I was asked a very interesting question after being an invited guest to speak in Philadelphia 6 years ago. The question was based on my years incarcerated and opinion as a prison consultant. The question was “Do most inmates have a fear of being released without family support community programs or a pre-release program put together months or years before his or her release?”

My answer was simply “yes?” As a prison consultant my advice to all clients is “prepare for release the moment you arrive. “ If you can’t read by all means you will have plenty of time to learn while in prison. Most state and federal prisons provide GED and continuing education courses to help build your resume upon release. The GED will not indicate that you were in prison at the time of completion.

Inmates who have lived violent lifestyles can also work on self-control by speaking with counselors, psychologists and other inmates in prison who can help them understand how to cope with situations that lead to violent acts. The responsibility of prison consultants is to share real life events with their clients so that they do not become prey to inmates who may want to inflict harm on them which can rise out of a fear of leaving prison. County jails, state and federal prisons all have inmates who suffer from a fear of failure, social acceptance, family rejection, etc.

A classic example happened in Appling County, Georgia in 2012 where Antinto Johnson, an inmate assaulted two guards with three weeks left on his sentence. Here was an inmate who was 99.6% finished with a sentence for possession of cocaine and possession of a firearm by a felon. One officer was injured in the scuffle so badly that he retired from the prison system on disability.

Only Antinto can confirm or deny whether such an act with only three weeks of being released from prison was due to fear, rejection or failure by society or loved ones.  Rarely are those acts of violence against correction officers seen at a prison camp or pre-release center which is why I believe all inmates have some form of fear prior to leaving prison.  Inmates who flourish the best once released into mainstream society generally use that fear as a motivating factor to become successful upon release.

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