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.
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
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
(Only facilities with deaths are reported in this blog. The full list may be seen at www.bop.gov/coronavirus).
“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.
One year ago today (March 8th), I walked out the doors of Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia, as a man freed from the custody of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. I wrote Electronic Chain about that experience. https://straightfromthepen.com/electronic-chain
Life hasn’t gone according to the World of Wayne since my release, other than that I have remained a free man and have continued my pursuit of a better life.
Life is good. My plan remains to make it Great!
In many respects my life is great. I have remained clean and sober and chose not to return to the life of crime as thousands of formerly-released men and women have done since August 28, 2018, when I walked out the doors of a Federal Correctional Institution, thirty-years and ten days after my arrest on federal and state charges.
Throughout the years, I wrote a lot about recidivism, of which may be viewed by searching “Recidivism” or by using the dropdown menu to select the Recidivism category on this site. The May 2018 study numbers are the latest released (83% of state prisoners returned within the nine-year study referenced to below):
“2018 Update on Prisoner Recidivism: A 9-Year Follow-up Period (2005-2014),” NCJ250975, May 2018, a follow-up to the 5-year study relied upon for comparison by the ex-director (“Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 30 States in 2005: Patterns from 2005 to 2010,” NCJ244205, April 2014).
“The 83% recidivism rate revealed in the 9-year follow-up study shows the seriousness of recidivism in America and the need for a magic elixir that does not exist. Until financial incentives end for politicians who continue making policies and laws that fuel mass incarceration, positive change will be slow: It is time to stop state and federal funding for private prisons.”Breaking News, June 18, 2018
I refuse to become one of those who return to the system so many vow to hate but continue to return to make it grow bigger and stronger!
On a Personal Level
Since my release, I found a job, even though it took me eleven months of actively seeking one to succeed in that endeavor. On that job with Goodwill of North Georgia, I made Employee of the Month in October 2019, and was then selected for the Employee Spotlight in the following month.
Then on March 2, 2020, I began a different position in Goodwill of North Georgia and increased my salary by over thirty percent. More will follow!
I have a nice vehicle that gets me where I need to go, which a loving person blessed me with after she bought herself a new SUV.
For other aspects of the reentry process, is finding a new place to live and maybe even getting in a meaningful relationship if a special lady comes along.
Before my release, I joked with my peers that I was going to get a fat butt girl with a pecan tan and a Mercedes Benz, but maybe I need to revise that, because that’s being too picky. What I would like is that special lady who loves me the way I will love her and then perhaps I will perceive my life as great.
What was I thinking? I am free and alive and well! Life is great!
In conclusion, what I didn’t know during the time of the photo posted above when I was about three-years-young, with me with my hands on those toy guns, is that I would make bad decisions in life that would lead me to putting my hands on real guns to commit crimes and to spend most of my life in prison.
I wrote a lot about my life in Essays & More Straight from the Pen to show the power of change, and that, just because I was a recidivist, does not mean I have to be one now. I chose freedom. Thank you!
Time keeps ticking no matter what goes on in my life. My desire to succeed never slows or diminishes, as I remain determined to succeed on a professional level, just as I have done on an interpersonal level.
My life on the outside has been a challenge in many respects, as it took me eleven months to find a job, other than the non-paying positions I have as a writer and a blogger.
Trying to fit back into society after serving thirty-years, six-months, and eighteen days of my life inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, has also been a challenge, since my not having a job or a place of my own has interfered with having normal, healthy relationships with females. At least, not in the romantic sense: I have healthy-relationships without romantic involvement.
Without the love and support of my friends and a loving family, life would be much rougher for me and more of a challenge to successfully reintegrate into society.
On July 18, 2019, I began working for Goodwill of North Georgia as an Environmental Services Technician, a long title for a janitor, a humble servant.
I am happy to have a regular income and do enjoy getting to do something constructive (cleaning floors, toilets, helping others and doing whatever needs done to keep the building clean and as sanitary as I can).
My position at Goodwill is a way for me to give back to the community because Goodwill does things to help a whole lot of people to have and to do things that otherwise would not be possible. I love Goodwill!
Go to Goodwill of North Georgia and get a job and I’ll love them more if you tell them Wayne T. Dowdy from the McDonough, Georgia store referred you so that I get a $50 bonus. 🙂
Being a servant keeps me humble, a spiritual trait I need because my EGO was out to kill me when I allowed it to run out of control. Today, I remain clean and sober to keep the Ego under control and out of the driver’s seat.
I am like my first sponsor in a Twelve Step program who said, “I have a head that thinks it can kill the body and keep on living.”
Good thing that I know it lies!
In Conclusion: I will make my living with the business I am creating. I will remain humble and do what I can to help the community, online and in person, as I continue my journey of life on the outside.
Here’s a short video clip from the Adventures of Wayne at the Clayton County Reservoir, where I went to a retirement party with a loved one. I hope you enjoy the beauty of the scenery as much as I and can appreciate having eyes to see.