Steffany Frazier/ Class 1: Values
16. Who are you?
My name is Steffeny Bernard Frazier. I’m preferably known by the name “Stet”. I was born February 8, 1968 in a small town called Camilla, Georgia, that sit as the seat of Mitchell County Georgia. I’m the son of the late Emanuel and Earnestine Frazier. I’m the second oldest of six siblings. I’ve been in federal prison since Becember 19, 1994(26 years of age on the date of my incarceration; 44 years of age today). I was indicted and found guilty by jury for conspiracy to distribute to cocaine base (crack) in the Northern District of Florida and elsewhere. Although I’m a first time, non-violent offender, I was sentenced to Life Imprisonment. I have grown to understand that based upon my self destructive mindset; prison was more dearer to me that physical death; which I would have received without doubt had I not been placed in prison at the time. I state physical death, because my past life and activity expresses that I was already dead (making no substantiated progress with life) mentally, morally, and spiritually. I have traveled to several federal institutions within these years: FCI Jesup, Ga; USP Atlanta, Ga; FCI Edgefield,SC; USP Lee County, Va; FCI Talladega, AL. I have continued to work with my fellow brothers at every institution God allowed my feet to rest at. I work with the young and elderly people by helping to provide them with the ability to understand that we who offended society in our depraved mindset whatever your crime or violation might have been; owe our time, energy and resources back to those whom we offended. Therefore, I have spearheaded fundraisers for society for foundations as cancer, heart disease ,diabetes, etc…as well as for needed families, by raising money from our incarcerated family in needed times, with the assistance of some administrative staff. I thoroughly work on myself with “Self Analysis”, “Self Examination”, and “Self Correction”. For I’ve grown to understand that I; or people in general will often times express what they will not, however, once circumstances appear. There’s a discovery about Self that we didn’t quite understand, or better yet overlooked, due to the fact one never understood the necessary requirement of studying yourself. The ultimate reason for my study of self- that I might learn of; and properly develop those impediments that have the possibility to persuade my decisions. This study for me is done through respecting and honoring the Law of synchronicity, as well as applying discipline within my life. I share with my fellow inmate family these esteem principles if applied without doubt or fear. I strive daily to be the example, living under a Life sentence: of one human being who take prison as the greatest blessing, other than Life itself that God could have bestowed upon me _ living the self destructive life I once languished in happily. I’m a very self respected human being who love to “Try” and get others to see and understand “Life is whatever you desire it to be for you”. And it will only be based upon your decisions so choose wisely because that decision will revisit you later. I’m very grateful for that Unseen Reality that operates within our lives on every beat of our heart, or breath of I take; for this precious journey I have now gotten to experience.
17. Describe your background with regard to your education, vocation or career, troubles with the law.
I am a high school graduate of the class of 1986 of Mitchell Baker High School. Although I was required to attend half of the school term until January 1987, due to my own lacking and motivation. I never furthered my education while in society. Sometime around 1990, I got into the illegal drug activity. I’ve never used drugs, nor alcohol. What lead to this decision concerning drugs? I felt that I wasn’t intelligent enough to attend college; however, I desired more out of life; but the 8-to-5 or
9-to-5 jobs wasn’t going to get it for me. Was I raised better? Yes I was, as all of my siblings. Therefore, I thank God that I’m the only one ended up on this road to prison. While I’ve been incarcerated I have programmed. I instruct and teach programs. I’m certified in Landscaping from Stratford Institute; certified in custodian courses; I’m certified in “Green Technician” courses from “Green Clean Institute” of “PestControl”, “Landscaping”, “Janitorial (Custodian)”, “Solar and Wind Power Specialist. I do Motivational Speaking, which began in 1998. This will continue once I enter society of working with youths, elderly, and prison reform.
18. What are you going through now?
From the effort I strive to give on a daily basis; only desiring to see a man accept responsibility, and make the necessary timely change. I’m content and at peace with life. I’m forever working to develop, as well as understand myself. Being released from prison only means I’ve been exonerated. It doesn’t begin “Freedom” for me. The Universal Principle of Love, Truth and Justice are endowed principles I was born to have from birth. And as I treat every man (human being) as I desire to be treated, it exemplify these principles. I just had to develop the desire – then the “will power” to take all the necessary steps.
I feel and believe without a shadow of doubt I’m already free. For I have nothing to hide from myself. If its a problem; then mathematics show and prove I must resolve the problem within self first and foremost because that’s where it all originated. However, the mindset that caused the problem into existence cannot be the exact mindset to resolve that problem. Your state of consciousness or thought process must elevate into higher and better realms of thinking before the proper solution springs forth.
I continue to “Be” myself; and await whatever challenges life present. But through it all, I’m patient going through my experiences that continue to make me to be a man of Integrity, Respect, and Dignity. Are all days sweet and pleasant? Of course not. However, I’ve endured enough for these years to understand nothing or no one could overcome a well made up mind on a mission. I strive to be consistent; never wavering in my position and ability. Therefore, I accept the challenges that life brings; which are only for my growth and development.
Describe your vision of the best person you can become during the following time frames:
19. Time remaining to serve.
As of June 9, 2012, I remain to have a life sentence. This is not an issue to me. there are many senarios going on surrounding my incarceration: particularly being charged for the 100-to-1 crack/powder cocaine ratio.
I have one situation where the district court will reduce my sentence from life-to-30 years, which could leave me only a few years to go, having all of my good time credit. This reduction is based upon congress reducing the crack cocaine 100-to-1 ratio to 18-to-1. I’m only awaiting that change to occur.
I have an even more unique situation when the United States Supreme Court Ruled on June 9, 2011 in its “DePierre” decision the “Cocaine Base” is not just Crack, but is All Chemically basic cocaine; meaning “Freebase”, “Coca Paste”, or any other type. What the Supreme Court did was construe a federal statute by interpreting cocaine base. This means because the jury did not find me guilty of crack, but only for cocaine base. Then my charge now is similar to powder cocaine; which I would only been incarcerated for a 2-to-3 years had I been charged with powder cocaine. This law by the Court is Retroactive to cases as myself because its a “New Substantive Rule”. I had to have my motion in court within the first year of that rule. Which has been completed. So as I state; I’m patient. I will eventually receive time served once my case is reviewed by the court system.
There are also bills in Congress for first time, non-violent offenders. These bills are also for me. I can only state my days are closing in on being released, God willing.
20. One month after release.
One month after release; I will have my business in operation that consist of contract bidding for commercial, industrial, some residential cleaning. A labor operation exist within this operation also.
The business operation will include my children being part of this business venture. Contracts will range from Tallahassee, Florida, Columbus Georgia, Macon Georgia, Atlanta Georgia; as well as some small sectors in between these areas. Also I will re-establish my relationship with my children, as we get to really understand each other from our own perspective. Being gone 18 years; and your oldest child(ren) was only 7 years of age at the time. Although we’re not strangers, because I feel I have a beautiful relationship with all 8 of my children. We just need to get to know each other.
21. One year after release.
At this stage of my release, I will be working within the community, as well as re-entering prisons, if permitted; boys and girls clubs, and schools; speaking and teaching by using my experience of a transformed life because I had a madeup mind to desire more for myself. My business operation will be functioning on with my assistance of securing contracts, as well as handling all the important aspects, while my children will have learned how the operation goes. For they will be the operational minds. I will also be married within this time period.
22. Five years after release.
Five years after my release. I will be well established on every level of my vision: but remembering these days and time. However, I will never abandon the cause for just and fair sentencing according to the crime.
23. How do those in society perceive people in prison?
People’s perceptions of those of us in prison is based upon what they view on television; as well as the real depraved heinous minds that some uncivilized people have. It does not bring more clarity to their perception when their own family members be released- to return back into their same activity.
I’ve been incarcerated 18 years. Yes, there are some very sick minds that need caging up until its proven they could function within society (and vice-versa in society) without being a threat to self and others. Then on the other hand: some of the sentences just don’t fit the crime. Until those of us who are true examples return home for those in society to see he might have went in a fool; but he returned home intelligent, strong, determined, and leading by example. Until this begins to happen more rapidly, the myths of horror will still stand.
This is when those in society will understand from myths without facts is like truth mixed with falsehood, which is only confusion. The truth to society lies within those of us who represent a Higher Calling than Ourself to dispel the myths by being the reality that “Is”.
24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:
Many television programs provide visions to people who lack their own vision of reality. Its called Tell-A-Vision for that reason. So movies portray men raping men. Yes, homosexuality exist within these walls, as it does in society. This type of activity is not forced on anyone. People make their choices of what they choose to do. Then those of us as myself and many more would never sit back and allow so-called bad boys to take advantage of another man’s weakness. If a person choose that as his life; then whether i agree or not. I respect him as a human being and respect his own decision that he’s accountable for. I (we) have children, and I would pray someone would do the same for my children. I do unto others as I would want done unto myself and my love ones.
These type of expressions are rarely shown on television. However, we are in here to strive to do better; and if need be; will protect those who needs it based upon what the situation was that transpired such actions. It remain our duty to dispel the myths: that’s only if we’re not victim to what we condemn with our mouths, but in reality are the perpetrators.
25. Compare and contrast your prison adjustment with the prison stereotype.
Too much of anything as sport and play has its purpose. I love working out and taking care of my physical body. However, the negative aspect of this is the fact so much idle time is spent on television (now I like good movies), rap and music videos being watched daily by 40 and 50 year old men. I respectfully say I (myself) fit only the fact I’m in this University some view as prison. I have not wasted these 18 years to walk out of prison more foolish than when I came in.
26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?
For one I have a prison ID number, same spending limits as well as all the rules obligated to obey. However, due to the fact being in prison for 18 years doing fundraising events – teaching programs – being very respected wherever I arrive to. Not the sense of respect that I be other than myself. Brothers in the Federal Prison system; many know of me or have heard of my efforts; and they know brother Stet have their best interest. For they know I desire to see them do better, as well as have a renewed mindset returning home.
The staff understand clearly that I’m another inmate. However, the institutions have what is called “FOI” Exempt within everyone of our record. There are certain things stated concerning who you are, as well as your capability within the prison. This is not shown to the individuals but I know, as others do also what the information contain. It’s a profile of who they (staff) view you to be; if its positive thing about you, then your standards are raised higher, because of what you’ve exemplified through the years. It could be beneficial in some aspects, and not so beneficial in other aspects.
27. In what ways is your adjustment different?
The more one know. The more is required of that person. I have never been one to complain about anything. Whatever, exist to be; I always strive to understand I have the ability to change it. I understand prison saved my life. So once I grew into that understanding; I just grow stronger in patience. My adjustment to the rules and regulation comes through my studying self; reading books. But most of all realizing I’m my worst enemy and biggest critic to self.
I remember when I first got locked up I stayed in segregation for my whole first year because I would talk slick to certain staff if I felt they were challenging me. However, one day some elderly brothers gave me a small book on the “Meaning of Silence”. And from that day the real change started to come. That was 1996.
When people observe your striving efforts; and begin to understand you desire better for them. They will allow you to do constructive criticism against their behavior. I live it and experience it daily.
Describe what opportunities for personal growth and development exist in the different prison security levels:
28. High security.
High Security—-I’ve been in Atlanta Georgia Federal Penitentiary in the 90′s for over three-an-a-half years. I was in Lee County Virginia Federal Penitentiary for two years. I was in Edgefield South Carolina Medium secured prison that had hundreds of us lifers there, which killing did occur (Edgefield was really a penitentiary thats why many of us were moved elsewhere).
I say all that to say. These are some of the prisoners I’ve raised money from, or got to support with their money donations
I asked of them, and they always respond. When you’re serious about who you are, and play no games; foolishness dispel from your presence out of the respect for you. I have articles and records that will demonstrate some of what I’m stating. We are all from the streets and we know and see game miles away. You can’t be a gamer and get respect. Growth and development is based upon one being tired of hell existing within their mind; and desire the will to change.
29. Medium security.
I’ve been in these types of environment as well.
30. Low security.
Never been there. But the answer will not vary. Its not the prison. Its the individuals.
31. Minimum security.
I hold my thoughts and mind from such ease (smile). But life is as good as I or we desire it to be.
32. Prior to release, what do prisoners generally say about their prospects for returning?
The most frequent words one tend to say is “I’ll never be back on this mess”. However, many can’t make it out of the halfway house. Before I expound too much on this question: I often tell brothers within some of the classes that I teach: particularly the Quality of Life Class. The statement of “the Unseen Reality ” that awaits everyone of us. That reality will be based upon every calculated decision you make this very moment.
I’ll ask brothers what do they plan to do on their return to society. Some will try an escape my question by saying the music industry, or I have a plan once i get there. My response will then become: So if that doesn’t come through what’s your backup plan. They might concede to the fact that they will get a job, because its made clear from initial point of I’m posing hypothetical questions.
My response then becomes: did you get a job before you entered prison? And they must keep in mind that they’re not satisfied because their initial plan fail. Whatever their answer be. I continue to pound on their mind with questions. Yet they know I mean well. However, if one tells me of his plans. I ask to see the layout or blueprint. Ninty-nine percent of them never have a plan laid out. According to them its within their mind. So I give scenario of the President of the United States telling his general to draw up war plans. Those generals could never say to the president, I have the plan within my mind: less he finds himself on possible early retirement or demoted.
Therefore, I’ ll work with them of how to get down ideas. Recidivism is nearly 70 percent of those released returning within the first 3 years of being in society. None of us as a child had the plan to come to prison. None of us have the plan to return back to prison, however, we return. I feel unless we continue to give individuals reality checks, because that reality knock is for me also. The cycle will continue to be a perpetual door.
33. In what ways, if any, do those who never return to prison serve their sentences differently from those who do return to prison?
A man who serve his sentence different than the returners is always working on something productive. They have leisure time, but they are focused because they’re not talking about whether they will be back or not. They are working; and they never find time to complain about anything, nor do they entertain the gossip.
You have so many brothers believing they are secured by attaching themself to a faith of some sort, whether it be Christanity, Islam, Judism, Hebrew, etc… When they return to society- if they fail to learn of, and deal with the open impediments existing within themself as greed, envy, fear, lust, jealousy, vanity, anger, emotions; which all are controlling forces if not controlled through Self Discipline. These poeple have problems in prison as they complain. They will have problems in society to remain complaining.
I believe in God without doubt. I love and embrace the truthful principles that everyone represent. But we who are in prison have the blesseth and golden opportunity to walk out of prison a giant in ideas, as we develop how to activate them. What I’m saying is when a person believe he will have anything including a unique relationship with God; Self Employed;Business Intellect; there must be work involved. The Greatest of all work is working on and developing self. Strive to have discipline.
Brothers who return are doing nothing but watching television, playing sports, playing chess, playing checkers, dominos, writing raps, trying to rap or sing, just reading their religion material, or stressed out trying to find a way out of prison. This is why the cycle continues for those who return. Religion is as good as the man himself. One could never blame anything or anyone for their failure unless he starts with self first and stop right there.
34. What steps can a prisoner take to improve chances of success upon release?
Sentence length is not a factor that is controlled from within prison, but adjustment inside prison may influence success upon release. For a better understanding of prison expectations, describe your thoughts on:
35. What length of time would you consider long-term imprisonment?
36. What expectations do those in society have for long-term prisoners?
37. What expectations do you suppose long-term prisoners have for themselves?
38. What do prison administrators and staff members expect of long-term prisoners?
39. How would you define a “model inmate”?
40. How does Michael’s prison journey support or refute prison stereotypes?
41. What role did the prison infrastructure play in influencing Michael’s journey through prison?
42. What vision governed Michael’s decisions as a prisoner?
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?
44. Aspiration: Where do you see yourself at various checkpoints in the future?
45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?
46. Action: What steps are you taking toward aspiration?
47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?
48. Awareness: How knowledgeable are you about the atmospherics around you?
49. In what ways do you reach beyond the boundaries that currently confine you?
50. What do you know about the challenges that will confront you upon release?
51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?
52. Appreciation: What role do others have in your success?
53. Where did those choices lead?
54. What did you value then?
55. How would you guide your children if they were making choices in the same way?
56. What would you do differently if you could?
57. Describe the differences in your life today from the first days of your confinement.
58. How have your activities from last week led to your activities for this week?
59. Identify the values by which you live.
60. To what extent do your daily activities harmonize with the values by which you live?
61. How do your professed values relate to your perceived role in society?
62. Where does your allegiance lie?
63. Are values situational or absolute?