Scott Christop Dobbelaere-Earning Freedom

Author of Book: Michael Santos
Date Read: September 13, 2023

Book Report

Having read this book I’ve been asked to write a book report. I’m 42 years old and the last time I’ve been prompted to write one was in elementary school. I feel lost! Reading, retaining, and comprehending information has always given me trouble. Throughout school, I’ve been placed in smaller classrooms because of E.B.D. and study skills challenges.
Mike’s upbringing from what i read was that of a middle-class family. Mike’s problems in school were because he didn’t apply himself. He moved into a position in his father’s business making great money. His greed and wanting more pushed him into making bad decisions. Wanting to help his school friends made him an accomplice of the criminal activities. He thrived for attention and placed himself in any place of power he could. All the way up to his arrest.
When he came back to reality those around him placed him as the king pen. He was also fed a notion of the thought of his innocence. Mike began to feed his own thoughts of this illusion. The lack of understanding of the court’s procedures or the way it moves hurt when it came to sentencing. Also letting outside relationships affect him in his decision. His morals and values were right with building his relationship with God, but his wife at the time would discourage him and shut him down when he would express himself. All she was worried about was how Michael was going to support her while locked up. That’s when Michael made another mistake by setting up a drug deal that would help provide for his wife. This second act of criminal behavior earned him his 45-year sentence I believe. When he should have been looking at taking responsibility for the original charge.
During months 14-36 is when I started to changes Michael was making to reform himself. This was when I saw him start the process of conquering his 45-month sentence. It’s his relationship through Christ and building his spirituality that has encouraged me to continue on that same path. Michael said, “I learned from my bible readings that everyone has a responsibility to live God’s plan, and that plan requires us to maximize the gifts we receive.” This statement has prompted me to ask myself what are my spiritual gifts? ( Is to be of service to others) Michael said, “The belief I began to form is that I need to live as a good man, to develop the gifts god has blessed me with, and to work toward the making of a better world.” How can i work towards this and incorporate it into my goals? First I must reflect on what success looks like in my life. To be of service to others. Put society as a whole first. As I read through this book my ideas of success have been changing and evolving. By educating myself in the field I want to be the most impactful on those I’m reaching. I must reach outside of prison to find those who will buy into my vision. I have to find people who will mentor me and help me develop the skills I’ll need.
This book has given me a sense of direction. I’ve struggled most of my life living without a sense of purpose or direction. That has led me to be conquered by addiction and criminal behavior. This book has sparked this drive and purpose. If I want something different from life I must do things differently. It will be a complete makeover of my old self. And that day starts now!
The theme throughout Michaels’s sentence has been to blend and adapt to his surroundings. His skill of blending reminds me of a camillon. He is constantly evolving his goals to fit what stage of life he is in. He is clear about his plan and how he will execute that plan. Every time he was challenged by the BOP he would re-evaluate and conform or change direction. Always looking at what would be best for his family. She learned BOP policy and would try and use it but was almost always met in an investigation and later transferred outta the prison he was being held at.
Michael’s ability to connect with all walks of life and have very successful members of society mentor and sponsor him put him into less than 1% of the prison population which made his sentence unique to the normal inmate. Being able to listen and take in stories from prisoners. Michael is able to create information that is helpful to those who still have to surrender to the BOP. Witch in turn creates a better transition. Through this light, he shines for others to follow. He has become a beacon for me to follow. In the past, I’ve felt this change has been at times impossible. Improving my situation will require support from people outside. I’m hoping that by utilizing the information I receive from Prison professors I’ll be able to connect with outside support.
Reading the book has given me a new sense of purpose. I’ve always looked at incarceration as “doing time”. I’ve taken every shortcut I could to reduce the length of my sentence. However this time I’m looking deeper into the problems that continue to lead me to places like this. I must face the truth of reconciling with society. By learning how I can conquer my addiction and my criminal thinking.