Prison Radio
Ozzie Mannwright

Hello Prison Radio. This is Ozzie Mann Wright again. I’m coming at you from Summit County Jail. I am reading another excerpt from my upcoming book, “The Making and Unmaking of a Criminal.” I hope you like it.

In writing this book, I have had to revisit many dark, dark places in my life in search of the answers that could free me from the prison, or the solitary fortress within my own mind. And through my arduous journey, I have unveiled some of the most profound and liberating truths about who I am, why I am, and who I hope to become.

For so many years, I allowed the unfair things that were happening to me to become me. I was victimized, so I became a victim and victimizer. I was abused, and so I became the abused and the abuser. I was abandoned and betrayed, so I abandoned and betrayed myself and others.

To cope with being all of these things, I was self-destructive, hurting others, hurting myself, and abusing drugs. I expected my environment to help me change, and I expected the doctors to tell me what the solution to my troubles were.

I never considered that although I was victimized, I didn’t have to be a victim. Although I was abused, I didn’t have to continue to feel abused. Although I was abandoned. I didn’t have to feel abandoned and alone. And although I’ve been incarcerated most of my life, I didn’t have to remain a prisoner.

But since writing this book and objectifying my life on the pages so that I could truly see myself holistically, I now realize my power to author the chapters that have not yet been written.

I have conquered my dragons, and I now sit upon their backs and use their wings as my own. Abraham Lincoln once said: “Do I not destroy an enemy by making him my friend?” I have befriended the experiences that once worked against me, causing me to lend myself to the worst aspects of life. And now I use those same experiences to empower me to live a purposeful life of helping others.

My story is not just my story, but everyone who relates’ story. And one thing that we must all understand is that every story that is still being written, every life that is still being lived. No matter what you went through to get where you are at, you have the power to write your next chapter and to make it better than the last.

Make peace with the enemies within you, so that you can move forward in spite of them. Conquer your dragons so that you can mount their backs and use them to fly you from one destination to the next. And most important of all, seek the knowledge of self of who you are, so that it may serve as a light that illuminates the path before you. The greater the knowledge, the stronger the light.

Currently I remained in the Summit County Jail in a precarious situation, not knowing what my fate will be as a result of my crimes. What I do know is that I made a decision that I alone must account for, regardless of what external influences may have led up to my decision.

I cannot expect for the courts to be sympathetic to my plight or to believe in my change. I can only make the best of the decisions that lie before me, and that will ultimately become the coming chapters of my life. I have made peace with my past, taking responsibility for my present, and remain hopeful for my future.

I truly hope that this book may inspire in others the true freedom that it has inspired in me while writing it. If it does, then nothing that I endured to make this story authentic was in vain.

Thank you.

These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.