Week in Review

Monday, May 25, 2020

It is assumed that a pandemic in society would, in itself, cause a crisis for those incarcerated. However, our class has not experienced a crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been few if any scares of the virus contaminating us. Most of the drawbacks caused by the virus have had more to do with worry for our families and friends. Those of us in PEP desire improvement in their lives so continue the battle to achieve that which we joined PEP to accomplish. It is not an easy thing, not to give up when things get tough.

Then our silver lining appeared. It is not easy to understand how difficult it is for forty grown men from various backgrounds to co-exist in a single large room. We have, however, through the values we have learned here in PEP, learned how to reconcile disputes with communication and not violence. We are discovering that getting to know one another on a more personal level is crucial to being able to help each other become better men. Our class has been more focused on building future goals and desires than on study material and memorization. The benefit of our situation is that we as students receive the entrepreneurship material and have enough free time to read and study additional subjects of interest. We do look forward to getting back to normal, and a lot of us have high hopes for the next class. There will be those who step up and give their all to help this program flourish after we graduate.

Justin H. (a.k.a. “G.I. Jane”)

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Being able to join computer class has been a great experience for me. Upon entering computer class this time, the vibe was different due to the COVID-19 pandemic’s spin on our computer class. We are only allowed to have 6 people per class, and we have to wear facial masks to protect us from catching COVID-19. We especially enjoyed the lesson via recording on the computer. It was great being taught via recording. The teaching was easy to understand, and it felt like a really good personal experience. The videos were short and straight to the point. The teachers were also great explaining things politely. I also had fun doing the Family Liaison worksheet application to let PEP’s Family Liaisons know who we would like to have contacted on our behalf.

After class, we watched video clips of guys just being released from prison into the free world. The transitional home out in Austin is beautiful and well-kept. It had everybody in the mind frame of wanting to parole to Austin. All in all, today was a great day in computer class. This pandemic destroyed the world, and it tried to dismantle this class of “Epic 2020,” but it did not. We survived and we have continued on. Today was a wonderful day.

Tyrell J. (a.k.a. “Cheeseburger Eddie”)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Today a few of us were able to go to the computer lab, complete with everyone wearing masks as a precaution during this difficult time. In computer lab, we all practiced social distancing. We watched videos made by our insightful executives explaining the finer points of the current chapter. We also watched a video about the Family Liaisons and what they do. They showed us how to fill out the forms concerning the information they are looking for in order to help do what they do. We all here in the PEP revolution appreciate and respect all of their efforts tremendously. These people go far and above to help with the relationships we have with our families out of love. And it feels wholeheartedly genuine when they say they wish to see us succeed.

Even though our class has already seen hurdles that have been unique and disheartening, we all wish to persevere in the face of these adversities. We all appreciate and choose to embrace the opportunities that this program offers. So in our opinion, this crisis is no more than a stepping stone. We are achievers – we are survivors – and we will continue to overcome this crisis, one day at a time. To our families who are in this crisis with us and to the world who stands strong with us, thank you to everyone who has helped us along this path.

Alexander J. (a.k.a. “Jeff Gordon”)

Thursday, May 28, 2020

As far as overcoming little setbacks, we have certain people we can get with to discuss personal issues that plague different individuals. Everyone is going through the motions in some form or fashion. Since arriving at PEP, we have been advised to actually sit back and reflect on who we are as men, the things we have been through as well as what we want to accomplish on our journey to success. Throughout the first 90 days, a lot of us have come to huge realizations, thanks to the character development stage. From Phase One up to now, we have forged support circles within these walls. The level of comfort and the bonds some of us have developed – these are no coincidence, because many of us come from polar opposites when it comes to our upbringings. Some men are stronger, more optimistic, humorous and uplifting to be around than others. When that is the case, we band together to build the confidence our brother needs to keep pushing forward to the ultimate goal. Consistency is the key because you have to be rounded but remain the same in all of our dealings, no matter what one may be going through.

David F. and Gami J. were a big help, but with the situation going on in the world, we have been reduced to leaning on one another with the comforting and encouraging messages we get from PEP’s In-Prison Management team.  We all await the return of normalcy to this program.

Deandre J. (a.k.a. “De-De from Friday”)


“Chances make champions.”

This quote has been really inspirational to me because it means if I take the chance of doing something and I fail, I will have another chance to try it over again and do it right. But if I get it done on the first try, then I can call myself a champion for taking the chance of challenging myself and being successful in it. I think you can do the same if you use this quote yourself – everyone wants to be a champion.

This has helped me grow because I have always taken chances at different challenges in my life, and it lets me feel that I can accomplish more than what I have done before. It also helps me help others who feel the same way that I do. I tell them that if you fail, it only makes it easier for you the next time you take a chance. It makes me think that anything is possible if I take a chance at it and I am confident in myself; it makes it easy to get things done and master them as well. I use this quote in sports, school, to get the job I have always dreamed of; in every way, I am able to chase goals and take hold of them. So when I tell myself or others, “Chances make champions,” it motivates and encourages me to take a risk.

Derrick J. (a.k.a. “Edge Up”)