I’ve done all I can to change, up until this very moment where I am listening to CNBC at 5:30 a.m. while sitting in my bunk drinking tap water warm instant coffee…and appreciating it.

I have been in prison since September of 2011, incarcerated since May of 2011. I have undergone some changes, actually, a whole bunch of them. I get to cleaning out my closet and addressing some old news, sometimes I try and make sense of why I did what I did. Sometimes I think I have forgiven myself, sometimes I even think I can move on.

I do programs, I read books, I seek help. I apply change after change, try this and try that. Financial Peace, Redemption, CFT, Anger Management, Thinking For A Change, MACS, FACS, Book Clubs, therapy, mental health counseling, peer support groups (some of which I’ve created), entrepreneurship certificate courses, Associates degree program, Several workshops, leadership seminars, cultural events, and let’s not forget workforce training and religious counsel.

The perpetual cycle I find myself in is a motivator for continuous self-improvement. To constantly evaluate and reevaluate my changes, to always be looking inward.

I wonder how many people outside of here do the same thing? I would think lots of people do, right? Society has always done their best to hide their mistakes, their worst. I do not have that option, otherwise I will just fade away and all of this would have been for nothing. I have to make this count for something.

I cannot just sit quietly, I refuse, to just do my time and leave this place into the dark recesses of society where I will live my life in dark shame. I refuse. That’s what this is about, bringing my mistakes to light so they can be examined and fixes can be applied to others who show the same characteristics, and beyond. Prevention.

I wonder what life will look like in 4 years.

With Love
Jeff Utnage