All posts by WayneT Dowdy

Returning Citizens Are Misunderstood

The linked YouTube video relates to my experience as a Returning Citizen. Click the above thumbnail to watch the video on one of my YouTube channels that I hope you visit and subscribe, too. Be sure to click the Notification Bell to receive my latest content. Thanks! https://www.youtube.com/@straightfromthepen

Wayne T. Dowdy’s ANSWER TO A QUESTION

In my opinion, many Returning Citizens are Misunderstood by society, in general, because of the negative stereotypes generated by the few returning citizens who return to society and commit horrendous crimes.

Does Society Understand Returning Citizens Aren’t All Bad?

Years ago, it seems I read that (may be less or slightly more) only .25 percent of those released from prison actually committed such crimes, even though a staggering amount are released who are sent back to prison for various reasons. The ones who commit horrendous crimes receive all of the press coverage that leads to a misunderstanding about returning citizens. I don’t feel most people in society understands that only a few are really the bad ones.

For more answers to the question on Quora.com, “As an ex-convict, what are some things you wish more people understood before judging you?”, click the following link. Keep reading for my answer (BTW, that is a photo of me in 1985 at a podium in Atlanta, GA, giving a speech for the World of Work Program):

https://www.quora.com/As-an-ex-convict-what-are-some-things-you-wish-more-people-understood-before-judging-you

Graduation Ceremony for the World of Work in Atlanta, GA, 1985. Photo shown Wayne T. Dowdy

As an ex-convict, what are some things you wish more people understood before judging you?

That people change if they so choose, and that one thing ALL successful people have in common is a lot of failures. I stood at the podium in that photo in 1985 and failed to succeed as the one who did not return to prison, but that was then and this is now. That failure led me to today, where I am alive and free and will succeed to be The One.

And that, because I once lived my life without remorse for my actions, that does not mean I live that way now. That is so because I changed my life when I stopped using drugs and alcohol in 1995 and have since worked on becoming a better man and have succeeded.

Over the years I helped numerous others to change their lives by helping them recover from alcoholism and addiction issues. That is how I should be seen and recognized for, not for the many things I did when I was a young adult, who had a severe substance abuse problem, who made terrible mistakes.

While at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana, I sat in a Twelve Step meeting one Saturday morning in 2004. I had received a meaningful letter from a former member whom I met in prison, and who was then living his life as a free citizen.

In his letter, he thanked me for having helped him learn how to live his life without having to return to prison and expressed gratitude for me and the other members of the group in Lompoc, California, where I had known him.

Before the meeting I let a grandsponcee (the sponcee of a man I sponsored) read the letter. After the meeting had begun, he said, “Wayne, you aren’t going to read the letter to the group?”

Though reluctant to do so, I did. While reading it, I was overcome with gratitude and the tears of gratitude rolled down my cheeks.

During a recess break (I paused to wipe tears and struggled to continue reading), a member said, “Wayne’s becoming human again.”

I rejoined humanity and am a good person who contributes to the betterment of society, and it is for that I should be judged, but … I know there are some who can’t get by my past to see the present, and that is okay. I understand and that it is their loss to be so judgmental and prejudicial.

I’m okay and will succeed regardless of what the insignificants in life think or feel about me.


ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN BY WAYNE T. DOWDY


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I Am SimpliSafe Now

I am SimpliSafe now in my first house that I bought in September 2023. With me being a returning citizen who served over thirty years (1988-2018) in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, it makes me proud to show what I have accomplished since my release.

Buying a house and installing a SimpliSafe Home Security system are two of many things I’ve done that proves returning citizens can be successful.

And I am only one of thousands released from prisons across the United States and throughout the world to verify that statement.

SIMPLISAFE LIVE MONITORING

This is a view from my Inside Security Camera with active monitoring by SimpliSafe. Any movement inside the house triggers the alarm system when I am away.

And as this video from my Inside Security camera shows, even while in the house, I have the system set to record any activity. I’ve only accidently setoff my Extra Loud Alarm twice since installing the system. 🙂

The following video shows me trying to figure out if the doorbell camera was functioning properly that I had just installed, which is evident that it was by viewing this short clip. Only the first few seconds have any meaningful content.


I installed motion sensors in every room of the house to cover every entry point to keep my house secure when I am away. With my job being sixty miles from the house, I do a lot of traveling, so I felt safer once I had the system up and running to protect the most expensive investment I have ever made: a house.

SOCIAL MEDIA GROWTH

In addition to the above, one thing I began focusing on before my release was to establish a social media presence to increase my chance of success upon release.

To do so, I had a Facebook page set up shortly after becoming a published author in 2015, which is also when I paid my publisher to create this website with the primary purpose of advertising my books, and then it became much more than a platform for me to sell books.

Speaking of the such, if you would like to purchase either of my books, paperbacks may be found on Amazon.com and many other online retailers.

These are two of my favorites that I redone after I had access to the Internet and my Amazon account. Click on the covers to order or search the titles online for you favorite online bookseller:


If you have any questions you would like to ask about any issue, check out Quora.com. Here is a link to another blog I hope you can find time to check out, as well as the links to my YouTube channels (https://www.youtube.com/@straightfromthepen and https://www.youtube.com/@WayneTDowdy3).

Thanks for reading this blog and hopefully subscribing to my YouTube channels.


The following post concerns my content on Quora.com in response to the difference between serving a prison sentence in a State Prison versus the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons: https://straightfromthepen.com/2023/09/29/serving-time-in-federal-v-state-prison/

Happy Thanksgiving Day by Wayne T. Dowdy

I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving who celebrates the holiday.

I have many things to be thankful in life, especially for still having good health and a lot of people who love and care for me, of which I am truly grateful.

On the other side of the equation, I feel a sense of sadness for all of those who are suffering and struggling to get by in a cruel world. My thoughts and prayers go out to them, many of whom I am close to and love and care for on a personal level.

Having to accept that I am powerless and am often taken advantage of because of my kindness and compassion is no easy task, but I know God is in control and that everything happens according to His will for my life. I can only be responsible for my actions and will continue to be a kind, gentle, and loving person regardless of what life hands me, but I really do wish I could help others more than I do without harming myself in the process.

Being human is not always easy, but it sure beats being a turkey during the holiday season. 🙂

n

Great News for Returning Citizens


Walking out prison doors after an extended period poses many challenges, including the need to find employment and health insurance. Many states may offer programs to help returning citizens but some of the assistance is minimal.

Disclaimer: The following is not a suggestion to buy or purchase any product or service, even though I am an affiliate marketer. Always to your due diligence before buying or selling anything online. In the following paragraphs I mention Parks Insurance, which I did search online for any customer reviews, as I hope you will do. Most reviews were positive but I did find one negative review that did not go into much detail. ALWAYS be cautious about providing personal information without ensuring that it is safe.

In this blog I am happy to share an excerpt from the FairShake.net newsletter about FREE INSURANCE for returning citizens and their family members in all fifty states and US Territories. If interested, please contact Park Insurance Agency linked below to apply or to send the information to anyone you may know who is in prison or their family members, once you verify the service by searching for Customer Reviews.


SUE K. @ FAIRSHAKE.NET

Sue K owns FairShake.net and provides valuable information for the incarcerated and their families that she sends out in newsletters to select prisoner who sign up, and posts on the website. Here is some spectacular news that she reported in her most recent newsletter that I suggest you read in full at https://www.fairshake.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/FS-News-Philophobia.pdf

FREE INSURANCE!

“One year ago I reported on an opportunity for all returning citizens to receive free insurance. It was a new program, and I had no testimonies to share. Today I’m happy to report that it is available in every state! Parks Insurance Agency offers many benefits including zero-cost health plans, free physicals, prescription coverage for new and prior medications, access to recovery treatment, mental health counseling, doctor and hospital visits, and all pre-existing health conditions will be covered (i.e., asthma, diabetes, cancer, etc.). The benefits also extend to household family members upon your release. For more information contact: Parks Insurance Agency,153 S. Oakland Ave, Rock Hill SC29730 Phone:866-932-7200. Your supporters can find out more here: https://parksinsured.com/

Please check out this blog and sign up to subscribe to my YouTube channels to help support this website. Thank you!

FELONS ARE PEOPLE, TOO BY JOSEPH R. MAYS

[This post also appears on the page, Writings Straight from the Pen Felons Are People, Too is something people need to accept to help create positive change in society with thousands of felons walking the streets.]

This is a special post for all to read that I received through www.corrlinks.com, which is the electronic system used by federal and some state prisoners to send and receive email from an approved list of contacts.

The incarcerated individual (prisoner, inmate, convict, etc.) pays to access the Corrlinks side of the computer to read, type, send messages. And if wanted, to print anything from the system. When I left the system on 08/28/2018, the rates were $0.05 per minute to use the system to read or type emails, and $0.15 per page to print.

I’m not sure about the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons now, but to send in a message to someone held by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC), now I must pay $0.15 per message to send in; however, it is free for me to read or type messages. I only pay when I click SEND. I am not sure how much WDOC prisoner pays but will report it if requested.

Here is the message as received by a man in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, whose contact information appears at the end of his submission.

JOSEPH RANDOLPH MAYS on 10/2/2023 11:49:24 PM wrote
To whom it may concern:

As “More Than Our Crimes” co-founder Pam Bailey, and others in society, states, “We (felons) are MORE than our crimes. They DO NOT DEFINE US.”

     The message I am sending below confirms that statement and adds even more emphasis to those statements by letting all of you (felons) know that WE are STILL PEOPLE (HUMAN BEINGS) and are capable of redemption.

     United States v. Davila, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147736, at *6-7, (2d Cir 2023)

B. Felons are “People.”

     … In particular, the Court DOES NOT accept the Government’s assertion that felons are wholly excluded from “the people” to whom the Second Amendment speaks. See U.S. Const., amend. II (“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”).

     The Supreme Court has ALREADY HELD that “THE PEOPLE” protected by the Second Amendment –  much like “THE PEOPLE”protected by the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments – “refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.” United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265, 110 S. Ct. 1056, 108 L. Ed. 2d 222 (1990). Moreover, “the term unambiguously refers to ALL MEMBERS of the political community, not an unspecified subset.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 580. There is NO BASIS for reading “THE PEOPLE” in the text of the Second Amendment to exclude felons.

    I thought people who are currently and/or formerly felons would love to hear this, especially with stigmas in our country’s laws and society about felons in general.

     Please take care and have a very, very good day.

Sincerely,


Joseph R. Mays, 43487-007
FCI Victorville II Medium (D-Lower 218U)
PO BOX 3850
Adelanto, CA 92301


PRISON CORRUPTION in GA by Wayne T. Dowdy

Prison Corruption in GA is not new. The system was corrupt when I grew up in it during the 70s-80s. If you want to learn more about the growing prison corruption since my departure and graduation into the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (1988-2018), read this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on Georgia Prison Corruption: https://www.ajc.com/news/investigations/prisons-inside-job/

I spent many years of my life inside the Georgia Criminal Justice System, beginning as a juvenile and graduating through the system until I finally reached The Big House (Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, Georgia), known for its high-level of violence and racism, some of which was promoted by prison staff. A few corrupt prison guards at the Georgia State Prison assisted prisoners by bringing in weapons, etc. for use in racial conflicts (Divide and Conquer).

During my many years on the Inside, with my mindset at that stage of life, I would have thrived because of my addiction issues with drugs and alcohol. To support my bad habits, I would have been one of the prisoners who sought corrupt prison officials to bring in drugs, drug paraphernalia, and had cellphone existed at the time, those, too.

Now that I live a different life, I see what is going on from a different perspective: people losing their lives due to the lifestyle that comes with the territory.

Corruption will always exist as long as there is a demand for the goods. Of course, as several prisons experienced, drones assist the process as well as corrupt prison officials. For me, I remain grateful for not living that life anymore, and for my sobriety that began when I was at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

More by Wayne T. Dowdy

Check out some of my content on Quora.com on Life Inside and Out and some of my most popular articles/answers on my profile page: https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy

Not Forgotten by Wayne T. Dowdy

July 30, 2023: I haven’t forgotten the need for criminal justice reform and other issues related to the incarcerated and returning citizens. The reality is that I am still working a forty hour job, and providing content for two YouTube channels (https://www.youtube.com/@WayneTDowdy3/about and https://www.youtube.com/@straightfromthepen/about) that I hope you will subscribe to and choose to receive notifications of my latest videos. I do thank you in advance!


Today I spent over two hours reconstructing a previous blog I wrote in hope of inspiring others to Fight for Change (Fight for Change by Wayne T. Dowdy). During the transition/migration from StraightfromthePen.com being hosted on WordPress.com to FastComet.com, a lot of the photos didn’t come with the migration process, or I did something to damage the contents by using a plugin (SMUSH) or other program.

In Fight for Change, several letters I used to support what I wrote failed to appear and were not in my Media Library, so I had to find them in another area of my massive database to update this important blog.

Now that I have a larger audience on social media platforms, especially Quora.com and YouTube, I can push some of my political agendas as time permits. Feel free to contact me if you have a submission you would like for me to consider or a suggestion. Thank you!

Authority by Wayne T. Dowdy

Today I experimented with a new app to convert text-to-speech and didn’t succeed at what I planned on doing with it on my YouTube channel, @straightfromthepen, but I did learn how to use the program. I am sharing this audio clip I created from my personal magazine, Essays & More Straight from the Pen, which may be purchased on Amazon.com and from numerous other sources, in paperback or as an eBook. I will include the Amazon.com link after the audio clip I hope you enjoy.

Authority from Essays & More Straight from the Pen