‘If you don’t have your program tight here, it won’t be tight out there’
How do you get out of prison? Doug Butler, one-time police officer and former San Quentin inmate, returned to San Quentin as a free man to say that the right attitude is the way to get out.
AIR (Accountability, Integrity and Responsibility) embodies the right attitude, according to Butler. He described his own practice of accountability, for example, keeping the District Attorney of the office that sent him to prison informed of what he was doing while in prison. He advised the men in blue to do the same. He talked about taking responsibility for the direction of one’s life by getting an education. To build integrity, he said, “Be humble and respect all people.”
“There’s no place like San Quentin, which is a Mecca of programs,” said Butler. “If you don’t have your program tight here, it won’t be tight out there.”
“Out there,” in free society, Butler is the director of Men of Valor Academy. Governor Jerry Brown recommends Butler’s program, and former governors Gray Davis and Arnold Schwarzenegger have made financial contributions to Men of Valor. His organization provides parolees with housing, transportation and classes that teach life skills.
Lee Jarvis asked about the first three things a parolee should do upon release.
“Stay away from bad conduct,” Butler said. “Get your ID and Social Security card and be patient.”
Butler said that with fortitude, perseverance and resilience, a prisoner can put their mistakes behind them and move on. “Focus on you,” said Butler.