My continuing advocacy for change (Self):
Today, as I was sitting around a table with some of the guys, the topic of the new Sentencing Commission changes came up, and I started taking about how there might be some new relief for some of us. How quickly everyone became so hostile towards me, talking about how nothing was going to change and nothing was going to happen. I was taken back by how negative everyone (at least 5 people) had become. I tried to show my optimism but it just didn’t register with these guys.
I have been at this prison (Victorville FCI-1) for about 3 1/2 weeks. There is a process when you arrive here, that one must first go to a holdover unit, where a person can sit for up to 2 months. I was there for 2 nights. I was transferred to the main yard, where you can’t get a job until you go to a orientation session which again can take up to 2 months. I went and completed my orientation the first week I was on the yard. I have been here for 3 1/2 weeks. A couple of days ago I got a job, probably one of the best jobs in the Institution working as a Clerk in Unicor, which is the major prison industry in the Federal system. After talking to a bunch of the guys here, many of them have been here for a year or longer and still haven’t gotten jobs. In 3 1/2 weeks, I have done more than some people that have been here a year. My point is that a person can sit around here and complain or just fall into that mode of not wanting to do anything or they can decide to want to change, make changes, or advocate for changes much like Michael Santos talks about in his many books.
Changing or planning for a future takes hard work! I should probably add that I am a student at Adams State University pursuing a secondary degree in business. I’m also enrolled at Victorville Junior College pursuing an AA Degree in sociology. I’m also enrolled at Valley College pursuing an AA degree in the culinary arts. If that isn’t enough I also am staring the Pest management program from Purdue University. And finally, I have enrolled in every class that they offer here at the prison.
My point is that I have dedicated myself to change and I will do whatever I need to do to be successful at that. I am so grateful that I have these opportunities to do all of these things, and I can’t think of any better way to show this system which is built on such negativity, like the guys at the table telling me that nothing will happen or change. Than to up this place by saying, I did this and I did that and I will never come back here again! I am proof, like Michael, that by being proactive, a person can choose their path and make positive changes and never have to come back to this place or ever have to worry about being part of this life again!
It is absolutely vital that I set goals and stick to them with one point in mind, to do whatever I have to do to not come back here again. The reason I completed my orientation here at this prison so quickly, was because I was proactive by not waiting for them to call me, I went to the orientation and because I was there they allowed me to attend. I was being proactive. I have set my goals, I do not choose to be a part of the negativity that surrounds me, nor do I let myself fall victim to the negativity that surrounds me. I stay focused on the big prize, my freedom. It’s interesting those guys at the table that were so negative towards me, I think that they are starting to maybe believe that if a person wants something bad enough a person can get it. I am proof to them and they may not be so ignorant as they seemed because a couple of them have asked me some questions of advice about their own futures. Today, I feel good about the future of life!