Tag Archives: Georgia

BOP COVID-19 Cases v. Henry County GA, Part II

When I posted the original version of this blog, I used statistics from May 7, 2020, for the COVID-19 cases in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), and May 8, 2020, for Henry County, Georgia. Numbers from both groups changed, but those from the BOP soared, especially Inmate Deaths. In Part II, I am including updated numbers and dates in bold and in parenthesis behind the original numbers.

In this post, I include correspondence from one inmate, who gave me permission to use because he wants the public to be made aware of the conditions inside that particular institution, which I feel certain is an accurate representation of many institutions inside the BOP because other subscribers have mimicked his statements and concerns.

PART II, COVID-19 Numbers Grow

Numbers used in statistics often do not mean much without other numbers to compare to or may even otherwise be used to distort reality. In this case, the severity of COVID-19 in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) does not seem as severe when looked at in isolation (confined to the statistical data of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons).  A comparison to the Henry County, Georgia COVID-19 statistics highlights the severity of the infection rate in the BOP.

In Georgia, the Henry County COVID-19 numbers rank as number Eleven for confirmed cases.

COVID-19 IN THE UNITED STATES FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS

This is the information/numbers given for the COVID-19 report on the BOP website for May 7, 2020 (https://www.bop.gov/coronavirus/):

[Group I]

“05/07/2020 (05/16/2020) – The BOP has 140,369 (138,363) federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,161 (11,674) in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 2,646 (2,280) federal inmates and 244 (283) BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 591 (1,091) inmates and 278 (287) staff have recovered. There have been 44 (56) federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”

[Group II]

[UPDATE: Here are the statistics for the BOP for May 8, 2020, which shows substantial growth in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases:

“05/08/2020 – The BOP has 140,119 (138,363) federal inmates in BOP-managed institutions and 11,331 (11,674) in community-based facilities. The BOP staff complement is approximately 36,000. There are 3,082 (2,280) federal inmates and 248 (283) BOP staff who have confirmed positive test results for COVID-19 nationwide. Currently, 619 (1,091) inmates and 279 (287) staff have recovered. There have been 45 (56) federal inmate deaths and 0 BOP staff member deaths attributed to COVID-19 disease.”]

The reduction in confirmed COVID-19 positive cases may be due to the lack of testing and inmates being kept in private prisons. Private Prison representatives often refuse to provide requested information to journalists and others.

From bop.gov/coronavirus, the BOP reports the following:

“Due to the rapidly evolving nature of this public health crisis, the BOP will update the open COVID-19 confirmed positive test numbers, recoveries, and the number of COVID-19 related deaths daily at 3:00 p.m. The positive test numbers are based on the most recently available confirmed lab results involving open cases from across the agency as reported by the BOP’s Office of Occupational Health and Safety at 11:00 a.m. each day. BOP field sites may report additional updates throughout the day. Data is subject to change based on additional reporting.

“The BOP has begun additional testing of asymptomatic inmates to assist in slowing transmissions within a correctional setting. As such, our data reflects an increase in the number of COVID-19 positive tests reflected in the table below [see the table at bop.gov/coronavirus]. The BOP is able to better utilize this information for the management of an outbreak at the relevant, affected facility.

“The inmate totals listed do not include inmates participating in the Federal Location Monitoring program 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.”

Many men incarcerated across the nation inside the confines of the BOP have complained about the lack of testing for COVID-19, and some staff’s failure to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE); e.g., face masks and gloves.

Straight From the Pen of the Incarcerated

The information below comes from an inmate at one of the federal prisons in Butner, North Carolina, where other inmates in the complex have reported the same situation (lack of testing, CDC recommendations not followed (social distancing and failure to wear PPE), as have inmates in Terre Haute, Indiana, and U.S.P. Victorville in California.

(I’ve reorganized paragraphs for ease of reading. The provided information is posted as provided, other than minor spelling and punctuation corrections. Additional information is included in brackets. Some content isn’t intelligible but is irrelevant for this post. The inmate often uses “jail” instead of “prison” when he is referring to the institution.)

5/14/2020: If I write a blog later in relation to the lack of testing, not following safety protocols, etc., do you want me to post this?

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] May 15, 2020:

“Yes, it needs to be known what Butner is doing to the inmates and how they aren’t doing anything to fight the infections. Most of the guards don’t even wear mask. The guards are bringing it [COVID-19] in the jail and it seems like a norm to them its two blocks left that has no infection. Out of 8 blocks 6 blocks have been infected and the numbers are going up five more just was quarantined today.”

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] 5/14/2020:

“Granville a is quarantined and the just had an inmate on Vance [?] a test positive don’t know how many he affected the took him out of here this jail isn’t doing anything for our safety the have me working in the kitchen for 11 hours a day fixing the meals for the rest of the jail there is no social distancing we are all working don’t know who is infected and who ain’t they only check your temperature there has not been one single test administered on this compound and the virus is spreading at a rapid pace and all they do is put you in the shu [Segregated Housing Unit] for 14 days don’t test you and after the 14 days they put you right back in population there is no structure for fighting this virus they are not follow no guidelines and this is sad there is so many people they are deliberately placing in harm’s way and they don’t even care and that’s why is so sad.”

****************************************************************

Friday, May 15, 2020:
RE: RE: 05/12-13/2020 (Numbers keep growing)

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy]

“This is all lies there is a total of 58 that are quarantined in the shu as we speak I know because I make the trays for the shu and the still have us working together in the kitchen not social distancing and [UNICOR, Federal Prison Industries, Inc.] is still working without social distancing. This place just doesn’t care.

“There is no 40 that has recovered they are only keeping them in the shu for 14 days and sending them right back to the block to infect other people this jail has no compassion it just doesn’t matter to them we have been locked down since march we are trapped on a block with no ventilation the same air is just blowing the same infected air throughout the jail.”

5/14/2020:

All you can do is follow the recommendations, and especially about washing your hands before touching your face after being on the computer or phone, which should be done at any time. Here’s what was on the bop.gov website yesterday for Butner institutions (Butner Low has 22 confirmed cases, and 40 who have recovered):

Facility
Inmates Positive
Staff Positive
Inmate Deaths
Staff Deaths
Inmates Recovered
Staff Recovered
Butner FMC
5
5
0
0
0
2
Butner Medium I FCI
166
13
7
0
82
12
Butner Low FCI
22
3
0
0
40
4

[Inmate Name Removed to Protect Privacy] on 5/14/2020 5:49:59 PM wrote

“Things are getting bad here and Butner low there are 8 dorms and the virus is in three they have Durham b they are on quarantined.”

DENIAL/NOT SO COVERED UP STATISTIC: The BOP is in denial or is trying to cover-up the death of one of its staff members who died from COVID-19 (39-year-old, Ms. Robin Grubbs, Case Manager). I suspect the failure to acknowledge the death of one of their own from COVID-19 is a failed attempt to cover-up the incident due to the bad publicity about the BOPs failure to provide staff and inmates with proper protective equipment for months. https://www.ajc.com/news/local/employee-death-raises-questions-about-conditions-inside-federal-pen/3Enh61w6Di8rcT9YuY5PPK/

[In the above examples, the BOP still does not acknowledge the death of Ms. Robin Grubbs as being due to COVID-19. In the referenced article about her death reported in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the inmate stated what mirrors the statements of many inmates who expressed concerns to me through correspondence (staff not wearing personal protective equipment because it isn’t available or otherwise does not wear any).]

COVID-19 IN HENRY COUNTY GEORGIA

“Henry County, Georgia Population 2020

“Henry County, Georgia ‘s estimated population is 225,508 with a growth rate of 1.95% in the past year according to the most recent United States census data. Henry County, Georgia is the 9th largest county in Georgia.”  https://worldpopulationreview.com/us-counties/ga/henry-county-population

The B.O.P. only has a total of 151,530 (150,037) individuals held captive in the prison system (numbers include inmates in Residential Reentry Centers), along with 36,000 staff who work for the BOP, for a total of 187,530 (186,037) people, but the BOP had 44 (56) inmate deaths, and a total of 2,890 (2,280) confirmed COVID-19 cases on May 7, 2020; however, if the number of confirmed cases and those who have recovered are included, the total COVID-19 cases that were in the BOP is 4,800.

As mentioned above, Henry County ranks 11 in Georgia for the COVID-19 case, with Henry County’s 225,508 people, only 559 (700) confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 14 (18) deaths, as reported on May 8, 2020 (May 17, 2020).  In the BOP with far fewer people, the death rate is much higher (56/18). The difference in infection rates enormous (4,800/700).

The point being that the BOP COVID-19 pandemic within the system is serious and demands attention, as does the handling of the COVID-19 crisis in all of the many other prison systems across the United States and other parts of the world, many of the latter which are likely worse than the situation in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

CONCLUSION

With the substantial increase in BOP COVID-19 deaths and the number of confirmed cases that were within the system (4,800 total), it reveals a more significant issue than the numbers viewed in isolation, buried within the walls, bars, and fences of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.

The inactions and failure of prison officials to implement processes and to comply with CDC recommendations have killed 56 federal inmates, and most likely, hundreds more in State prisons.

Many other deaths and COVID-19 cases are probably hidden within the privately managed prisons across the United States.

Will the day come when legislatures enact laws to hold prison administrators accountable for actions or inactions when it leads to the deaths of other humans? Unlikely.

[Note: The focus of this blog is not about private prison officials’ refusal to provide information to journalists, so I won’t expound on the topic, but do know that it has always been an issue that is hidden inside BOP contracts with private prison representatives.]

Labor Day and A Personal Memorial Day

Beautiful Flowers for Bob P. from his Children

IF you prefer to read more about Labor Day, select the link/URL below. I write this blog to honor a loved one and to share my first experience at a memorial service in over thirty years, as a free citizen since my release from federal prison on August 28, 2018.

What is the meaning of Labor Day?

“Do you get weekends off work? Lunch breaks? Paid vacation? An eight-hour workday? Social security? If you said ‘yes’ to any of these questions, you can thank labor unions and the U.S. labor movement for it. Years of hard-fought battles (and the ensuing legislation they inspired) resulted in many of the most basic benefits we enjoy at our jobs today. On the first Monday in September, we take the day off to celebrate Labor Day and reflect on the American worker’s contributions to our country.” https://nationaltoday.com/labor-day-2019/ [errors corrected by this author]

America celebrates Labor Day in honor of the working men and women who make America great. I will work today at a Goodwill of North Georgia store in McDonough, Georgia.

The work I do does not compare to work done by those who serve in the military, in America and abroad, as well as the emergency responders and all others who serve and protect the public. Pro-war, anti-war, anti-government, or whatever, in my opinion, those brave men and women deserve praise and to be honored; especially, the fallen men and women we celebrate on Memorial Day who gave their lives.

Georgia National Cemetery, Canton, Georgia

My personal Memorial Day began on August 17, 2019, when a loved one took that flight to a special place in the sky, high above the clouds. I had awakened during the early hours and knew his day had come, so I sent him a text message and one on Messenger to say my farewell to Bob, my brother-in-law, and friend of over fifty years.

He moved on to another life within twelve hours.

Bob P., Proudly Represented the United States Air Force

Bob P. served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam Era. He left the United States en route to Vietnam, and then a miracle happened: President Richard Nixon began the de-escalation of troops in Vietnam to end the war, so Bob went to Korea and, then later, to Japan instead of Vietnam.

He fought many health battles after his return, many illnesses which were caused by exposure to chemicals used during that period. He survived cancer and then had his first heart attack at the age of thirty-nine, likely caused by drugs used to treat cancer developed from exposure to the chemicals.

Photo provided courtesy of the family.

The Air Force honored Bob at the Memorial Service. I fought tears and lost several battles during the service, but when the soldier began playing the Taps, the streams began to flow.

Final Resting Place for Cremains of some of those who served our Country
The Same Pastor Conducted the Funeral Services of My Other Loved Ones

Many men and women trapped inside prison walls cannot attend funeral services. Some can but many cannot. I was one who could not because I was viewed as a security risk.

While in prison, I lost my mother and one of my younger brothers. From inside prison, though difficult to deal with the loss of loved ones, whose funerals I could not attend because of my security level, I was somewhat shielded from the emotional effects of death. I wanted to go to their funerals and to be there for them, but couldn’t because of the mistakes I had made decades before.

I had never attended a military funeral but suspect Bob’s won’t be my last. Military or not, I do not like attending such an event; however, I love the survivors enough to deal with my personal discomfort to be there to support them with love and compassion.

The ones I loved and cared for, whose services I attend, have left the body or remains and may be watching and wondering, “Why are they crying, don’t they know I am free and at peace?”

To all who gave their lives!

Like a Virgin by Wayne T. Dowdy

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Sex sells! Ask any of the ladies (or men and children) of the night, if you don’t believe it; especially, in the City of Atlanta, Georgia.

Sex sales has always been popular and a “hot ticket” item in Atlanta. One thing that’s been true about Atlanta since I’ve been alive, is that no matter what a person was into, it was available in Atlanta or someone there could find it for the seeker.

Five years ago, in 2014, Atlanta held the Number One ranking in the United States for Sex Trafficking and still holds strong to its perverted image and statistic.

https://patch.com/georgia/buckhead/atlanta-ranked-no-1-for-sex-trafficking-conventions-to-blame

In 2018, the sex trade in Atlanta was still booming; especially, for sex trafficking children. https://www.wabe.org/sex-trafficking-in-atl-what-you-dont-see-behind-closed-doors/ Many children who are forced into sex trafficking lose their virginity by rape and physical abuse; something no person should have to endure.

With me having four granddaughters, when I heard about all of the reports on CNN and other news channels about children sex trafficking in Atlanta, I was thankful I did not know of anyone who had harmed either of my granddaughters, daughter, son or other family members. If someone had done that to a loved one and then been put near me or others inside the system who would volunteer to vindicate the injustice on my behalf, I would not have gotten out of prison.

Yes, that’s called vigilante justice and is unlawful but may sometimes be permissible, at least, by my immoral standards.

In federal prison I knew some of the convicted, Atlanta children sex traffickers, and several other people who committed sex crimes. I practiced living by spiritual principles to avoid being judgmental because of my desire to help them recover from their illness, in hope that my higher power, whom I chose to call God, could use me to help protect a child from future victimization if the person was released.

Struggle: Not to be Holier than Thou. Everyone may claim that he or she would never do something like that! But the truth is that, if, “WE” had experienced the same things in our lives that the other person had, we, too, may behave the same.

Okay, so you may wonder what’s the point of all this about the availability of Sex in the City? Well, from a personal perspective, with all of the available sex in the city, I have remained celibate, by choice, for decades. To me, that should give me the right to claim virginity again.

Most people walk out of prison doors with sex on the mind. I did, too, but knew better than to follow that line of thinking.

I explained my position in a blog I wrote before my release, and in my response to two of the most frequently asked questions: “Reentry Plans & a Friend Moves On

https://straightfromthepen.com/2018/07/16/reentry-plans-a-friend-moves-on/

“MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: What is the first thing you plan to eat? Where are you going to go eat at when you get out? What do you plan to do first? 🙂

“My response: I don’t know. I’m thinking of steak and lobster but when I see the price, I may change my mind to steak and shrimp or a Burger King Whopper or a Blizzard at Dairy Queen. Those prices may make me want to prepare my own meal. Then the grocery store prices may make me want to fast.

“I do plan to find a good paying job with benefits so I can afford to eat the way I prefer (healthy choices on most days).

[The good paying job with benefits hasn’t happened yet, and what I first ate was fruit brought to me by my family, per my request, because I didn’t want to stop to eat en route to the halfway house in Atlanta. I was offered my choice of a meal, steak and lobster or whatever. I chose healthy foods! Now I eat more junk food than anything.]

MOST POPULAR FREE ADVICE: Get a hooker because you’ll fall in love with the first woman you have sex with if you don’t. 🙂

“My response: I’m not walking out the door thinking with my penis. I’ve never paid for sex and I’m not starting when I get out of prison. I’ve been thirty years without getting laid and if I have to wait a little longer, I will survive.”

LADIES HANGING OUT INSIDE MARTA TRAIN STATION, ATLANTA, GEORGIA

Well, I have held strong and stuck to my plans but don’t think that it has been easy because it has not. My body has been willing and my mind eager to explore an intimate relationship, but my circumstances have prevented that from happening, and I don’t want to just use a woman for my sexual pleasures, so …. I remain more celibate than many priests.

I will continue to keep doing as I have: Acting like a virgin for the very first time and playing hard to get with all the beautiful young ladies who want my body. That is, until the right one comes along who is simply irresistible. 😉

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death!

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

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

Patrick Henry, Second Virginia Convention, March 23, 1775

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

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

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

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

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

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

Slavery existed in America during Patrick Henry’s speech:

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

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

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

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

American Civil War Confederate Memorial

McDonough Soldier Stands Tall and Proud in Town Square

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

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

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

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

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

An Excerpt from Southern Pride-Waving the Confederate Flag.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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