Welcome to The Letter Sessions With Federal Prison Consultant, Dan Wise, and Mindset 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 interviews Dan 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 (12-24-2014):
Hi, Shelly. I’m not very happy about being here on Christmas Eve. It’s Christmas Eve and we are in cages. I’m so sorry I missed you up in this. I hope you are not L.U.R.D. I just want to be done already. I hope you are having fun tonight. I just wrote everyone an email. I miss everyone a lot. Okay, that’s enough of the boo-hoo’ing.
Today was not bad at all. I went to rec at 7:30 a.m. and had a great workout. They had Bingo at noon today, and gave out a lot of nice gifts. I played basketball in the afternoon for a few hours. Then, I went in and made tuna wraps for lunch. I read a new book from Matt’s mom called Coaching for Performance, by John Whitmore. It’s a book that teaches the practice of coaching, like Life Coaching. Janice, Matt’s mom, thinks this may be a field I would be good in. I think I can be good at most things, if I stick with it. I really enjoyed the book, Awakening the Giant Within, by Tony Robbins, also from Matt’s mom. I asked your mom to send you that book. Can you ask her to send it to you? I’ll pay for it. I really want you to peep it.
I have been doing a lot of self-work in here. My choices in life have not all been the best. I am making small changes now, that I can control. Like, I stopped using curse words to see if I could do it. It has raised my awareness. I have so much I want to share with you. I have such good visions of our future. That’s what keeps me going forward. I know I can be a really good person who will show you the love you have wanted. I am so grateful to for you being in my life. I do not fear my future like I did in the past. I have a plan and a map this time. I may be 37-38 before I am out.
I will make you a happy girl. You have been through so much with me. You deserve a calm, stable and loving life. You have never made me feel like a failure. I have been a gamble, but you have always been a sure bet. It’s time you get to know what that feels like. I just wanted to put that out there.
My cellie has his whole locker pulled out. He has stuff all over his bed. I think he’s part ferret. He sleeps all day but at night he’s super busy, tinkering around.
Thanks to Sean, I am called Wolf. He told people about my “credit” stuff, so people call me the wolf of Palm Beach.
The people in here don’t understand why I write to you every day. They don’t “get us”. But, you know what? That’s okay with me. I love us.
Hey, in your picture, are you wearing an Iron Man watch? Looks just like mine. Did I ask that in my last letter? I may repeat myself from time to time. My bad.
Did you know you are my girl? Well, you are. I want to be near you. We are so close right now but feels so far apart. I hope you have a good Christmas, babe. I’m going to have a good one. The meal should be tasty.
Well, I’m going to get some sleep so Santa comes. I just want to pet his deer. Sleep tight, baby girl. I love you dearly. Talk to you soon.
This is now…
Jenny: Did inmates exchange Christmas gifts?
Dan: Not really, but people did celebrate and enjoy the time. We made good food, played games and there were people who decorated. It wasn’t as good as being free and with family, but it was also not as bad as you might picture it to be.
Jenny: What kinds of things did people win at Bingo?
Dan: There were some nice prizes. Things you could not ordinarily get at commissary. Those items, even if they seem small to free people, can feel very valuable inside federal prison.
Jenny: Why you were known as Wolfe?
Dan: It had to do with the scams I was involved in before I went to prison. Looking back, it seems like I was often involved in trying to get rick quick.
Jenny: Was there anything in prison that made spending Christmas Eve there easier for you?
Dan: Knowing it might be my last, or only, Christmas Eve in there helped me feel better.
Jenny: Your mood seemed to be fluctuating in this letter. Did that happen a lot?
Dan: You think about things at home or doing stuff like going to look at Christmas lights. You can’t do everything in prison that you might have traditionally done for Christmas. In prison, you get waves of emotion. You get lost in your thoughts. You go from angry to sad to okay, and back again.