Brian, 43

Meet Brian…

After years of soul searching, it became important to give back for all that I’ve taken. My universal balance was off kilter. The biggest way to give back to everybody I’ve adversely impacted is to remove myself as far as I can, from the little kid who came into the system. After decades of being despondent and without support or camaraderie, my personal mission statement was created: ‘To add value to the lives of all prisoners.’

Incarcerated: 24 yrs

Housed: Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Aberdeen, Washington

I discovered that the world isn’t going to change based upon my expectations for it: rather, I had to change in order to adapt to it. Unfortunately, my world consists of a Washington State Correctional Facility, and the people in my immediate vicinity are angry men, killers, robbers, rapists and drug dealers. I learned early on in my prison sentence that the various social groups in the joint are the fastest way to implement yourself with prison administration. So I distance myself from group influence to avoid the pitfalls of the proverbial group norm mentality. After years of soul searching, it became important to give back for all that I’ve taken. My universal balance was off kilter. The biggest way to give back to everybody I’ve adversely impacted is to remove myself as far as I can, from the little kid who came into the system. After decades of being despondent and without support or camaraderie, my personal mission statement was created: ‘To add value to the lives of all prisoners.’After 20 years of studying the law and changing Washington laws for people inside, I started a nonprofit called, Inmate Artwork. We have a website dedicated to giving incarcerated artists a free-use platform where their artistic voices can be heard. We sell their art in order to help pay off their court ordered legal financial obligations. Next, after I paid an arm-and-a-leg for prison pen pal services, we started an affordable prison pen pal website with an easy-to-navigate platform. Successfully we had over 600-prisoners across America listed after the first three months. I lean forward in my efforts to become the best version of myself, current milieu notwithstanding. Not every person in prison should be written off as a lost cause. We are often associated with being negative and bad. Yet, there are some who accept that they’ve made mistakes and diligently work on themselves to change during their imprisonment. I fancy myself as one of these prisoners.

 📸Amber’s; Brian’s websites www.inmateartwork.com www.prisoners4penpals.com

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