Monthly Archives: August 2019

ONE MORE FROM THE ROAD

one more from the road

Update: August 28, 2019: I am a Free Bird now and have been for one year today. Things did not go the way I expected upon my release, but it is all good. I have lived to fight another day and have won many interpersonal battles over the last year. I remain a free citizen!

I joined the ranks of many returning citizens who have not become another negative statistic on recidivism. That means a lot to me and to society!

I will post another blog to update events since I walked out the doors of the Federal Correctional Institution in Edgefield, South Carolina, on August 28, 2018, after having served thirty-years and ten-days.

The twenty-four years of sobriety that that medallion represents made my success possible. I do not represent any Twelve Step program but am a proud member!

My favorite version of Freebird by Lynyrd Skynyrd is on ONE MORE FROM THE ROAD, recorded at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, GA, one block from my birthplace.  This Freebird en route to Atlanta got one more lockdown in for the road.  More will be revealed.

The 35-year sentence that I began on August 18, 1988, has finally reached its end.  Well, at least, close to its end.  When I leave August 28th, as it now stands, I have 192-days in the halfway house and 5-years on supervised release, following satisfaction of the 420-month term of imprisonment imposed by the court.

This blog contains mixed topics; some written from a positive perspective, others from a not-so-positive perspective.  I’ll tell some of what my last month has been like living in an institution run by the most absurd federal prison administration I’ve ever lived under for the last thirty years.

DEPARTING:  I’m leaving behind many friends, a lot of good men, and a lot more defeated by an over-abundance of suboxone and bug poison (K-2/Spice) that flooded this compound within 6-months of this warden taking command.  Based upon statements made by inmates at the last institution she ran, the same thing happened there:  she reduced alcohol consumption that resulted in an increase in demand and availability of K-2 and suboxone.

[“SUBOXONE® (buprenorphine and naloxone) Sublingual Film (CIII) is a prescription medicine used to treat adults who are addicted to (dependent on) opioid drugs (either prescription or illegal) as part of a complete treatment program that also includes counseling and behavioral therapy.”] https://www.suboxone.com/

Concerning wardens that Washington officials began referring to as Chief Executive Officers (CEO), because of, in my opinion, the federal prison system becoming a business-venture, more so than a place to help its men and women become law-abiding citizens.

The Congressional budgeting system allows wardens and executive staff to take home hefty bonuses by cutting operating cost, often at the expense of the safety and health of staff and inmates alike.

Throughout the years, I’ve met many good men and women who worked for the BOP, a few of whom helped save the lives of myself and others by offering their time to provide needed services to help prisoners learn life-skills; especially, for those in programs designed to help addicts and alcoholics learn to live life without the use of drugs and alcohol.

JOURNALING INTO A NEW LIFE:  This time 23-years ago, I was writing in journals about my newfound way of life (living without using drugs and alcohol, and working on becoming a better man who lived by different spiritual principles).  Here’s two excerpts I hope will inspire others:

August 23, 1995:  “This new lifestyle is a lot more simple and easier to live by in this environment, because I don’t have to worry about getting a U.A. [urine-analysis], going to the hole for being stupid, or having to try so hard to get by.  I used to have to hustle to support my dope habit, but not anymore.  I never had food in my locker, but kept the lockers of dope men well-stocked.  Now I have food to eat, good shoes to wear, and can afford to send money to my family as gifts or to buy other things I want or need.  I have time for Wayne and I care about Wayne.  Wayne deserves to be cared for, because he’s a worthy human being, and really is not a bad guy, so I’m no longer trying to destroy him.  I’m trying to ‘set him free.’  He deserves that!”

September 13, 1995:  “I have began my pursuit of freedom, which could end up being a fruitless search from me on the legal angle, but if God wants to see me free, I will be free.  If not legally, in spirit, which is most important.  I would like to be legally free, because I know I can make it out there now, and know I have a lot of valuable experience, wisdom, and knowledge to offer certain segments of society.  For that reason, I deserve another chance.”

LEGALLY SPEAKING:  The legal pursuit of my freedom proved fruitless and a waste of time, energy, and thousands of dollars, but it did keep me occupied and I learned a lot.  If you consider the success I had getting my halfway house date changed and the knowledge gained, it was beneficial.  I also helped free others.

During the legal Pursuit of Freedom process, I damn sure learned that what the law says doesn’t matter:  If the courts want to follow the law, they do.  If not, they use their power and ignore the law.  After I build straightfromthepen.net, I will post court documents from my case and others to prove what I just wrote.

ALONG SPIRITUAL LINES:  I know everything worked out the way it was supposed to, and that if the courts had followed the laws passed by Congress, and the court decisions I relied upon during my direct appeal process, I would not be alive today.  I had a bad drug problem and ill intent for several years after my conviction.  Today I don’t have either and will live the rest of my days in peace, clean & sober, and, for the most part, healthier than when I arrived in 1988.

LIFE NOT ACCORDING TO WAYNE:  Most of these last few days of my life in prison have not went according to my plan.  I planned to attend the last few A.A. and N.A. meetings; to quit my job on August 17th, and then spend some time outside on the recreation yard to exercise and tone up my body, and to work on my suntan in preparation for all the fat-butt-girls waiting to chase me.  😉

The warden closed the recreation yard over three weeks ago and spoiled my Suntan Plan.

RECENT EVENT:  The warden’s closure of the recreation yard indirectly resulted in a clash between two ethnic groups in the Chow Hall on Sunday, August 12, 2018.  When tension builds amongst an inmate population, and one ethnic group gets punished and suffers because of an action by another group, a tender box is born; complements of the warden, captain, or other prison official, who implemented unnecessary punitive actions in response to an issue, such as is the case at hand.

(Read “Politics & Prison” (11/07/16) where I wrote in response to this warden’s use of group-punishment techniques, and show how it creates conflicts in a prison population and is thus not a rational correctional-management tool for all situations:

MORE ON BLANKET PARTIES:  If certain prisoners are given a blanket party or ‘sanctioned’ by their peers for failure to comply with rules or regulations, it may lead to extreme violence; therefore, the ideological control mechanism for military men and women does not work on prisoners, or otherwise has adverse effects; that is, unless the prison administrators really want prisoners to clash.  Many administrators have ulterior motives.”)

THE CHOW HALL FIASCO lead to 5-prisoners suffering injuries severe enough to justify a trip to the local hospital for treatment.  I was inside the chow hall during the fiasco.

NO OUTSIDE RECREATION:  The reason for closing the recreation yard was because staff found homemade wine buried beside an area known as the “Boom Boom Room.”  The prison staff has known about the problem for years, including the whole period of this warden’s stay (about 2-years).

Staff have probably dug as much as 50-75 gallons of wine out of the same spot, and yet, instead of being intelligent enough to use available technology (posting surveillance cameras in the area as most competent prison administrators do in problem areas), the warden/prison administration, chose to close the recreation yard to tear down the Boom Boom Room.

The recreation yard is a place where men go to exercise or relax, to relieve anger, stress, and tension associated with prison life or just to stay healthy.

TINDER BOX:  The closure of the recreation yard created a Tinder Box because a few members of one ethnic group is responsible for its closure, as is the warden.  That put targets on the backs of every one of that nationality.

THE CATALYST:  A inmate who worked the a.m. Food Service shift, stole fruit and hid it in a Dish/Tray Room, where prisoners use a dishwasher to wash food trays, utensils, etc.  When he returned during the next shift and learned his stolen-stash was stolen, he attacked a member of the other ethnic group, known to bury wine.

Several members of the latter group attacked and beat down the aggressor and that lead to retaliation by members of the aggressor’s ethnic group.

FIASCO RESPONSE:  The staff who responded got medical attention for the aggressor who received minor injuries, and then escorted him and four of his attackers down the walkway toward the medical department and segregated housing unit.

I sat at a table near where the ethnic group of the four attackers often sat.  After the incident in the Tray Room, I went to the opposite side of the chow hall and saw those escorted out the rear door of the Tray Room.  I returned to the other side and let my peers know of the events of racial nature.  Then me and most other non-participants moved out of the area to get out of the way of what was sure to follow.

Upon leaving with the offenders, staff locked the chow hall doors with approximately 150-200 inmates left alone inside with one food service staff member.  After 5-to-8 minutes of the racial situation brewing, the aggressor’s ethnic group attacked anyone who looked like they may have been of the other ethnic group, thus creating a racial riot inside the chow hall.

For approximately 3-4 minutes, food trays soared across the chow hall, injuring those hit; weapons of various types were used to batter opponents; fists and feet used where possible.

The food service staff member ran and locked himself in an office inside the chow hall.  I suspect he radioed for assistance, but I never saw him come out of his hiding spot into the Battle Zone, evidence of being a true coward.

According to what an associate who stayed in the Battle Zone, one staff member came in through the rear door of the Tray Room, ran in and began spraying all aggressors with Pepper Spray.

Two staff members made the wrong turn and came to the non-participant side.  One pointed a camera at us and said, “Get on the ground.”  And then later, “Turn and face the wall.”

I knelt down on one knee but did not turn to face the wall.  An injured Hispanic participant had come from the Battle Zone with blood running down his head from different angles and dripped blood on the floor in front of me.  The violence was still in progress twenty-five feet away: I knew not to expose myself to flying trays by turning around when the two dummies did not even notice that those of us standing against the wall were docile.

The other staff member who made the wrong turn, used profanity directed toward one man and threatened to spray him with pepper spray.  During this time, you could hear inmates attempting to rip pipes from their fixtures to use as weapons in the Battle Zone, while those two knuckleheads wasted time messing with us.

Finally, one of the guys standing against the wall shouted out, “We aren’t the ones fighting.”

The cameraman turned and then moved to where the action was going.  The dummy with the pepper spray turned and followed him.  Another staff member came in and said, “Y’all just get down on one knee.  I’m trying to look for injuries.”

He pointed to the injured Hispanic and said, “You, get over there.”  Then he said, “Is anyone else injured?”

Maybe ten minutes later, the crowd dispersed toward a door and began to exit on the opposite end of the chow hall.  I followed.  We returned to the living units and was locked in our cells for about a week.

GOD’S WILL VERSUS MINE:  I also planned to mail out some of my property on Thursday at R&D Open House.  We can only mail outgoing packages, after approval by unit staff, and then during Open House on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

A sign on the door showed “No Open House Today,” but if you were to ask the Warden or one of her officials, you’d be told that Open House is opened during all scheduled periods; a lie I have been told before.

Well, that’s where God’s will versus mine comes to play.  I believe that whenever I’m faced with such obstacles that there’s a reason for it and that it’ll work to my good.  In the past it always has and this time is no different.  The delay gave me more time to sort through my ton of property to lighten my load as I set out to travel the Road to Happy Destiny.  🙂

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How Much to Send Prisoners

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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.

Adventures of Wayne, Monday, August 12, 2019

Life on the outside sometimes feels as if I am walking through a tunnel, deep into another time zone, right into another life. Well, I reckon that’s what I am doing, straight from the prehistoric era into modern society, acting civilized, not like a pimpin’ caveman.

Photo by Gratisography on Pexels.com

 Since my release and learning how to capture images with the camera (cellphone), I enjoy walking around and taking photos of anything that catches my eye. Some things I do resist, of course, as it’s not nice to snap a photo of an unsuspecting person, especially as she walks down the street. 🙂 I do respect privacy and am considerate of others on most days.

I have developed a nice collection on my View Bug profile page and have won some awards, even if I do have duplicates because I don’t know how to delete photos I upload, but hey, I’m still in the learning curve for technology. Here’s the link for ViewBug: https://www.viewbug.com/member/WTD4U

Imagine what I could have done if I had had a nice camera to use during those adventures. My favorite shots are often of tall buildings and structures or nature. I love insects, animals, flowers and trees, and not having to get film developed!

 For all of you youngsters, once upon a time people had to carry a roll of camera film to Kodak or Fuji to have it developed or otherwise use a Polaroid camera, something else from the prehistoric era. 

Fighting to be Free by Wayne T. Dowdy

Pastor Eric Payne with Family and Friend

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The fight continues to free Pastor Eric Payne from the Georgia Department of Corrections. I initially wrote about this situation in Criminal Injustice and Pastor Eric Payne. https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/07/10/criminal-injustice-and-pastor-eric-payne/ This blog is a follow-up that includes correspondence from Pastor Eric Payne and his loving and carring wife, who continues to fight for the freedom of her husband.

Please pay attention to the minute amount of cocaine used to sentence him to 15-years. I wrote about a similar situation in Freedom for Another Friend, where a friend was serving life without parole, in part, due to a prior conviction for small amount of cocaine, used to enhance his federal sentence. https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/08/09/freedom-for-another-friend/

Pastor Eric Payne

By now you’re aware of what my attorney did to us in taking our money, NOT doing a thing, at the last minute dropping my case. Further, I’m sure you know about the “cruel, unusual, unjust, unfair, and sadistic punishment and game” the parole chief and State recently played on me and my family.

But I DO have some things to say about receiving 15 years for the victimless and nonviolent crime of Felony Possession of Cocaine (.001 gram/residue).

It was a bad decision, but I went back to “hustling” after a series of unfortunate financial struggles in my personal life, businesses, and church. I felt that I was suffocating and everywhere I turned I received no monetary assistance.

Once arrested I received “no bond” for the first 90 days and then a “$190,000.00 bond” afterwards. My Public Defender consistently expressed that he could not understand why the Chief Asst. District Attorney who handled murders, robberies, sex crimes, and all violent crimes was assigned to prosecute. I couldn’t understand it either especially since prior to this case (2013) I had not been in trouble with the law since 2002 in another state. In fact, I had not even had so much as a “Pedestrian Warning” or traffic ticket in GA!

My Public Defender even tried the slick move of claiming I had a drug problem. I paid to be interviewed by two separate residential drug rehabilitation programs and was accepted. Yet the prosecutor refused to agree with the recommendation. Thus, the judge would not consent to me being sent there in conjunction with long-term probation.

After 10 1/2 months sitting in jail working on various details, never receiving any discipline referrals (write-ups), being a role model inmate, and speaking to youths brought in for speeches, I pled to the mercy of the court.

I had a host of letters, pictures of me doing community service through my church, certifications, my pastor’s license and ordination papers, my church charter certificate, and everything needed to validate the launch of my own church presented to the courts yet it wasn’t enough to sway the judge’s (an African-American who preaches in south GA and who has a son with a history of criminal activity, drug involvement and drug addiction) decision to sentence me to 15 years in prison.

Even after the judge’s decision over 30 Detention Officers signed a petition asking the judge to reconsider because I had worked for them for nearly a year and they witnessed first-hand my character, behavior, and work ethic. The judge ignored their request, turned the petition over to the Sheriff, and all 30 officers were suspended and some prevented from advancing or becoming a deputy.

I was wrong for selling drugs and being in possession of the .001 gram (residue) of cocaine. But I felt then, as I feel now, that my charge was ridiculous, and my sentence was/is excessive. I’ve seen men who were in possession of WAY more drugs than myself and who were actually caught selling or trafficking drugs receive much less jail or prison time (including house arrest and/or probation) than myself.

I had (and STILL have) a valid, proven, and verifiable history of being an asset and positive contribution to my family, church, community, and society. Whether through personal contact or through Social Media, I’ve been a “plus” in the lives of those I’ve come in contact with.

Daily my wife, 4 minor children, family, friends, and church pray that someone will finally “listen” to us and begin the process of releasing me. At worst, we hope and pray that someone will listen and bring attention to the changes that need to be made on behalf of those in Sates custody and not just Federal custody (where it’s obvious that all of the “breaks” and opportunities go).

My family and I hope someone will help us.

Thank you for listening.

Pastor Eric

Theresa Payne Speaks Out

My husband was paroled to Palm Beach County FL (by approved Interstate Compact) in October 2018 then snatched from our family in February 2018 due to a “clerical error” between the GDOC and Parole system. He worked hard, was active in our community, and committed no new crimes, had not old/active warrants, and violated no conditions of his parole. 

Me and my children have suffered due to this unfairness, injustice, and cruel and unusual punishment. My husband has suffered as well.

On July 23, 2019 I received a call from Chief Hawkins (Albany/Dougherty County) stating my husband had a TPM (Tentative Parole Month) of July 31, 2019. From July 23rd thru July 25th I had several conversations with chief Hawkins and he repeatedly stated and confirmed via his computer that my husband’s TPM was set for July 31, 2019. Again, Chief Hawkins initiated the call to me with the news of my husband’s TPM.

I notified my husband, shared the fantastic news with our four minor children, told many family members (including my husband’s 95 year old mother), church members, and friends and proceeded to make plans and arrangements for my husband’s return home to West Palm Beach, FL.

I confirmed through the GDOC website and through Counselor Palmer (Montgomery State Prison staff member) that my husband did NOT have a TPM – only a PED for July 2020. Further, my husband personally spoke to Senior Counselor Youmans a (MSP) and Counselor Palmer (MSP) whom both confirmed that my husband did NOT have a TPM whatsoever. Yet, Chief Hawkins persisted and remained adamant in saying my Husband’s TPM was July 31, 2019.

On the afternoon of Thursday, July 25, 2019 I spoke with Chief Hawkins who then changed his statement now saying my husband in fact did NOT have a TPM at all and that, all along, my husband on had a PED for July, 2020.

Chief Hawkins has added additional stress, pain, and suffering to our family’s already sad and horrible situation. How can I fully explain this to our children? How do I share this devastating news to our family and friends? How is my husband expected to deal with yet another unwarranted shock and letdown? We did not ask for this unjust treatment.

It’s clear that Chief Hawkins actions have treated me, my children, and my husband with even greater cruel and unusual punishment than we’ve already been experiencing since February 27, 2019. Again, we did not ask for any of this emotional roller-coaster, mental anguish, harsh treatment, nor, frankly, this cruel “game” being played on us at every point in our travesty.

We also had 2 lawyers that advised us that they could help us and within a matter of months, both have dropped the case leaving my husband without any legal representation. 

Who is left who has any type of compassion?

[Mrs. Payne attached a character reference letter from the Mayor of their town that I cannot post until receiving his consent.]

Theresa A. Payne

Co-Founder at New Zion Assembly – The New Church

Founder at Focused On Purpose

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClYHWKWiOjR4T_ZTV3vYZCQ?view_as=subscriber

Like a Virgin by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sex sells! Ask any of the ladies (or men and children) of the night, if you don’t believe it; especially, in the City of Atlanta, Georgia.

Sex sales has always been popular and a “hot ticket” item in Atlanta. One thing that’s been true about Atlanta since I’ve been alive, is that no matter what a person was into, it was available in Atlanta or someone there could find it for the seeker.

Five years ago, in 2014, Atlanta held the Number One ranking in the United States for Sex Trafficking and still holds strong to its perverted image and statistic.

https://patch.com/georgia/buckhead/atlanta-ranked-no-1-for-sex-trafficking-conventions-to-blame

In 2018, the sex trade in Atlanta was still booming; especially, for sex trafficking children. https://www.wabe.org/sex-trafficking-in-atl-what-you-dont-see-behind-closed-doors/ Many children who are forced into sex trafficking lose their virginity by rape and physical abuse; something no person should have to endure.

With me having four granddaughters, when I heard about all of the reports on CNN and other news channels about children sex trafficking in Atlanta, I was thankful I did not know of anyone who had harmed either of my granddaughters, daughter, son or other family members. If someone had done that to a loved one and then been put near me or others inside the system who would volunteer to vindicate the injustice on my behalf, I would not have gotten out of prison.

Yes, that’s called vigilante justice and is unlawful but may sometimes be permissible, at least, by my immoral standards.

In federal prison I knew some of the convicted, Atlanta children sex traffickers, and several other people who committed sex crimes. I practiced living by spiritual principles to avoid being judgmental because of my desire to help them recover from their illness, in hope that my higher power, whom I chose to call God, could use me to help protect a child from future victimization if the person was released.

Struggle: Not to be Holier than Thou. Everyone may claim that he or she would never do something like that! But the truth is that, if, “WE” had experienced the same things in our lives that the other person had, we, too, may behave the same.

Okay, so you may wonder what’s the point of all this about the availability of Sex in the City? Well, from a personal perspective, with all of the available sex in the city, I have remained celibate, by choice, for decades. To me, that should give me the right to claim virginity again.

Most people walk out of prison doors with sex on the mind. I did, too, but knew better than to follow that line of thinking.

I explained my position in a blog I wrote before my release, and in my response to two of the most frequently asked questions: “Reentry Plans & a Friend Moves On

https://straightfromthepen.com/2018/07/16/reentry-plans-a-friend-moves-on/

“MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: What is the first thing you plan to eat? Where are you going to go eat at when you get out? What do you plan to do first? 🙂

“My response: I don’t know. I’m thinking of steak and lobster but when I see the price, I may change my mind to steak and shrimp or a Burger King Whopper or a Blizzard at Dairy Queen. Those prices may make me want to prepare my own meal. Then the grocery store prices may make me want to fast.

“I do plan to find a good paying job with benefits so I can afford to eat the way I prefer (healthy choices on most days).

[The good paying job with benefits hasn’t happened yet, and what I first ate was fruit brought to me by my family, per my request, because I didn’t want to stop to eat en route to the halfway house in Atlanta. I was offered my choice of a meal, steak and lobster or whatever. I chose healthy foods! Now I eat more junk food than anything.]

MOST POPULAR FREE ADVICE: Get a hooker because you’ll fall in love with the first woman you have sex with if you don’t. 🙂

“My response: I’m not walking out the door thinking with my penis. I’ve never paid for sex and I’m not starting when I get out of prison. I’ve been thirty years without getting laid and if I have to wait a little longer, I will survive.”

LADIES HANGING OUT INSIDE MARTA TRAIN STATION, ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Well, I have held strong and stuck to my plans but don’t think that it has been easy because it has not. My body has been willing and my mind eager to explore an intimate relationship, but my circumstances have prevented that from happening, and I don’t want to just use a woman for my sexual pleasures, so …. I remain more celibate than many priests.

I will continue to keep doing as I have: Acting like a virgin for the very first time and playing hard to get with all the beautiful young ladies who want my body. That is, until the right one comes along who is simply irresistible. 😉