to the fullest. His vision started out as a small seed. Through absorbing years of knowledge, like water, it nourished the seed. Later this resulted into growing into a tall tree branching out to reach other inmates like me.

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?

I have dedicated my heart and soul to preparing myself for successful future upon release. My future depends on it and so does the future of my family. My decisions made throughout my time of incarceration have a direct reflection on my success or failure on my future. Like Isaac Newtons law of motion “for every action, there’s an equal or opposite reaction.” Don’t be the one who waits for the storm to pass by. Learn to get out and dance in the rain. I plan on completing the Straight-A Guide, getting Toast Master Certified, continuing to enhance my physical fitness abilities and earn more college credits while imprisoned.

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

In late 2013, I plan on leaving prison for good. I will life with my father and enroll back into college to pursue my masters in business. In addition, I’ll be back in action teaching martial arts as well as personal training at my mixed martial arts academy. Once I’ve gained enough income, I plan on moving to the next level of getting my own apartment and living on my own. Later, I plan to reach out to military veterans having a hard time dealing with society and making amends. I will use my past experience of how I went from a soldier to an inmate and how I triumphed over the situation.

45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?

Fantasy is a product of imagination that is created in our minds; aspiration is something great, a desire to achieve something real. If your aspiration is to one day be a millionaire you will find a way to get there. If you only daydream you will have that outcome.

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

My day starts at 0600 where I work as a landscape artist in a guards office neighborhood. At 2.30 pm I return back to camp to complete one of my daily exercise routines. There after, I begin thinking and writing out what I will say in my next toastmasters meeting. Then I focus on my Straight-A Guide work. I life each day with a positive attitude, knowing if I maintain and work I will be successful, and that my time here will have been positive step in my life.

47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?

Like Mr. Santos, I set weekly goals for myself. These goals keep me occupied and productive, and helps my time here fly smoothly. It also helps me stay motivated and gives me a sense of achievement. By failing to meet these goals I only let myself down. I am consistently striving to discover new ways on how to expand my personal growth and achievement.

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

For a positive and negative purposes, I prefer knowing and understanding everything about my surroundings.  For instance, don’t trust an inmate and always avoid confrontations, gangs and gambling area’s.  This is a place of men who are experts at manipulating others and men who pray on weaker individuals.  Some men may act kind and giving.  However, the givee may mistaken it to be kind jester of good will from the inmate, only later to find out that he owes him something in return, only putting himself between a rock and a hard place.  It’s only better to just not engage.  I myself choose to be the type of inmate who stays under the wire and low profile.  To much attention, like a nail that stands out gets hammered.

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

I always make it appoint to stay connected with my family.  Being in prison can give you feeling that your no good to yourself or anyone else.  This may feel like a nail in the foot making you not want to do anything, or go anywhere with your life.  So family is a wonderful way to raise your spirits, keep the faith and help you through it.  Methods I use to reach out to them are writing letters, and email.  In addition, every weekend I’ll make it a point to contact them via telephone to find out any useful information, new news, or for any support needs I require to help me through my incarceration.  And to top it off, I may call just to simply thank them for everything they’ve done to help me out and to tell them I love them.

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

One of the biggest challenges I have to face is convincing a judge that I’m a wonderful, and fully fit father as I proceed forward in my divorce.  Divorce is something I never thought I’d ever have to face, but in this case it’s highly necessary.  “Most people say they are willing to meet each other halfway; trouble is most people are poor judges of distance.”  In addition, the true character of a friend or loved one comes up when your down.  This may be a challenge, for the judge could frown upon the fact that I’m a convicted felon and due to the nature of my charge for “Exporting Military Defense Articles w/o a License.”  The negativity I’ve created through my past illegal actions could outweigh my present positive actions.  Another challenge I’ll be facing is the possibility of potential employers denying me employment based on my criminal history.  Passing an employment background check will be a great challenge, but convincing an employer that I am an honest man who now holds solid integrity and accountability with the past behind me will be the greater challenge.  When I read novels, I hardly never go back a chapter.  This goes for my life too.

51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?

I celebrate success twice a day.  One at work, directly after lunch when I can be alone in a backyard, at one of the vacant homes I maintain.  I thank Jesus Christ for his protection on my babies and me.  In addition to that, I thank him for blessing me with the family I have that came forward for me when I needed them most.  “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress, working together is success.” Than secondly, I celebrate success at 10:00 p.m. during lights out for successfully making it through another day.

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

There are many who have played a role in my success with more successful moments to come.  First and for most, I am forever grateful to my parents who have supported me on getting through this and helping me remain positive and optimistic during my most harshest and stressful moments while awaiting pre-trial.  Also, in helping me out with my supporting needs while incarcerated.  I am fortunate for there are many mothers and fathers who turn their backs on their children for making mistakes for crimes of a lesser nature.  I am bless for my parents for never giving up on me!  Another additional person I owe gratitude to is my college English instructor Ms. Jen Levinson.  Not only as a wonderful instructor who taught me the proper reading and writing skills for future needs, but as a person who demonstrated an unbiased attitude towards the challenge of incarceration I’m forced to face and was a person I could talk with in building my spirits prior to my imprisonment.  And finally, I owe it to my kids for giving me a greater reason to want be a better man, a better dad and a better son.  Nothing has been more rewarding than being a father to my kids…

53. Where did those choices lead?

At about my mid-point in my Naval Career, I began making bad decisions.  This was a result of failing to complete my long-term goal and dream of being a U.S Navy SEAL.  As a slender 142 lb man, with complications of gaining weight needed to survive the cold waters of Coronado, Bay.  I felt the need to break the laws of my own genetics.  So I began experimenting with anabolic steroids in hopes to gain some extra size and weight, taking me above and beyond my fitness abilities.  “To the edge.” While noticing amazing results in myself and the eyes of others, it became an addiction.  This later escalated into greater problems.  I would us my own primary finances to support my habit in purchasing more steroids, neglecting to pay bills which later resulted in my financial credit plummeting down hill.  However, the true harsh reality is that most people fail at life because the wishbone is where the backbone should be.

54. What did you value then?

The thing I valued most and most of all was becoming a U.S. Navy SEAL.  Nothing else in my life mattered.  Not college nor girlfriends.  Only being a member of America’s top team.  My main focus was enhancing my physical fitness abilities and mental toughness in preparing me for Basic Underwater Demolition SEAL Training.  Other things I valued were possessions such as my sports cars and firearms.  Every month, I chose to put my hard earn income into enhancing or converting these possessions rather then saving for something of more importance such as college or a house.  In the end, I’ve learned that these possessions all stood for one value.  And that value was pride.  In the end got me absolutely no where.  “No one ever choked swallowing his or her own pride.”

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

I would teach them the importance of choice and accountability and the value of listening to experience.  As their father I will continue to give them advice.  I’ll developed a relationship with my children, especially when their young where they know that I love them and can trust me.  “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.

56. What would you do differently if you could?

If I could reset my life and do it all over again.  “The vision of the future must be built on the strength of the past.”  As a high school student, I would strived on gaining as much knowledge as I could in sports nutrition.  For this reason, I believe I never would have thought about using any anabolic steroid products.  In addition, I would have made in my goal not to consumed a large amount of caffeine products as I did.  This highly suppressed my appetite rendering it nearly impossible to enhance muscle growth and physical endurance.  When one takes his body through the extreme physical abuse of BUD/S.  Proper nutrition is a key ingredient to muscle recovery, muscle growth and preventing the body from thermal breakdown while exhausted and starved in the heat of the moment.

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

I am currently with in my third month of incarceration.  When I first checked into prison, I felt rather intimidated about being in the presents of other inmates due to the stereotypes television has perceived prisoners to be.  In addition, I have never served time before so I didn’t know what to expect.  Furthermore, I was worried most of all about how I would manage on piecing my life back together after release.  No more then a month into incarceration I became actively dedicated into completing my Straight-A-Guide.  This opened my eyes to the prison systems and helped me to understand what I was up against for the next two and a half years.  This helped in suppressing my stress and anxiety of being in prison and supported me in thinking more positive about the outcome of my future upon release.  Whether I’m having to serve time at a federal prison camp, I still have a long life ahead of me.  Though I can’t do much about the length of my life, I can still do alot about it’s depth and width.

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

Beginning with my Straight-A-Guide.  I’ve made it a point to complete a mandatory of 5 responses per week in my journal.  If I fail to meet these demands, I’ll be required to make them up the following week.  Secondly, every week I strive on increasing my communication skills and comfort levels of being in front of large crowds through Toast Masters classes.  Occasionally I would give a presentation on a various topic to a class full of federal inmates.  Third my physical fitness plan consists of light weight and high repetition weight training my first week, while my second week consists of heavy weights and low repetition training.  Each week alternates back and forth with the intensity levels increasing through time.  Also, twice a week I’d participate in a Yoga class which helps to increase my fitness abilities through stretches and power posing.  Though I’m currently incarcerated, I choose to find things of a productive nature rather then just killing time. For this reason, when you kill a little time, you may be murdering opportunity.

59. Identify the values by which you live.

Regardless of being a man whose made the corrupt decision as an active duty service member.  I still follow the three Navy core values.  Honor, courage and commitment.  To add to that, I also follow fitness, fatherhood, self-discipline and appreciation.

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

My daily activities harmonize from the moment I wake up and to the second I lay my head down to rest.  For example, I demonstrate commitment and self-discipline at work as a landscape artist by always going the extra mile.  It’s my duty only to maintain the correctional officers lawns by mowing them.  However, even though I make $20 a month, I’ll willing take the initiative to water their plants, take out their trash cans, give their dogs water and clean up after them.  Whether many of the correctional officers have a bias outlook towards the inmates.  Just like a good soldier, I’ll always go beyond my duties to help others out, even if I gain nothing from it.  If I can go the extra mile to simply earn a smile then that’s good enough for me.

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

As I’m released back into society.  My plan will be to help and mentoring others facing harsh and strenuous conditions.  Whether their faced with law related issues or a soldiers returning back to society facing combat related issues whether physical or mental.  Through example, I’ll show them that no matter how bitter life can be or how hard a man can fall.  One can rise up if they follow their values and persevere through it.

62. Where does your allegiance lie?

I dedicate all of my allegiance to my daughter Justus and my son Kai.  I will continue to strive on being a better father and a successful person.  They motivate me to want to achieve great success and strive for more.

63. Are values situational or absolute?

All of my values that I engage in as a way of life are absolute.  For a man who to be situational only lives for the moment failing to carry values onto the next phase.  As a father and as a military veteran, I continuously embody all of my values within any given situation life gives me.


Phillip Jamison/ Class 2: Goals


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