Corrlinks Process

Photo by izhar khan on Pexels.com

Corrlinks.com is a company that provides electronic services for incarcerated individuals in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, some privately-owned, prisons for profit, and a few state prisons.

Learn more about Corrlinks at https://www.corrlinks.com/FAQ.aspx

Quora.com is a great place to go to find a variety of information. I have answered a lot of questions and have had almost a half of a million views, since I began writing content over a year ago.

My specialty is prison-related topics. Check out some of my writings at https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy


The following is a modified version of my answer to this question:

What is the best way to register to Corrlinks with an identification code?

Answer by Wayne T. Dowdy

An inmate must put in a Corrlinks contact request to your email address. Then you receive an automated code from Corrlinks through the email address.

You have a choice to accept or refuse correspondence with the inmate. The following is an actual message I received from Corrlinks:

This is a system-generated message informing you that the above-named person is a federal prisoner who seeks to add you to his/her contact list for exchanging electronic messages. There is no message from the prisoner at this time.

You can ACCEPT this prisoner’s request or BLOCK this individual or all federal prisoners from contacting you via electronic messaging at CorrLinks. To register with CorrLinks you must enter the email address that received this notice along with the identification code below.

Email Address: info@wtd4u.com

Identification Code: H7LKQ3XX

This identification code will expire in 10 days.

By approving electronic correspondence with federal prisoners, you consent to have the Bureau of Prisons staff monitor the content of all electronic messages exchanged.

Once you have registered with CorrLinks and approved the prisoner for correspondence, the prisoner will be notified electronically.

For additional information related to this program, please visit the [URL removed for BOP] FAQ page.

*****************************************

Este es un mensaje generado por el sistema que le informa que la persona mencionada es un preso federal que pretende añadirlo a usted a su lista de contactos para intercambiar mensajes electrónicos. No hay ningún mensaje del preso en este momento.

Usted puede ACEPTAR esta petición del preso o BLOQUEAR a esta persona o a todos los presos federales de contactarlo a usted a través de la mensajería electrónica en CorrLinks. Para inscribirse en CorrLinks debe introducir la dirección de correo electrónico que recibió esta notificación, junto con el código de identificación a continuación.

Dirección de correo electrónico: info@wtd4u.com

Código de identificación: H7LKQ3XX

Este código de identificación expirará en 10 días.

Al aprobar la correspondencia electrónica con presos federales usted esta consientendo a que personal de la Oficina de Prisiones superivse el contenido informativo de todos los mensajes electrónicos intercambiados y cumplir con todas las reglas y procedimientos del Programa.

Una vez registrado en Corrlinks y aprobado para la correspondencia el preso será notificado por vía electrónica.

Para obtener información adicional relacionada con este programa, por favor visite la página de preguntas frecuentes [URL removed for BOP]

___________________________________________________

a) If you wish to accept correspondence, you must open a Corrlinks account through the email address.

b) If the inmate is NOT a federal prisoner, you will need to fund the account because it will cost you to send messages (rates may vary but I pay $0.10 per message to Wisconsin inmates).

If the inmate is a federal prisoner, he or she must pay to access the public messaging system and it won’t cost you anything unless you elect to pay the annual $6.00 fee for Premier Service so that you receive a notification when he or she emails you. Otherwise, you must go to CorrLinks to check for messages because the notification process often fails.

Once you receive the Notification from Corrlinks that an inmate wishes to “exchange electronic messages” with you, do this:

1) copy the automated code as shown above that consists of capital letters and numbers;

2) use a laptop or PC computer to accept the request (not a cellphone because it won’t work for the acceptance process and is very limited for messaging once you’ve established contact with the person). Login to the Corrlinks account with the email address and password, and then prove that you are not a robot through reCAPTCHA by selecting the proper images [a sometimes aggravating process because of distorted images and ones that change and others that appear in a former place you selected].

3) Then you will see a box to enter the Identification Code you copied in Step 1);

4) Enter the code and click GO, and then when the panel opens to the right side of the screen (not shown in this example), click the box to “Enable Email Alert” (which happens to work more often when you pay for the Premier Service);

5) Click “Accept” and then after the inmate receives the notification that you wish to correspond, he or she may message you after depositing funds in the institutional inmate account process, or you may be the first to message, once the incarcerated person accepts the contact connection.

6) To retrieve messages you go to the Mailbox:

Beware: The Corrlinks system will malfunction, so after you type a message, copy it before trying to Save or Send.

I have cursed Corrlinks many times because it logged me out instead of saving or sending my message.

Through WTD4U, I send inmates various information, some of which intelligence-lacking staff at the institutional level, will reject because he or she cannot comprehend rights provided by the First Amendment (Freedom of the Press). Later on, I will send the same message and it gets delivered to the intended inmate.

Some of my more controversial messages have magically disappeared and I’d have to start over, so when I remember I copy and save before clicking Send.

On a laptop or PC, you can save a message as a draft, which closes the screen, but still copy it before trying to save or send. Cellphones are not so user-friendly for doing anything other than reading or sending a message.

Public messaging through Corrlinks can be expensive but I was happy to have an avenue to contact family, friends, etc., once the system was implemented.

On average, I spent close to one-hundred dollars per month on Corrlinks because I wrote blogs to post on this website, short stories, essays, and other forms of content for publication, legal purposes, and for general correspondence.

To learn more about this website and my goal, read About Your Host & Straight from the Pen.

Cycles of Change

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

History may repeat itself but if I am involved, I have a choice about my role

“History repeats itself” is an old cliche’ that fits what I have to say in one sense but not in another. Because even though a similar event occurs, whenever it does, I have another choice that I may make based upon my experience with the first event. I do not have to do as I did before.

From my observations and what I read along metaphysical and esoteric1 lines, life does run in cycles.

1esoteric [ˌesəˈterik] adjective: intended for or likely to be understood by only a small number of people with specialized knowledge or interest.” esoteric philosophical debates” Synonyms: abstruse, obscure, arcane, recherché, rarefied, recondite, abstract, difficult, hard, puzzling; Antonyms: simple, familiar

In my search for meaning, decades ago, I noticed a strong correlation between my life events and ten-year cycles, some of which I wrote about in blogs and other published content.

The following is a modified excerpt from my essay, The Price of Change that I will use to show an example of an event I foresaw but failed to act to avoid what I knew was to come before my last arrest on August 18, 1988:

“When eventually released from prison, I wanted to become a successful law-abiding citizen. I was fortunate enough to succeed at getting a job at one of Atlanta’s Top 100 companies where I quickly climbed the ranks. A year after I had started the job, I was doing better than ever: driving a new vehicle, wearing nice suits, living a respectable life. What I struggled with was doing what is normal to most people, such as having to be responsible: paying bills, balancing a checkbook, and having to work a lot of overtime to make what I needed to pay for the life I wanted. I stressed myself out doing it.

“I also had an issue adjusting to family life, having to deal with somewhat normal people, who had their problems I wanted to “fix” but couldn’t. I couldn’t even fix my own. After spending most of my life in prison, I had adjusted to the typical prisoner’s mentality, which is not normal. At least, not for those who have to learn to survive in a violent environment: we become desensitized, stop feeling, stop feeling empathy; become emotionally disconnected after being around years of brutality and helplessness, wanting to help someone, but knowing to stay out of it or suffer dire consequences.

“The avalanche that destroyed my plans to be a successful law-abiding citizen began with a 7-ounce beer. I am an addict and alcoholic and the beer started a chain reaction. I was back to smoking pot within a month. [I’ve now been clean and sober since April 1995.]

“What had happened was that I had gone out with a woman who wanted to seduce me. I didn’t resist. I was nervous because we were in a foreign place, the house of her friend, who had several other people sleeping there, some on the floor. One couple had to give up a guest bedroom so we could have it, so, when we went to have sex, I experienced performance anxiety or something, and drank the beer to help relieve the anxiety. That’s typical behavior for many of us who get out of prison, especially males who listen to the wrong head for advice.

“A year later, I was back to shooting cocaine, plotting, and scheming on ways and means to get more [the same thing that I had been doing ten-years before that lead to me being arrested on August 28, 1978, in Kentucky, within ten days of being exactly ten-years before I was arrested again, pulled over in Tennessee by the Kentucky State Patrol. On the previous and last arrest, I had told both partners who wanted me to carry them to Kentucky that I knew we would be arrested if we went to Kentucky. Ten years before, in 1978, another crime partner from Kentucky, also wanted to return to see his father. I told him we’d be arrested if we did go there, and we were].

“I was insane, as is evidenced by my shooting doses of cocaine so large that I often laid on the floor in convulsions. I’d pray and ask God to save me and promise not to do it again if He would, but then when I survived, I would get right on up and do it all over again.

“It didn’t take long for me to quit my job, and to stop making car payments, which resulted in the repo man taking my car away. By that time, I had begun robbing and stealing, pretending to myself to need money to pay bills, but any money I took went into the arms of me and my associates. I had an insatiable urge to stay high, which lead to my putting cars, houses, and relationships, all into bottomless syringes. [Only by the grace of God did I not contract HIV.] My desire to stay high was more important than any amount of devastation my actions caused in the lives of others. I was one selfish, self-centered, SOB, and a crazy one at that.

A good example of my insanity was in response to my fiancés’ warning. She said, “’Honey if you don’t stop what you’re doing, you’re going to end up back in prison.’”

“’I know baby doll. I just want to do some more cocaine.’” That was the extent of my madness. I knew I was in the middle of a train track, and that the coming train would kill me when it hit, but I was unable to get out of the way. After I ended up in jail for more charges than I ever imagined, I wanted to kill myself because I was disappointed that I failed to succeed and had returned to the lifestyle I vowed not to do. But somehow, I was able to think about how my actions would affect the lives of my loved ones and chose not to put them through such pain.”

THE PRICE OF CHANGE, Essays & More Straight from the Pen

To tie those events into the Rest of the Story for the conclusion of this blog, I will share more of my personal life experiences.

INSURANCE COMPANY ISSUES

Other events that occurred before my arrest in August 1988, was having State Farm Insurance Company to improperly cancel my insurance because of a speeding ticket, which costs me a lot of money when trying to find another insurance carrier.

BANKING ISSUES

On several occasions, I attempted to withdraw funds from an ATM machine. It didn’t give me the money but deducted it from my account which lead to me having overdrawn checks. When I went to the bank and complained, I was told the machine was right, and that no adjustments would be made to my account.

Shortly thereafter, the ATM receipt showed my account balance was over $161,000, which was wrong, of course; however, when I returned to the bank and asked for my $161,000, the machine was wrong.

As long as it was stealing from me it was right but when it tried to give, it was wrong.

Those two experiences made me resent banks and insurance companies.

A Different Man Makes Different Decisions

On July 13, 2020, I received a letter from Nationwide Insurance Company stating my insurance policy would be canceled on July 23, 2020, because I failed to show having insurance coverage for six-months before starting my policy with them.

I did not have a vehicle until January 15, 2020, and had relied on public transportation and family assistance to get from point A to point B. I explained that and expressed how ludicrous it was to require me to have insurance coverage when I did not own and was not driving a vehicle.

After several discussions with Nationwide representatives, who really tried to help me resolve the issue, I was told that the underwriters would not make an exception. I hung up the phone and then went online to return to my former insurance carrier (Root Insurance Company). Within five minutes of hanging up the phone, I was reinsured.

I canceled my Nationwide policy.

******

Pre-certification Letter

I am in the market to buy a home and needed a precertification letter from a bank. I had one from Credit Karma but the real estate agent wanted one from a different financial institution, so I contacted my bank for what I thought would be a simple process since I have good credit and pay my bills on time.

Over a week later, I was still trying to get that darn letter and was not happy about it because I was having to complete forms and provide information for fictitious amounts that I may not even need, for a house in an area I may not even find a house in, so …. I was not happy with dealing with a bank, again.

Different Response, Different Choices, Different Results

This time I weathered the storm and got all I needed. I did have to do a lot of praying for guidance and direction from my higher power, whom I choose to call God, but I did not revert my old behaviors (didn’t use the frustration as a reason to get high or to go and take something that wasn’t mine because I was angry).

Before the end of the week, I had gotten my pre-certification letter for my real estate agent and was happily insured, heading off onto another exciting adventure into the beautiful world, far behind the galaxy that makes up the Universe.

Yes, history repeated itself, in that I experienced problems with two agencies that I had had issues with over thirty years ago, but I chose to respond, rather than to react, and to accept that life happens just as it must. Now I am waiting for that special lady to ride with me into a future so bright we both need to wear shades.

Essays & More Straight from the Pen

What We Know by Wayne T. Dowdy

The following article was my submission for possible publication in a book that I submitted over a year ago. I include excerpts from some of my published materials and blogs that relate to the topic of recidivism, returning to old behaviors. My writing was not accepted for inclusion in the book but I do want my thoughts and ideas to be read, so I am posting it for the world see. 🙂

Though parts of the former submission may be outdated, the principles and concepts that I present are not, since not a lot has changed, per se. Millions of people remain in prison across the United States of America; especially, those who suffer from mental conditions and addiction problems.

Maybe something I wrote will encourage someone to do something that leads to changes in the status quo of mass incarceration in America.

What We Know

What we know is that America has a severe problem with recidivism that costs victims of recidivist immeasurable amounts of pain and suffering, and American citizens billions of dollars.  My story shows the high-cost of recidivism and major problems within our Criminal Justice System and its policies.  How do we reduce recidivism rates?  Does the answer lie in reentry initiatives, preventative measures, sentencing factors?  All the above, perhaps?

In 1988 I recidivated and spent thirty-years in federal prison and am part of the problem.  I offer a unique perspective to help change the status quo.  My goal is to use my vast experience in corrections to become part of the solution in penance of my debt to society.

First, to establish my qualifications to write on the selected subject, I’ll summarize selected points of my extensive criminal history, which began with my first arrest in 1969 for the burglary of a school, at the age of twelve, and continued until my last arrest on August 18, 1988, for the charges that I will write about later.

My criminal activities as a child lead to at least twenty arrests as a juvenile; all arrests related to my drug and alcohol problem, the true reason behind me costing taxpayers over a million dollars that I will show in association with me spending most of my life confined behind barbwire fences lined with rows of razor wire.  For clarity and to offer an excuse for the negative behaviors I displayed for decades of life, when I was eleven-years-young, I began using LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and other mind-altering substances.  My life of substance abuse continued for 26 years, 3 months, 18 days (I stopped using April 5, 1995).  From the time of my first childhood arrest, I did not stay out of jail or some type of confinement for more than six months, until 1976 after release from my first adult prison sentence, when I served thirteen months in prison for a burglary to steal guns.  That time I almost made it two years without an arrest.  On August 28, 1978, I landed in jail for stealing a car and robbing three drug stores at gunpoint.

Two armed robberies and the car theft happened in Dekalb County, Georgia.  The other robbery occurred in Paulding County, Dallas, Georgia.  Though not charged for assault with a dangerous weapon and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, during the Paulding County robbery, the pharmacist refused to comply with my demands and I struck him upside the head with a pistol that discharged a round into the wall, crimes of which if committed today and if charged with then, would have kept me caged for life.  

I suffered from mental illness back then.  I went to trial and a psychiatrist testified that I could not differentiate between right and wrong.  The jury didn’t accept the guilty by reason of insanity defense and found me guilty as charged.  I did not receive help for my psychiatric issues.  The judge sentenced me to twenty-years, serve eight, balance probated and then I went to Dekalb County to face charges.  Though I planned to stay out of prison upon release after the first time, I did not, because I returned to using drugs and made terrible decisions.  Drug addiction lead to me robbing those drug stores in 1978 and the courts sentencing me to multiple sentences for a total of fifteen-years to serve and five-years of probation.  I didn’t complete the original sentences before picking up additional charges for new crimes committed while in prison.

In 1981 I assaulted two correctional officers while they were trying to get another prisoner under control, the prisoner of whom went into the gymnasium bathroom to pick up drugs stashed for him to pick up.  He owed me two ounces of marijuana.  For that incident, the disciplinary committee sentenced me to two-consecutive, fourteen-day sentences in solitary confinement.  The State of Georgia charged me with two counts of mutiny in a penal institution.  I laughed when the person serving the warrants told me of the charges.

“Mutiny, I wasn’t on a battleship,” I said.

I didn’t laugh when sentenced to two more years for committing the crimes.

After I got out of the hole for those charges, I got into more trouble and ended up back in the hole and then when I went to trial, and the jury found me guilty of the charges I’ll discuss next, the court sentenced me to four consecutive years.  The two-year sentence for the mutiny charges ran concurrent with the four, consecutive to the original sentences.

For the Dekalb County crimes, I accepted a 15-year plea agreement after a psychiatric examination proved more harmful than helpful.  At twenty-one-years old, those fifteen years seemed like life imprisonment when I calculated being thirty-six before getting out.  My plan was to leave when possible.  I did.  Three years into the sentence, I escaped from Coastal Correctional Institution in Garden City, Georgia.

In June of 1981, several prisoners planned to escape Saturday night.  An associate asked if I wanted to escape with them?  I declined.

They didn’t leave on Saturday, and then on Sunday when I didn’t get a planned visit, I became depressed and changed my mind about leaving.  On Sunday night, myself and ten others escaped by climbing two chain link fences.  The first fence, five feet high, the other twelve with an inward facing arm, three feet long and strung with barbwire.  The arm of the extension set at a forty-five-degree angle, facing the institution.  To get to the fences, a prisoner nicknamed Tiny lured a guard into a trap.  The guard stood above six feet tall, Tiny near five, so it is logical to assume the guard didn’t feel threatened by him and violated the security protocol by opening the Control Room door to hand Tiny an electric razor.  Tiny grabbed and held him until reinforcements arrived who were hid in a blind stairway.  I waited in another corridor for the takeover and the opening of the doors.  Moment later, the outside doors opened.

I ran five-to-six hundred yards across a field to the fences.  Before I made it to the first fence, a correctional officer driving a security vehicle had stopped and was firing a shotgun at the other escapees who had cleared the tallest fence.  I barely slowed until I landed in the sand trap between the two fences.  I climbed the second one, the tallest.  When I reached the three-foot extension, I grabbed hold of its arm and pulled my body up to the barbwire strands, and then used my hands to swing from strand to strand until I reached the top row.  I threw my right arm over the top strand.  A barb pierced my bicep.  I jumped after clearing the wire. 

The guard fired again.  A pellet struck Tiny in his foot and caused him to stumble before he fell to the ground.  The gun bucked from the blast.  I ran a few feet before I hit the ground awaiting the buck of the gun from the next blast, which hit another prisoner in his shoulder.  He staggered from the impact but continued running to the woods.  Tiny jumped up and ran with me into the woods before the guard could fire again.  The guard may have had to reload, but whatever the case may be, I got away without taking any lead with me into the Woodline.

I separated from the rest of the escapees.  Running through the woods, I tripped over vines and fell into a gulley in the dark forest, but I still get away before the hound dogs arrived.  A helicopter flew above the forest shining a light through the treetops.  To avoid detection, I stayed in the shadow of the trees and once had to pull bushes over myself to avoid detection as the helicopter passed over.  Helicopters did not have heat sensors in those days.

I made it out of the woods a few hours later, where I stole a car from the parking lot of an aircraft manufacturer.  I would have stolen an airplane if I had known how to fly one.  Soon thereafter, I saw a railroad crossing with two guards posted waving for me to stop.  I didn’t.  I almost ran over them instead.  A mile down the road, I did the same thing.  A chase car got behind me when I made it to the next road.  A high-speed chase followed but not for long. The car I stole only ran a little over a hundred miles per hour, wide-open.  Police cruisers ran a hundred and forty.  The pursuing police officers boxed me in with their cars and captured me.  Before I got out of the car with my hands in the air, a prison van pulled alongside one of the police cruisers.  The cops put me in the prison van and ended my wild escapades.

Those events lead me to the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, where the state kept the worst-of-the-worst, a prison plagued with violence.  Because of all the violence and state officials refusing to follow a federal court order to improve living conditions, stop the racism, and brutality, the federal government implemented processes to begin a takeover.  Part of that process included appointing a federal monitor to oversee the lawsuit and placing a federal warden over the institution.  

Someone cut the tires on the warden’s vehicle.

I assume that the family clans did not like that the Feds sent in a foreigner to disrupt their running of the prison, and wanted to let him know that he wasn’t wanted in those parts of the woods. He did not leave.

Another process formed was the creation of the Staff Inmate Communication Committee (SICC).  White and Black prisoners in each living unit elected a white and black representative to help reduce prison violence.  My peers chose me to represent their interest, thus I became a spokesperson and received copies of all legal documents filed in the litigation.  I fought and succeeded at helping to change the prison, as I am fighting now to change the system.

In 1982 the federal government reported that GSP was the most violent prison in the United States.  I argued the issue with a federal monitor because New Mexico prisoners had rioted and killed more people than prisoners had killed in Reidsville.

The federal monitor replied, “The New Mexico incident was during a time of rioting.  During the normal run of the prison, y’all have had six-murders, fifty inmate-to-inmate attacks, and thirty-five inmate-to-staff attacks, with fewer prisoners than New Mexico.  That is what makes this prison the most violent in the United States.”

Events almost kept me in prison the rest of my life, because another prisoner wanted a transfer to another prison, he and others lied and said I killed a person, one of the six murders in 1982.  I was innocent of the actual murder, but that incident made me realize I needed to change my life, and that’s when I began.  Several years later, I made parole.

On August 1, 1985, I completed my commitment to a halfway house in Atlanta, Georgia and made parole.  I did not plan to reoffend.  I wanted to be a successful law-abiding citizen and did well until, once again, I returned to using drugs and that always lead me back to prison.

Now to my last arrest and conviction.  Tennessee state police arrested me August 18, 1988, in Campbell County, Tennessee, for possession of explosives (firecrackers and a hand grenade that was a dud), possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of stolen credit cards.  At first, I was under an alias.  No other charges filed, other than me using a stolen credit card to rent and not return the car I was driving when arrested.  The actual charge was theft by taken motor vehicle.

I agreed to extradition to face the Theft by Taken Motor Vehicle charge in Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, Georgia.  A few days after my arrival in Georgia, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Georgia Bureau of Investigation called me out for questioning on the armed bank robbery of the Bank of Dawson County, Dawsonville, Georgia.  I refused to cooperate and laughed when the investigating agents tried the Good Guy/Bad Gay routine to elicit a confession. 

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent jumped from his seat, knocking it over, and then said, “You think this is funny.  They’re trying to put armed robbery charges on you and I’m going to make sure you get more.”

I laughed again.  I knew my life was over and figured I’d die in prison anyway, so it didn’t matter anymore.  I screwed up really bad this time, I thought.  Within thirty-six hours, I had four counts of armed robbery, two counts of false imprisonment, and two weapon charges to go with the theft by taking motor vehicle charge.  That was before the FBI filed the federal charges.  I knew my life was over and contemplated suicide to shorten the process.  I’m glad I changed my mind and have lived to see this day as I type.

Back to the last crimes and convictions:  On November 10, 1988, a federal jury found me guilty after a four-day trial for the following crimes committed June 21, 1988:

1) armed bank robbery (Title 18 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), §§ 2113(a)(d)); 2) abduction of a person to facilitate commission of an offense (18 U.S.C., § 2113(e)); 3) conspiracy to commit bank robbery (18 U.S.C., § 371) (the charge that lead to convictions on all other counts), and 4) use of a weapon during commission of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C., § 924(c)).

The court delayed sentencing due to a pending case before the United States Supreme Court.  On February 24, 1989, a federal judge sentenced me to 420-months (300-months on Count 1, 360-months on Count 2, sixty-months on Count 3, all concurrent (running together), and sixty-consecutive months on Count 4).  I did not walk out the prison doors without handcuffs on my wrists, a belly-chain around my waist, and shackles on my legs, until August 28, 2018, before I left the institution en route to Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia.  Dismas Charities is a privately-owned halfway house/residential reentry center (RRC).

RECIDIVISM IN AMERICA: WHAT WE CAN DO

Today I write as a professional and have spent hundreds of dollars to make a difference through my writing resources and otherwise, in penance for the harms I caused society with my criminal behavior and lifestyle.  

The Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new study (“2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-up Period (2005-2014),” NCJ250975, May 2018), a follow-up to the 5-year study relied upon for comparison by the ex-director (“Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” NCJ244205, April 2014).

The May 2018 study revealed an Eighty-three percent (83%) recidivism rate during the 9-year follow-up period, and that shows the seriousness of recidivism in America and the need for a magic elixir that does not exist.  However, even if there isn’t a magic elixir, we can reduce recidivism by ending financial incentives for politicians who make laws and policies that fuel mass incarceration.  Positive change will be slow until lawmakers stop state and federal funding for private prisons.  In the conclusion I will offer suggestions to reduce recidivism and help to create more productive members of society in the process.

The 2017 annual cost of incarceration for federal prisoners was $36,299.25 ($99.45 per day).  Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 52 (03/18/13), and Vol. 83, No. 83 (04/30/18). 

TREAT THOSE WITH ADDICTION PROBLEMS & DUAL DISORDERS

In December of 2002, USA TODAY published an article “Study: treat addicts’ mental illness,” by Marilyn Elias, 12/02/02, USA TODAY newspaper.  According to Charles Curie of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about one third of drug and alcohol abusers have an underlying mental disorder.  In a Pennsylvania state prison study around the same time, researchers determined that 85% of Pennsylvania prisoners had addiction problems, with half of them (42.5%) having an underlying mental disorder.  Mr. Curie stated in the same article, “That’s typical of prison systems nationally.  And we know if these inmates recover from the disorders, they’re unlikely to repeat crimes.”  Think about that statement: “inmates …, unlikely to repeat crimes.”

Those were high numbers to ignore for those wanting to reduce recidivism, considering that reducing it would decrease state and federal deficits.  Of what should be of greater significance to policy makers is helping other human beings to become productive members of society.  With it being 2019, sixteen years passed since the release of that study.  To date, the Federal Bureau of Prisons only has one facility that treats those with dual disorders (Lexington, Kentucky), but some states have implemented more of such programs and seen positive results.

I am one of the fortunate ones from the federal system who received treatment for both disorders while in prison, long before the authors released the study.  My success verifies the study findings.  I was a model prisoner for several years before my release.  I behaved in a constructive manner and helped others learn to live as law abiding citizens by practicing Twelve Step principles.  Now I am a productive member of society because I am applying what I learned in prison.  

Studies on recidivism shown in 1997, that 67.5 percent of prisoners released three years earlier were re-arrested, amounting in a five percent increase from those released in 1983.  The re-arrest rate for drug offenders rose from 50.4 percent in 1993 to 66.7 percent in 1994.  Before the 2018 study, which is a follow up to the 2005-2010 study, showed those numbers increased to 76.9 percent, and then to the staggering eighty-three percent after adding four years to the study period, all of which shows a growing problem within the Criminal Justice System.

In April 2014, the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Statistics, released study NCJ244205 “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” by Matthew R. Durose, Alexia D. Cooper, Ph. D, and Howard N. Snyder, PhD, BJS Statisticians.  The study expanded to include statistics for a five-year period, compared to the typical three-year studies.  The five-year study showed 67.8 percent of prisoners released had been arrested for a “new crime” within three years of release, and 76.6 percent within five years.

Here’s the numbers for relevant offender categories:

1) property offenders 82.1% (burglary (81.8%), larceny/motor vehicle theft (84.1%), fraud/forgery (77.0%), other (83.6%));
2) drug offenders 76.9% (possession (78.3%), trafficking (75.4%), other (78.1%)).
3) public order offenders 73.6% (weapons (79.5%), driving under the influence (59.9%), other (77.9%)).

Ironically, violent offenders came up last: 71.3% for re-offenders (homicide (51.2%); murder (47.9%); non-negligent manslaughter (55.7%); negligent manslaughter (53.0%)’ rape/sexual assault (60.1%); robbery (77.0%); assault (77.1%), and other (70.4%)).

FEDERAL RECIDIVISM STUDY:  In the recidivism study by the United States Sentencing Commission, “The Commission studied offenders who was either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005.”

STUDY NUMBERS: Offense Types and recidivism rates were as follows: Drug Trafficking (41.7%), Fraud (13.6%), Firearms (12.8%), Robbery (4.3%), Larceny (3.9%), Immigration (3.5%), and ALL Other (20.3%).

DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RECIDIVISM STUDY: The first numbers are those in the study, whereas the second number represents offenders sentenced in 2014, after the eight-year study period ended: 81.7% – 81.2% were Male offenders.  White offenders led at 43.7% – 38.1%, followed by Blacks at 33.9% – 32.7%, Hispanics at 17.8% – 23.4%, and other races at 4.6% – 5.8%.

EDUCATE TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM: Post-Secondary Education Reduces Recidivism!  In the study, 34.3% did not graduate high school, compared to 36.6% who did; 21.4% had some college, and only 7.5% were college graduates.

OTHER RESULTS OF RECIDIVISM STUDIES: 49.3 percent of those released were rearrested for a new crime or rearrested for a violation of supervised release (e.g., failing to pass a urine analysis, failure to report to the supervised release officer; leaving without permission from a halfway house, perimeter of home confinement area or the state; violating state or federal laws, etc.). “Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview,” United States Sentencing Commission, March 2016.

The 2014 and 2018 studies show recidivism decreases as age increases.

FUNDING NEW RECIDIVISM REDUCTION PROGRAMS

Releasing qualifying elderly offenders who complete the recidivism reduction programs outlined at the end of this section will save billions of dollars to use for funding other programs with minimal risk to society. Reducing this category saves a lot because incarcerating the elderly costs the most.

This section targets a large segment of inmate populations and thus saves hundreds of billions, even with only marginal success. The cost savings will supply more resources for managing other aspects of the criminal justice system.

Let us assume Mr. Curie is correct (“[W]e know if these inmates recover from the disorders, they’re unlikely to repeat crimes”).  Based upon that premise, if ten percent of released inmates received treatment for dual disorders, while inside and did not recidivate by committing more crimes, then each ex-offender saves the criminal justice system a minimum of $25,000 per years, not including associated savings gathered from not spending money to arrest and re-prosecute the offender.  

The Department of Justice could apply those savings to revamping correctional systems with more psychiatrists, psychologists, and addiction specialists needed to reduce recidivism rates that fuels Mass Incarceration in America.

Using 2,000,000 as a base figure, and $25,000 as the cost of incarceration to accommodate the lower cost of housing healthier prisoners in state-and privately-owned prisons, if 85% of the 2,000,000 prisoners have an addiction problem, that’s 1.7 million prisoners.  If 42.5% of that 1.7 million have an underlying mental disorder, that’s 722,500 prisoners with dual disorders.  If twenty percent of that 722,500 asked for and received treatment, that would be 144,500 people treated and “unlikely to repeat crimes.”  

If Mr. Curie is correct, the following numbers I use would be higher and save more taxpayer dollars.  Again, using a modest $25,000.00 as the annual cost of incarceration, if ONLY ten percent (72,500) of the 722,500 of prisoners with dual disorders were treated, released, and never committed other crimes; taxpayers would save $1,806,250,000 each year.  That doesn’t include money saved from not having to pay law enforcement and the prosecution for associated costs.  If ten percent (14,450) of the twenty percent (144,500) suffering from dual disorders, completed treatment and stayed out of prison, that would be $361,250,000 saved annually.  If that same twenty percent (144,500) stayed clean after release, that would be $3,612,250,000 saved.  More importantly, thousands of citizens would not fall victim to those released from prison in worse shape than when they arrived; another recidivist or death statistic in the making.  Nor do those figures factor in the decreased need of hiring more law enforcement personnel; not having to pay for more buildings and equipment and resources, including not having to build more prisons to warehouse the prisoners.

THE SOLUTION

To reduce recidivism and help protect American citizens, as well as to help the returning citizen to successfully reintegrate, increase the availability of rehabilitative programs.  The programs need to 1) require that participants have at least a twelve-month clear conduct record; 2) require attendance for counseling sessions for any noted mental disorder and or addiction problems; 3) require participants to attend all scheduled educational or trade-related courses.

As part of the reconstructive process, prison official must be required to create more evidence-based programs for reducing recidivism, as the recently passed First Step Act requires for federal officials.  Part of the process should include regularly-scheduled, independent audits performed on a random basis by an external agency and include interviewing twenty-percent of inmate participants, with the goal of assuring compliance.  If prison officials do not comply, sanctions should be issued against prison officials (e.g., monetary sanctions, demotions, and termination for repeated citations for failure to comply).

Incorporating the above processes will change lives and give many men and women trapped behind the walls, bars and fences of the thousands of prisons across the United States, an opportunity to become assets to society rather than tax liabilities. Yes, some will fail. Thousands of other will succeed at becoming better men and women to help make America great again.

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Year One of New Life by Wayne T. Dowdy

Stanley and Wayne (Me on the right side, hands on guns)

One year ago today (March 8th), I walked out the doors of Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia, as a man freed from the custody of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. I wrote Electronic Chain about that experience. https://straightfromthepen.com/electronic-chain

Life hasn’t gone according to the World of Wayne since my release, other than that I have remained a free man and have continued my pursuit of a better life.

Life is good. My plan remains to make it Great!

In many respects my life is great. I have remained clean and sober and chose not to return to the life of crime as thousands of formerly-released men and women have done since August 28, 2018, when I walked out the doors of a Federal Correctional Institution, thirty-years and ten days after my arrest on federal and state charges.

Throughout the years, I wrote a lot about recidivism, of which may be viewed by searching “Recidivism” or by using the dropdown menu to select the Recidivism category on this site. The May 2018 study numbers are the latest released (83% of state prisoners returned within the nine-year study referenced to below):

“2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-up Period (2005-2014),” NCJ250975, May 2018, a follow-up to the 5-year study relied upon for comparison by the ex-director (“Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” NCJ244205, April 2014).

“The 83% recidivism rate revealed in the 9-year follow-up study shows the seriousness of recidivism in America and the need for a magic elixir that does not exist. Until financial incentives end for politicians who continue making policies and laws that fuel mass incarceration, positive change will be slow: It is time to stop state and federal funding for private prisons.” Breaking News, June 18, 2018

I refuse to become one of those who return to the system so many vow to hate but continue to return to make it grow bigger and stronger!

On a Personal Level

Since my release, I found a job, even though it took me eleven months of actively seeking one to succeed in that endeavor. On that job with Goodwill of North Georgia, I made Employee of the Month in October 2019, and was then selected for the Employee Spotlight in the following month.

Then on March 2, 2020, I began a different position in Goodwill of North Georgia and increased my salary by over thirty percent. More will follow!

I have a nice vehicle that gets me where I need to go, which a loving person blessed me with after she bought herself a new SUV.

For other aspects of the reentry process, is finding a new place to live and maybe even getting in a meaningful relationship if a special lady comes along.

Before my release, I joked with my peers that I was going to get a fat butt girl with a pecan tan and a Mercedes Benz, but maybe I need to revise that, because that’s being too picky. What I would like is that special lady who loves me the way I will love her and then perhaps I will perceive my life as great.

What was I thinking? I am free and alive and well! Life is great!

In conclusion, what I didn’t know during the time of the photo posted above when I was about three-years-young, with me with my hands on those toy guns, is that I would make bad decisions in life that would lead me to putting my hands on real guns to commit crimes and to spend most of my life in prison.

I wrote a lot about my life in Essays & More Straight from the Pen to show the power of change, and that, just because I was a recidivist, does not mean I have to be one now. I chose freedom. Thank you!

$8.95 USD, available as a paperback and as an eBook from most book sellers.

How Much to Send Prisoners

img_20190401_120426167.jpg

How much to send a prisoner contains a lot of variables. In my opinion, based more on the life of the donor than on the prisoner.

 
The answer to how much to send depends on the sender’s financial circumstances and which prison the incarcerated person is confined in; the cost of available resources, such as commissary items, using the phone, emailing if applicable, or other forms of communication.
 
He or she has shelter, and though it may be lacking at times, food and the essentials of survival.
 
If the free citizen needs to pay rent, buy food, and otherwise take care of themselves and family, in my opinion, as a former prisoner, I’d rather have done without than for my loved ones to have taken food out of their mouths to provide for me (I was happy to provide for myself by working).
 
(Many of my peers were different, especially if on drugs and wanted to get high. I understood that because I know what it was like for me when I lived the life of an addict, so I am not condemning those who are different.)

May 2018, MONTHLY PAY SLIP ($189.00):

Federal Prison Industries, Inc. UNICOR

On average, working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR), each month I spent $64.00 on the phone, $50.00 on writing/emailing blogs, etc., and $45–50.00 on commissary items. That was based on costs in the Federal Prison System.

Please note that all prisoners do not get paid for working, or get to work in places like the Federal Prison Industries. I was one of the highest-paid, hourly-rate prisoners, who worked for UNICOR, and rarely made over $200.00 per month. I made sacrifices to pay for the creation and upkeep of STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN and my blogging expenditures.

Books by Wayne T. Dowdy

Unknown Innocence by Wayne T. Dowdy

Paperback On Sale Now $9.99

eBook $2.99

This Fiction Contains Lots of Truth About Life, Love and Law

Love opens the door to prove his innocence

Military Police finds Roger Johnson slumped over the steering wheel of his Mercedes Benz, a bullet hole in his head. State Senator Leroy Johnson wants swift justice for the murder of his son. The military turns the case over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Special Agent Ward promises Senator Johnson he will find the murderer.

Big Bobby Sanders drank too much the night of the murder. Lost in a blackout when the murder occurs and unable to prove his alibi, DNA evidence put him in jail for killing his friend.  An exotic dancer knows the truth. She gets forced out of town after telling her story to attorney Zachariah Zambroski. Under pressure by Agent Ward to close the case, Zambroski convinces Sanders to plead guilty to avoid the death penalty. In prison he befriends a man who ultimately introduces him to the lovely Nicole Anderson, a former dancer who fights to free him.

“UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is a riveting tale that transcends genres. It’s a mystery and a thriller, with a love story woven through its fabric.” Introduction to UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Jeffrey P. Frye, author of “ONE CRAZY DAY,” Murder Slim Press (www.murderslimpress.com).

Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree by Wayne T. Dowdy

Paperback $5.95

eBook $0.99

Though Categorized as Fiction Truth Dominates its Content

When I pulled in front of his rundown, Georgian Revival style house, with a hipped roof, panel door, and yellow gutters, I noticed curtains and drapes covering all windows. That made me feel uneasy, so I popped the hood and then got out to tinker with the breather for a moment, slammed the hood and walked to the trunk. That is where I kept lots of money and drugs that other dope fiends and thugs drooled at when seeing. Many of whom I knew would take it from me if given the opportunity. I stashed more money inside a secret hiding spot I made. Then I walked around the car, stopping to tap on each tire so I appeared to be checking their inflation. I hid the trunk key inside the fender well, on top of the rear tire, away from view of those inside. Then I eased toward the front door of the house. The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd played on a sound system. I knocked. Leonard opened the door ….

Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy

On Sale Now $8.95

eBook $0.99

He Never Lost Hope. Hope Was All He Had

Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change, gives hope to readers wanting a different life.

The well-written essays take readers deep inside the life of the author who overcame circumstances and obstacles that kept him chained to a life of drugs and crime.

The stories inspire and motivate people to not give up or lose hope, and to fight for a new life.

Purchase these books today. You won’t be disappointed.

Could Be Me

But for the Grace of God There Go I

Provide Treatment for Addiction Problems to Reduce Recidivism

In December 2002, a study author stated that eighty-five percent of prisoners had addiction problems, and of those, half had an underlying mental condition (42.5%). To me, that study shows a critical need for providing resources to help treat addiction problems, if we plan to reduce recidivism.

Thirty Percent of Men and Women with Addiction Problems Have Underlying Mental Health Conditions.

Combine Treatment for Both Issues to Change Lives.

I am one who falls within the study findings and attest to the accuracy of the study finding; however, I don’t live that way anymore. The August 2008 publication from Readers Write in The Sun magazine, helps explain why that remains true: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/392/up-all-night

(For more on the study and its findings, read “No Sympathy” on this site https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/05/02/no-sympathy/)

Note: I am now free and living my life as a productive member of society and reside in metro Atlanta, Georgia.

The Sun magazine Readers Write topic: Up All Night

I have spent many nights wide awake on methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and Ecstasy. In the late seventies, I used to go on PCP benders and lose days of my life to blackouts. As a result, I cannot honestly say what I have or have not done.

I am currently serving a thirty-five-year federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. For the first seven years of my sentence, I did cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or some combination of the above as often as I could. When the guards came around to count us after lights out, I’d fake being asleep to avoid getting a urinalysis the next day. In the morning I’d begin the search for another fix.

Then I began seeing a prison psychologist. I wanted to stop shooting drugs, but I had failed at it so many times that I didn’t have much hope. The psychologist arranged sessions with a drug-treatment specialist. After about a month, she decided that the core of my addiction was shame, and she gave me a homework assignment: to write about the most shameful event in my life.

I decided to give her more than she had bargained for. I wrote from 5:30 P.M. until 5:30 A.M., committing to paper all the sick secrets that I had vowed to take with me to my grave. I filled sixteen yellow, legal-size pages.

The following day the drug counselor read what I’d written and predicted that I would never use again. For thirteen years her prediction has held true. But I keep in mind that my reprieve from my addiction is contingent on my spiritual condition from day to day. To stay healthy I have to attend twelve-step meetings and continue to write about what’s going on in my life. Staying up all night writing, instead of doing drugs, has helped me to reach beyond the walls and razor wire and into the lives of others.

Wayne T. Dowdy
Edgefield, South Carolina

Atlanta Hilton Speech

Google Knows A Star When It Sees One

Google Search Result Deemed Delay in Posting Blog and Justified Revision

Before I posted this blog, I checked to see where the photo image might show up, since I had used it a few years ago in a profile, and on the waynedowdy.weebly.com website, as well as on Facebook.

I never knew me and Bond, James Bond, looked similar, but Google Search apparently thinks we do. 🙂 You Go, Google!

Screenshot Proves It: Wayne T. Dowdy Is a Star!

Ironically, during the period of this photo, I thought of becoming a model and went to an interveiw with the PIZZAZZ Modelling Agency, who was advertising its search for models.

The agent gave me a contract to review, sign, and return with my portfolio. I chose to do cocaine instead of signing the contract to pursue a career in acting, modelling for catalogs, and commercials, by rationalizing that, “They just want to get in my pants, anyway.” Sick!

World of Work Graduation Ceremony, Class of 1985

Who’s that dude wearing my three-piece suit?  He looks like he thinks he’s on top of the world, standing up there at that podium with the pretty lady beside him, giving his speech before 500-plus at the Hilton Hotel in the Big City of Atlanta, Georgia.  A Big Shot!

The World of Work program trained him and the other participants to be entrepreneurs, how to succeed in the business world, and how to perform during job interviews. 

Though he was a convicted felon, he landed his first job at one of the Top 100 Atlanta companies; within two-years, he received seven promotions, and increased his salary by fifty-percent.

During that infamous speech at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Atlanta, he was the last of the graduates to give a presentation.
 
He spoke a few moments to express gratitude for being allowed to take part in the World of Work program, then concluded by saying,

“Nine out of ten released prisoners go back to prison.”
 
The audience stilled. His words captured their attention.

He paused and then said, “I am the one who won’t!”

The audience erupted with cheers and a standing ovation.
 
Pride engulfed his demeanor and spirit, as he returned to his seat on the stage for the closing of the graduation ceremony.

Many Faces of Wayne T. Dowdy

He lied!  Not knowingly at the time he made the statement, but he did because he became one of the nine instead of the one to not become a recidivist.

Recidivism: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; repeated relapse into criminal or delinquent habits. Recidivism: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; repeated relapse into criminal or delinquent habits.  

https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/05/02/no-sympathy/

For more on the man wearing my three-piece suit, read Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794396829

Fight for Change

Rep. Trey Gowdy(R-SC) speaks during the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Russian actions during the 2016 election campaign on March 20, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
/ AFP PHOTO / Nicholas Kamm (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Congressperson Trey Gowdy Chaired the Oversight Committee on the Bureau of Prisons, December 13, 2017.

The then B.O.P. Director, Mark S. Inch, had made changes to the program for operation of the Residential Reentry Centers. His changes resulted in me receiving 119-days in an RRC, instead of the 364-days recommended by my Unit Team because I had been in prison for three decades and needed the additional time to readjust to society.

I fought for change and after Mark Inch resigned, as I wrote about in War and Reentry, my Unit Team resubmitted me for more halfway house placement time because I won an issue on the miscalculation of Good Conduct Time that reduced my outdate.

https://straightfromthepen.com/2018/06/04/war-and-reentry/

My situation showed the RRC decision made by Mark Inch conflicted with Congressional directives and would put society in harm’s way, contrary to the purpose and intent of the Second Chance Act of 2007.

I did not hesitate to seek administrative redress and to write letters to Director Inch and Congressperson, Trey Gowdy (R-SC).

The following are copies of the imperfect letters I sent, with all of the supporting documents I sent along with each of the two letters. I am presenting them to show that it helps to voice opinions and to stand up for what we believe.

I believed Mark Inch’s change in policy screwed me and thousands of other prisoners. I fought for those who could not, would not, or did not, fight for themselves. I was near the door either way but I saw the devastating effect of the new RRC policy and it really pissed me off; especially, after I received 119-days in an RRC that made me think of telling them to keep.

[I struggled with getting the letters converted into a format to use for posting in this blog. The content remained the same. Maybe their content will help energize the fight for Criminal Justice and Prison Reform.]

[Note: Letters replaced with better image: Other Documents Will Be Added.]

Signature and Supporting Documents Not Included/Removed

Signature and Supporting Documents Not Included/Removed

Save Millions: Letter to Former B.O.P. Director

The following is a scrap copy of a letter I referred to above in the March 5, 2018, letter to former B.O.P. Director, Mark S. Inch, where I showed how to save millions of dollars each year. I included a copy of both letters with the letter mailed to Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC) .

T

Politics: Letter to Representative Doug Collins (R-GA)

The First Step Act: Before Passed Into Law

The following letter I sent by certified mail to the Honorable Doug Collins (R-GA), and to the Honorable Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), whom I do appreciate and respect for submitting the First Step Act. Though, neither of whom showed the courtesy of a reply or acknowledgment of receipt, due, in part, I suspect as due to a concern about what their peers may think of their communication with a convicted felon.

Proof of Mailing

Proof of Mailing

On Politics

Please forgive my frankness, which does not apply to all politicians, because some are courageous men and women, but in my opinion, most politicians lack in courage and are political whores, who dance to the tune of their parties, rather than to stand up as men and women for the issues that got them voted into office.

Hope and Humility

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I walk around the city and find homeless people sleeping on the streets of Atlanta on a daily basis, amongst the many multimillion-dollar buildings and structures. Too bad, we, as people, cannot provide resources to allow fellow humans to live with dignity and respect.

A couple months ago, while riding a bus into the city, I saw people sleeping in tents under bridges when temperatures were below freezing.

My heart went out to them as I prayed for their comfort and safety.

Homeless

Homeless and Sleeping By a Church

I sympathize with the less fortunate because that could be me, and in some sense, is, as I do not own a home or have a legal residence. If not for those who love me and have helped me to have a place to sleep and eat, I could be in the same position as the people in the photo.

Another person was sleeping beside the cardboard box shown in the photo.

I would like to think I could be as humble as the men and women I pass sleeping on the streets and under bridges. It’s either be humble, find a solution to my problem, if possible, and then do what I feel I must.

Hopefully, I’d make decisions that did not harm or cause others pain and grief; decisions to show others there is a solution, regardless of how devastating the problem may appear.

Sleeping Amongst Billion Dollar Buildings in Atlanta, Georgia

In prison, I refused to give up my hope for better days. That hope kept me alive and helped me live to fight another day.

That was then, THIS is now.

Shooting for Stars!

Frequently Asked Questions and An Anonymous Interview

An incarcerated person asked these questions for Wayne T. Dowdy. Because of privacy concerns, the name of the incarcerated person will remain anonymous.  Straightfromthepen.com gives special thanks and will provide a complimentary copy of Essays and More Straight From the Pen.

Q: Since you have started using this blog, has the sales increased on your books?
A: I haven’t noticed much of an increase in sales since I began writing the blogs. But since my release from prison, I have increased the number of views on the blogs, and the circulation of eBooks on Smashwords.com by making certain eBooks free.

Q: Since you began using this blog, have you talked about your books?
A: Yes, during the first two years I did (I paid to get a website and blog created in 2015), but I haven’t written promotional content in several months.

I got involved with the prison reform movement in 2016, and then later began writing blogs relating to prison reform, but also to help fight my way out of prison. I became an outspoken critic of the former BOP Director (Mark S. Inch), who changed halfway house policies (reducing available placement period from up to one-year to “up to four months”).

On prison reform, I wanted to do my part in creating positive change, so I put my personal writing and sales promotions on the side until I could get out of prison and put things in action. Now I am back. Look out!

Q: How many books have you written?
A: I’ve written four books but only have two I’m marketing. I had a special purpose for UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D (I added sections to the original UNDER PRESSURE to inspire the aspiring writers). To make it a better value for my readers, I combined the original novel with the sequel and produced UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Wayne T. Dowdy ($12.95 plus S&H), with the help of Midnight Express Books.

The other book is technically a personal magazine because it combines genres. ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN has 11-essays, 1-short story, and 3-poems, which I’ve discounted the price of at $8.95.

My case manager read it and commented, “Parts of it make you want to laugh, others make you want to cry. There’s a lot of wisdom in it.”

Q: Have you written any fictional books?
A: UNKNOWN INNOCENCE and UNDER PRESSURE are fiction.

Q: When did you start writing?
A: I wrote for decades in personal journals. At the age of twenty-five, while serving a state sentence, I wrote drafts for a series of pornographic literature. I gave my collection to a married woman I was having an affair with and asked her to keep them for me until I got out.

She was jealous. Everything I wrote did not include her. When I got out and wanted my writings, she said they got lost or her husband threw them away, either way, my perverted writings conveniently disappeared.

Maybe I’ll return to that genre if sales don’t improve on what I’m writing now. 🙂 With the success of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, there’s  a large market for that type of writing.

Q: Did you go to college to learn to write?
A: Yes, and No. In 1981 I did take Creative Writing in college. In 2006-2008, I took a professional writing course through the Long Ridge Writers Group to learn how to write essays and short stories for magazine publication.

Q: Were you published in any magazines?
A: Yes, but I was published before taking the course. In 2003 I was first published in the A.A. Grapevine under a pseudonym. I’ve been published several times since then; however, none of the publications satisfy my ego, which always wants more.

These are my magazine writing credits:
The Sun (Chapel Hill, NC);
The Iconoclast;
Confrontation magazine, the literary journal of Long Island University;
Savage Kick magazine;
and many others under a pseudonym related to recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Q: How has writing changed your life?
A: Writing, in general, has not changed my life except on an interpersonal level. But writing does help me to formulate ideas and allows me to express myself without interruption. That means a lot to me when I feel the issue is important and needs addressed, whether it’s what people want to hear or not.

One day I hope to answer that question by saying my writing changed the quality of life by making me rich and famous, but in the meantime, I must say it keeps me constructively occupied and that I take pride in knowing my writing impacts the lives of others, as many have said to me throughout the years.

Q: Are you writing another book now?
A: No, but I do have ideas for one coming soon and I am plotting on writing query letters and articles I want to see in print, something my ego loves (seeing my name in print).

Purchase writings by Wayne T. Dowdy from your favorite eStore or bookseller.  Get the best value on eBooks at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy

Wonderful Women by Wayne T. Dowdy


I love women! Women Rule the World and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. This re-post pays respect to all of the women today and from the past, who shaped the world and gave us Life as we know it.

The facts have changed as I am now a free man, no longer under control of those in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, but I remain grateful for participating in the event that honored Women’s History Month.

WOMEN RULE THE WORLD

Womens-History-Month-300x153

I live in an abnormal environment dominated by women–a men’s federal prison. On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, I am a scheduled speaker at an event to honor Women’s History Month in America. I feel inclined to do a powerful presentation.

Talk about performance anxiety!

I speak often from the podium and have no fear of public speaking. I will speak from the heart to honor powerful women in history, not just in America.

Most department heads at this institution are African-American women, including the one who rules her domain with whips and chains at the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, South Carolina, the Warden, as well as, one of her two Assistant Wardens. Here is what I have written for the Products of a Woman presentation:

Powerful Women

I am Wayne T. Dowdy, a son, father, grandfather, brother, and an uncle, all the products of a woman, my Mother.

The strength I saw in her and many other women has convinced me that the biggest deception in life began when an intelligent woman convinced man that he was the strongest.

Yeah, right! She says, go fight that bear to protect me, honey. Bring me his meat and we will eat. The man risks his life to please and feed her.

Now I’ll touch on history. In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginning back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911.

In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California participated in Women’s History Week. Different events followed that led to President Jimmy Carter declaring March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week, which began a series of Presidential Proclamations of Women’s History Week, up until 1986.

During this trend, Congress got on the bandwagon and passed resolutions for Women’s History Week.

Beginning in 1988, each subsequent president issued Presidential Proclamations of Women’s History Month that continues to this day. These women are a fraction of notable women in history:

Cleopatra (69 BCE – 30 BCE), the woman who ruled Egypt.
Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431), a 17-year old woman who inspired a French revolt against the English occupation, and then led the French to victory at Orleans.

Sojourner Truth (1797 – 1883), an African-American, female abolitionist and women’s rights campaigner, whose famous speech against racial inequality, as a woman, I will share upon conclusion.

Susan B. Antony (1820 – 1906), campaigned against slavery and promoted rights for women and workers. Her contribution earned her a mark on a U.S. coin.

Emily Murphy (1868 – 1933), the first woman magistrate in the British Empire. In 1927, she joined forces with four Canadian women who sought to challenge an old Canadian law that said, “[W]omen should not be counted as persons.”

Rosa Parks (1913 – 2005), she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, an action that indirectly led to the most significant civil rights legislation in American history.

Indira Gandhi (1917 – 1984), first female Prime Minister of India. She was assassinated.

Margaret Thatcher (1925 – 2013), the first female Prime Minister of Great Britain.

Condolesa Rice, Secretary of State under President George Bush, Jr.

Loretta Lynch, United States Attorney General under President Barrack Obama.

A true cliche in my opinion, is that, “Behind every good man is a good woman.”

These women are examples:

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 – 1962), First Lady of President Franklin D. Roosevelt;
Jacqueline Kennedy ( ), First Lady of President John F. Kennedy;
Nancy Reagan ( ), First Lady of President Ronald Reagan;
Hilary Clinton, First Lady of President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State under President Obama, 2016 Presidential Candidate;
Michelle Obama, First Lady of President Barrack Obama, and of African-American decent.

I offer those listed above as examples of thousands of powerful women throughout history.

Women are survivors!

The birth process is evidence of a woman’s strength. Most men would not dare to suffer so much pain to give life, if given the option. No, he is too weak for that kind of pain.

Our species would not have survived if man carried the burden of birth. He may go fight a bear to please her and to feed their children, but he dare not to endure such pain for nine months.

Additional evidence lies in the fact that in long-term marriages, if the woman dies first, the man is soon to follow. If the man dies first, the woman keeps on going to nurture her offspring for generations.

My mother outlived and buried three husbands.

Women are fighters, fighting for life, for love, for equality. Ask Beyonce’ Knowles, she tells the truth when she says, “Women Rule the World.”

To celebrate their legacy, a week was not enough, nor is a month, so the fight continues.

Women’s History Month allows us to focus on the value of women and reunites the flame to fight for equality in the workplace and in all other aspects of life, because without the woman, there would be no life.

Yes, maybe most men are physically stronger than most women are; however, the facts show women rule the world. Evidence also suggests that she is more intelligent. If she wasn’t, she’d be the one to go fight the bear to feed her family while the man stayed at home with their children.

Now for, “AIN’T I A WOMAN?” by Sojourner Truth, delivered in 1851 at the Women’s Convention in Akron, Ohio:

“Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that ‘twixt the negroes of the South and the women of the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what’s all this here talking about?

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most of them sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?

Then they talk about this thing in the head; what’s this they call it? [member of audience whispers, ‘intellect’] That’s it, honey. What’s that got to do with women’s rights or negroes’ rights? If my cup won’t hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn’t you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

Then that little man in black there, he says women can’t have as much rights as men, ’cause Christ wasn’t a woman! Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to with Him.

If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain’t got nothing more to say.”

The fight continues until the day all women are treated equal. Let us remember each day to celebrate Women’s History, not just during the Month of March. Thank you!

_______________________________________
Wayne T. Dowdy writes at Straight From the Pen. Purchase his paperbacks from your favorite bookstores and eStores, including Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. 
Order autographed copies by contacting him at waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com.

For best deals on eBooks, visit his Smashwords author’s page https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy. 

Mothers & Memorial Days by Wayne T. Dowdy

happy mothers day

TO THE MOTHERS OF THE WORLD:  Two years ago on May 8, 2015, I sent out a message to have posted on FaceBook.  My publisher read and liked it so much that she decided to post it as a blog for me.  This is what I wrote:

“Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful women out there who gave your blood and suffered unbearable amounts of pain to give life to the children you brought forth into this thing we call life.  Not to mention all you gave of yourself to raise your children the best way you could by giving them what you had been given.  May those close to you show the same amount of love on your special day.”

To all you Mother’s out there who do or do not follow my blogs, I resubmit to you the same feelings wrapped in words.  Each of you deserve praise for the sacrifices you make for your offspring and loved ones.  I decided to repost it when a friend of mine let me know he planned to plagiarize it last week, after having read a collection of my blogs.

In “Women Rule the World” (March 27, 2017), I used a bear to illustrate that women are the stronger and more intelligent of the human species.  We owe our lives to our mothers, whether she was the best or the worst, she chose not to “abort” the mission of bringing us into this world.  For those who did not read it, I will share a version of my favorite parts that caused the audience to erupt into laughter when I presented it at a special to celebrate Women’s History Month.

“I am Wayne T. Dowdy, a son, father, grandfather, brother, and an uncle, all the products of a woman, my Mother.

“The strength I saw in her and many other women has convinced me that the biggest deception in life began when an intelligent woman convinced man that he was the strongest.

“Yeah, right!  She says, go fight that bear to protect me, honey.  Bring me his meat and we will eat.  The man risks his life to please and feed her. …..

[Men do insane things to please women, some rob banks, write bad checks or worse to win them over.]

“The birth process is evidence of a woman’s strength.  Most men would not dare to suffer so much pain to give life, if given the option.  No, he is too weak for that kind of pain.

“Our species would not have survived if man carried the burden of birth.  He may go fight a bear to please her and to feed their children, but he dare not to endure such pain for nine months.

[Of course, there are those “males” who would love to get pregnant and become rich, but most men I know would mandate prophylactics (rubbers), not because of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, but because of the risk of pregnancy.]

“Additional evidence lies in the fact that in long-term marriages, if the woman dies first, the man is soon to follow.  If the man dies first, the woman keeps on going to nurture her offspring for generations.

“My mother outlived and buried three husbands.  …..

“Yes, maybe most men are physically stronger than most women are; however, the facts show women rule the world.  Evidence also suggests that she is more intelligent.  If she wasn’t, she’d be the one to go fight that darn bear to feed her family while the man stayed home with their children.”

It made me happy to be able to help others have a pleasant day.  A Psychologist who was present thanked me as I was leaving.  She said, “You had us laughing so hard we had to hold our sides.”  🙂

MOTHERS & GOD GIVE LIFE:  Both parents may have enjoyed the process of putting us children into our mother’s belly, but it was she who suffered the pain of childbirth that allowed us to grow into the person we became in life.  The formation of our life was under her and God’s control.

HIT & RUN:  Some fathers hit and run and left the mothers to bear the pain all alone.  Single parent mothers made even more personal sacrifices to get us the life we now have.

If you know any single parents (male or female), who has children at home, give them a hug and offer to help care for their children long enough for them to go out and get some time alone or time with friends.  Everyone needs a break, sometimes!

*****

confederate flag

REMEMBERING REBELS:  Confederate Memorial Day is April 25, 1866, that is, depending on who you chose to believe.  Various dates and places exists as to where Memorial Day originated.  The same is true about which group of people began the day of remembrance for the soldiers who died during America’s most gruesome war.  Civil War history is convoluted.

The United Daughters of the Confederacy kept memories alive of the Civil War, by raising funds to have monuments constructed to honor soldiers who died during a period of American history that America’s government wishes to forget.

No government likes rebels.  Those darn rebels had the nerve to create their own government, and even worse, to make their own money.  How dare those darn Rebels!  Disgusting Rebels!

monument being removed in NO

ERASING HISTORY:  In New Orleans, Louisiana, local government is in the process of trying to remove memories of the Civil War by removing various Civil War monuments.

On April 24, 2017, “Workers dismantled an obelisk, which was erected in 1891 to honor members of the Crescent City White League who in 1874 fought in the Reconstruction-era Battle of Liberty Place against the racially integrated New Orleans police and state militia, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said in a statement.”  The New York Times, “New Orleans Begins Removing Confederate Monuments, Under Police Guard” by Christopher Mele (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/24/us/new-orleans-confederate-statute.html?_r=0).

Plans exist to remove other statutes/monuments.  The list includes a bronze statute of General Robert E. Lee, an equestrian statute of P.G.T. Beauregard, a Confederate General, and a statute of Jefferson Davis, who was the president of the Confederacy.  Even the monument of President Andrew Jackson is at risk.

Removing the obelisk is more understandable than removing the other monuments; especially, statutes of real men whose family linage and heritage is rooted; e.g., Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, P.G.T. Beauregard, and President Andrew Jackson.

More of those darn rebels protested when workers and officials attempted the removal of Jefferson Davis’ monument on May 1, 2017.  Five people were arrested; the removal process put on hold.

old glory

MEMORIAL DAY:  The celebrated federal Memorial Day is the last Monday of each May.  Supposedly, Memorial Day got its start when a group of women put flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers.  Regardless of whether they fought for the North or the South, those Civil War soldiers gave their lives fighting for their country, as has all other soldiers before and after the Civil War.

It is a disgrace for those in power to attempt to eradicate a part of history.

IMPORTANT DATES:  A misconception pumped into today’s society is that the primary “cause” of the American Civil War was to free the slaves.  Don’t mistake what I write.  I do not like what happened in America during the days of slavery.  No human being deserved to be mistreated the way some slaves were, not even terrorists.

I write that to stress my point:  I do not like Terrorist cowards or predators who kill or injure innocent people because of their ideological belief.  Terrorist deserve to experience extreme amounts of pain for repayment of their acts.  But to treat them the way they deserve to be treated, would make us no better than them.  In my opinion, it would be more humane to execute them rather than torture them to death, as they deserve.

PROOF OF HISTORICAL DECEPTION:  “On July 20, 1862, John Hay, Lincoln’s private secretary, predicted in a letter that the president ‘will not conserve slavery much longer.’  Two days later, Lincoln, wearing his familiar dark frock coat and speaking in measured tones, convened his cabinet in his cramped White House office, upstairs in the East Wing.  He had said, ‘dwelt much and long on the subject’ of slavery.  Lincoln then read aloud a 325-word first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation, intended to free slaves in Confederate areas not under United States authority.”  Louis P. Masur, “Forever Free.”

After writing the draft, President Lincoln was faced with another problem:  “One of the weightiest questions was whether significant numbers of Union soldiers would refuse to fight in a war whose purpose was not only to preserve the Union but also to end slavery.  ‘How Will the Army Like the Proclamation?’ trumpeted a headline in the New York Tribune.'”  Smithsonian magazine, January 2013, “Forever Free” by Louis P. Masur.

If the Civil War was about freeing the slaves, President Lincoln would not have had that concern and the article would not have appeared in the New York Tribune.

Lincoln later “[o]pened the ranks of the Army to blacks, who until then had served only in the Navy.”  He had to do that to get slaves to help the Union fight the Confederate rebels who were kicking their ass on the battle field.

Lincoln did not write the draft of the Emancipation Proclamation until 464-days after the Civil War began on April 12, 1861.  That proves that the American Civil War was not fought to free the slaves.  At least, it did not begin with freeing the slaves on the agenda, only later was it added.

Slave labor allowed the Southern plantation owners to undercut the Northerners in the Cotton market, the same argument presented today by politicians about the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. using inmate labor to produce goods and services, which raises a question of whether the practice violates the Federal Fair Trade and Practice Act (?).  (I will write a blog to cover that issue in the future.)

The Emancipation Proclamation was not signed until January 1, 1863; 165-days after Lincoln wrote the draft on July 20, 1862, which gave freedom to slaves across America, including those in the North.  In other words, wealthy Northerners still had slaves when the war began in the South.

The most liked blog of mine is “Southern Pride-Waving a Confederate Flag” (July 6, 2015).  As stated, “If the Civil War was fought over slavery, wouldn’t President Lincoln have signed the Emancipation Proclamation to free all slaves before the war began on April 12, 1861, instead of on January 1, 1863?  Weren’t the slaves used by the president to fight off Confederate forces who had proved to be a more formidable force than expected by slaughtering his troops in numerous battles?  Yes, is the most logical answer based upon the facts and history of the rich using the poor to fight their battles.”

What would the Mothers of Civil War soldiers think if they could see what is going on today about the war that claimed the lives of their sons?   We should, as a society, honor those who gave their lives to defend our country, even if their lives were lost fighting a war within the United States of America.

Feel free to share this post.  For more on the Civil War, and excerpts from THE LAST CONFEDERATE COIN by S.G. Garwood and Dr. Jonathan Jackson, visit thelastcharlestonconfederate.weebly.com.

_________________________________________

Wayne T. Dowdy writes at StraightFromthePen.com.  Post comments on this site or email them to waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or wtdowdy57@gmail.com

Happy Independence Day

Last year I wrote a more formal blog on Independence Day in America. Most of the facts and sentiments remain the same, so if you want to read about that, click Here.

For this post, I am writing about my personal independence that is more important to me than any celebrated holiday in America or anywhere else.

Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Patriotic, my Independence Day comes first: I won’t grab a gun and run out to get shot defending some political enemy of no interest to me.

Now, if an invader came to America and the United States government didn’t want to put me in prison for the rest of my life for picking up a firearm, then Yes, I would pick up a weapon to defend this nation. But that is not the case today.

My Independence Day began when I stopped allowing my addictions to control my behavior back in 1995. Twenty-five years later, I maintain that sense of freedom that I gained when I put down the spike and stopped trying to take myself out, one day at a time.

Today I live my life, one day at a time and don’t feel the need to use any mind-altering substance to alter my perception of life.

I like seeing things as they are and don’t need to alter my perception to deal with all of the BS going on in America today and around the world.

It is what it is and I can’t change anything outside myself.

So today, that is my Independence: freedom from the chains of addiction that kept me enslaved to finding a way and means to get more that was never enough.

When I ran out, I felt worse than miserable, and the problem was that I did run out and could not get what I wanted when I wanted it, and that really pissed me off and made me a really difficult person to deal with who I grew to despise when I looked in the mirror.

NOW that I am free and have come to terms with my past, life is good and I just do the next right thing and know that everything will work out just the way it is supposed to for me.

And so today and every day, I celebrate my independence and am thrilled and happy to be here, with “here” meaning still in existence, because I know that it is only by the grace of God, my higher power, that I lived to fight another day and come out the victor in my battle of addiction that went on for over twenty-five years before I got the courage to stand up and fight for my right to be free. I broke the chains and ran into a bright new future: free.

COVID-19 AND BOP

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported having a new deputy director on June 5, 2020. Though not said, I suspect the former deputy director exited due to his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the federal prison system. After the BOP Director testified before Congress on June 2, 2020, the appointment of the new Deputy Director was reported three days later. Read the BOP Director’s written statement before Congress here.

To show the severity of COVID-19’s effect inside the BOP, I showed a comparison between COVID-19 cases in Henry County, Georgia, and the BOP.

On June 28, 2020, the website for the Georgia Department of Public Health reported the top five counties in Georgia for COVID-19 cases as follows. (See the latest update by clicking the link below the chart.)

CountyConfirmed CasesHospitalizations Deaths
Gwinnett7685985169
Fulton66101058311
DeKalb5448870171
Cobb4607848240
Non-Georgia Resident441020243
https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dekalb County, Georgia had 759,297 residents on July 1, 2019.

Dekalb County, with over 550,000 more people than the UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, staff included, has had 171 deaths due to COVID-19.

On June 28, 2020, 89 inmates and one reported BOP staff member had died due to COVID-19.

“06/28/2020 – The BOP has 131,667 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,436 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 1,422 federal inmates and 137 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 5,114 inmates and 574 staff have recovered. There have been 89 federal inmate deaths and 1 BOP staff member death attributed to COVID-19 disease.” WWW.BOP.GOV

Hopefully, the incoming BOP Director will be proactive about halting the spread of the Coronavirus inside the system. Several inmates have reported to me about the BOP’s continued practice of putting inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 in the same living areas with those who were not infected. This is especially true at the complex in Butner, NC that has had a combined total of twenty-three inmate deaths and the one staff death.

Click here for books related to COVID-19


Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates by Alex Berenson (Author)

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One by Debora MacKenzie (Author)

Happy Father’s Day-2020

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

Note: This is a repost from last year that remains as meaningful on this Father’s Day as in 2019

Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers, Stepfathers, and all those good men who took on fathership to fill in for or to be that special person in the life of a precious child or children.

May God Shower You with Many Blessings. Thank you!

Let’s not forget those special men and women who play the role of both parents who give their offspring or the children whose lives became a part of, the love and attention each child deserves.

Thanks for being Extra Special!


*****

Give Dad an Amazon eGift Card to make him smile and to show him how much he is appreciated. Click here

George Floyd Matters

Yes, George Floyd mattered.

Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

What happens to one person may happen to another and another and another, until those of us who do not fit into the perfect mold or preferred social class no longer exists. That is one reason why the death of George Floyd and others matter who died because of police brutality or other unjustified reasons/causes.

A fellow blogger who is incarcerated and others have written negatively about the media focus and social uprisings related to the death of George Floyd, a convicted felon, a person who was alleged to have been violating the law before his untimely and wrongful death.

A man with a colorful past wrote a poem that tells why people should be concerned about George Floyd’s death, and all of the other men and women who died at the hands of other people; whether by law enforcement officials, at the hands of racists, by gang violence, being on the wrong side of group protests, or by any other method that deprived someone of their right to live.

Pastor Martin Niemöller, a former part of Nazi Germany who changed his ways and beliefs, wrote the following poem. Interchange any of the labels with the others often given to dehumanize other people:

“They” may be any person belonging to a group or who has a belief system based on race, religion, sex, sexual preference, political affiliations, or any group whose favor one does not fall, whether based on skin tone, socio-economic status, or any other factor used to justify wrongful actions.

This is a poem that I first heard as No Else Around (apparently based on First They Came), which I will use to show why George Floyd and those who differ, or who otherwise come from a different socio-economic class, should matter to everyone who qualifies as a member of the human race.

First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Christians, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Christian.

Then they came for the prisoners, and I did not speak out—because I was not a prisoner.

Then they came for the Blacks, and I did not speak out—because I was not Black.

Then when they came for me there was no one else around to speak for me.

******

We are all in this together, what happens to one may happen to another. All lives matter who belong to the human race.


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How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

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White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

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From the Civil War to our combustible present, White Rage reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America–now in paperback with a new afterword by the author, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson.

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Protests and Prison

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Ironically, the paperback edition of the tenth anniversary publication of THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS by Michelle Alexander, was released on January 7, 2020. Now you must wait to get a copy on Amazon, as I type because it is temporarily out of stock; however, the eBook is available. Click here to order.

Doubt does not reside in my mind about hundreds of people going to prison because of their involvement in the current protests going on in America. Not for the protesting, per se, but because of related activities going on around the protest, by the thug element that always finds its way into such events as an opportunity to “Come Up” by looting and committing other crimes under the false pretension of seeking justice, retribution for an act committed.

As I wrote in my most recent blog, Protests Gone Viral, quoting from The Wall Street Journal, President Trump said he would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.

The United States Department of Justice will prosecute under Title 18 of the United States Code (18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 113B—TERRORISM) and rely on the definition stated below for Domestic Terrorism to prosecute those labeled as members or accomplices (conspirators) of Antifa:

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States;”

[18 U.S.C. § 2331 (2)(5), Definitions]

The penalties are stated in 18 U.S. Code § 2332. Criminal penalties, and range from “not more than ten years” for some criminal acts included, and up to life for others, meaning until carried out in a box, since there is no parole in the federal system.

Many people who commit state crimes have no idea that the Feds may step in to use a multitude of laws to get jurisdiction to prosecute in federal court. Believe me, I met several who were in federal prison for crimes of that nature, especially drug cases and violent crimes that involved guns or money that crossed state lines.

The thousands of laws on the books in the States and Federal systems are the ammunition used to create Mass Incarceration in America, where thousands of others profit from the incarceration industry (read The Truth About Incarceration, Part II for more information related to that topic).

Even though an alarming number of those who find their way into jail cells are people of color, as Michelle Alexander wrote about in her book, prison systems across the United States mainly consist of poor people who cannot afford to fight their cases or who are given bad advice to enter a plea of guilty, and then live to regret it when that plea leads to more time in a jail cell than ever imagined.

Many protestors will fall into that category, not because of what they do, but because of what those around them do that erodes the effect of a worthy cause.

Protests Gone Viral by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo by Vital1na on Pexels.com

Racism lives and continues to thrive in America and around the world. Police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota that resulted in the death of an African-American man named, George Floyd, on May 25, 2020, sparked riots across the United States and caused disruptions around the world.

US cities assess protest damage, await another day of unrest by By TIM SULLIVAN and MATT SEDENSKY

Reading or watching news isn’t my favorite past time and it took all of the chaos going on in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia to draw my attention to what is going on in many American cities.

In researching for this blog, I read what one source stated that I know most people will not see the seriousness of one word used in the following statement “terrorist“:

“Officials moved to restore order. Governors called in the National Guard, mayors extended curfews for a third night in some cities and President Trump said he would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.”  

The Wall Street Journal, Officials Look to Restore Order After Riots

Though I am not an attorney and do not intend this to be legal advice by any standard, I am of the opinion that under American law, terrorism and domestic terrorism carry strict penalties, and when coupled with conspiracy laws, the use of that one word, when tied into legal terminology few can comprehend, many people who are protesting and are in the group of those tied to the violent offenses, may be charged accomplices.

If you don’t believe me about the severe criminal penalties for terrorist-related crimes, read what the law states in 18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 113B—TERRORISM

Two of my former blogs also relate to conspiracy laws and how easy men and women may end up spending the rest of their lives in prison. The men I wrote about got lucky when former President Obama commuted their life sentences: https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/01/05/freedom-for-a-friend/ and https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/08/09/freedom-for-another-friend/

My hope is that the protests do result in needed changes to eliminate racism and police brutality in America and abroad. The reality is that the stereotyping will continue for decades more to follow, because there will always be those who refuse to move away from the past and see each person as they are, rather than by some external element beyond control.

The sad part for me is in knowing that innocent people always get caught in the crosshairs of anger and hate and suffer dire consequences for what others have done. In this case, that will include the innocent protesters who get labeled as terrorists and go to prison for the rest of their lives for only doing what they felt they must do to take a stand against injustice.

Happy Memorial Day 2020

Heritage Park, McDonough, Georgia

Memorial Day in America probably means something different to most Americans than it does to those who hate US for whatever reasons. And should one wonder if the capital “US” is a mistake, no, it is meant to be inclusive, for I am an American and am proud to call myself one, even if not proud of everything that has been done by Americans.

For me, though, Memorial Day is not just about America, even though it is an American holiday. I remain conscious of all who have died from the effect of war or who have died fighting for the lives of others; whether Americans or not, whether for the “right” or “wrong” reasons, human lives are lost, mostly innocent lives lost in the crosshairs of another’s agenda.

Search “Memorial Day” on this site to see other blogs I’ve written on the topic, including some controversial ones where I speak out against the twisting of historical facts and attempts to erase America’s not-so-favorable history.

https://straightfromthepen.com/2017/05/11/mothers-memorial-days-by-wayne-t-dowdy/

https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/05/27/give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death/

In the end, though, everything worked out the way it should for whatever reason. I am not in control, and nor I am responsible for what others have done in the name of God or America, but I am proud to be an American and honor those who have died protecting our shores.

Today, I honor those on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, here in American and all across the world. WE are all in this together, like it or not!

Lee Greenwood says it best in his tribute to America, God Bless the USA