Juan Quentin Ward
GBCI, PO Box 19033
Green Bay, Wi 54307
See Juan's blog at: http://juanqward.blogspot.com
Author’ s Background
As a "twice convicted felon" and abused child, I decided to take issue with seeing myself as a victim, and letting others define me as being just "a piece of shit!" Having come from a background filled with much pain, sadness, and despair, I felt that God allowed me to endure so much hardship in order that I show others even at their lowest points in life, how to survive, and prosper even while I myself am trapped in the midst of so much madness here in the Department of Correctional system.
My first encounter with the prison system came at the age of 22 which resulted after a conviction for manslaughter, possession of weapons, and unlawful possession of drugs. I served seven and one half years in the Illinois State Penitentiary system. After my release I thought I would never ever visit the penal system again. However, three years later and in a entirely different State, I found myself sitting before the criminal justice system accused of crimes I never in my life thought I'd ever be accused of having committed. Naiive enough to believe that all prison systems were the same.
But was I in for a rude awakening, as Wisconsin Penal System was nothing like I'd encountered during the seven and a half years in Illinois system. Although Illinois had some racism still embedded in the Southern most prisons, Wisconsin racist ideology was felt from the courtroom to the county jail from the County Jail to the prison system itself! Racism and abuse, physical and mental was rampant and administered unabashed as if sent to prison for punishment rather than as punishment.
Those unfortunate enough to be caught up in this punishment industry had no grass root organizations to help combat the oppressive conditions of abuse, racism, or to instill hope that there could be a successful life after prison, and that there's more to life than just living it inside a penal grave.
I hold no doctorates in psychology or sociology, however, I do hold a PhD in direct street knowledge and life experience both with freedom and imprisonment and I have seen thousands of inmates struggle with reality and trapped within these cages because they have made poor choices in trying to capture and live the so-called American Dream. To have that quality of life that garners self-respect. Its unfortunate that an great opportunity is missed by a system that entitles itself as "Corrections," focus more on tearing down, humiliating, and debasing the men that walks through the gates rather than building them up, stripping away the painful past, and encouraging and giving them a new view of life that if they believe, they to, even though there's a blemish, a stain on there life record, their dreams, and goals can still be realized.
Yes, it will take hard work and vigorous effort on behalf of the ex-prisoner, but its no different than everyday citizens who struggle to get ahead in life. I've listen to countless stories by those who has come back from the streets revoked for one reason or another, I have listened to the cries of anguish my brother who find himself trapped on this "merry-go-round" of prison life, and the angry as well negative banter. So this is what has compelled me to write this book to make it known and clear to all whom find themselves ensnared in any kind of trap, that the key is not just to get out, but to learn how to stay out!
Many find themselves in a cycle of abusive relationships, they know the signs, but ignores them, its no different than an alcoholic who knows if he/she partakes of the first drink another will soon follow. As ex-prisoners we know that everyone is looking at us, waiting for us to fail, to point their fingers and say "see, I knew he would go back!" But neither them or their stares has control over your lives, their beliefs, or negative attitudes has no control over your destiny, Michael Jordan one of the greatest basket ball players of all time was told that he was no good, that he couldn't play, and yet, he didn't let them stop him, he didn't put the ball down dejected, "no, he showed them he could, and that he was the greatest player of this age."