I have taken over a dozen behavioral programs, I have filled out countless workbooks, sat in over 1000 hours of group therapy, read hundreds of self-help and cognitive functioning books, spent years – literally – reflecting on my life and the choices I’ve made and why.

I have gotten somewhat educated academically, learned to speak publicly and continue to earn public speaking awards monthly, I sit on several boards and committees, learned Robert’s Rules of Order, wrote business plans that just sit on my shelf…and I am far from done.

I have been using this prison time to dig out all the countless ways I was flawed. Self-image and doubt, shame, etc. I lost over 100 pounds and let’s not forget coming out trans.

What I cannot understand is that I have the same 24 hour period as people on the street, only I have more restrictions, no use of the internet, no cell phone, no way to network, no money to buy resources, I get celled in to a human dog crate 3 times a day…yet, some say I have been given an opportunity they have not.

When people decide to get motivated and change themselves, other people who still believe that’s not possible attribute your success to handouts and luck because it hasn’t happened to them. They see you moving mountains and say “But you’ve been given this opportunity others don’t get!” Uhhhh…are they referring to prison?

Do you know what I could do with the resource of freedom? You think I’m making folks look lazy and unmotivated from inside a prison cell, wait until I get out of prison and I have the same opportunity as all of you.

Prison has done one thing most will never get, the chance to understand how vital and precious community is, how central to our very beings forgiveness is, and how to appreciate the control you have over your own path.

If that’s what they mean by prison given me an advantage…I guess.

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With Love
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage

Mail To:
Jeff aka Ruth Utnage 823469 D-610-2
P.O. Box 888
Monroe, WA 98272

or email through jpay.com
DOC: 823469
Name: Utnage, Jeff (though I am legally Ruth)