“The Internet did not exist when I began serving my prison sentence in 1987. I didn’t have direct access to the Internet as it dawned onto popular culture and became mainstream for many Americans, throughout the “You’ve got mail!” craze of the ’90s. Years would pass, until my release from prison in 2012 before I’d be able to experience the Internet first hand.”
“Those thoughts led to a three-part plan that I came up while feeling the walls of my cell closing in on me:
1. I would work to educate myself,
2. I would work to contribute to society, and
3. I would work to build a support network that would have a vested interest in my success upon release.
Those three principles guided me through the 9,135 days that I served in prisons of every security level.
So I embarked on the first prong of the strategy. I earned a bachelor of arts in Human Resources Management from Mercer University, and an interdisciplinary master’s degree from Hofstra University, with focuses on cultural anthropology and political science.
For the second prong of the strategy, I started writing my own books to help others understand prisons: the people they hold, how they work, and strategies for growing through confinement.
And for the third prong, I worked every day to build a support network that would help me succeed upon release as a law-abiding, contributing citizen. This is what lead me to the Internet.
Stephen Abram is a librarian and principal with Lighthouse Consulting Inc., and executive director of the Federation of Ontario Public Libraries. He blogs on library strategies for direction, marketing, technology and user alignment.