Updated: Nov 25, 2021
Solid foundation is what A LOT of us need now a days when being released from prison. I have been incarcerated now for 12yrs and I have a strong support group. I have a brother (John) and sister (Estelle) who have been with me through it all. I have other family members who I can count on as well, and some good men who have been by my side, including my best friend Chris and a cousin Bernard who when everybody else turned there back, they were right there with me. I say that to say this, so many brothers have burned bridges in here because either they have been in and out of prison all there life and each time they make promises to there love ones they can not keep or they come in here with no plan and feel like everybody owes them. I have been told so many times from fellow inmates and staff that you don't belong in prison because its something about you that doesn't fit the criteria of one who deserve this. I simply tell them that there are two types of people in the prison system, those who BELONG and those who are PUT here. People think it takes a lifetime to change and make things right. They are wrong because its no timetable on change. The day I was arrested was the beginning of the new me and ending of the old me.
There are so many distractions in prison that can get us side tracked and lose focus on what's important to us. I have taken the proper steps to educate myself and find who I am and what my purpose is in life. I have come to realize that I love helping people and believe I can be a great asset in my community with the tools I've learned in prison. I am certified as a mentor through one of the most influential programs that BOP has to offer, LCP, better known as (Life Connection Program). Where they teach you social skills, helps you with public speaking and other ways in becoming the best YOU upon my release. I want to join organizations and speak to those who are struggling with life problems. I want to target the youth as well as my peers and the elders, because the wisdom I've gained can not do me nor others any good if I keep it to myself. I believe that the system its designed for us to fail by the way they talk to us and treat us. I say that is a small thing to a GIANT and making excuses will only hinder us from achieving our goals. "Do the time and don't let the time do you" is our motto in prison. Many succeed and some fail. I have also learned throughout my time being away from family and loved ones is that we can not get discouraged when we don't hear from certain members of our family or friends we were close to. This is GOD simply reconstructing our lives and removing those who we have out grown and he's replacing them with those who are for our well being and can contribute to our re-entry. Thank you for your time in reading my article. This is not fabricated in no way. This is me writing down what's on my heart and putting my pain in words for the world to see things through my lens. This is our time to prove the court system wrong about us and to show that like me a VIOLENT OFFENDER deserves the same right as a non-violent offender. My intuition record speaks volume and given the chance to get back out sooner to my daughter/family the sooner I can start to give back and help those like someone helped me.
Sheppard Thomas, Ill
(75557-083) Federal Bureau of Prisons Number
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