Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Straight from the Pen!
Santa Clause is Coming to Town!
Ice and snow settle across parts of the United States as Santa moves in to deliver gifts and toys to all of the good little boys and girls.
Naughty girls and boys get gifts, too, because Santa doesn’t want to be sued for discrimination and lose his reindeers and sled in court.
For me, I haven’t felt the Christmas spirit in 2020, even when it began to look a lot like Christmas before this day arrived, with Santa packing weapons to defend himself against those who wish to take his goodies. (See photos of Santa’s Anti-Terrorist Sled.)
What I do feel is gratitude for my health, family and friends, and for having an opportunity to walk the streets or to get in my car to drive wherever I wish, or to go to the refrigerator to get anything I want to eat, at whatever time I chose.
My life changed a lot since I began this blog several years ago to get my voice outside of the walls and rows of barbwire that held my body but couldn’t dampen my desire to succeed upon release.
For my freedom, I fought many battles against demons and dragons and slayed them all, one at a time, until victory opened the doors.
I held my head up as I walked away, with no desire to ever return.
Years later, I sit at a computer writing blogs that I often send in to a select few inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. My hope is to encourage and inspire others to change their life to become better men and to have a more fulfilling life, and so that if the day comes to walk out the doors, that they, too, will be able to live a life that does not include crime or behaviors that will put them back into prison or the graveyard.
Uh, oh, I hear Santa cruising the neighborhood so I need to get in bed and act like I am asleep so that he will stop and leave my presents because I have been really good this year. 🙂
Check out these two older blog posts and you will see Santa’s High-Performance and Heavily Armed sled that will get him put in prison for life if the Feds catch up with him.
Yep, I am making progress on many levels now. To begin, in 2020 I became one of Google’s Top Photographers for Google Maps, with Six Million views of the photos I took with two Motorola cellphones that I own.
A New Life
Since my release from the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons on August 28, 2018, I first struggled with finding a job because of my age, more so than my felony convictions. In Year One of New Life, I wrote about recidivism and my succeeding in light of the odds against me as a man who spent over thirty consecutive years in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
When Goodwill of North Georgia gave me a chance to prove myself by giving me a job on July 18, 2019, I become the October 2019, Employee of the Month for the McDonough Store and Donation Center. The following month I was selected for Goodwill’s Employee Spotlight.
Then in January of 2020, a loved one gave me a vehicle to help me in all of my endeavors to succeed as a free man. Until then, I depended on my family to get me to and from work, or to the bus stop 20-minutes away from Small Town USA, kind of, even though it is near the Big City of Atlanta, or I walked and loved walking around as a free man.
I am Blessed by the Best and fortunate to have people who love and care for me, and who helped me to successfully reintegrate into society after I walked out of the prison gates feeling like a caveman entering the Modern World in which we live.
2021 Coming Up!
My hope for 2021 involves sitting in front of the fireplace in the above photo, as I am awaiting for the loan approval as I type. Whether I purchase this particular home that I have signed the contract for, or some other house if the loan doesn’t go through because of contract-price issues, I will be living in a new place of residence in 2021 to focus more on developing my business(s).
Stars Continue to Shine!
In January 2017 I wrote the following and am thrilled and happy to now be living in the starlight with success since my release:
“My opportunity to reenter society approaches faster than additional studies can be produced to predict the likelihood of success for released prisoners. I am prepared for successful reentry. Failure is not an option.
“Without thinking of that particular day, I have worked toward it for almost three decades. Even when my release date seemed more distant than the stars that glittered in the night (too far away to see without a telescope), I moved forward on faith of better days.” Successfully Reentering Society
My faith in a Higher Power I call God, and my life of sobriety got me where I am today.
Had I not stopped using the drugs and alcohol that helped get me to prison, I would not be alive and would not have been blessed by getting to walk out of the prison doors to begin a new life.
I never dreamed I’d become a Top Photographer with a Smartphone, a device I had never used until August 28, 2018, the day my new life began. And for that I am grateful.
I close with More from My Motorola to Spread Christmas Joy
Town Square, McDonough, Georgia
When the year 2020 began, I believed it was going to be a wonderful year, and as in other things, it is a matter of perception of whether it has or has not been a wonderful year. For me, I lived to fight many more days and continue to be thrilled and happy to be “here,” with here meaning Alive, alive and still Kickin’ after all these years, which is a miracle, indeed. For that I am grateful. Some things I wished to have been different but … I am not in control of life. I am happy to be a part of it.
I am Blessed by the Best!
Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the holiday, and to all of those who do or do not, please take a moment to reflect on the positive aspects of life today. Personally, I begin with the obvious, my health, including all body parts that remain intact and fully functional; especially, my Eyes to See and Ears to Hear, as well as my mouth and fingertips to express what I want the world to hear and read.
The most import is Love
Of all things I am grateful for, the most important is LOVE, love from above and love from my many friends and the few loved ones who remain alive and in my life. Should I list all things for which I am grateful, this blog would take more time to write than I have before posting it in time for people to read before Thanksgiving celebrations begin in America.
I’m late according to my schedule but on time spiritually.
FROM THE INSIDE
Two days ago, I received a Corrlinks email from a person who shared his feelings on the holiday. Here is what Chuck wrote, who is serving an excessive federal prison sentence:
“I wanted to wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving, and to remind everyone that this time of year is an excellent time to reflect on family & friends, as well as community and the world. We are in challenging times now and can often not see the beauty in others around us because of our situations. To be thankful for what we have, as well as what we have learned about those closest to us are experiences that should not be overlooked. To see the trivial things that we otherwise might have missed because of the daily hustle and bustle of our hectic lives is reason enough to give thanks during this holiday. Those smiles and conversations that arise out of the extra time that we spend because of our closeness are opportunities that may only come once. So, embrace them and cherish them … give thanks for them and the people that they originate from.
Note: if you would like to correspond with the author, his address is as follows:
CHARLES R DENNING, # 21317-045
USP TERRE HAUTE
P.O. BOX 33
TERRE HAUTE, IN 47808
In the original draft of Too Late for Torrick, I began by using the dictate function in latest update for Microsoft Word 2016. Two reasons kept me from including a section titled, Positive Note; the first being something that a friend once said about using the talk-to-text function for sending emails.
He wrote, “I can’t get it to understand Southern.”
The second reason related to the amount of time it would take for me to decipher the convoluted dictation, and my deciding that it would be best to wait to include the positive perspective of the Corrlinks correspondence in a separate blog and that proved to be a better idea because of the events that followed.
My plan was to include the convoluted dictation as humor; however, I will spare my readers and conclude with the blog my friend sent and authorized me to post on his behalf. I also sent his blog into the prison system and received several favorable comments from those Inside who needed to read good news.
The devastation caused by COVID-19 from inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons did have a positive side, in that the courts intervened and ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners that the prison officials refused to release on their own initiative after given authorization to do so by the United States Attorney General.
A person who I have known for years and who wrote an Introduction to Unknown Innocence, recently wrote that he was granted his release because of the Court’s intervention related to his request for Compassionate Release because of the threat of COVID-19.
He sent me an email and wrote, “Thank you for all you have done for me recently. The daily stats helped me present my case.” That made me feel great and assured me that the time I take from my schedule to provide information and meaningful content to those on an approved Corrlinks contact list, is a worthy cause, for which I am grateful for being able to do.
On Monday, November 30, 2020, Jeffrey P. Frye, will be released because of his having a competent public defender who assisted him, and a federal judge who granted his motion and ordered his release.
Miracles happen! Never lose hope.
Leaving Shawshank (last blog from prison)
Jeffrey P. Frye
In June 2020, two months into the national lockdown in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, I made a strong cup of coffee and took 10 sheets of paper and I sat in my cell and penned a Motion for Compassionate release to the court in Charleston, South Carolina. I cited the COVID-19 epidemic and its devastating effects on the inmate population, especially for people with my medical conditions of COPD, asthma, and hypertension… However, for somebody with my history, and given the fact that I was given 20 years for robbing seven banks (w/out wearing a mask), and given the fact that Judge Norton had actually whacked me with 7-20 yr. sentences (one for each bank), I figured it a stretch. But time and pressure sometimes make a jailhouse lawyer…so I fired off the motion anyway. And in what has turned out to be the smartest move I made, I sent a copy to the Federal Public Defender in Charleston, Ms. Ann W., to ask her if she would represent me on this filing.
After about a month I had still heard nothing back from the court or the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) on my case. Nor had I heard from the public defender’s office. I found this to be odd, because usually at least the AUSA would deny my filings in short shrift. I waited, all while the outbreak back here for worse and people started dropping like flies. I have a friend named Wayne T. Dowdy who had started sending me daily reports from the BOP’s website (bop.gov) of which institutions had cases and how many people had died. When we came out for our hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would write these down. It was sobering. The numbers were climbing all while the BOP told Congress and the media that it was getting better.
Enter Ms. Ann W, Esq.
The judge appointed her to investigate the validity of my claims. I kept piping her info through snail mail, and filing addendums to my original brief, and asked her to amend these to my pro se filing if she thought it relevant. In America, a lot of defendants have an incorrect assumption about public defenders. They assume that they are the bottom of the barrel or lawyers who are just on their way to something better. They also mistakenly believe (at least in federal court) that if they hire a high-priced lawyer that they’ll get a better deal. Maybe these opinions have at least a little validity in state court but not in federal court. In the feds, the public defender’s office is the best one to have because all they do is federal law, day in and day out. Subsequently, they are the smartest lawyers in the pack; the best to have.
Ms. Ann W. is the cream of the federal crop.
After sending her a second addendum telling her how bad things were, she filed an amazingly excellent 20 page brief that used recent reports from the Department of Justice’s Office of The Inspector General (OIG), and from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that refuted the BOP’s claims. She blended this with my medical history, my new-found career as a writer, and a couple of character letters the info on the place I would live if the motion were granted (this is paramount). Then after she’d threw all these things into the pot, she stirred it using her own narrative of me and my life. I have often commented that writing is like making sauce in that you throw in a bunch of different things and stir, hoping that the reader loves your creation. And much like feeding people and the ones you love; you hope that the reader likes your sauce. We, I am here to tell you that Ann W. makes a damn good sauce. She also included something else that I found to be pretty cool.
She included you guys. My blog readers for the last eight years and the people who have purchased my books. How cool is that? She also attached letters penned by the two people who have been great friends to me and that have been instrumental in my career to this point. Steve Hussy, Owner of Murder Slim Press and Jonathan J. (a.k.a., Alexius Rex), creator and pilot of my website bankblogger.weebly.com. Two people who have been very kind to me over the last eight years, and who, strangely enough, that I have never seen in person or even spoke to on the phone during these years. At the end of The Love Fest section of her sauce, Ms. W. listed my transition from the genre of “Hey look at the dumb criminal,” to the mainstream by mentioning The Life of Riley Book 1 (now available and seriously underpriced on Amazon). But in spite of her awesome brief (I’m almost out of stupendous adjectives to describe her work), there was still no word from the judge. Until two days ago.
I was standing on the inside of my cell door staring out into the abyss of abject criminal nothingness while practicing what I refer to as “Anti-social distancing.” This involves me strapping on my MP3 and ear buds and pretending that the music is playing, even though it’s not. This tactic prevents me from having to talk to my psycho cellie, the one whose face, head and neck are completely tattooed; the one that I have had to fight at 5am three frigging times in the last three months.
As I stood in my door feeling every bit the Nowhere Man living in my nowhere land, staring into nothing, while listening to absolutely nothing, I spied the back area of the staff offices open up and watched as my case manager hustled towards my cell with a sheaf of papers in his right hand. I found this to be extremely odd because most days, I couldn’t find this dude with a search warrant. He walked up to my house and opened my cell door, and said, “The judge has granted your compassionate release and commuted your sentence to Time Served. We have up to 14 days to get you out of here and on a flight to Chicago, all we’re waiting on is Probation in Illinois to verify your release residence, then you’re out of here.”
And just like that…this 12-year nightmare is over. I’m going free.
Now it’s two days later and what should be extended joy and elation is only fear. I have no money to speak of; No clothes; and until I can get to the food stamp office like a good liberal, I don’t even have any food. At least here at Shawshank I had Cheeseburger Day to look forward to every Wednesday. I was the guy who could write about Cheeseburger Day. Now I don’t even have that anymore. But in a few short days, you know what I will have?
Freedom. A brand-new beautiful life. A chance not to die here.
So, very soon I will be sitting in a terminal at Orlando International waiting to catch a flight To Chicago, where I will be met by my sister and brother in law with love. I will have on my lap all of my possessions; a mesh bag with the hand-written copy of The Life of Riley Books 1-4, and two other books I have penned and not decided what to do with yet. Ironically, I will be wearing a mask. Go figure.
I am not sure where my cool new beautiful life will take me in the coming years, but I do know one place that it will not. To a bank. Ever. From now on, I will be doing all my banking online.
Jeffrey P. Frye
The Ex-Bank Robber’s Blog
By Marshall Astor from San Pedro, United States – United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=10385597
Anytime I receive a message from the Corrlinks automated response that someone on my approved contact list no longer has access to the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System, I assume that the person was put on restriction for a limited time as a disciplinary sanction, or released to the streets or to a halfway house, alive.
That changed on November 20, 2020.
Each week I send a variety of messages to my approved Corrlinks’ contact list. Most of what I send relate to the Coronavirus inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) or Wisconsin Department of Corrections, or articles that I find online or write that I feel will be of interest to those trapped Inside the system.
While reviewing a previous newsletter I sent inside with several Press Releases from the BOP for COVID-19 deaths in November 2020, I noticed a name that seemed familiar. I checked and was saddened to see he was who I thought. He had reached out for help, but I did not feel I was qualified; however, this blog post is in his honor.
Though it is a little too late for Torrick, maybe it will inspire others to take action to prevent people on the Inside from having the same fate as Torrick.
Torrick was one of the 141 confirmed deaths on November 20, 2020, inside the BOP from COVID-19 and one of hundreds of inmates that the BOP did not release for health concerns when given authority to do so. He was unfortunate in not having an attorney to fight for his release.
When he contacted me, it would have been too late for an attorney to have done anything for him because of the judicial process, and because he tested positive for COVID-19 six days later.
Within thirty days, he died after requesting I expose the prison for their unsafe practices that exposed staff and inmates to COVID-19 infections, in part, because the Springfield Medical Center for Federal Prisoners’ failed to take proper action to protect its inmates in accordance with CDC guidelines.
Tue, Nov 17, 4:50 AM
Inmate 16873076 – LYLES, TORRICK T no longer has access to the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System; therefore, he/she may not send or receive messages. El preso 16873076 – LYLES, TORRICK T ya no tiene acceso al sistema de computadora limitada de presos del fondo fiduciario; por lo tanto, el/ella no puede enviar o recibir mensajes.
Inmate Locator (bop.gov)
TORRICK T LYLES
Register Number: 16873-076
BOP Press Release
The day before I received that automated message from Corrlinks, I sent the following Press Release and others from November in to those on my Corrlinks Contact list:
U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 16, 2020
Office of Public Affairs
Inmate Death at MCFP Springfield WASHINGTON, D.C.:
On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, inmate Torrick Lyles tested positive for COVID-19 and was placed in medical isolation at the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners (MCFP) Springfield, in Springfield, Missouri. He received daily symptom checks and was assigned to a unit with 24-hour nursing staff where he was evaluated for respiratory distress. On Sunday, October 25, 2020, he was transferred to a local for further treatment and evaluation. On Saturday, November 14, 2020, Mr. Lyles, who had long-term pre-existing medical conditions, which the CDC lists as risk factors for developing more severe COVID-19 disease, was pronounced deceased by local hospital staff.
Mr. Lyles was a 43-year-old male who was sentenced in the Western District of Tennessee to an aggregated 358-month sentence for Use of Telephone to Maliciously Convey False Information, Tampering with a Witness, Felon in Possession of a Firearm, Conspiracy to Commit an Offense Against the United States, Conspiracy to Possess With Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance, and Carrying/Using a Firearm During and In Relation to Drug Trafficking. He had been in custody at MCFP Springfield since September 28, 2017. MCFP Springfield is an administrative security facility that currently houses 835 male offenders. The Bureau of Prisons will continue to provide daily updates and information on actions related to COVID-19 at http://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp. Additional information about the Bureau of Prisons can be found at http://www.bop.gov.
Last Correspondence with Torrick
Previously, Mr. Lyles had written to me the following because I sent in a lot of information about COVID-19 and issues affecting prisoners:
“From: TORRICK T LYLES (16873076)
Date: 10/15/2020 7:51:49 PM
“They Panicking and Stacking Positive Inmates In One Dorm The News needs to Know This I Suffer from Dialysis and They still Not trying to Release the sick Can you get me some Help Or Put This Prison On The News
“TORRICK T LYLES on 10/15/2020 3:23:16 PM wrote
Springfield Missouri Medical Center Is Having a Major Out break 40-Plus inmates Done Tested Positive”
Though I did not know Torrick Lyles on a personal level, learning of his death disturbed me after I realized he had sent me the emails. Perhaps he felt that the end of his life was near and wanted to fight but knew that his failing health could not survive a round with COVID-19.
In retrospect, I wish I had taken the time to write a blog about the institution as he requested, since I knew that, historically, the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, had once been plagued with medical malpractice suits that lead to a moratorium being placed on it by the courts.
I may be too late for Torrick to know that his life mattered enough for someone to take the time to do as he suggested, but now that I have, I hope others who cry out for help will know that their lives matter, even if a person cannot do what may be wanted. May Torrick rest in peace in knowing that his life did matter.
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.
PROVEN WEIGHT LOSS SUPPLEMENT
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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.
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This blog has associated content with my previous post and contains more information about those in American Prisons being allowed to file a claim for the stimulus check.
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.
Prison life is sometime Survival of the Fittest. Not always, though. Read The Truth About Incarceration, Part I to learn more about prison life.
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
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.