Journal Entry: Robert Jesenik-05/17/2024-Blog #2- Preparing for Self Surrender

Journal Entry

This is the first of a 3 part series to assist you in

i) preparing for prison,
ii) self surrendering Day 1,
iii) and knowing then what to expect thereafter.

I hope you find it helpful!

After my sentencing hearing, I got serious about preparing to self-surrender. But not serious enough. 75 days went quickly, even though I found an expert firm to assist me in my preparations- Earning Freedom/Prison Professors, led by Michael Santos and his team. Fortunately, my 75 days got extended by another 60 days due to my health tests underway which was a true God send. I hope this blog helps you avoid some of what I had to learn the hard way!

I understand some of you are in jail and never got a chance to do any of this ahead of time, and I hope this series may help your family and friends in aiding you, especially Blog #2 and #3!

Earning Freedom and their team did a great job teaching me what to do:

* Before I surrender

* Day 1 of surrendering

* Day 2 and thereafter

Their expertise is founded in Michael’s 26 years of experience as an inmate/ prisoner, as well as everyone on his team having recent experience with incarceration. Carol, Michael’s wife has lots of experience as his girlfriend, now wife as well from an outsider’s perspective.

Either request from their site a book on Release Plans and hire them to help, as you want one to hand your case manager when you have your first meeting around day 31. It provides a roadmap for you to follow in prison and thereafter, plus a history/background of who you are. You will continually add to it during your term, and every update you have give to your case manager for the file, plus it enhances their opinion of you.

Regardless if alcohol/drugs are an issue for you , also get letters from your doctor and a counselor suggesting you get Drug and Alcohol treatment so you can take the program. Hopefully, your attorney already counseled you to make sure your pre-sentencing report stated you had these issues as well. This RDAP program reduces your sentence a year and is healthy for your mind and well-being regardless.

Pull down a HIPPA medical information release healthcare form that allows for a family member to also receive medical information while you’re in prison. Not to be morbid, but one should really discuss with family your preferences should something happen to you while in prison in terms of a funeral and so forth. It happens(<1% probability) and is real, so best to have a plan.

Before Surrender

There are lots of things to get in order- HIPPA forms, doctors’ letters, and so forth. But as my 75-day marker came, all of a sudden I realized all the things I hadn’t dealt with:

* stopping auto pays on my bank account-try and keep your account open!
* calling creditors and explaining my situation
* canceling/transferring subscriptions- (Big One!)
* giving family access to everything, even airline miles
* shutting down email accounts/social media or providing access with family to monitor/use
* making sure 2+ family/friends are willing to handle all kinds of issues that will come up
– It’s really hard to get things done on the outside from prison without help

And the hardest of all, the very sad, sometimes awkward goodbyes over the phone, friends stopping by to wish you well, and of course goodbye to the family.

Another difficult priority was going through all my stuff and deciding what to do with it since you won’t need them for a
few /many years. By stuff I mean:

* toiletries
* clothes/shoes
* pictures/videos
* personal papers
* suitcases, golf clubs, etc.
* kids memorabilia
* cellphone # and what to do with it

Last but not least, a few key items you will need in prison:

* Have family download Western Union or MoneyGram to be able to send you money for commissary/email/printing
– day before arriving send $400 or so, never want to build a balance over $1000
– you need commissary for food but also medicine or shoes/clothes-max $360/month you can spend FYI
* Have a group of friends willing to buy books on Amazon for you
– Nope, people can’t send you their books directly in case you’re wondering
* Set up any magazine/newspaper subscriptions before you arrive
* Mail a release plan to yourself at prison the day before you arrive
– Helpful hint- I found my attorney is the best way to get lengthy documents delivered as it comes as “legal mail”, things like pre-sentence report, court filings, even family paperwork and medical stuff etc.
– Some prisons, like mine, only allow 5 pages of mail at one time, and they sometimes photocopy them and keep the originals FYI to keep synthetic marijuana from coming in thru mail on a letter

If you can, find 1-2 people who recently finished prison or know people that have and speak to them for advice. I got some real benefits that way, and one guy actually came from the prison I was going to which was even better. That allowed for them to contact someone on the inside I could meet first thing and they set me up and showed me the ropes the first couple days. As a first timer I really appreciated that.


In hindsight, I didn’t take this phase seriously enough and encourage you to avoid my mistake.

As you get ready to report, I’d encourage you to get mentally ready. As a first-timer, there is a lot of BS tossed your way, and you need to be mentally tough and prepared. As you’ll find no guard really cares what you need or what you think or what you feel. I recently had my counselor who was late letting me into my court hearing tell me ” The world doesn’t revolve around my needs” as opposed to apologizing for being 20 minutes late. Then after 90 minutes, he told me to hang up as he had things to do, even though the hearing went 2 more hours and I have constitutional rights to be there. Get used to it. It’s all about breaking you in and getting you to conform. GET YOUR HEAD READY.

Please let me know if I’m missing anything and I’ll keep this post updated going forward!