Do people who commit or do not commit crimes, make their choices based on moral or legal principles? Karma helped me decide the answer for myself.
The logical conclusion for why other people do or do not commit crimes is a little or a lot of both (for moral and legal reasons).
I can only share from my perspective, as no one can honestly say why another person did or did not do something, unless told by that person, and then it is debatable because the truth may remain hidden, even from the spokesperson. The easiest one to lie to is ourselves.
Having committed several crimes and going to prison for them, and not committing any crimes today, I live this way because I got tired of Karma abusing me, and because I learned to treat others the way I want to be treated.
I do not want someone stealing from me or from my friends and loved ones.
I do not want anyone committing unwanted sexual acts against me or my friends and loved ones.
I do not want someone harming me or my friends and loved ones, in any form or manner.
I do not want to suffer the consequences of my actions, so I let my actions fall within the parameters of what is legal and ethical.
I live within the boundaries of a defined set of principles and concepts of what is moral (ethical) and just.
The laws (spiritual and legal), affect where the boundaries were drawn and affects my decision to stay within the established boundaries, whether I agree or disagree with what the law states.
I changed my life because of Karma, after being in prison for seven years (twenty-three years before my release).
For the first seven years, I continued living my life the way I had lived before being sentenced to prison. I committed crimes within the prison setting. Being crafty, I got away with a lot of things that could have put me in the hole (locked inside a small cell for 23-hours per day), for a long time.
What I could not escape was the penalties imposed by Karma, so I changed my evil, wicked-ways and learned to live a more righteous life to yield better results. Now Karma and I get along well.
Man’s laws and penalties had nothing to do with my desire to change my life and to stop committing crimes.
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Update: June 29, 2022: I now have over 1,014,407 views on Quora and a page title Life Inside and Out. Check it out to see updated content to a variety of questions and answers. Thanks!
These Top Three Posts have the highest number of views on Quora.com, where I’ve had a total of 105 K views (all content) since I began posting answers on December 16, 2018. https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy
Most viewed posts within the last thirty days (01/25/19-02/25/19):
Answered: January 26, 2019, by Wayne T. Dowdy
How are new inmates treated when they first come to prison?
Prison life has a lot of variables. The older cons often keep a new prisoner at a distance until they learn more about them, such as their criminal history and certain characteristics (e.g., depending on the old-timers, most want to know if they’re a rat, sex offender, coward, drug user, rich or poor).
If the new prisoner gets accepted, he will be looked out for and provided things people need walking in the door with nothing but a blanket roll (e.g., in the federal system: sheets, blanket, mini-care packet with a small packet of soap, deodorant, toothpaste, and a tooth brush).
Then there are those who will befriend a new prisoner to use and take advantage of, while others will truly befriend the new arrival by treating him the same way he wants to be treated.
Most new people are greeted by other prisoners, who will ask questions, with the main ones being, “Where you from?” “Who you run with?” or some variants, thereof, and if accepted, will provide the new prisoner with needed items, such as cosmetics, a few soups, maybe even a radio and headphones, if he has impeccable credentials for life inside prison.
If rejected or from the wrong area or gang, he’ll get run off the compound or carried off after suffering more physical abuse than he may deserve.
21 k Views, 39-Upvotes
Can you survive and stay healthy on food provided to you in prison? Is the food clean and nutritious enough, or do you need to order out like the rest of the inmates?
Updated: February 19, 2019, by Wayne T. Dowdy
I can only write about my life while serving time in the Georgia Department of Corrections and in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. This is what I wrote, in part, on December 19, 2016 in “Gratitude and More”:
“12/25/2011: On Christmas Day, I sat in my cell reading my favorite magazine (THE SUN). “Chow time,” the guard shouted.
“I rushed to the chow hall. Inside, I sat at a rectangular table of four with three of my peers. One person stood to leave. Each of us exchanged Christmas greetings, wishing him a Merry Christmas before a 27-year-old youngster sat down to take his place.
“The one who sat to the right of the youngster had just complained how the Cornish game hen was small. I had previously tried to maintain the attitude of gratitude at the table by commenting how it was good, though, it was smaller than those we had had in the past. It was still tasty. I simply agreed with the other guy about it being smaller than usual. I labeled it as a “Cornish Game Chick.”
“That’s when the youngster sat down. “There sure are a lot of complaining people at this prison,” he said.
“His words filled me with guilt. He had once told me that both of his parents were still in state prison. I realized his parents were probably doing worse than all of us at the table.
“The youngster’s comment helped redirect the nature of our conversations toward what we were grateful for.
“I shared my favorite saying by an author whose name I do know to give him or her their credit due (“I complained of having no shoes until I met a man with no feet.”).
“I continued to express gratitude for the well-prepared meal; knowing we were all fortunate to have what sat before us, as we compared our plight to others incarcerated in state and other federal prisons, who probably wished they could eat as good as we were.
“This is what we had to complain about: a Cornish game hen, black-eyed peas, which were really good; collard greens, rolls or wheat bread (I chose wheat bread); an individually packaged cherry pie, chocolate cup cake, and some other stuff I probably forgot. I ate my fill.
“Each of us walked away feeling more grateful for the meal we had been blessed with because we had stopped for a moment to remember the less fortunate in life.
“Not only do I have two feet and nice shoes, I have a fat belly filled with gratitude. I hope each of you have a wonderful Christmas meal and feel fortunate for the freedom you share in a less than perfect world.
“ Along the same theme as above, I wrote this on America’s Turkey Day:
“THANKSGIVING DAY 2016: Happy Thanksgiving Day to each of you. If you feel like you don’t have much to be thankful for because of the hardships life has thrown at you this year, stop to think of all you have to be grateful for; perhaps you have food to eat; two feet, two arms, shoes on your feet, and clothes to warm your body, a place to stay and be safe. Feel fortunate.
“When I find myself disgruntled for having to wait for an hour in the commissary to purchase a few items, I try to stop and remember those who wish they had my problems, financially able to shop for a few items needed to maintain a decent level of living inside this prison. That makes me feel grateful for the opportunity, rather than disgruntled and agitated for having to wait as I listen to loud mouths shouting to the man next to them, disturbing the peace, killing the sound of silence.
“Upon remembrance of the less fortunate, I find myself grateful for the simple things in life I often take for granted. Be thankful for those you have in your life who love and care for you. Happy Thanksgiving!” [End Quote] GRATITUDE AND MORE
[2017–2018]: The recent federal budgets reduced available funds to prison administrators. When a warden saves money by operating under the approved budget, he or she may receive a bonus. At the last federal institution I lived at, the warden received hefty bonuses by reducing the operating cost.
Thousands of dollars saved came from her reducing food service expenditures and by reducing staff, much like private prisons operate to theoretically save taxpayer dollars.
Many times I sat eating and feeling regret for those who could not afford to have food in their locker to supplement the meal; however, overall, the food was well-prepared and most of the staff allowed inmates to go through the line twice, because they knew the meal was less than what the menu required to meet dietary requirements for adequate nutrition.
State prisoners are probably fed less but could survive with what is served. Though they could survive, that does not mean they would not walk away hungry and suffer from health-related issues due to dietary deficiencies.
5.1k Views, 15-Upvotes
When does the day start for inmates in federal prison?
Answered: February 4, 2019, by Wayne T. Dowdy
From my experience, when the day starts for federal inmates varies according to the prison and the employment position held by the prisoner. For most of the prisons I was in, which included four United States Penitentiaries and one Federal Correctional Institution, the doors opened by 6:00 am under normal circumstances.
In the lower-security prisons, certain prisoners assigned to food service (chow hall) may leave the unit for work as early as 4:00 am, whereas the majority who work in the chow hall won’t leave until approximately 6:30-7:00 am.
Those schedules and processes vary according to the security rating of the prisoner and institution. For instance, high-security institutions that house inmates assigned as Max. Custody, may not allow those inmates to work in certain positions where more readily-available weapons or tools may be used to aid in an escape plan, or during high-risk periods (when visibility is reduced, such as when foggy or before sunrise or after sunset).
For thirteen of the thirty-years, I was a maximum custody prisoner which required that I stay in a high-security institution; however, the only consistency in management techniques to control me was inconsistency. The way I was managed because of my custody/security rating, varied according to the Captain of the institution.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons’ program statement for Inmate Security Designation and Custody Classification (P.5100.08), approved 09/12/2006, and other referenced documentation, establishes security protocols for management of its prisoners.
In the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. (UNICOR), where I worked for most of the thirty-years I served, we reported to work at 7:30 am. The cell house doors opened at 6:00 am for the general population to begin their day.
2.8k Views, 11-Upvotes
If I add in the fourth, the previous champ comes in with 18.4 K total views and 84-Upvotes.
How does serving time in a federal prison compare to serving time in a state prison?
(Question Modified) Answered: December 26, 2018, by Wayne T. Dowdy
When I first began my sentence, an old-timer said, “The states control you physically and the feds do it psychologically.”
I found that true. The feds use incentive-mechanisms to control its prisoners (gives prisoners something to lose, recreation privileges, more freedom of movement, better living conditions; something authorities take or restrict access to for misbehavior).
The typical prisoner mentality in the federal system is milder, less violent than many state prisoners. Again, an old-timer gave me a few words of wisdom:
“The federal system lulls people to sleep because it’s more laid-back, and there’s not as much violence every day, so guys forget where they’re at because they get away with so much. And then when one of them does something stupid to the wrong person, he gets stabbed or killed.”
I behaved better in the federal system than when I served time in the State of Georgia, where violence dominates every day activities.
My published writings show the difference between the young knucklehead I was while serving time in Georgia where I didn’t have much to lose, in comparison to the responsible man I become, due in part to the aging process and having programs available to help me change. Read The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy, Midnight Express Books, for an example of the differences in my behaviors in the State versus the Federal system.
Being paid for working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) made a significant difference because it allowed me to take care of myself, rather than to burden my family for support, and that made me feel better as a human being.
The difference in my behavior illustrates the effectiveness of incentive programs, as well as the difference in the life of a prisoner serving time in a federal or state system; however, prisoner experiences vary.
__________________________________________________________ Purchase the latest paperback novel by Wayne T. Dowdy, Guns, Drugs and Thugs: Drug Store Spree, $6.95 USD at Amazon.com
[I posted this as a Guest Post, with permission of the author. Now I am posting it as regular post for it to receive more views, because of the value I feel it holds to those who visit this page and others associated with going to prison and related issues.]
Nothing could have prepared me for the day that I got arrested. It was a bleak January morning in 2008 and I was at my rented house with my mom and two of my sons. I was not surprised by my arrest since I knew it was going to happen although just didn’t know what day. The knock on my door filled me with apprehension as I answered it. The moment I laid eyes on the man standing in my doorway, I knew exactly what he had come for. He was accompanied by a couple of police officers and that’s when the exhaustion and relief hit me all at once. I was glad the waiting was finally over while consumed with a fear of the unknown.
The very worst part of that day was not the arrest itself, nor the shame in what I had become. Watching my family, witnessing me get arrested was one of the worst gut-wrenching feelings that I would ever experience and probably never forget. The detective was kind enough to let me tell my then four-year-old son, a lie that he was taking me to the police station to help them out in catching a criminal. It wasn’t entirely a lie, he just wasn’t aware that the criminal was his own mother. The detective didn’t even handcuff me until we were outside by the police car out of sight by my young son. To this day, I will never forget the sorrow, regret and shame that I felt on that day.
One of my older sons was there also who was well over the age to understand. I hated that, at 17-years old, he was watching his mom slowly turn into a monster right before his very eyes. Falling from grace in your children’s eyes, in my opinion, is much worse than falling from grace in your mother or father’s eyes. What a way to get to know your mom’s true colors. The darkness and depression on that day was overwhelming and my future was bleak to say the least.
Without going through all the legalities of the charges just yet, in a nutshell, I was arrested for embezzling at my bookkeeping job for a home products company. I thought I had sealed my fate and was headed for several years in prison. At the age of 37, I had lived long enough to understand that I was facing a very difficult future. What hurt me the most was that I stood the chance of not being there to raise my youngest son. That was very important to me because in my mind at the time, he was the last chance I had a being a good mom. I had literally fucked up with all my other kids. I always wanted to be a good mother, but let other things get in the way, including my crazy mind.
I wanted a change so bad at that time in my life. I had been pretending to the world that my life was fine and that I was financially capable of handling everything on my own. I had become exhausted with the pretenses and with the dependency on the extra paychecks that I was illegally writing to myself. That’s why I was relieved that it was over.
Despite my overwhelming sorrow and self-loathing, I mustered up the courage to change my attitude almost from day one. I had decided on my ride in the police car that I was going to do my very best from that day forward. I knew I needed help mentally and emotionally and had made a decision to do my part. What’s that saying in the Bible about sweeping out demons? Something along the lines of when you clean one out, several more come back in. Little did I know that I would be in for experiencing the most challenges that I ever had experienced in my life by deciding to become a criminal.
[I am re-posting this blog for 2019, modified in part. Valentine’s Day of 2018 did turn out to be my last one spent inside the dungeons of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.
I do not have a Special Someone to call my sweetheart and that’s okay. I remained celibate for decades and still am, by choice and circumstances, but … this will be my first Valentine’s Day spent on the outside since 1987 and that alone makes it a spectacular day for me. 🙂 Life is Wonderful!]
I hope each of you get to spend some quality time with the one you love or with someone special, whether that special person is a lover, friend, family member, or pet.
Providing I live to fight another day, which I highly suspect I will, theoretically, this year will be my last Valentine’s Day spent inside. Maybe I’ll have a special someone for the next Valentine’s Day, maybe not. The main thing is that I will be out of prison to enjoy it as a free man, alone, or with others. Being the stud I am, I’ll probably have someone to call my Sweetheart by then, but who knows? 😉 [I don’t]
Enjoy the special day celebrating life as a living, breathing, human being. No matter how screwed up things may seem, know that there are millions of others who’d love to trade places and to have your problems. That is something I have to remind myself of when disgruntled because the world isn’t working according to Wayne.
Have a spectacular day! Hug the ones you love. Tell them how important they are in your life, and know that you, too, are special!
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