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Spending Prison Time Wisely or Those Inside

By Last update June 17, 2015
Spending your time in prison wisely

Spending prison time wisely is vital to your success. While you are in prison, you have one major luxury that most on the outside do not have: FREE TIME. Once your prison time is over and you are released, all of the hours you filled watching TV, playing in the yard, sitting around talking with your buddies, and taking naps in prison will be gone.

Instead of counting down your prison time waiting for your release, you are going to watch the time fly by wondering where it went. Once you get out of prison, you are going to wish for longer days, not shorter ones!

Prison time is a precious resource that is undervalued. You need to start thinking about how you are going to be successful after prison well before you step foot outside the gate. Your full-time job during your prison time should be to prepare yourself for a successful release.

Every single former felon that Relaunch Pad has worked with has told us that they wished they had spent more of their prison time preparing for their release while in prison — every single one of them! You will not be different.

Spending your prison time wisely

Spending Your Prison Time Wisely - header 2

During your prison time, you have hours of free time every day you could spend on any of the following activities that will have a huge impact on your job search success:

  • Reading books about the jobs you are interested in
  • Studying for the GED, college courses, or other educational opportunities
  • Participating in prison work programs to get real experience in various jobs
  • Volunteering in prison programs gaining experience leading others and working as a team
  • Attending support group meetings to overcome addictions or other damaging behaviors

All of these activities are excellent uses of your prison time and great things to put on your resume or talk about in job interviews. Employers want to see that you are motivated, willing to learn, and spent your prison time wisely.

You need to show that you have been motivated and working hard long before you left prison. This will put you in a much better position than many of your former blockmates who wasted the months or years they spent behind bars.

The most successful felons the Relaunch Pad team has worked with spent their prison time constantly involved in the various programs at their prison. They led and participated in support groups, classes, and volunteer programs and sought out contact with prison staff and volunteers. They wanted to get as much knowledge and experience as they could during their prison time.

Another benefit of spending your prison time involved in prison life, or being a leader in your prison community, is that you will meet a lot more people who can help you once you leave prison. Many of the individuals the Relaunch team has worked with were able to form meaningful friendships with prison staff and prison volunteers during their prison time.

These relationships often allowed for the inmates to acquire letters of recommendation or jobs once they leave prison that they otherwise would never have been able to get.

Using your prison time in prison to better yourself and your career options is one of the best possible uses of your time. It is often bad decisions due to money problems that leads to criminal activity in the first place. Being the most experienced and educated job seeker possible will give you many more options that allow you to avoid those same money problems once you leave prison.

Adam Sanders has worked as a reentry advisor, program leader, and teacher at San Quentin State prison in San Quentin California for several years. He co-founded San Quentin's financial literacy program and is passionate about helping former offenders successfully re-enter society and find personal and financial success. Adam also has nearly a decade of experience working in Marketing and Finance for large software companies and an MBA from Northwestern University.