Willie Spears

Willie Spears

“This Ain’t What You Want” is a series of opinion articles written by author and keynote speaker Willie Spears and others.

These articles will become a book by the same title written for the purpose of helping people avoid incarceration by making better decisions. Learn more at www.williespears.com.

The following is a testimony of a former inmate in a correctional institution. The purpose of the article is to deter people from making decisions that could cause them to spend time in jail or prison.

Why? Drugs, Drugs, Drugs

Mike Harris started using and selling drugs in his teens. He began with drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana. The drinking and marijuana led to cocaine and then led me into the prison system. Mike was in and out of prison for 28 years, which began using alcohol and drugs.

When Mike was 20 years old, he went to prison for 4 ½ years.

When Mike was 27, he went to prison for 3 ¾ years. When Mike was 48, he went to prison for 6 ½ years.

Mike has been out of prison since 2016 and is 54 years old, and never wants to go back to prison. He said, “I hurt myself and my family.”

Mike attends AA and NA meetings and speaks at these and other meetings against alcohol and drugs.

Mike is on probation until 2031, and if he commits even a minor crime, he will automatically go back to prison without going to court.

His advice to others is Don’t do drugs! Put the guns down! Stop the violence! Do the right thing!

Mike says to the children, “Take it from a person speaking from experience – stay in school.”

It is a rough life in prison. The bed is hard, and the food is bad.

He said, “I was a grown adult feeling like a kid in a line to be able to eat food.”

I lived on the streets at one time, begging for money and had nothing to eat.

Michael says he should have been in school instead of roaming around the streets. He wants others to learn from his mistakes.

He has his life together now because he gave God his life. He is going to church, and his life is better.

Michael said some of the terrible things about prison:

Fighting almost every day


Others trying to molest you

Walking outside in the cold

Picking up paper

Going to bed when they say

Shower when they say

Cannot go outdoors unless they let you


Nobody to put money on your book (I had burnt my bridges with family and friends)

Wearing nothing but white

Mike said, “Do the right thing!”

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