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 work at https://wonderfulthingsdone.com/healthy-u-2.

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 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 comes from the collection, ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN [$8.95 USD]

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.

RETURNING CITIZEN by Wayne Dowdy

broken chain

September 6, 2020, Update: Many things changed since I wrote this blog on August 10, 2018.  The biggest change being that I walked out of the prison doors of the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, SC on August 28, 2018. 

The realities of life after incarceration have been different than what I had imagined life would be upon release.  In hope of helping to prepare others of the realities of life after release from decades of imprisonment, I am working on a blog, Life After Release, which is about things that contrasted with reality and what I thought before I walked out the doors.

In this updated post of Returning Citizens, I’ve added a Notification at the end of the post to reflect recent changes in my plans due to the lack of support.  

Check out Life After Release on September 11, 2020.

Returning Citizens, August 10, 2018

I see the worm hole up ahead.  Entering the worm hole, I’ll be traveling at warp speed as I race toward the future.  Images zooming by so fast that I’ll only see blurs of the present as thoughts and ideas for the future bombard the senses.

The future that glitters on the other side of the worm hole is a place I never expected to see, back when I began this voyage into Never Never Land.  I sat in jail contemplating suicide because of the extreme dissatisfaction I felt in myself.

Love for my family kept me alive.  Despair ravaged my soul and whole sense of being because of what I had done that put me in another jail cell.  Miraculously, I thought of the effect my death would have on my loved ones and cared enough about them to decide not to end the life I had ruined, at least, so I thought (that I had ruined my life).

Never lose hope.  Life changes.  Circumstances change.  Life is good today.

This past weekend I began reading “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Victor E. Frankl, who was a former prisoner in a German Concentration Camp.  A notable quote he used that’s relevant to a prisoner’s experience, as well as in many other facets of our human existence, was one by Nietzsche.

Frankl wrote, “There is much wisdom in the words of Nietzsche:  ‘He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.'”

In reading of Frankl’s account of his life in a German concentration camp, I can appreciate the difference of life inside an American prison compared to the life of a prisoner of war in a foreign country.

When I began this sentence, I had a “why to live”; one driven by mass amounts of anger and resentment.  But that “why” was killing me.  Several years later, when I experienced freedom from those negative emotions, I was liberated.

Another favorite quote of mine is in regards to resentment that also came from Holocaust survivors.

“A former inmate of a Nazi concentration camp was visiting a friend who had shared the ordeal with him.

“‘Have you forgiven the Nazi’s?’

“‘Yes.’

“‘Well, I haven’t.  I’m still consumed with hatred for them.’

“‘In that case,’ said his friend gently, ‘they still have you in prison.'”

Ernest Kurtz & Katherine Ketchum, THE SPIRITUALITY OF IMPERFECTION.

August 28, 2018, thirty-years and ten days after I walked in the door of a confined and restricted environment, bound and chained with cuffs on my hands and ankles, I’ll leave en route to a Residential Reentry Center (RRC)/halfway house as a returning citizen, without chains dangling from my aging body.

I received a new RRC date and an increase in my RRC placement period (the former 119-days were replaced with 192).  My former date was 12/26/2018:  It really pissed me off to have an RRC date for the day after Christmas.

Now I will be home for Christmas!  😉

RETURNING CITIZENS:  the Reentry Affairs Coordinator, Ms. P., told me and others in the office that the new term for those exiting prison life is “Returning Citizens,” in place of ex-offenders, or ex-cons.

As a returning citizen, I know I will face many new problems as I forge my way into a bright future.  Discouraged, I am not.  I am eager to face challenges and to find solutions and conquer all conflicts and obstacles that stand between me and my success as a returning citizen.

A friend who returned to society years ago, once told me during a phone conversation that he sat complaining as he tried to figure out which girl to take on a date.  Then the thought occurred, “I bet Wayne would love to have my problem.”  🙂

Yep, Wayne would, just as many of those I’ll leave behind would love to have some of the problems I may encounter along the way toward the future.  I’ll try to remember that if my gratitude escapes during times of character-building episodes of Life Happenings.

Perhaps the new experiences I encounter will allow me to learn something to pass on to others who will follow in pursuit of their future.

HOW MY RELEASE DATE CHANGED:  Some of this information is redundant from another blog; most is not, which I will share in the words of the famous radio host, Paul Harvey, as “The Rest of the Story.”

A May 10, 2000, Progress Report, showed May 29, 2020, as my Projected Release date; derived from the amount of eligible Good Conduct Time, subtracted from the maximum 420-months of incarceration, set to expire on August 17, 2023.

On January 2, 1990, staff informed me that the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles filed a Temporary Revocation Warrant.  I wrote a letter on that same day to request the withdrawal of the warrant because I sat in jail until after my parole expired and was not being given credit off my federal sentence due to that time being applied to my state sentence.

On April 19, 1990, the Parole Board withdrew their warrant.  Over a decade later, I used that letter to establish the legal basis of a challenge to the federal jurisdiction relied upon to put me in prison for thirty-five years.

In 2002 the BOP awarded me 188-days of jail credit that it had refused to give for fourteen years.  In court, I used the 188-days spent in jail before federal sentencing to establish that the jail time was applied toward a state sentence.  Then the BOP credited me with a total of 401-days (from the day of my arrest until the U.S. Marshals took me into federal custody on September 22, 1989).

That changed my date to April 24, 2019, but that still was not right:  I just couldn’t figure out how back then, even though I was no longer on drugs.

Only after my case was docketed in the United States Supreme Court, where I was set to prove the Department of Justice unjustly convicted me in a court without jurisdiction by violating Article IV(e) of the Interstate Agreement on Detainers Act, did the BOP decide to give me the jail credit that was due.

LEGAL RESEARCH:  While researching the halfway house issues I’ve written about in “Life Inside,” “Half A Problem,” and several other blogs after the BOP modified its halfway house policy (began changing/reducing RRC dates), I learned that Section 3624(b) of Title 18 of the United States Code prohibited the BOP from deducting more than 54-days per year for disciplinary infractions.

As written in “Reentry Plans & A Friend Moves On,” I lost 82-days in 1990.  However, when I reviewed my Sentence Computation Sheet, it did show I was not awarded any GCT for 1990, but did not show that the 28-days above 54 (82 minus 28 = 54) came off in 1991.

The Sentence Computation Sheet showed the maximum allowable GCT as 1,576-days.  That did not compute, even after I applied the formula used by the BOP as illustrated before the Supreme Court in Barber v. Thomas (2011).  I then submitted a request to my case manager for correction.  He referred me to the Records Office.

I sent an electronic request to staff to the ISM and relied on the Code of Federal Regulations to challenge the GCT calculation.  The issue was resolved during a Release Audit on March 29, 2018.  I was given 54-days per year on having served 30-years of the 35-year sentence.  Thus comes the confusion in inmates attempting to figure out their Projected Release dates.

On a ten-year sentence (120-months), a prisoner would think he or she would earn 540-days (10 x 54).  Not so!  The prisoner only earns 470-days because the formula doesn’t allow prisoners to earn time off any portion of a sentence not physically served; therefore, in that example, the GCT earned during the second through eighth years, is deducted from the ten-year total.  That eliminates GCT credits for the tenth-year and a portion of ninth.

The remaining portion of the ninth year (less than one-year) is prorated at fifteen percent.  In my case, 205-days remained, prorated at 15%, allowed me to earn thirty-one more days, which, by statute, won’t be awarded until the last six-weeks of my sentence.

The corrections are what changed my release date from April 24, 2019, to March 10, 2019.  But because March 10th falls on Sunday, I was given the date of March 8, 2019 (that will change to February 5th or 7th during the last six weeks).

Afterwards, my case manager contacted the Residential Reentry Manager and requested a re-adjusted date because the change in my Projected Release date reduced my RRC placement period from 119-days down to 72-days, which would then become 43-days when awarded the prorated portion (31-days).

Now you know the Rest of the Story.  🙂

OFF THE RECORD:  I sat in my cell listening to Alice Cooper on Uncle Joe Benson’s, Off the Record, on Sunday morning (08/05/18).  As I sat listening, I wondered what my life will be like in September when I am sitting in the halfway house in Atlanta, or at my residence upon my release.  Will I take time to listen to such programs?  Will I be interested or have other things to do?

One thing I feel certain about, is that I won’t be living the thug life.  As I wrote in “Guns, Drugs & Thugs:  Drug Store Spree,” I am a retired thug.  I hung up my guns and now use words sharper than razors, more powerful than bullets and bombs; softer than butter, sweeter than honey; rough and tough, or kind and gentle, clean and straightforward.  Whatever the situation warrants, I’ll use select-words in the construction of sentences and phrases needed to fight battles or to mend wounds caused by my past, straight from the pen, a different pen.  🙂

_____________________________

In September, StraightFromthePen.com will activate a new email address for special deals on books, essays, short stories, and updates on the status of StraightFromthePen.net and .org:  info@straightfromthepen.com.  Posting will be determined based upon legal aspects and rules governing life in the semi-free society.  Expect an update to my author’s page at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy and at other social media sites.

Notification: September 6, 2020: While incarcerated, I paid my publisher to create this website for me so I could fight for change from inside the depths of prison life. I spent a lot of money fighting for a cause in which I believed (Prison Reform).

Unfortunately, what I discovered is that people love to complain about the status quo when it comes to criminal justice and prison reform, but will not do what it takes to bring forth change. Some do fight and will put their money where their mouths are, but none of those contributed to Straightfromthepen.com, or voiced support for what I wanted to accomplish upon release.

I put my personal funds into this blog and website without any monetary return and fought for change before and after my release. On many levels I succeeded, including what I wrote about in Fight for Change, but the outcome has disappointed me in regard to gaining public support to build the other two websites I mentioned above.

No funds were contributed to the PayPal account (dowdy.wayne@yahoo.com) for this website for the development of the other two websites and associated domains, so I am not under any legal, moral or ethical obligation to complete what I planned, which I am cancelling because of the lack of private or public support.

The only use for the email listed below (info@straightfromthepen.com) is to provide information to some inside the federal system. My primary email address for that purpose is info@wtd4u.com that I use through Corrlinks.com.

Because of all of the above, I am aborting the mission and will only continue to do what I do on this website and for those stuck inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons and some state and private institutions that have access to Corrlinks.com.

_________________________________

Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change. The well-written essays take the reader deep inside the life of their 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.

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!


$8.95 USD

Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy, available in print and Ebook from your favorite online bookstores.

Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change. The well-written essays take the reader deep inside the life of their 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.

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 ($14.95 plus S&H), with the help of Midnight Express Books.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change. The well-written essays take the reader deep inside the life of their 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.

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.

Essays & More Straight from the Pen

What We Know by Wayne T. Dowdy

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

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

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

What We Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Someone cut the tires on the warden’s vehicle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RECIDIVISM IN AMERICA: WHAT WE CAN DO

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

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

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

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

TREAT THOSE WITH ADDICTION PROBLEMS & DUAL DISORDERS

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

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

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

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

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

Here’s the numbers for relevant offender categories:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FUNDING NEW RECIDIVISM REDUCTION PROGRAMS

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SOLUTION

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

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

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

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Year One of New Life by Wayne T. Dowdy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On a Personal Level

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Much to Send Prisoners

img_20190401_120426167.jpg

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

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

May 2018, MONTHLY PAY SLIP ($189.00):

Federal Prison Industries, Inc. UNICOR

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

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

Books by Wayne T. Dowdy

Unknown Innocence by Wayne T. Dowdy

Paperback On Sale Now $9.99

eBook $2.99

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

Love opens the door to prove his innocence

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

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

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

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

Paperback $5.95

eBook $0.99

Though Categorized as Fiction Truth Dominates its Content

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

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

On Sale Now $8.95

eBook $0.99

He Never Lost Hope. Hope Was All He Had

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

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

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

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

Could Be Me

But for the Grace of God There Go I

Provide Treatment for Addiction Problems to Reduce Recidivism

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

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

Combine Treatment for Both Issues to Change Lives.

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

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

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

The Sun magazine Readers Write topic: Up All Night

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne T. Dowdy
Edgefield, South Carolina

Atlanta Hilton Speech

Google Knows A Star When It Sees One

Google Search Result Deemed Delay in Posting Blog and Justified Revision

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

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

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

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

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

World of Work Graduation Ceremony, Class of 1985

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Many Faces of Wayne T. Dowdy

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

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

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

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

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

Fight for Change

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Signature and Supporting Documents Not Included/Removed

Signature and Supporting Documents Not Included/Removed

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

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

T

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

The First Step Act: Before Passed Into Law

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

Proof of Mailing

Proof of Mailing

On Politics

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

Hope and Humility

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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

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

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

Homeless

Homeless and Sleeping By a Church

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

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

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

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

Sleeping Amongst Billion Dollar Buildings in Atlanta, Georgia

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

That was then, THIS is now.

Shooting for Stars!

Wonderful Women by Wayne T. Dowdy


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

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

WOMEN RULE THE WORLD

Womens-History-Month-300x153

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

Talk about performance anxiety!

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

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

Powerful Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These women are examples:

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

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

Women are survivors!

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

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

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

My mother outlived and buried three husbands.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mothers & Memorial Days by Wayne T. Dowdy

happy mothers day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*****

confederate flag

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

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

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

monument being removed in NO

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

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

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

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

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

old glory

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

An Inside View of the Criminal Justice System

[Update August 2, 2020: Prison Law Blog first published this article, which looked much more attractive then. Upon researching for this update, I found it at https://www.prisonerresource.com/bop-policy/an-inside-view-of-criminal-justice/ and improperly attributed to Christopher Zoukis. The technical error occurred during transition between different websites. I understand.

The recidivism numbers changed considerably since I wrote the article. At the end of this post I show an update to a link for more recent numbers that I am sure has also changed by now.]

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons’ inmate population dropped from almost 220,000 in 2013 to 214,277 inmates on October 4, 2014 (on 08/02/2020, the inmate population is less than 160,000, according to BOP’s website). It is unlikely that the B.O.P. had anything to do with the reduction. I am certain that the reduced numbers came from policies implemented by Attorney General Eric Holder to slow the influx of prisoners into the system. The B.O.P. does not have a track record for doing anything to slow or to reduce their prison growth rate.  On paper they do a lot. In actuality they do very little.  At least from my perspective that is how it is, unless another agency successfully puts pressure on them to actually do something. The Office of Inspector General (OIG) noted B.O.P.’s failure to take action in several situations, including those recommended by the OIG.  See OIG December 2013 report on “Addressing the Growing Crisis in the Federal Prison System” (provided by Jeremy Gordon, ESQ (www.gordondefence.com) in his weekly newsletter info@topfederallawyer.com).

The report showed that the B.O.P. consumed $4.3 billion of the Department of Justice budget in 2001 (20%), and that by Fiscal Year 2013, that number ($4.3 billion) had grown to $6.4 billion (25%). The OIG then criticized them for not taking measures to reduce their prison population. Even when Congress provided relief valves for the B.O.P. to use to reduce their prison population, nothing happened. The Compassionate Release program is one example: prisoners usually die before being released for terminal illness. After the revised program statement that added other factors warranting consideration, nothing changed. I could give real life examples to prove the point, many men I knew qualified but were still denied. The revised Program Statement looked good on paper but the B.O.P. ideology stayed the same. The facts prove that B.O.P. officials are not concerned about doing anything to interfere with their job security. Maybe that is why AG Holder took the initiative in August 2013 to change D.O.J. Policies to reduce their budgetary needs, since evidence proved that the B.O.P. would not do anything to thin out their over-populated prison system. Ironically, two of the last three B.O.P. directors, who left the B.O.P. under unfavorable circumstances, went to work for Correctional Corporation of America, the world’s largest private prison industry. The number of prisoners contracted out to CCA increased after Michael Quinlan and Harley Lappin left the B.O.P. and joined CCA. The B.O.P.’s 2014 budget request included $26.2 million for 1,000 contract beds.

By the way, it seems as though anytime an Attorney General comes up with something that works or would work if implemented, they resign or move on shortly thereafter, as will Eric Holder, and as did AG John Ashcroft (after he instructed prosecutors to stop dismissing the most serious charges to get plea bargains, in order to bring practices in line with Congress’ Truth in Sentencing Act designed to reduce sentencing disparities). When AG Ashcroft sent out his memorandum, the biggest complaints came from the Public Defender Association (PDA), who threatened to recommend that more people go to trial. The PDA claimed that for every five percent decrease in guilty pleas, the court’s docket would increase by 30%. Translation: 1 out of 10 more defendants electing for trial would equate into a 60% increase in court dockets and thus overwhelm the system. Quite frankly, attorneys are “Friends of the Courts” and profit more by convincing defendants to plead guilty rather than to go to trial. Going to trial is a time consuming process. The Plea System is a “Wham Bam Thank You Mam” process that allows attorneys to send hundreds of defendants before judges for sentencing each month, versus spending days with each client who goes to trial. If more defendants went to trial, Sentencing laws would have changed years ago. The first report by the U.S. Sentencing Commission (released in 1993), found that just as many people were pleading guilty and the new law was not clogging up the courts, so there was no need to recommend a change. Translation: had more people faced the devil by going to trial, instead of succumbing to the government’s often over-exaggerated threats, the Sentencing Reform Act of 1984 would have resulted in mass chaos in the courts and been aborted.

Another example of the B.O.P. not taking action to reduce populations, lies in their ability to give prisoners up to 54-days per year off of their sentences; instead, they choose to give 48-days, based upon their interpretation of the statute Congress created for prisoners to serve 85% of prison sentences (15% off for good behavior is 54-days that no one gets). Some states have taken initiatives to reduce their prison populations, such as California and New York. Maybe the New York success influenced AG Holder to do as he did.

California and New York legislators deserve praise, and with that coming from me, that says a lot. I am a federal prisoner serving a 35-year prison sentence for driving a second getaway vehicle in an armed bank robbery and associated charges.  As a result of my part in the crimes, I will have served thirty-years and nine months by the time I am released on April 24, 2019, whereas numerous rapists, child molesters, murderers, and an assortment of other violent offenders were released within a few years of committing their crimes. Legislatures helped create the absurd laws that have kept me in prison since August 18, 1988; therefore, I normally do not give legislators much praise because of my belief that most operate more on financial initiates than on moral convictions. Maybe the same was true for those in New York and California who voted to change policies and laws. I do not know. Either way, New York legislators did well by changing the Rockefeller drug laws to slow the influx of prisoners pouring into the system, and offering early release programs for non-violent offenders to help lower deficits.

In 1991 the New York prison population was at 71,500. Since then it has dropped by 25%, which has led to the closure of several prisons and jails. Of course, when state officials announced their plan to close and sell some of those old prisons and jails, it created opposition from unionized prison workers and local residents who relied on the prisons for financial security. I do not blame anyone for not wanting to lose a job or business, but I am happy that some people got out of prison and have not had to return to feed the appetite of those who thrive off others’ misery. Those actions by NY’s legislators also helped many drug addicts hustling to get high, who no longer had to serve decades of their lives in prison for what most people seemed to view as minor offenses. The benefit for the State came from being able to reduce their prison population and then closing human warehouses for the poor and mentally ill (prisons). Taxpayers benefit through reduced tax liabilities and maybe even by gaining co-taxpayers, should those who committed sins against the state not reoffend and then become productive members of society.

My praise for California legislators comes from another article I read in the June 2014 issue of PRISON LEGAL NEWS (“Consequences of California’s Realignment Initiative,” by Christopher Petrella and Alex Friedmann), which said, “[t]he Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to proceed with plans to demolish the Men’s Central Jail …. [which] holds 19,000 prisoners.” The area that remains after the demolition of the jail will become “[a] treatment facility for offenders with substance abuse and mental health problems.” Treating prisoners with dual or co-occurring disorders (substance abuse & mental illness) will have a substantial effect on lowering recidivism rates. Even though some criticize the plan for various reasons, the politicians deserve praise because of the long-term effect that the treatment facility will have at reducing recidivism and giving the offenders another shot at life. A study reported in the December 2, 2002, edition of USA TODAY illustrates the seriousness of those suffering from co-occurring disorders (“Study: Treat addicts’ mental illness,” by Marilyn Elias).*  Specialists have known for years that it took combining treatment for addiction problems and mental illness for successful treatment, and that treating those for dual disorders would reduce recidivism when the afflicted did not return to prison.

Recidivism is the return to old behaviors, such as a recovering addict or alcoholic who relapses and returns to using a mind-altering substance, or an ex-convict who returns to criminal or delinquent behaviors upon release. Unfortunately,  an overwhelming percentage of prisoners recidivate: 76.6% return with a new charge within five-years of their release.**  Many individual categories exceed 75%; e.g., larceny/motor vehicle theft (84.1%); burglary (81.8%); for drug offenders, 78.3% who were in for possession, and 75.4% who were in for trafficking. With such a high return rate, the numbers prove that the Get-Tough-On-Crime policies only succeed at maybe increasing the wealth of politicians and others who invest in private prison industries or companies providing goods and services to the Prison Machine. If the Incarceration of America worked, it would seem as though a higher percentage of released prisoners would not recidivate; especially, if their captors had provided treatment options for problems that led them to prison. Providing educational opportunities is another proven method to reduce recidivism but rarely acted upon.

When prison administrators failed to take action in response to the 2002 study about treating co-occurring disorders, it illustrated a lack of concern for reducing recidivism; understandably, though, since prisoners are their commodity. (It has been over twelve years since that study. To date, the B.O.P. has one small unit in Lexington, KY where treatment is combined.) In response to the study findings, Dr. Charles Curie, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, said, “And we know if these inmates recover from the disorders, they’re unlikely to repeat crimes.”  Maybe that standing alone does not carry much of an impact, but when combined with the other numbers concerning the number of prisoners suffering from dual disorders who need help and are not getting it in prison, it knocks a tremendous hole in any defense the B.O.P. or any other “incarceration agency” might make to defend not taking action years ago. From that same article, Ms. Elias reported that “[a] recent study of the Pennsylvania state prison system found that 85% of inmates had addiction problems, and half of them mental disorders as well.  ‘That’s typical of prison systems nationally,'” Dr. Currie said. That equates into 42.5% of prisoners having dual disorders. Considering that the United States has approximately 2.3 million prisoners, 42.5% is a lot of prisoners and a lot of tax dollars that could have been saved if prison administrations had acted to provide treatment for those who wanted to fight their co-occurring disorders. One would think that those concerned with protecting the public would have concentrated their efforts to help reform and rehabilitate prisoners who would be released back into society, so that those released would not get out and collect victims by committing more crimes.

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NOTES:

Updated 07/27/2020:  * In one of my personal essays, I wrote about the findings reported in USA TODAY and show by the numbers how my life of crime has cost American taxpayers well over a million dollars. I also show the effect of recidivism on society from a personal standpoint. I added “No Sympathy” to ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN by Wayne T. Dowdy, $8.95 USD). 

I tell part of my personal history in dealing with addiction problems and a mental illness, from which I have been in recovery for over twenty-five years.

** NCJ244205, April 2014, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Statistics, “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” Mathew R. Durose, Alexia D. Cooper, Ph.D, and Howard N. Snyder, Ph.D, BJS Statisticians. [A follow-up study was done after this one that showed a more severe problem with recidivism. For more on it read the following post: https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/07/16/experimental-prison-project-by-wayne-t-dowdy/ ]

Since I wrote this blog, many things have changed. Number One, I am now a free man which numerous blog posts illustrate. 🙂 Search “Recidivism” to find more on the topic.