Thinking About Re-Entry From Day One: Establishing Long-Term Goals, What If?   by   Ruth Utnage

I often ask myself what would be different if I had thought about going back into society from prison from day one of my sentence as opposed to simply getting out of prison. Better late than never, for sure, but what if? I know I have something special about me that separates me from most inmates, I am viewed by most as having some special ability they do not and that’s why I have so much drive. As if I didn’t have to work hard to develop that within me. As if I didn’t sacrifice a mind of instant gratification and the need to be accepted. As if I never changed at all.

The best thing I ever did was create long-term goals and the second best thing I’ve done is pressure my friends into doing so as well. I have really pushed a hard line to get them to create a 5-year plan becoming down right abrasive and demanding at times, but they’ve done it and I have seen their spirits raise to a point of elation as a result.

I am watching the broken heal.

I am witnessing the “bad” become “good”. (even though they were always “good” and made a “bad” decision)

What if this was done the day we got sentenced, restructuring our thoughts of despair and “life is over” into thoughts of “I have an opportunity to get my life together”.

With Love
Ruth Utnage

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