Gratitude 2020 by Wayne T. Dowdy

No Turkeys

When the year 2020 began, I believed it was going to be a wonderful year, and as in other things, it is a matter of perception of whether it has or has not been a wonderful year. For me, I lived to fight many more days and continue to be thrilled and happy to be “here,” with here meaning Alive, alive and still Kickin’ after all these years, which is a miracle, indeed. For that I am grateful. Some things I wished to have been different but … I am not in control of life. I am happy to be a part of it.

I am Blessed by the Best!

Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the holiday, and to all of those who do or do not, please take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of life today.  Personally, I begin with the obvious, my health, including all body parts that remain intact and fully functional; especially, my Eyes to See and Ears to Hear, as well as my mouth and fingertips to express what I want the world to hear and read.

The most import is Love

Of all things I am grateful for, the most important is LOVE, love from above and love from my many friends and the few loved ones who remain alive and in my life.  Should I list all things for which I am grateful, this blog would take more time to write than I have before posting it in time for people to read before Thanksgiving celebrations begin in America. 

I’m late according to my schedule but on time spiritually.

FROM THE INSIDE

Two days ago, I received a Corrlinks email from a person who shared his feelings on the holiday.  Here is what Chuck wrote, who is serving an excessive federal prison sentence:

“Greetings,

“I wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving,  and to remind everyone that this time of year is an excellent time to reflect on family & friends,  as well as community and the world.   We are in challenging times now and can often not see the beauty in others around us because of our situations.  To be thankful for what we have,  as well as what we have learned about those closest to us are experiences that should not be overlooked.  To see the trivial things that we otherwise might have missed because of the daily hustle and bustle of our hectic lives is reason enough to give thanks during this holiday.  Those smiles and conversations that arise out of the extra time that we spend because of our closeness are opportunities that may only come once.   So,  embrace them and cherish them … give thanks for them and the people that they originate from.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Peace,

Chuck”

Note:  if you would like to correspond with the author, his address is as follows:

CHARLES R DENNING, # 21317-045

USP TERRE HAUTE

P.O. BOX 33

TERRE HAUTE, IN  47808

TECHNOLOGY

In the original draft of Too Late for Torrick, I began by using the dictate function in latest update for Microsoft Word 2016.  Two reasons kept me from including a section titled, Positive Note; the first being something that a friend once said about using the talk-to-text function for sending emails.

He wrote, “I can’t get it to understand Southern.” 

The second reason related to the amount of time it would take for me to decipher the convoluted dictation, and my deciding that it would be best to wait to include the positive perspective of the Corrlinks correspondence in a separate blog and that proved to be a better idea because of the events that followed.

My plan was to include the convoluted dictation as humor; however, I will spare my readers and conclude with the blog my friend sent and authorized me to post on his behalf.  I also sent his blog into the prison system and received several favorable comments from those Inside who needed to read good news.

Positive Note

The devastation caused by COVID-19 from inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons did have a positive side, in that the courts intervened and ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners that the prison officials refused to release on their own initiative after given authorization to do so by the United States Attorney General.

A person who I have known for years and who wrote an Introduction to Unknown Innocence, recently wrote that he was granted his release because of the Court’s intervention related to his request for Compassionate Release because of the threat of COVID-19. 

He sent me an email and wrote, “Thank you for all you have done for me recently.  The daily stats helped me present my case.” That made me feel great and assured me that the time I take from my schedule to provide information and meaningful content to those on an approved Corrlinks contact list, is a worthy cause, for which I am grateful for being able to do.

On Monday, November 30, 2020, Jeffrey P. Frye, will be released because of his having a competent public defender who assisted him, and a federal judge who granted his motion and ordered his release. 

Miracles happen!  Never lose hope.


Leaving Shawshank (last blog from prison)

 by

Jeffrey P. Frye

In June 2020, two months into the national lockdown in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I made a strong cup of coffee and took 10 sheets of paper and I sat in my cell and penned a Motion for Compassionate release to the court in Charleston, South Carolina. I cited the COVID-19 epidemic and its devastating effects on the inmate population, especially for people with my medical conditions of COPD, asthma, and hypertension… However, for somebody with my history, and given the fact that I was given 20 years for robbing seven banks (w/out wearing a mask), and given the fact that Judge Norton had actually whacked me with 7-20 yr. sentences (one for each bank), I figured it a stretch. But time and pressure sometimes make a jailhouse lawyer…so I fired off the motion anyway.  And in what has turned out to be the smartest move I made, I sent a copy to the Federal Public Defender in Charleston, Ms. Ann W., to ask her if she would represent me on this filing.

After about a month I had still heard nothing back from the court or the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) on my case.  Nor had I heard from the public defender’s office.  I found this to be odd, because usually at least the AUSA would deny my filings in short shrift.  I waited, all while the outbreak back here for worse and people started dropping like flies.  I have a friend named Wayne T. Dowdy who had started sending me daily reports from the BOP’s website (bop.gov) of which institutions had cases and how many people had died.  When we came out for our hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would write these down.  It was sobering.  The numbers were climbing all while the BOP told Congress and the media that it was getting better.

Enter Ms. Ann W, Esq.

The judge appointed her to investigate the validity of my claims.  I kept piping her info through snail mail, and filing addendums to my original brief, and asked her to amend these to my pro se filing if she thought it relevant.  In America, a lot of defendants have an incorrect assumption about public defenders.  They assume that they are the bottom of the barrel or lawyers who are just on their way to something better.  They also mistakenly believe (at least in federal court) that if they hire a high-priced lawyer that they’ll get a better deal.  Maybe these opinions have at least a little validity in state court but not in federal court.  In the feds, the public defender’s office is the best one to have because all they do is federal law, day in and day out.  Subsequently, they are the smartest lawyers in the pack; the best to have.

Ms. Ann W. is the cream of the federal crop.

After sending her a second addendum telling her how bad things were, she filed an amazingly excellent 20 page brief that used recent reports from the Department of Justice’s Office of The Inspector General (OIG), and from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that refuted the BOP’s claims. She blended this with my medical history, my new-found career as a writer, and a couple of character letters the info on the place I would live if the motion were granted (this is paramount). Then after she’d threw all these things into the pot, she stirred it using her own narrative of me and my life.  I have often commented that writing is like making sauce in that you throw in a bunch of different things and stir, hoping that the reader loves your creation.  And much like feeding people and the ones you love; you hope that the reader likes your sauce.  We, I am here to tell you that Ann W. makes a damn good sauce.  She also included something else that I found to be pretty cool.

She included you guys.  My blog readers for the last eight years and the people who have purchased my books.  How cool is that?  She also attached letters penned by the two people who have been great friends to me and that have been instrumental in my career to this point.  Steve Hussy, Owner of Murder Slim Press and Jonathan J. (a.k.a., Alexius Rex), creator and pilot of my website bankblogger.weebly.com.  Two people who have been very kind to me over the last eight years, and who, strangely enough, that I have never seen in person or even spoke to on the phone during these years. At the end of The Love Fest section of her sauce, Ms. W. listed my transition from the genre of “Hey look at the dumb criminal,” to the mainstream by mentioning The Life of Riley Book 1 (now available and seriously underpriced on Amazon). But in spite of her awesome brief (I’m almost out of stupendous adjectives to describe her work), there was still no word from the judge.  Until two days ago.

I was standing on the inside of my cell door staring out into the abyss of abject criminal nothingness while practicing what I refer to as “Anti-social distancing.” This involves me strapping on my MP3 and ear buds and pretending that the music is playing, even though it’s not.  This tactic prevents me from having to talk to my psycho cellie, the one whose face, head and neck are completely tattooed; the one that I have had to fight at 5am three frigging times in the last three months.

As I stood in my door feeling every bit the Nowhere Man living in my nowhere land, staring into nothing, while listening to absolutely nothing, I spied the back area of the staff offices open up and watched as my case manager hustled towards my cell with a sheaf of papers in his right hand. I found this to be extremely odd because most days, I couldn’t find this dude with a search warrant.  He walked up to my house and opened my cell door, and said, “The judge has granted your compassionate release and commuted your sentence to Time Served.  We have up to 14 days to get you out of here and on a flight to Chicago, all we’re waiting on is Probation in Illinois to verify your release residence, then you’re out of here.”

And just like that…this 12-year nightmare is over.  I’m going free.

Now it’s two days later and what should be extended joy and elation is only fear.  I have no money to speak of; No clothes; and until I can get to the food stamp office like a good liberal, I don’t even have any food.  At least here at Shawshank I had Cheeseburger Day to look forward to every Wednesday.  I was the guy who could write about Cheeseburger Day.  Now I don’t even have that anymore.  But in a few short days, you know what I will have?

Freedom.  A brand-new beautiful life.  A chance not to die here.

So, very soon I will be sitting in a terminal at Orlando International waiting to catch a flight To Chicago, where I will be met by my sister and brother in law with love.  I will have on my lap all of my possessions; a mesh bag with the hand-written copy of The Life of Riley Books 1-4, and two other books I have penned and not decided what to do with yet. Ironically, I will be wearing a mask.  Go figure.

I am not sure where my cool new beautiful life will take me in the coming years, but I do know one place that it will not.  To a bank.  Ever.  From now on, I will be doing all my banking online.

Jeffrey P. Frye

11/24/2020

murderslim.com

The Ex-Bank Robber’s Blog

bankblogger.weebly.com

Too Late for Torrick

By Marshall Astor from San Pedro, United States – United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10385597

Anytime I receive a message from the Corrlinks automated response that someone on my approved contact list no longer has access to the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System, I assume that the person was put on restriction for a limited time as a disciplinary sanction, or released to the streets or to a halfway house, alive.

That changed on November 20, 2020.

Each week I send a variety of messages to my approved Corrlinks’ contact list. Most of what I send relate to the Coronavirus inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) or Wisconsin Department of Corrections, or articles that I find online or write that I feel will be of interest to those trapped Inside the system.

While reviewing a previous newsletter I sent inside with several Press Releases from the BOP for COVID-19 deaths in November 2020, I noticed a name that seemed familiar. I checked and was saddened to see he was who I thought. He had reached out for help, but I did not feel I was qualified; however, this blog post is in his honor.

Though it is a little too late for Torrick, maybe it will inspire others to take action to prevent people on the Inside from having the same fate as Torrick.

Torrick was one of the 141 confirmed deaths on November 20, 2020, inside the BOP from COVID-19 and one of hundreds of inmates that the BOP did not release for health concerns when given authority to do so. He was unfortunate in not having an attorney to fight for his release.

When he contacted me, it would have been too late for an attorney to have done anything for him because of the judicial process, and because he tested positive for COVID-19 six days later.

Within thirty days, he died after requesting I expose the prison for their unsafe practices that exposed staff and inmates to COVID-19 infections, in part, because the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners’ failed to take proper action to protect its inmates in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Automated Message

CorrLinks
Tue, Nov 17, 4:50 AM

Inmate 16873076 – LYLES, TORRICK T no longer has access to the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System; therefore, he/she may not send or receive messages. El preso 16873076 – LYLES, TORRICK T ya no tiene acceso al sistema de computadora limitada de presos del fondo fiduciario; por lo tanto, el/ella no puede enviar o recibir mensajes.

Inmate Locator (bop.gov)


TORRICK T LYLES
Register Number: 16873-076
Age: 43
Race: Black
Sex: Male
Deceased: 11/14/2020

BOP Press Release

The day before I received that automated message from Corrlinks, I sent the following Press Release and others from November in to those on my Corrlinks Contact list:

U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 16, 2020
Office of Public Affairs
Inmate Death at MCFP Springfield WASHINGTON, D.C.:

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, inmate Torrick Lyles tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in medical isolation at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP) Springfield, in Springfield, Missouri. He received daily symptom checks and was assigned to a unit with 24-hour nursing staff where he was evaluated for respiratory distress. On Sunday, October 25, 2020, he was transferred to a local for further treatment and evaluation. On Saturday, November 14, 2020, Mr. Lyles, who had long-term pre-existing medical conditions, which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 disease, was pronounced deceased by local hospital staff.

Mr. Lyles was a 43-year-old male who was sentenced in the Western District of Tennessee to an aggregated 358-month sentence for Use of Telephone to Maliciously Convey False Information, Tampering with a Witness, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States, Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Carrying/Using a Firearm During and In Relation to Drug Trafficking. He had been in custody at MCFP Springfield since September 28, 2017. MCFP Springfield is an administrative security facility that currently houses 835 male offenders. The Bureau of Prisons will continue to provide daily updates and information on actions related to COVID-19 at http://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp. Additional information about the Bureau of Prisons can be found at http://www.bop.gov.

Click to access 20201116-press_release_spg.pdf

Last Correspondence with Torrick

Previously, Mr. Lyles had written to me the following because I sent in a lot of information about COVID-19 and issues affecting prisoners:

“From: TORRICK T LYLES (16873076)
Date: 10/15/2020 7:51:49 PM
Message:

“They Panicking and Stacking Positive Inmates In One Dorm The News needs to Know This I Suffer from Dialysis and They still Not trying to Release the sick Can you get me some Help Or Put This Prison On The News

“TORRICK T LYLES on 10/15/2020 3:23:16 PM wrote
Springfield Missouri Medical Center Is Having a Major Out break 40-Plus inmates Done Tested Positive”

CONCLUSION

Though I did not know Torrick Lyles on a personal level, learning of his death disturbed me after I realized he had sent me the emails. Perhaps he felt that the end of his life was near and wanted to fight but knew that his failing health could not survive a round with COVID-19.

In retrospect, I wish I had taken the time to write a blog about the institution as he requested, since I knew that, historically, the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, had once been plagued with medical malpractice suits that lead to a moratorium being placed on it by the courts.

I may be too late for Torrick to know that his life mattered enough for someone to take the time to do as he suggested, but now that I have, I hope others who cry out for help will know that their lives matter, even if a person cannot do what may be wanted. May Torrick rest in peace in knowing that his life did matter.

Happy Veterans Day 2020

Photo by Jason Dam on Pexels.com

Happy Veterans Day to all those who fight for our individual rights and freedom. Even though I may not always agree with the political agenda that drives the military, in America and abroad, I do honor the men and women who risk their lives fighting to protect the lives of others.

Now in the United States with a new elect, Commander in Chief, my hope is that he will lead the nation on a peaceful mission but will stand strong when faced with challenges by those who wish to harm others with their political or religious agenda.

Since I am an advocate of prison and criminal justice reform, my hope is that President Elect, Joe Biden, will work towards ending mass incarceration, by changing practices and policies that will help free thousands of Americans incarcerated for non-violent crimes and minor drug-related offenses, and any others who received unjust sentences for acts that did not infringe on the rights or safety of others.

One of President Elect, Joe Biden’s campaign promises concerned changing private prison policies, something that former President Barrack Obama focused on during his term of presidency, which President Donald Trump reversed immediately and caused private prison stocks to soar.

Maybe there is a happy medium, but to me, allowing companies and investors to profit from high incarceration numbers and financially-driven policies that help to put and keep men and women in jails and prisons does not seem morally-correct.

I wrote a blog to try to find that happy medium, Prison Privatization and Recidivism. Private prison companies have shifted some of its focus into Residential Reentry Centers that help returning citizens reintegrate into society.

And, yes, incarceration-related issues do relate to Veterans Day, in my opinion, because thousands of former soldiers are in American prisons and other countries. Some of whom end up going to prison for events that may be the result of the military experience. Teach a man or woman to kill for their survival and in the name of justice, and then it becomes natural, right or wrong.

Many of the veterans who went to or are still in prison, went for drug-related crimes; wars often create addicts and alcoholics because of the stress and psychological trauma associated with acts that occurred during their tenure in the military.

For all of the above reasons, I do wish ALL veterans a Happy Veterans Day.

Another One by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo shown as taken at Big Springs Park, McDonough GA

I watched leaves fall from trees due to high winds from a storm and then it hit me, That’s why they call this season Fall, all of the leaves fall from the trees. And Spring is Spring because life springs up from the ground. Rocket Science, huh? 🙂

Now that October has ended and November began, here comes D-Day, as in a Dreaded Day for the loser in the United States Presidential Election. I’m not a fan of either party!

October was an unusual month for me. I lost more money in the stock market than ever before, caused by me making a poor decision and for not doing what I originally planned. For instance, seeing premarket indicators to sell some shares and then bought more instead because I saw another fluctuation in the numbers that made me think I would make more money.

Greed Cost Me!

Well, it worked for a few dollars and then turned on me. Because SoFi (an American online personal finance company that I use to buy and sell stocks) has me limited on daily transactions and prevented me from selling when I saw the numbers dropping again, I lost more money instead of gaining. But it is all good. I am okay and lived to fight another day.

Today I chose to see things from a different perspective, with the main point being that I am still alive and kickin’ after all these years. Life is Good!

An attitude of gratitude carries me a long way and helps me feel better about life.

I am fortunate to have only lost as little as what I did, and to still have over ninety percent of my investment. The few dollars lost will return after all of the political BS ends, providing that the Coronavirus doesn’t create more havoc than it has done across America and abroad.

Either way, though, I will be okay and am blessed to be in the position that I am in because I do have the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, and am in reasonably good health. I sympathize with those who cannot say the same and hope that one day their lives will change so that they can.

Personally, one year ago, I did not have money to invest in the stock market. On July 18, 2019, I got my first and only job since my release from prison, and then started a business two months later. I did not have a vehicle to drive and dodge deer in the road. Life changes.

Oh Deer!

Each day that I commute to and from work, I travel over twenty miles on a rural State Route. One section of the highway runs through a State Park. Signs warn to watch for Deer Crossing for Next Three Miles.

The deer don’t always comply and stay in their lanes. Even when they do and have the right a way, many motorists don’t have time to stop and another one goes down. During two days of travel last week, I saw six dead deer on the side of the roads.

Whitetail Deer Running Alongside Road

On Wednesday morning, October 28, 2020, I almost ran over two young bucks (male whitetail deer) that stood in the road trying to fight as I approached at 55 miles per hour, on a dreary night with low-dense fog.

I hit the brakes and got within twenty yards from where both stood. One turned to exit the roadway but then turned back to face its opponent, like he was confused on whether to run to get away from the danger or continue to fight. Ironically, in the lane I was travelling in at a speed that would terminate its existence and total my car.

His chance of survival in a collision was low. He didn’t stand a chance!

The next night during my travel, an opossum almost entered into the danger zone but turned back in the other direction.

Live and Let Live

In recent months, I swerved to dodge squirrels, and opossums, too, as I do all within my power to avoid taking a life; any life, whether it be animals or insects, I prefer to Live and Let Live.

Earlier in the month, I also hit the brakes to swerve and dodge a careless driver who pulled out in front of me without looking. Thankfully, my superb driving skills prevented an accident. God was with us!

Roadkill

One thing that I noticed after my release from federal prison was an increase in animals killed on the Georgia roads. Nothing changed since then, other than the numbers of dead animals I cannot begin to estimate. Our population growth takes away their land and lives. 😦

One night while driving home from a job site in North Atlanta, I saw a deer grazing along a narrow passageway on Interstate 75, where a large wall separated the deer from the small wooded area where it most likely lived, in the city.

The main type of animals I’ve seen killed on the roads are whitetail deer, opossums, racoons, squirrels, rabbits, and armadillos, the latter of which many people rejoice in a population reduction of because of the damage armadillos cause to their yards.

Election Year 2020

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is Election Day in America. Civil unrest is expected in some states, with Georgia being one, if the preferred party does not win. For me, though, I don’t care who wins or loses, I simply look forward to it ending. Not only because of its disruption in the stock market and social media and all news channels, just so we, as American citizens can move on to the next line of BS that is sure to follow with a new group of elected officials.

During the 2016 Presidential Election, my life was much different when I wrote Politics & Prisons, where I spoke out against insane practices by prison administrators and voiced my opinion on the Elections and politics in general.

“PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: My view on politics is that the Democrats represent the lawyers trying to sue the big businesses represented by the Republicans. Politicians deceive voters when they run on a platform and promise to vote a certain way on an issue, but then vote otherwise when elected because of their party line agenda.”

The quote above sums it up. Regardless of who wins any of the elections, he or she will probably act contrary to promises made during the campaign trail. For me, I will continue to live my life in the best way possible to stay in harmony with the Universe by dodging deer and staying safe in a volatile stock market, created by the political atmosphere and COVID-19.

Life After Release-5

Image customized by Lilly G.

My Life After Release continues to be an adventure as I continue to live and learn, after my return to society as if being a caveman who walked out of a cave into a bright new world filled with gadgets and devices that were not available in 1988 when thrown into a cage to protect society.

Life is wonderful, full of surprises and a host of challenging situations but only as challenging as I chose to perceive them to be.

The truth is that life just happens, and I make a decision on how to view any event or chain of events. I chose to see challenging situations as an opportunity to learn.

No day passes without me having learned something beneficial.

Though living my life in a respectful manner and focusing on doing the right thing, I still must be on guard for the character defects that ruled my life many years ago; especially, the pride when driven by Mr. EGO, the one who feels the need to defend that scared little boy who grew up fighting to keep the bullies and predators at bay.

If left unchecked, Mr. EGO would have me right back in jail or dead. Fortunately, I have learned when to walk away from a situation to avoid a catastrophe or unpleasant outcome in a dispute. Humility. Not humiliation.

Cheap Smartwatch

In Life After Release-3 I wrote about a Smartwatch with a phishing link, designed to steal personal data. That is a screenshot of the culprit shown above.

When I bought the watch for $14.99 on Woot, an Amazon company, I thought I had gotten a great deal because it was advertised as normally listing for $99.99.

A month later, I find the following when researching to write this blog about learning to deal with life in this new era, and deciding to use the thieving smartwatch as an example that met its match with my smartphone:

Woot must have not known about the 2020 HOT DZ09 Smartwatch shown above that sells for $1.99 on Wish.com, not $99.99 as advertised to sucker people in like me to buy it for a deal.

Who would have guessed that the smartwatch was a thief programmed to steal?

When I received the security warning from Google on my Motorola One Zoom with the Android 10 update, I complained to Woot about the smartwatch having the phishing link included, and though Woot did give me a prompt refund, I later saw the Smartwatch still being sold.

But to be fair to the manufacturer and Woot, the smartwatch I received may have been one of a select group of smartwatches primed to steal personal data when connected to the phone after scanning the QR Code.

I was told to keep the smartwatch. Even though I do not have it connected to my phone, I don’t trust that darn smartwatch because I don’t know just how smart and scandalous it is with today’s technology. I lay it facedown to make sure that the camera isn’t spying on me and sending the data to its operator. 🙂

Affiliate Marketing

Now, as part of me making an honest living, unlike the scandalous individuals behind the thieving smartwatch and many online products, I am learning affiliate marketing to earn small commissions for products and services advertised, if purchased.

For both ads, I watched promotional videos and was impressed with their content.

ProVen is a weight loss product and advertised as time sensitive for purchasing at discounted rates.

I researched for complaints and did not find any complaints about the product. I did learn about bogus websites that use ProVen to scam purchasers. Please check out the referenced information below for WonderfulThingsDone.com to learn more.

Promotional Ads:

PROVEN WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT

Click Banner for ProVen

For detailed information on Proven and impressive YouTube presentation by users and information regarding scammers who use ProVen and other products to steal funds from online shoppers, please visit https://wonderfulthingsdone.com/review-proven-weight-loss-supplement/

At no cost to the customer, we receive a small commission for a product or service purchased through this website. The commission does not necessarily influence the decision to advertise or promote a particular product or service.


Freight Brokering

Check out Freight Brokers Boot Camp. The Customer Satisfaction rating is 4.8 out of 5.

For those who want to learn how to be a Freight Broker, this appears to be a good course, as it sells often and my research failed to find anything negative about the company who sells the programs.

At no cost to the customer, we receive a small commission for a product or service purchased through this website. The commission does not necessarily influence the decision to advertise or promote a particular product or service.

Info for the Incarcerated

One of the many things I do is to provide information to those inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, whom I know have limited access to information from the outside, as well as what is going on inside the system. Most of the information I send in comes from http://www.bop.gov, including updates about the Coronavirus and other important issues.

One of my clients suggested I let everyone know about the court ruling that permits the incarcerated to receive the Stimulus payment from the Cares Act. At that time, another client had requested an IRS form to file his claim.

I questioned the legitimacy based upon my experience on the inside and prisoner filings for tax refunds. And then today (10/21/2020), another client requested that I check on his filing status and informed me about the publication of an article in the Washington Post.

Yes, though controversial and challenged by the Trump administration, the incarcerated may file a claim to receive a stimulus payment, as reported in the Washington Post by Personal Finance columnist, Michelle Singletary on Oct. 19, 2020,

Federal judge rules against Treasury and IRS again: The incarcerated are entitled to stimulus checks

IRS is forced to extend to Nov. 4 a deadline to allow local, state and federal prisoners to claim tens of millions in stimulus money

For those with loved ones in American prisons, you may want to let them know about being allowed to file a claim for a stimulus payment but remember, there is a deadline for filing.

If you can send in an IRS 1040 form, it may help; however, I know some people inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons who were provided the proper form and a memorandum by prison officials to notify them of the court’s decision.

How Much to Send Prisoners Varies

Federal Prison Industries, Inc., UNICOR, INMATE EARNING STATEMENT

The amount a person may want to send an incarcerated individual, depends on many factors. He or she has shelter, and though it may be lacking at times, most prisoners do have food and the essentials of survival, whereas some loved ones or friends may be struggling to survive on their income.
 
If the free citizen needs to pay rent, buy food, or otherwise take care of themselves and family, in my opinion, as a former prisoner, I’d rather have gone hungry than for my loved ones to have sent me money that was needed to provide for themselves. My comfort came in second compared to theirs.

My personal opinion is that most prisoners should be able to get by on $50-$100 per month and even less if no one from the outside can help. Unfortunately, many fall into a trap trying to get by and revert to various ways of survival I won’t address. And some of those who have money coming in may be extorted by the stronger prisoners or gangs and still do without.

Prison life is sometime Survival of the Fittest. Not always, though. Read The Truth About Incarceration, Part I to learn more about prison life.

Prisons are commercialized and charge inmates for many things that were once given to those under their care. Because of that, if the incarcerated receives funds and owes for services provided, the institution may freeze the inmate account and take funds sent in by a person’s family or friend.

Most systems have policy or program statements that define what the law allows, which may be challenged through the Administrative Remedy process and the courts. In most cases, courts rule in favor of the prison administrators but not always. Therefore, money sent in to someone for food items, etc., gets taken and the person has to get by without the funds but will normally survive, even if it means going hungry or not having what he or she wants or needs.

UNICOR HELPED ME PROVIDE FOR MYSELF

In the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I was happy to provide for myself by working and not having to be dependent on others to provide funds for my wants and needs.

Many of my peers were different, especially if on drugs and wanted to get high, the same as I did until 1995. I understood their actions because I know what it was like for me when I lived the life of an addict, so I am not condemning those who still live the life I once did.

When I first entered the system, after having served time in the Georgia Department of Corrections, where I was not paid for working, I felt good earning the low-wages ($0.12 per hour) then paid to federal prisoners who did not work for UNICOR.

UNICOR is the trade name for the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. that has changed considerably since when I began my federal sentence over three decades ago in 1988.

Please note that all prisoners do not get paid for working, or get paid as much to work in places like the Federal Prison Industries, Inc.

I was one of the highest-paid, hourly-rate, inmate employees who worked for UNICOR, and rarely made over $200.00 per month. In the copy of the paystub above, I earned $189.14 for the month of May in 2018.

On average, by working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR), I earned enough to spend $64.00 on the phone, $50.00 on writing/emailing blogs, etc., and $45–50.00 on commissary items, based on cost in the Federal Prison System.

To do the things I wanted to do, I made sacrifices, such as to pay for the creation and upkeep of my website, STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN, and my blogging expenditures that added up when considering I paid five cents per minute to use the emailing system provided by Corrlinks.com. To print my drafts, of which there were many for some of my more lengthier blogs, I paid fifteen cents per page. That is in the federal system, which operates different than Corrlinks does in some state or private prisons.

In deciding what to send, a person may want to see what type of information is posted on the prison system website. The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons posts inmate handbooks and even the commissary lists for institutions.

I checked the page for the Federal Prison at Edgefield, SC to see the commissary list that seems current. As for the Inmate Handbook, old and outdated. View the Commissary List by clicking HERE.

I hope the above information helps to make informed decisions.

Life After Release-4 by Wayne T. Dowdy

Life After Release takes on different forms for me each day. One thing I try to remember is not forgetting how I felt trapped inside as a man imprisoned and often helpless to do what I knew I was capable of, such as what I do now: write professionally on a computer and blast words around the world with a few strokes on a keyboard.

Though I blasted a lot from Inside the prison system because I was published in International magazines, and paid to have this website built, and paid to use an expensive and convoluted emailing system to type blogs to send to my publisher for posting, I couldn’t do as I do now as a free man.

For the last week I’ve been working on this website and another to increase loading speed and functioning (still in process).  I upgraded the hosting plan on another website to improve its functioning and security, and worked on it to facilitate my affiliate marketing agenda.

I remain committed to become more successful than I have at this point of life, regardless of my having done well since my release.

Stars Shine Ahead!

GOODWILL Floor Care

Along with the above, I’ve continued to work on my regular job like an Alaskan malamute 1 (dogs commonly seen pulling sleds through snow and ice), cleaning and beautifying floors in Goodwill Stores by sweeping, mopping, removing old wax with chemicals, razor blades, and machines, before waxing to make it sparkle and shine with reflections from the overhead lights.

1 The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body.  Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed Information


Topics for Change

I often wonder about topics to post that will benefit others in some way, whether by drawing attention to a cause, or simply allowing those trapped behind the walls, bars, and fences of prisons to have their voice heard. 

Yesterday, my course of action became clear when a man Inside reached out for help. I listened to his plea and am sharing the following message from the man who is a contact inside the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.

My hope is for those who care about what goes on Behind Closed Doors to contact the news media personnel provided by the imprisoned individual who cared enough about the COVID-19 situation inside the prison to risk his safety and security by sending an email he knows the prison administration would frown upon and could chose to retaliate against him.

This Door I Refuse to Keep Closed and Am Shouting Out His Plea for Help!

COVID-19 and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections

Received October 3, 2020

Message from Concerned Wisconsin Department of Correction Prisoner

“I hope you are doing well! I’m straight, I think! My test from when the National Guard tested us was negative ( well they didn’t come to my cell door for me or my celly – as of right now. ) However, it is scary right now!!

“Usually, I would send you a memorandum directly from the Warden/etc. so that I don’t relay unconscious bias opinion when I make my objective and personal opinion of the direction of the institution. However, they are not communicating with us of what is going on. If it is not to create hysteria it is having the opposite. Communication would make this that more easily bearable.

“Personally, I understand that Oshkosh is the most populated institutions in the state. That it is practically impossible to isolate the outbreak of positives cases within for the required 14 days. Technically, if you’re having symptoms or have COVID you’re quarantined but what about the in cases of you have it, but your cellmate doesn’t. Well they are still celled together. The negative guy is panicking. Get me out of here. Yesterday they took a guy out on a stretcher to the hospital because his oxygen levels were extremely low.

“We as inmates don’t make it better because we weren’t or not self-reporting if we have or had symptoms.

“We can’t clean rooms, no showers, no phones to communicate with your people.

“I don’t know if you will receive this email, please let me know if you did. Sent 9-3-2020 at 10:22 am! [Date is probably an error: 9-3-2020 is likely meant to be 10/3/2020 as it was received on October 3, 2020).

“People are not allowed private communication with their lawyers!!!!

“Help!!!!

“I know people have been contacting you about issues about state food shortages and portions, hot water for coffee is something we have to sacrifice but safety is supposed to be priority # 1 but to have a positive and a negative celled up is dangerous.

“A few said they are having or have had their people call to the institution for what exactly I don’t know. My position is it’ll do nothing to complain to the person or people that are making the inconsistent decisions to correct them. You must, we must contact local news and or court tv of the mistreatment and mishandling.

“This is a list of possible people that have drawn interest in prison issues: Kia Murray at kmurray@wluk.com  (Northeast Wisconsin fox11news); juliana.falk@nbc26.com Northeast Wisconsin news); Julia Jena @ court tv news # 470-355-8635; Sara Thomsen at sthomsen@wbay.com fox valley local news.

“Without contacting those people to bring awareness things will only get worse! Hoping that this goes away is not the answer. Thanks for your time and I looking forwarded to hearing from you.”

Anonymous Prisoner

[I chose to protect his identity]

Prisoners are human, too, even if some may not behave that way. 

Please do what you can to draw attention to what continues to go on Inside this particular prison and many others around the Nation and abroad.

In the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, as of October 2, 2020, more than 124 prisoners have died.  Here is a partial report from the actual statistics

(Only facilities with deaths are reported in this blog.  The full list may be seen at http://www.bop.gov/coronavirus).

“The inmate totals listed do not include inmates participating in the Federal Location Monitoring program, inmates supervised under the USPO, or being held in privately managed prisons. Additionally, the reference to the FCI Butner Low below refers to an isolation unit that is physically separated from the rest of the LSCI. References to RRCs include both individuals housed at the RRC and individuals on home confinement under the RRC’s supervision.

“10/02/2020 – The BOP has 126,586 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,375 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 1,565 federal inmates and 726 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 13,452 inmates and 1,164 staff have recovered. There have been 124 federal inmate deaths and 2 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease. Of the inmate deaths, 4 occurred while on home confinement.

[I conclude with this section that I modified to reflect content I send inside the Federal Bureau of Prisons to clients subscribed to my email]

[To read numbers: the left column under the facility is Inmate confirmed cases (I.P.), next is Staff (S.P.), the third from left is Inmate Deaths (I.D.), the fourth column is Staff Deaths (S.D.); the fifth column Inmates Recovered (I.R.) and the others are Staff Recovered (S.R.), City and State].

Facility                           I.P.        S.P.      I.D.      S.D.     I.R.      S.R.      City      State

Butner Low FCI           1          1          17        1          627      17        Butner  NC

Fort Worth FMC           5          10        12        0          615      6          Fort Worth       TX

Terminal Island FCI      0          3          10        0          596      23        San Pedro         CA

Butner Medium I FCI    0          1          9          0          186      32        Butner  NC

Elkton FCI       2          0          9          0          942      54        Lisbon OH

Lexington FMC 7          0          9          0          206      13        Lexington        KY

Oakdale I FCI   0          13        7          0          214      21        Oakdale           LA

Carswell FMC  1          3          6          0          522      1          Fort Worth       TX

Seagoville FCI  6          1          4          0          1300    29        Seagoville        TX

Milan FCI         1          1          3          0          85        55        Milan   MI

Yazoo City Low FCI    0          5          3          0          93        9          Yazoo City       MS

Coleman Medium FCI  51        34        2          0          194      1          Sumterville      FL

Devens FMC    0          2          2          0          45        6          Ayer    MA

Lompoc FCI     0          3          2          0          746      16        Lompoc           CA

Lompoc USP    0          4          2          0          156      24        Lompoc           CA

Marion USP     2          8          2          0          133      9          Marion IL

Miami FDC      29        33        2          0          129      21        Miami  FL

Terre Haute USP          3          1          2          0          82        2          Terre Haute      IN

The Geo Group (RRC)  1          0          2          0          3          0          Houston           TX

ACS Corrections (RRC) 0          0          1          0          1          0          Del Valle          TX

Atlanta USP     6          8          1          0          55        8          Atlanta GA

Behavioral Systems SW (RRC) 0          0          1          0          0          0          Phoenix           AZ

Brawley RRC (RRC)    1          0          1          0          3          0          Brawley           CA

Coleman Low FCI        1          24        1          1          219      6          Sumterville      FL

Danbury FCI    2          0          1          0          81        64        Danbury           CT

Dismas Charities (RRC)            0          0          1          0          0          0          Hattiesburg      MS

Edgefield FCI   2          16        1          0          90        10        Edgefield         SC

GEO Care Inc. (RRC)   0          0          1          0          1          0          Brownsville     TX

GEO Care, Inc. (RRC)  2          0          1          0          0          0          Bronx  NY

Jesup FCI         0          19        1          0          251      3          Jesup   GA

Miami FCI        9          25        1          0          122      10        Miami  FL

Oakdale II FCI 1          9          1          0          9          6          Oakdale           LA

Oklahoma City FTC     68        12        1          0          177      6          Oklahoma City OK

San Diego MCC           16        17        1          0          352      7          San Diego        CA

Terre Haute FCI           13        1          1          0          104      8          Terre Haute      IN

Victorville Medium I FCI          9          10        1          0          342      10        Victorville        CA

Volunteers of America TX (RRC)         10        0          1          0          11        0          Hutchins          TX

Yazoo City USP           22        7          1          0          66        12        Yazoo City       MS

___________________________________________

[Nine deaths shown below are not counted in the 124 reported above]

Private Facilities

Privately-managed prisons are secure institutions operated by private companies under contract and oversight of the BOP. The majority of federal inmates in private prisons are sentenced criminal aliens who will be deported upon completion of their sentence. Unlike federal inmates housed in BOP facilities, the contractor is responsible for the medical care and the costs associated with providing those services.

The BOP has 13,932 inmates in Privately-Managed Facilities. There are 105 inmates who have open lab-confirmed positive cases. 547 inmates have recovered. Full breakdown and additional details are below:

Facility I.P.          I.D.   I.R.       City      State

D. Ray James CI           50        3          144      Folkston           GA

Big Spring CI   41        0          46        Big Spring        TX

Great Plains CI 13        1          112      Hinton OK

Reeves III CI    1          0          0          Pecos   TX

Giles W. Dalby CI        0          2          81        Post      TX

McRae CI         0          1          20        Mcrae Helena   GA

North Lake CI  0          2          107      Baldwin           MI

Reeves I & II CI           0          0          12        Pecos   TX

Rivers CI          0          0          25        Winton NC

All inmates are being appropriately treated and isolated per CDC guidelines.

Life After Release-3

Great Blue Heron in Flight

Though this post begins different than some of my others, it does relate to life after release by showing my adaption to the technological advances made since I walked out the prison doors on August 28, 2018.

A walk in the Park on a cool and cloudy, Southern day. What a pleasure it was to see a great blue heron spread its majestic wings and soar across the water. Had I not been trigger-happy on my smartphone, I would have left the park with a nice video of it flapping its wings to lift itself above the water to fly off into the trees after I disturbed its peace by walking too close for its comfort.

When I pressed the spot on my phone to start the video, I didn’t think it worked so I pressed again. The second press stopped the video that had slowly started, so I got a one-second video and another slightly longer one that tracked it as it neared the trees, too far away for a good image.

SMARTWATCH WITH PHISHING LINK INCLUDED

Two weeks ago, I ordered a smartwatch online that has the capability of connecting to the camera in my smartphone. My plan was to use the smartwatch to take a selfie or group photo with me in the picture without having to hold the phone in my hand.

When my smartwatch arrived from China, I scanned the QR Code on the miniature user’s guide to connect my smartphone. Not just any smartphone, a real smartphone with the latest technology. The Android 10 update removed bugs and improved security.

No Connection: I aborted the download when Google Chrome and my security system warned that a phishing link was detected in the app: “IhzI666.com/fundo/download.html Phishing Website” (actual URL).

I contacted the company that I bought the watch from and told them that the watch, simply labeled as SMARTWATCH, came with the phishing link in the QR code and should be removed from inventory and that the company should contact and warn all customers who purchased that brand.

Fortunate for me, a couple of days before my devilish smartwatch arrived, fully loaded to catch a phish, I checked my phone for updates and saw Android 10 was available. Had I not have taken the time to update my phone, my finances may have dwindled, even though I do use two-factor authentication to protect access to anything I use with important information contained therein.

ALWAYS BE ON ALERT FOR SCAMS

Within a month of my release from prison, I ran into a scammer who posed as a hiring manager for a company offering a work-from-home opportunity. A little too late (after giving personal information), I figured out what was going on, but kept the person on the wire for over a week playing games with him, her, or IT, because I had already done what I could to protect myself and didn’t have anything of value to be taken, other than my fine name associated with a long history of criminal convictions.

ALERTED: The email address ended with @gmail.com. The company he, she or IT claimed to represent, came before the @gmail.com. Any official business will use their company email account, not gmail.com, hotmail.com or anything other than something like @amazon.com or @straightfromthepen.com.

I immediately contacted the credit reporting agency, Esperian, and froze my credit reports and alerted the FCC about the Scam-in-Process. After letting the idiot think for a week that a phish was online, I sent a text and revealed what I had done and said, “You need to find you a real job. I’ve been in federal prison for thirty-years and don’t have anything for you to steal. I’m out here starting my life over. Find something else to do that is more constructive before you end up going to where I just left.”

He, she, or IT was one of many scammers that I have dealt with since my release. Because of my popularity as an author, blogger, photographer (Google Guide-almost 4,000,000 views of my photos in Google Maps), etc., my social presence makes me a target.

Before my release, and afterwards, if I had not taken the time to learn about security, and the advancements in technology, my life would be different than what it is today.

To repay my debt to society, I use those negative experiences to help others avoid being caught in the same traps by forewarning them and posting blogs like this to enlighten others because life out here isn’t always a Walk in the Park.

But life is good, especially when I am blessed with seeing the beauty of God’s creation as it spreads its wings to fly into the sunset or across a body of water.

Life After Release-2

Life After Release means more than some may see when reading this blog. I am a fraction of the true gravity that these posts represent by concept, a mere example of the thousands of returning citizens who reenter society each year who face unimagined circumstances.

My Dream House

Today I’m at a local park enjoying the cooler weather as Fall approaches.

I was blessed with seeing a deer crossing the paved path upon which I walked snapping photos and taking videos on a device that did not exist before my arrest on August 18, 1988, a smartphone.

Watch Out for Deer

Yesterday, I learned not to trust or depend on Air/Vac machines to work. At $1.50 each attempt to check and inflate my tires, and at three locations, I succeeded at getting three of my four tires properly inflated.

I ran out of quarters!

One definition of “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Well, I must be a little off in the head because I could have pulled into a Goodyear or PepBoys and not have dealt with thieving Air/Vac machines, but I chose to do it, not once, but three times before pulling into a Goodyear shop to get air in the fourth tire, and it was free. 🤠

More will be revealed. Right now I need to ZOOM-IN to a Twelve Step Meeting on the other side of the United States.

Isn’t life grand with so much technology? Speaking of the such, now I am doing affiliate marketing on WonderfulThingsDone.

Please check out my latest review at https://wonderfulthingsdone.com/review-proven-weight-loss-supplement/

Thanks! 😷 No mask required to enter.

Freight Brokering for Felons

Photo by Quintin Gellar on Pexels.com

In my quest to become an affiliate marketer, of which I receive a small commission from any sale of a product or service I promote, I stumbled upon Freight Broker Boot Camp, and was impressed when I could not find any negative customer responses or complaints against the company.

Then I began to wonder if convicted felons could become a licensed freight broker because I know and have known several men who were released and then found jobs as truck drivers, and so I thought, why not become a freight broker if it pays well?

Driving a truck takes a lot of time and energy and may be more difficult for an elderly returning citizen, or for some, not all, convicted felons to do because of restrictions imposed as a condition of supervised release, probation or parole.

That would eliminate an opportunity that may help him or her secure employment or to otherwise find a lawful occupation to help stay out of jail or prison.

Finding and scheduling a load for a trucker to haul is easier and may become an overall, more lucrative occupation.

In some cases state laws may control whether a convicted felon can get a surety bond, but the short answer was YES when I added this question in the Google Search engine: “can convicted felons be freight brokers?”

“Yes. having a felony does not mean you can’t apply or be granted a freight brokers license from the FMCSA. You need ONLY to be a VALID US Resident.”

That answer came from the Freight Broker’s Course‘s Frequently Asked Questions.

Jobs for Felons also supports that answer and goes into more detail about the process one must go through to start a business as a freight broker.

The above answers made me feel better about promoting Freight Broker Boot Camp, which appears to cover every aspect of going into that line of work and received a lot of great reviews by students.

For $185 right now, and the potential to turn the knowledge gained into a lucrative business, is a good deal for anyone willing to put forth the time and energy to learn the process in thirty-days, and then apply it towards becoming an independent business owner.

Note: The only affiliate link is to the Freight Broker Boot Camp

Life After Release

Jackson Lake, Jackson, Georgia

My past I leave behind as I churn my way into a brighter future, but I cannot forget from where I came because it consumes too much space inside my head. How can anyone forget decades spent inside a cage with thousands of other men, all living in the Insane World of Incarceration in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons?

Photo by Hert Niks on Pexels.com

Never Forget: September 11, 2001, is a day America cannot forget because each year the media reminds its citizens of the day terrorist used jets to attack the World Trade Center in New York City.

Cannot Forget: I cannot forget because I walked the tiers at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana when the attack occurred, which is the way my brain works (by associating events with my location at the time of occurrence).

Positive Thinking: Though I cannot forget such events and my life inside the prison system, I choose not to allow those thoughts to influence my behavior in a negative manner. I prefer the positive. Had I not been sentenced to prison for the crimes committed on June 21, 1988, I would not be alive today or would have committed even worst crimes if not arrested and put in a cage, which I wrote about in The Price of Change, an essay in one of my books.


In Fence Rows and The Price of Change, I write about a person those who know me today does not see because I am not the same person because I changed my life seven years into a 420-month federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. Both essays are in the eBook and paperback sold on Amazon and other online booksellers, Essays & More Straight from the Pen or separately as an eBook at Smashwords.com, originally published by Midnight Express Books.

Excerpt from The Price of Change

I started this sentence in 1988. The fear of prison had left many years before I decided to change. After a while one becomes accustomed to the insane ways of incarceration and the depravations included in prison life. Shutting down emotions helped me cope with the murders and acts of brutality I was exposed to as part of being in prison. I continued to shoot dope and live a miserable existence until 1993 when I sought help through the prison Psychology department at the penitentiary in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be intimate with others. Trusting others was difficult because so many people proved themselves untrustworthy, so I built walls to keep people out. To recover, I tore down the walls and shared the secrets of the soul. It took over a year of therapy for me to make noticeable progress, but I ultimately succeeded in learning how to live with myself without using drugs and alcohol, which I have done since April 5, 1995.

Today, I use my experiences to help others recover and can accept myself; character defects included and have come to terms with my past: it’s overdone with. I can’t change it. I can be a better person by treating others the way I want to be treated, and not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated. If I’m being judgmental of others, which I often am, I think about the biblical parable of the adulterer whom some wanted to stone, and Jesus Christ saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I know I cannot throw any rocks. My ego says I am better than those I wish to judge, but reality says we are all the same—flawed human beings. By accepting others, I can accept myself, flaws, and all.

Another process was praying for people I resented—without making suggestions about what I thought was deserved. Then I became willing to make amends to those I had harmed as suggested in twelve-step programs, and then to forgive others and myself. In a sense, the way I live my life today is one way I make amends to those I cannot make amends to for whatever reason prevents it. An example of my living amends is in this: when I was at a penitentiary in Lompoc, California, I stole loaf bread and bought Ramen Noodle Soups to feed the birds. Some of my friends would come by and joke with me about feeding the birds because of the process that follows feeding them. I often said, “I’m making amends to the ancestors of birds I killed when I was a kid.” And then I would laugh, but I was serious; furthermore, I enjoyed feeding them, as I enjoy the relationships often restored as the result of making amends.

I wish I could honestly write that I no longer experience resentments or anger, but I cannot. I’m still human. However, whenever I experience anger or resentment, I know what to do to find relief: look within myself as I write in my journal. When appropriate, I share it with another person, and when the situation requires it, take the right course of action that coincides with living my life in harmony with the Universe. As a result, I rarely have conflicts.

I am now a model prisoner with a good reputation amongst most staff and prisoners alike. More importantly, I’m loved by my family and friends and am a good human being, which is a priceless gift that I never thought I deserved. People actually like me these days. The price I paid to get here was tough, but it took what it took. And by the way, “here” means alive, not in prison. Prison is just the place my body resides for the time being.

Speaking of prison, as a matter of principle, I really should not be in prison, but the law is such that if a person fails to jump through the hoops at the proper time, any violation of the law made by the government no longer matters. They call it procedural default to avoid addressing issues in the name of the administration of justice, and since habeas corpus laws changed drastically in 1996 to make it more difficult for a person to obtain relief without satisfying extremely stringent standards, very few ever succeed at obtaining relief through the courts. Spiritually though, I know I am right where I need to be. Had I have won my case, I would most likely be dead by now; therefore, I am grateful for the way things turned out, mostly. 

The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy

My worst enemy looked me in the face every time I looked into a mirror.

BREAKING NEWS

In Breaking News, I wrote about a variety of issues related to reentry, including recidivism, and the lovely Kim Kardashian standing beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office inside the White House, after she had assisted Alice M. Johnson with having her federal sentence commuted.

To prepare myself for release and to do what I believed would assist me in obtaining employment upon release, I took a program called WorkKeys that gauges a person’s ability to apply textbook knowledge in the workplace. In other words, a GED or High School Education or College, gives a person a knowledge base.

From my limited understanding, WorkKeys tests a person’s ability to take that knowledge and to apply it in practical situations, as well as to demonstrate his or her ability to solve problems by comprehending written or implied instructions to accomplish a goal. Whatever the case may be, I first scored Gold Certification and then returned to be retested because Gold wasn’t good enough for me.

I wanted and received Platinum Certification!

My certificate verifies that Platinum certification shows that those who receive it have “Skills for 99% of the jobs in ACT’s extensive database”; however, when I walked out of the prison doors with a plan to secure employment by demonstrating my vast amount of accomplishments and skill sets, and a high Grade Point Average in college, none of the things I had accomplished meant anything in regards to getting hired.

On June 17, 2017, my publisher posted my blog, Seeking a Real Job. I wrote it to help others find employment, with a firm conviction that I would not have a problem finding a job because of my education and skill sets. I was wrong!

Since I walked in the prison doors at the age of thirty-one and out of the doors in my sixties, I failed to understand that Age was my enemy, a factor beyond my control.

I posted my resume online with several job sites (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Jobcase, Career Builder, etc.). Job recruiters called often. Many of the recruiters literally hung up the phone after I responded to questions relating to my age.

My criminal history never entered the equation.

Dismas Charities Side Entrance Gate

During the job seeking process while at Dismas Charities, a Residential Reentry Center in Atlanta, an employment counselor at the Georgia Department of Labor suggested I dumb-down my resume and said I was overqualified for most jobs available through them, and that I should start my own business.

Eleven months later, Goodwill of North Georgia hired me as an Environmental Service Technician, which is a long name for a janitor or custodian.

Three months after being given a chance, I was Employee of the Month, and then on the following month, I was featured online in the November 2019, Goodwill Employee Spotlight.

The pay was not providing what I needed to survive on my own. I liked my job because I saw it as a way to help keep customers and employees safer by keeping the environment sanitary.

But on a more personal level, I NEEDED more money to prepare for my future. A few months later, I saw an internal job opportunity that paid a lot more. I applied and was hired as a floor technician and though I work like an Alaskan Malamute, I do get paid more and have better hours.

Business: On my days and time off from that position, I work on a business I started one year ago today, on September 11, 2019.

Now I am investing in the stock market and am working on building affiliate marketing websites to earn money by referring others to quality products and services.

Financial Success Shines Ahead!

Relationships

My plans for getting involved in an intimate relationship are still pending. I’ve had opportunities but turned them down; others who I was interested in turned me down, well, kind of. To get involved in an intimate relationship probably requires asking someone out for a date or at least a Roll in the Sack, but …. I only played around with that aspect of romance.

I got what I had coming by rejecting a couple of cougars who were stalking me: What Goes Around Comes Around!

The truth is that I know I need to focus more on building a financial future, and unless I were to find that special someone who would be an asset in that endeavor, an intimate relationship would be distracting because I’d want to spend more time with her than working toward becoming financially secure.

Regarding my children and familial relationships, those haven’t worked according to plan either, but … I know that everything is working according to God’s will for my life.

Conclusion

The most important thing is that I have remained free and am in good health. I continue to live my life without using mind-altering substances and strive towards building that bright future I KNOW God has in store for me, one day at a time.

Everything else will fall into place when it is time for me to step into another life. Going for a ride on a pontoon sounds like a great idea, too, so I can watch the water churn behind the boat as we head towards our happy destiny.

Yesterday-Update

July 3, 2020, Jackson Lake, Georgia

Update: August 22, 2020: I write this to give hope to others about the power to change and to encourage people to not give up on life when the future doesn’t look too bright.

Yesterday seems so far away

Yesterday as in August 18, 1988, not 2020

Yesterday was the thirty-second anniversary of my last arrest

ON August 18, 1988, I sat in a jail cell not knowing if I’d live to see another day as a free man, even though I was sitting there under an alias and hoping I could find a way to get out on bond before my true identity was revealed.

I didn’t and that was a good thing!

Styx Renegade

I was a wanted man, wanted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), and local authorities all over the United States because an All Points Bulletin had been circulated wanting to know my whereabouts.

Numerous FBI and GBI agents wanted to kill rather than to arrest me, or at least, so I was told.

I will expound more on the latter in a future blog because now I must get ready to go to work as a working man, who lives a lifestyle that does not mandate arrest or institutionalization.

LATER: In 1988, the FBI, GBI, and five local law enforcement agencies executed a search warrant for my arrest at the home of a known affiliate in Flowery Branch, Georgia, named Charles C.

Very few people knew my whereabouts because I knew better than to let it be known when a reward was publicized for anyone who assisted in my arrest and conviction. Back then, many of us used a Pager to contact others. When paged, I would provide a meeting location and used places I could observe before meeting anyone to make sure the person wasn’t followed.

During the wee hours of the morning, Charles’ wife, Donna, beeped me. One of my affiliates met and escorted her to the house where I was laying low, where she told me about the raid of her house, and the arrests of Charles and a co-defendant in the bank robbery.

I later learned from Charles, after he got out of jail, that an arresting officer who had slammed Charles’ head and face down on the hood of a truck, shouted, “Where’s Dowdy!”

Charles exercised his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent and refused to cooperate.

The arresting officer stated to Charles in reference to me, “I believe we’re going to have to kill that Boy. He’s gotten out of a lot of life sentences.”

Well, I thought that maybe Charles had just been geeked up on cocaine because I didn’t want to accept what he said.

A couple of days later, another friend, Harry S., who used to be the Chief of Police in a small town in Georgia, reported to me that the GBI had come to his house and questioned him about his and my affiliation.

He explained that I had always been a friend and a gentleman to him and his family. A GBI agent still asked him to lure me to his house so they could ambush me.

According to Harry, he said, “I told you that Wayne had always been a friend and a gentleman to me, and now you have the nerve to come in here and ask me to set him up to be killed? Get the fuck out of my house and don’t come back unless you have a warrant.”

After hearing that, I knew Charles hadn’t been geeking on cocaine, that some of the law enforcement officials did intend on killing me.

Fortunate for me, I was arrested in another jurisdiction and delivered to detectives from Gwinnett County Georgia in good health. Otherwise, I may not have survived the follies of my youth and been terminated before my life really began.

When I landed in jail and lost hope of getting out, I wanted to commit suicide but didn’t because I didn’t want to cause my family anymore grief than I already had. Today, I am grateful that I was able to get out of myself long enough to think about how my actions would affect others.

In considering my state of mind back then, that is truly evidence that miracles do happen, as is my existence after living the life I once lived.

RECIDIVISM NOT FOR ME: I refuse to become another unfavorable statistic for recidivism, and so now I live my life without committing crimes, without using drugs or alcohol, and in harmony with the universe on most days.

Life is wonderful when I accept that I am not in control and that my higher power, whom I choose to call God, has my back.

Miracles Happen! Never lose Hope!

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 ($9.99 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 novels?
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

Inside Info

COVID-19 entered the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons without chains or restraints in early 2020. Since then the United States Attorney General ordered the BOP to place more inmates on home confinement to reduce the risk of exposure to vulnerable inmates but judges ordered the release of more of the incarcerated than the BOP.

As is normal for the Backwards On Purpose agency, very few inmates at risk were placed on home confinement, many who have now died because of the incompetence of their keepers.

Several of my incarcerated subscribers expressed concerns over the lack of response by BOP officials to protect them from contracting the virus. I sent in copies of memorandums and reported claims presented to the public about all that the BOP was doing to comply with CDC guidelines to prevent/control the spread of COVID-19.

Numerous subscribers responded and stated that the information was all lies, that staff wasn’t wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves, even while feeding the meals, some openly coughing while serving food. Various media sources reported staff complaints about not having PPE and feeling at risk because of the lack of PPE and mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic inside the confines of the BOP.

BOP officials basically ignored Attorney General Barr’s instruction to release more inmates on home confinement. That is the same behavior as BOP officials had displayed when eligible prisoners were dying inside the system, rather than being released, when Congress urged the BOP to expand their Compassionate Release program, long before COVID-19 kicked in the doors and began taking the lives of the captives.

The BOP changed the controlling policy but did not change their practices. The latest revision of the Compassionate Release program statement is as follows:

Policy Statement NUMBER 5050.50
DATE January 17, 2019,
Compassionate Release/Reduction in Sentence: Procedures for Implementation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 3582 and 4205(g)

That is the same BS mentality of the BOP officials, who did modify the Compassionate Release/Reduction in Sentence program statement but did not follow its guidance, which has now lead to the deaths of over 105 of their captives and the infection of several thousand.

Court officials have often stepped in and ordered the release of ill prisoners the BOP had refused to release, since Congress also passed into la the First Step Act that gave the federal courts jurisdiction (the power to act) to intervene when petitioners filed claims to challenge the denial of their request for compassionate release.

Prior to about 2016, the courts were powerless because the governing statutes gave the final say to BOP officials, the same ones who take an oath to keep men and women inside prisons for the duration of the given sentences, until death do they part.

(Because it is not relevant to this blog and is information easily found by those reading this online, I won’t list articles or sources of information on the above content.)

INFORMATION FOR THE INCARCERATED

I am concluding this blog with some of the actual information I sent in to my subscribers on August 1, 2020 (I send in a variety of information but COVID-19 reports are now regular based upon popular demand).

Because of limits in Corrlinks (see Corrlinks Process on this website), I have to modify the information I collect from the BOP website and other sources to make content Corrlinks’ friendly. With this post, I sent the content inside in two parts because it wouldn’t fit into one email.

The information-starved, incarcerated individuals, often express gratitude for the content I send in free of charge to keep them informed about what is going on outside of their restricted environments. I am happy to be of service to those I sympathize with because of my history on the Inside.

08/03/2020: If viewing the following on a cellphone, the landscape view corrects data shown in what may be distorted rows and columns. I apologize for the inconvenience.

August 1, 2020, COVID-19 Update

Confirmed active cases at 106 BOP facilities and 43 Residential Reentry Centers (No RRCs included in this report)

https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/

08/01/2020 – The BOP has 128,595 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,806 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 2,308 federal inmates and 503 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 8,253 inmates and 708 staff have recovered. There have been 105 federal inmate deaths and 1 BOP staff member death attributed to COVID-19 disease. Of the inmate deaths, 4 occurred while on home confinement.

[To read numbers: the left column under the facility is Inmate confirmed cases (I), next is Staff (S), the third from left is Inmate Deaths (ID), the fourth column is Staff Deaths (SD); the fifth column is Inmates Recovered (IR) and the last Staff Recovered (SR).

Facility   I.P.      S.P.     I.D.     S.D.    I.R.      S.R.       City       State

Butner Low FCI  77         2          16         1          575       14         Butner   NC

Seagoville FCI    549       12         3          0          769       14         Seagoville         TX

Carswell FMC     244       2          3          0          296       1          Fort Worth        TX

Coleman Low FCI           174       19         0          0          4          2          Sumterville        FL

Coleman Medium FCI     129       29         1          0          11         0          Sumterville        FL

Miami FCI          95         23         0          0          3          0          Miami   FL

Miami FDC        86         15         1          0          1          20         Miami   FL

Victorville Medium I FCI  78         7          0          0          71         0          Victorville          CA

Butner Low FCI  75         1          16         1          575       15         Butner   NC

Marion USP       71         1          0          0          4          2          Marion  IL

Edgefield FCI     65         20         0          0          0          1          Edgefield          SC

Elkton FCI          63         2          9          0          938       51         Lisbon   OH

Victorville Medium II FCI 48         8          0          0          2          2          Victorville          CA

Victorville USP   46         12         0          0          46         1          Victorville          CA

Forrest City Low FCI       38         3          0          0          641       4          Forrest City        AR

Beaumont Low FCI         35         1          0          0          469       0          Beaumont          TX

Lewisburg USP   35         0          0          0          0          1          Lewisburg         PA

Coleman I USP   28         23         0          0          0          2          Sumterville        FL

Loretto FCI        19         6          0          0          8          1          Loretto  PA

Yazoo City USP  18         7          1          0          56         12         Yazoo City         MS

Oklahoma City FTC        16         5          1          0          85         0          Oklahoma City   OK

Beaumont Medium FCI   15         6          0          0          45         0          Beaumont          TX

Guaynabo MDC 15         0          0          0          0          0          Guaynabo         PR

Tucson FCI         15         6          0          0          0          1          Tucson  AZ

Manchester FCI  14         9          0          0          33         0          Manchester       KY

Three Rivers FCI 11         0          0          0          79         0          Three Rivers      TX

Forrest City Medium FCI 9          10         0          0          3          5          Forrest City        AR

San Diego MCC 9          1          0          0          2          0          San Diego         CA

Fairton FCI         8          0          0          0          95         7          Fairton  NJ

Fort Worth FMC 8          8          12         0          579       6          Fort Worth        TX

Lompoc USP      7          0          2          0          164       24         Lompoc CA

New York MCC  7          5          0          0          16         41         New York          NY

Tallahassee FCI  7          8          0          0          0          1          Tallahassee       FL

Atlanta USP       6          8          0          0          14         8          Atlanta  GA

Butner FMC       6          2          0          0          5          13         Butner   NC

Talladega FCI     6          6          0          0          2          7          Talladega          AL

Englewood FCI   5          0          0          0          4          1          Littleton             CO

Houston FDC     5          5          0          0          7          0          Houston            TX

Aliceville FCI      4          8          0          0          10         9          Aliceville            AL

Bastrop FCI        4          5          0          0          0          2          Bastrop TX

Jesup FCI           4          16         1          0          252       3          Jesup    GA

Oakdale I FCI     4          8          7          0          206       20         Oakdale            LA

Atwater USP      3          6          0          0          0          3          Atwater CA

Memphis FCI     3          2          0          0          6          12         Memphis           TN

Pollock FCI        3          2          0          0          0          1          Pollock  LA

Pollock USP       3          9          0          0          0          2          Pollock  LA

Springfield MCFP           3          1          0          0          1          0          Springfield        MO

Terminal Island FCI         3          5          10         0          645       17         San Pedro         CA

Beaumont USP  2          3          0          0          0          1          Beaumont          TX

Bennettsville FCI            2          7          0          0          7          5          Bennettsville      SC

Butner Medium I FCI      2          2          9          0          202       30         Butner   NC

Florence FCI      2          1          0          0          0          3          Florence            CO

Fort Dix FCI       2          0          0          0          37         5          Joint Base Mdl   NJ

Los Angeles MDC          2          3          0          0          2          2          Los Angeles       CA

Milan FCI           2          1          3          0          98         55         Milan    MI

Sheridan FCI      2          0          0          0          0          0          Sheridan           OR

Waseca FCI        2          2          0          0          2          0          Waseca MN

Allenwood Low FCI        1          0          0          0          0          0          Allenwood         PA

Berlin FCI           1          0          0          0          0          0          Berlin    NH

Chicago MCC    1          5          0          0          138       26         Chicago IL

Danbury FCI      1          2          1          0          89         61         Danbury            CT

Devens FMC      1          1          2          0          50         6          Ayer      MA

Dublin FCI         1          3          0          0          0          3          Dublin   CA

Greenville FCI    1          4          0          0          1          0          Greenville          IL

Herlong FCI       1          0          0          0          0          3          Herlong CA

Honolulu FDC    1          0          0          0          0          0          Honolulu           HI

La Tuna FCI        1          5          0          0          0          7          Anthony            TX

Leavenworth USP           1          1          0          0          0          5          Leavenworth      KS

Marianna FCI     1          7          0          0          0          1          Marianna          FL

McCreary USP   1          3          0          0          1          2          Pine Knot          KY

Montgomery FPC           1          1          0          0          0          2          Montgomery     AL

Otisville FCI       1          1          0          0          26         14         Otisville NY

Pekin FCI           1          0          0          0          0          0          Pekin    IL

Philadelphia FDC            1          2          0          0          3          3          Philadelphia       PA

Phoenix FCI       1          5          0          0          19         9          Phoenix AZ

Sandstone FCI    1          0          0          0          0          0          Sandstone         MN

Schuylkill FCI     1          0          0          0          0          0          Minersville         PA

SeaTac FDC       1          1          0          0          0          0          Seattle  WA

Williamsburg FCI            1          4          0          0          0          0          Salters  SC

Yazoo City Medium FCI  1          5          0          0          7          10         Yazoo City         MS

Allenwood Medium FCI  0          0          0          0          0          1          White Deer        PA

Allenwood USP  0          1          0          0          0          1          Allenwood         PA

Ashland FCI       0          0          0          0          0          1          Ashland KY

Beckley FCI        0          0          0          0          0          1          Beaver  WV

Big Sandy USP   0          2          0          0          0          0          Inez      KY

Big Spring FCI    0          6          0          0          0          0          Big Spring         TX

Brooklyn MDC   0          1          0          0          12         41         Brooklyn           NY

Bryan FPC          0          2          0          0          1          0          Bryan    TX

Butner Medium II FCI     0          1          0          0          3          1          Butner   NC

Canaan USP       0          0          0          0          0          4          Waymart           PA

Coleman II USP  0          14         0          0          2          2          Sumterville        FL

Cumberland FCI 0          0          0          0          6          5          Cumberland     

08/01/2020 Part II

Duluth FPC        0          0          0          0          1          0          Duluth   MN

El Reno FCI        0          6          0          0          1          1          El Reno OK

Estill FCI            0          10         0          0          0          0          Estill      SC

Gilmer FCI         0          0          0          0          5          0          Glenville            WV

Hazelton FCI      0          3          0          0          0          2          Bruceton Mills   WV

Hazelton USP    0          5          0          0          0          5          Bruceton Mills   WV

Lee USP 0          1          0          0          0          1          Pennington Gap VA

Lexington FMC  0          0          8          0          227       11         Lexington          KY

Lompoc FCI       0          1          2          0          809       16         Lompoc CA

McDowell FCI    0          0          0          0          0          2          Welch   WV

Mendota FCI      0          6          0          0          1          3          Mendota           CA

Morgantown FCI            0          0          0          0          0          1          Morgantown     WV

Oakdale II FCI    0          8          1          0          7          6          Oakdale            LA

Oxford FCI         0          3          0          0          1          1          Oxford  WI

Pensacola FPC   0          2          0          0          0          1          Pensacola          FL

Petersburg Low FCI        0          0          0          0          0          2          Hopewell           VA

Ray Brook FCI    0          0          0          0          12         10         Ray Brook         NY

Rochester FMC  0          1          0          0          0          1          Rochester          MN

Safford FCI        0          2          0          0          0          0          Safford AZ

Terre Haute FCI  0          0          0          0          1          2          Terre Haute       IN

Terre Haute USP            0          0          1          0          8          0          Terre Haute       IN

Texarkana FCI    0          3          0          0          0          2          Texarkana         TX

Thomson USP    0          0          0          0          3          1          Thomson           IL

Tucson USP       0          4          0          0          0          2          Tucson  AZ

Yazoo City Low FCI         0          4          2          0          96         9          Yazoo City         MS

Private Facilities

Privately-managed prisons are secure institutions operated by private companies under contract and oversight of the BOP. The majority of federal inmates in private prisons are sentenced criminal aliens who will be deported upon completion of their sentence. Unlike federal inmates housed in BOP facilities, the contractor is responsible for the medical care and the costs associated with providing those services.

The BOP has 14,610 inmates in Privately-Managed Facilities. There are 101 inmates who have open lab-confirmed positive cases. 310 inmates have recovered. Full breakdown and additional details are below:

Facility                IP          ID         IR         City       State

D. Ray James CI 73         0          12         Folkston            GA

Great Plains CI   12         1          85         Hinton   OK

Giles W. Dalby CI           10         1          72         Post      TX

Rivers CI            4          0          20         Winton  NC

McRae CI          2          1          14         Mcrae Helena    GA

North Lake CI    0          2          107       Baldwin MI

All inmates are being appropriately treated and isolated per CDC guidelines.

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.

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.

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)

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

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!

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.

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