Monthly Archives: November 2020

Gratitude 2020 by Wayne T. Dowdy

No Turkeys

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

I am Blessed by the Best!

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

The most import is Love

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

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

FROM THE INSIDE

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

“Greetings,

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

Happy Thanksgiving,

Peace,

Chuck”

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

CHARLES R DENNING, # 21317-045

USP TERRE HAUTE

P.O. BOX 33

TERRE HAUTE, IN  47808

TECHNOLOGY

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

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

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

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

Positive Note

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

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

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

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

Miracles happen!  Never lose hope.


Leaving Shawshank (last blog from prison)

 by

Jeffrey P. Frye

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

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

Enter Ms. Ann W, Esq.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeffrey P. Frye

11/24/2020

murderslim.com

The Ex-Bank Robber’s Blog

bankblogger.weebly.com

Too Late for Torrick

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

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

That changed on November 20, 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Automated Message

CorrLinks
Tue, Nov 17, 4:50 AM

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

Inmate Locator (bop.gov)


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

BOP Press Release

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

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

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

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

Click to access 20201116-press_release_spg.pdf

Last Correspondence with Torrick

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

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

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

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

CONCLUSION

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

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

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

Happy Veterans Day 2020

Photo by Jason Dam on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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