Saturday, June 28, 2014
I came across an article about Raj Rajaratnam in prison. A federal judge sentenced the billionaire to prison for violations of securities laws a couple of years ago. The article described how one of Rajaratnam’s disgruntled former employees filed a lawsuit against him. The employee sued because he claimed that Rajaratnam had him send money to other inmates. The purpose of sending the funds, ostensibly, was to ease Rajaratnam’s life in prison, and the employee claimed that sending such funds violated the law.
That’s ridiculous. There isn’t any law that prohibits a citizen from sending money to someone in prison. There are prison rules that prohibit one prisoner from giving anything of value to another prisoner. But Rajaratnam would be smart enough to get around such idiocies. That said, apparently he wasn’t smart enough to assess the trustworthiness of the people around him.
Prison is a microcosm of the world. People who have deep financial resources can ease certain difficulties of life inside. They participate in the underground economy, paying those who lack resources to perform simple tasks like cleaning, cooking, or laundry duties. Big deal.
During the time that I served, I ghostwrote books for numerous other prisoners. Prison rules prohibited other prisoners from paying me directly. But those rules didn’t mean anything to me. My focus was on preparing for success upon release, not adhering to rules that resulted in massively high recidivism rates.
In recognition of the prison rules, I came to an agreement with prisoners who wanted to retain me to write on their behalf. If a prisoner had his wife send money to my wife, I would write the other prisoner’s manuscript. The agreement was a win-win. The other prisoner received the manuscript he wanted and through my labor, I supported my wife. My wife paid taxes on the income. I felt as if I were a contributing member of society.
Prison authorities would’ve liked to discipline me for the money that my writing generated. Yet I never set the goal of being a model prisoner. Instead, I always set the goal of returning to society strong, with my dignity in tact. I encourage Rajaratnam to do the same. His actions may violate prison rules, but they do not violate federal laws.
Days since my release from prison: 320
Miles that I ran today: 9.04
Miles that I ran so far this week: 59.33
Miles that I’ve run during the month of June: 206.1
Miles that I ran so far in 2014: 1,339.87
Miles that I need to run in order to reach my annual goal of 2,400 miles: 1,060.13
Miles I’m ahead of schedule to reach my 2,400-mile goal by the end of 2014: 157.27
My weight for today: 165