Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Michael Santos: Welcome to the Prison Professors Podcast. I am Michael Santos and I’m really thrilled to introduce you to my partner, the co-founder of Prison Professors, Justin Paperny. Justin, thanks so much for being on the program this early morning.

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: It’s great to be with you. Thank you.

Michael Santos: Well, I would like to reserve this entire episode to let our audience and listeners know a lot about you. Now, of course, anybody can visit our Prison Professors website and click on your biography, and read a lot about your illustrious career, but for some people that may be driving down the road, listening to this on their favorite podcasting system, or watching us on YouTube, I’d like them to know a little bit about you.

First of all, why don’t we start off and talk about what you are doing right now. What is your role with our organization right now?

Justin Paperny: Thank you again. My role with Prison Professors is to work alongside you and Shon to help more people, and more organizations traverse the system successfully. Specifically, I oversee and manage our consulting and our consulting team, and run a lot of the marketing that helps promote the products, and services, and content that you have spent 30 years or so creating. There’s a lot of content and it’s a lot of work to make sure that it gets in front of the right people, so they know how we can help them. So, marketing and consulting is my primary role at Prison Professors.

Michael Santos: Well, one of the things that we really focus on is the importance of people who are coming into the system, or going through the system, or coming home from the system, the importance of rebranding themselves. You’ve become somewhat of an expert at that. We know that you’re currently working with us, but you didn’t always start working in the prison space. So, why don’t we branch back and talk to us a little bit about your background, where you grew up, what you studied, and what your career aspirations were before you got involved in working with us.

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Justin Paperny: Thank you. I grew up in Encino, California, which is just outside of Los Angeles. I was a good student in school, but my primary interest as a young man was baseball. I had the privilege of playing in the Pony World Series, the Babe Ruth World Series, and those skills took me through USC, where I was a proud member of the USC baseball team. We lost in the national championship game in 1995. So, I love baseball and it really conditioned me for hard work and discipline, and just teamwork. I loved it.

I graduated USC in 1997 with a degree in psychology. I wanted to go to graduate school and then randomly one day, my mom mentioned that I had a distant cousin who was a managing director of Goldman Sachs. She said “Why don’t you go learn from him?” I said fine. I showed up at his office in downtown Los Angeles on Grand street at 3 a.m., and I was hooked hearing 50 hundred million dollar bond trades, and I knew as soon as I walked into that trading floor at Goldman Sachs, I wanted to be a money manager, and I spent the rest of my time at USC interning at Prudential and Merrill Lynch. When I graduated USC, I accepted a position at Merrill Lynch in Orange County.

Michael Santos: How long did you work in the financial services industry?

Justin Paperny: I started May of 1997 and it ended December 15th, 2005 when my branch manager at UBS called me in to question my actions in facilitating some decisions for a client’s hedge fund. So, for about eight years.

Michael Santos: So, we’re talking to Justin Paperny, a former stockbroker, graduate of USC. He’s also a co-founder of the Prison Professors organization.

He’s talking with us a little bit about what it’s like to go through a life as a financial services professional and eventually finding himself, he was the target of a criminal organization. What was it like for you, Justin, to have never been experienced or exposed to the criminal justice system before, and all of a sudden finding out that you potentially could be going inside for free room and board?

Justin Paperny: I was so overwhelmed, and under prepared, my experience … I lived in a great deal of denial. So, even when people tried to help me, I would avoid them. For me, in December of 2005 when I learned that my actions were under scrutiny, my senior business partner, others who were a little wiser, had more experience … I shouldn’t say wiser, weren’t in denial like me, they lawyered up.

They began making better decisions. In my case, I lied to UBS when they questioned me. I spent $50,000, $60,000 initially hiring lawyers who couldn’t properly prepare me, because I didn’t speak openly and honestly with them. In retrospect, part of that was because I still wanted them to see me as a USC baseball player, a stockbroker, a successful executive. I didn’t want them to view me as someone who could play a role in turning investors into victims. So, for a number of those reasons, for two years I went down this horrific path of gaining weight, to eating poorly, of lying to my family, lying to lawyers, beginning to use my home like it’s an ATM to pay these lawyers.

Inevitably, all of those bad decisions, longer prison terms, I eventually pleaded guilty to securities charges. In retrospect, the three and a half years I spent fighting my case, I already felt like I was in prison. I just wasn’t get credit for it. So, in retrospect, I have such regret over how I handled that first test of adversity in my life. That’s why when you met me in prison, you could see how down and broken, and beaten I was as a young man, because I had let so many people down, and I just had so many regrets. I was ill-prepared to handle my experience, to put it lightly.

Michael Santos: When you went into the prison system, what kind of thoughts did you have about how you would emerge? What were you thinking about when this gets over, this is what I’m going to do with my life. Tell us a little bit about what your expectations were after the journey.

Justin Paperny: When I met you, I couldn’t even start. I remember meeting you a couple of days into prison. I said, “Okay, Michael. Nice to meet you. Let me tell you what I want to do. I spent a million dollars on my case. I want to get my money back. I lost all my licenses, I want to build a new career. I was a USC athlete, I’ve put on 40 pounds, I’m fat, bloated, miserable. I want to be in shape by tomorrow. I’ve really upset my family. My mom’s going to therapy, because of me. My parents think it’s their fault, because I had too much privilege as a kid. I want my parents to love me again.” And, I wanted all of it that first day, because I wanted so much, and I had done so much harm, I didn’t know where to start. So, even in those initially days frankly, until you began mentoring me, I continued to remain lost and really off my game. It wasn’t until you said “What is one thing that we can do today? What does incremental daily progress mean?” Then, I began to slowly get on track working alongside you 12 hours a day.

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

I was fortunate to have you as a mentor. We tried to be a mentor for those going through the system. It changed my life. I like to think since we’ve been doing this for a long time, it’s changing the lives of others, but my initial concern was I wanted it all back the first day. It’s sort of like the decisions I made as a securities broker, where I wanted to get perhaps in two years, where it takes 10. I really had to embrace this is going to take some time to do it the right way and you had been doing that for 22 years when I shook your hand.

Michael Santos: Let’s focus really on your vision. Tell us about your vision when you walked in, because I think a lot of people who go into the prison system, they’re thinking it’s a temporary type of situation. At the other end of their sentence, life is going to resume as normal. I’d like to hear from you before you and I spoke, before we spoke about the complexities, and the ancillary consequences that come with a criminal conviction, and a journey in prison. What did you think your life would be like on the other side of the journey, when you finally got out of prison? Before we started working together.

Justin Paperny: Sure. So, I was in denial enough to think that my life would continue uninterrupted. For example, I sold real estate successfully in Calabasas for more than three years before I surrendered. My license was active, my conviction was as a securities broker, so, I had people telling me “Well, of course you’re going to be able to resume your real estate career”, not knowing you have a conviction, there’s still outstanding restitution, probably going to lose your license. My only goal when I surrendered to prison and frankly until I met you was to lose some weight. I took Spanish all the way through USC, maybe I’ll learn a second language.

All I wanted to do was lose weight and I was going to exercise for 10 hours a day to accomplish that goal. I presume when I went home, because it was only a year, people. I had an 18 month sentence, but I was going to be away a year or 15 months. It’s like, how can that really change your life? Then, I began to see prisoners going home nervous, afraid, with very little lined up, and they had been watching TV all day, and not really preparing.

One of the greatest learning lessons is when I ran into your cubicle one day and said “Dude, I just ran 10 miles and I did 15 pull-ups.” And, you were like “That’s great. Are people going to hire you and pay you to do pull-ups?” ‘Because, all I had done was exercise all day. So, my initial goal when I surrendered  to federal prison was decompress, recalibrate a bit, get fit, nothing else.

Michael Santos: So, when you thought about your life, when you’d get out of prison, when you started it, it was just about let’s just get through prison and get fit. You didn’t put a lot of thought, you just thought it’d be very easy to get back into the real estate.

Justin Paperny: It’s very hard to think about the end, life after prison, because I’d been consumed with my case for years. You can’t think about the other side before you’ve even gone to jail. Lawyers, and the Department of Justice, and sentencing, and press releases, and losing friends, and money. It’s like, how can you even begin to think about the other side of federal prison when you haven’t even entered the system? So, no. I did absolutely zilch, nothing to think about the other side, and when I did I just convinced myself everything would be all good.

Michael Santos: You said something else that interested me.

You said that you were arrested, I don’t remember what day, I think you said it was around 2008, but then you said that you worked for three years as a real estate broker after you left the securities industry. How long did it take from the day that you learned that you were the target of investigation or could be the target of an investigation until the day that you actually began your term in prison? How long was that?

Justin Paperny: The hardest part of my life. December 15th, 2005 it began and I surrendered to prison April 28th, 2008. So, just over three years.

Michael Santos: So, for three years, this was hanging over you like a dark cloud, where although you were able to earn a living through real estate, I gotta think that your life was kind of … You tell us. I don’t want to put words in your mouth. What was your life like during those three years?

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: It was nearly unbearable in retrospect. I wonder days how I got through it. From the second I woke up, all I would think about was my case. I would be afraid to sit down at my computer to see emails that would come from lawyers, letters that would come in from investors turn victims. The fallout to my family, community, and my parents. I could hardly … A great part of that time, I could hardly function. I’m not even embarrassed to say that. I had never dealt with any setback like this in my life. I remember some days, Tuesday at 11 a.m. driving to downtown Los Angeles to meet my excellent lawyers thinking my friends are building businesses right now. They’re contributing to their communities. Instead, I’m going down to meet with lawyers to tell them half truths about my role as a securities broker.

I lived that path for more than three years. I didn’t go to family events. My mom would send me your blogs. “Read Michael Santos, he’s at TAFT, where you may go.” I said “I don’t want to read Michael Santos. I don’t want to read his blogs. And, I ain’t going to meet him when I get to jail.” I would delete it. I wouldn’t even look at it, I was in such denial. So, occasionally some people knock my 18 months in jail, and I remind them, it wasn’t 18 months. It was 18 months I served, plus the three and a half years I spent fighting my case, which was the hardest part. The process was the punishment.

Michael Santos: That’s an important lesson I think, for many of the people who are listening to the Prison Professors podcast, and anybody who’s going into the system, is that that time prior to imprisonment can bring that fear of the unknown, that sense of your life is spinning out of control. Yet, from what I heard otherwise, and really from what I know personally, it seemed that you used your time in prison to recalibrate, and to set yourself on a path. Even though you weren’t thinking about it when you went in, you found opportunities to grow, and to develop, and I’d love it if you just spent a minute or two telling us how you did that.

Justin Paperny: Fortunately, I do have a competitive side to me and I’m not afraid of even embarrassments or rejection. Baseball conditioned me for such levels of rejection.

So, when I began spending time alongside you and opening up about my family, you began to ask me questions about my conduct, and my case. Even initially, I was misleading you, and you said “Justin, we’re friends. I’m in prison. I want to help you. I want to guide you. You have to speak openly to me. Help me understand why you crossed this line.” Once I began to do that, this whole ocean opened up. I was reading the John Grisham books and you said, “Hey, dude. That’s cool, but you might as well be in the TV room right now watching a movie. It’s the same thing. It’s a very passive activity. What books are you reading? And moreover, how are they going to help you lead the life you want to live after you get out of prison?” That was such a profound question, I couldn’t answer it.

So, once I began to learn and read, and frankly, for the first time, be held to account, that was the key thing for me. You, my family, one of my best friends, Brad Fullmer, who you know well, who supports our work, who played the major leagues for years, would show up at visitation and say “What did you do this week? You’re going to be home soon. What is the path? What is the plan?” Initially, I couldn’t answer. I’d say  “Dude, I don’t know. I’m in federal prisonl. I’m getting adjusted.” So, once mentors like you and Brad, and others began to hold me accountable, I began to focus on day to day tasks. What could I do tomorrow. You used to say to me, “Justin, if you do the same thing today, where will you be in a year? Or, two and three years?” And, that frankly, began to consume me. I began to wake up early. 4 a.m., 5 a.m., to work alongside you, and learn. I became obsessed with the process, and really developing new values.

I no longer wanted to be a cliché, Michael, I didn’t want to say family was important, but I didn’t nurture family.

I didn’t want to say education was important, or character, but do nothing. So, you helped me as much as anything identify my values, and then live faithfully to them, and I did it each any every day until I was released. I began doing it when I was released from prison. Ironically, even though you were still in prison upon my release, email had come in, and we were writing. That was the big change for me. I identified my values, you held me accountable, and I began to live faithfully to them, and it changed … And, I still live faithfully to them now.

Michael Santos: So, through that work, resulted in a well-documented journey of the time that you served in prison. Justin is the author of Lessons From Prison and other books that helped him launch his career. Tell us a little bit about what … You went home in 2009, the time that we were in one of the greatest recessions of our lifetime. Tell us how your preparations in prison contributed to the life you experienced when you went home.

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: Prison Advice for White Collar Offenders

Justin Paperny: Let me quickly talk to the book, because in federal prison, one time you were teaching a class, and you asked the prisoners to raise their hand if you want to write a book, and everyone raised their hand, and you said “Well, how many have actually written a book?” And, nobody’s hands went up. So, I asked you one day, “I think I’d like to do that someday. Maybe write a book.” And, you said “Why don’t you start with small steps.” So, then, we began writing a blog together, and it felt good for the first time to help people. I was actually thinking of others. Then, one day while walking to the chow hall, I said “Dude, I’ve got all of these letters from people reading this blog. Thank you so much for helping me. It felt good to contribute and give back.” And, the blog was the harbinger for a book. So, rather than going to prison, I encourage those watching and saying “I want to do the book, lose 50 pounds, and rebuild my family, and build a $10 million dollar business.”

All of those are great goals. What can you do today? I started my working next to you in a quiet room saying “I want to write a piece with you today that might help someone who is in trouble like me going through this process”, and that first step led to a lot of … Well, upon my release in 2009, I mentioned I wasn’t afraid of rejection with the book that you helped me write, Lessons from Prison, I knew that I could help more white collar defendants do this journey better than me.

Michael Santos: I don’t think it’s only white collar defendants. You’ve helped people from every level.

Justin Paperny: But, what I did was the first day that I got out of jail, with a suit that I wore to sentencing that was now too huge, because I had lost 30 pounds in prison, I began cold-walking all throughout downtown Los Angeles with Lessons from Prison. Mark Werksman and Alan Eisner, lawyers who now support and endorse our work, I would just try to get into their office like I was a cold walking 22 year old stockbroker again, and I had a part … A benefit of going to prison is I feared much less, after all, I’d already been to jail. So, the rejection didn’t bother me, but in 2009, with bills to pay, with restitution, I had to work hard. I had to use my experience wisely. So, I did that by reaching out to criminal defense attorneys.

The work that we had put in in prison with the blog and the book really did help, because I had three clients my first month from defendants who had been reading my blog. Then, I also wanted to speak to universities and businesses about the consequences of unethical conduct, so I began reaching out to professors like USC, my alma mater, Cal State, Northridge, and eventually those speeches led to events with the FBI, USC, KPMG, New York University, and others. But, it all started with “How can I begin to help others for the first time?”

But, I worked at it. You used to send messages to me that would say “Work, work, work.” I woke early, I worked late. Those efforts, despite, it’s hard to walk into a lawyer’s office, and to be thrown out. It’s hard to be looked at from others saying “What the hell is this guy doing cold walking into our office?” But, I did it. I believed in the message more than I ever did selling stocks. I believed and I did not want other defendants to endure my journey and respond as I did, because this process is harder on family and loved ones, and I just didn’t realize that, Michael, until I met you. Until I was in prison.

Michael Santos: The real takeaway there, I think for any listener is that the sooner an individual starts owning decisions and becoming authentic, the sooner that individual can start sowing seeds for a better outcome. I’m really happy to see the development that you’ve made since we first met, and the contributions that you make to the lives of others. Justin is not only the director of marketing and sales with Prison Professors, but he’s also the director of marketing at White Collar Advice, which work with how many people Justin, over the course of the several years that you’ve been working? How many clients can you say that you have worked with?

Justin Paperny: Our team, we’ve had hundreds of hundreds of clients worked with personally. Of course, many others have downloaded, as you frequently love to say, we give away more stuff than we sell. So, we’re giving away lesson plans, and books, and case studies to help others traverse this system. So, personally we work one on one with hundreds, but tens of thousands of people have come across our work, and our videos, and lesson plans. I frequently put prospects and clients on the phone with other prospects and clients to learn, to ensure that we do exactly what we say we’re going to do. So, we’ve had the privilege of helping a lot of people for a long time and I think working with you and Shon, and our team, it’s only going to grow, and going to new markets, beyond just the prison space, right? The lessons that you taught me, the lessons that guided you for 26 years, and guided me, that I’ve used to guide our clients, I think can help anyone going through a sense of struggle. Whether it’s weight loss, or divorce, or depression.

They’re timeless lessons and I began to learn them in prison and follow it through every day, and that’s the last thing, what I want to convey. Everyone says they want it and then, they want a better life, they want that success. It’s the daily implementation that gets it there. Small, bite-sized pieces, and I think that’s the best lesson that you shared with me. Holding myself accountable every day.

Michael Santos: You know, we never ask anybody to do anything, or say anything, or pursue any path that we did not pursue while we were going through the same struggle, and that we’re not continuing to execute that model today. So, by being 100% authentic, and inviting people to judge us, and assess whether we’re telling anybody to do anything that we didn’t do, I think that brings a lot of relevance to the table, and it shows people just by listening to you, that regardless of what struggle a person’s going through today, that has no bearing on what that individual can become tomorrow. Tell our audience a little bit about what you’ve learned from working for hundreds of people who are encountering the criminal justice system for the first time. Whether it’s a white collar offender or any other offender, because every person is a human being, and all of them facing this have enormous struggle. What did you learn from working with so many of those people?

Justin Paperny: I’ve learned that the capacity of people to overcome is amazing. That sometimes people don’t know what they’re capable of until they’re actually going through it.

I’ve learned that it can be incredibly difficult for some defendants to go to prison, especially when their case was gray, or civil, or civil sanctioned. It should have been at worse, but they were pursued. For me, it was easier to go to prison, because I did it. I crossed the line. It wasn’t hard to read my Department of Justice press releases, because I did it. For clients who don’t feel as if “Okay, I did something wrong, but maybe I shouldn’t be going to prison”, their will to overcome and to prepare, and to recognize this is harder on my family and those that love and support me. I want to set the tone. I want to leave a legacy for my children. This isn’t going to define our family in a bad way, but a good way by how I’m responding.” So, I’ve seen some incredible stories.

Everyone that has succeeded, it’s because rather than talk about what they want to do, like you wrote the end of Lessons from Prison, if you say you’re going to say something, do it. It’s not just talking about what they want to do, it’s actually enduring the struggle, and the process to make it happen, whether it’s waking early. Whether it’s growing your network from prison, writing that probation officer, doing the initial job out of jail that you may not want to do that’s part of that five year plan that you often speak to. You asked me in prison, “What job would you do?” And, initially it was “I don’t know. I want a job that’s worthy of my skillset.” And, you helped me understand this is a stepping stone. Prove worthy, build your reputation, become a law-abiding citizen. So, to answer your question, it’s not just talking about the end game of what you want, it’s those that are successful are willing to endure that process, and struggle, and even find some joy in it. Like, I found joy in getting thrown out of a lawyer’s office when I cold called.

Or, the first lecture I ever did, Michael, at USC, my god, it was awful. There were three students sleeping in the front row and I felt terrible that they were paying this type of tuition at USC to hear a speaker put them to sleep, but I say, okay. It’s part of the process in getting better. So, those that succeed are willing to endure that process and struggle, and even find some joy in it, and we’ve had the pleasure of helping hundreds get through it. Just don’t talk about it, you’ve gotta do it.

Michael Santos: So, I know that part of the work that you do is the one on one work with individuals, but let’s talk to a broader audience now for people who are like you were at the beginning of the journey, and they may not be throwing away the blog, they may be driving down the road right now, and they’re in that same space where they’ve been hearing about challenges from the criminal justice are coming down the pike, what would you advice that person if he’s not ready to talk to anybody, but he still wants to do better, he still wants to be thinking, give us a little advice for that individual.

Justin Paperny: Slow and steady wins the race. Part of the reason we give away so many resources from big books, to small books, to lesson plans is if you can begin to spend five minutes a day, 10 minutes a day listening to our podcast, reading our case studies, reading our blogs, you’ll begin to see what’s truly possible through this process. Part of our goal is to do … I think you and Shon epitomize what’s possible with a felony conviction. You have debunked so many of the misperceptions that exist with people who have been to prison. You were a professor the day you got out of prison, Shon’s a professor at Georgetown Law School. Both of you have traveled and lectured all over the country. You wrote books and made millions from prison. Not only is it debunking much of what you think is possible, learning from those who have actually done it with a documented record, because anyone can say they have done it.

Anyone could do a YouTube video. Anyone could write a blog. Is there evidence? Or, is there a record of it? So, I would say to those of you who are not ready to schedule a call with me, who are not even yet ready to invest in any of our products, if you want it bad enough, can you spend five minutes a day? 10 minutes a day? Through that process we become more and we become greater, and you’ll learn what is … It can be a great experience in your life. This has turned out to be a phenomenal experience in my life, despite the millions of dollars I spent, and losing my licenses, and the Department of Justice press releases. It’s turned out to be a wonderful experience and I’m not crazy. It’s the truth, and had I not met you and began learning from you, I’m not sure I would be here.

Others who work with us will have that benefit, will have that opportunity. So, for those of you who aren’t ready to talk to me and hear me ramble on a bit, listen to the podcast every day. If you want to speak with other clients of ours who were in a similar spot, we can have you on the phone with 10 clients by 5 p.m. Not selling you, but telling you how they got started. You have to start.

Michael Santos: I know you’ve worked a lot with white collar professional people, but you’ve also worked with people who are just experiencing the criminal justice system for the first time, and they really don’t know what to do. But, I’d like to ask you just a last question. Do you notice any differences from perhaps somebody who, we could use the category white collar offender, does that person have any unique perspectives on the system versus somebody that well, does not fall into that category, from your experience of coaching and mentoring people?

Justin Paperny: Well, speaking from my experience, are there any differences. Sometimes, it’s a little harder to see what they might have done as criminal, and it can be harder for them to endure time, and white collar defendants tend to rationalize a little bit, so some of the work that I do is, well, you helped me, was what were some of the motivations behind your decisions? How did we get here? ‘Cause, it’s very tough to move forward, Michael, and really become successful, if you haven’t fully accepted responsibility for your conduct, or at least for some of your decisions. For you, you said it started when you were 23 in a Pierce County jail reading Socrates. It’s never too late. Perhaps, you wish you did it before you want to trial, but it’s never too late to begin. So, I have found white collar defendants, some of them initially can be a little bit in denial, as I was. But, once they take the time to learn, study, and own some of their decisions, the whole world opens up and they can not run from this experience.

And, I’ll say, running from this experience, in my opinion, is not an option. I’m not saying you have to write a blog or a book as we did, but people will admire you, and thank you for having the courage to speak openly to them about what you did. We work with our clients to help them tell their story, to own their story. You don’t have to tell the story and say “I agree that I should have gone to prison”, but if you worked out of some gray areas, address it. Or, if you truly believe you’ve done nothing wrong, and you were wrongly convicted, let’s own it and talk about. So, white collar defendants succeed when they can tell their story openly and honestly, and in a way that inspires people to say “Hey, you took a hit and you came back strong. Okay, what type of work can we do together?” And, we have scores of case studies of people who have done that. It’s hard work. It comes back to what I said a few minutes ago, you’ve got to embrace the process, and even the struggle that accompanies this, because nothing’s easy, but the end is coming.

Let me just close with that. At some point, you’re going to be and the other side of prison boundaries, and you’re going to be home, and you’re going to be … That now what question is coming. Prepare for that now whether it’s a white collar defendant, or a drug offender, or a sex offender. Regardless, we’re coming home from prison. The end is coming. You have got to work at it every single day to become great.

Michael Santos: Well, I want to say anybody who’s listening to this, that for me, it’s an incredible honor to be working with Justin. For anybody who considers himself a teacher or a professor, to see somebody that was a student become a professor as well, it’s not too different from what you said. Socrates was my mentor. His student was Plato and they taught each other, and now when I listen to you, I feel very much like I’m listening to myself. So, if anybody talks to the both of us, and it sounds like we’re speaking really in sync, it’s because we’ve worked so long together, and I just want to say that I couldn’t be working with a better person that I wholly endorse, and I am grateful to you for working with our team, and for the leadership that you provide. And, I hope that other people will continue to listen and learn from you, as we continue to develop and build our brand.

But, I hope most, the big takeaway from listening to Justin Paperny is that regardless of where you are today, you can always begin sowing seeds for a better life. He’s a fundamentally different person from the person I initially encountered when he walked into prison, and I hope that others who listen and learn from Justin will have that same transformative experience. Is there any final words that you’d like to say to our audience before we closeout this episode, Justin?

Justin Paperny: Find mentors, like Michael and Me, be held accountable. It’s easy to say you want to get somewhere. The question is do you want to endure the process, the learning, and the enjoyment that comes along with it. That’s the best lesson you taught me, is that just don’t talk about it, do it, and let me hold you accountable along the way, with metrics, with weekly accountability logs. Till this day, friends and family will text me and say “Thank God you met Michael Santos.” No joke and I’m very thankful for that and to be working alongside you. Find those mentors and enjoy the process, because it can be a wonderful experience. It may sound crazy as you’re driving in your car to work, I know it. It can be a wonderful experience if you embrace the process. I know it. I’m living it every single day.

Michael Santos: Well, it’s a mutual feeling, and for those who are listening to the program, this was episode number three of the Prison Professors podcast, and I really just wanted to provide this full introduction to Justin so that you would know who my partners are. Episode two is Shon Hopwood and all future episodes, we’re going to be either interviewing others who were formally incarcerated that came back successfully, or we will be dispensing lessons for free. So, hope you stay tuned with Prison Professors podcast. That’s it for this episode. I am Michael Santos with Justin Paperny and we want to thank you for participating. Thank you!