Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Upside Of Fear

Article Written by Lewis Carlyle
Click here to download the PDF of this article

FIVE years ago, Wally Long stepped out of prison without a dime to his name. Today, he’s one of the most successful business owners in the state of Colorado. He travels the nation giving motivational speeches, coaching business owners on methods for success, and is in the final stages of his autobiography, From Prison to Paradise.

“I was broke and drunk for twenty years,” Long recalls as he sips coffee with his family in the living room of their log cabin in the hills of Woodland Park. “And out of those twenty years I spent about 13 in and out of federal and state prison.” Long came to Colorado in 1987 as a 23 year old high school drop out. “One night I picked up a hitch hiker, and two hours later he and I were robbing two guys coming out of a restaurant.

There was a low speed chase for about an hour and then a big scene in Castle Rock where they had us spread out on I25.” Serving four years of an eight year sentence, Long emerged from his first stint in prison in 1991.

“At that point, I hadn’t learned anything, in fact I was worse. I had a huge chip on my shoulder. When I was younger I thought I was going to do some cool things with my life; but after getting out of prison I had kind of adopted that I was a criminal. I was out for a year when I went back to prison. From 1987 to 1996, I spent about six of those nine years locked up.”

In June of 1996, Wally Long was in federal custody on an indictment for mail fraud when his father passed away. “That was my epiphany,” recalls Long, “my moment of clarity. I was a three time loser, facing seven more years in prison, my son was three years old, his mother and I were not getting along, I had no education, no money, no future. . . And then something interesting happened. In the days following my dad’s death, I began to stop and think: my father’s last memory of me was that I was in prison again. Looking back, I realized how pathetic I must have looked in his eyes.”

At that point, Long decided it was time to start searching for an answer. He took solace in three books that would soon change his life: Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey, You Can Work Your Own Miracles, by Napoleon Hill, and Real Magic, by Wayne Dyer. “The lesson I took from these books was that we’re all completely responsible for our own actions. I had spent my entire young life blaming the judges and the prosecutors and all these other people, and never taking responsibility for my own actions.”

Long then began to learn about the law of attraction, which is theorized in the writings of Napoleon Hill and Wayne Dyer. “We create our lives by the nature of our thoughts,” says Long, “so I began to write out what an awesome life for me would look like, down to the last detail.”
Long’s list consisted of a home, a loving wife, an education, financial stability, and perhaps most important, that he was a man of character. “All of these things seemed a one in a million shot for me,” Long recalls.

“But I would read this list, meditate on it, and visualize it every day for seven years.”

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