Journal Entry: John Dalaly-11/30/2023-PRIDE and Unlocking Potential

Journal Entry

Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life, one that I approach with a mixture of apprehension and determination. Late this morning, I will walk into the federal prison camp in Hazelton. Without fully knowing what is to come, I reflect on the journey that has led me to this point. It’s a journey filled with both triumphs and regrets, and now, it’s a journey of self-discovery and transformation.

One of the thoughts that have been on my mind as I embark on this new path is my past involvement with the nonprofit organization PRIDE (Prison Rehabilitative Industries and Diversified Enterprises, Inc.) in Florida. PRIDE’s mission aligns closely with my own beliefs about the power of rehabilitation and second chances.

PRIDE offers vocational training programs to eligible inmates, equipping them with valuable skills that can significantly impact their reentry into the job market upon release. These programs cover a wide range of skills, from producing license plates and sewn products to graphics and printing, dental and optical products, and land management. The diversity of vocational training offered by PRIDE reflects its commitment to providing inmates with practical skills that can open doors to employment opportunities upon release.

In addition to vocational training, PRIDE also operates Career Resource Centers at each program location. These centers provide vital resources for career preparation, including resume writing, mock interviews, and test preparation for the Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). The emphasis on career readiness not only enhances the inmates’ employability but also instills a sense of hope and purpose as they prepare for life beyond prison walls.

What strikes me as particularly inspiring about PRIDE is the significant number of training certificates, certifications, and third-party external training certificates earned by PRIDE inmate workers in 2022. This achievement reflects the dedication of both the people in prison and the organization in ensuring that when people transition back into society, they will return with skills that translate into better prospects for success.

As I await the time when administrators will process me into the institution, I can’t help but think about the impact that organizations like PRIDE can have on individuals seeking redemption and a fresh start. I am proud to have once played a role in collaborating with PRIDE, and supporting the organization’s mission. At the time, I never anticipated that I would serve a day in prison.

Nevertheless, I’ve witnessed firsthand the transformative power of vocational training and educational programs in helping individuals break the cycle of incarceration. It reinforces my belief that every person has the potential for growth and change, regardless of their past mistakes.

Today, once I begin my own journey inside prison boundaries, I am reminded of the importance of resilience and the pursuit of personal growth. I intend to make the most of my time while I serve my sentence. I’ll move through this journey with a commitment to live with dignity and integrity. I will continue to seek knowledge, engage in self-improvement, and work towards becoming a better version of myself.

As I conclude this journal entry, I leave readers with three critical-thinking questions:

  1. How can vocational training programs like those offered by PRIDE contribute to reducing recidivism rates and helping formerly incarcerated individuals reintegrate into society successfully?
  2. What role does hope and a sense of purpose play in the rehabilitation of individuals within the criminal justice system?
  3. In what ways can society better support individuals who are reentering society after serving their sentences, ensuring they have the tools and opportunities for a fresh start?

These questions will continue to occupy my thoughts as I navigate this new chapter in my life, determined to emerge from it as a stronger, more resilient individual.

With hope and a commitment to growth, I am,

John Dalaly