As a young black teenage male, Isa Santiago, was incarcerated for five years, with federal convictions for, carrying a controlled substance- narcotics and having unregistered firearms and ammunition, classified as 924C. He believes thatincarceration can be beneficially to individuals who seek rehabilitation. He continues to explain his dilemma could have been more severe, or perhaps if he hadn t been arrested and convicted, he would have been dead. Isa persuades me to believe that this form of discipline-rehabilitation has greatly improved his life. As a reformed man, the learning experience has taught him the value of a dollar he worked excruciatingly hard in extreme conditions for very little pay. He received $18.00 monthly, to provide himself with the basic necessities. Entering this new environment, he soon learned that every inmate must be employed, unless a doctor s note is given from the Correctional Facility s hired private doctor. And even then, a low impact occupation is assigned and granted to the inmate. During his sentence, he learned to have patience and tranquility. He practiced faithfully the Muslim religion and, furthermore, the program has given him skills, such as, painting, cooking, carpentry and landscaping. While incarcerated, doing his bid, he received credit and recognition for his vocational skills and even shaped a team of workers, to work with him on details and projects. Although he would not receive licenses and/or certifications for the many jobs he contributed to, he is very grateful for
receiving the opportunity to learn new skills and applying them. In addition to the many skills he gained, he further explains and defines the many benefits of rehabilitation. As an inmate trying to better his/her future, you receive a chance to gain your GED, if needed, to further your education beyond the high school level and receive an Associates degree with no cost to the inmate or the Government. This program, ACE- Adults Continuing Education, has provided many incarcerated individuals with the ability and determination of pursuing a higher education, in order to enter and/ or return to the work force once released. In addition to the ACE program, the federal system provides parenting classes, work release programs and Alcohol/ Drug Anonymous discussion groups. As a felon, Isa continues to look for work a year after his release. He has received various temporary jobs/ positions and even received motivating interviews, which consequently were rejected because of his conviction. Although he clearly demonstrates and conveys his skills on his resume and applications, he feels he is looked upon differently because of his record, which shows a a different man, not the new man that he is. He continues angrily by adding, No one s to blame but his self he just wants to prove he is capable of living a normal life that is healthy and non-violent, if just given a chance. He includes, No one told me it would be so hard for a felon to prove himself I only wish that I was as wise as then as I am now.