Seth Ferranti/ Class 7: Support Network
174. In what ways do you perceive relationships with people you knew prior to confinement to evolve over the course of your imprisonment?
My relationships with everyone I knew prior to my incarceration has evolved. They saw me at my worst, when I was a criminal and a drug addict. They knew waht I was capable of and witnesses my actions first hand. They have seen me evolve into the person I am today. From an irresponsible, immature, self centered and spoiled little kid into a mature, hard working, caring and responsible grown man. I know they can see the change because they tell me. Even from the beginning of my bid. When I used to ask for money I used to get things like this isn’t for drugs is it and I would have to offer up excuses and convince them that it wasn’t. Nowadays if I say I need some money for some tennis shoes they believe me and send the money so there is a profound difference.
175. In what ways have you nurtured support networks during the time you’ve served thus far?
I have stayed in touch with a number of people and through my writing I have met and maintained contacts with a bunch of other writers and professionals who work at magazines and other legitimate business or who write books and have agents and stuff like that. Most of the people in my network of support I have never met personally. But I write them, email them and call them and I have developed relationships with them, lasting relationships and these people have helped me with my career in writing and helped me to achieve success. I am always looking for new contacts and people to correspond with and share my work with. Doing this provides me with opportunities that otherwise I would not have.
176. In what ways will the support network you have in place now contribute to your success upon release?
I believe the network I have in place now will help me tremendously when I get out. Right now I am severely restricted in my interactions with them due to phone minutes being limited and me being in prison but when I get out and I can go to industry events with these people and meet their agents and the people they know I will be able to impress more people with my work and make new connections that will help me to pursue the goals that I have to get into the film world.
177. In what ways would you build a strong support network while you climbed through years of imprisonment?.
I have always been a big self promoter. i have always been he type to send out loads of letters letting people in the media and magazine worlds know what I am doing concerning my writing. I have worked tirelessly and sent out 10,000 of letters promoting me, my website and my writings and books. Now i can email them so it works out better because i can contact them quicker and maintain a dialogue with them by email to try and advance myself and my work.
178. In what ways do support networks or the lack of support networks influence prison adjustments?
Support networks or the lack of support networks can influence prison adjustments because if you have people on the outside who care about you be they parents, siblings, spouses, kids or whatever it can make your life in prison easier. Either by putting money on your account so that you can use the phone, computer and go to commissary or by ordering and sending you books, magazines and even letters, these little things can give you comfort and convenience and lead to you doing your time easier. If you think no one cares about you, you might be more apt to going off the deep end and just reverting to the “I don’t give a fuck” attitude that got you in prison in the first place.
179. To what extent are the values that those in your support network embrace harmonious with the values you profess to embrace?
By corresponding with law abiding and productive members of society or people that aren’t criminals and don’t live criminal lifestyles it enables you to adapt your change of values more easily. You are always influenced by the company you keep and if you hang out with criminals then you will be talking about criminal things and thinking criminal thoughts. If you are around people that have lived law abiding lives and work for a living it will be easier to adapt and to accept that lifestyle instead of your previous one.
180. What steps are you taking now to build or nurture your support network?
I continue to email, use the phone and write letters and communicate with my immediate family. They visit me and we talk and we plan about my homecoming and what will need to be done to make my adjustment comfortable and lasting. I continue to try and expand my circle by meeting new people through my writing efforts and I am always trying to make new contacts that might be able to help me when I come home so that I can be in a better position. To me its not always what you know but who you know so I continue to build and expand my circle of contacts.
181. In what ways can those in your support network facilitate your aspirations?
By bringing my work to the attention of other people, my support network can facilitate my aspirations of getting what I am doing recognized and noticed by more people. I am trying to get as many people as I can to see what I am doing and to read the stuff I write and visit my website and check out what I am doing. This recognition will lead to me doing what I aspire to when I hit the streets and that is to get into the film industry and make films.
182. In what ways is your support network helping you now?
Right now my network of support is helping me by giving me forums to show what I am doing with my writing either in the form or articles in magazines or on the internet, ads to promote and market my work, or forums on radio shows to talk about what I am doing and let more people hear me talk and see what I am about. My network of supports is allowing me and helping me to sell myself and to seel my books and other merchandise that we have been putting together to help make gorillaconvict.com a successful internet business. That is a business I hope to step into when I come home.
183. What level of allegiance do you pledge to your support network?
I pledge ultimate allegiance to my support network. I am there for them in anyway possible and I seek to capitalize and follow through on everything i am doing so that they look good and smart for supporting me and what I am doing and trying to accomplish. Because they believed in me and held faith in me when there was nobody else. I am loyal to those who are loyal to me. I help those who help me. My gratitude is forever and indefinite.
184. What incremental action steps can you to take to bring people you do not currently know into your life?
I can keep writing and getting my writing posted on the internet so that people can read what I am experiencing and read what I am learning about so that they can learn who I am and what I stand for through my writing. When I make new contacts I seek to open a dialogue with them so that they can enter into my circle and share my triumphs, victories and disappointments. I am always trying to meet new people and advance my ideas and what I am doing and share my writing and my experiences and to get people to correspond with me in a productive manner.
185. What thoughts do you have about people who would be most influential to your possibilities for success upon release?
My thoughts are feelings of gratitude for giving me a chance. For believing in me and for keeping the faith. I seek to repay the kindness and consideration that has been granted me by showing what I can do and being all that I can be. By staying free and living a productive life and working through my projects and bringing them to completion. I seek to show that there faith in me was well chosen. I seek to justify their beliefs that I can change and be productive.
186. Who are they?
My wife, my mom, my dad, my family, my network of support which consists of other writers, magazine editors, other business people I have met that have pushed and marketed and sold my books and other products. These are the people that I owe a debt of gratitude to for having faith in me and what I am doing.
187. What interests do they have?
I would say they have a variety of interest some of their interests are personal in me, some in my writing and what I am doing, some because they believe my products will make money. Its very diverse but I appreciate the interest and I seek to do more when I come home and return the favors so to speak if I can and am able.
188. How can you make them aware of your aspirations?
I believe I have made everyone aware of my aspirations and what I plan to do when I come home. All the people in my network of support know that I plan to make films and that what I am doing now is just a prelude to that. But I ma open to any business ventures that will allow me to work on something I have a passion for and to make money, not necessarily for me but for my wife and family to repay them for the way they have stood by my side and taken care of me. Like I said it is a debt of gratitude that I must repay.
189. What impression would your adjustment through prison thus far make upon them?
I believe that my adjustment in prison over the years has made a good impression on them. They have seen how I have changed and what I have been doing to make sure that I am ready for my eventual release. My hard work speaks for itself and the tremendous obstacles I have overcome in prison to do all that I have done has been appreciated and admired by my network of support as they have been there every step of the way through my trials and tribulations. They have lived this sentence with me and their support has enabled to do what I have done and given me the ability and desire to keep pursuing the things I have pursued and to set my goals and accomplish them.
190. In what ways are you working to cultivate mentors?
Through my website, college correspondence work and emails I have cultivated a lot of mentors that are more than happy to critique my work and what I am doing and offer guidance as they have in the past and as they continue to do so. When I embark on something new, a project or idea or whatever I usually throw it out to my mentors and network of support to see what they say and to see what they think about what I am trying to do. I am always looking for guidance and people that can help me accomplish my goals. I have no problem playing my position and going under someone’s wing if that is what the situation calls for.
191. In what ways does your behavior or activities within prison boundaries influence your relationships?
By staying out of trouble, staying in touch, and connected to my network of support they can see that I am serious about my goals and aspirations. I don’t get into fights, do drugs or engage in negative or self destructive behavior and this is a big change from the younger me who thrived on thing like that. I have been able to recognize my faults and adjust them accordingly and this has directly benefitted and influence my relationships with my family, wife and people in my network of support.
192. How would you assess the preparations and commitment your closest acquaintances make to a law-abiding, successful life upon release?
The preparations and commitments that my closest acquaintances have made to help me with a law abiding and successful like upon release are extensive. My family is ready for me to come home and they are ready to help me in any way i need. They have seen al the changes I have made and the positive outlook that I have on life and they have seen the goals I have set and accomplished. They have faith in me and they believe in me and they are doing everything possible to make sure that I will continue to be successful and accomplish my goals.
193. If you were to receive a disciplinary infraction, in what way would that influence the support network you’re striving to cultivate?
If I were to receive a disciplinary infraction here that would be a huge disappointment to my support network. I have made tremendous efforts and strove to stay on the side of right and be within the rules and regulations of the institution in which i reside. So anything like that would definitely be a let down for them and really for myself also.
194. What relevance does the phrase “It’s not what you know but who you know” have to you?
The phrase “its not what you know but who you know” means a lot to me. Through the connections I have made I have gotten a lot of stuff accomplished and that is and has been a direct result of the help that I have received due to the people that I know. So that phrase has tremendous meaning and impact to me.
195. To what extent would your actions show that you’re conscious of the influence others have on your prospects for success upon release?
I believe my actions are very representative of the extent of my consciousness of the influence that other have on my prospects for success upon release. Without their belief and faith in me I would not have accomplished any of my goals so far. So that belief is still necessary for when I come home because I will still not be in a good position to do everything and get all the things I need done or to happen by myself. I will still be reliant on other people for at least a minute still. But I don’t think that will last too long. I hope to be self sufficient sooner than alter.
196. How can a prisoner open more opportunities to broaden his network of support?
I have been sending out mail for years. What I do is I market and promote myself by direct mail marketing. That is how I ahve gained every contact that I have. I have sent out 10s of thousands of letters. I write to magazine editors, writers, store owners, websites, agents- any address i can find. I have been sending out copies of my unpublished articles, news releases, published clips, info on my books and everything that I have been doing. I just make tons of copies and then send out stuff to all the addresses that I ahve collected and surprisingly I have made a lot of contacts like this. But to do stuff like this you have to be relentless and you have to have something to promote, even if it is just your case. That is what I was doing at first but then it turned into the articles and books and website and more.
197. How would your transition to society change if you had a job offer in place before your release?
If I had a job offer in place before release it would definitely ease my transition. I know at first it won’t probably be much but I will need something when I am at the halfway house, whatever it is I will do it to the best of my ability. Eventually I hope to be allowed to run my company Gorilla Convict and to do the things I need to do to make it successful but I realize at first I will have to do what I ahve to do to get by and abide by the regulations of my release. But having a job in place would be a godsend and a definite stress reliever I am sure.
198. What steps will you begin taking now to broaden, nurture, and protect your support network each week that you remain in prison?
I stay in touch with everyone in my network of support and I let them know what is going on through emails and letters. I feel like I will have so much more to offer when I can have unlimited phone minutes and call people in my network and talk to them. Right now I am just so restricted in the sense of communications with limited minutes and the like. For right now I will continue to do what I do, that is do what I say and make sure everything I do for someone is right and exact.
199. How will you hold yourself accountable?
I will hold myself accountable through my discipline and responsibility. I hold the ideal that if I do something for you then I will do it as good or better than when I do it for myself. If I give you my word I will live up to it. Because if I have no intentions of doing what I say I am going to do than I should not make the commitment in the first place. That is just how I feel so if I make the commitment and give my word than whatever I have agreed to will get done. I have goals, short and long term and I make lists of things to do for today, next week, next year and five years from now. I am very goal orientated and very ambitious and I know I have a lot to do and a lot to accomplish. I just have to stay focused and do what I do.