Going Above And Beyond

Why won’t the honor pod accept me? I feel I’m a model prisoner.

Mr. Shanahan is the Correctional Unit Supervisor (CUS) for H4. He has personally thanked me (a couple times) for being a positive role model in his unit.

Every month my “OFFENDER PERFORMANCE EVALUATION” sheet is marked with “superiors and above averages”. The behavior log is full of positive comments about me.

I’ve even received an award that expressed appreciation for the time I responded to a massive fire in H4. I saved hundreds of lives and prevented millions of dollars in damages! (I’m exaggerating. I helped clean up all the water and soot.) But it felt like a heroic effort. I got this Certificate for it:

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I treat staff and inmates with respect and dignity. I participate in positive programming. I talk to others about making positive choices. I hold open the door if someone is a few steps behind me. AND…I stopped Gambling & Hustling.

So why won’t they let me in the honor pod? Or the dog program?

I’m not exactly sure. But I have my ideas.

I asked Mr. Shanahan about the honor pod. He said, “You don’t want to go over there. You won’t have me to look out for you.”

Every time I ask him about it, he says pretty much the same thing, “You don’t wanna go over there.”

I tell him, “Yes I do. I’m ready to live by the rules in every area. I’m sincere in my efforts and I know I can thrive over there.”

He just responds by saying, “Trust me, you don’t wanna go over there.”

I read into his responses as saying: I don’t think you’ll make it over there. You’ll get in trouble and kicked out.

I think Mr. Shanahan takes a lot of credit for my positive lifestyle. I think he thinks that I won’t be able to sustain positive living outside of his unit. I appreciate him looking out for me. But it’s not him. It’s me!

I do want to go to the honor pod. Despite what Mr. Shanahan says.

So just like everything else I do….it’s time I go ABOVE AND BEYOND. Because submitting an application, obviously isn’t enough. Not for the notorious Steven Jennings. DOC makes me work for mine. And that’s ok. I’m going to choose to view this as a positive thing.

It teaches me patience. It allows me to develop problem solving skills. It teaches me how to be persistent and relentless when pursuing my goals. It teaches me how to communicate and articulate my feelings and point of views.

It makes me want it more. And I’m going to go get it! So today I wrote a letter to Mr. Grubb. He is the CUS in the H6 honor pod. Here’s what I wrote:


Dear Mr. Grubb,

I have submitted an application to the honor pod , 8 months ago. The purpose of this letter is to express my desire to be given the opportunity to prove to you that I am honor pod material. I have come a long way in my 21 years of incarceration. I humbly ask that you please see me for who I am today.

I am committed to positive change. I am committed to helping others. I treat all people with respect and dignity. I could fill up page after page explaining why I feel I deserve to be in the honor pod. But ultimately, the tangible truth will be found in my actions.

Please sir, I ask for one chance. I promise I won’t let you down. Thank you for your fair consideration.

Steven Jennings #727504, H4


That’s it for now. When and if I get a response, I’ll be sure to share it with you.



Steven Jennings


Author: Steven & Suzie Jennings

She was raised as a Mormon, and he is a convict serving 43 years in prison. This blog offers a glimpse into two vastly different worlds that somehow came crashing together. Join them on their journey through prison life & married life.

6 thoughts

  1. Always remember that God’s timing often doesn’t match our timing. Steven, if you believe in the scriptures ,then you must have faith that God will direct your path in exactly the right way!!! Believe that, son, because it is the truth and He doesn’t make mistskes!! Take care and rest easy that God is pleased with your achievements and so am I. Love you

    Liked by 2 people

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