|I prefer THIS view.|
As some of you may recall, I returned to EOCI (Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution) last year as a motivational speaker. Well, I just got cleared to return again this October 23rd. I will be going in with a message. It is a simple one:
If this is NOT how you want to be defined, YOU have to get off your ass and get to work.
One of the biggest problems on the inside is that habit of saying, "I will do it when I get out." That is bull. If you can't do it there, where life is like living in a twisted parody of the movie Groundhog's Day, then you won't do it on the outside where life comes at you at a million miles an hour.
Lockup is the perfect time to take a personal inventory and see what has led you to your current situation. It requires you to be brutally honest and accept blame for your life choices. Guys coming out have a tough road ahead. Society would just as soon see them all stay in forever, but the reality is that over 85% will return to society some day. Jobs are tight, and checking the "yes" box next to FELON is a quick way to make it to the slush pile or circular file. And then there is trying to obtain housing. Second verse same as the first.
Now, some of these guys DO belong in there. But many come to grips with their choices and make honest changes. If you are one of those "lock the door and throw away the key types", then I applaud you on your error free life that has allowed you to climb to such lofty heights and pass judgement on others. And if you don't think a few of those men and women are doing time falsely...then I also applaud your belief in a flawless and perfect justice system...but I digress.
Being invited back got me to thinking. Why am I doing this? It did not take long to come up with the answer. If just one person hears what I have to say and gets motivated to pursue his dream and lead a life that does not see a return to prison, then it is all worth it. And the beauty is that I may never know.
Now, last time I went in, over 200 newspapers picked up the story on the AP. I was overwhelmed with positive emails from around the country. The one place that I was bombarded with hate mail? My home state of Oregon. Funny how that works.
Anyways, wish me luck.