Monthly Archives: April 2019

Prisoner Requests Pro Bono Civil Litigation Assistance

A prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, South Carolina, requested legal assistance with pending litigation.  I express no opinion, neither personal nor professional, on the pending issue.

I am posting what he sent.  If anyone wishes to assist him, please email waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com

He is hoping someone at Prison Legal News will be interested.  

My Question:  Do you want the attached message sent to Prison Legal News or any place?  PLN may be interested, maybe not. There are numerous contacts on Twitter that “could” have an interest.  Confirm exactly what you want done and specify how you wish to be identified if the attached is posted publicly.  Thanks.

Wayne

WTD4U.com Staff Representative

His Reply:  Use your discretion; You understand the situation better than most. You should have gotten at least a year Half-way house time and did not. There are a lot of reasons for these failings in the system. It is our belief that the proper tools for understanding and correcting them lie in the court’s powers of inquisition and remedy.

CLIFFORD RAY SENTER on 4/9/2019 11:35:14 AM wrote

NOTICE:    

     If you have clients (or potential clients) who should have or could benefit from recent court rulings, the Second Chance Act, First Step Act, other laws, or whatever the Next Step Act will be, this litigation may be of interest to you.

     Below are excerpts from a TRO/Injunction and motion for appointment of counsel filed in the District Court for the District of Columbia this week. The Defendants named are South-East Regional Director Keller, and the Acting Director of the BOP. Local officials are aggressively targeting the litigants and obstructing/retaliating for the litigation. Previous iterations of this (and related) litigation have been completely abridged from access to the courts by local officials at the prison. Please forward this to any attorney’s/advocacy groups you know who may be willing to assist us in this litigation pro bono or be willing to submit amicus briefs. If you do not see this document (TRO/Injunction, and Motion for Appointment of Counsel) on the court docket in the next 14 days then it has been abridged like prior filings.

EXERPTS FROM LITIGATION IN: Clifford Senter et.  al V. William Barr et. al (TRO respondents J.A. Keller)

The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has operated with an impunity enjoyed by no other Federal agency, Not even the nation’s intelligence agencies. The presence of unlimited funding untied to any measurable outcomes, a complete lack of oversight (or even mechanisms and metrics for oversight) has resulted in systemic fraud, misappropriation and mismanagement which has resulted in a totality of conditions which are unconstitutional and present a danger to inmates, staff and the public.

For decades, the BOP’s strategy has been based on massive scale and sustained growth. That bubble has burst and the public appetite (and pocket-book) for mass-incarceration has reached record lows which transcend political demographics with an unanimity unachievable regarding any other policy issue. The universal opposition to this status quo crosses geographic, political, religious, class and racial lines. In response to this near unanimous will of the people, Congress has instituted legislation whose express intent is to reduce the Federal prison population.

An unavoidable consequence of any reduction in the population is a corresponding downsizing of physical infrastructure and human resources. As with any corporate-size down-sizing much of the positions lost (per capita) will be executive and middle-management positions. This places decision-makers in the unenviable position of making and implementing policy which will result in their own obsolescence.

The results have been predictable —and deadly, with decision-making being compromised by conflicted priorities and duties as the system scrambles to save itself from the contracting market dynamics of human bondage as a socioeconomic model.

The decades of bottomless Federal coffers and total absence of any performance or out-come based metrics on how those funds are spent; Or anyone to even review or make those measurements, has grown a behemoth bureaucratic monster. For decades the DOJ and Congress have simply fed the beast, unchallenging accepting its (the BOP’s) self-assessment as to its needs; Providing budgetary increases yearly, which last year reached almost  Eight-billion dollars —or nearly as much as the budget of the Federal Bureau Of Investigation.

  • [For some perspective, consider that the BOP operates 122 facilities with a labor force whose

                     minimum requirement is a GED. The FBI operates in over 200 countries and every major city

                     in the United States and Puerto Rico, and is responsible for interdiction and investigation of

                     crimes, terrorism, counterintelligence and other domestic enforcement objectives.            

                     The average FBI employee has eight to ten years of secondary and post-secondary education.]

Despite this glut of funding, every single institution is operating at substandard levels in multiple areas; A direct result of decades of fraud and mismanagement. These “pre-existing deprivations” have been exacerbated by the BOP’s attempts to counteract reform policy, and/or its dilatory and ineffectual implementation of those policies. These factors have combined to create immediate dangers which do not allow the time to address through normal legal procedures; The courts powers of preliminary injunction are sought to address the issues of present and irreparable harm.

An example of the potential harms associated with these deprivations manifested on March 11, 2019 when several armed assailants entered unit C/3 at the Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution. These inmates were all assigned to other units and were not authorized to be in unit C/3. Once inside of the unauthorized unit, they proceeded to attack at assault other inmates at will. The assault went on for several minutes without any staff intervention or even knowledge of what was occurring. Staff only became aware of the armed attack when one of the victims ran into the office where the officer on duty was somnolently surfing the internet. Leaving their bloody victims behind, the assailants terminated their assault of their own volition and exited the unit as casually as they had entered it.

The assailants had all been able to exit tier units armed with weapons, execute their assault and return to their assigned units without any difficulty. At no time while exiting or returning to their respective units did, they encounter any staff. At no time entering or exiting the unit where they perpetrated their assault did, they encounter any staff. At no time before, during or after their assault did, they encounter any staff.

While this attack was occurring, simultaneous and coordinated assaults were being carried out in other parts of the prison, all with comparable results. This was not an isolated event. It was patterned off several previously successful assaults, all of which exploited the same gross incompetence and unpremeditated lapses in security.

The risk of harm has become pervasive. There are multiple causal factors behind this episode. They include fraudulent enterprise, deliberate indifference and gross incompetence at the local, Regional and National levels. For the purposes of this motion (preliminary injunction) this document deals with gross incompetence at the Macro-level —and its effects at the local level of FCI Edgefield.

Because of the evolving legislative and policy objectives identified at the outset, the BOP is already operating significantly under capacity. The BOP has resisted Full or timely compliance with policy mandates and initiatives which would result in further immediate and dramatic reductions in its population.  [Dilatory implementation and obstructionist application of those policies have resulted in the retention of a portion of the Bureau’s population equivalent to five of its prisons] The BOP is attempting to fight the forces of contraction set in motion by these policy changes by delaying/hindering the implementation of policy and/or trying to accomplish it without any corresponding decreases in its infrastructure.

Every prison is operating with a diminished staff compliment. This is not because the Bureau is understaffed, but because the BOP is incompetently overstretched. The BOP is operating across too many platforms without the population, staff, or resources to support that alignment. The only responsible or rational option, Consolidation of existing bed-space, would permit the BOP to immediately deactivate several facilities and fully staff those remaining institutions. Billions of dollars in savings would allow it to concentrate and redirect resources to the remaining institutions; Most of which are operating at not only dangerous staffing levels, but with unsafe, unhealthy and deteriorating infrastructure and underfunded programs.

These are problems of scale and competence. These were not unanticipated changes. National trends and policy intimations have signaled these changes for some time. The failure to anticipate the need for reductions in scale and appropriately and timely downsize in a safe and efficient manner has resulted in (among other things) overtime practices at FCI Edgefield which critically compromise the security of the institution, and endanger staff, inmates and the public. These overtime practices have led to problems such as low morale and mission fatigue; With some staff openly voicing sentiments such as “…I been here 12 hours already, I don’t care what y’all do!” Other staff simply spend the shift in the office asleep or in a near-sleep stupor. (this is also part of pre-existing conditions of dereliction) On the date of the incident described above, the staff in all of the affected areas were on their 10th or more hour of duty that day; And most of the staff on that shift had worked at least 32 of the previous 48 hours; Or worked a double-shift within the previous 48 hours.

FCI Edgefield is currently being operated by a zombie staff of semi-competent supervisors and semi-comatose personnel. This fact, combined with prior conditions of confinement, which were already constitutionally violative in and of themselves, creates an emergency with the serious and immediate risk of death, injury or irreparable harm.

The “prior conditions of confinement” mentioned are the subject of ongoing litigation attempts which are currently being aggressively obstructed by local officials. Access to the courts regarding those issues has been completely abridged. That abridgement has been directed, given tacit approval, or been encouraged by the policies and practices of local, regional and central office officials which have resulted in an organizational posture oriented to impede, obstruct, or titularly implement legislative and judicial mandates which tend to reduce or mitigate custodial sentences, or otherwise limit custodial reach.

Under the leadership of these officials, the BOP has become oriented to view such mandates as a threat to its mission; And to see that mission as encompassing “protecting the public” not just from offenders, but from Congress and the courts as well. The BOP views “Prison Reform” as an existential threat to its mission and existence. The BOP’s opposition to it, the BOP’s efforts to resist it, and the BOP’s dilatory and inadequate implementation of it are endangering staff, inmates and the public. These present a clear and immediate danger of irreparable harm, injury or death and require the courts to exercise their emergency powers of injunctive relief.

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A New Life

I Often Wondered If I’d Live Long Enough to See Such Beauty Again

From inside the prison cells I lived for over thirty-years, I could not see the sky through the trees. To simultaneously capture the beauty of the Sun and the Moon shining through trees would have been miraculous, as it was when I snapped the photo on my cellphone.

A loved one gave me the cellphone I used to partake in the experience that I now share the beauty of with the world.

Everything I have for comfort and convenience has been provided by friends or loved ones. I’m Grateful and Blessed by the Best!

A New Life: Important Words and Feelings: Humbling! Fortunate! Blessed!

In Electronic Chain I wrote about the beginning of a new life on March 8, 2019, when I was officially released from the custody and control of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. https://straightfromthepen.com/electronic-chain

Many things changed since I left Dismas Charities, Inc., most for the good, some not-so-good. The not-so-goods fall under an “Expectations” category, which often creates negative emotions in any living, breathing, human being because things aren’t going according to plan. OUR plan.

For instance, I expected to find a job and to be doing well by now, financially, because I am skilled and knowledgeable in many areas, with documented evidence of skills and a verifiable high Grade Point Average in college. I’m still unemployed, eight months later, and living with relatives I am fortunate to have willing to give me a place to roost.

I didn’t expect to be discriminated against by potential employers and online employment agencies because of my age. I have been, evident by the line going dead when I answer these questions: “When did you graduate or get your GED?” “What year were you born?”

Good things happened more than not-so-good things. I’m still alive and free and that makes life much better for me, and I hope for others, too!

Oddly enough, moments after I began typing this blog a few days ago, Google notified me that I had been officially verified as being me and the owner of the information listed in the Knowledge Panel associated with the name, Wayne T. Dowdy. Though some information Google relied upon is outdated, I’m pleased to be acknowledged as being ME. I’ll work on bringing Mr. Google up to date.

Outside in the sunshine or the moonlight, I feel like me, a free man, a man with choices. A man who knows he is fortunate to walk outside, alone, at night or during the day, without chains and hound dogs chasing him. (Read “The Price of Change” in Essays & More Straight from the Pen [$9.95 USD] and you’ll understand the significance of the last clause of that sentence.) https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794396829/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Don’t count on WordAds to pay the bills if you pay for an upgrade on a WordPress.com website, unless you have thousands of followers and visitors on your website. Without the traffic, you’ll be paying the monthly fees, as I am doing, but it’s all good, because at least I do get to enjoy the privilege of getting my words spread all over the world.

Now I need to go work on my other websites at waynedowdy.weebly.com or wonderfulthingsdone.com or wonderfulthingsdone.net, to see if I can get those sites working and maybe even generating funds and business, so that I will become an employer and won’t need to work for someone else.

To use truthful rationalization as a coping mechanism, I prefer business partners, anyways.

So, to all you employers who discriminate against us returning citizens who grew old during our draconian sentence, stick that job where the sun and moon won’t shine.

In light of all the above, I know things work according to the will of my Higher Power, whom I chose to call God, and that everything will be okay. Life is a matter of perception!

I’m doing well at adjusting to this new life, it’s just a little different than how I imagined it would be before I walked out of the prison doors. It’s all good! I’m GOOD, too!

Tweet from StraightFromThePen (@DowdyFromThePen)

Jails Closing

Wonderful News! More Places Like This Closing

The moment I read the news in the following link about “Jails emptying as criminal justice reform quietly takes hold in New Hampshire ….”, I posted the link on Twitter to spread the good news to all of those who fight for Criminal Justice and Prison Reform.

Please thank and support all politicians involved in the changes taking place across the nation with Criminal Justice and Prison Reform.

Your Vote Counts!

StraightFromThePen (@DowdyFromThePen) Tweeted:
This is a wonderful thing to see. Jails emptying as criminal justice reform quietly takes hold in New Hampshire counties https://t.co/uGXmAvLvW3 via @UnionLeader https://twitter.com/DowdyFromThePen/status/1120169282866962432?s=17

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 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.

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.

On the Road Video

Another post from the life of Wayne. 

https://photos.app.goo.gl/UuDi82myGJ8ExHBt8

In the famous words of Willie Nelson, “On the Road Again.”

The audio produced by Google Assistant isn’t the best and a lot of my statements were incomplete, the most important being one where I commented on how I felt being able to walk around; essentially, that most people don’t understand what a privilege it is to go out and walk, to look into moving water in a stream, to walk up or down a road, to stop and enjoy the scenery without having someone towering nearby with a gun telling you to “Move On!”

Take It Easy, The Eagles

I have moved on. Freedom may be an illusion in the sense that humans are not free if controlled by societal norms and concerns about what others may think, but I am happy to have what I perceive as Freedom from Within and Freedom from the Walls and Bars that kept me chained as a captive inside the Bureau of Prisons for thirty-years, and ten-days.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best:

Photo by Julian Jagtenberg on Pexels.com

Free at Last!

Prison Reform Progress

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

60-MINUTES’ Correspondent, Bill Whitaker, on March 31, 2019, reported one aspect of prison reform in America.

Living on the Edge by Aerosmith

I shared the words of Bill Whitaker with inmates in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, in case the ones who signed up for the WTD4U newsletter did not watch the 60-MINUTES’ interview, by Bill Whitaker, with staff and prisoners at the ‘Rock’; a term used to describe many maximum-security prisons in America.

The prison on stage in the excellent coverage by Mr. Whitaker is in Connecticut. After posting parts of the Interview for federal prisoners to read, I discovered a similar program implemented in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Williamsburg, South Carolina.

A participant in Project L.E.A.D. provided a submission for me to post online. I loved having something positive to share on activities in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

I praised him for doing his part to help create positive change. I will include my response after his submission, “Ready 4 Redemption.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve included a brief excerpt and the URL to the following interview with Bill Whitaker:

60 MINUTES

Bill Whitaker,
CORRESPONDENT

“German-style program at a Connecticut maximum security prison emphasizes rehab for inmates

“Taking cues from the prison system in Germany, where the main objective is rehabilitation, a program based on therapy for 18 to 25-year-old offenders is taking shape at a prison nicknamed ‘the Rock.’

“One of the more radical attempts at prison reform is taking place in a foreboding Connecticut prison nicknamed the Rock.  It’s a two year old program based on therapy for 18-25 year old prisoners, whose brains, science shows, are still developing, and their behavior more likely to change.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/german-style-true-program-at-cheshire-correctional-institution-emphasizes-rehab-for-inmates-60-minutes/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7d&linkId=65567301

“Ready 4 Redemption” by M.R.

Greetings! Just like the Project T.R.U.E. Williamsburg just opened up a first time Honor program here in S.C. called Project L.E.A.D. a 12-month cognitive behavior therapy (skill-building) program that helps participants in their decision making, problem solving, social skills and other necessary needs to integrate back into society. We are 10 months in as of today and have psycho educational groups, government meetings amongst each other, assigned mentors and staff facilitated and also inmate facilitated curriculums.

I have been incarcerated for 27 years as of July and I have never been in a better environment. Not even the Challenge program could teach us the leaderships skills we have learned and applied so far in this environment. We also have outside guest that come in our unit regularly, victims’ advocates, USPO’s and various other facilitators have visited our unit and we welcome them with open arms. It’s the only L.E.A.D. program on the yard and has 98 inmates on a 1,400 populated yard.

This program would interest those minds who are curious whether a violent man can change. I’m in for violence and since being involved into CBT, my thought process has changed dramatically. My violent acts have declined and I have not had a violent act committed since 2005. It works. They even allowed me to create my very own curriculum which I instruct in our unit and another outside our unit in education and we are effecting change!

Project L.E.A.D. Participant,

M. R., Federal Correctional Institution, Williamsburg, SC

Response to His Submission from WTD4U

That’s great! I’m proud of you for having the courage to change, and happy for you and your new place in life. Having said that, would you like me to post or otherwise use what you have written in this message? If so, I would have to use your name as anonymously written or have a release of information. Maybe using your first name and initial for your last name would work, like the AA Grapevine does.
Let me know. Thanks for sharing. I love good news to mention about the incarcerated. Take care!

Click the following URL for an associated article on Prison Reform, The Rock, and L.E.A.D.: https://www.quora.com/Would-you-agree-if-your-country-follow-the-prison-system-in-Norway/answer/Wayne-T-Dowdy

Video Test of Audio

Google Assistant created the melody that I hope catches your ear and makes you smile. 🙂

This post is test-based for ad content needed to attract advertisers to generate income for this website: its purpose is to test audiovisual effects and other factors associated with supplying quality content.


Please read “About Your Host and Straight from the Pen” to understand the importance of generating an income to support this site.

( https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com/about-your-host/ )

Enjoy the clip

Looking for a Ride

Thanks for partaking in this experiment.

The producer continues to strive for perfection during his learning curve on the World Wide Web.

Looking for a Ride, Downtown Atlanta

Can’t Afford That One! Can a Fellow Get a Loan?
View from Interstate 75/85, Downtown Atlanta, Georgia

Cellphone Battery Dead : Looked for Phone to Call a Taxi

Searched Metro Atlanta for Phone Booth

Went South

Rollin’ Down the Highway

Train Kept a Rollin’ All Night Long


Found Lonely Bug Hanging Out

Bug’s Got it Bad, Too!

Can’t Fly Because I’m Grounded

Maybe this will work?

An Old Indian Parked Inside Truett’s Grill in McDonough, Georgia

Won’t Crank, Too Old!

Yeah, a Phone Booth!

Only Phone Booth in Town Found in Truett’s Grill
Out of Order 😦

Here’s a Car!

Boxed in! Wouldn’t Crank Anyway

Lost Hope and Got a Boat

Kid Rock, All Summer Long
Went Fishing Instead

Great Day for Big Fish in Panama City, Florida. Life is Great!