All posts by waynetdowdy

About waynetdowdy

A Georgia native who grew up in the Atlanta area, the city of dreams, movie stars, and opportunities to become the best.

Happy Independence Day

Last year I wrote a more formal blog on Independence Day in America. Most of the facts and sentiments remain the same, so if you want to read about that, click Here.

For this post, I am writing about my personal independence that is more important to me than any celebrated holiday in America or anywhere else.

Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. Patriotic, my Independence Day comes first: I won’t grab a gun and run out to get shot defending some political enemy of no interest to me.

Now, if an invader came to America and the United States government didn’t want to put me in prison for the rest of my life for picking up a firearm, then Yes, I would pick up a weapon to defend this nation. But that is not the case today.

My Independence Day began when I stopped allowing my addictions to control my behavior back in 1995. Twenty-five years later, I maintain that sense of freedom that I gained when I put down the spike and stopped trying to take myself out, one day at a time.

Today I live my life, one day at a time and don’t feel the need to use any mind-altering substance to alter my perception of life.

I like seeing things as they are and don’t need to alter my perception to deal with all of the BS going on in America today and around the world.

It is what it is and I can’t change anything outside myself.

So today, that is my Independence: freedom from the chains of addiction that kept me enslaved to finding a way and means to get more that was never enough.

When I ran out, I felt worse than miserable, and the problem was that I did run out and could not get what I wanted when I wanted it, and that really pissed me off and made me a really difficult person to deal with who I grew to despise when I looked in the mirror.

NOW that I am free and have come to terms with my past, life is good and I just do the next right thing and know that everything will work out just the way it is supposed to for me.

And so today and every day, I celebrate my independence and am thrilled and happy to be here, with “here” meaning still in existence, because I know that it is only by the grace of God, my higher power, that I lived to fight another day and come out the victor in my battle of addiction that went on for over twenty-five years before I got the courage to stand up and fight for my right to be free. I broke the chains and ran into a bright new future: free.

COVID-19 AND BOP

Photo by Edward Jenner on Pexels.com

The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) reported having a new deputy director on June 5, 2020. Though not said, I suspect the former deputy director exited due to his mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the federal prison system. After the BOP Director testified before Congress on June 2, 2020, the appointment of the new Deputy Director was reported three days later. Read the BOP Director’s written statement before Congress here.

To show the severity of COVID-19’s effect inside the BOP, I showed a comparison between COVID-19 cases in Henry County, Georgia, and the BOP.

On June 28, 2020, the website for the Georgia Department of Public Health reported the top five counties in Georgia for COVID-19 cases as follows. (See the latest update by clicking the link below the chart.)

CountyConfirmed CasesHospitalizations Deaths
Gwinnett7685985169
Fulton66101058311
DeKalb5448870171
Cobb4607848240
Non-Georgia Resident441020243
https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Dekalb County, Georgia had 759,297 residents on July 1, 2019.

Dekalb County, with over 550,000 more people than the UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS, staff included, has had 171 deaths due to COVID-19.

On June 28, 2020, 89 inmates and one reported BOP staff member had died due to COVID-19.

“06/28/2020 – The BOP has 131,667 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 13,436 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 1,422 federal inmates and 137 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 5,114 inmates and 574 staff have recovered. There have been 89 federal inmate deaths and 1 BOP staff member death attributed to COVID-19 disease.” WWW.BOP.GOV

Hopefully, the incoming BOP Director will be proactive about halting the spread of the Coronavirus inside the system. Several inmates have reported to me about the BOP’s continued practice of putting inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 in the same living areas with those who were not infected. This is especially true at the complex in Butner, NC that has had a combined total of twenty-three inmate deaths and the one staff death.

Click here for books related to COVID-19


Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns: Part 1: Introduction and Death Counts and Estimates by Alex Berenson (Author)

COVID-19: The Pandemic that Never Should Have Happened and How to Stop the Next One by Debora MacKenzie (Author)

Happy Father’s Day-2020

Photo by Josh Willink on Pexels.com

Note: This is a repost from last year that remains as meaningful on this Father’s Day as in 2019

Happy Father’s Day to the Fathers, Stepfathers, and all those good men who took on fathership to fill in for or to be that special person in the life of a precious child or children.

May God Shower You with Many Blessings. Thank you!

Let’s not forget those special men and women who play the role of both parents who give their offspring or the children whose lives became a part of, the love and attention each child deserves.

Thanks for being Extra Special!


*****

Give Dad an Amazon eGift Card to make him smile and to show him how much he is appreciated. Click here

George Floyd Matters

Yes, George Floyd mattered.

Photo by Life Matters on Pexels.com

What happens to one person may happen to another and another and another, until those of us who do not fit into the perfect mold or preferred social class no longer exists. That is one reason why the death of George Floyd and others matter who died because of police brutality or other unjustified reasons/causes.

A fellow blogger who is incarcerated and others have written negatively about the media focus and social uprisings related to the death of George Floyd, a convicted felon, a person who was alleged to have been violating the law before his untimely and wrongful death.

A man with a colorful past wrote a poem that tells why people should be concerned about George Floyd’s death, and all of the other men and women who died at the hands of other people; whether by law enforcement officials, at the hands of racists, by gang violence, being on the wrong side of group protests, or by any other method that deprived someone of their right to live.

Pastor Martin Niemöller, a former part of Nazi Germany who changed his ways and beliefs, wrote the following poem. Interchange any of the labels with the others often given to dehumanize other people:

“They” may be any person belonging to a group or who has a belief system based on race, religion, sex, sexual preference, political affiliations, or any group whose favor one does not fall, whether based on skin tone, socio-economic status, or any other factor used to justify wrongful actions.

This is a poem that I first heard as No Else Around (apparently based on First They Came), which I will use to show why George Floyd and those who differ, or who otherwise come from a different socio-economic class, should matter to everyone who qualifies as a member of the human race.

First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Christians, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Christian.

Then they came for the prisoners, and I did not speak out—because I was not a prisoner.

Then they came for the Blacks, and I did not speak out—because I was not Black.

Then when they came for me there was no one else around to speak for me.

******

We are all in this together, what happens to one may happen to another. All lives matter who belong to the human race.


At no additional cost to you, I receive a small commission if you purchase a product or service advertised through this website. Thank you!

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and uprooting racism and inequality in our society—and in ourselves.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

Get the audiobook of How to be an Antiracist with a FREE 30-day trial of Audible

Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans available to read all of your favorite eBooks on Amazon Kindle. Join Today!

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

National Book Critics Circle Award Winner
New York Times Bestseller
New York Times Notable Book of the Year
Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book of the Year
Boston Globe Best Book of 2016
Chicago Review of Books Best Nonfiction Book of 2016

From the Civil War to our combustible present, White Rage reframes our continuing conversation about race, chronicling the powerful forces opposed to black progress in America–now in paperback with a new afterword by the author, acclaimed historian Carol Anderson.

Start a 30-day free trial of Audible and get the audiobook free White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide

What We Know by Wayne T. Dowdy

The following article was my submission for possible publication in a book that I submitted over a year ago. I include excerpts from some of my published materials and blogs that relate to the topic of recidivism, returning to old behaviors. My writing was not accepted for inclusion in the book but I do want my thoughts and ideas to be read, so I am posting it for the world see. 🙂

Though parts of the former submission may be outdated, the principles and concepts that I present are not, since not a lot has changed, per se. Millions of people remain in prison across the United States of America; especially, those who suffer from mental conditions and addiction problems.

Maybe something I wrote will encourage someone to do something that leads to changes in the status quo of mass incarceration in America.

What We Know

What we know is that America has a severe problem with recidivism that costs victims of recidivist immeasurable amounts of pain and suffering, and American citizens billions of dollars.  My story shows the high-cost of recidivism and major problems within our Criminal Justice System and its policies.  How do we reduce recidivism rates?  Does the answer lie in reentry initiatives, preventative measures, sentencing factors?  All the above, perhaps?

In 1988 I recidivated and spent thirty-years in federal prison and am part of the problem.  I offer a unique perspective to help change the status quo.  My goal is to use my vast experience in corrections to become part of the solution in penance of my debt to society.

First, to establish my qualifications to write on the selected subject, I’ll summarize selected points of my extensive criminal history, which began with my first arrest in 1969 for the burglary of a school, at the age of twelve, and continued until my last arrest on August 18, 1988, for the charges that I will write about later.

My criminal activities as a child lead to at least twenty arrests as a juvenile; all arrests related to my drug and alcohol problem, the true reason behind me costing taxpayers over a million dollars that I will show in association with me spending most of my life confined behind barbwire fences lined with rows of razor wire.  For clarity and to offer an excuse for the negative behaviors I displayed for decades of life, when I was eleven-years-young, I began using LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) and other mind-altering substances.  My life of substance abuse continued for 26 years, 3 months, 18 days (I stopped using April 5, 1995).  From the time of my first childhood arrest, I did not stay out of jail or some type of confinement for more than six months, until 1976 after release from my first adult prison sentence, when I served thirteen months in prison for a burglary to steal guns.  That time I almost made it two years without an arrest.  On August 28, 1978, I landed in jail for stealing a car and robbing three drug stores at gunpoint.

Two armed robberies and the car theft happened in Dekalb County, Georgia.  The other robbery occurred in Paulding County, Dallas, Georgia.  Though not charged for assault with a dangerous weapon and discharging a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence, during the Paulding County robbery, the pharmacist refused to comply with my demands and I struck him upside the head with a pistol that discharged a round into the wall, crimes of which if committed today and if charged with then, would have kept me caged for life.  

I suffered from mental illness back then.  I went to trial and a psychiatrist testified that I could not differentiate between right and wrong.  The jury didn’t accept the guilty by reason of insanity defense and found me guilty as charged.  I did not receive help for my psychiatric issues.  The judge sentenced me to twenty-years, serve eight, balance probated and then I went to Dekalb County to face charges.  Though I planned to stay out of prison upon release after the first time, I did not, because I returned to using drugs and made terrible decisions.  Drug addiction lead to me robbing those drug stores in 1978 and the courts sentencing me to multiple sentences for a total of fifteen-years to serve and five-years of probation.  I didn’t complete the original sentences before picking up additional charges for new crimes committed while in prison.

In 1981 I assaulted two correctional officers while they were trying to get another prisoner under control, the prisoner of whom went into the gymnasium bathroom to pick up drugs stashed for him to pick up.  He owed me two ounces of marijuana.  For that incident, the disciplinary committee sentenced me to two-consecutive, fourteen-day sentences in solitary confinement.  The State of Georgia charged me with two counts of mutiny in a penal institution.  I laughed when the person serving the warrants told me of the charges.

“Mutiny, I wasn’t on a battleship,” I said.

I didn’t laugh when sentenced to two more years for committing the crimes.

After I got out of the hole for those charges, I got into more trouble and ended up back in the hole and then when I went to trial, and the jury found me guilty of the charges I’ll discuss next, the court sentenced me to four consecutive years.  The two-year sentence for the mutiny charges ran concurrent with the four, consecutive to the original sentences.

For the Dekalb County crimes, I accepted a 15-year plea agreement after a psychiatric examination proved more harmful than helpful.  At twenty-one-years old, those fifteen years seemed like life imprisonment when I calculated being thirty-six before getting out.  My plan was to leave when possible.  I did.  Three years into the sentence, I escaped from Coastal Correctional Institution in Garden City, Georgia.

In June of 1981, several prisoners planned to escape Saturday night.  An associate asked if I wanted to escape with them?  I declined.

They didn’t leave on Saturday, and then on Sunday when I didn’t get a planned visit, I became depressed and changed my mind about leaving.  On Sunday night, myself and ten others escaped by climbing two chain link fences.  The first fence, five feet high, the other twelve with an inward facing arm, three feet long and strung with barbwire.  The arm of the extension set at a forty-five-degree angle, facing the institution.  To get to the fences, a prisoner nicknamed Tiny lured a guard into a trap.  The guard stood above six feet tall, Tiny near five, so it is logical to assume the guard didn’t feel threatened by him and violated the security protocol by opening the Control Room door to hand Tiny an electric razor.  Tiny grabbed and held him until reinforcements arrived who were hid in a blind stairway.  I waited in another corridor for the takeover and the opening of the doors.  Moment later, the outside doors opened.

I ran five-to-six hundred yards across a field to the fences.  Before I made it to the first fence, a correctional officer driving a security vehicle had stopped and was firing a shotgun at the other escapees who had cleared the tallest fence.  I barely slowed until I landed in the sand trap between the two fences.  I climbed the second one, the tallest.  When I reached the three-foot extension, I grabbed hold of its arm and pulled my body up to the barbwire strands, and then used my hands to swing from strand to strand until I reached the top row.  I threw my right arm over the top strand.  A barb pierced my bicep.  I jumped after clearing the wire. 

The guard fired again.  A pellet struck Tiny in his foot and caused him to stumble before he fell to the ground.  The gun bucked from the blast.  I ran a few feet before I hit the ground awaiting the buck of the gun from the next blast, which hit another prisoner in his shoulder.  He staggered from the impact but continued running to the woods.  Tiny jumped up and ran with me into the woods before the guard could fire again.  The guard may have had to reload, but whatever the case may be, I got away without taking any lead with me into the Woodline.

I separated from the rest of the escapees.  Running through the woods, I tripped over vines and fell into a gulley in the dark forest, but I still get away before the hound dogs arrived.  A helicopter flew above the forest shining a light through the treetops.  To avoid detection, I stayed in the shadow of the trees and once had to pull bushes over myself to avoid detection as the helicopter passed over.  Helicopters did not have heat sensors in those days.

I made it out of the woods a few hours later, where I stole a car from the parking lot of an aircraft manufacturer.  I would have stolen an airplane if I had known how to fly one.  Soon thereafter, I saw a railroad crossing with two guards posted waving for me to stop.  I didn’t.  I almost ran over them instead.  A mile down the road, I did the same thing.  A chase car got behind me when I made it to the next road.  A high-speed chase followed but not for long. The car I stole only ran a little over a hundred miles per hour, wide-open.  Police cruisers ran a hundred and forty.  The pursuing police officers boxed me in with their cars and captured me.  Before I got out of the car with my hands in the air, a prison van pulled alongside one of the police cruisers.  The cops put me in the prison van and ended my wild escapades.

Those events lead me to the Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia, where the state kept the worst-of-the-worst, a prison plagued with violence.  Because of all the violence and state officials refusing to follow a federal court order to improve living conditions, stop the racism, and brutality, the federal government implemented processes to begin a takeover.  Part of that process included appointing a federal monitor to oversee the lawsuit and placing a federal warden over the institution.  

Someone cut the tires on the warden’s vehicle.

I assume that the family clans did not like that the Feds sent in a foreigner to disrupt their running of the prison, and wanted to let him know that he wasn’t wanted in those parts of the woods. He did not leave.

Another process formed was the creation of the Staff Inmate Communication Committee (SICC).  White and Black prisoners in each living unit elected a white and black representative to help reduce prison violence.  My peers chose me to represent their interest, thus I became a spokesperson and received copies of all legal documents filed in the litigation.  I fought and succeeded at helping to change the prison, as I am fighting now to change the system.

In 1982 the federal government reported that GSP was the most violent prison in the United States.  I argued the issue with a federal monitor because New Mexico prisoners had rioted and killed more people than prisoners had killed in Reidsville.

The federal monitor replied, “The New Mexico incident was during a time of rioting.  During the normal run of the prison, y’all have had six-murders, fifty inmate-to-inmate attacks, and thirty-five inmate-to-staff attacks, with fewer prisoners than New Mexico.  That is what makes this prison the most violent in the United States.”

Events almost kept me in prison the rest of my life, because another prisoner wanted a transfer to another prison, he and others lied and said I killed a person, one of the six murders in 1982.  I was innocent of the actual murder, but that incident made me realize I needed to change my life, and that’s when I began.  Several years later, I made parole.

On August 1, 1985, I completed my commitment to a halfway house in Atlanta, Georgia and made parole.  I did not plan to reoffend.  I wanted to be a successful law-abiding citizen and did well until, once again, I returned to using drugs and that always lead me back to prison.

Now to my last arrest and conviction.  Tennessee state police arrested me August 18, 1988, in Campbell County, Tennessee, for possession of explosives (firecrackers and a hand grenade that was a dud), possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a firearm and ammunition, and possession of stolen credit cards.  At first, I was under an alias.  No other charges filed, other than me using a stolen credit card to rent and not return the car I was driving when arrested.  The actual charge was theft by taken motor vehicle.

I agreed to extradition to face the Theft by Taken Motor Vehicle charge in Gwinnett County, Lawrenceville, Georgia.  A few days after my arrival in Georgia, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Georgia Bureau of Investigation called me out for questioning on the armed bank robbery of the Bank of Dawson County, Dawsonville, Georgia.  I refused to cooperate and laughed when the investigating agents tried the Good Guy/Bad Gay routine to elicit a confession. 

A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agent jumped from his seat, knocking it over, and then said, “You think this is funny.  They’re trying to put armed robbery charges on you and I’m going to make sure you get more.”

I laughed again.  I knew my life was over and figured I’d die in prison anyway, so it didn’t matter anymore.  I screwed up really bad this time, I thought.  Within thirty-six hours, I had four counts of armed robbery, two counts of false imprisonment, and two weapon charges to go with the theft by taking motor vehicle charge.  That was before the FBI filed the federal charges.  I knew my life was over and contemplated suicide to shorten the process.  I’m glad I changed my mind and have lived to see this day as I type.

Back to the last crimes and convictions:  On November 10, 1988, a federal jury found me guilty after a four-day trial for the following crimes committed June 21, 1988:

1) armed bank robbery (Title 18 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), §§ 2113(a)(d)); 2) abduction of a person to facilitate commission of an offense (18 U.S.C., § 2113(e)); 3) conspiracy to commit bank robbery (18 U.S.C., § 371) (the charge that lead to convictions on all other counts), and 4) use of a weapon during commission of a crime of violence (18 U.S.C., § 924(c)).

The court delayed sentencing due to a pending case before the United States Supreme Court.  On February 24, 1989, a federal judge sentenced me to 420-months (300-months on Count 1, 360-months on Count 2, sixty-months on Count 3, all concurrent (running together), and sixty-consecutive months on Count 4).  I did not walk out the prison doors without handcuffs on my wrists, a belly-chain around my waist, and shackles on my legs, until August 28, 2018, before I left the institution en route to Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia.  Dismas Charities is a privately-owned halfway house/residential reentry center (RRC).

RECIDIVISM IN AMERICA: WHAT WE CAN DO

Today I write as a professional and have spent hundreds of dollars to make a difference through my writing resources and otherwise, in penance for the harms I caused society with my criminal behavior and lifestyle.  

The Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new study (“2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-up Period (2005-2014),” NCJ250975, May 2018), a follow-up to the 5-year study relied upon for comparison by the ex-director (“Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” NCJ244205, April 2014).

The May 2018 study revealed an Eighty-three percent (83%) recidivism rate during the 9-year follow-up period, and that shows the seriousness of recidivism in America and the need for a magic elixir that does not exist.  However, even if there isn’t a magic elixir, we can reduce recidivism by ending financial incentives for politicians who make laws and policies that fuel mass incarceration.  Positive change will be slow until lawmakers stop state and federal funding for private prisons.  In the conclusion I will offer suggestions to reduce recidivism and help to create more productive members of society in the process.

The 2017 annual cost of incarceration for federal prisoners was $36,299.25 ($99.45 per day).  Federal Register, Vol. 78, No. 52 (03/18/13), and Vol. 83, No. 83 (04/30/18). 

TREAT THOSE WITH ADDICTION PROBLEMS & DUAL DISORDERS

In December of 2002, USA TODAY published an article “Study: treat addicts’ mental illness,” by Marilyn Elias, 12/02/02, USA TODAY newspaper.  According to Charles Curie of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, about one third of drug and alcohol abusers have an underlying mental disorder.  In a Pennsylvania state prison study around the same time, researchers determined that 85% of Pennsylvania prisoners had addiction problems, with half of them (42.5%) having an underlying mental disorder.  Mr. Curie stated in the same article, “That’s typical of prison systems nationally.  And we know if these inmates recover from the disorders, they’re unlikely to repeat crimes.”  Think about that statement: “inmates …, unlikely to repeat crimes.”

Those were high numbers to ignore for those wanting to reduce recidivism, considering that reducing it would decrease state and federal deficits.  Of what should be of greater significance to policy makers is helping other human beings to become productive members of society.  With it being 2019, sixteen years passed since the release of that study.  To date, the Federal Bureau of Prisons only has one facility that treats those with dual disorders (Lexington, Kentucky), but some states have implemented more of such programs and seen positive results.

I am one of the fortunate ones from the federal system who received treatment for both disorders while in prison, long before the authors released the study.  My success verifies the study findings.  I was a model prisoner for several years before my release.  I behaved in a constructive manner and helped others learn to live as law abiding citizens by practicing Twelve Step principles.  Now I am a productive member of society because I am applying what I learned in prison.  

Studies on recidivism shown in 1997, that 67.5 percent of prisoners released three years earlier were re-arrested, amounting in a five percent increase from those released in 1983.  The re-arrest rate for drug offenders rose from 50.4 percent in 1993 to 66.7 percent in 1994.  Before the 2018 study, which is a follow up to the 2005-2010 study, showed those numbers increased to 76.9 percent, and then to the staggering eighty-three percent after adding four years to the study period, all of which shows a growing problem within the Criminal Justice System.

In April 2014, the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Statistics, released study NCJ244205 “Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” by Matthew R. Durose, Alexia D. Cooper, Ph. D, and Howard N. Snyder, PhD, BJS Statisticians.  The study expanded to include statistics for a five-year period, compared to the typical three-year studies.  The five-year study showed 67.8 percent of prisoners released had been arrested for a “new crime” within three years of release, and 76.6 percent within five years.

Here’s the numbers for relevant offender categories:

1) property offenders 82.1% (burglary (81.8%), larceny/motor vehicle theft (84.1%), fraud/forgery (77.0%), other (83.6%));
2) drug offenders 76.9% (possession (78.3%), trafficking (75.4%), other (78.1%)).
3) public order offenders 73.6% (weapons (79.5%), driving under the influence (59.9%), other (77.9%)).

Ironically, violent offenders came up last: 71.3% for re-offenders (homicide (51.2%); murder (47.9%); non-negligent manslaughter (55.7%); negligent manslaughter (53.0%)’ rape/sexual assault (60.1%); robbery (77.0%); assault (77.1%), and other (70.4%)).

FEDERAL RECIDIVISM STUDY:  In the recidivism study by the United States Sentencing Commission, “The Commission studied offenders who was either released from federal prison after serving a sentence of imprisonment or placed on a term of probation in 2005.”

STUDY NUMBERS: Offense Types and recidivism rates were as follows: Drug Trafficking (41.7%), Fraud (13.6%), Firearms (12.8%), Robbery (4.3%), Larceny (3.9%), Immigration (3.5%), and ALL Other (20.3%).

DEMOGRAPHIC CHARACTERISTICS OF RECIDIVISM STUDY: The first numbers are those in the study, whereas the second number represents offenders sentenced in 2014, after the eight-year study period ended: 81.7% – 81.2% were Male offenders.  White offenders led at 43.7% – 38.1%, followed by Blacks at 33.9% – 32.7%, Hispanics at 17.8% – 23.4%, and other races at 4.6% – 5.8%.

EDUCATE TO REDUCE RECIDIVISM: Post-Secondary Education Reduces Recidivism!  In the study, 34.3% did not graduate high school, compared to 36.6% who did; 21.4% had some college, and only 7.5% were college graduates.

OTHER RESULTS OF RECIDIVISM STUDIES: 49.3 percent of those released were rearrested for a new crime or rearrested for a violation of supervised release (e.g., failing to pass a urine analysis, failure to report to the supervised release officer; leaving without permission from a halfway house, perimeter of home confinement area or the state; violating state or federal laws, etc.). “Recidivism Among Federal Offenders: A Comprehensive Overview,” United States Sentencing Commission, March 2016.

The 2014 and 2018 studies show recidivism decreases as age increases.

FUNDING NEW RECIDIVISM REDUCTION PROGRAMS

Releasing qualifying elderly offenders who complete the recidivism reduction programs outlined at the end of this section will save billions of dollars to use for funding other programs with minimal risk to society. Reducing this category saves a lot because incarcerating the elderly costs the most.

This section targets a large segment of inmate populations and thus saves hundreds of billions, even with only marginal success. The cost savings will supply more resources for managing other aspects of the criminal justice system.

Let us assume Mr. Curie is correct (“[W]e know if these inmates recover from the disorders, they’re unlikely to repeat crimes”).  Based upon that premise, if ten percent of released inmates received treatment for dual disorders, while inside and did not recidivate by committing more crimes, then each ex-offender saves the criminal justice system a minimum of $25,000 per years, not including associated savings gathered from not spending money to arrest and re-prosecute the offender.  

The Department of Justice could apply those savings to revamping correctional systems with more psychiatrists, psychologists, and addiction specialists needed to reduce recidivism rates that fuels Mass Incarceration in America.

Using 2,000,000 as a base figure, and $25,000 as the cost of incarceration to accommodate the lower cost of housing healthier prisoners in state-and privately-owned prisons, if 85% of the 2,000,000 prisoners have an addiction problem, that’s 1.7 million prisoners.  If 42.5% of that 1.7 million have an underlying mental disorder, that’s 722,500 prisoners with dual disorders.  If twenty percent of that 722,500 asked for and received treatment, that would be 144,500 people treated and “unlikely to repeat crimes.”  

If Mr. Curie is correct, the following numbers I use would be higher and save more taxpayer dollars.  Again, using a modest $25,000.00 as the annual cost of incarceration, if ONLY ten percent (72,500) of the 722,500 of prisoners with dual disorders were treated, released, and never committed other crimes; taxpayers would save $1,806,250,000 each year.  That doesn’t include money saved from not having to pay law enforcement and the prosecution for associated costs.  If ten percent (14,450) of the twenty percent (144,500) suffering from dual disorders, completed treatment and stayed out of prison, that would be $361,250,000 saved annually.  If that same twenty percent (144,500) stayed clean after release, that would be $3,612,250,000 saved.  More importantly, thousands of citizens would not fall victim to those released from prison in worse shape than when they arrived; another recidivist or death statistic in the making.  Nor do those figures factor in the decreased need of hiring more law enforcement personnel; not having to pay for more buildings and equipment and resources, including not having to build more prisons to warehouse the prisoners.

THE SOLUTION

To reduce recidivism and help protect American citizens, as well as to help the returning citizen to successfully reintegrate, increase the availability of rehabilitative programs.  The programs need to 1) require that participants have at least a twelve-month clear conduct record; 2) require attendance for counseling sessions for any noted mental disorder and or addiction problems; 3) require participants to attend all scheduled educational or trade-related courses.

As part of the reconstructive process, prison official must be required to create more evidence-based programs for reducing recidivism, as the recently passed First Step Act requires for federal officials.  Part of the process should include regularly-scheduled, independent audits performed on a random basis by an external agency and include interviewing twenty-percent of inmate participants, with the goal of assuring compliance.  If prison officials do not comply, sanctions should be issued against prison officials (e.g., monetary sanctions, demotions, and termination for repeated citations for failure to comply).

Incorporating the above processes will change lives and give many men and women trapped behind the walls, bars and fences of the thousands of prisons across the United States, an opportunity to become assets to society rather than tax liabilities. Yes, some will fail. Thousands of other will succeed at becoming better men and women to help make America great again.

***********************************************

Join Amazon family. Create an Amazon Business Account Today

Try Amazon Prime free for 30-days

Read eBooks with the Kindle Unlimited Membership Plans

Save Today! Check Out These and More Amazon Bargain Finds

Protests and Prison

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

Ironically, the paperback edition of the tenth anniversary publication of THE NEW JIM CROW: MASS INCARCERATION IN THE AGE OF COLORBLINDNESS by Michelle Alexander, was released on January 7, 2020. Now you must wait to get a copy on Amazon, as I type because it is temporarily out of stock; however, the eBook is available. Click here to order.

Doubt does not reside in my mind about hundreds of people going to prison because of their involvement in the current protests going on in America. Not for the protesting, per se, but because of related activities going on around the protest, by the thug element that always finds its way into such events as an opportunity to “Come Up” by looting and committing other crimes under the false pretension of seeking justice, retribution for an act committed.

As I wrote in my most recent blog, Protests Gone Viral, quoting from The Wall Street Journal, President Trump said he would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.

The United States Department of Justice will prosecute under Title 18 of the United States Code (18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 113B—TERRORISM) and rely on the definition stated below for Domestic Terrorism to prosecute those labeled as members or accomplices (conspirators) of Antifa:

(5) the term “domestic terrorism” means activities that—

(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;

(B) appear to be intended—

(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;

(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or

(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and

(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States;”

[18 U.S.C. § 2331 (2)(5), Definitions]

The penalties are stated in 18 U.S. Code § 2332. Criminal penalties, and range from “not more than ten years” for some criminal acts included, and up to life for others, meaning until carried out in a box, since there is no parole in the federal system.

Many people who commit state crimes have no idea that the Feds may step in to use a multitude of laws to get jurisdiction to prosecute in federal court. Believe me, I met several who were in federal prison for crimes of that nature, especially drug cases and violent crimes that involved guns or money that crossed state lines.

The thousands of laws on the books in the States and Federal systems are the ammunition used to create Mass Incarceration in America, where thousands of others profit from the incarceration industry (read The Truth About Incarceration, Part II for more information related to that topic).

Even though an alarming number of those who find their way into jail cells are people of color, as Michelle Alexander wrote about in her book, prison systems across the United States mainly consist of poor people who cannot afford to fight their cases or who are given bad advice to enter a plea of guilty, and then live to regret it when that plea leads to more time in a jail cell than ever imagined.

Many protestors will fall into that category, not because of what they do, but because of what those around them do that erodes the effect of a worthy cause.

Protests Gone Viral by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo by Vital1na on Pexels.com

Racism lives and continues to thrive in America and around the world. Police brutality in Minneapolis, Minnesota that resulted in the death of an African-American man named, George Floyd, on May 25, 2020, sparked riots across the United States and caused disruptions around the world.

US cities assess protest damage, await another day of unrest by By TIM SULLIVAN and MATT SEDENSKY

Reading or watching news isn’t my favorite past time and it took all of the chaos going on in my hometown of Atlanta, Georgia to draw my attention to what is going on in many American cities.

In researching for this blog, I read what one source stated that I know most people will not see the seriousness of one word used in the following statement “terrorist“:

“Officials moved to restore order. Governors called in the National Guard, mayors extended curfews for a third night in some cities and President Trump said he would designate Antifa as a terrorist organization.”  

The Wall Street Journal, Officials Look to Restore Order After Riots

Though I am not an attorney and do not intend this to be legal advice by any standard, I am of the opinion that under American law, terrorism and domestic terrorism carry strict penalties, and when coupled with conspiracy laws, the use of that one word, when tied into legal terminology few can comprehend, many people who are protesting and are in the group of those tied to the violent offenses, may be charged accomplices.

If you don’t believe me about the severe criminal penalties for terrorist-related crimes, read what the law states in 18 U.S. Code CHAPTER 113B—TERRORISM

Two of my former blogs also relate to conspiracy laws and how easy men and women may end up spending the rest of their lives in prison. The men I wrote about got lucky when former President Obama commuted their life sentences: https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/01/05/freedom-for-a-friend/ and https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/08/09/freedom-for-another-friend/

My hope is that the protests do result in needed changes to eliminate racism and police brutality in America and abroad. The reality is that the stereotyping will continue for decades more to follow, because there will always be those who refuse to move away from the past and see each person as they are, rather than by some external element beyond control.

The sad part for me is in knowing that innocent people always get caught in the crosshairs of anger and hate and suffer dire consequences for what others have done. In this case, that will include the innocent protesters who get labeled as terrorists and go to prison for the rest of their lives for only doing what they felt they must do to take a stand against injustice.

Happy Memorial Day 2020

Heritage Park, McDonough, Georgia

Memorial Day in America probably means something different to most Americans than it does to those who hate US for whatever reasons. And should one wonder if the capital “US” is a mistake, no, it is meant to be inclusive, for I am an American and am proud to call myself one, even if not proud of everything that has been done by Americans.

For me, though, Memorial Day is not just about America, even though it is an American holiday. I remain conscious of all who have died from the effect of war or who have died fighting for the lives of others; whether Americans or not, whether for the “right” or “wrong” reasons, human lives are lost, mostly innocent lives lost in the crosshairs of another’s agenda.

Search “Memorial Day” on this site to see other blogs I’ve written on the topic, including some controversial ones where I speak out against the twisting of historical facts and attempts to erase America’s not-so-favorable history.

https://straightfromthepen.com/2017/05/11/mothers-memorial-days-by-wayne-t-dowdy/

https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/05/27/give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death/

In the end, though, everything worked out the way it should for whatever reason. I am not in control, and nor I am responsible for what others have done in the name of God or America, but I am proud to be an American and honor those who have died protecting our shores.

Today, I honor those on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19, here in American and all across the world. WE are all in this together, like it or not!

Lee Greenwood says it best in his tribute to America, God Bless the USA

Bank Robber Stories by Jeffrey P. Frye

by Jeffrey P. Frye

Purchase today Click Here

Jeffrey P. Frye never fails to deliver well-written and entertaining stories from his life. His unique background in the legal and illegal professions gives him writing credibility that keeps readers wanting to see what he produces next.

Bank Robber Stories contains humor and a variety of mixed-emotional avenues for readers to experience. A great read for the curious minded about life on the inside of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons and what might lead a person to change professions from the legal to illegal.

Mr. Frye is now in the process of returning to his natural state before his fall from grace. He will confess to “Not Thinking” if asked, “What was you thinking?” Reading this book proves it!

~ Wayne T. Dowdy, author of UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, and ESSAYS AND MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN.

Click here to buy now

INTRODUCTION by Jeffrey P. Frye

It takes a special kind of person to turn their adversities into success; their sadness into joy that’s used to entertain others.

And it takes a person with tenacity and depth to continue to seek the sunshine when all you’ve ever known is the rain. And it takes a person with natural talent to be able to write a story under these conditions that’s captivating and that you don’t want to put down.

Wayne T. Dowdy is such a person, and UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is such a story.

In UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, Dowdy takes the reader into the lives of his protagonists, Bobby and Nicole, and tells the story of how it all went terribly wrong. How the forces of bad luck, helped along by a crooked FBI agent and attorney, conspired to take Bobby behind the walls of the United States Federal Penitentiary at Leavenworth, Kansas. Using a pen along with a vivid and epic imagination, Dowdy draws upon his life in the free world, as well as his nearly three decades of walking the line in some of the roughest federal pens in America.

Moving along at a steady pace, UNKNOWN INNOCENCE tells the story of Bobby’s wrongful conviction. Sent up the river for life without parole, Big Bobby never gives up hope though. The one thing that has eluded him for most of his life is the very thing that turns out to be his salvation. Love. UNKNOWN INNOCENCE is a riveting tale that transcends genres. It’s a mystery and a thriller, with a love story woven through its fabric.

Wayne T. Dowdy is a writer for the masses whose voice has purpose. It tells the World, “No matter what happens to me, I will not give up.” This voice takes the broken pieces of a life and combines it with raw talent to bring forth a beautiful mosaic. It’s a voice that says, no matter how guilty I may be, there is still unknown innocence in each and every one of us.

Jeffrey P. Frye

September 9, 2015

Edgefield, South Carolina

Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change. The well-written essays take the reader deep inside the life of their author who overcame circumstances and obstacles that kept him chained to a life of drugs and crime. The stories inspire and motivate people to not give up or lose hope, and to fight for a new life.

The following excerpt comes from the second book written by Wayne T. Dowdy, under the pseudonym of Mr. D, which he self-published with assistance from Midnight Express Books, to inspire and motivate aspiring writers. The Story Behind the Novel contains links for writing tools to help other writers.

THE STORY BEHIND THE NOVEL

[Updated August 14, 2019: This novel was published while I was in prison and most content remains the same; however, on May 8, 2019, I was released from the custody and control of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. I removed some of the original content from “The Story Behind the Novel” because it became outdated.]

The story behind the novel may surprise you because I wrote it while serving a 420-month federal prison sentence. Mr. D.” is the pseudonym I used for my first book to avoid any confusion associated with my writings. I am a writer of many genres and am aware that some readers are “profanity-sensitive”; I don’t want anyone to be confused when purchasing my books, essays or short stories. Though not used frequently, profanity is often necessary to capture the personality of a character or to make a scene or setting more realistic; especially, when writing about prison life. A person allergic to profanity may safely read most of my personal essays (inspirational, political, creative nonfiction), but may break out into a rash or go into anaphylactic shock when reading what I write as “Mr. D,” a pseudonym I chose based upon the song, Dancing with Mr. D., by the Rolling Stones, and because my last name begins with “D” and some people call me Mr. D.

Why should the reader find motivation by reading this? It came from the confines of a prison. If I wrote this from inside, without an electronic data storage system, and without access to the Internet, someone “out there” with all of the available technology and resources can really work some magic. This is the story behind the novel:

I am a federal prisoner serving a lengthy prison sentence; to be precise, thirty-five-years, without parole, for armed bank robbery and associated charges. I started on August 18, 1988. I have never used the Internet or seen a cell phone, other than in magazines or on television. I’m somewhat prehistoric, a relic.

In prison, our movement and activities are limited. For instance, I only have until 7:45 pm, Monday through Thursday evenings, to type at the library, which does not begin until my living unit gets released for chow (usually by 6:00 pm). At the library, I use a dumbed-down, AlphaSmart, word processor to type with until the library closes [AlphaSmarts were removed from the library before my release and replaced with the worst typewriters available, with no memory recall capabilities].

Normally, a writer using an AlphaSmart would have an interface cord to connect to their PC to upload what they typed on the AlphaSmart, and would then make modifications to the text in their PC; e.g., change line spacing, font size or style, underline words, or adjust margins. I don’t have a PC to upload what I have typed and cannot modify what I have written, other than typical editing functions, such as copying and pasting, and using spellcheck to correct misspelled words (program does not check grammar or punctuation). Fortunately, the presets include double line spacing, one-inch top, left and right margins, and a 12-pt Times New Roman font. If I want to add an underline to a word or a case cite when doing legal work, I have to create a separate file, count spaces, and then use the underscore key to create an underline. Then I have to run the original document back through a low-quality printer to complete the process.

That gives you an idea of what limited capabilities are when writing and typing from inside a prison (and I am fortunate to be able to do what I do). Some prisons only have ancient typewriters, with no memory storage capabilities. (I authored Under Pressure on such a primitive device.) The only other day I have to work on my writing is on Saturday because the library does not open on Sunday or holidays. During the morning I skip going to eat to type from 7:30 am (or whenever the door opens), until 9:15 am. Then I have to return to the cellblock to be counted. Yes, all of us men must stand up and be counted at 10:00 am, 4:00 pm, and 10:00 pm on weekends and holidays. The 10:00 am Count is a special event: we don’t have one during the week. I often use the break for count to proofread what I’ve written, or to prepare for what I will write.

Once the count clears and the prison staff begin feeding the noon meal, I often skip chow to go type some more. I am usually typing by 11:30 am until I have to turn in the AlphaSmart at 3:15 pm. Fridays and Sundays are my days of forced rest from typing at the library: the only place I can type personal projects.

Where am I during the week when not at the library? Working. I work as the document control clerk in a textile factory of the Federal Prison Industries, Inc., trade name UNICOR. My meager MONTHLY salary averages near $200.00. I used that income to pay for my enrollment in the Long Ridge Writers Group on January 8, 2007. The course is outlined for completion within two years. On July 7, 2008, I graduated. During the same time that I was taking their writing course, I wrote the short story, “Under Pressure.” I attempted its publication by submitting my 6,158-word manuscript (typed on the ancient typewriter mentioned earlier), to various magazines, college literary journals, and entered it in PEN’s Prison Writing contest. It didn’t win. Then on January 1, 2012, my ambition was born to convert the short story into a novel, the hard way, almost five years from the date of when I enrolled in the Long Ridge Writers Group to learn how to write and market short stories and essays. One year after I decided to turn the short story into a novel, it was available worldwide.

My biggest problem in getting started with converting the short story into a novel came from not having any way to electronically store data. When I finished typing at the prison library to return to the cellblock, everything I had typed was deleted according to policy. I knew having memory storage would ease the pain of the revision process (some pages I retyped up to five times to correct a typo, verb tense, or to replace or to add “one” word). I solicited help from my family and friends to have my manuscript scanned and stored on a disk or CD as a word.doc format for the manipulation of data. One of my two sisters, who was not real computer savvy, did go to different places attempting to find what I needed, but the best she could find was someone to scan and save it as a pdf file, which I didn’t think would allow her to alter the text back then (now converters are available that allows a person to modify Portable Document Format files).

I began the conversion process in light of the troubled waters ahead before I learned about the publisher, Midnight Express Books (MEB). Approximately six months after I had surrendered the idea of finding an easier, softer way to write the novel, I discovered MEB through an ad in the Education Behind Bars Newsletter (EBBN). EBBN ran an ad in Prison Legal News and asked for submissions. I submitted an essay and began receiving complementary copies of the newsletter. In the last issue I received, I noticed an ad for MEB, whom works exclusively with prisoners seeking publication [the publisher retired].

At that point, I had decided to go the traditional publishing route, so I passed along the information to another aspiring writer. MEB sent him a brochure. He asked me to read it and asked that I give him my opinion. I was sold when I read about MEB’s optical character reader and computer program for scanning manuscripts, and then being able to digitally alter the text. I immediately added their contact information to the system provided for e-mailing and recording addresses (TRULINCS & http://www.corrlinks.com). Thus, began the correspondence that lead to MEB helping me publish my first novel.

On January 14, 2013, CreateSpace.com released UNDER PRESSURE for sale to the public as a print-on-demand book. [Note:  Amazon closed CreateSpace, which was a self-publishing division for paperback books. Now authors must use Kindle Direct Publishing and pay Amazon twice the amount of commission for books sales.]

The following day Amazon.com posted UNDER PRESSURE. Now it is available worldwide upon demand through the following sources:

Amazon Books

(http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-Mr-D/dp/098576869X )

Amazon.com

(http://www.amazon.com/Under-Pressure-ebook/dp/B00B1ZI00K/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1366854587&sr=8-1&keywords=under+pressure+Mr.+d )

and

Smashwords.com

(https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/275053 )

Smashwords is an eBook distributor who distributes eBooks in various formats to eBook retailers for use on e-readers like the Barns & Noble Nook, and the various applications through Apple products and the Apple iBookstore. When I write other books, essays, or short stories, I will have them posted on my SmashWords’ Author’s page:

https://smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy

If the product in your hands (or before your eyes) came from inside a federal prison, with the assistance of MEB, imagine what you can do “out there” with all of the available technology. For example, Microsoft Word (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/p/word/cfq7ttc0k7c7?=&OCID=AID2000136_SEM_O2CceKEP&MarinID=sO2CceKEP%7c340719598991%7cmicrosoft+word%7ce%7cc%7c%7c64346372608%7caud-473968998633%3akwd-10582150&lnkd=Google_O365SMB_NI&gclid=Cj0KCQjwv8nqBRDGARIsAHfR9wAPF2bA3yAzCZsudqoAjxNPQjR62TD52dyGZH6AUYTJAhNWtpHglkgaAtpzEALw_wcB&activetab=pivot%3aoverviewtab); 

Word Perfect X9 (www.corel.com ); and some writers’ tools: Character Writer 4.0 (http://www.characterpro.com/characterwriter/index.html); writing tools from Master Writer (https://masterwriter.com/creative_writers/); for screenplays: Power Structure and Power Writer for writing novels and screenplays (https://www.powerstructure.com/).

Maybe one day I will find out. For you, though, if you are an aspiring writer or just a reader with ambitions, apply yourself to the task and reach for your dreams: they may be closer than you imagine.

Perseverance Pays!

Best regards,

Wayne T. Dowdy aka, “Mr. D.”

I welcome all comments, and will respond to all questions as soon as possible, which may vary according to the number received, but I will respond.

Contact Info:

E-mail: waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com or wtdowdy57@gmail.com

Mailing Address: Wayne T. Dowdy, P.O. Box 2608, McDonough, GA 30253

Follow me on StaightfromthePen.com https://straightfromthepen.com

BOP COVID-19 Cases v. Henry County GA, Part II

When I posted the original version of this blog, I used statistics from May 7, 2020, for the COVID-19 cases in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and May 8, 2020, for Henry County, Georgia. Numbers from both groups changed, but those from the BOP soared, especially Inmate Deaths. In Part II, I am including updated numbers and dates in bold and in parenthesis behind the original numbers.

In this post, I include correspondence from one inmate, who gave me permission to use because he wants the public to be made aware of the conditions inside that particular institution, which I feel certain is an accurate representation of many institutions inside the BOP because other subscribers have mimicked his statements and concerns.

PART II, COVID-19 Numbers Grow

Numbers used in statistics often do not mean much without other numbers to compare to or may even otherwise be used to distort reality. In this case, the severity of COVID-19 in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) does not seem as severe when looked at in isolation (confined to the statistical data of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons).  A comparison to the Henry County, Georgia COVID-19 statistics highlights the severity of the infection rate in the BOP.

In Georgia, the Henry County COVID-19 numbers rank as number Eleven for confirmed cases.

COVID-19 IN THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS

This is the information/numbers given for the COVID-19 report on the BOP website for May 7, 2020 (https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/):

[Group I]

“05/07/2020 (05/16/2020) – The BOP has 140,369 (138,363) federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,161 (11,674) in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 2,646 (2,280) federal inmates and 244 (283) BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 591 (1,091) inmates and 278 (287) staff have recovered. There have been 44 (56) federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”

[Group II]

[UPDATE: Here are the statistics for the BOP for May 8, 2020, which shows substantial growth in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases:

“05/08/2020 – The BOP has 140,119 (138,363) federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,331 (11,674) in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 3,082 (2,280) federal inmates and 248 (283) BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 619 (1,091) inmates and 279 (287) staff have recovered. There have been 45 (56) federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”]

The reduction in confirmed COVID-19 positive cases may be due to the lack of testing and inmates being kept in private prisons. Private Prison representatives often refuse to provide requested information to journalists and others.

From bop.gov/coronavirus, the BOP reports the following:

“Due to the rapidly evolving nature of this public health crisis, the BOP will update the open COVID-19 confirmed positive test numbers, recoveries, and the number of COVID-19 related deaths daily at 3:00 p.m. The positive test numbers are based on the most recently available confirmed lab results involving open cases from across the agency as reported by the BOP’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety at 11:00 a.m. each day. BOP field sites may report additional updates throughout the day. Data is subject to change based on additional reporting.

“The BOP has begun additional testing of asymptomatic inmates to assist in slowing transmissions within a correctional setting. As such, our data reflects an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive tests reflected in the table below [see the table at bop.gov/coronavirus]. The BOP is able to better utilize this information for the management of an outbreak at the relevant, affected facility.

“The inmate totals listed do not include inmates participating in the Federal Location Monitoring program or being held in privately managed prisons. Additionally, the reference to the FCI Butner Low below refers to an isolation unit that is physically separated from the rest of the LSCI.”

Many men incarcerated across the nation inside the confines of the BOP have complained about the lack of testing for COVID-19, and some staff’s failure to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); e.g., face masks and gloves.

Straight From the Pen of the Incarcerated

The information below comes from an inmate at one of the federal prisons in Butner, North Carolina, where other inmates in the complex have reported the same situation (lack of testing, CDC recommendations not followed (social distancing and failure to wear PPE), as have inmates in Terre Haute, Indiana, and U.S.P. Victorville in California.

(I’ve reorganized paragraphs for ease of reading. The provided information is posted as provided, other than minor spelling and punctuation corrections. Additional information is included in brackets. Some content isn’t intelligible but is irrelevant for this post. The inmate often uses “jail” instead of “prison” when he is referring to the institution.)

5/14/2020: If I write a blog later in relation to the lack of testing, not following safety protocols, etc., do you want me to post this?

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] May 15, 2020:

“Yes, it needs to be known what Butner is doing to the inmates and how they aren’t doing anything to fight the infections. Most of the guards don’t even wear mask. The guards are bringing it [COVID-19] in the jail and it seems like a norm to them its two blocks left that has no infection. Out of 8 blocks 6 blocks have been infected and the numbers are going up five more just was quarantined today.”

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] 5/14/2020:

“Granville a is quarantined and the just had an inmate on Vance [?] a test positive don’t know how many he affected the took him out of here this jail isn’t doing anything for our safety the have me working in the kitchen for 11 hours a day fixing the meals for the rest of the jail there is no social distancing we are all working don’t know who is infected and who ain’t they only check your temperature there has not been one single test administered on this compound and the virus is spreading at a rapid pace and all they do is put you in the shu [Segregated Housing Unit] for 14 days don’t test you and after the 14 days they put you right back in population there is no structure for fighting this virus they are not follow no guidelines and this is sad there is so many people they are deliberately placing in harm’s way and they don’t even care and that’s why is so sad.”

****************************************************************

Friday, May 15, 2020:
RE: RE: 05/12-13/2020 (Numbers keep growing)

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy]

“This is all lies there is a total of 58 that are quarantined in the shu as we speak I know because I make the trays for the shu and the still have us working together in the kitchen not social distancing and [UNICOR, Federal Prison Industries, Inc.] is still working without social distancing. This place just doesn’t care.

“There is no 40 that has recovered they are only keeping them in the shu for 14 days and sending them right back to the block to infect other people this jail has no compassion it just doesn’t matter to them we have been locked down since march we are trapped on a block with no ventilation the same air is just blowing the same infected air throughout the jail.”

5/14/2020:

All you can do is follow the recommendations, and especially about washing your hands before touching your face after being on the computer or phone, which should be done at any time. Here’s what was on the bop.gov website yesterday for Butner institutions (Butner Low has 22 confirmed cases, and 40 who have recovered):

Facility
Inmates Positive
Staff Positive
Inmate Deaths
Staff Deaths
Inmates Recovered
Staff Recovered
Butner FMC
5
5
0
0
0
2
Butner Medium I FCI
166
13
7
0
82
12
Butner Low FCI
22
3
0
0
40
4

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] on 5/14/2020 5:49:59 PM wrote

“Things are getting bad here and Butner low there are 8 dorms and the virus is in three they have Durham b they are on quarantined.”

DENIAL/NOT SO COVERED UP STATISTIC: The BOP is in denial or is trying to cover-up the death of one of its staff members who died from COVID-19 (39-year-old, Ms. Robin Grubbs, Case Manager). I suspect the failure to acknowledge the death of one of their own from COVID-19 is a failed attempt to cover-up the incident due to the bad publicity about the BOPs failure to provide staff and inmates with proper protective equipment for months. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/employee-death-raises-questions-about-conditions-inside-federal-pen/3Enh61w6Di8rcT9YuY5PPK/

[In the above examples, the BOP still does not acknowledge the death of Ms. Robin Grubbs as being due to COVID-19. In the referenced article about her death reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the inmate stated what mirrors the statements of many inmates who expressed concerns to me through correspondence (staff not wearing personal protective equipment because it isn’t available or otherwise does not wear any).]

COVID-19 IN HENRY COUNTY GEORGIA

“Henry County, Georgia Population 2020

“Henry County, Georgia ‘s estimated population is 225,508 with a growth rate of 1.95% in the past year according to the most recent United States census data. Henry County, Georgia is the 9th largest county in Georgia.”  https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-counties/ga/henry-county-population

The B.O.P. only has a total of 151,530 (150,037) individuals held captive in the prison system (numbers include inmates in Residential Reentry Centers), along with 36,000 staff who work for the BOP, for a total of 187,530 (186,037) people, but the BOP had 44 (56) inmate deaths, and a total of 2,890 (2,280) confirmed COVID-19 cases on May 7, 2020; however, if the number of confirmed cases and those who have recovered are included, the total COVID-19 cases that were in the BOP is 4,800.

As mentioned above, Henry County ranks 11 in Georgia for the COVID-19 case, with Henry County’s 225,508 people, only 559 (700) confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 14 (18) deaths, as reported on May 8, 2020 (May 17, 2020).  In the BOP with far fewer people, the death rate is much higher (56/18). The difference in infection rates enormous (4,800/700).

The point being that the BOP COVID-19 pandemic within the system is serious and demands attention, as does the handling of the COVID-19 crisis in all of the many other prison systems across the United States and other parts of the world, many of the latter which are likely worse than the situation in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

CONCLUSION

With the substantial increase in BOP COVID-19 deaths and the number of confirmed cases that were within the system (4,800 total), it reveals a more significant issue than the numbers viewed in isolation, buried within the walls, bars, and fences of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The inactions and failure of prison officials to implement processes and to comply with CDC recommendations have killed 56 federal inmates, and most likely, hundreds more in State prisons.

Many other deaths and COVID-19 cases are probably hidden within the privately managed prisons across the United States.

Will the day come when legislatures enact laws to hold prison administrators accountable for actions or inactions when it leads to the deaths of other humans? Unlikely.

[Note: The focus of this blog is not about private prison officials’ refusal to provide information to journalists, so I won’t expound on the topic, but do know that it has always been an issue that is hidden inside BOP contracts with private prison representatives.]