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Marion was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal agents and for her role in a check fraud scam. In March 2008, Marion said goodbye to her husband and two young sons and left to serve her time in a Texas women's prison.

Now, just weeks after her release, she's speaking about her life-changing experiences for the first time. During the six-month period, Marion says she had her ups and downs.

"There were moments, Oprah, where I felt like my world was over. I wasn't with my family. I wasn't with my kids. I had made such a huge mistake, let so many people down, disappointed myself," she says. "And there were remarkably days where I just felt empowered almost. It's almost like I got this renewed energy where I felt that, 'I'm here for a reason.' The searching for that reason, I think, is what really changed my life."

As a prison inmate, Marion says you have a lot of downtime, and before she went in, she says she vowed to make the most of that time. "Parents are always complaining, 'I don't have enough time to do this,'" she says. "So before I went, I said, 'You know what, I'm going to make sure I have enough time to figure out what's going on in my world—why I made certain choices, why am I here, and now, what can I do to turn all of this around.'"

Marion may be out of prison, but she says she's still serving part of her sentence. She's on probation for two years and required to complete 800 hours of community service. To travel to The Oprah Show, Marion says she had to get permission from her probation officer.

For the rest of her life, Marion will also have to disclose that she's a convicted felon, which means she'll have to forgo some of her rights as a United States citizen...including the right to vote in the 2008 election.
FROM: Former Olympic Medalist Marion Jones' First Interview After Prison
Published on October 27, 2008