Friday, November 21, 2014
A reader asked me to compare and contrast views on rehab since my return to society.
My views on rehabilitation programs in prison have not changed since I returned to society. During the 26 years that I served as a federal prisoner, I heard many platitudes about rehabilitation. Yet I did not sense a genuine concern for improving the outcomes of our nation’s prison system. Although I made a personal commitment to transform my life, I had to condition myself to expect obstacles and interference from the prison system.
Since returning to society, my perspective has not changed. I served the final year of my sentence inside a halfway house in San Francisco. Case managers there repeatedly admonished me for my pursuit of ambitious career goals. They did not want me to work so many hours and they refused to grant permission for me to pursue opportunities that would have facilitated my career advancement. Despite their interferences, I made great progress—but my case is the exception rather than the rule.
Other individuals who’ve been released from prison frequently reach out to me looking for guidance or advice. I sense their frustration. While incarcerated, those individuals perceived that administrative rules discouraged them from preparing for success upon release. Since they returned to society, they encountered the same resistance. Accordingly, many are less likely to succeed as contributing citizens after imprisonment than they were before imprisonment. Those observations and personal experiences keep my views on rehabilitation the same as they were while I served 26 years. The system offers a lot of happy talk about rehabilitation, but the policies and procedures discourage meaningful growth.
Days since my release from prison: 466
Miles that I ran today: 0
Miles that I ran so far this week: 37.55
Miles that I’ve run during the month of November: 127.13
Miles that I ran so far in 2014: 2,177.27
Miles that I need to run in order to reach my annual goal of 2,400 miles: 222.73
Miles I’m ahead of schedule to reach my 2,400-mile goal by the end of 2014: 35.45
My weight for today: 168