Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Santos review

A review of “Whatever It Takes” from an unusual location: Taft Prison Camp in California. Michael Santos, a long-serving federal prisoner there, has formed a foundation with his former fellow inmate Justin Paperny to prepare prisoners for re-entry into life after prison. Santos writes regular book reviews on the foundation’s web site. Here’s part of what he had to say about “Whatever It Takes”:

I aspire to contribute to a foundation that will prepare more prisoners for law-abiding, productive lives. In doing so, I hope to lower America’s deplorable recidivism rates while helping more prisoners create meaning in their lives. Reading Whatever It Takes shows that I must take a data-driven approach, relying upon real numbers to validate success. I cannot use “happy talk,” saying that I’m running a best-in- class system. Rather, I must document every aspect of success. Doing so requires strict accountability logs that will allow me to assess operations, making tough choices when necessary.

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