- Michael Szafranski
- Welcome to my blog. For those of you who do not know, I, Michael Szafranski, was recently released from the Federal Prison Camp in Miami, Florida where I spent 11 months. It took six years from the time that I knew I was under investigation to the day I reported to prison. In many ways those six years were worse than the 11 months I actually sat. This blog is going to deal with many of the issues facing people like myself who are just trying to navigate the legal system when they find out they are in trouble and are thrown into the crazy world that is our criminal justice system. My case was kind of high profile so I dealt with it all. I am sharing what I learned so that others will be a little more prepared as to how to deal with various situations and to hopefully shed a little bit of light on what really goes on in the system. Please email me with any questions and if you would like to utilize my consulting services. Appreciate any comments and critiques! Follow along as I publish my book at https://www.wattpad.com/user/whitecollarguru. Email me at email@example.com with any questions.
Monday, November 25, 2019
PRISON: YOU NEED TO OWN IT!
Being a former prisoner elicits all sorts of reactions. Some people avoid any contact with former prisoners because of a belief that “all prisoners are bad”. There are some who will associate with former prisoners socially but when it comes to business, the former prisoner is still toxic and while a social relationship is all fine an good, a business relationship is off limits. Unfortunately, in the nearly three years since I was released, I have come across both types of people. Many of my old friends consider me to be dishonest not because of what I was accused of, but because of the punishment I received, deservedly so or not. I have also been shunned from new business opportunities because someone involved in the process decided to google me and decided I was just too much of a criminal. When I have expressed this disappointment to someone with whom I share an experience, he just told me “small minds, pay no attention”.
Thankfully, the world is not made up exclusively of small-minded people. Thankfully, there are those in this world who understand that not everyone who has gone to prison did so because they were guilty and even if guilty, they understand that one mistake should not ruin a person for life. I have never been a big fan of Kim Kardashian, but I do applaud her for everything she has done reform the prison system. The same goes for President Trump. Whether you love him, or you hate him (there is no in between) there is no argument that he has done more in the name of criminal justice reform than any president in modern times.
For those who know me and who follow me on this blog or on social media, they know that I do not hide from my past. I embrace it. My experience in the prison system has made me who I am today. Am I proud of it? No. Am I ashamed of it? Also no. The question is why. Why, when faced with all of the social stigmas and professional obstacles do I choose to post my blogs on Facebook, post pictures of the courthouse on my Instagram, and publicly recount various days such as the day I was indicted, the day I was sentenced and the day I was released? Why do I blog at all? Its because you need to own it!
A former prisoner needs to be confident that there are people who are not only willing to socialize with former prisoners, not only are they willing to do business with former prisoners, but they respect them for not hiding it. Professionally, I have started to come across people like this. One of them recently remarked to me that he/she thinks it is “totally amazing” that I put it all out there and that I do not try to hide my past; that in this person’s view, I am to respected more and not less. I responded that to me, my past is not something that can be buried, not in the age of Google anyway. But this person was adamant, that there is something honest and true about how I do not hide from it. It is this person and people like this that keeps my faith in humanity and that in a world of closed-minded people all there are plenty of people who are not judgmental and who understand that going to prison doesn’t make someone a bad person. Keep it mind its not that this person is nonjudgmental of me even though I went to prison, although that would be the case anyway. No, it is because I am so up front about it that this person respects me. Not not everyone has such a clear moral compass to look at a situation so intelligently but those who do represent the epitome people of integrity and clear headedness of society. Incidentally this person claims to haver never Googled me because “it just doesn’t matter what it says about me on Google and that I am judged by who I am today.
In today’s world nothing can be hidden. If the Brett Kavanagh hearings taught us anything it is that nothing can remain secret. Let us not forget that those allegations were from 30 years ago; a time before Google and even the internet. In today’s world, within 15 seconds it is possible to know a person’s entire life history. As former prisoners we have a choice, we can either hide from our past or we can embrace it. Or do we have a choice after all? It’s your life. OWN IT!
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