How to Earn Freedom
Individuals who aspire to succeed always follow that pattern. Those who reach their highest potential follow the pattern in sports, in business, in politics, in marriage, and in any area of life where they want to excel. They always know where they are and they know where they’re going. They create plans, strategies, and make decisions in accordance with those plans and strategies.
In order to build a career around my journey, I needed to craft my own products and services that would communicate that message. With that end in mind, I began writing specific books. I wrote Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term to show people who were going through the criminal justice system the exact path that empowered me through the decades I served in every security level. That book provides the many details that I left out in this synopsis of my journey. Earning Freedom would show readers the day of my arrest, on August 11, 1987, until the day that I transitioned to a halfway house, on August 13, 2012. (The remainder of this book you’re holding will discuss my final year in the halfway house, and my first two years of liberty).
I wrote Prison! My 8,344th Day because I wanted readers to see what it meant to make disciplined decisions. The book provides a glimpse of a typical day during my 23rd year of confinement. I begin the book by writing about my eyes opening in the morning. The book concludes when I lie down on my rack to sleep. It covers a single day, showing readers what it means to make disciplined, deliberate decisions while living in the midst of challenge.
Then I wrote two separate books to describe the deliberate strategy I teach. I wrote Triumph! The Straight-A Guide to Conquering Imprisonment and Preparing for Reentry for adults in the criminal justice system, and I wrote Success! The Straight-A Guide for At-Risk Youth for juveniles. Each book told the same message, but I wrote them for specific audiences. In writing those books, I intended to build products I could use to advance my career upon release.
Carole married me on June 24, 2003. Over the course of my final decade, authorities transferred me several times. After Fort Dix, authorities transferred me to:
- Florence Colorado
- Lompoc California
- Taft California, and
- Atwater California
Each time authorities transferred me, Carole packed up and moved so we could spend as much time visiting as possible. Together, we made plans for my release. She earned her credential as a registered nurse in 2010. With a nursing credential, Carole could work anywhere. We chose nursing for her career because we believed that nursing would allow her to earn a livable wage regardless of where authorities sent me. Further, by earning a license to practice as a registered nurse, we anticipated that Carole would earn a sufficient income to support our family after my release. Her earnings would allow me to work toward building my career—a career that I anticipated would take several years to develop. While I worked to create a regular income stream, or multiple income streams, Carole’s earnings as a nurse would bring stability to our family.
Readers who have time to serve in prison should anticipate income streams upon release. Where will your income originate? How much will you earn? How will those earnings advance your stability? By using the Socratic questioning approach, Carole and I were able to make plans that would advance prospects for our success upon release.