At Prison Professors, our team offers strategies and insight for people who want to avoid investigations or get the best outcomes if authorities have targeted them. Michael Santos, our host, served 26 years in federal prison. Learn how to prepare. Contact us at Team@PrisonProfessors.com. For more information, call or text: 949-205-6056.
Sentence Mitigation Arc on Prison Professors
For more information on the Arc of Sentence Mitigation, visit our page:
Halfway Houses and Reentry in the BOP: Jon Gustin
Learn more about halfway houses and reentry in the BOP. We finished an interview as part of our Bureau of Prisons Leadership Series:
Home Confinement in the Bureau of Prisons: Danny's Experience
Do you need help understanding the Bureau of Prisons' Home Confinement and Reentry program, the following page gives insight you can use.
Do-it-Yourself Advocacy in the Bureau of Prisons
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25 Points on Why the BOP Is Improving Home Confinement Access
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Administrative Remedy in the Bureau of Prisons
Learn everything you need to know about starting an administrative remedy process in the Bureau of Prisons:
Aaron Kinzel Prison Professors Podcast
This podcast really brings a sense of awareness to those who have not been in the system. People like Aaron deal with many issues in life before their incarceration. A lot of factors go into why someone like Aaron would be placed in the system. The environment you are born into and how you grow up are factors in how you’ll act in society. Aaron is a perfect example of a child growing up in a bad environment, which resulted in his bad behavior. Child abuse and drugs were a starting basis for this type of behavior to begin. This type of negative exposure increases the chance of a crime to be committed. Aaron felt threatened with his surroundings growing up. His behavior became more aggressive and eventually was arrested for the violent crimes he committed. Once in the system, he quickly had to adjust to this new environment. During his early years in the system, Aaron struggled like many others who do entering the system. It took several years in prison, before Aaron’s mentality changed to better himself. He started to better educate himself through classes offered and became more involved in the prison overall. Aaron was slowly shaping into a new person from these experiences. He was granted mandatory parole after serving half the time of his initial sentence. Aaron’s story is an inspiration to individuals who are or have been incarcerated.
PodCast Discussion Board CRJ 363-001
Talk about how the individual became involved in a life of crime and or discuss their time incarcerated.
I decided to listen to Michael Whitehead’s story. The title “facing the death penalty” caught my attention, and the second I began listening to it I was interested. As stated in the title Michael faced the death penalty and he served a six year prison sentence. Michael was involved in a life of crime. He was first arrested for murdering his wife. He was also charged for theft.
The courts gave Michael a plea deal that was ten years. Michael chose to serve twelve years, which he only served six of the twelve. Michael spoke about the hardships that he faced in prison. He revealed that he no longer had custody of his child during the trial period. Michael stayed away from making trouble in prison. He explained that the specific programs he joined while serving his time helped him stay out of trouble. He said that he learned a lot from these programs. In addition, he explained that the cognitive development program had educated him.
2. Discuss any aspects of reentry back into society and any struggles that the individual faced due to having criminal convictions. What could be a possible public policy change that could have made their transition into the community smoother?
Michael spoke about the hardships that he faced when he re-entered into society. He explained the difficulty of being unemployed. Not only was Michael unemployed, but he had no personal possessions and no place to go which made his it much more difficult for him to re-adjust into society. Because Michael had criminal convictions, he explained that society makes it impossible for returning citizens to find a job. However, after struggling for some time he managed to get a job as a contractor.
Although it may be difficult, Michael explained that he aspires to be a lawyer. He is currently in college to get his bachelor's degree. It was inspiring to hear Michael say that he won't let his criminal record get in the way of his success. If anything his past further motivates him to become successful. Michael explains that the struggle he went through in prison is enough to keep him out for good. He emphasized the importance of appreciating the things you have.
A policy change that could make the transition into society smoother is giving inmates the opportunity to get an education while in prison and to get a job upon release. The question “Have you been convicted of a felon?” which appears on every job and college application hinders thousands of individuals from becoming successful, law-abiding citizens. I would develop and implement rehabilitation programs that will allow returning citizens to pursue an education, obtain vocational training, and eventually start on a career path. This type of education and skill-building helps promote the autonomy that each individual needs to become successful which is what Michael emphasizes in the podcast. If Michael had been given the opportunity to join a program such as vocational training he may have had a job lined up for him directly upon release.
3. Give an overall summary of the podcast and discuss a key policy change to improve juvenile and or adult criminal justice that you did not mention in questions 1 or 2. Make sure you post a copy of this response to the question on iTunes reviews as well
Michael’s story was very inspiring. It made me realize not to take my education for granted. Returning citizens struggle to get into a college who is willing to accept them. It made me realize the importance of striving for success. Michael served a six year sentence in prison. While he was in prison he participated in programs such as the cognitive development program that he spoke about that helped him. He explained that these programs allowed him to get clean and it prevented him from getting involved into trouble while serving time. Although Michael was shunned by society after being released, he is motivated to become successful. He aspires to be a lawyer. He described that going to prison allowed him to transform his life.
A key policy that should be implemented to improve the adult criminal justice system is instead of arresting individuals who are addicted to drugs, we must direct substance abuse and mental illness patients to community based treatment programs that would focus on empowering the individual. The programs should aid individuals in carrying out changes that promote life fulfillment. The issue is that while inmates are serving their time, very little is being done to rehabilitate them. Our criminal justice system must include rehabilitation programs that prepare individuals to re-enter society, without the feeling of being shunned, labeled, excluded, or abandoned.
Mario Bueno Podcast- Ali Bazzi
Overall, Mario’s podcast was very inspiring and detailed a very nice reform story. It showed the lengths an individual would go to better themselves and turn their life around. Regardless of the crime Mario committed and the sentence he had to serve, he still had an urge to not give up and not waste the life he still had. Mario was lucky that he had the opportunity to self-assess his life and not fall victim to his situation. He educated himself to better himself and others and proved that regardless of being sentenced he can still make something of his life. Mario took the second chance he was given and used it to redeem himself.
An key policy that may help improve the juvenile and adult criminal system would be to reform the laws regarding the sentencing of juveniles in the adult system. Mario fell victim to this back in 1995 and this is still happening today. No matter the crime a person who is 16 should not be locked up with a person that is 35. Juveniles should be considered such until they pass the age of 18, maybe even 21 in some cases. Age is in important factor to consider regarding criminal justice, a 16 years-old still has a large chunk of their life to live before they mature and understand the real world. Throwing them into an adult facility is the same as throwing their life away. Not all kids are like Mario, some will give up with their life if they are sentenced, let alone for 19 years. Changing this key policy will assist and preventing most kids form throwing their lives away and losing hope.