Makings of a Menace, Contrition—Piecka

Author of Book: Halim Flowers
Date Read: June 2, 2023

Book Report

Title: Makings of a Menace, Contrition of a Man

Author: Halim. A. Flowers

Genre: Non-Fiction

Why I Read This Book:

I had never heard of Halim Flowers before Michael Santos mentioned him in one of his Workbooks. I am extremely grateful that he did. Halim Flowers WAS a menace to society, like so many young men/boys who, through no fault of their own, grow up in an inner city and are deprived of role models and surrounded by drug use and gang war fare. Halim Flowers’s Dad was a crack user and not around, his mother was doing her best, he and his friends would walk to elementary school and step on crack pipes and pass dead bodies CONSTANTLY. What were the odds that ANYONE could come out of such a situation alive, let alone “normal”? Halim Flower began selling drugs at age 12. That is NOT a typo–12 years old and selling crack cocaine to adults who were his neighbors, parents of his friends, and others who you would say “No, not them!!”. But, Halim was not just selling drugs for his own personal reasons (money for fancy shoes and clothes that his mother could not afford) but also to save money so he could get he and his Mother OUT of Washington D.C. You could say he was acting much older than a 12 year old boy.

At 16 he was arrested, tried as an adult, and convicted of crimes relating to a murder in his neighborhood. Halim Flowers did not do anything that day that should have led to being handed a double-life sentence at 16 years old but his past choices of who he thought he wanted to be and the people he surrounded himself with put him in a position where such a punishment was a matter of when not if.

Another word for contrition is remorseful. It is because of Halim Flowers’ contrition of his previous choices and actions that allowed him to turn his life around while in Prison:

–He surrounded himself with true mentors while in Prison.

–He started his own publishing company while in Prison and wrote several books.

–He connected with college educators while in Prison to help build his “Mastermind Group”.

Eventually, a Federal Law changed that allowed some convictions to be looked at for early release and, without even knowing it, Halim Flowers had laid the ground work for such a review and was released from Prison. He is now not only a successful author but also a poet, blogger, artist, and at-risk youth activist.

This book truly is an instruction manual of “How To” go from menace to mentor.

What I Learned:

This is the 4th book I have read by someone who has been to Prison:

–Malcolm X

–Weldon Long

–Nelson Mandela

–Halim Flowers

The very first thing I learned by reading THIS book is no matter the decade, the country, or the race of the individual, the ONE commonality that all of these authors push is the importance of educating yourself while you are in Prison and how being educated is the key to stopping recidivism.

Malcolm X said he puts Prison second only to college of where someone can go to completely change the trajectory of their life because they have the time to better themselves.  Nelson Mandela called education “The engine of personal growth.”  Weldon Long earned a Bachelors and a Masters degree while in Prison and now consults Fortune 500 when he used to be a drug addict and con-man. Halim Flowers educated himself, started his own publishing company, and became a well known author WHILE in Prison. Albert Einstein said in order to solve a problem you have today, you must elevate your thinking from when the problem began. Otherwise, the problem will keep re-occurring. Education is how you elevate an inmates thinking and how you fix the Prison system. NOT with harsh punishments.

The second thing I learned from this book is something that I had suspected ever since I started bettering myself, especially spiritually–There are no coincidences.

“There is no such thing as luck or coincidence. Everything that you are experiencing in the present moment is happening to prepare you for something that will definitely come in the future.”–Halim Flowers.

While Halim Flowers was bettering himself from a young thug to an adult while still being a teenager, his Prison was visited by a group doing a HBO documentary titled “D.C. Thug Life”. The public was so impressed by Halim’s interviews during this documentary, he became a reality star before that was even a thing!! He started to receive letters from all over the World and administration officials gave tours to his cell. To this day he receives “fan mail”. This documentary gave him a door to open to help mentor youth from not repeating his mistakes.

Prison can be the blessing you needed to begin to prepare yourself for future opportunities that will come your way. I can not wait for mine.

Why I Will Succeed After Reading This Book:

I am so far from living the “Thug Life” growing up that Halim Flowers did that he and I are from 2 different planets!!  Despite our very different paths, we both ended dup in the same place–Federal Prison. Now, after reading “Makings of a Menace”, I can honestly say I can relate to so much Halim Flowers writes about Prison in his book.

The main reason why I see myself being successful after reading this book is because I am on an almost identical path as far as:

–Bettering myself mentally.

–Wanting to help others avoid the mistakes I made.

–Proving that I have the drive and the discipline to be successful AFTER Prison.

Halim Flowers did not have a high school education. He began selling drugs at age 12 not only because he wanted the money and power that came along with it, but he wanted to get his mother OUT of D.C. His Father was a crack user and was not around to be the role model he needed to be for his son. Halim Flowers overcame so much not having any idea that he would eventually be released from prison because of 1 main reason–He was focused on helping others. Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything you want if you help others get what they want.” By putting others needs ahead of yours, success will follow.

Thank you Halim Flowers for sharing your story and providing us with a great example of what kind of success can be waiting for us after Prison, if we prepare ourselves for it.

About Me:

My name is Jeff Piecka and I was sentenced to 34 months in a Federal Prison Camp in Oxford, WI after committing a white collar crime 7 years before being arrested and immediately pleading guilty. Before self-surrendering on June 6, 2022, I promised my wife and family that I WILL exit Prison a better husband, son, brother, Christian, future employee, and overall better member of society because I am going to better myself in three ways:

1) Physically — Not just for vanity purposes but a better operating body equals a better operating mind.

2) Mentally — Reading only non-fiction books, magazines, and newspapers that educate and elevate my mind and expand my vocabulary.

3) Spiritually — For ME, this means learning more from the Bible but it can mean whatever “Greater Good” you believe in.

Shortly after self-surrendering and reading Michael Santos’s book “Earning Freedom-Conquering a 45 Year Prison Term”, it inspired me to want to help just 1 person who is possibly heading to Prison so I started emailing my family Posts that my sister sister uses to post as a a Blog on Reddit dot com called “Letters From Federal Prison”. I believe to date it has over 10,000 views and shares plus there have been several comments from people advising that the Blog has helped them. This has motivated me to keep writing (which I have NEVER done anything like this before) and I REALLY want to help more people when I return to society at the end of this year.