Monthly Archives: July 2021

Successful Returning Citizen

The bridge between successful reentry for returning citizens and recidivism may be a narrow path to follow but those who chose to become productive members of society learn to cross it and to stay focused on living a new way of life.  Dr. K. and I are only two examples of those who continue to be success stories by choosing not to return to old behaviors.

In this blog I am giving props to Dr. K., because I am proud of him for satisfying the full term of his court mandated supervised release. Supervised release in the federal system is the same as parole in state systems.

Dr. K. is a man I helped a few years ago to win a post-conviction relief motion. 

He won his case in federal court and left the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons several years before his original release date.  He remains a free man and is living his new life as a truck driver/owner/operator.

In one of my favorite blogs, Out of Many (Out of Many | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN), I mentioned Dr. K. for giving me one of his magazines to read that I used to write the blog.  He also used to encourage me to write from a more positive perspective, rather than the negative one I used to shoot daggers into an issue or public individual I found offensive.

Dr. K., like me, walked out of the prison doors with a goal in mind related to helping others to successfully reintegrate into society.  I sought to use straightfromthepen.org and straightfromthepen.net to challenge the status quo of mass incarceration, and he the creation of a non-profit organization geared toward providing resources to help returning citizens.  After our release, mine of which came much later, both of us ran into an issue of not having public support to accomplish our goals.  That hasn’t stopped either from continuing to live our lives in a productive manner that does not include committing crimes.

Prison life often divides people because of its racial nature.

He is an African American and I am of the lighter persuasion.  Our racial and cultural differences never interfered with our bond as friends while working in the Quality Management office for an ISO certified factory, or when walking an asphalt track to discuss events or to plot the next legal move in his case. 

The main thing today is that we remain free and strive to be successful as returning citizens to show others that positive change is possible and that our past does not define who we are today.  Our lives show that returning citizens can stay out of prison to become part of the solution (being a positive role in society) instead of part of the problem (another number in the recidivism column for Mass Incarceration).

I’ll close with an excerpt from Out of Many

“UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL:  Our beliefs and values may unite or divide us; whether based on racial or cultural differences or similarities, religion, politics, fears, sexual preference or identity, and a whole array of other reasons.  

“How do we keep from falling?  Join hands and accept each other so we can work together to survive this thing we call life.  If each of us represents a ‘cell’ of the humanity organism, those who damage and injure others are the cancers of society, driven by hate and indifference.” Wayne T. Dowdy, Out of Many.

Could Be Me

But for the Grace of God There Go I

Provide Treatment for Addiction Problems to Reduce Recidivism

July 11, 2021: I am reposting this blog because of its importance to me and millions of others. Had I not changed my life in 1995 while inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I would never have lived long enough to walk out of the prison doors. Today I have a life worth living because I dealt with the interpersonal issues I had that kept me caught up in my addition and in prison for the majority of my life.

I am evidence that miracles happen.

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

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

Combine Treatment for Both Issues to Change Lives.

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

(For more on the study and its findings, read “No Sympathy” on this site)

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

The Sun magazine Readers Write topic: Up All Night

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

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

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

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

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

Wayne T. Dowdy

PriceWaiter Affiliate

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PriceWaiter is one of the companies I promote because I believe the company really does help people to save money. In addition to that, if someone purchases a product from PriceWaiter by going through any links in this blog, I will receive a small commission and will be grateful. I thank you in advance!

For those reentering society, saving money may make a big difference in their outcome; however, finding a great deal won’t make a difference unless that person committed to change their lifestyle.

On a personal level, I made a choice that returning to criminal activity was not an option. I gave enough of my life to living on the Other Side and am not willing to do anything that could cause me to have to return to the environment I hated. Returning to it would only help the System grow bigger and stronger. That is why I changed my life (I do not want to be a part of the Mass Incarceration in America. My actions must show I do not want to return to a life spent behind bars, hoping for better days).

Today, I hope for better days as a returning citizen, one who becomes a success story to show others it can be done. I refuse to give up fighting for a new life, a better life, which is a driving force behind me and my promotion of PriceWaiter and other companies who allow me to earn a small commission if anyone uses the links I provide on this website or others to buy any items, regardless of the particular item I may promote.

In the following example, I am promoting PriceWaiter’s discounts on electronics; however, many others are available, including appliances (33% off), and many others you love.

These kind of deals are hard to beat. PriceWaiter strives to get customers the best price available.

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My hope is that you, the reader, will visit PriceWaiter and find substantial savings. PriceWaiter will help you negotiate lower prices. Check ’em out! Thanks!

Please post a comment or send an email to waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com to voice your honest opinion about PriceWaiter or any other affiliate company, and whether you purchased an item so I can verify that I am being paid. Thank you!

Independence Day 2021 by Wayne T. Dowdy

Leaving the Past Behind

Happy Independence Day to those who celebrate America’s independence for traditional reasons.

In 2020 I wrote about my personal perspective on Independence Day which may be read by clicking this link: Happy Independence Day | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN.

Independence Day means freedom for me. In that blog I included another link for the historical aspect of Independence Day. Please feel free to read.

Today I am wishing a Happy Independence Day to those who may have freed themselves from an abusive, unhealthy relationship. For those who may still be trapped in one, I hope the day comes where you, too, find freedom from the one who mistreats you and fails to provide the love, respect and kindness you deserve.

Do not hesitate to seek professional assistance if needed.

Never lose hope!

For me, I continue my fight against recidivism (not returning to old behaviors with negative consequence (addiction, crime, etc.)), and to help others to live their lives where it is not necessary to revert to old, destructive, and unhealthy behaviors.

My focus today is to become a successful affiliate marketer and entrepreneur, as well as to begin my long-term goal of building a business that makes the world a better place, to help others to live better lives, and to reduce the damage we do to Mother Earth.

May the remainder of 2021 bring each of you an abundance of love, good health, and the successes in life you desire.


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