Welcome to The Letter Sessions With Federal Prison Consultant, Dan Wise, and Success Coach, Jenny Good.
During Dan’s time in federal prison, he wrote a letter every day. He often wrote to his significant other, Shelly, but he committed to documenting his journey in writing, even if he wrote to himself. The Letter Sessions are weekly installments during which we share one of Dan’s prison letters and an interview where Jenny asks Dan questions to gain deeper insights about his thoughts and feelings during confinement. The Letter Sessions are raw, vulnerable glimpses into what one man’s federal prison journey was like, and how life continues to unfold after his release. If you’re curious about what happens inside the mind of a federal inmate, this is for you. Grab your drink, pull up a comfortable chair and join us on Fridays for The Letter Sessions.
That was then…
Hi, Tammy, I thought I’d write you a letter being we are stuck in the dorm today due to the weather. I want to thank you for all the cards you send me. It really does help a great deal getting mail. It’s nice having that to look forward to. I just got the birthday cards along with the picture of Shelly’s car. It is very cute.
You should stop saying it’s no BMW. Shelly has never been the type to be too good for something. She has gone through the gutter with me, at times having no car. I promise you that not only will she be happy to have that car, she will take pride in driving it, knowing that it was not easy for you to make it happen. You need to give yourself more credit.
You may not know how important you are to the people in your life. Being in prison alone is as hard as it gets. However, for Shelly and I, because of you, we are not alone. You make us feel special several times a week. The rest of my friends and family have pretty much stopped reaching out. I’m not upset, as I get it. Out of sight, out of mind. Not you though. You have been steady the whole way. I’m not sure if Shelly lets you know how grateful and thankful she is, but she is. Good things are in store for you. You have been through a lot. Not just this, but life in general. I just want to make sure you know how special you are. Thank you. Talk to you soon.
This is now…
Jenny: This letter was written to Tammy. Can you tell readers who Tammy is to you?
Dan: Shelly’s mom.
Jenny: You mentioned being stuck in the dorm due to weather. When weather was bad, what did you do instead of going outside?
Dan: There was basically nothing to do. You pretty much play cards or read a book.
Jenny: You wrote about Tammy making you feel special. Did she send you things while you were incarcerated, or what did she do for you?
Dan: Sent a lot of cards and sent cross words. Every other day something came from her, in the mail.
Jenny: In your letter, you let Tammy know how important her regular communication was to you. You also mentioned a lot of people forgetting you once you were incarcerated. Do you have any tips for people who do not receive prison letters or visits from friends and family?
Dan: If I was getting no mail, I would join a prison pen pal service. You have someone do it for you, from the outside. Then you have someone to write to and you can look forward to getting mail from them.
Jenny: Looking back on this, what are your feelings now toward the people who forgot you when you were locked up? Are they still in your life at this time?
Dan: Some of them have left my life. I have no hard feelings toward them.