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Lifestyle

November 30, 2013

Looking at life on the inside

You figured you had a lock on things.

Sell or steal a little something. Hold for somebody, “borrow” a car, gain respect. Make a little money and it’d be all good, right?

Now that lock you had… has you. You’re in prison and it’s a whole new world in there, one you’re not sure you can survive. But when you read “Letters to an Incarcerated Brother” by Hill Harper, you’ll see that you have choices.

It’s no secret that there are more people in American prisons than ever before. “In less than thirty years,” says Harper, “our prison population has mushroomed.” But though statistics show that offenders are likely to return, Harper says “there is hope and there are solutions.” This book lays them out.

When Harper was contacted by an old friend who landed in “county,” he admitted to the young man that he “didn’t know what to say.” Harper believes himself to be a problem-solver. He had no answers that time, but he quickly discovered some.

First, he says, find mentorship. You can’t go it alone, so look for someone you want to make proud. Consider prison as a place to “make… tune-ups and adjustments” in your life, but remember that “you need to be prepared to change.”

Stay patient, even though it’s hard and even though you don’t always understand what’s to come. Sometimes, “it’s more important for you to simply understand you.” Learn to keep your mind free, even if your body is not.

Get as much education as you can: get your GED, look for college coursework that’s available to incarcerated students, and read. The time you spend in prison shouldn’t go to waste; use it to better your mind.

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