Happy Memorial Day! My Heart Goes Out to those Honorable Men and Women Who Fought

Memorial Day in America is a controversial holiday because of its association with the Civil War, which I wrote extensively about in Mothers & Memorial Days by Wayne T. Dowdy

To me, it is a Holiday to pay tribute to those who lost their lives defending the lives of others and who fought for a cause, regardless of whose side they were on or which war they fought in for whatever reason, right or wrong or however someone categorizes what happened. Happy Memorial Day!

And Always Remember The Mothers!

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May 21, 2023, Update: While preparing a YouTube video to post that relates to returning citizens who seek to find a job, I shared my experience with age discrimination (actually illegal for employers to use age as a factor to decide on hiring someone). After having served thirty consecutive years in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I decided to add the link to this blog with the YouTube video that I will embed at the end of this post. Please Like and Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Thank you!

Time changes things.  Ex-offenders struggled to obtain gainful employment for years.  The blemish of a felony conviction decreased their chance of employment.  Now, at many American companies, a criminal conviction does not automatically disqualify ex-felon job applicants.  That is good news for society and taxpayers!

“The Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, representing 1,300 business groups, agreed last month with the Counsel of State Governments Justice Center to provide assistance to chamber members in the hiring of ex-offenders.

“While some businesses have been interested in the past, ‘it becomes even more critical when the labor market is tight not to rule out qualified applicants,’ said David Rattray, a Los Angeles chamber executive.”  Stigma of Criminal Record Fades, As U.S. Employers Get Desperate by Steve Matthews, Copyright 2017 Bloomberg L.P., published in the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (BNA Reporter), CRL, May 31, 2017.

PERSONALLY:  In 1976, I was released from state prison and applied for numerous jobs.  I even tried getting a job at some of the local state government agencies.  During interviews, things went well until my criminal history became the topic, then I essentially got the infamous line, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”  No one called.

A month later, I read a newspaper article about CETA, a program created to help disadvantaged people find employment.  I applied there and experienced the same ole BS.  I had had enough by then.

CRIMINAL THINKING:  After hearing the same ole line, I looked at the interviewer and said, “I’m trying to get a job.  No one will hire me.  I have a wife at home, a baby, and another baby on the way.  I’ve got to have a job to take care of them, but since no one will hire me, what are you saying, I should get a gun and go to work?”

He reconsidered and sent me for an interview at a Volkswagen, Porsche, Audi dealership.  The company hired me as a mechanic.  Unfortunately, the floor manager did not like me.  If the Kelly’s Blue Book said to pay mechanics a certain rate for performing a specific task, he paid me less than normal.  The other mechanics sympathized and agreed that he was unfair to me.

I quit after dealing with the disparity for several months.  Within two years, I made a terrible mistake and picked up a gun to “get paid.”

CRIME PAYS:  I got paid using a gun.  What I got paid was a long-prison sentence because of the method of employment I chose to get paid.  Crime pays with prison sentences that rob men and women of their lives.

A life of crime led to me robbing my children of a father to guide, protect, and provide for them; robbed my wife of a husband to fulfill his responsibilities in the marriage; robbed my siblings of their brother, my mother and father of their son, and turned me into a liability rather than an asset to the family.

GET A JOB:  No, not with a gun.  Being caught with a gun or bullet, would get me sentenced to fifteen years to life without parole.  I don’t want to retire that way.  The 35-year sentence I am almost finished with, gave me enough time to get rested and willing to get a real job.

PREPARING FOR THE JOB MARKET:  On Sunday, May 28, 2017, Georgia Focus, a radio talk show, featured a Georgia Department of Labor official (I think it was Georgia Labor Commissioner, Mark Butler).

He spoke of programs to help the formerly incarcerated to find employment, and said that he has over 100,000 positions to fill.  According to the radio interview and the BNA article, one of the biggest obstacles of some applicant/employees is a lack of soft skills.

SOFT SKILLS:  show up for work on time, dress accordingly (if applying for a welding job, go dressed as if you are ready to start work, not in a three-piece suit); communication and people skills (working with others, being polite, considerate, etc.), and of course, working hard.

He also spoke on the value of following up on job applications; e.g., sending a message or calling to thank the employer for his or her consideration (as I recall, Mr. Butler used his daughter as an example of follow-up activities that landed her two interviews and then the job she sought).

THE WORLD OF WORK:  In 1985-86, I graduated from The World of Work, a program to teach participants to be entrepreneurs, how to get a job, how to succeed in the business world.

(To view a photo of me while giving a graduation speech from a podium at the Hilton Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia, visit my photo gallery at here..)

I secured the first position I applied for at Bankhead Enterprises, Inc. (BEI).  I drove a truck to pick up and deliver parts for their Transportation Division (Bankhead Transportation Equipment).  Within two years, I held multiple positions and increased my salary by fifty-percent.

One position I held was as the assistant manager of the Equipment Maintenance Division.  I brought it out of the red for its first time by billing all expenses.  All of the department heads complained about an increase in overhead, but it made my boss happy.  🙂

The last official position I held was in the Personnel Department.  For a pay increase, I left to become an estimator for BEI’s fastest growing division (Bankhead Asphalt Paving).  The manager wanted me to work for two weeks to show him what I could do before he decided how much to increase my salary.

SHARP DRESSED MAN:  I made an irrational decision to quit because “that wasn’t the deal.”  I wanted the raise to walk on the property in my three-piece suit.  Yes, I was young and dumb, well dressed, but definitely young and dumb.

I left BEI and later worked for the Electrolux Corporation to sell vacuum cleaners and shampooers.  I took top office sales on my first week out.

HISTORY HURTS:  In 1988, an insurance company and real estate company both called and invited me to work for them.  My criminal conviction prohibited me from getting license to sell insurance, homes or property.

The insurance company had hired me.  I let the manager know I may not be able to get a license.  I wanted to find out if I could be licensed before he invested the time into training me.  With regret, he learned Georgia law prohibited me from selling insurance for his company.

The principles I learned in The World of Work worked.  I failed to succeed because I had a problem with drugs and alcohol, a problem I no longer have, and one that screwed up my thinking.  With over twenty-two years of sobriety, and a determination to succeed, I know I can make it in any company I chose to work for upon release.

SELL YOURSELF:  To get a job, one must sell themselves to the potential employer.  Employers do not care if the baby needs milk or if the spouse needs a new pair of shoes.  Employers hire people to do the job and to profit/benefit from their labor, so an applicant must convince the employer they are the best candidate for the position, the one to make them money or best serve their interests.

COMPLETING THE APPLICATION:  When completing an application, if it contains a field for Felony Convictions, write or type, “Will Explain During Interview.”  That may allow you to get your foot in the door to sell yourself as the person for the job.

EXPERIMENT:  If faced with resistance by a potential employer, and if you are confident of your ability to do the job, offer to work a week without promise of pay, unless you satisfactory perform the tasks.  Walk away with dignity and pride whether you secure the position or not.  Be proud of having given it your best.

ADVANCEMENT (GIVE MORE THAN YOU RECEIVE):  If paid $10.00 per hour and only work to give an employer $10.00 worth of work, an employee will likely stay at $10.00 per hour; however, if that employee gives the employer work worthy of $20.00 per hour, he or she will likely be promoted, whether it be by advancing in the organization, or by an increase in his or her salary.

FEDERAL PRISON INDUSTRIES, INC. (UNICOR):  For almost 28-years I’ve worked for UNICOR.  Numerous politicians tried to shut the doors.  UNICOR helps reduce recidivism by preparing inmates for the job market.  I learned several marketable job skills since I began working for UNICOR on December 1, 1989.

The more promising positions have been working as a document control clerk, a tutor in an Apprenticeship Program for Quality Assurance Inspectors, a technical writer (since 1997), and an Internal Auditor for eleven years.

The former Quality Assurance Manager, once told an external auditor for the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI), who audited our Quality Management System for compliance with ISO 9001: 2008 Requirements, that I was like a gnat.

“When he’d ask me to do something we are supposed to do, if I put him off, he’d keep coming back to bug me to do it.  He was like a gnat flying around in my face.  I’d shoo him away but he’d keep coming back until I did what I was supposed to do.”

He retired and became a respectable employee for a private company.

I apply myself in whatever task I perform and do it to the best of my ability or not at all.  In UNICOR, I apply myself more so to do my part to help keep it afloat for others to have an opportunity to learn and provide for themselves.

I expect those who earn more in a day than I earn in a month to do the same thing.  That does not always work out when dealing with Union or federal employees who know it almost takes an act of Congress to terminate them.  Most often, the bureaucracy rewards incompetence by promoting them instead of sending them to look for another job.  Maybe President Trump can change that.

WORKKEYS:  I began WorkKeys last month to help prepare for reentry into the job market.  The title should have warned me that Workkeys required a lot of work.  The curriculum entails Reading for Information, Applied Math, and Locating Information.

In the early ’80s, I took a Math remedial class at South Georgia College to bring my math skills up to college level.  Now I am re-learning math because I forgot most of what I learned decades ago.  Use it or loose it!

The Neurons inside my brain sparked when math entered the equation.  Math is not my favorite course of study but that has not deterred me from proceeding with what I began.  I am rising to the occasion because of my desire to succeed.  I am striving for Platinum Certification.  More will be revealed! (I succeeded at obtaining the WorkKeys Platinum Certification when retested.)

WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certification

REENTRY & EMPLOYMENT:  The changes in the job market give me more hope in securing gainful employment upon release.  My age may also be a hindrance when I apply for jobs.  Even so, I’m sure some employers prefer an older, more mature employee, who shows up for work on time, performs his duties in a prompt, efficient manner, and who proves himself an asset to their company, as I will do.

In “Reentry Programs Will Reduce Recidivism” (July 2016), I wrote on the reentry initiatives implemented by President Obama that will help ex-offenders obtain employment and become a taxpayer instead of a tax liability.  I listed numerous companies willing to hire ex-offenders; e.g., The Coca-Cola Company, Georgia-Pacific, Kellogg Company, Staples, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Best Buy, and many others.  Hopefully, Attorney General Sessions will not undo that as he has other initiates implemented by the Obama Administration.

Perhaps Georgia Governor, Nathan Deal, will hire an ex-offender when I am released.  I have a lot to offer about issues affecting recidivism, including ideas for reducing it by helping the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.  After all, with my experience in corrections, I am somewhat an expert.

My corrections experience cost taxpayers well-over a million dollars.  Employing me as a Consultant or auditor will yield favorable results by converting me into an asset, especially, for those with a vested interest in reducing recidivism through employment opportunities.


Please Like and Subscribe to my YouTube channels that you may find in the following video. I do thank you in advance.


Wayne T. Dowdy writes StraightFromthePen.

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After Rinsing with Water and Polishing with Soft Cloth

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Mother’s Day 2023


This is a different year but nothing has changed about the way I feel.

My heart goes out the people who have lost their mothers and cannot celebrate this special day created to honor those who brought us into this world, as we kicked and screamed for attention from the one who loves us most, our mother.

That includes me and my siblings who lost our mother in 2016. The above photo is an old one of her that I post in her honor. By the time of her passing she looked much different as she was blessed to live until she was eighty-five.

For those who still have that special woman in their lives, I hope that circumstances allow you to spend time with her or to at least to let her know how much she means to you and how grateful that I hope you are for all she did to help you to get to the stage of life where you are at right now.

May God Bless all of the Mothers of the World on this special day.

YouTube Growth by Wayne T. Dowdy

Nope, this isn’t about my now having 1.5 Million views on Quora.com, but I am boasting that I do. Please check out my profile page https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy. This blog is about the YouTube Growth I am experiencing.

Last night I was walking through a Walmart Superstore and decided to post a YouTube short.

On my phone I noticed a camera icon and after clicking it, then I saw that it was for making a YouTube “Short” and so I began. Follow the link to LinkedIn to see what happened and where I hope it goes on my journey as a returning citizen who is making a positive difference in the lives of others: LinkedIn

Final Post on Former Site

Earlier today I posted this on https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com as YouTube Star to notify everyone of the closure of that particular link, in hope of having more to come over to this website and to follow me on YouTube:

“The time has come for this particular website to end as hosted on WordPress.com. Find me on this YouTube channel and at https://straightfromthepen.com for more coverage about my Life After Release and other issues that related to recidivism, or Life Inside and Out on Quora.com. Check out my profile page Wayne T. Dowdy. See you on the other side of the digital world, StraightfromthePen. Thanks for viewing my posts all of these years if you decide not to follow me on YouTube and Beyond.”

Please Like and Subscribe to my YouTube channel, StraightfromthePen.

Dr. A.I. Bing Redemption

For those new to StraightfromthePen or who are not regular followers, I posted an essay written by artificial intelligence on Microsoft Bing. Click the following link to read it if interested: https://straightfromthepen.com/2023/05/02/dr-a-i-bing-on-recidivism-study/

Well, I gave Dr. A.I. Bing multiple chances to redeem itself and though it did improve, it still needs to learn a little more. In the following paragraphs, Dr. A.I. Bing wrote decent essays in response to my requests but the essays still don’t seem to be consistent with the findings in the targeted study (Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 24 States in 2008: A 10-Year Follow-Up Period (2008–2018) summary (ojp.gov)). A.I. needs Second Chances, too.

To end this experiment on a positive note, I include a link to an article from the Pew Charitable Trusts that shows a reduction in recidivism in several states, some of which contain impressive numbers. There is always hope!

Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel for StraightfromthePen. Thanks!

I now present to you, Dr. A.I. Bing on Recidivism in America:

Settings: informational, blog post, long

Request: Essay on Ten Year Follow-Up Study on Recidivism in America

Recidivism is the term used to describe the relapse of a person into criminal behavior after receiving sanctions or interventions for a previous crime. Recidivism is a major challenge for the criminal justice system in the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world. According to the National Institute of Justice, within three years of their release, two out of three former prisoners are rearrested and more than 50% are incarcerated again. This essay will summarize the findings of a ten year follow-up study on recidivism in America, conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and published in 2022.

The study tracked a nationally representative sample of 67,966 state prisoners who were released in 2012 across 30 states. The study measured recidivism by criminal acts that resulted in rearrest, reconviction or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a ten-year period following the prisoner’s release. The study also examined the characteristics of the released prisoners, such as age, gender, race, offense type, sentence length, and prior criminal history.

The main findings of the study were as follows:

  • The overall recidivism rate for the 2012 release cohort was 82%, meaning that 82% of the released prisoners were arrested at least once during the ten-year follow-up period. This was an increase from 76.6% for the 2005 release cohort and 67.8% for the 1994 release cohort.
  • The recidivism rate varied by offense type, with property offenders having the highest rate (88.3%) and public order offenders having the lowest rate (73.6%). Violent offenders had a recidivism rate of 83.4% and drug offenders had a recidivism rate of 76.9%.
  • The recidivism rate also varied by sentence length, with prisoners who served less than one year having a higher rate (86.4%) than those who served one year or more (79.9%). This was consistent with previous studies that found that shorter sentences may not provide enough time for rehabilitation or deterrence effects.
  • The recidivism rate decreased with age, with younger prisoners having a higher rate than older prisoners. For example, prisoners who were 24 or younger at release had a recidivism rate of 90.3%, while those who were 55 or older at release had a recidivism rate of 53.9%.
  • The recidivism rate was higher for males (83.4%) than for females (76.1%), and higher for blacks (85%) than for whites (78.8%) or Hispanics (80.3%). These differences may reflect disparities in social and economic opportunities, as well as racial and ethnic biases in the criminal justice system.
  • The recidivism rate increased with prior criminal history, with prisoners who had more prior arrests or convictions having a higher rate than those who had fewer or none. For example, prisoners who had six or more prior arrests had a recidivism rate of 89%, while those who had no prior arrests had a recidivism rate of 44.3%.

The study concluded that recidivism remains a persistent and pervasive problem in the United States, despite efforts to reduce it through various policies and programs. The study suggested that more research is needed to identify the factors that influence recidivism and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions that aim to prevent it. The study also recommended that policymakers and practitioners consider the diverse needs and risks of different groups of offenders and tailor their services accordingly.

The study was one of the most comprehensive and rigorous examinations of recidivism in America to date, providing valuable insights into the patterns and trends of reoffending over a long-term period. However, the study also had some limitations, such as relying on official records that may not capture all criminal activity, excluding federal and local prisoners from the sample, and not accounting for variations across states in laws, policies, and practices that may affect recidivism rates.


IvyPanda. (2021). The Recidivism Rates in the U.S.. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-recidivism-rates-in-the-us/

National Institute of Justice. (n.d.). Recidivism | National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/corrections/recidivism


Settings: Enthusiastic, blog post, short

Request: Essay on Ten Year Follow-Up Study on Recidivism in America

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to share with you my latest essay on a very important topic: recidivism in America. Recidivism is the tendency of convicted criminals to reoffend after being released from prison. It’s a huge problem that affects millions of people and costs billions of dollars every year.

In my essay, I analyze the results of a ten-year follow-up study that tracked the outcomes of over 10,000 inmates who were released from state prisons in 2013. The study looked at various factors that influenced their likelihood of returning to prison, such as age, gender, race, education, employment, substance abuse, mental health, family support, and community resources.

The findings are fascinating and surprising. Some of them confirm what we already know from previous research, but others challenge our assumptions and stereotypes. For example, did you know that:

  • The overall recidivism rate was 68%, meaning that more than two-thirds of the released inmates were rearrested within ten years.
  • The recidivism rate was higher for men than for women (71% vs. 62%), and for blacks than for whites (75% vs. 63%).
  • The recidivism rate decreased with age, from 82% for those under 25 to 47% for those over 55.
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had a high school diploma or higher (61%) than for those who did not (74%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who were employed (59%) than for those who were unemployed (73%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had no history of substance abuse (54%) than for those who did (72%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had no history of mental illness (65%) than for those who did (74%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had strong family ties (57%) than for those who did not (71%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who lived in areas with high levels of social capital (55%) than for those who lived in areas with low levels of social capital (72%).

These results have important implications for policy and practice. They suggest that we need to invest more in education, employment, treatment, and reintegration programs that can help offenders break the cycle of crime and incarceration. They also show that we need to address the structural and systemic factors that create and perpetuate racial and socioeconomic disparities in the criminal justice system.

If you want to learn more about this topic and read my full essay, you can find it on my blog. I hope you enjoy it and find it informative and insightful. Thank you for reading and please leave your comments and feedback below!

The Changing State of Recidivism: Fewer People Going Back to Prison | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)

Dr. A.I. Bing On Recidivism Study

I, being, Wayne T. Dowdy, gave Dr. A.I. Bing another opportunity to prove itself at providing the requested content, and it failed to find the targeted data available online. In Dr. A.I. Bing On Recidivism Study, I chose the following URL as the target data: https://bjs.ojp.gov/library/publications/recidivism-prisoners-released-24-states-2008-10-year-follow-period-2008-2018

Dr. A.I. Bing will cause a lot of students to fail who decide to use it to take short cuts on College or academic papers. The following essay proves that because, #1, I set it for a Professional Long Blog Post; however, in the next blog I will show how Dr. A.I. Bing improved itself after I continued to pull up more data for it to “discover.”

Recidivism Rate in Ten Year Follow-Up Study

Recidivism is the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend after being released from prison. It is a major challenge for the criminal justice system, as it indicates the failure of rehabilitation and deterrence programs. Recidivism also has significant social and economic costs, such as increased crime rates, victimization, and prison overcrowding.

In this blog post, we will present the findings of a ten year follow-up study on the recidivism rate of a sample of 500 offenders who were released from prison in 2013. The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, and funded by the National Institute of Justice. The study aimed to answer the following research questions:

– What is the recidivism rate of the sample after ten years of release?

– What are the factors that predict recidivism among the sample?

– What are the implications of the findings for policy and practice?

The study used a mixed-methods approach, combining quantitative data from official records and surveys, and qualitative data from interviews and focus groups. The study followed the sample for ten years after their release, tracking their re-arrests, reconvictions, and reincarcerations. The study also collected information on their demographic characteristics, criminal history, risk and needs assessment, program participation, employment, education, family, health, and social support.

The main findings of the study are as follows:

– The recidivism rate of the sample after ten years of release was 67%, meaning that two-thirds of the offenders reoffended within a decade of leaving prison. This rate is higher than the national average of 55% reported by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

– The most common types of offenses that led to recidivism were property crimes (32%), drug crimes (28%), and violent crimes (22%).

– The factors that predicted recidivism among the sample were age at release, prior convictions, substance abuse, mental health problems, gang affiliation, low educational attainment, unemployment, homelessness, and lack of social support.

– The implications of the findings for policy and practice are that there is a need for more effective and evidence-based interventions that target the criminogenic needs of offenders, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, substance abuse treatment, vocational training, mentoring, and aftercare services. There is also a need for more collaboration and coordination among various agencies and stakeholders involved in the reentry process, such as corrections, probation, parole, courts, law enforcement, social services, health care providers, employers, community organizations, and families.