Matthew Melvin is the author of Bullied Behind Bars: A Gay Christian Trump Supporter Goes to Prison. It is his memoir that chronicles his lonely childhood, being misunderstood in large part due to his adult diagnosis of autism, being a gay Christian Trump supporter, and the events that led him to a stint of federal prison.
Bullied Behind Bars – A Gay Christian Trump Supporter Goes to Prison.
3 Value Bombs
1) A mental health court would prevent somebody from actually going to prison, provided they show up on a weekly basis and provided they don’t pick up any additional charges.
2) If you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, stand up for it. Get other people to help you get rid of it. Don’t let the bully bully everybody, and don’t let the bully force everybody out of the community.
3) People with autism have problems with social communication and interaction; repetitive behaviors occur quite often.
**Click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.
Today’s Audio MASTERCLASS: Lack of Mental Health Help in the Federal System
[1:12] – Matthew shares something that he believes about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
- Every decision we make has both positive and negative consequences.
- What other people think of you is none of your business.
[2:16] – Matthew talks about mental health.
- He has autism. He is on the Autism Asperger’s spectrum.
- He was institutionalized for 18 months when he was working for a car dealership. They didn’t pay him, so he decided to take a car.
[3:33] – Where does the federal system come up short, and what steps need to happen over the next years?
- In the federal system, there is no mental health court.
- A mental health court would prevent somebody from actually going to prison, provided they show up on a weekly basis and provided they don’t pick up any additional charges.
[4:43] – Matthew talks about homosexuality.
- He was ostracized from many church organizations because he’s gay.
- The pastor in one church he attended wanted him to take conversion therapy to become a straight person.
- He also found a pastor that was dead set against homosexuality and asked him to leave when he found out he was gay.
[5:35] – The definition of conversion therapy.
- It is when you take a person that is attracted to one sex and force them to be attracted to the opposite sex.
[6:46] – The experience Matt had when he was in federal prison.
- He was booked on identity theft and money laundering charges.
- His experience was a nightmare.
- He was put in solitary confinement and was threatened to stay there for the rest of his time there.
[9:49] – A timeout to thank our sponsors!
- HubSpot: HubSpot CRM’s powerful tools will help marketers WOW prospects, sales teams lock in deals, and service teams improve response times and overall service. Get started for free at HubSpot.com!
[12:20] – What is autism?
- People with autism have problems with social communication and interaction; repetitive behaviors occur quite often.
[13:14] – Autism’s role in Matt’s book and the message he’s trying to send the world.
- He doesn’t want anybody else to have to go through the horrible experience he did.
- If you have a son or a daughter, and you’re engaging in small little stints breaking the law, it will compound itself and become worse if you don’t put a pin in it.
[14:34] – Matt’s life experience being bullied.
- When they moved to Vermont because of bullying from their neighbor, he became isolated. He was bullied through middle, high school, and through a lot of college as well.
- Make it known right away. Don’t let the bully get away with it.
- Most bullies are cowards. If you stand up to them, they will back right down.
[17:15] – The reason Matt wrote the book “Bullied Behind Bars.”
- One small mistake can lead to monumental consequences.
- It’s a story that is like no other, that will captivate you from beginning to end. There’s never a dull moment.
[18:16] – Matt’s key takeaway and call to action.
- Bullied Behind Bars – A Gay Christian Trump Supporter Goes to Prison.
- If you or someone you know is experiencing bullying, stand up for it. Get other people to help you get rid of it. Don’t let the bully bully everybody, and don’t let the bully force everybody out of the community.
[18:24] – Thank you to our Sponsor!
- HubSpot: HubSpot CRM’s powerful tools will help marketers WOW prospects, sales teams lock in deals, and service teams improve response times and overall service. Get started for free at HubSpot.com!
Who's ready to rock today? Fire Nation JLD here and welcome to Entrepreneurs on Fire, brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. With great shows like CEO School. Today we'll be breaking down the lack of mental health help in the federal system and to drop these value bombs I brought to Matthew Melvin into EO Fire Studios. Matthew is the author of Bullied Behind Bars. It is his memoir that chronicles his lonely childhood in the events that led him to a stint in federal prison. And today our nation will talk about mental health, we'll talk about homosexuality, we'll talk about autism, and we'll talk about being bullied and so much more. And a big thank you for sponsoring today's episode goes to Matt and our sponsors.
Business Made Simple hosted by Donald Miller is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. The audio destination for business professionals, Business Made Simple takes the mystery out of growing your business with episodes like how to get out of your day-to-day operations without crashing your business. Listen to Business Made Simple. Wherever you get your podcasts, Matt, say What's up to Fire Nation and share something that you believe about becoming successful that most people disagree with.
1 (1m 11s):
Good morning Fire Nation. I actually have two, John. My first is every decision we make has both positive and negative consequences. And my second one is, what other people think of me is none of my business.
0 (1m 28s):
Wow. Love both of those. Love the Good Morning Vietnam, Robin Williams. Shout out tribute there as well. So good start to the episode as we talk about the lack of mental health help in the federal system. And I just wanna start by talking about mental health. I mean, I can tell you Matt, I think you know a little bit about me, but I spent eight years as an officer in the US Army, so I got to deal with really how they treated mental health in the military. I know we're gonna talk a lot about mental health, you know, as it comes in the federal system. So why don't you take a step back, talk to us about this topic.
1 (2m 8s):
So I suffer with autism. I'm on the autism Asperger's spectrum. I've seen counselors for most of my life and it hasn't really helped. My first encounter with the criminal justice system was back in 2004 when I was working for a car dealership and they didn't pay me so I decided I was going to take the car and that was my first introduction to the criminal justice system. I tried to get into the mental health court, two people made the decision. Jo Judge Jeffrey Crawford and a manned named Bob Wilford decided that I didn't meet the criteria to be in the mental health court.
1 (2m 52s):
As a result, I was institutionalized for 18 months. I came out and I didn't, wasn't rehabilitated and instead I couldn't find a job. So I w used other people's in information to get a job and that's how I got introduced to the federal system because I was charged with identity theft. So
0 (3m 17s):
One thing I wanna talk about when it comes to mental health specifically is where do you feel like the federal system is coming up short and what steps need to happen over the next 3, 5, 10 years to really start to turn this thing around?
1 (3m 34s):
In the state system, there's a mental health court in the federal system, there is no mental health court at all. There's only a drug court. I need to see a mental health court in the federal system.
0 (3m 47s):
What does that look like when you have a mental health court in the federal system? How does that improve things? How does that change things?
1 (3m 53s):
A mental health court would prevent somebody from actually going to prison provided they showed up on a weekly basis and provided they didn't pick up any additional charges.
0 (4m 3s):
So Fire Nation, I can really tell that we're gonna be diving deep into what's lacking in the current systems here today. Of course, as I mentioned the introduction, Matthew is the author of Bullied Behind Bars. He has a lot of details about his lonely childhood being misunderstood, you know, enlarge bar due to his adult diagnosis of autism. And it actually, again, we're gonna talk about some of the events that led him to that stint in federal prison. So let's shift the topic a little bit right now, Matt, and talk about homosexuality. How does that play a role in our conversation today?
1 (4m 40s):
Well, I've been gay since the, I was born. I mean, God made me this way and yet still today I am ostracized from many church organizations because I'm gay. When I got out of prison, I actually went to a church called Community Bible Church. Father Mike was the pastor there and actually wanted me to take conversion therapy to become a straight person. I decided I was gonna leave, went to another church in Vermont called Ignite and found a pastor that was dead set against homosexuality and asked me to leave when he found out I was gay.
0 (5m 22s):
Now one question that I have is, what does conversion therapy look like? Did you go down that road at all to even understand what he was talking about?
1 (5m 31s):
Conversion therapy is to take a gay man and make him straight,
0 (5m 35s):
But what does that look like? Like what steps did they take?
1 (5m 38s):
I don't know. But it doesn't, it's not biblically sound for one. And how can you take a person that is attracted to one sex and force them to be attracted to the opposite sex? You are taking that person and developing somebody that they armed.
0 (5m 59s):
Now, like you said, you didn't even take a step down that path as far as conversion went. Did you have any colleagues or, or friends or anybody who did?
1 (6m 8s):
I have a friend that's gay, that's married to a woman and has kids because he could never be accepted as a child being, being gay and his, his parents forced him to have a relationship with a woman, otherwise they would've disowned him.
0 (6m 23s):
So let's kinda shift back right now to the process that you do go through in your book, bully Behind Bars about the events that led to your stint in federal prison. What exactly was that process? What did it look like when you were in federal prison? Like, tell us that story.
1 (6m 41s):
So I used other people's information between 2009 and 2013, the government investigated me between 2013 and 2016, went to 10 grand juries finally got an indictment against me. And in two thou May of 2016, eight officers including John Schroder with the I R S and May Chow with a secret service showed up at my house. At about six o'clock in the morning, my mother ended up collapsing on the floor and I was brought down to the Chevron Police Department and was booked on identity theft and money laundering charges.
1 (7m 21s):
I was then brought to the courthouse for an arraignment hearing and was released on conditions. I was out until about December when John Schroeder May Chow, my supervisor for Probation Parish Gibson and the US attorney, Michael Drescher all conspired to add an additional charge to my, or an additional condition of my release that if I were to find a potential employer, that I would need to tell them about the ramifications of being a, a convicted felon, which Eli almost eliminated me from ever be, be possessing a a job.
1 (8m 5s):
So in about February of 2017, I decided I was gonna call Perish Gibson and pretend that I was PR Cosmos print back with a company called Chalmers and Cuba, a industrial company. And I was caught and then I was violated and put in federal prison.
0 (8m 30s):
What was your experience in federal prison like?
1 (8m 32s):
It was a nightmare. At one point I had a, the entire pod that I was at actually tell the officers that I tried to proposition them and I, I was put in solitary confinement. The officer that was there, not game guy named Scott Sammel threatened me and told me I would be in solitary for the rest of my time here. I decided I was gonna call my brother and let him know about this guy and my brother told him that he on me on the recorded line when I'm on the phone with him, that he would take care of it the next day May Chow and John Schroeder showed up at his place of employment Acura on Shelburn Road in, in South Burlington and threatened him.
0 (9m 30s):
Definitely sounds like it wasn't an enjoyable experience from the beginning all the way through the end in Fire Nation, as we've been mentioning throughout this interview, mental health, it's an issue. We're gonna be talking about autism, we're gonna be talking about being bullied and a lot more around this topic when we get back from thanking our sponsors. I remember back in 2013 when Entrepreneurs on Fire was scaling fast. And in those early days of our business, we sometimes found ourselves struggling to keep up because we couldn't find software solutions that were easy to use and that would grow with us wasting time, worrying about software that's complicated, a pain to use and that doesn't do what you needed to do is not fun or productive.
0 (10m 12s):
So what do we wish we knew back then that we know now that a powerful all-in-one CRM platform that will accelerate your business growth is a HubSpot CRM. Unlike a lot of solutions we were using back in 2013, HubSpot's CRM grows with your business. Whether you have an MVP or you just iPod. HubSpot CRM is built for scale because your tech stack should work for you, not against you. And with over 1300 flexible apps and integrations, you can customize HubSpot CRM to the way you do business. Get started for email@example.com. That's hubspot.com. Now we're back and I wanna dive into autism.
0 (10m 53s):
This is something that you shared at the beginning of the interview that you've dealt with throughout your life. There might be a lot of listeners, or at least some listeners who aren't familiar at all with autism. So can you give us just a little rundown of what autism is in your experience with it?
1 (11m 8s):
The definition of autism is, it's on the spectrum bo dis disor disorder. And it just means that I, people with these, this kind of order disorder take have problems with social communication and inter interaction and repetitive behaviors and interests occur quite often as a result. It's ha, it's ha I've had a very difficult time developing friends and maintaining friends.
0 (11m 41s):
So when it comes to your book Bullied Behind Bars, how does autism play a role in this book and what you are trying to get across as a message to the world?
1 (11m 53s):
My message is that I don't want anybody to have to go through the horrible experience I did. I started speeding, you know, I got multiple speeding tickets and that just compounded. So, you know, it started off small and then it got larger as I went and I don't want anybody else to have to go through the horrible experience I did.
0 (12m 15s):
So what are some things that you share in the book for people that do share potentially some things with you, like mental health struggles, autism, different things along these lines. Like what are some processes and some takeaways and some tips and some tactics that you can share right now that you share within this book that can really help people today?
1 (12m 36s):
That if you have a son, a daughter, or you are engaging in small little stints, breaking the law that it will compound itself and become worse if you don't put a pin in it. I'm a very impulsive guy, that's part of my issue and so I have to just control that and not let it become a barrier in my everyday life.
0 (13m 2s):
One other thing that we haven't talked about yet is being bullied and of course the topic of your book is Bullied Behind Bars. So this obviously is one of the focal points of everything that you wanted to get across within this book. So let's talk about your life experience being bullied.
1 (13m 20s):
Well it started off when I was a toddler. I mean in a very young, in a, in a neighborhood where I was bullied by Brian Wagner, the s the neighbor right, right next to us, which caused us to move from Lowell, Massachusetts in 1988 up to Vermont. And that was a, a horri, probably the worst mistake my parents could have made because I was so isolated from everyone. Vermont only has a population of about 600,000, so it's very, very hard to make friends in Vermont. And then I was bullied through middle school, through high school and then through a lot of college as well.
1 (14m 3s):
0 (14m 3s):
What would you want listeners to know about your experience? Because obviously a lot of our listeners have kids and anybody who has kids knows it, there are bullies around, hopefully your specific kid, if you're listening isn't one of those bullies, but is very likely that if you have a child, your child at least is going to experience bullying at some stage in some way, shape or form. And there's many forms these days by the way, especially with social media and everything that's added onto that. So what would you want to tell the listeners about your experience? I could really help them
1 (14m 36s):
To one, make it known right away. Don't let the bully get away with it. And most bullies are cowards. If you stand up to them, they will. They will back right down.
0 (14m 48s):
What would your direct advice be to parents of kids that have bullies? Cuz again, you had the experience of being the child in the scenario and you already mentioned one mistake you thought your parents made. What would you really want to pass along to the listeners that you think could really help them if their child is experiencing bullying like you were?
1 (15m 8s):
Well, my parents ran away from the bill, the, the bullying. My parents, instead of facing the bully in Lowell, they ran as quickly as they could to Vermont thinking that they were gonna get away with it, get, get away from the bullying. But if they had stayed in in Massachusetts and stood up to the parents, stood up to the bully, we may not be here talking right now.
0 (15m 31s):
So step one, address the problem, step up, address it, focus on it, confront it, don't run away from it. And your book Bullied Behind Bars. What is the reason you wrote this book? Like why did you wanna get this message out to the world?
1 (15m 50s):
I wanted people to understand my story, where I came from, how one small mistake led up to monumental consequences that today have made me a better person. If it wasn't for these mistakes, I wouldn't, I wouldn't be a Christian. I wouldn't trust God fully.
0 (16m 15s):
Let's end with a bang. What is the entire theme of your book? Why do you think Fire Nation, our listeners need to consume this content?
1 (16m 28s):
Because it's a story that is like no other, that will captivate you from beginning to end. And there's never a dull moment.
0 (16m 36s):
Fire Nation I know in your life, you don't want any dull moments when you're consuming any form of content, whether that be written, audio, video, fill in the blank. So Matt, where can Fire Nation go to learn more about you, to pick up your book, all that jazz?
1 (16m 51s):
My website is bulliedbehindbars.com. I'm also on social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @BulliedBehindBars. And then my book, Bullied Behind Bars, a gay Christian Trump supporter Goes to Prison is on, is available for purchase on Amazon.
0 (17m 8s):
Let's give Fire Nation a final parting message. What is the words of wisdom or advice or just words in general that you really want Fire Nation to get as we close down this conversation?
1 (17m 21s):
If your experience or you have somebody that's experiencing bully bullying, stand up for it. Get other people to help you get rid of it. Don't let the bully bully everybody and don't let the bully force everybody out of the Community
0 (17m 37s):
Fire Nation. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, you've been hanging out with MM and JLD today. So keep up that heat. If you have any direct questions for Matt, find this episode on the podcast listening app. Paolo post a comment, engage, get the conversation rolling. And Matt, I wanna say thank you for sharing your truth, your knowledge, your value with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we'll catch you on the flip side. Take care, Matt. Thank you. Hey, fire Nation, a huge thank you to our sponsors and Matt for sponsoring today's episode And Fire Nation's successful entrepreneurs accomplish big goals. That's why I created the Freedom Journal to guide you in accomplishing your number one goal in a hundred days, step by step.
0 (18m 22s):
Visit the freedomjournal.com and I'll catch you there. Or I'll catch you on the flip side. Business Made Simple hosted by Donald Miller is brought to you by the HubSpot Podcast Network. The audio destination for business professionals, Business Made Simple takes the mystery out of growing your business with episodes like how to get out of your day-to-day operations without crashing your business. Listen to Business Made Simple wherever you get your podcasts.
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