Santos, Michael (Gerard) 1964-
Santos, Michael (Gerard) 1964-
PERSONAL: Born January 15, 1964, in Anaheim, CA; son of Julio A. (a contractor) and Frances G. (a homemaker; maiden name, Lopez-Sierra) Santos; married Gail R. Dowsett, March 18, 1987 (divorced, 1989); married Carole A. Goodwin (a nurse), June 24, 2003. Ethnicity: "Hispanic." Education: Mercer University, B.A., 1992; Hofstra University, M.A., 1995. Politics: Libertarian Religion: Christian Hobbies and other interests: Public speaking, distance running, chess.
ADDRESSES: Home—2405 Northwest 100th St., Seattle, WA 98177. Office—10115 Greenwood Ave. N., PMB 184, Seattle, WA 98133. Agent—Schiavone Literary Agency, 3671 Hudson Manor Terr., Suite 11H, Bronx, NY 10463. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Incarcerated, 1987-2013.
What If I Go to Prison? American Professional Services, 2003.
Profiles from Prison: Adjusting to Life behind Bars, Praeger Publishers (Westport, CT), 2003.
About Prison, Wadsworth Group (Belmont, CA), 2004.
Living in Prison: The Vicious Circle, St. Martin's Press (New York, NY), in press.
Contributor to books.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A research project, "In What Ways Do Inmate-Staff Relations Influence Inmate Preparations for Leading Law-abiding, Contributing Lives upon Release?"
SIDELIGHTS: Michael Santos told CA: "In 1987, when I was twenty-three, I was arrested and charged with crimes related to the distribution of cocaine. Although I had never been incarcerated before, and neither weapons nor violence were a part of the crimes for which I was convicted, I received a sentence of forty-five years. The prospect of spending so much of my life in prison required that I educate myself, develop skills that would help me reach out and reconcile with society. I needed to learn how to express myself through the written word.
"Had I not committed myself to developing skills as a writer, I would have sacrificed my mind as well as my body to this lengthy prison sentence. I had been a mediocre student in high school, and I lacked a firm grasp of writing mechanics. By developing the craft, however, I realized that I could reach beyond the fences and walls, that I could connect with people outside prison, that I could bring meaning to my life by contributing to the lives of others through my work. This became my motivation for writing.
"As a prisoner, I hoped to help others understand prisons, the people they hold, and strategies for growing through confinement. While earning my educational credentials, I began writing to academics with hopes of developing a network of support. Some of the people with whom I developed a correspondence included leading writers on the subject of corrections. They invited me to contribute articles and chapters to books they were writing. Through those projects I developed a taste for publishing my work. It helped open new relationships for me. As a prisoner, those relationships nourished my life.
"Professor George Cole introduced me to Sabra Horne, a senior editor at Wadsworth, the leading producer of criminal justice textbooks. Sabra gave me an opportunity to bring About Prison, the first book I wrote, to market. Soon thereafter I brought Profiles from Prison: Adjusting to Life behind Bars and then What If I Go to Prison? to market through other publishers. Through writing I found feelings of being more than a prisoner. The responses I received from those who read my work helped me transcend these prison boundaries and join American communities.
"I continue to write about the prison experience because this is the world I have come to know. I do not have access to word processors or the tools of modern technology. I sometimes struggle to find a room with quiet. To overcome the challenges of confinement, I rise by four o'clock each morning and write when others sleep. I always write by longhand, usually with the aid of a tiny book-light to illuminate the page. After drafts and rewrites, I type my work, then send it home to my wife, Carole, who retypes the work in a digital format for easy distribution. It is a laborious process, but one that I find both therapeutic and rewarding. Writing is a solace for me, an escape from the struggles wrought by confinement."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Michael Santos Home Page, http://www.michaelsantos.net (December 6, 2004).