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life outside


Congratulations on release from prison - ways to adapt and manage your new life.

Congratulations! Yes, gentlemen, allow me to congratulate you because, if you got to this last page, I could positively assume that you have read, absorbed, and reflected on the preceding essays, stories, prayers, and maxims, right?

And, if for whatever reason, you have gotten to this point without having done so, I beg you to go back and do so.


Simply because I put my heart, soul, experience, knowledge, and best intentions behind this booklet to detract you from the foolish and negative mentality I once had and, thus, exclude you from making the same mistakes I have made and avoid the punishment of incarceration, you with me?

Now, I know that with all these new changes in law (Johnson, Beckles, Sanchez-Fernandez, Mathis, etc., etc.), many of you are about to go back to free society, so please, allow me to give you some very sound advice I inspired myself with from the Fair Shake Reentry packet, and it’s coming from the depths of my heart, therefore; please accept and reflect on them.

Going back home could be both exciting and intimidating!

Our attitude may be that is should be right back to normal resettling, resuming the same old routines, and getting back to our old relationships, not so?

Unfortunately, reality says different. As a matter of fact, reality says much more than just differently, so please consider the following:

The first thing I will advise is you to log on to and join the Fair Shake community.

If you’re still here and won’t leave for a little bit, you could always add and interact with this Fair Shake community.

You will be surprised on how much information and assistance that reentry resource center can provide you with, deal?

Second: mentally prepare yourself for the adjustment process. Be prepared for anything… sure enough, do not expect the negative.

Simply prepare yourself to act as positively as you can for the possibility of rejection, depression, anger, betrayal, and disappointment, and for things to be not as you may have expected them.

Third: give yourself a chance to ease into transition. Allow yourself the space and time needed to get used to your new environment.

Don’t worry if it takes you a little while to get used to certain things again. Just take the necessary time to reflect positively on your surroundings.

Fourth: understand that the familiar will seem different. You have changed, home has changed. People, places, and behaviors will now be seen from a new perspective.

Fifth: expect to do some catching up with wardrobe, certain trends, language, and much more.

Sixth: reserve judgments. Reserve all judgments of others, especially the negative ones.

Just as you’d prefer not being judged, do not do it and resist the impulse to make hasty decisions.

Seventh: prepare for mood swings. It may be possible to feel hype one moment and defeated the next. While that may be acceptable, keep your head up, a positive attitude, and a smile on your face.

Eighth: take time for reflection and self-scrutiny. Your most valid and valuable analysis of an event is more likely to take place after thinking carefully and clearly about it.

Consider your true values and determine how you can live within them.

Ninth: respond to inquiries thoughtfully, carefully, and truthfully.

Prepare to greet surprise questions with a calm, thoughtful, and sincere approach. If you find yourself being overly defensive or aggressive, take a deep breath, or two, and relax.

Tenth: other than the Fair Shake community, seek any support network.

Do not isolate yourself.

You are not alone and there are those who really want to help you succeed. Look and you shall find them.

Eleventh: become a volunteer. A great way to connect with your community, build references, and network with people and possibilities is to serve them.

Twelfth: notice how you could live and do without the vices here, keep up the stupendous job and continue doing your best when it comes to that.

Additionally, while preparing for the upcoming challenges, there is a possibility that you will have to prove yourself over, and over, and over… do so. People may make many assumptions about who you are now.

Do not worry about that, simply follow your conscience. People may be very different than when you left… make the necessary adaptations to relate to them. People may expect a lot from you… it’s okay, just do your best at all times.

The way you hoped things would be may be different from the way they are, but accepting and going with the flow that is in line with your values/principles and relaxing will be worth it.

Well, gentlemen, it has truly been a joy to know you and be able to impart and share with you a little bit of my experience/wisdom, and I pray to the Absolute the best of guidance and blessings for each and every one of you.

Thank you dearly for your time and attention and again, God bless!

Ernesto Cole

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