Writing Standards For HumanMe Writers And What You Can Count On From Us As Justice Involved Writers     by    Ruth Utnage

15 – 70 – 15, these are percentages. Remember them well because they are vital estimates to prisoner rehabilitation. First let’s establish expertise and credentials. As someone currently incarcerated there is a lot I don’t know, but one thing I know for certain is who is working to be better people behind these walls. They speak differently, they do different things, they avoid certain people and groups, they are involved in various programs, they have a willingness to learn and stay in a constant state of mental fluidity. In short, we work hard and it makes us stand out so dramatically to one another that we get seriously confused when “experts” can’t see the difference. I suppose it’s a lot like a human seeing a herd of zebra’s and trying to differentiate between stripes. A zebra can see who’s who and it’s plain as day, but to outsiders, how can they know?

Back to 15 – 70 – 15. 15 percent of inmates will not change by choice, they don’t want to be better for whatever reason, maybe its trauma induced or evil souls or whatever other excuses we can drum up to explain antisocial behavior. 70 percent of inmates will do whatever they have to do to survive, they will, cower to the strongest personality and conform to whatever image makes them the least target able and “safest”. Then there’s the last 15 percent, this group bucks the cultural trend to be antisocial and refuses to leave this place unchanged for the better. This is who the writers of HumanMe are, that last 15 percent, those who change.

Our writers have all chosen to rehabilitate despite the odds against us, in spite of a system that caters to the 70 and negative 15 percent. We are the socio-cultural movers and shakers, we are the innovators of programs and curriculum’s that are constantly evolving and changing. We are those who inhale literature and use it to sharpen our minds, we are busy doing all the right things, even when it’s not the easiest or most popular thing to do. We don’t get ourselves into trouble, we don’t think of state employees as enemies or anything other than a human being who’s doing a job and wants to be a good person too. Of more importance though, our personal conduct.

We hold a personal standard that cannot be faked, we are disciplined. While we do make mistakes, we do not make excuses for our mistakes nor do we easily repeat them. You can count on us for that, I take personal offense when a writer gets in trouble and doesn’t own their mistake, I take that as a personal affront and will quickly remove them from my social sphere because they are counterproductive to the mission of HumanMe, which is to highlight those whom have CHOSEN to rehabilitate in spite of prison, to educate leaders how to recognize, embrace, and empower those who do.

That’s why out of literally thousands of prisoners, we have just a few. Because I’m delivering on that mission. The rest of my life will revolve around this concept, this mission, this purpose and I will not waiver on, not for anyone and not for any reason. You can count on that, you can hold me accountable for that and you can certainly expect that and even feel entitled to that.

That’s HumanMe’s commitment to society.

With Love

Ruth Utnage