Week 2 – Taft C.I.

“No prison has received me, not even for a┬ávisit. Imagination makes the sight of one, even from the outside, unpleasant to me. I am so sick for freedom, that if anyone should forbid me access to some corner of the Indies, I should live distinctly less comfortable”
-Michel De Montaigne-

“Get up and grab one of the sacks, yelled the intake officer. I am getting you all out of here so that you make the last call for “CHOW” at 5:30pm. I am sure everyone is starving”

He was correct. It had been 5 1\2 hours since I had eaten my last civilian meal, I was famished.

“A1C is your housing unit. Give this form to the CO when you get there. He will allocate your bunk”

The door opened to the compound, we were let loose like a flock of Homing pigeons. As I walked onto the compound, I felt a wave of anxiety wash over me and my heart started racing.

The moment seemed so surreal. I felt disorientated and completely alone. I began walking.

I stopped to look around and gain my composure. The intake officer shouted, ” GET MOVING, the compound is closed”

A hallucinatory strangeness struck me as I walked up to my housing unit, with my sack over my shoulder and my bible in hand.
I opened the door and was greeted with a loud raucous. The place was alive and a hive of activity. The unit CO, welcomed me, and then directed me to my new home.

Both my Cellies are Hispanic. I knew a handful of Spanish words so this was going to be interesting. My 1st challenge, how to communicate in an environment were 98% of the people spoke Spanish.


“When you her the blast of the trumpet, rush to wherever it is sounding, then our God will fight for us.”
-Nehemiah 4:20-

when I was studying this verse in the book of Nehemiah, I got the following revelation.

God wants to give us great things. He wants to bless us in all situations regardless of the environment but we need to fight for what we want so that God can see that we are serious about changing.

Whilst at Taft CI, there will be constant threats and opposition that comes against you, trying to steal your peace. Prepare yourself, dig in your heals, stay the course and take a giant step of faith, knowing that if God is for you, who would dare be against you….



Week 1 of the journey

Week 1 of the journey.

“When I Dance, I dance, when I sleep, I sleep”
Michael De Montaigne

My name is Chad Smanjak. I am writing this blog from Taft C.I whilst serving a 12 month and 1 day sentence.

This is the final stage of a journey that started back in March 2010.

The road to this point has being challenging for my family and I. Strangely, as I walked into Taft C.I on Friday morning, 6th January 2010 at 10:45am, a peculiar feeling of peace and freedom fell on me.

My life and the life of my family has been on hold since this all started back in 2010. Finally the day that had been causing so much anxiety, stress and fear, not only for me but for the entire family had arrived.

I had consciously taken the time to prepare myself mentally for this inevitable day. I soon came to realize that nothing can prepare you for that moment when the metal gate slams shut behind you and you officially say goodbye to the outside world for the next 12 months and a day.

Walking through the clinically cold and depressing corridors, I keep repeating one of the bible verses that I had committed to memory.

“God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to his purpose”

Mentally I had already decided to embrace this season of my life and not allow this life lesson to go wasted. My goal was to remain present and in the moment at all times during this process. I was not going to keep my mind fixated on the outside but rather focus on what I could do to better myself and learn from this process.

These 12 months of confinement would be a time for introspection and self evaluation.
This was my reality for the next 12 months and I am going to make every minute count.

“So when I dance, I will dance and when I sleep, I will sleep”

This journey has began…