On August 11, 1987, DEA agents arrested me. I was 23 years old and guilty of trafficking in cocaine. As a consequence of that crime, I received a sentence of 45 years. While in prison, I made a commitment to prepare for a law-abiding life upon release. That commitment led to my earning an undergraduate from Mercer University and a graduate degree from Hofstra University. I then began writing about the prison experience, hoping to help more people understand prisons, the people they hold, and strategies for growing through confinement. I published several books, and university professors from across the nation use some of those books to educate students who are studying the prison system. The Huffington Post ranked one of my books, Inside: Life Behind Bars in America, as one of the top-ten prison books of all times. My newest book, Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term, tells the story from the day of my arrest through the day of my release, on August 13, 2012. Now I'm working to build a career around all that I learned as a long-term prisoner.
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