Walter Samuel/ Class 1: Values

by Walter Samuel

16. Who are you?

I dropped out of school at an early age. 9th grade to be exact. From 1973 to this day I have spent 30 years of my life in prison. 23 in state prison in angola Louisiana the rest has been federal. I got my GED 5 years ago when I was 50 years old. I love math and the Lord has blessed me to be a great math teacher, teaching all levels of college math. All the education that I have has been gotten hear in prison being self taught and learning from them around me that have the wisdom to teach.

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

I’m in a season of preparation with the lord. He is taking things out of me and replacing them with things that make me more like Christ. I’m strong and confident in the lord who has bought me through this season of my life preparing me for my future. So I’m at peace and I’m blessed in the lord. What I’m going through will soon come to pass and i’m going to be a better man than ever.

18. What are you going through now?

I’m a work in progress. The Lord is working on me changing the way I think and how to depend on Him for everything. The word of god is the center of my life here. As a preacher and bible teacher here, I teach men from all over this world. It is a challenge and i love what I do. The lord has made me a much better man and i give all the glory to him. So the time that I have left will be spent at the feet of Jesus serving him and serving my brothers here.

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

19. Time remaining to serve.

I must continue improving.

20. One month after release.

Living lawfully and contributing.

21. One year after release.

Same as above.

22. Five years after release.

My god it would be great to still be alive then.The future is not mine to predict but if it is the lords will, i will be serving the lord until the day he calls me home.One thing for sure i’m not going backward i’m pressing forward toward the mark in the high calling in christ.

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

Society has their own view of prisoners. They think all prisoners are losers and that they deserve to be in prison no matter what the charge may be and the time you have served. They believe that prisoners have no hope in society and nothing to contribute…

24. Describe how television programs and movies depict prisoners:

They look at prisoners as big mean people that can’t love any one. That prison is their life style. Television has a way of bringing the worst out of prisoners and the viewers don’t know any better. But they learn better when one of their love ones fall into the system.

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

My adjustment came many many years ago. I’ve lived both sides of the prison life. As a hard core convict for over 20 years and as a model inmate for the last 8 years. I’m no longer conformed to this system that I’m in. I’ve been transformed by the power of christ. In the last 4 years the lord has used me in helping over 150 men get their GED, 30 to get in the college here and I’ve led hundreds to the lord from all over this world into the kingdom of God. [salvation] Never leaving this compound. I give all the glory to the lord Jesus Christ. I’m setting a new example here.

26. In what ways is your adjustment similar?

I’ve learned to live with what the prison provides for me. I have a daily routine of working out though there is no iron here I’ve pumped iron in angola and still hold my mass at 55 years old. Being a prisoner here we all go be a set standard of rules at least many of the rules to which I agree to most of them.

27. In what ways is your adjustment different?

I’m not institutionalized meaning that I haven’t allowed this time to let me loose focus on my future. Even though I’ve spent many years locked up this is not the final chapter of my life. To be very honest the best years of my life have been the last years that have spent here in the feds which is 8 years. In these years the lord has prospered me in several areas of my life. To me that is more important than all I’ve ever accomplished in the pass.

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

28. High security.

The higher the security the harder it is for some inmates. If you are truly dedicated to personal growth, then nothing or no one can stop you. So high security limits many inmates in growth and development.

29. Medium security.

Medium security some what better but some what the same. As I write now the medium here is on lockdown for racial rioting this pass weekend. That is a way of life in the prison environment. All programs will be closed down for weeks at a time and sometimes months. I’ve been there and to continue in my growth I had to press forward with what I had. Here like the high security they are full of lifers who many just have given up on everything and everybody.

30. Low security.

Now the low has more programs and is hardly ever locked down. Men here are preparing for the streets once again. The ged and college programs has a much higher graduation rate than the high and medium. Plus it is a much more comfortable environment.

31. Minimum security.

Minimum wow! They are almost free. Many are still pursuing goal and many have reached their goals. I haven’t been to the min or the camp, which is the same. But I’m headed that way thanks to the lord and as for me it don’t matter where I’m at, I’m going to grow. I give my best whereever I am and don’t get caught up in my environment. As a matter fact i grow faster and better under extreme pressure

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

All prisoners say they will never return to prison. In the pass year many have left this prison and many have returned less than 90 days. So you can say anything about not returning. But the fact is if you have not been changed you will return.
33. In what ways, if any, do those who never return to prison serve their sentences differently from those who do return to prison?
Those who never return are able to change directions once they are in prison. They know their mistakes and they learn from them. They spend their time in prison doing things that are positive and productive for their future. It is not dead time but time that bought about a positive change.

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

Great question! First let’s define success. It is continuing desire to be the person the lord Jesus wants you to be and to achieve the goals that the Lord has set for me..Success is not measured in fame and fortune. No one will prosper or be successful without Christ. Once you find yourself there. It is then that success will follow. I am a tru beleiver that every principle of success came right out of the bible.Only God knows where you are going to be 1 year from now. That alone tells you that success is in the hands of Jesus Christ..Step one: pursue God given goals…Step two: Walk obedient  before the lord. Step three live the principles in the bible..With this you will be blessed and prosper on you way to success.

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?

This all depends on the crime and the individual. I do believe that any man should get a break after showing himself a changed and transformed man. To give you a number I can’t do. I’ve lived with people in prison that have been the same for over 20 years now. It is not time that makes you or brakes you.

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

They expect for them to fail and to come back to prison But what they expect don’t mean a thing.

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

They have goals and dreams like anyone else. Remember we are human beings too. I’m believing the lord jesus christ for me a church home, wife and family, and a promising future in the lord. Believe it or not its going to happen to.

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

They know many will make it and that some will fail. It is the life that they live in prison that gives the staff that opinion.

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

A model prisoner is one that sets the model as a example. I believe that the man of God that lives and walks with God is the model prisoner.Not being conformed to this prison system but being transformed by the power of the lord Jesus Christ.You want to see a model prisoner you take a good look at me and I’m not boasting on me but in what the lord has done in me. PRAISE THE LORD…

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?

I have sold out to the lord and will continue to pray  for wisdom and direction. I truly believe my future is in the hands of the lord..

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

I see myself in the will of the lord holding on to all his promises. Being blessed in highly favored…

45. What distinguishes an aspiration from a fantasy?

The holy spirit! knowing that you’re being led by the spirit and not by your flesh…

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

Walking in love, humility, and patience. Trusting the lord at his word…

47. Accountability: How are you measuring progress?

I’m accountable to God, to my brothers, and to my ministry. Thats is why i’m so blessed this day..

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

If you are talking about my surroundings in prison. Yes I’m very aware of my surroundings. After 31 years of prison life who wouldn’t be?

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

By the power of the spirit that will take me beyond my present situation.

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

I know that they are a reality but I’m not worried about them. There is nothing to big for my God.

51. Achievement: When do you celebrate success?

I celebrate success when everything looks like it has failed.

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

It all depends in who God bring me into favor with….

53. Where did those choices lead?

They led me to a life of crime and a lot of time..

54. What did you value then?

My self. Nothing else was important to me..

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

I would raise my children up off mathew, mark, luke, and john..The word of GOD..

56. What would you do differently if you could?

I would live my life totally for the lord Jesus Christ. The only one that could make me a better man…

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

When I first got locked up I was dead in my trespasses and sins, but now I’m saved and on my way to heaven.. I was called to preach and teach the gospel of Jesus Christ..

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

I die daily to the things of the world. I stay in the word of GOD and with that the lord leads me into my future.

59. Identify the values by which you live.

THE WORD OF GOD. I believe that in the word of GOD are all the principles for Godly living if you apply these principles to your life..

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

I preach and teach holiness and Godly living. So I lead by examples. GOD has made me a light in a dying world of me that don’t know Jesus. It’s not easy but it is not my power that I’m walking and living in.

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

I value god like a lot of people in society.

62. Where does your allegiance lie?

With god

63. Are values situational or absolute?

Absolute. I am 100% committed to god.


Leave a Reply


Copyright 2019 The Michael G. Santos Foundation