Journal Entry: Sunday, May 5, 2024

Journal Entry

Success After Release

Life after Federal Prison

Preparing for a successful reentry into society after release from federal prison is a crucial phase that demands foresight, planning, and determination. As I learned from Stephen Covey, a person should begin with the end in mind.

My name is Michael Santos, and I was 23 years old when authorities locked me in a solitary cell. By the time I finished the criminal trial, a federal judge sentenced me to serve a 45-year sentence. I grew up in Seattle, but the Federal Bureau of Prisons sent me to begin serving my sentence inside a high-security United States Penitentiary on the east coast. Inside those 40-foot walls, I learned how to begin preparing for life after federal prison.

After 9,500 days, in 2013, I concluded my obligation to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. When I got out, income opportunities awaited me. I felt ready to begin working to build a career. Preparations in prison made all the difference, allowing me to build businesses that generate millions in revenues and profits.

Anyone who sets a goal to succeed can work toward a better outcome. As we recommend through all our free courses at Prison Professors, adhere to a strategy that shows you want to be the CEO Of your life:

  1. Define success as the best possible outcome.
  2. Set goals that align with how you define success.
  3. Move forward with the right attitude, defined by a 100 percent commitment to your success.
  4. Aspire to something more than what you’re going through now.
  5. Act in ways that align with your commitment to succeed.
  6. Measure progress with your personal accountability tools.
  7. Stay aware of opportunities to grow, and make others aware of your progress.
  8. Live authentically, always pursuing excellence.
  9. Celebrate the incremental achievements along the way.
  10. Live in gratitude, appreciative of the blessings that have come your way.

Understanding the Challenges of Reentry

For the person who does not prepare, returning to society after a lengthy term in prison can feel overwhelming. It involves adapting to a world that may have significantly changed, rebuilding relationships, finding employment, and re-establishing a place in the community.

Understanding the challenges that await should motivate a person to prepare. The following steps may help:

Develop a Release Plan: Start planning for your release early. This plan should include your goals for housing, employment, education, and rebuilding relationships. A clear and detailed plan can provide direction and purpose upon release.

Pursue Education and Training: Utilize opportunities for education and vocational training while in prison. These can equip you with valuable skills and certifications that enhance employability post-release.

Build a Support Network: Establish and maintain connections with family, friends, mentors, and support groups. A strong support network can offer emotional support, advice, and practical assistance.

Understand Your Legal Obligations: Be aware of any legal restrictions or requirements that will apply to you after release, such as parole conditions. Ensuring compliance is critical to avoid complications.

Financial Planning: Develop a financial plan to manage any debts and budget for your initial months post-release. Financial stability is a key component of successful reentry.

Mental and Emotional Preparation: Prepare mentally and emotionally for the transition. This can involve counseling, self-reflection, and setting realistic expectations for the reentry process.

Engage in Continuous Learning: Continue your education and skills development even after release. Lifelong learning is crucial for personal growth and career advancement.

Give Back to the Community: Consider ways you can contribute positively to your community. This can aid in rebuilding your reputation and creating a sense of purpose.

Maintain Healthy Habits: Continue healthy practices developed in prison, such as regular exercise and good nutrition. A healthy lifestyle supports overall well-being and focus.

Commit to Goals: Remain dedicated to the goals you set in your reentry plan. Adjust them as needed, but always keep your long-term objectives in sight.


Preparing for success after release from federal prison is a multifaceted process that requires careful planning, dedication, and a positive mindset. Embracing the journey as an opportunity for growth and transformation can lead to a fulfilling and successful life post-incarceration. My journey taught me that with perseverance, a solid plan, and the right support, it’s possible to overcome the challenges of reentry and achieve lasting success.