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Learning self-control, emotions, anger - avoiding recividism, inmate release.

Greetings gentlemen. When I first met Mr Francisco Crespo a couple months ago, he had recently arrived at this facility and was speaking about this workshop project.

I immediately felt his positive vibrations and informed him that, although I was not short on my sentence and thus not eligible, I would definitely like to participate and try to benefit from it – therefore, here I am.

Now aside from benefiting from this workshop, I would also like to contribute to it by sharing an experience that has changed my life considerably for the better, and God willing, you may also benefit from it.

My name is Ernesto Cole, and I was born in Colon, Panama. I was raised in Boston, Massachusetts, and have lived in Washington, DC, several boroughs in New York City, and Miami, Florida.

When I was much younger – about 22 or 23 – and back in Panama, I was a troubled young man. I say troubled because I was indeed a true menace to society and many neighbors labeled me as just plain evil.

But I vehemently refute that assertion and side with my, then, psychiatrist’s diagnosis of me simply being a confused and traumatized young boy craving love, attention, acceptance, and understanding.

Anyway, allow me not to stray from the topic at hand and return to the purpose of me standing here before you. Once I was having a conversation with a wise, older man who was not blood related to me, but who I loved dearly and considered a father, may God bless his soul.


While in our conversations, I called over a guy I knew of about my age and asked him to go buy me a pack of cigarettes. when he returned with them, he had opened them and was smoking one of them without my permission.

I asked him who the f@%k (excuse my language) gave him permission to smoke a cigarette and he answered, “What the f@%k, you think I’m going to buy you cigarettes and not take one for myself?”

I immediately punched him in the chin and knocked him down.

My father just as soon grabbed me by the shoulders and threw me against the wall while saying, “What is wrong with you, huh? Why would you hit that boy?”

And I said to him, “What do you mean? Didn’t you hear how he spoke to me? He disrespected me and made me mad.”

My friend responded, surprised at me, “He made you mad?”

“Yeah, the damn fool made me mad!” I reiterated.

“Well, then,” he responded, “if he could make you mad, he could also make you happy, not so?”

I was confused by what he had just said and told him I didn’t know what he meant.

So he said it again this way: “If that so-called fool, as you just referred to him, could make you mad, he could also make you happy and thus control your emotions…

And you have the audacity to call yourself a man?”

And just walked away from me, leaving me more confused and thoughtful.

I’m not going to go into detail of what happened in my life subsequently, but I do wish I had paid more attention and adherence to those wise words – or I’m sure I would not be standing here right now.

Anyway, brethren, I know now exactly what my, now late, father was trying to tell me.

Son, allow no one or anything to alter your mood and demeanor in a negative way. Be a true man by simply always controlling your emotions. It may be easier said than done, but the more you practice doing so with positive thoughts, words, and actions, the easier and more fruitful it becomes.

Thank you for your attention comrades!

Ernesto Cole

Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct - Promises to make to yourself to attain a better future and continue self-improvement and prevent recidivism.

The code of conduct comes from lessons learned during the re-entry workshop, recidivism awareness, are to be adopted and followed, so that our lives may be truly happy and fruitful.


Some of us may ask ourselves, “How the hell could that be done?”


Well, comrades, this is how I’ve been taught and through experience learned to do it.

I simply promise myself on a regular basis to do the following:

I will be strong enough so that nothing or no one can disrupt my peace of mind.

I will try to always think, speak, and act positive.

I will do my best to always make family and friends feel their true value.

I will be optimistic and look at the bright side of things, and when life’s occurrences make things look dark – I will simply turn the lights back on.

I will think only for best, do my best, and expect the best.

I will make myself happy by now allowing my life to be dependent upon things I cannot control and thus, avoid disappointment and pain.

I will be as enthusiastic and content about the success of others as about my own.

I will forget the mistakes of the past and focus, not only on the present, but on my greater achievements of the future.

I will be cheerful and keep a happy face by giving all I meet a smile.

I will focus intently on my progress and improvement so that criticizing others becomes null to me.

I will be too faithful to worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

I will continue to entertain myself with good books and not only fictional ones, but also non-fiction and self-help books written by pundits who can encourage and teach me.

I will continue exercising my body and mind on a regular basis to keep them sharp as possible and in good shape.

I will refrain from poisoning my body with vices and will continue helping others every chance I get, even if they have been bad in the past.

And although there are many other positive things we may add to our conduct, allow me once again to encourage us all to pray for guidance, blessings, and give true gratitude for all we have, each and every day.

With all the aforementioned my friends, always remember that we can preach a much better sermon with our actions than with our lips.

Good luck and God bless!

Ernesto Cole

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