Thursday, February 18, 2010

#46 Q & A about prison (retro)

Q and A on prison blogs

Well, I want to make a short post (yeah right) about a few things before I get back to the discussion we are having about prison communications. I was writing a blog and got some emails I wanted to try to address.

First off, remember to email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com to ask about my books, cards and stuff. And also check out the Zazzle gallery to see what products I have available. I am trying to work on getting support to allow me to focus even more on prison writing and helping you understand what prison is about and how you can help a loved one in prison.

Since I got several emails (which is ALWAYS good), I wanted to break a few off and talk about them here. Sometimes the questions you have might be something others might have, so I hope to help some of you by touching on some of these issues.

I don’t share specifics about my readers, since I want to respect that privacy, but I will make it general so those of you in similar situations can understand what I am talking about.

Question #1 Should I feel guilty if my loved one seems to demand more from me, but give me less respect? Should I consider that maybe he is stressed while in prison?

Answer: There is a delicate balance in this. YES, your loved one is going to be stressed while in prison, that is the nature of the incarceration. But NO you should not have to feel guilty if he is demanding more, and respecting less.

See, this is kinda the reason why many people are in prison. They want more from everybody around them, but respect them less, as if they are OWED this. There are a lot of selfish guys in prison, and many will manipulate women to give them what they want, while dangling them on a string like a yo-yo…

(anybody still play with those things?)

You have to balance out what he is going through, but as I say to a lot of you who email me, YOU come first. If a guy in prison is not respecting you, that is not a good sign. He has to show an appreciation for those who care about him, and in humanity in general, else all he is doing in prison is passing time.

Question #2: I want to encourage my loved one? How can I do that and be creative?

Answer: There are almost limitless ways to do this, and this is actually an eye opener to many people. This is because most people are tied down in the negatives of prison, or having a loved one in prison. But in actuality, there are indeed many ways you can help encourage him.

Not to sound self promoting (but I have to do it) I have a wide variety of prison cards that you can send to him. I also have prison encouragement certificates that can be a very creative and positive reinforcement to a person you care about. I also am working on designing faith based t-shirts that you can wear when you visit your loved one. (if it meets the dress code of the prison, which varies greatly).

The reason why we think we are limited is based on what prisons actually allow you to send. This virtually reduces the types of encouragement to paper and ink. But there are countless ways to send an encouragement to an inmate outside of the normal letter and run-in-the-mill card you bought at some big-name store.

One thought I had was to create a newsletter and use scriptures to focus on developing faith for guys in prison. Another was to create a sports newsletter written for inmates where I can tie in sports with finding strength to endure for inmates. Life itself is a blueprint of how to make it through tough times, something inmates can always learn from.

Question #3: You keep talking about your books. How can I get them and how much are they?

Answer: Well, sadly I am not on the top 100 best seller’s list, I am just a guy who prints his own stuff. I publish all my works and get them bound at Staples, so I pretty much do everything off my computer (of which I need a new one…hint hint…).

My “Grades of Honor” books can only be ordered through me for now, this could change in the future, who knows. But if you are interested in buying a book from me, the first thing I ask is that you read enough of my blogs to understand what I am about. Do NOT read one or two blogs and ask me about my books.

I want you to believe what I am writing and trust me before you spend a penny on me. That way you understand why I am writing as much as I do. Read at least 10-12 of these blogs and determine if I am sincere or not. If so, then email me about my books.

Each of my books costs $25, which includes $3 for shipping. I always send a few free items with that, which may include a prison card or two or a prison encouragement certificate or two, or even an offline prison document I wrote.

Question #4: What other packages do you offer?

Answer: I actually have many packages, but a couple are the following:

Prison Encouragement Package
10 Different Prison encouragement certificates for $20
Add $1 for shipping


Prison card package
12 Different Prison Cards for $25

Add $2 for shipping

And I also have different packages for my books, such as:

$30 Package

First book of “Grades of Honor” (77pgs)
2 Prison Encouragement Certificates
2 Cards

Add $3 for shipping

Again, email me to ask about these and other products.

Question #5: I am going to prison on something I am really sorry for, what do I say when I get my turn to speak at the hearing?

Answer: This is tough because it is almost soul searching. This isn’t about spilling milk on the floor and saying, “I’m sorry”. This goes much, much further.

And this answer isn’t for everybody. There are lots of people who go to prison and just don’t care. Sure, some will “apologize” because it’s what everybody wants to hear, and it saves them from getting the book thrown at them. But I am answering this for those that really and truly mean this.

A reader wanted to know what to say when given this chance, and I responded that actually I never got that chance. I wanted to, and felt like if I could just say a few words and speak from my heart, I could at least let others know how I felt about the situation. It would give me a chance to say something, rather than being silent so long.

And I think that is a part of the legal system that is kinda screwed up. Lawyers and judges and the legal stuff get so much in the way of “representing” a person that the person in question is hidden in the back, almost a non factor of his or her own judgment.

But if you are truly remorseful in what you have done, and given the chance to speak…speak from the heart. Think about what you are going to say, and make sure that it is laced with your true feelings. The most important characteristic that must be shown is remorse. People have to know that without a doubt, you are sorry for what has happened. You can’t change it but that does not mean you are sorry. Now, keep this in mind too, be very mindful in HOW you say things. Sometimes what you say might sound good to you, but might sound offensive to others.

Let the listeners understand that you did not mean to do this, and let them know a little about you, so they can see that even though you made a mistake, you have some level of credibility. This is NOT about bragging about yourself, this is creating a foundation that you were once a very respectable and law biding citizen who made a mistake.

Focus on the remorse and make that very clear and sincere…if you are lying, people will know. But also do your best to reinforce that you intend to do everything you can to change so this never happens again. It may not keep you from going to prison, but it can help show society that you have every intention to better yourself.

Well, that was a few of the questions I hope I answered. There are more but I promised a short post, and kinda screwed up on that. Anyway, email me at derf4000 (at) embarqmail (dot) com. Keep watching the Olympics!

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