Happy Veterans Day to all those who fight for our individual rights and freedom. Even though I may not always agree with the political agenda that drives the military, in America and abroad, I do honor the men and women who risk their lives fighting to protect the lives of others.
Now in the United States with a new elect, Commander in Chief, my hope is that he will lead the nation on a peaceful mission but will stand strong when faced with challenges by those who wish to harm others with their political or religious agenda.
Since I am an advocate of prison and criminal justice reform, my hope is that President Elect, Joe Biden, will work towards ending mass incarceration, by changing practices and policies that will help free thousands of Americans incarcerated for non-violent crimes and minor drug-related offenses, and any others who received unjust sentences for acts that did not infringe on the rights or safety of others.
One of President Elect, Joe Biden’s campaign promises concerned changing private prison policies, something that former President Barrack Obama focused on during his term of presidency, which President Donald Trump reversed immediately and caused private prison stocks to soar.
Maybe there is a happy medium, but to me, allowing companies and investors to profit from high incarceration numbers and financially-driven policies that help to put and keep men and women in jails and prisons does not seem morally-correct.
I wrote a blog to try to find that happy medium, Prison Privatization and Recidivism. Private prison companies have shifted some of its focus into Residential Reentry Centers that help returning citizens reintegrate into society.
And, yes, incarceration-related issues do relate to Veterans Day, in my opinion, because thousands of former soldiers are in American prisons and other countries. Some of whom end up going to prison for events that may be the result of the military experience. Teach a man or woman to kill for their survival and in the name of justice, and then it becomes natural, right or wrong.
Many of the veterans who went to or are still in prison, went for drug-related crimes; wars often create addicts and alcoholics because of the stress and psychological trauma associated with acts that occurred during their tenure in the military.
For all of the above reasons, I do wish ALL veterans a Happy Veterans Day.
I watched leaves fall from trees due to high winds from a storm and then it hit me, That’s why they call this season Fall, all of the leaves fall from the trees. And Spring is Spring because life springs up from the ground. Rocket Science, huh? 🙂
Now that October has ended and November began, here comes D-Day, as in a Dreaded Day for the loser in the United States Presidential Election. I’m not a fan of either party!
October was an unusual month for me. I lost more money in the stock market than ever before, caused by me making a poor decision and for not doing what I originally planned. For instance, seeing premarket indicators to sell some shares and then bought more instead because I saw another fluctuation in the numbers that made me think I would make more money.
Greed Cost Me!
Well, it worked for a few dollars and then turned on me. Because SoFi (an American online personal finance company that I use to buy and sell stocks) has me limited on daily transactions and prevented me from selling when I saw the numbers dropping again, I lost more money instead of gaining. But it is all good. I am okay and lived to fight another day.
Today I chose to see things from a different perspective, with the main point being that I am still alive and kickin’ after all these years. Life is Good!
An attitude of gratitude carries me a long way and helps me feel better about life.
I am fortunate to have only lost as little as what I did, and to still have over ninety percent of my investment. The few dollars lost will return after all of the political BS ends, providing that the Coronavirus doesn’t create more havoc than it has done across America and abroad.
Either way, though, I will be okay and am blessed to be in the position that I am in because I do have the basic necessities of life: food, shelter, and am in reasonably good health. I sympathize with those who cannot say the same and hope that one day their lives will change so that they can.
Personally, one year ago, I did not have money to invest in the stock market. On July 18, 2019, I got my first and only job since my release from prison, and then started a business two months later. I did not have a vehicle to drive and dodge deer in the road. Life changes.
Each day that I commute to and from work, I travel over twenty miles on a rural State Route. One section of the highway runs through a State Park. Signs warn to watch for Deer Crossing for Next Three Miles.
The deer don’t always comply and stay in their lanes. Even when they do and have the right a way, many motorists don’t have time to stop and another one goes down. During two days of travel last week, I saw six dead deer on the side of the roads.
On Wednesday morning, October 28, 2020, I almost ran over two young bucks (male whitetail deer) that stood in the road trying to fight as I approached at 55 miles per hour, on a dreary night with low-dense fog.
I hit the brakes and got within twenty yards from where both stood. One turned to exit the roadway but then turned back to face its opponent, like he was confused on whether to run to get away from the danger or continue to fight. Ironically, in the lane I was travelling in at a speed that would terminate its existence and total my car.
His chance of survival in a collision was low. He didn’t stand a chance!
The next night during my travel, an opossum almost entered into the danger zone but turned back in the other direction.
Live and Let Live
In recent months, I swerved to dodge squirrels, and opossums, too, as I do all within my power to avoid taking a life; any life, whether it be animals or insects, I prefer to Live and Let Live.
Earlier in the month, I also hit the brakes to swerve and dodge a careless driver who pulled out in front of me without looking. Thankfully, my superb driving skills prevented an accident. God was with us!
One thing that I noticed after my release from federal prison was an increase in animals killed on the Georgia roads. Nothing changed since then, other than the numbers of dead animals I cannot begin to estimate. Our population growth takes away their land and lives. 😦
One night while driving home from a job site in North Atlanta, I saw a deer grazing along a narrow passageway on Interstate 75, where a large wall separated the deer from the small wooded area where it most likely lived, in the city.
The main type of animals I’ve seen killed on the roads are whitetail deer, opossums, racoons, squirrels, rabbits, and armadillos, the latter of which many people rejoice in a population reduction of because of the damage armadillos cause to their yards.
Election Year 2020
Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is Election Day in America. Civil unrest is expected in some states, with Georgia being one, if the preferred party does not win. For me, though, I don’t care who wins or loses, I simply look forward to it ending. Not only because of its disruption in the stock market and social media and all news channels, just so we, as American citizens can move on to the next line of BS that is sure to follow with a new group of elected officials.
During the 2016 Presidential Election, my life was much different when I wrote Politics & Prisons, where I spoke out against insane practices by prison administrators and voiced my opinion on the Elections and politics in general.
“PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: My view on politics is that the Democrats represent the lawyers trying to sue the big businesses represented by the Republicans. Politicians deceive voters when they run on a platform and promise to vote a certain way on an issue, but then vote otherwise when elected because of their party line agenda.”
The quote above sums it up. Regardless of who wins any of the elections, he or she will probably act contrary to promises made during the campaign trail. For me, I will continue to live my life in the best way possible to stay in harmony with the Universe by dodging deer and staying safe in a volatile stock market, created by the political atmosphere and COVID-19.
My Life After Release continues to be an adventure as I continue to live and learn, after my return to society as if being a caveman who walked out of a cave into a bright new world filled with gadgets and devices that were not available in 1988 when thrown into a cage to protect society.
Life is wonderful, full of surprises and a host of challenging situations but only as challenging as I chose to perceive them to be.
The truth is that life just happens, and I make a decision on how to view any event or chain of events. I chose to see challenging situations as an opportunity to learn.
No day passes without me having learned something beneficial.
Though living my life in a respectful manner and focusing on doing the right thing, I still must be on guard for the character defects that ruled my life many years ago; especially, the pride when driven by Mr. EGO, the one who feels the need to defend that scared little boy who grew up fighting to keep the bullies and predators at bay.
If left unchecked, Mr. EGO would have me right back in jail or dead. Fortunately, I have learned when to walk away from a situation to avoid a catastrophe or unpleasant outcome in a dispute. Humility. Not humiliation.
In Life After Release-3 I wrote about a Smartwatch with a phishing link, designed to steal personal data. That is a screenshot of the culprit shown above.
When I bought the watch for $14.99 on Woot, an Amazon company, I thought I had gotten a great deal because it was advertised as normally listing for $99.99.
A month later, I find the following when researching to write this blog about learning to deal with life in this new era, and deciding to use the thieving smartwatch as an example that met its match with my smartphone:
Woot must have not known about the 2020 HOT DZ09 Smartwatch shown above that sells for $1.99 on Wish.com, not $99.99 as advertised to sucker people in like me to buy it for a deal.
Who would have guessed that the smartwatch was a thief programmed to steal?
When I received the security warning from Google on my Motorola One Zoom with the Android 10 update, I complained to Woot about the smartwatch having the phishing link included, and though Woot did give me a prompt refund, I later saw the Smartwatch still being sold.
But to be fair to the manufacturer and Woot, the smartwatch I received may have been one of a select group of smartwatches primed to steal personal data when connected to the phone after scanning the QR Code.
I was told to keep the smartwatch. Even though I do not have it connected to my phone, I don’t trust that darn smartwatch because I don’t know just how smart and scandalous it is with today’s technology. I lay it facedown to make sure that the camera isn’t spying on me and sending the data to its operator. 🙂
Now, as part of me making an honest living, unlike the scandalous individuals behind the thieving smartwatch and many online products, I am learning affiliate marketing to earn small commissions for products and services advertised, if purchased.
For both ads, I watched promotional videos and was impressed with their content.
ProVen is a weight loss product and advertised as time sensitive for purchasing at discounted rates.
I researched for complaints and did not find any complaints about the product. I did learn about bogus websites that use ProVen to scam purchasers. Please check out the referenced information below for WonderfulThingsDone.com to learn more.
At no cost to the customer, we receive a small commission for a product or service purchased through this website. The commission does not necessarily influence the decision to advertise or promote a particular product or service.
For those who want to learn how to be a Freight Broker, this appears to be a good course, as it sells often and my research failed to find anything negative about the company who sells the programs.
At no cost to the customer, we receive a small commission for a product or service purchased through this website. The commission does not necessarily influence the decision to advertise or promote a particular product or service.
Federal Prison Industries, Inc., UNICOR, INMATE EARNING STATEMENT
The amount a person may want to send an incarcerated individual, depends on many factors. He or she has shelter, and though it may be lacking at times, most prisoners do have food and the essentials of survival, whereas some loved ones or friends may be struggling to survive on their income.
If the free citizen needs to pay rent, buy food, or otherwise take care of themselves and family, in my opinion, as a former prisoner, I’d rather have gone hungry than for my loved ones to have sent me money that was needed to provide for themselves. My comfort came in second compared to theirs.
My personal opinion is that most prisoners should be able to get by on $50-$100 per month and even less if no one from the outside can help. Unfortunately, many fall into a trap trying to get by and revert to various ways of survival I won’t address. And some of those who have money coming in may be extorted by the stronger prisoners or gangs and still do without.
Prisons are commercialized and charge inmates for many things that were once given to those under their care. Because of that, if the incarcerated receives funds and owes for services provided, the institution may freeze the inmate account and take funds sent in by a person’s family or friend.
Most systems have policy or program statements that define what the law allows, which may be challenged through the Administrative Remedy process and the courts. In most cases, courts rule in favor of the prison administrators but not always. Therefore, money sent in to someone for food items, etc., gets taken and the person has to get by without the funds but will normally survive, even if it means going hungry or not having what he or she wants or needs.
UNICOR HELPED ME PROVIDE FOR MYSELF
In the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I was happy to provide for myself by working and not having to be dependent on others to provide funds for my wants and needs.
Many of my peers were different, especially if on drugs and wanted to get high, the same as I did until 1995. I understood their actions because I know what it was like for me when I lived the life of an addict, so I am not condemning those who still live the life I once did.
When I first entered the system, after having served time in the Georgia Department of Corrections, where I was not paid for working, I felt good earning the low-wages ($0.12 per hour) then paid to federal prisoners who did not work for UNICOR.
UNICOR is the trade name for the Federal Prison Industries, Inc. that has changed considerably since when I began my federal sentence over three decades ago in 1988.
Please note that all prisoners do not get paid for working, or get paid as much to work in places like the Federal Prison Industries, Inc.
I was one of the highest-paid, hourly-rate, inmate employees who worked for UNICOR, and rarely made over $200.00 per month. In the copy of the paystub above, I earned $189.14 for the month of May in 2018.
On average, by working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR), I earned enough to spend $64.00 on the phone, $50.00 on writing/emailing blogs, etc., and $45–50.00 on commissary items, based on cost in the Federal Prison System.
To do the things I wanted to do, I made sacrifices, such as to pay for the creation and upkeep of my website, STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN, and my blogging expenditures that added up when considering I paid five cents per minute to use the emailing system provided by Corrlinks.com. To print my drafts, of which there were many for some of my more lengthier blogs, I paid fifteen cents per page. That is in the federal system, which operates different than Corrlinks does in some state or private prisons.
In deciding what to send, a person may want to see what type of information is posted on the prison system website. The United States Federal Bureau of Prisons posts inmate handbooks and even the commissary lists for institutions.
I checked the page for the Federal Prison at Edgefield, SC to see the commissary list that seems current. As for the Inmate Handbook, old and outdated. View the Commissary List by clicking HERE.
I hope the above information helps to make informed decisions.
Life After Release takes on different forms for me each day. One thing I try to remember is not forgetting how I felt trapped inside as a man imprisoned and often helpless to do what I knew I was capable of, such as what I do now: write professionally on a computer and blast words around the world with a few strokes on a keyboard.
Though I blasted a lot from Inside the prison system because I was published in International magazines, and paid to have this website built, and paid to use an expensive and convoluted emailing system to type blogs to send to my publisher for posting, I couldn’t do as I do now as a free man.
For the last week I’ve been working on this website and another to increase loading speed and functioning (still in process). I upgraded the hosting plan on another website to improve its functioning and security, and worked on it to facilitate my affiliate marketing agenda.
I remain committed to become more successful than I have at this point of life, regardless of my having done well since my release.
Stars Shine Ahead!
GOODWILL Floor Care
Along with the above, I’ve continued to work on my regular job like an Alaskan malamute 1 (dogs commonly seen pulling sleds through snow and ice), cleaning and beautifying floors in Goodwill Stores by sweeping, mopping, removing old wax with chemicals, razor blades, and machines, before waxing to make it sparkle and shine with reflections from the overhead lights.
1 The Alaskan Malamute, one of the oldest Arctic sled dogs, is a powerful and substantially built dog with a deep chest and strong, well-muscled body. Alaskan Malamute Dog Breed Information
Topics for Change
I often wonder about topics to post that will benefit others in some way, whether by drawing attention to a cause, or simply allowing those trapped behind the walls, bars, and fences of prisons to have their voice heard.
Yesterday, my course of action became clear when a man Inside reached out for help. I listened to his plea and am sharing the following message from the man who is a contact inside the Wisconsin Department of Corrections.
My hope is for those who care about what goes on Behind Closed Doors to contact the news media personnel provided by the imprisoned individual who cared enough about the COVID-19 situation inside the prison to risk his safety and security by sending an email he knows the prison administration would frown upon and could chose to retaliate against him.
This Door I Refuse to Keep Closed and Am Shouting Out His Plea for Help!
COVID-19 and the Wisconsin Department of Corrections
Received October 3, 2020
Message from Concerned Wisconsin Department of Correction Prisoner
“I hope you are doing well! I’m straight, I think! My test from when the National Guard tested us was negative ( well they didn’t come to my cell door for me or my celly – as of right now. ) However, it is scary right now!!
“Usually, I would send you a memorandum directly from the Warden/etc. so that I don’t relay unconscious bias opinion when I make my objective and personal opinion of the direction of the institution. However, they are not communicating with us of what is going on. If it is not to create hysteria it is having the opposite. Communication would make this that more easily bearable.
“Personally, I understand that Oshkosh is the most populated institutions in the state. That it is practically impossible to isolate the outbreak of positives cases within for the required 14 days. Technically, if you’re having symptoms or have COVID you’re quarantined but what about the in cases of you have it, but your cellmate doesn’t. Well they are still celled together. The negative guy is panicking. Get me out of here. Yesterday they took a guy out on a stretcher to the hospital because his oxygen levels were extremely low.
“We as inmates don’t make it better because we weren’t or not self-reporting if we have or had symptoms.
“We can’t clean rooms, no showers, no phones to communicate with your people.
“I don’t know if you will receive this email, please let me know if you did. Sent 9-3-2020 at 10:22 am! [Date is probably an error: 9-3-2020 is likely meant to be 10/3/2020 as it was received on October 3, 2020).
“People are not allowed private communication with their lawyers!!!!
“I know people have been contacting you about issues about state food shortages and portions, hot water for coffee is something we have to sacrifice but safety is supposed to be priority # 1 but to have a positive and a negative celled up is dangerous.
“A few said they are having or have had their people call to the institution for what exactly I don’t know. My position is it’ll do nothing to complain to the person or people that are making the inconsistent decisions to correct them. You must, we must contact local news and or court tv of the mistreatment and mishandling.
“This is a list of possible people that have drawn interest in prison issues: Kia Murray at firstname.lastname@example.org (Northeast Wisconsin fox11news); email@example.com Northeast Wisconsin news); Julia Jena @ court tv news # 470-355-8635; Sara Thomsen at firstname.lastname@example.org fox valley local news.
“Without contacting those people to bring awareness things will only get worse! Hoping that this goes away is not the answer. Thanks for your time and I looking forwarded to hearing from you.”
[I chose to protect his identity]
Prisoners are human, too, even if some may not behave that way.
Please do what you can to draw attention to what continues to go on Inside this particular prison and many others around the Nation and abroad.
In the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, as of October 2, 2020, more than 124 prisoners have died. Here is a partial report from the actual statistics
“The inmate totals listed do not include inmates participating in the Federal Location Monitoring program, inmates supervised under the USPO, 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. References to RRCs include both individuals housed at the RRC and individuals on home confinement under the RRC’s supervision.
“10/02/2020 – The BOP has 126,586 federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 14,375 in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 1,565 federal inmates and 726 BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 13,452 inmates and 1,164 staff have recovered. There have been 124 federal inmate deaths and 2 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease. Of the inmate deaths, 4 occurred while on home confinement.
[I conclude with this section that I modified to reflect content I send inside the Federal Bureau of Prisons to clients subscribed to my email]
[To read numbers: the left column under the facility is Inmate confirmed cases (I.P.), next is Staff (S.P.), the third from left is Inmate Deaths (I.D.), the fourth column is Staff Deaths (S.D.); the fifth column Inmates Recovered (I.R.) and the others are Staff Recovered (S.R.), City and State].
Facility I.P. S.P. I.D. S.D. I.R. S.R. City State
Butner Low FCI 1 1 17 1 627 17 Butner NC
Fort Worth FMC 5 10 12 0 615 6 Fort Worth TX
Terminal Island FCI 0 3 10 0 596 23 San Pedro CA
Butner Medium I FCI 0 1 9 0 186 32 Butner NC
Elkton FCI 2 0 9 0 942 54 Lisbon OH
Lexington FMC 7 0 9 0 206 13 Lexington KY
Oakdale I FCI 0 13 7 0 214 21 Oakdale LA
Carswell FMC 1 3 6 0 522 1 Fort Worth TX
Seagoville FCI 6 1 4 0 1300 29 Seagoville TX
Milan FCI 1 1 3 0 85 55 Milan MI
Yazoo City Low FCI 0 5 3 0 93 9 Yazoo City MS
Coleman Medium FCI 51 34 2 0 194 1 Sumterville FL
Devens FMC 0 2 2 0 45 6 Ayer MA
Lompoc FCI 0 3 2 0 746 16 Lompoc CA
Lompoc USP 0 4 2 0 156 24 Lompoc CA
Marion USP 2 8 2 0 133 9 Marion IL
Miami FDC 29 33 2 0 129 21 Miami FL
Terre Haute USP 3 1 2 0 82 2 Terre Haute IN
The Geo Group (RRC) 1 0 2 0 3 0 Houston TX
ACS Corrections (RRC) 0 0 1 0 1 0 Del Valle TX
Atlanta USP 6 8 1 0 55 8 Atlanta GA
Behavioral Systems SW (RRC) 0 0 1 0 0 0 Phoenix AZ
Brawley RRC (RRC) 1 0 1 0 3 0 Brawley CA
Coleman Low FCI 1 24 1 1 219 6 Sumterville FL
Danbury FCI 2 0 1 0 81 64 Danbury CT
Dismas Charities (RRC) 0 0 1 0 0 0 Hattiesburg MS
Edgefield FCI 2 16 1 0 90 10 Edgefield SC
GEO Care Inc. (RRC) 0 0 1 0 1 0 Brownsville TX
GEO Care, Inc. (RRC) 2 0 1 0 0 0 Bronx NY
Jesup FCI 0 19 1 0 251 3 Jesup GA
Miami FCI 9 25 1 0 122 10 Miami FL
Oakdale II FCI 1 9 1 0 9 6 Oakdale LA
Oklahoma City FTC 68 12 1 0 177 6 Oklahoma City OK
San Diego MCC 16 17 1 0 352 7 San Diego CA
Terre Haute FCI 13 1 1 0 104 8 Terre Haute IN
Victorville Medium I FCI 9 10 1 0 342 10 Victorville CA
Volunteers of America TX (RRC) 10 0 1 0 11 0 Hutchins TX
Yazoo City USP 22 7 1 0 66 12 Yazoo City MS
[Nine deaths shown below are not counted in the 124 reported above]
Privately-managed prisons are secure institutions operated by private companies under contract and oversight of the BOP. The majority of federal inmates in private prisons are sentenced criminal aliens who will be deported upon completion of their sentence. Unlike federal inmates housed in BOP facilities, the contractor is responsible for the medical care and the costs associated with providing those services.
The BOP has 13,932 inmates in Privately-Managed Facilities. There are 105 inmates who have open lab-confirmed positive cases. 547 inmates have recovered. Full breakdown and additional details are below:
Facility I.P. I.D. I.R. City State
D. Ray James CI 50 3 144 Folkston GA
Big Spring CI 41 0 46 Big Spring TX
Great Plains CI 13 1 112 Hinton OK
Reeves III CI 1 0 0 Pecos TX
Giles W. Dalby CI 0 2 81 Post TX
McRae CI 0 1 20 Mcrae Helena GA
North Lake CI 0 2 107 Baldwin MI
Reeves I & II CI 0 0 12 Pecos TX
Rivers CI 0 0 25 Winton NC
All inmates are being appropriately treated and isolated per CDC guidelines.
Though this post begins different than some of my others, it does relate to life after release by showing my adaption to the technological advances made since I walked out the prison doors on August 28, 2018.
A walk in the Park on a cool and cloudy, Southern day. What a pleasure it was to see a great blue heron spread its majestic wings and soar across the water. Had I not been trigger-happy on my smartphone, I would have left the park with a nice video of it flapping its wings to lift itself above the water to fly off into the trees after I disturbed its peace by walking too close for its comfort.
When I pressed the spot on my phone to start the video, I didn’t think it worked so I pressed again. The second press stopped the video that had slowly started, so I got a one-second video and another slightly longer one that tracked it as it neared the trees, too far away for a good image.
SMARTWATCH WITH PHISHING LINK INCLUDED
Two weeks ago, I ordered a smartwatch online that has the capability of connecting to the camera in my smartphone. My plan was to use the smartwatch to take a selfie or group photo with me in the picture without having to hold the phone in my hand.
When my smartwatch arrived from China, I scanned the QR Code on the miniature user’s guide to connect my smartphone. Not just any smartphone, a real smartphone with the latest technology. The Android 10 update removed bugs and improved security.
No Connection: I aborted the download when Google Chrome and my security system warned that a phishing link was detected in the app: “IhzI666.com/fundo/download.html Phishing Website” (actual URL).
I contacted the company that I bought the watch from and told them that the watch, simply labeled as SMARTWATCH, came with the phishing link in the QR code and should be removed from inventory and that the company should contact and warn all customers who purchased that brand.
Fortunate for me, a couple of days before my devilish smartwatch arrived, fully loaded to catch a phish, I checked my phone for updates and saw Android 10 was available. Had I not have taken the time to update my phone, my finances may have dwindled, even though I do use two-factor authentication to protect access to anything I use with important information contained therein.
ALWAYS BE ON ALERT FOR SCAMS
Within a month of my release from prison, I ran into a scammer who posed as a hiring manager for a company offering a work-from-home opportunity. A little too late (after giving personal information), I figured out what was going on, but kept the person on the wire for over a week playing games with him, her, or IT, because I had already done what I could to protect myself and didn’t have anything of value to be taken, other than my fine name associated with a long history of criminal convictions.
ALERTED: The email address ended with @gmail.com. The company he, she or IT claimed to represent, came before the @gmail.com. Any official business will use their company email account, not gmail.com, hotmail.com or anything other than something like @amazon.com or @straightfromthepen.com.
I immediately contacted the credit reporting agency, Esperian, and froze my credit reports and alerted the FCC about the Scam-in-Process. After letting the idiot think for a week that a phish was online, I sent a text and revealed what I had done and said, “You need to find you a real job. I’ve been in federal prison for thirty-years and don’t have anything for you to steal. I’m out here starting my life over. Find something else to do that is more constructive before you end up going to where I just left.”
He, she, or IT was one of many scammers that I have dealt with since my release. Because of my popularity as an author, blogger, photographer (Google Guide-almost 4,000,000 views of my photos in Google Maps), etc., my social presence makes me a target.
Before my release, and afterwards, if I had not taken the time to learn about security, and the advancements in technology, my life would be different than what it is today.
To repay my debt to society, I use those negative experiences to help others avoid being caught in the same traps by forewarning them and posting blogs like this to enlighten others because life out here isn’t always a Walk in the Park.
But life is good, especially when I am blessed with seeing the beauty of God’s creation as it spreads its wings to fly into the sunset or across a body of water.
Life After Release means more than some may see when reading this blog. I am a fraction of the true gravity that these posts represent by concept, a mere example of the thousands of returning citizens who reenter society each year who face unimagined circumstances.
Today I’m at a local park enjoying the cooler weather as Fall approaches.
I was blessed with seeing a deer crossing the paved path upon which I walked snapping photos and taking videos on a device that did not exist before my arrest on August 18, 1988, a smartphone.
Yesterday, I learned not to trust or depend on Air/Vac machines to work. At $1.50 each attempt to check and inflate my tires, and at three locations, I succeeded at getting three of my four tires properly inflated.
I ran out of quarters!
One definition of “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Well, I must be a little off in the head because I could have pulled into a Goodyear or PepBoys and not have dealt with thieving Air/Vac machines, but I chose to do it, not once, but three times before pulling into a Goodyear shop to get air in the fourth tire, and it was free. 🤠
More will be revealed. Right now I need to ZOOM-IN to a Twelve Step Meeting on the other side of the United States.
Isn’t life grand with so much technology? Speaking of the such, now I am doing affiliate marketing on WonderfulThingsDone.
In my quest to become an affiliate marketer, of which I receive a small commission from any sale of a product or service I promote, I stumbled upon Freight Broker Boot Camp, and was impressed when I could not find any negative customer responses or complaints against the company.
Then I began to wonder if convicted felons could become a licensed freight broker because I know and have known several men who were released and then found jobs as truck drivers, and so I thought, why not become a freight broker if it pays well?
Driving a truck takes a lot of time and energy and may be more difficult for an elderly returning citizen, or for some, not all, convicted felons to do because of restrictions imposed as a condition of supervised release, probation or parole.
That would eliminate an opportunity that may help him or her secure employment or to otherwise find a lawful occupation to help stay out of jail or prison.
Finding and scheduling a load for a trucker to haul is easier and may become an overall, more lucrative occupation.
In some cases state laws may control whether a convicted felon can get a surety bond, but the short answer was YES when I added this question in the Google Search engine: “can convicted felons be freight brokers?”
“Yes. having a felony does not mean you can’t apply or be granted a freight brokers license from the FMCSA. You need ONLY to be a VALID US Resident.”
Jobs for Felons also supports that answer and goes into more detail about the process one must go through to start a business as a freight broker.
The above answers made me feel better about promoting Freight Broker Boot Camp, which appears to cover every aspect of going into that line of work and received a lot of great reviews by students.
For $185 right now, and the potential to turn the knowledge gained into a lucrative business, is a good deal for anyone willing to put forth the time and energy to learn the process in thirty-days, and then apply it towards becoming an independent business owner.
Note: The only affiliate link is to the Freight Broker Boot Camp
My past I leave behind as I churn my way into a brighter future, but I cannot forget from where I came because it consumes too much space inside my head. How can anyone forget decades spent inside a cage with thousands of other men, all living in the Insane World of Incarceration in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons?
Never Forget: September 11, 2001, is a day America cannot forget because each year the media reminds its citizens of the day terrorist used jets to attack the World Trade Center in New York City.
Cannot Forget: I cannot forget because I walked the tiers at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana when the attack occurred, which is the way my brain works (by associating events with my location at the time of occurrence).
Positive Thinking: Though I cannot forget such events and my life inside the prison system, I choose not to allow those thoughts to influence my behavior in a negative manner. I prefer the positive. Had I not been sentenced to prison for the crimes committed on June 21, 1988, I would not be alive today or would have committed even worst crimes if not arrested and put in a cage, which I wrote about in The Price of Change, an essay in one of my books.
In Fence Rows and The Price of Change, I write about a person those who know me today does not see because I am not the same person because I changed my life seven years into a 420-month federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. Both essays are in the eBook and paperback sold on Amazon and other online booksellers, Essays & More Straight from the Penor separately as an eBook at Smashwords.com, originally published by Midnight Express Books.
Excerpt from The Price of Change
I started this sentence in 1988. The fear of prison had left many years before I decided to change. After a while one becomes accustomed to the insane ways of incarceration and the depravations included in prison life. Shutting down emotions helped me cope with the murders and acts of brutality I was exposed to as part of being in prison. I continued to shoot dope and live a miserable existence until 1993 when I sought help through the prison Psychology department at the penitentiary in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be intimate with others. Trusting others was difficult because so many people proved themselves untrustworthy, so I built walls to keep people out. To recover, I tore down the walls and shared the secrets of the soul. It took over a year of therapy for me to make noticeable progress, but I ultimately succeeded in learning how to live with myself without using drugs and alcohol, which I have done since April 5, 1995.
Today, I use my experiences to help others recover and can accept myself; character defects included and have come to terms with my past: it’s overdone with. I can’t change it. I can be a better person by treating others the way I want to be treated, and not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated. If I’m being judgmental of others, which I often am, I think about the biblical parable of the adulterer whom some wanted to stone, and Jesus Christ saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I know I cannot throw any rocks. My ego says I am better than those I wish to judge, but reality says we are all the same—flawed human beings. By accepting others, I can accept myself, flaws, and all.
Another process was praying for people I resented—without making suggestions about what I thought was deserved. Then I became willing to make amends to those I had harmed as suggested in twelve-step programs, and then to forgive others and myself. In a sense, the way I live my life today is one way I make amends to those I cannot make amends to for whatever reason prevents it. An example of my living amends is in this: when I was at a penitentiary in Lompoc, California, I stole loaf bread and bought Ramen Noodle Soups to feed the birds. Some of my friends would come by and joke with me about feeding the birds because of the process that follows feeding them. I often said, “I’m making amends to the ancestors of birds I killed when I was a kid.” And then I would laugh, but I was serious; furthermore, I enjoyed feeding them, as I enjoy the relationships often restored as the result of making amends.
I wish I could honestly write that I no longer experience resentments or anger, but I cannot. I’m still human. However, whenever I experience anger or resentment, I know what to do to find relief: look within myself as I write in my journal. When appropriate, I share it with another person, and when the situation requires it, take the right course of action that coincides with living my life in harmony with the Universe. As a result, I rarely have conflicts.
I am now a model prisoner with a good reputation amongst most staff and prisoners alike. More importantly, I’m loved by my family and friends and am a good human being, which is a priceless gift that I never thought I deserved. People actually like me these days. The price I paid to get here was tough, but it took what it took. And by the way, “here” means alive, not in prison. Prison is just the place my body resides for the time being.
Speaking of prison, as a matter of principle, I really should not be in prison, but the law is such that if a person fails to jump through the hoops at the proper time, any violation of the law made by the government no longer matters. They call it procedural default to avoid addressing issues in the name of the administration of justice, and since habeas corpus laws changed drastically in 1996 to make it more difficult for a person to obtain relief without satisfying extremely stringent standards, very few ever succeed at obtaining relief through the courts. Spiritually though, I know I am right where I need to be. Had I have won my case, I would most likely be dead by now; therefore, I am grateful for the way things turned out, mostly.
The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy
My worst enemy looked me in the face every time I looked into a mirror.
In Breaking News, I wrote about a variety of issues related to reentry, including recidivism, and the lovely Kim Kardashian standing beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office inside the White House, after she had assisted Alice M. Johnson with having her federal sentence commuted.
To prepare myself for release and to do what I believed would assist me in obtaining employment upon release, I took a program called WorkKeys that gauges a person’s ability to apply textbook knowledge in the workplace. In other words, a GED or High School Education or College, gives a person a knowledge base.
From my limited understanding, WorkKeys tests a person’s ability to take that knowledge and to apply it in practical situations, as well as to demonstrate his or her ability to solve problems by comprehending written or implied instructions to accomplish a goal. Whatever the case may be, I first scored Gold Certification and then returned to be retested because Gold wasn’t good enough for me.
I wanted and received Platinum Certification!
My certificate verifies that Platinum certification shows that those who receive it have “Skills for 99% of the jobs in ACT’s extensive database”; however, when I walked out of the prison doors with a plan to secure employment by demonstrating my vast amount of accomplishments and skill sets, and a high Grade Point Average in college, none of the things I had accomplished meant anything in regards to getting hired.
On June 17, 2017, my publisher posted my blog, Seeking a Real Job. I wrote it to help others find employment, with a firm conviction that I would not have a problem finding a job because of my education and skill sets. I was wrong!
Since I walked in the prison doors at the age of thirty-one and out of the doors in my sixties, I failed to understand that Age was my enemy, a factor beyond my control.
I posted my resume online with several job sites (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Jobcase, Career Builder, etc.). Job recruiters called often. Many of the recruiters literally hung up the phone after I responded to questions relating to my age.
My criminal history never entered the equation.
During the job seeking process while at Dismas Charities, a Residential Reentry Center in Atlanta, an employment counselor at the Georgia Department of Labor suggested I dumb-down my resume and said I was overqualified for most jobs available through them, and that I should start my own business.
Eleven months later, Goodwill of North Georgia hired me as an Environmental Service Technician, which is a long name for a janitor or custodian.
Three months after being given a chance, I was Employee of the Month, and then on the following month, I was featured online in the November 2019, Goodwill Employee Spotlight.
The pay was not providing what I needed to survive on my own. I liked my job because I saw it as a way to help keep customers and employees safer by keeping the environment sanitary.
But on a more personal level, I NEEDED more money to prepare for my future. A few months later, I saw an internal job opportunity that paid a lot more. I applied and was hired as a floor technician and though I work like an Alaskan Malamute, I do get paid more and have better hours.
Business: On my days and time off from that position, I work on a business I started one year ago today, on September 11, 2019.
Now I am investing in the stock market and am working on building affiliate marketing websites to earn money by referring others to quality products and services.
Financial Success Shines Ahead!
My plans for getting involved in an intimate relationship are still pending. I’ve had opportunities but turned them down; others who I was interested in turned me down, well, kind of. To get involved in an intimate relationship probably requires asking someone out for a date or at least a Roll in the Sack, but …. I only played around with that aspect of romance.
I got what I had coming by rejecting a couple of cougars who were stalking me: What Goes Around Comes Around!
The truth is that I know I need to focus more on building a financial future, and unless I were to find that special someone who would be an asset in that endeavor, an intimate relationship would be distracting because I’d want to spend more time with her than working toward becoming financially secure.
Regarding my children and familial relationships, those haven’t worked according to plan either, but … I know that everything is working according to God’s will for my life.
The most important thing is that I have remained free and am in good health. I continue to live my life without using mind-altering substances and strive towards building that bright future I KNOW God has in store for me, one day at a time.
Everything else will fall into place when it is time for me to step into another life. Going for a ride on a pontoon sounds like a great idea, too, so I can watch the water churn behind the boat as we head towards our happy destiny.