[This post also appears on the page, Writings Straight from the Pen Felons Are People, Too is something people need to accept to help create positive change in society with thousands of felons walking the streets.]
This is a special post for all to read that I received through www.corrlinks.com, which is the electronic system used by federal and some state prisoners to send and receive email from an approved list of contacts.
The incarcerated individual (prisoner, inmate, convict, etc.) pays to access the Corrlinks side of the computer to read, type, send messages. And if wanted, to print anything from the system. When I left the system on 08/28/2018, the rates were $0.05 per minute to use the system to read or type emails, and $0.15 per page to print.
I’m not sure about the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons now, but to send in a message to someone held by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (WDOC), now I must pay $0.15 per message to send in; however, it is free for me to read or type messages. I only pay when I click SEND. I am not sure how much WDOC prisoner pays but will report it if requested.
Here is the message as received by a man in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, whose contact information appears at the end of his submission.
JOSEPH RANDOLPH MAYS on 10/2/2023 11:49:24 PM wrote To whom it may concern:
As “More Than Our Crimes” co-founder Pam Bailey, and others in society, states, “We (felons) are MORE than our crimes. They DO NOT DEFINE US.”
The message I am sending below confirms that statement and adds even more emphasis to those statements by letting all of you (felons) know that WE are STILL PEOPLE (HUMAN BEINGS) and are capable of redemption.
United States v. Davila, U.S. Dist. LEXIS 147736, at *6-7, (2d Cir 2023)
B. Felons are “People.”
… In particular, the Court DOES NOT accept the Government’s assertion that felons are wholly excluded from “the people” to whom the Second Amendment speaks. See U.S. Const., amend. II (“A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the PEOPLE to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”).
The Supreme Court has ALREADY HELD that “THE PEOPLE” protected by the Second Amendment – much like “THE PEOPLE”protected by the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments – “refers to a class of persons who are part of a national community or who have otherwise developed sufficient connection with this country to be considered part of that community.” United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265, 110 S. Ct. 1056, 108 L. Ed. 2d 222 (1990). Moreover, “the term unambiguously refers to ALL MEMBERS of the political community, not an unspecified subset.” Heller, 554 U.S. at 580. There is NO BASIS for reading “THE PEOPLE” in the text of the Second Amendment to exclude felons.
I thought people who are currently and/or formerly felons would love to hear this, especially with stigmas in our country’s laws and society about felons in general.
Please take care and have a very, very good day.
Joseph R. Mays, 43487-007 FCI Victorville II Medium (D-Lower 218U) PO BOX 3850 Adelanto, CA 92301
For those with a loved one inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and I suspect many state institutions; if you cannot contact or hear from your loved one, friend, affiliate or associate held inside the prison system, it may be because of a national lockdown, meaning that the men and women will be restricted to limited activities as a precautionary measure.
IN my opinion, regarding BOP captives, many of the prison staff will be at the White House or local government buildings in response to the possible threat of violence during the Presidential Inauguration. Inside the BOP, a high percentage of staff are former or current military personnel and or members of the National Guard, as I feel may also be true for state correctional officials.
(BOP) – For the majority of the past twelve months, the BOP has been operating under a modified operational model to promote social distancing and mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We recognize that this pandemic has placed a heavy burden on inmates and their families in terms of limited movement and the public’s restrictions in being able to freely visit with loved ones. However, in light of current events occurring around the country, and out of an abundance of caution, the decision has been made to secure all institutions. This measure is being taken to maintain the security and orderly running of our institutions, as well as to ensure the continued safety of staff, inmates, and the public.
In securing the facilities, the hope is that this prudent measure is for a short period and that operations will be restored to their prior status as soon as practical. We will continue to monitor events carefully and will adjust operations accordingly as the situation continues to evolve. Recognizing that communication with families is important, although it will be limited, inmates will be provided with access to telephones and email.
There is no specific information that triggered this decision. This action is precautionary, and is not in response to any significant events occurring inside our facilities. We appreciate everyone’s cooperation and assistance during this period and encourage the public to monitor this website for updated information on visiting schedules and institution operations.
LIMITED TIME: Based upon my experience during the hundreds of lockdowns I went through, sometimes for months at a time, if the person has access to Corrlinks or any other similar system for communicating with the outside world, access to the system will be severely, if not completely, restricted. That includes access to telephones.
INSIDE PERSPECTIVE: if living in a cellblock, even though allowed to be out of the cell with several others on the tier, range, or however released for as little as an hour to shower, use the phone, and or computer (Trulincs/Corrlinks); with an overpopulated prison system, and numerous inmates attempting to do the same things at once, many men did not have the time or patience to wait in line for a shower and then use the phone or computer.
He or she may want to call or contact loved ones but cannot do so because of the unavailability of the resources during the limited time out of the cell, or because of some inmates being inconsiderate by breaking in front of others waiting in line, and the lack of control by a limited number of staff who have multiple tasks to accomplish during the times that the doors are opened and cannot oversee everything happening at one time.
During the early nineties when I was at the United States Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia, a female staff member who used to be a lieutenant at the Federal Prison Camp, said to me,
“One time when I was doing my rounds in the units, an inmate came up to me and pointed to another guy on the phone. He told me to make him get off the phone because he had been on longer than he was supposed to have been. I told him, ‘You go make him get off. You have a mouth.'”
She laughed and said, “I called them Crooklets because they hadn’t grown up to be crooks.”
The point is that if you do not hear from someone you know on the inside, he or she may not be allowed access to the system or cannot get to it to call or email you as he or she would normally do.
Brighten his or her day by mailing a letter or postcard to show you have not forgotten them. Hearing one’s name at mail call means a lot.
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.
CorrLinks 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 Age: 43 Race: Black Sex: Male Deceased: 11/14/2020
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 www.bop.gov/coronavirus/index.jsp. Additional information about the Bureau of Prisons can be found at www.bop.gov.
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 Message:
“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.
Corrlinks.com is a company that provides electronic services for incarcerated individuals in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, some privately-owned, prisons for profit, and a few state prisons.
Learn more about Corrlinks at https://www.corrlinks.com/FAQ.aspx
Quora.com is a great place to go to find a variety of information. I have answered a lot of questions and have had almost a half of a million views, since I began writing content over a year ago.
An inmate must put in a Corrlinks contact request to your email address. Then you receive an automated code from Corrlinks through the email address.
You have a choice to accept or refuse correspondence with the inmate. The following is an actual message I received from Corrlinks:
This is a system-generated message informing you that the above-named person is a federal prisoner who seeks to add you to his/her contact list for exchanging electronic messages. There is no message from the prisoner at this time.
You can ACCEPT this prisoner’s request or BLOCK this individual or all federal prisoners from contacting you via electronic messaging at CorrLinks. To register with CorrLinks you must enter the email address that received this notice along with the identification code below.
Email Address: email@example.com
Identification Code: H7LKQ3XX
This identification code will expire in 10 days.
By approving electronic correspondence with federal prisoners, you consent to have the Bureau of Prisons staff monitor the content of all electronic messages exchanged.
Once you have registered with CorrLinks and approved the prisoner for correspondence, the prisoner will be notified electronically.
For additional information related to this program, please visit the [URL removed for BOP] FAQ page.
Este es un mensaje generado por el sistema que le informa que la persona mencionada es un preso federal que pretende añadirlo a usted a su lista de contactos para intercambiar mensajes electrónicos. No hay ningún mensaje del preso en este momento.
Usted puede ACEPTAR esta petición del preso o BLOQUEAR a esta persona o a todos los presos federales de contactarlo a usted a través de la mensajería electrónica en CorrLinks. Para inscribirse en CorrLinks debe introducir la dirección de correo electrónico que recibió esta notificación, junto con el código de identificación a continuación.
Dirección de correo electrónico: firstname.lastname@example.org
Código de identificación: H7LKQ3XX
Este código de identificación expirará en 10 días.
Al aprobar la correspondencia electrónica con presos federales usted esta consientendo a que personal de la Oficina de Prisiones superivse el contenido informativo de todos los mensajes electrónicos intercambiados y cumplir con todas las reglas y procedimientos del Programa.
Una vez registrado en Corrlinks y aprobado para la correspondencia el preso será notificado por vía electrónica.
Para obtener información adicional relacionada con este programa, por favor visite la página de preguntas frecuentes [URL removed for BOP]
a) If you wish to accept correspondence, you must open a Corrlinks account through the email address.
b) If the inmate is NOT a federal prisoner, you will need to fund the account because it will cost you to send messages (rates may vary but I pay $0.10 per message to Wisconsin inmates).
If the inmate is a federal prisoner, he or she must pay to access the public messaging system and it won’t cost you anything unless you elect to pay the annual $6.00 fee for Premier Service so that you receive a notification when he or she emails you. Otherwise, you must go to CorrLinks to check for messages because the notification process often fails.
Once you receive the Notification from Corrlinks that an inmate wishes to “exchange electronic messages” with you, do this:
1) copy the automated code as shown above that consists of capital letters and numbers;
2) use a laptop or PC computer to accept the request (not a cellphone because it won’t work for the acceptance process and is very limited for messaging once you’ve established contact with the person). Login to the Corrlinks account with the email address and password, and then prove that you are not a robot through reCAPTCHA by selecting the proper images [a sometimes aggravating process because of distorted images and ones that change and others that appear in a former place you selected].
3) Then you will see a box to enter the Identification Code you copied in Step 1);
4) Enter the code and click GO, and then when the panel opens to the right side of the screen (not shown in this example), click the box to “Enable Email Alert” (which happens to work more often when you pay for the Premier Service);
5) Click “Accept” and then after the inmate receives the notification that you wish to correspond, he or she may message you after depositing funds in the institutional inmate account process, or you may be the first to message, once the incarcerated person accepts the contact connection.
6) To retrieve messages you go to the Mailbox:
Beware: The Corrlinks system will malfunction, so after you type a message, copy it before trying to Save or Send.
I have cursed Corrlinks many times because it logged me out instead of saving or sending my message.
Through WTD4U, I send inmates various information, some of which intelligence-lacking staff at the institutional level, will reject because he or she cannot comprehend rights provided by the First Amendment (Freedom of the Press). Later on, I will send the same message and it gets delivered to the intended inmate.
Some of my more controversial messages have magically disappeared and I’d have to start over, so when I remember I copy and save before clicking Send.
On a laptop or PC, you can save a message as a draft, which closes the screen, but still copy it before trying to save or send. Cellphones are not so user-friendly for doing anything other than reading or sending a message.
Public messaging through Corrlinks can be expensive but I was happy to have an avenue to contact family, friends, etc., once the system was implemented.
On average, I spent close to one-hundred dollars per month on Corrlinks because I wrote blogs to post on this website, short stories, essays, and other forms of content for publication, legal purposes, and for general correspondence.
To learn more about this website and my goal, read About Your Host & Straight from the Pen.
I modified the blog to make it compatable with Corrlinks.com because only text is accepted through Corrlinks. Corrlinks.com provides an email system to federal prisoners at a cost of five-cents per minute, to read, type and send emails. The security system removes all formatting and strips all photos. Text is converted into one font type and style.
I spent hundreds $$$$ to get blogs posted on this website, but … it was only money and the things I am doing are more important than the funds I spent and am spending.
Now I need to find a real job to be able to afford to keep the blogs going, because those of you in the free society have not been charitable, nor were those on the inside.
But ….I will still accomplish my goal of providing valuable content to effect positive social change, even if I do have to find a job flipping hamburgers to do what I feel I am supposed to do, with or without financial support.
Sorry about that:-( I had to get it off my chest!
Here’s the delayed correspondence I intended to post two months ago, but … I got busy and forgot about it until going through old files looking for things to delete and increase storage space.
Corrlinks Correspondence: L.E.A.D.
Well, to answer some of your concerns, guys here have already been actively involved in outside community outreach projects, I made belts for children and guys knitted hats and scarfs as well. I will forward you info so you can see some of those accomplishments, however, it would be extra special to have exclusive outside individuals involved and of course everything is being done according to The First Step Act of 2018 and needs assessments are taking place. This is why most of our class attendance are for the Faith Based Programs L.E.A.D. has to offer because under the First Step Act, those programs reward you 10 days more a year on top of the 7…we always need publicity and our very first graduation will be next month in May and our Unit Manager Mrs. Owens resides over all of this. Thanks for your support. Glad you made it home and some of my other topics from R4R have been posted on a site called The Voice…voicematters2255 —–Dowdy, Wayne on 4/5/2019 3:21 PM wrote:
That is great! I am impressed. In the future, I may see if the staff involved, as well as yourself and others, wants some publicity.
What I have to watch is the fine-lines drawn between Bureau Policy and privacy laws. Anyways, the program sounds great, for real. One thing I suggest is keeping a log if participants to use for recidivism studies and program success rates.
Thanks again for the info. I will send a complimentary copy, Corrlinks’ modified, if I use what you just sent. And I will, of course. I know I’ll update the Quora.com post. Take care and keep up the good work.
M.R. on 4/5/2019 12:53:23 PM wrote This program was a vision by our very own Dr. R. who is on leave of absence right now and who we miss for her leadership abilities and leadership skills and also Warden A. along with the chaplain. The acronyms stand for: L.eading E.ffecting A.chieving D.efeating all odds Our Philosophy statement was created by a staff Sponsor Chaplain Middleton and goes as such: I am not the mistakes of my past. Who I am is a masterpiece in the making. My future is what I dream. Through discipline and dedication our dreams come true. I am leading the way. I am effecting change. I am achieving greatness. I am defeating all odds. Help me learn. Watch me grow. Cheer my victory. This is recited every single morning at our community meetings and must be memorized and learned. I created a few contests and made creative championship belts out of cardboard for those who can recite it on call or for those who have learned every member in our community by last name I make them an achieving greatness belt.
[Modified copy sent into approved correspondents through Corrlinks.com (Inmates must put in a request for correspondence that must then be accepted and approved)].