Michael Santos, the founder, and president of Prison Professors was surprised at a recent Corrections Conference in Long Beach to learn of the extent and influence of his work. Michael was attending the conference as a registered vendor. Michael’s work is helping individuals who have served time in federal prison or are preparing to serve a sentence in Federal prison. Michael has written numerous books based on his personal experience of having served twenty-six years in federal custody. Michael’s books are designed to assist those facing a prison sentence in understanding they can take constructive actions to repair their lives. In his books, Michael sets forth a philosophy designed to teach inmates a process to rehabilitate criminal behavior and intent. The central premise of Michael’s work is the demonstration by offenders of specific actions intended as evidence of remorse and contrition. A change in attitude can only influence the stakeholder in the judicial and penal system when the change is supported by the plan of actions Michael outlines in his books.

The purpose of Michael’s appearance at the convention was to network with other executives and explore mutual business opportunities. Michael took the opportunity at the conference to attend various seminars being offered to provide the attendees with insight and knowledge on the current status of the business of the American justice system. Several of the seminars Michael attended focused on the condition of mass incarceration and the need to help inmates prepare for a successful and productive life after prison. Often the individuals speaking at the seminars were former prisoners. The speakers shared the goals and tasks they performed to help themselves build a foundation for better lives outside of prison. The former inmates spoke of having a positive attitude and of ways they used their time in prison productively preparing a pathway for their lives after incarceration.

To Michael’s amazement, these former prisoners attribute their successful adjustment in prison to the courses and books Michael had created. Many prisoners had lengthy sentences. The Earning Freedom programs they studied were available to them through prison education departments classes and lectures. One of the people to whom Michael spoke had been serving a double life sentence. This former prisoner attributed Michael’s programs to helping him attain the attitude and perspective to overcome the challenges of prison. The lessons he learned enabled him to demonstrate to prison administrators the traits and characteristics resulting in his reintegration into society.

Michael was awed by the revelations of the positive influence his books and programs had produced. For Michael, what started as a business endeavor, to meet and network resulted in something much greater and with deeper consequences. Michael’s communications with the other participants at the event lead to close connections. Michael had come to the convention to build a business network and to communicate how Prison Professors was helping people learn to use their time in prison in a successful way, helping them see their lives in a positive light, a life with a future. What Michael came away with was much richer. Michael experienced firsthand the success of people who despite some severely lengthy sentences used their time in prison productively preparing for law-abiding lives. Michael was greatly moved by the realization of the contributions his work had made to the lives of so many others. 

Michael’s experience also made him extremely thankful. Michael had the opportunity to meet and greet institution leaders and administrators of various correctional departments and institutions. Michael was thankful to these administrators. These prison officials who had trusted the methods and ideologies of a former prisoner. Michael was grateful these administrators had taken a chance in promoting the program of a man who had served a twenty-six-year sentence. 

In particular, Michael was appreciative of Dr. Brant Choate, the Director, of the Division of Rehabilitative Programs for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Dr. Choate is a personal advocate for the Earning Freedom program in California prisons. Mr. Choate has campaigned for the program’s use. He has defended the utility of the program amongst his peers and colleagues. The positive testimony from former California State prisoners about the benefit they gained from learning and using the Earning Freedom program is a validation of Dr. Choate’s wisdom and integrity. Dr. Choate’s work stands as a grand statement of success for his ongoing rehabilitative effort to improve the lives and destinies of inmates of the California State penal system. 

The video leaves any reader facing incarceration eager to find out more about the Earning Freedom program. The endorsement of those who faced the harshest penalty, yet learned a way to engage in positive and productive activities, is a testament to the validity of the engaging philosophy of Michael Santos’ system of rehabilitation. It is ironic Mr. Santos stumbled upon a symposium whose lecturers were so familiar with the ideas and concepts espoused by Mr. Santos. It would seem fitting for the next Correctional Convention to feature Mr. Santos as the keynote speaker.