Category Archives: 2019

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

[Note: this blog post contains a sensitive and possible offensive issue to some people. Click to read other of the many blogs on this site or click to go elsewhere if expecting political correctness. Thanks for stopping by to visit this website.]

His Words Drove a Nation to Stand and Fight for a Right to Be Free

Patrick Henry, Second Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

“In March of 1775, the Second Virginia Convention met at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, to discuss the state’s strategy against the British. It was here that Patrick Henry delivered his most famous speech, ending with the quote, ‘Give me liberty, or give me death!’”

https://www.history.com/topics/american-revolution/patrick-henry#section_4

Patrick Henry referred to slavery in his famous speech to unite the movement of men, women, and children to stand and fight for independence from the British. When his peers debated whether to work out peaceful arrangements or to use force against the rule of Great Britian, Patrick Henry spoke words heard today:

“Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? … Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death!”

https://www.biography.com/political-figure/patrick-henry

The slavery Patrick Henry mentioned concerned enslavement to the British, as he spoke decades before the enslavement of negroe men, women and children, rightfully become a hot topic in America.

Slavery existed in America during Patrick Henry’s speech:

Slavery in the United States was the legal institution of human chattel enslavement, primarily of Africans and African Americans, that existed in the United States of America in the 18th and 19th centuries. Slavery had been practiced in British America from early colonial days, and was legal in all Thirteen Colonies at the time of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. It lasted in about half the states until 1865, when it was prohibited nationally by the Thirteenth Amendment. As an economic system, slavery was largely replaced by sharecropping.

“By the time of the American Revolution (1775–1783), the status of slave had been institutionalized as a racial caste associated with African ancestry.” [footnote omitted]

Slavery in the United States, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_the_United_States

The photo of Patrick Henry’s statue came from the Town Square of McDonough, Georgia. Fifty yards from where it stands, a memorialized Confederate Soldier stands tall amongst the trees, the McDonough Soldier.

American Civil War Confederate Memorial

McDonough Soldier Stands Tall and Proud in Town Square

The McDonough Soldier has a right to stand in the Town Square, as he is a part of History. Though he may represent an unpleasant part of history, it is history, and that statue represents the relative of someone who fought and died in America’s most gruesome war. He deserves to stand where others deemed appropriate many years ago.

Patrick Henry may have waved the Gadsden Flag during battle, another flag that some have claimed represented racism because the designer, Christopher Gadsden, was a slave trader and owner of slaves. 

Personally, I don’t see the relevance of what the designer of the flag did, as making the flag representative of slavery or racism, no more than I see the Confederate Flag representing racism because racists use it in their rallies.  (Read more on that topic in the excerpt to follow.)

If you want to know about racism, watch the news because race-related issues flood the news channels and flourishes in many cities today, all across the World; it’s not just an issue in America.

Gadsden Flag, designed by “Christopher Gadsden (February 16, 1724 – August 28, 1805) was the principal leader of the South Carolina Patriot movement during the American Revolution and a soldier and politician from South Carolina

An Excerpt from Southern Pride-Waving the Confederate Flag.

CIVIL WAR:  I raise the Confederate Flag in this blog to rebel against all of the politically correct BS in the news about issues surrounding Southern Heritage.  Some politicians want to stop the celebration of the Confederate Memorial holiday, and to remove from state buildings and grounds: Confederate flags, monuments, statues of Confederate heroes, and other remnants of the American Civil War (1861-1865) because some people find those things offensive.  I find it offensive when people lie about history to support their agenda, such lies as the main reason for the Civil War being slavery.

Was it slavery or was it the economic edge Southern plantation owners had over competitors in Cotton markets, due to the slave labor?   Economics.  Was slavery more of an ideology used by the Union to get the poor to fight their battles?  If the Civil War was fought over slavery, wouldn’t President Lincoln have signed the Emancipation of Proclamation to free all slaves before the war began on April 12, 1861, instead of on January 1, 1863?  Weren’t the slaves used by the president to fight off Confederate forces who had proved to be a more formidable force than expected by slaughtering his troops in numerous battles?  Yes, is the most logical answer based upon the facts and history of the rich using the poor to fight their battles.

I find it offensive for politicians to use the Charleston Church Massacres that I wrote about in “Love and Evil Are Color-Blind,” as justification to remove evidence of the bloodiest and most gruesome war fought on American soil.  The war where smaller bands of Southerners held their own against larger troops of Union Soldiers, until the advent of the repeating rifle, which tilted the war in favor of the Northern troops who had more food, guns, ammunition, and other supplies, because of the economic embargoes placed on the South.  The North won the war but never defeated Southern Pride.  The Confederate flag is a reminder of that, rather than slavery, as has been used to manipulate the masses to take down the flag.

Six-hundred thousand Confederate Soldiers fought against 2,213,363 Union Soldiers.*  The southeastern states were the last to fall.  When the war ended with the surrender of the last Confederate troop on May 26, 1865, there were 646,392 Union casualties, with 140,414 of those casualties being battle deaths, compared to the 133,821 Confederate casualties, 75,524 of which were battle deaths.  After their imprisonment for their part in the war, another 26,000-31,000 Confederate personnel died in Union prisons.  With my long history as a prisoner of such forces, I suspect that most of those died due to disease, lack of medical care, mistreatment, and overall poor living conditions.

REBELS WITH A CAUSE:  Rebels, those Confederate Southern Soldiers were called, the proud label worn by those who refused to conform to ways established by a government not of their choosing.  Rebels, a  part of Southern history and Southern Pride for those who died fighting for a cause; not because of slavery or why the politicians decided to fight the Civil War.  It was about fighting to keep what was theirs, fighting those damned Yankees who come down to take their land, who raped their women, murdered their children, and burned their homes in the name of Justice–the same as had been done to Native Americans by several Union troops.

Most Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War never owned a slave and most likely never knew why they had to go out and fight, other than to defend their land and heritage.  Firing a gun, running through the woods, and working hard to survive came more natural to the Southern man who grew up hunting and fishing to survive, than it did to the Union troops. You can believe that when Union forces heard the rebel yell and saw those southern soldiers waving the Confederate Flag and charging like bulls, that it made adrenaline and cortisol levels soar, instilling fear in everyone’s heart before the battle began with a brutality not known to the men and boys who stood fighting for their lives.  Early into battle, Union troops learned to retreat or die when overran by Confederates who fought with a passion to defend their land against the invaders.

Read the complete blog at https://straightfromthepen.com/2015/07/06/southern-pride-waving-a-confederate-flag/

Prisoners and Society by Wayne T. Dowdy

Each day I devote, or at least attempt to devote, part of my time to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Quora.com. Most often I fail in two or three of those areas.

Most of my posts and online activities relate to prisoners, prison reform, and or criminal justice reform, as well as posting excerpts from the life and times of the infamous Wayne T. Dowdy. Sometimes I address other social issues to let my voice be heard.

I’m a returning citizen, who had never used a cellphone until August 28, 2018, and yet, now I am working at having four websites live before June 2019 arrives. I’m determined to make a difference in the lives of others by doing what I do.

I always want to write my blog posts for straightfromthepen.com and waynedowdy.weebly.com. I just run out of time each day and come up short. 😦

Oh, I forgot, working on revising and writing my books to learn the formatting process to help those caged behind walls, bars and fences and others be published, and as part of one of many planned business adventures.

The point in all the above is that I am a man with a mission who wants to make a difference and to let his voice be heard.

I Write With Blazing Guns on Most Days

I often disagree with viewpoints expressed by others on penological and social issues. I want to believe that change is possible, and that society has became more humane since the Romans ruled the earth. The following debate is one such social issue I posted as an answer and then replied to on Quora.com:

Debate With Quora Follower on Prisoners and Society

People believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers. Is being in prison as good as people think it is or worse than people could imagine?

The people who believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers, need to sign up for a prison stint to learn about FAKE NEWS. Prison life sucks!

Prisoners learn to tolerate and accept the conditions of prison life, regardless of those conditions. Humans adapt to their environments.

Rehabilitation versus punishment has been on the table for decades. Better results come from providing programs to help people change their lives, as is evident by the passage of the First Step Act, which requires the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons to create and provide more evidence-based programs to reduce recidivism.

None of those programs will include having prisoners chained and tortured until they decide to repent and change their evil, wicked ways.

The punitive aspect of prison is removing the person from society; inhumane treatment leads to psychological damage (being in prison under decent living conditions may still lead to the development of psychiatric issues).

Most prisoners return to society. Which is best: to have men and women confined in an environment that breeds more illness than it treats or cures, or to provide an environment where those men and women learn to change behaviors so that they exit the system in better shape than when they arrived?

An experimental prison program in Connecticut (Prison Reform Progress), which is modeled after those in Germany known to provide more humane living conditions, are showing positive results; meaning that perhaps America will change its failed criminal justice system so that men and women who go to prison will leave and not return, but I guarantee that would not happen if society reverted to the days of torturing and mistreating its prisoners.

Follower Comment #1:

Most people on the outside believe that EVERY PERSON INCARCERATED should NEVER get out of prison and that is a fact that is 99% true.

Reply #1:

I’m sure a lot of that is true, which is of course, is based on ignorance of the law and crimes that lead to prison. Stereotyping others also applies.

If those who believe in such a way would attempt to investigate and were intelligent enough to comprehend the complexities of the United States criminal justice system, then they’d know how easy it is for someone to go to prison.

Everyone who goes to prison is not a serial killer, rapist, murderer, robber, or child molester.

I met many men in prison who said, “I never knew I could be put into prison for doing that.”

In Violent Crime Misconception (https://straightfromthepen.com/2016/02/24/violent-crime-misconception/), I refer to the deception of California voters and the absurd laws passed by the California legislatures, who I assure you have a vested interest in high incarceration rates (read “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” by Wayne T. Dowdy, https://straightfromthepen.com/2015/04/05/the-truth-about-incarceration-part-ii/).

How could any rational legislature vote for a bill that would result in some men and women going to prison for 25-years-to-life for crimes as simple as shoplifting or stealing pizza?

If those people who feel everyone who goes to prison should not be released knew of such laws, would they feel the same? Probably not.

Then again, the Romans and many Rome citizens thought it was okay to feed Christians to the Lions for entertainment, so … has society digressed from what was learned through history about the evil nature of some in power, to endorse such practices as keeping someone in a cage for eternity?

I hope not and know that most do not feel in such a way, or else the legislatures would not be voting different these days.

Follower Comment #2:

Even though you make some good points I stand by my post. Watch any YT video about trials and read the comments of the ignorant and ill-informed if you doubt my thoughts. People get charged with offences such as you mentioned and then get acquitted, but it doesn’t matter in the court of public opinion. You are charged – you MUST be guilty. Lock ’em up and throw away the key. Another “win” for the prosecution!!

Reply #2

YouTube and television programs only represent a small portion of the population. The editors of the program controls content to express their views on the issues, or to be what needs said or shown to get higher ratings.

Even politicians fall victim to the Editor’s Choice, when the politician says many things during an interview that the editor cuts to shape into the program’s viewpoint.

I knew several people in prison who felt the same way as what you state, but they were the same ones who, for a lighter sentence, helped the government put other people in prison.

As I wrote, a lot of the public opinion is based on ignorance. Most continue to sit in front of a television and watch programs designed to increase viewership through sensationalism, ignorant of what is the truth. Ignorance exists because of a lack of information. 🙂

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY EVERY DAY by Wayne T. Dowdy

happy mothers day
Special Flowers for Special Women

by Wayne T. Dowdy

Mother’s Day is a Special Day!

Every Day Should be Mothers’ Day Because Mothers are Always Special!

Each year I like to wish all the mothers of the world a Happy Mother’s Day and to add something different to my previous wishes.

Happy Mother’s Day to all you wonderful and deserving mothers of the world, who bore the pain and suffered to give your children life. 

Each of you are special in your own right; even those who failed to be perfect, you still rule the world in my opinion. 

  https://straightfromthepen.com/2019/03/02/wonderful-women-by-wayne-t-dowdy-3/

Perfection is a fantasy, so even if you erred in your youth or child-rearing practices, you deserve recognition and praise for the pain you endured and thus helped keep the human race alive, popping out babies to face the challenges life presents; some of whom become technological geniuses, innovators, inventors, and the movers and shakers who changed the world.

Most of us children become ordinary men and women, but all of us are of equal importance in this thing called life, because each of us are a part of One.  https://straightfromthepen.com/2017/09/09/out-of-many/

God Truly Blessed Man by Creating Those Special Women Who Become Mothers!

Picture

We are connected: It takes each of us to make Life complete, and you special women of the world do all it takes to make that possible. 

Without the strength, love, tolerance and determination of all you wonderful Mothers of the World, our species would have died out by now, because many of us men just want to have our fun in the breeding process and leave the pain and suffering to you. 

Thanks for doing what you Mothers do!

May Each of You Have a Day so Special that It Lives on in Your Mind for the Rest of Your Days as that Extra Special Mothers’ Day of 2019.

Reduce Mass Incarceration

QUORA Moderation Banned my Response to the Question, “What would happen to the American criminal justice system if no one accepted plea deals and every case had to be resolved in the courtroom?”

I’ve appealed the decision! In two days, my answer generated almost two-thousand views and several upvotes, so to me, that says people were interested in my view on the subject.

This Man is Not a Real Politician

The Will of the People Will Not Be Denied!

Official Response by Wayne T. Dowdy

The system would collapse. On September 22, 2003, the Honorable Attorney General, John Ashcroft, “an American lawyer and former politician who served as the 79th U.S. Attorney General (2001–2005), in the George W. Bush Administration,” issued a guidance memorandum to the United States Attorneys (federal prosecutors) and their assistants (AUSA).

The memorandum instructed prosecutors to seek the most serious charges and to stop the practice of dropping charges to get pleas, to still give defendants reduced points for accepting responsibility for their acts, and for their cooperation, but to still seek the most serious charges.

[Click the following links to read a New York Times newspaper article and the Memorandum from the former United States Attorney General, who was correct in his agenda to reduce the disparity in sentencing.]

ASHCROFT LIMITING PROSECUTORS’ USE OF PLEA BARGAINS

#516: 09-22-03 [THE BELOW MEMO WAS DISTRIBUTED TO U.S. ATTORNEYS ON SEPTEMBER 22, 2003, AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCED THE POLICY IN MILWAUKEE, WI. REMARKS FROM HIS SPEECH THERE ARE AVAILABLE ON THE ATTORNEY GENERAL�S SPEECHES PORTION OF THE DOJ WEBSITE.]

In a Criminal Law Reporter, I read an article that said the head of the Federal Public Defenders Office, wrote a letter to the then Attorney General, John Ashcroft, and complained about the memorandum.

The article claimed that if those policies were implemented, more attorneys would recommend their clients go to trial, and that for every five-percent decrease in guilty pleas, the courts’ dockets would increase thirty-percent.

Translation: if ten out of every hundred federal defendants went to trial, instead of pleading guilty, the overburdened-judicial-system would have a sixty-percent increase in criminal cases going to trial. That would be an overwhelming number of caseloads for prosecutors to handle, with those cases having to be tried within established time frames under the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution that requires a fair and speedy trial. https:// en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speedy_Trial_Act

Therefore, a lot of the bogus cases would be dismissed so that the more serious criminal cases could be prosecuted.

I chastised many men who complained about the sentences they were serving, after going into the courtroom to volunteer to be sentenced, some agreeing to twenty-five and thirty-year sentences, rather than taking a chance at fighting their cases. Their cooperation helped fuel mass incarceration practices.

With more guilty pleas and the courts heading for collapse, Congress would have abolished the United States Sentencing Guidelines, enacted into law under the Sentence Reform Act of 1984, which requires substantial sentences under the mandatory minimums. The politicians in Congress may have even reduce some of the ridiculous criminal penalties enacted for a vote.

Push Congress to abolish the plea-bargaining system if you want to end mass incarceration, since the practice violates the anti-bribery statute, Title18 of the United States Code, Section 201(c)(2), which prohibits, “[o]ffers, or promises [of] anything of value to any person, for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, before any court, any committee of either House or both Houses of Congress, or any agency, commission, or officer authorized by the laws of the United States to hear evidence or take testimony, or for or because of such person’s absence therefrom[.]” 18 U.S.C., Sect. 201(c)(2) [alterations added]

President Donald Trump on Michael Cohen’s Testimony

During the plea-bargaining process for Michael Cohen, I recall President Trump saying on television that it should be illegal to show leniency to Michael Cohen for his testimony.

The above excerpt from the United States Code proves it is unlawful to pay someone “anything of value” for their testimony.

Freedom is priceless!

Freedom or Reduced Sentences for Testimony Before a Court is Payment

Three Judges in the United States Court of Appeals ruled it violated 18 U.S.C., Sect. 201(c)(2) for prosecutors to give reduced sentences for testimony by codefendants.

https://www.aclu.org/sites/default/files/field_document/usvsingleton2.pdf or https://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-10th-circuit/1436412.htm

Singleton v. United States was decided twenty-years ago but the principles and reasoning behind the three-panel decision is as true today as it was then.

Several politicians criticized the decision and intimidated other judges by introducing new bills and all sorts of garbage. The en banc decision (full-court) reversed the three-judge panel decision but the original three-judges held their ground and stood behind their correct opinion, not driven by political influence.

Frequently Asked Questions and An Anonymous Interview

An incarcerated person asked these questions for Wayne T. Dowdy. Because of privacy concerns, the name of the incarcerated person will remain anonymous.  Straightfromthepen.com gives special thanks and will provide a complimentary copy of Essays and More Straight From the Pen.

Q: Since you have started using this blog, has the sales increased on your books?
A: I haven’t noticed much of an increase in sales since I began writing the blogs. But since my release from prison, I have increased the number of views on the blogs, and the circulation of eBooks on Smashwords.com by making certain eBooks free.

Q: Since you began using this blog, have you talked about your books?
A: Yes, during the first two years I did (I paid to get a website and blog created in 2015), but I haven’t written promotional content in several months.

I got involved with the prison reform movement in 2016, and then later began writing blogs relating to prison reform, but also to help fight my way out of prison. I became an outspoken critic of the former BOP Director (Mark S. Inch), who changed halfway house policies (reducing available placement period from up to one-year to “up to four months”).

On prison reform, I wanted to do my part in creating positive change, so I put my personal writing and sales promotions on the side until I could get out of prison and put things in action. Now I am back. Look out!

Q: How many books have you written?
A: I’ve written four books but only have two I’m marketing. I had a special purpose for UNDER PRESSURE-MOTIVATIONAL VERSION by Mr. D (I added sections to the original UNDER PRESSURE to inspire the aspiring writers). To make it a better value for my readers, I combined the original novel with the sequel and produced UNKNOWN INNOCENCE by Wayne T. Dowdy ($12.95 plus S&H), with the help of Midnight Express Books.

The other book is technically a personal magazine because it combines genres. ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN has 11-essays, 1-short story, and 3-poems, which I’ve discounted the price of at $8.95.

My case manager read it and commented, “Parts of it make you want to laugh, others make you want to cry. There’s a lot of wisdom in it.”

Q: Have you written any fictional books?
A: UNKNOWN INNOCENCE and UNDER PRESSURE are fiction.

Q: When did you start writing?
A: I wrote for decades in personal journals. At the age of twenty-five, while serving a state sentence, I wrote drafts for a series of pornographic literature. I gave my collection to a married woman I was having an affair with and asked her to keep them for me until I got out.

She was jealous. Everything I wrote did not include her. When I got out and wanted my writings, she said they got lost or her husband threw them away, either way, my perverted writings conveniently disappeared.

Maybe I’ll return to that genre if sales don’t improve on what I’m writing now. 🙂 With the success of Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, there’s  a large market for that type of writing.

Q: Did you go to college to learn to write?
A: Yes, and No. In 1981 I did take Creative Writing in college. In 2006-2008, I took a professional writing course through the Long Ridge Writers Group to learn how to write essays and short stories for magazine publication.

Q: Were you published in any magazines?
A: Yes, but I was published before taking the course. In 2003 I was first published in the A.A. Grapevine under a pseudonym. I’ve been published several times since then; however, none of the publications satisfy my ego, which always wants more.

These are my magazine writing credits:
The Sun (Chapel Hill, NC);
The Iconoclast;
Confrontation magazine, the literary journal of Long Island University;
Savage Kick magazine;
and many others under a pseudonym related to recovery from drugs and alcohol.

Q: How has writing changed your life?
A: Writing, in general, has not changed my life except on an interpersonal level. But writing does help me to formulate ideas and allows me to express myself without interruption. That means a lot to me when I feel the issue is important and needs addressed, whether it’s what people want to hear or not.

One day I hope to answer that question by saying my writing changed the quality of life by making me rich and famous, but in the meantime, I must say it keeps me constructively occupied and that I take pride in knowing my writing impacts the lives of others, as many have said to me throughout the years.

Q: Are you writing another book now?
A: No, but I do have ideas for one coming soon and I am plotting on writing query letters and articles I want to see in print, something my ego loves (seeing my name in print).

Purchase writings by Wayne T. Dowdy from your favorite eStore or bookseller.  Get the best value on eBooks at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy

Atlanta’s Less Known Site

AUTHORS NOTE:  This post corrects an accidental post of misinformation in “Burning Bridges”:  https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/burning-bridges

I apologize for the inaccuracy reported in Burning Bridges, April 2017.  Wayne T. Dowdy.  The misinformation was that,Sherman spared the mansion because of the hospitality shown to him and his soldiers by Mr. Peters.

Please visit the original post of this blog at https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-Dowdy-2?share=1

Response to Quora.com question, “What are some lesser-known sights to see when visiting Atlanta, GA?”

One lesser known historical site is the Edward C. Peters House (Peters’ Mansion), located at 179 Ponce DeLeon Avenue, Atlanta, GA.

The house takes up a whole city block, other than a small corner on Myrtle Street and Ponce DeLeon.

A false tale once told claimed General Sherman showed mercy and spared the mansion from his torch because Mr. Peters showed Sherman and his soldiers some Southern hospitality. The problem with the tale is that the house did not get built until 1883, eighteen-years after the American Civil War ended. The mansion did escape the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917. Edward C. Peters House – Wikipedia

A lesser known fact is that that house was once where staff and residents of Chrysalis lived for a brief period. Chrysalis was an adolescent drug treatment program. Between 1972–73, I lived in the Mansion as one of the first five Chrysalis residents, who moved in and helped to restore the magnificent building. That took some work!

Then Dante’ (the owner of Down the Hatch in Underground Atlanta at the time), bought the house for 1.5 million dollars, I believe, and Chrysalis had to move its location.

Before the deadline for Chrysalis residents to move, I had walked out of the six-month program, two months before completion, a behavior that lead me to have a history with the historical site that follows this photo:

179 Ponce DeLeon Ave., Atlanta, GA
Edward C. Peter’s House

Others may want to see the United States Federal Penitentiary on McDonough Boulevard, where many infamous criminals lived and died. Why? Well, why do people watch historical presentations about old prisons? Curiosity, maybe?

U.S.P. Atlanta Federal Penitentiary
United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, Atlanta, Georgia

Many men died behind those walls. I learned to live while there between June 1, 1993 and October 31, 1996. On April 5, 1995, I changed my evil wicked ways and stopped using drugs and alcohol, which gave me a life worth living and made it possible for me to complete my 420-months sentence. And for that I am grateful.

Wayne T. Dowdy (https://www.straightfromthepen.com)

More From Quora.com

Please read the other posts on QUORA.com and click to upvote if you support the writings you read, including those of other writers in the QUORA community. Thanks!

I posted the following on Saturday, December 29, 2018, and received the most upvotes (22 to date) and 1.8k views.

Read the original post at Quora  https://www.quora.com/How-does-serving-time-in-federal-prison-compare-to-state-prison

How did you feel when you found out you were going to prison?

On August 18, 1988, after my arrest, I knew I was going to prison and planned to avoid that by escaping, and if that didn’t work and I was killed during the attempt, then suicide by cop would be okay. I felt miserable and hated life. I felt an exaggerated sense of hopelessness, despair, disappointment, all associated with the intense hate and anger that scorched my soul.

Today, I’m glad things didn’t work according to my plans and that I changed my thinking and my life.

At thirty-one years old, I didn’t have hope of ever seeing another day as a free man. Months later, I sat inside a jail cell with a man facing the death penalty (I was disruptive and creating havoc in the jail, so the jailers put me in the cell block with the killers).

Once inside that jail cell, I continued to look for an opportunity to escape. To get away I would have done whatever it took. The thought of spending the rest of my days inside a box made me want to get it over with, to spare myself the agony of a miserable existence.

Suicide seemed the solution: For a Samurai Warrior, wasn’t that the honorable way out, death before dishonor?

That’s how I felt, alone, angry, desperate, disappointed, and in fear on spending the rest of my life in prison, with no hope of getting out, unless I escaped.

I changed my mind about committing suicide because I didn’t want to put my family through having to deal with me dying that way.

Today, as a man who walked out the prison doors, even though it was thirty-years later, I am glad I changed my mind about suicide, escape, and all other aspects of my self-destructive mindset and associated behaviors.

Quora.com Blog Posting

In recent weeks Wayne T. Dowdy focused on building a fan base on QUORA.com.

[Updated: January 15, 2019]  The following post comes in response to the QUORA question, “How does serving time in federal prison compare to state prison?” which has received almost 15,000 views  since its posting on December 26, 2018:

When I first began my sentence, an old-timer said, “The states control you physically he following and the feds do it psychologically.”

I found that true. The feds use incentive-mechanisms to control its prisoners (gives prisoners something to lose, recreation privileges, more freedom of movement, better living conditions; something authorities take or restrict access to for misbehavior).

The typical prisoner mentality in the federal system is milder, less violent than many state prisoners. Again, an old-timer gave me a few words of wisdom:

“The federal system lulls people to sleep because it’s more laid-back, and there’s not as much violence every day, so guys forget where they’re at because they get away with so much. And then when one of them does something stupid to the wrong person, he gets stabbed or killed.”

I behaved better in the federal system than when I served time in the State of Georgia, where violence dominates every day activities.

My published writings show the difference between the young knucklehead I was while serving time in Georgia where I didn’t have much to lose, in comparison to the responsible man I become, due in part to the aging process and having programs available to help me change. Read The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy, Midnight Express Books, for an example of the differences in my behaviors in the State versus the Federal system.

Being paid for working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) made a significant difference because it allowed me to take care of myself, rather than to burden my family for support, and that made me feel better as a human being.

The difference in my behavior illustrates the effectiveness of incentive programs, as well as the difference in the life of a prisoner serving time in a federal or state system; however, prisoner experiences vary.

The Storm & Valentine’s Day Wish

[Update:  I am re-posting this one for 2019 to wish each of you a Happy Valentine’s Day from the outside this year.

 I did not win the administrative remedy on the issue stated below in the original post, but I did win an issue concerning a miscalculation of my Good Conduct Time, which changed my out-date to March 8, 2019.  I left the prison for Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia on August 28, 2018; however, my fight to successfully reintegrate into society continues.  I am unemployed but am not homeless and do have a loving, caring family and some great friends, so life is wonderful!]

The storm still rages within as I continue my fight for successful reintegration into society at an earlier date than approved. Time will tell if I win an administrative remedy process where I present my argument that 119-days in a Residential Reentry Center (RRC) is not “of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community.”

As stated in my previous blog (“Half a Problem”), to support my position I rely on Congressional authority stated in 18 U.S.C., Section 3624(c), commonly known as THE SECOND CHANCE ACT OF 2007: COMMUNITY SAFETY THROUGH RECIDIVISM REDUCTION (SCA).

The problem lies is Congress giving discretionary authority to the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, the “Backwards on Purpose” agency (BOP), who has a vested interest in robust prison populations. I will return to this topic later.

Because some of you may not be interested in the halfway house issue, I will share a slightly modified version of a former writing posted on Facebook and published in February 2014 by the Mission Possible, Words of Hope Ministries newsletter, Charlotte, NC. If you like, find other blogs of interest to read on my blogspot.

If new to this site, use the Search feature to experience a variety of writings: “Women Rule the World”; “Burning Bridges”; “Life Beyond the Obvious”; “Despicable Characters”; “Freedom for Another Friend”; “From Where Do Writers Root”; “Social Media for Writers”; “Love & Evil Are Color-Blind”; “Southern Pride – Waving a Confederate Flag”; “A Job Affair”; “Seeking a Real Job” and many others.

sleet stormWINTER STORM & A VALENTINE’S DAY WISH

A Winter Storm struck the south this morning in Edgefield, South Carolina (02/12/14). I woke to the patter of frozen rain on my window. The air system went off sometime before then and it had gotten real quiet, a rare event in prison.

The power grids in some areas have failed and resulted in power outages but we still have ours; even the air system power has been restored.

For the last few hours, we have gotten light snow mixed with freezing rain. I have stayed inside the living unit. Most of my peers went to go eat breakfast around 8:00 AM, which I rarely go to anyway, so I wasn’t about to go battle the falling, tiny-pieces of ice to trudge across more than five-hundred yards of concrete sidewalks, already frozen and ice-covered, to go eat a breakfast I wouldn’t have went to, even with a cool breeze blowing and a beautiful Red Morning rising sun.

Nature won! 🙂 I wimped out and stayed inside to funnel instant coffee; however, I did man-up to go out and battle the slush for lunch. At any rate, wherever you are at when reading this, I sincerely hope you are safe and warm. I know the storm began for some of you many days ago, while others are enjoying beautiful weather, others needing food and water, but whatever your circumstances are, I do hope you are able to enjoy life and take pleasure in what you have, rather than being discontent because of what is missing in your life that you wished you had but do not.

valentines day image

For those of you fortunate enough to have a special someone in your life, I do hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day and are able to cuddle up to the one you love in some meaningful way.

For those who don’t have anyone special in your life, know that you are loved by many whom you may not have met, yet. Maybe the winter storm in your life will pass soon and you will find the beauty in life as spring rolls in to replace the cold and troublesome weather. Don’t give up! There is always hope. 🙂 Take care-Wayne

EARTHQUAKE: The winter storm continued for days. Two days after I wrote the above, a 4.1 Earthquake hit Edgefield, SC on Valentine’s Day. I told a friend, “Someone must not have gotten a Valentine’s card.”

SIN CITY
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: I overheard staff members discussing what was said during an August 2017, Union meeting in Las Vegas. A BOP spokesperson stated, “We are running out of prisoners because of changes made in the law and policies implemented by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.”

Some of those policies implemented by the former Attorney General that decreased the prison population, focused on reentry initiatives, and ordering prosecutors to cease the practice of beefing-up criminal charges on defendants to get guilty pleas, as well as to respect state rights by not prosecuting those who grow marijuana in states where it is legal.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working on solving “that problem” with new policies he has implemented (reversing pot policy), and with assistance from Director Inch, changing BOP halfway house/RRC placement practices, which will increase recidivism.

RECIDIVISM: Read “Recidivism in America” (01/25/17) for more on recidivism and the BOP’s population decline, due, in part, to those policies implemented by the former President and Attorney General (“The B.O.P. began 2017 with 189,333 prisoners, which is substantially less than the 219,298 reported in 2013.”)

On February 8, 2018, the BOP population was 183,447, with 7,149 prisoners in halfway houses, and 2,180 more on home confinement. To show the effect of policy changes by Director Inch, on June 15, 2017, the month before he took control, the halfway house population was 8,848, with 3,559 on home confinement.

HALF A CHANCE: BOP DIRECTOR MARK INCH DISREGARDS PROVISIONS OF THE SECOND CHANCE ACT.

The Honorable Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr., U.S. District Judge, wrote the following about the Second Chance Act in Glenn, Jr. v. Holland, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127740 (E.D., Ky. 11/03/11):

“The ‘Second Chance Act of 2007’

“The Second Chance Act amends 18 U.S.C. Sections 3621(a) and 3624(c) and requires the BOP staff to review inmates for halfway house placement 17-19 months before their projected release dates.

“The purpose of the Second Chance Act are, in part, to break the cycle of criminal recidivism; to rebuild ties between offenders and their families; to encourage the development and support of programs that enhance public safety and reduce recidivism, such as substance abuse treatment, alternatives to incarceration and comprehensive reentry services; to protect the public and promote law-abiding conduct; to assist offenders reentering the community from incarceration; and to provide offenders in prison … with educational, literacy, vocational, and job placement services to facilitate reentry into the community. See Act, 112 Stat 657. The Second Chance Act requires the BOP to ‘ensure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of the final months of that term (not to exceed 12-months), under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the community.’ 18 U.S.C. Section 3624(c).”

Maybe Director Inch hasn’t read the statute, which puts the responsibility on him to accomplish the above. The SCA (18 U.S.C. Section 3624(c), Prerelease Custody) begins with, “The Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall, ….” After I receive the response to my Administrative Appeal (BP-9), I will mail him a copy, which includes a copy of a newsletter by attorney Brandon Sample, who explains the legislative process (NEWS@BRANDONSAMPLE.COM).

BOP MISSION STATEMENT: “The Federal Bureau of Prisons protects society by confining offenders in the controlled environment of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, and appropriately secure, and which provides work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.”

The mission statement must have excluded the federal prison administrators that I’ve lived under for almost thirty-years, since I’ve not seen many programs that provide self-improvement opportunities, and since I have struggled with the ones at this institution to have regularly scheduled, self-improvement programs that reduce recidivism; i.e., Twelve Step meetings. And the situation here for 12-Step programs is better than what others report who come from other federal institutions.

Perhaps the BOP mission statement was written before private prison company executives corrupted the criminal justice system with their bribes (contributions) to increase their bottom lines and ensure a robust prison population.

Perhaps one can file under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act to see if the Honorable United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and the Honorable Mark S. Inch, BOP Director, received “contributions” from private prison company executives (e.g., Core Civic and GEO Group), whose influences have lead to laws and policies that increased recidivism at taxpayers’ expense, the same as what is happening with the changed halfway house practices.

Read “Half a Problem” for more on the halfway house issue, and “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” for more on the corrupt influence of private prison executives on prison authorities and politicians.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON BOP HALFWAY HOUSES (https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2016/a1701.pdf):

“The OIG found that, contrary to policy, guidance, and relevant research, BOP is ‘placing the great majority of eligible inmates into RRCs regardless of inmate risk for recidivism or need for transitional services, unless the inmate is deemed not suitable for such placement because the inmate poses a significant threat to the community. As a result, low-risk, low-need inmates are more likely to be placed in RRCs than high-risk, high-need inmates.’

“The numbers tell the story. During the study period, 90% of minimum security and 75% of low security inmates received RRC/home confinement placement. But only 58% of high security level inmates got such placement, while the remaining 42% were released into the community directly from a BOP institution. While the OIG Report conceded that this ‘may be a result of the fact that many of the high security inmates were considered a public safety risk,’ still the Report suggested that because, on average, the high-security inmates were within four months of release anyway, there didn’t seem to be much justification for not sending them to a halfway house, where they (and the community) might benefit from receiving reentry programming.” BOP HALFWAY HOUSE PROGRAM FOUND TO BE DEFICIENT (11/20/16), Legal Information Services Associates newsletter (for free Corrlinks newsletter, send email to newsletter@lisa-legalinfo.com). Visit http://www.lisa-legalinfo.com.

Many of the high-security prisoners released straight into the community, will commit crimes against citizens and return to prison. Providing a reasonable opportunity to prepare for reentry would reduce the numbers of those who do.

In an OIG Report on the BOP Release Preparation Program (RPP), the OIG stated, “Finally, we found that the BOP does not currently collect comprehensive re-arrest data on its former inmates, has no performance metrics to gauge the RPP’s impact on recidivism, and does not currently make any attempt to link RPP efforts to recidivism. We also found that the BOP has not yet completed a recidivism analysis required by the Second Chance Act of 2007. Such analyses would help the BOP know whether the RPP is effectively accomplishing its objective of reducing recidivism.” REVIEW OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS RELEASE PREPARATION PROGRAM (09/04/16), Jeremy Gordon Newsletter (info@topfederallawyer.com) Visit http://www.facebook.com/gordondefense.

The BOP first must want to decrease recidivism. Remember the Backwards on Purpose agency, whose “[a]ctions speak so loud I can’t hear a word of what [they] say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The new halfway house policy lead to one man here, a recidivist who served 12-years, to receive 12-DAYS in an RRC. Another man served 14-years and received 28-DAYS. Considering that Congress extended the permissible RRC placement period from 6-to-12 months to decrease recidivism, shortening that period will increase recidivism.

THE STORM RAGES ON.
______________________________________
Wayne T. Dowdy writes at http://www.straightfromthepen.com & https://waynedowdy.weebly.com.

Support his writing by purchasing his paperbacks and eBooks.  Paperbacks available from Amazon.com and your favorite eStores.  Visit his Smashwords Author’s Page at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy for eBooks, some of which are free.

Social Media for Writers

[January 11, 2019:  In the future I will update this blog post to make it current, now that I am a free man and am able to do the necessary research to make the content more useful to those of you who wish to improve your social media experience.]

I am sending this out to provide what I hope to be helpful information for interested persons, or for anyone willing to share the information with a new or aspiring writer, who will capitalize on the following social media outlets: Wattpad, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook Fan Pages, Blogs & Press Releases. Readers and social media socialites may equally find something helpful. Feel free to share this with others.

WATTPAD

Wattpad is the social networking site for writers and readers that provides an outlet for writers to post their writings for readers to read for free. Check it out. Wattpad recently started offering users the possibility to raise funds for their projects, like Kickstarter.

TWITTER

Twitter limits messages to 140-characters but has continued to grow in the fast paced world and seems to be a must for many who want to be noticed, as most writers and celebrities do. Mark Haverstock says, “Twitter caters to both the busy and the attention-challenged, with a 140-word maximum microblogging format.” (See Tumblr data for more from Haverstock.) These are links to get you started:

http://michaelhyatt.com/the-beginners-guide-to-twitter.html
https://support-twitter.com/articles/100990-signing-up-with-twitter#
http://inkygirl.com/a-writers-guide-to-twitter
http://www.mitaliblog.com/2009/08/getting-started-on-twitter-quick-guide.html
TUMBLR

According to the Writer’s Guide to 2014 ($23.95, Writer’s Institute Publications), in “Stepping Into the World of Social Media” by Mark Haverstock, “Tumblr is a social media site where users can share anything and everything–blog text, pictures, videos, music files, links, and more. … Tumblr is also chock full of inspiration. You can find anything from full-length blog posts, to poems, awe-inspiring pictures, music and links, to great sites all on this one social media resource. Tags allow you to give your posts a little extra exposure, so you can share them not only with people who follow you, but others who check out those tag threads–definitely a feature worth taking advantage of.” All links come from the same source, except for those in the last section (Blogs & Press Releases). The article lists these three associated links for Tumblr:

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Tumblr-Account
http://www.tumblr.com/register
http://digitalsherpa.com/setting-up-your-tumblr-account-and-getting-started
FACEBOOK FAN PAGES

Most writers will probably benefit from having a Facebook Fan Page, along with their own personal pages on Facebook, which after creating a Fan Page, would conceivably benefit by letting their friends know about their Fan Page to gain more exposure. (I recently read that writers should not use their personal Facebook page for marketing their book, since people who sign on as friends are more interested in the writer’s personal life. It is supposedly okay for the writer to write about events in their life, how these events relate to their writing career or the book, but not to use the personal page as a sales platform.) As a writer who cannot access these sites due to being in prison, and thus cannot use the available tools for marketing books and writings as most writers do, I can attest to the difficulties in generating readers and customers for self-published materials by not having the social media forum I would otherwise have if able to access those sites. I have the skills and the technical knowledge to create web pages, blogs, etc.; however, I cannot actively engage my reading audience through blogging or posting my writings on a website, because I have to depend on others for connecting with the outside world, and none of the people I am currently involved with have the time or know-how to do what I need. (I am still in the process of finding ways to do all of the above.) Here is the info for creating a Fan Page:

https://www.facebook.com/about/pages
Ten-Step quick start: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Facebook-Fan-Page
Detailed instructions: http://computer-howstuffworks.com/internet/tips/how-to-make-fan-page-on-facebook.htm
Here are some writers’ Fan Pages you may view for ideas on design and content:

Stephenie Meyer: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephenie-Meyer/108380102517046?fref=ts (fan page)
John Green: http://www.facebook.com/JohnGreenfans?fref=ts
E.J. James: http://www.facebook.com/ELJamesAuthor
Gretchen Rubin: http://www.facebook.com/GretchenRubin
BLOGS & PRESS RELEASES

Two free blog sites are WordPress (www.wordpress.com) and Blogspot Platform (www.blogger.com). Since I see it used most often, I suspect that WordPress is the best choice. Both have templates and other accessories to help the writer set up their blog. Blogs are a must have social media platform for the aspiring writer to succeed at getting noticed and getting the word out. Some may choose to set up the blog to interact directly with their followers, while others may be too busy for that type of communication with their fans and, instead, elect to post sample chapters from a novel and post survey questions to engage their audience; e.g., which scene the reader liked most, who is their favorite character, what would they like to see happen, etc. By posting chapters in advance of completing the book, the writer is able to arouse interest in their product and have customers waiting to purchase it upon release.

For those who have a book release, try PRLOG (www.prlog.org), which is a free press release distribution service. Good luck. Wayne T. Dowdy (waynedowdy@StraightFromThePen.com).