Thursday, October 23, 2014
Brian’s final question for me follows:
How difficult was it for you to educate yourself within prison walls? Do you feel the prison system offered sufficient help?
I am fortunate. Early during my term, prior to a judge sentencing me to a 45-year sentence, prayers led me to a philosophy book. I’ve written and spoken extensively about how the wisdom of Socrates and other philosophers influenced my adjustment through prison. They convinced me to focus on a three-pronged approach to prepare for a law-abiding, contributing life. That approach required that I work to educate myself, to contribute to society, and to build a strong support network.
As a consequence of that clear vision, I made decisions throughout the journey that empowered me. Persistence led to my finding educators that agreed to work with me—despite the bad decisions of my youth. In 1992, Mercer University awarded my bachelor’s degree and in 1995, Hofstra University awarded my master’s degree. That pursuit of education led to my becoming an author. As I reached more people, I found more people who began to believe in me and they joined my support network.
Unfortunately, prison administrators did not support my pursuit of education. On many occasions, they blocked me. A warden blocked me from completing a Ph.D. program at the University of Connecticut. Other staff members locked me in segregation and transferred me to prisons across state lines when they objected to the growing body of work I created to describe the inside of our nation’s prison system.
Those experiences, unfortunately, convince me that the system fails to support individuals who aspire to live as law abiding, contributing citizens.
Days since my release from prison: 437
Miles that I ran today: 12.3
Miles that I ran so far this week: 36.6
Miles that I’ve run during the month of October: 138.99
Miles that I ran so far in 2014: 2,003.01
Miles that I need to run in order to reach my annual goal of 2,400 miles: 396.99
Miles I’m ahead of schedule to reach my 2,400-mile goal by the end of 2014: 51.72
My weight for today: 168