1045, 07242023 (Day #4226)
My inaugural journal post. This journal project is coincidentally parallels handwritten journals I’ve been maintaining for the last 8 or 9 years. I began keeping a journal when it was recommended in therapy as a constructive outlet for my thoughts. Over time it’s been many things – an outlet, a chronicle of events, a record of my goals and objectives, and a keeper of recollections. I also hope that someday my kids will read the journals and see that I’ve never forgotten or forsaken them and that so much of what I do is in service of reconnecting and reuniting with them someday. I’m confident about applying what I’ve learned from keeping a handwritten journal to this electronic journal. I hope my diligence about being constructive and productive is demonstrated by my daily activities and endeavors, and how I conduct myself here. I’m not looking or expecting any “free rides” or for anything to be “given” to me. I’m adamant about EARNING opportunities. And I’m not seeking a pity party, I’m not interested in “poor me”. I’m not a victim. I committed a serious offense, I own it, and I’m sorry. I’m deliberate and intentional about matching my words with my actions, and I hope I’m able to show that on this platform that’s been offered. My support network and I collaborated and identified 3 primary areas of self-improvement for me to focus on: 1) Mental health. Psych Evaluations pre- and post-sentencing upon entering BOP custody identified previously undiagnosed mental health issues. 2) Treatment and rehabilitation. My offensive behavior, in my own opinion, was an obvious indicator that I need (and want!!!) treatment and rehabilitation. The Psych Evaluations concluded that I would “likely benefit” from treatment, and that motivated me even more to seek treatment opportunities. 3) Education. I’d always wanted to earn a college degree and I kept putting it off. Once I was sentenced, it was clear there was no time like the present. A bonus aspect of education is that in conjunction with treatment/rehabilitation work, it has been proven by research to benefit progress and success. It has also been proved by research (RAND Corporation) that education improves post-release outcomes and reduces recidivism. In the “immediate” or “local” context, the same research determined that incarcerated college students have been better disciplinary records and self-esteem as a result of improved critical thinking and decision-making, and bolstered self-esteem. Today, I’m teaching the College Correspondence Courses 101 ACE class. I created the class and wrote the syllabus to inform people how to go about pursuing a college degree while incarcerated, and how to navigate the obstacles that they are likely to encounter along the way. A lot of the obstacles part were based on my own experience as I’ve worked towards a bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. It’s been almost 2 years now since I created the class and began teaching it, and it’s seemed to be pretty well-received and informative. I enjoy teaching it.