Prison Corruption in GA is not new. The system was corrupt when I grew up in it during the 70s-80s. If you want to learn more about the growing prison corruption since my departure and graduation into the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (1988-2018), read this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on Georgia Prison Corruption: https://www.ajc.com/news/investigations/prisons-inside-job/
I spent many years of my life inside the Georgia Criminal Justice System, beginning as a juvenile and graduating through the system until I finally reached The Big House (Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, Georgia), known for its high-level of violence and racism, some of which was promoted by prison staff. A few corrupt prison guards at the Georgia State Prison assisted prisoners by bringing in weapons, etc. for use in racial conflicts (Divide and Conquer).
During my many years on the Inside, with my mindset at that stage of life, I would have thrived because of my addiction issues with drugs and alcohol. To support my bad habits, I would have been one of the prisoners who sought corrupt prison officials to bring in drugs, drug paraphernalia, and had cellphone existed at the time, those, too.
Now that I live a different life, I see what is going on from a different perspective: people losing their lives due to the lifestyle that comes with the territory.
Corruption will always exist as long as there is a demand for the goods. Of course, as several prisons experienced, drones assist the process as well as corrupt prison officials. For me, I remain grateful for not living that life anymore, and for my sobriety that began when I was at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.
More by Wayne T. Dowdy
Check out some of my content on Quora.com on Life Inside and Outand some of my most popular articles/answers on my profile page: https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy
Yesterday I posted the content below the subtitle, Effects of Prison Interview, Part II, on my Quora.com Space, Life Inside and Out. And then noticed that when it posted there was not a title for the post. So, now I am revising what I wrote and the process by posting it where it should have been first: Here on StraightfromthePen.com.
Sometime later on, on Quora.com/Life Inside and Out, I will replace the previous content that I use below with this blog. (I modified the title of this blog to be clear about its content.)
On March 20, 1995, I planned for that day to be the last day I shot dope or did other mind-altering substances. My plan didn’t work the way I anticipated. Two weeks and three days later, I got high again but stopped halfway through the process and threw away the rest of the joint I was smoking. That was the last time, thus far, and I don’t anticipate reverting to my former ways that helped to keep me returning to prison. Yes, I am a recidivist.
This interview (Effects of Prison Interview by Ms. Begum K with Wayne T. Dowdy, Part II), would not have taken place had I not continued to stay away from what I knew was killing me and helping to destroy my life. If you enjoy watching and listening to it, please click to like, follow me on YouTube, and subscribe. Thanks!
This post is complimentary to allow his voice to escape the confines of prison walls. Only the font style and size has been changed. Content is as submitted. Straight from the Pen does not express any opinion on the subject matter or content or the validity of any statement or claim made.
This post will also appear on Life Inside and Out, a Space on Quora.com, where men and women go for answers to questions. Check out the profile page for Wayne T. Dowdy.
Languid Eyes by Jason Glascock #342498
In my dream I repeat “6 am. 6 am. 6 am.”
I need to wake up at 6 A M!
My eyes snap open to a cream-colored cinder block wall and roll over to a clock reading 6:08 am. Perfect. I tighten my muscles, straining as hard as I can, working through the back, legs, shoulders arms jaw, every muscle gets engaged, released and stretched in this wake-up ritual.
6:08 am. I have a few moments before I actually need to get up, but if I stay here, now relaxed after the stretch, I’d likely fall back to sleep; so, I take three deep breaths and get up. The dayroom hasn’t opened yet, it’s quiet, my cellmate is asleep, meaning I need to be as quiet as possible. Piss in the toilet. Flush. Wash hands. Wash face. Rinse mouth. Dress for work in heavy boots and wait for the door to pop with that steel-on-steel hammer sound. Quiet, like I said.
While I’m sitting in the chair waiting for the door, I decide to do some squats to get the heart pumping. Slow, quiet ones that don’t get me breathing hard. I’m facing the dimly lit dayroom through the small window in the door, looking across at the other cells. The dayroom nightlight flashes into my eyes as I go down, disappears as I stand into the shadow. It’s then that I notice the burning of fatigue that wants to force me back into bed, the tiredness I’m trying to drive away with the squats.
Fresh blood to the brain simulates thoughts. For every hour loss of sleep the IQ can drop by 10 points. Sleep deprivation increases heart disease, exasperates diabetes, increases irritability, promotes violence, and a slew of other maleffects. With all these negatives recognized by medical science, departments of corrections around the country have become aware of how to create conditions that enhance the punishment factor of prison. They’ve doubled down on their efforts to make the environment as uncomfortable as possible. One method is to use sleep deprivation. The choice of uncomfortable mattresses, beds that squeak and rattle when a person rolls over, louder toilets, louder sinks, and more. They’ve removed sound absorbent surfaces such as carpet and wood, opting for steel and concrete. They’ve put in more and brighter nightlights that illuminate the bed as if it were daytime. For instance, I sleep with stadium lights shining in my face or reflecting off the dirty-white wall. If I cover my head the officer will pound on the door to wake me up. Light levels are shown to affect the quality of sleep. The beds are short, so in my case with a 6’4” frame, my feet hang off the bed, resting on square steel tubing much of the night. Then there is the heat. Where temperatures over 75°F are known to cause physical stress and negatively impact sleep, the prison now keeps the livings units at ~85°F year-round, all day, all night, somehow justified as part of their energy saving initiative.
All of that runs through my mind as the squats increase blood flow to the brain. Down… Up… Pump-pump. Down… Up…
The burning in the eyes never goes away; a constant irritation throughout the day. At 4:10pm I enter my cell to wait for dayroom to close. I sit down and grab the book I’ve been working my way through. I look at the page and the text goes wonky. I blink a few times and it clears, coming into focus. A few minutes later I snap awake, catching myself from falling out of the chair. I clear my throat, look to the page and find what I last remember reading. A few minutes later, I’m startled awake again by the sound of the book hitting the floor. I need a nap, but I’m dirty, need a shower, and count is within 20 minutes. There’s no way i can get to the showers. My eyes ache, my muscles ache, l know I’m missing things as I struggle to understand the book. Standing will increase my metabolism, but my feet hurt from working in the bad boots, so I sit back down.
I turn on the TV for some news. As I’m watching all the horrible stuff in the world, I hear this gasping snore and realize I’m sleeping again with my head back like a Zippo lighter.
Coffee. The 4th cup of the day will get me going. And squats. Yes, squats!
It’s count and just standing feels exhausting, but I can’t take a nap because it’s time for work. When the dayroom closes, and I clean. Rushing to change mop water, disinfect phones, tables, chairs, vacuum what carpet remains, sweep and mop. There are ramen noodles on the wall, and someone smashed half a Swiss roll into the rug. Not too bad today. 45 minutes of cleaning and then it’s chow time.
I rush into the servery for a cold hamburger on a bun that’s so dry it crumbles in my hand. I shovel the burger and canned pears into my mouth and leave, still chewing as I stand up; the dayroom needs to be finished before it opens in a half hour.
With work done I shower. The combination of work, coffee and shower leaves me feeling refreshed, the sense of fatigue washed from the brain, but I know it’s still there. Military research has shown there is no performance improvement from caffeine for cognitively demanding tasks and does nothing for the tired muscles. So, I don’t feel the need for a nap and keep going.
The night comes and the 9:15pm count approaches. I’m wearing down. I’ve been up all day, moving around, lifting, twisting, etc. I was at a computer for 4 hours doing a college paper, rereading the book and parsing its contents, formulating my argument and crafting supporting clauses. Exhaustion isn’t creeping up, it’s here and I’m pushing myself. 40 more minutes, I tell my body. I can do 40 more.
Count clears on the unit and then I’m in the dayroom cleaning up for the final time. The work increases my heart rate and blood flow. Fatigue is cleaned from my muscles as I wipe the floor with a wet mop. Thrust right. Thrust left. My back muscles countering the forces and I bounce from foot to foot, bending the knees slightly in almost a dance. I breath deeper, engaging, disengaging, and reengaging muscles, oxygenated blood floods every part my body as I run up and down stairs. The work re-energizes my body leaving only the burning grittiness in my eyes.
My 40 minutes of night cleanup ends and I lock-in for the night. Sleep. I know I need sleep but reinvigorated from the light work I choose to take off my boots and socks, kick the feet up and begin reading the book I’d dropped earlier. The grey matter has plenty of energy now and I’m going to make use of it: BBC World News and a book on data structures in the Python programming language. I make a cup of tepid coffee and look in the mirror. My eyes are red-rimmed and bloodshot, the whites are the tan of straw and itch furiously, heavy-lidded, languid, exhausted. I take a sip of coffee and continue to look at myself for a moment longer, then turn to the book.
I get a good 20 minutes of reading in before an overwhelming sleepiness washes through me. I yawn, continue reading, forcing myself to finish out the chapter. That takes me up to 11pm and I can no longer focus the eyes on the page. The conversation with my cellmate proved that I can’t think either; halfway through sentences I’m losing track of the thought. Now, it’s time for sleep.
Flipping the light off is like turning myself back on. For some reason I get a short burst of wakeup energy from somewhere. Getting into bed, I feel the fatigue of the day fade a little, and I wind up staring at the wall for the next hour, rolling from side to side looking for comfort in an uncomfortable bed with a stadium light blasting my retinas, and the last thing I remember is looking a the clock reading 12:23am before my eyes snap open at 6:03am to start all over.
My experience with sleep deprivation is not unique or unusual. I go for days as I described and then crash. I simply can’t push myself any further and I’ll sleep nearly all day. There are days where my body hurts so bad from lack of sleep I don’t want to do anything. There are nights where I’m overtired and sleep fails to find me until 3am. Next semester I’m going to take 6 credits of courses, and my brain has to perform as well as any college student, and I wonder what it would be like to have full use of what my brain could do, if I could get good sleep.
Great news! This morning I read this article and was happy to see that private prison doors for federal prisoners were closing. BOP finalizes moving inmates from private prisons. My hope is that the BOP will improve and provide each of those inmates an opportunity to prepare themselves for successful reentry into society. Most private prisons were not recognized for providing such programming to prisoners, according to what I had read and heard from others. Please read the following links posted below for more on the subject and for some of my previous content. Thanks!
When I first read the above article this morning, I posted a brief article on Quora, which went to my accidental page that I created early on in my writing career for Quora. To stray from the topic for this blog, the page on Quora that I link below was “accidental” because when I first posted content to respond to answers, I did not realize that I was doing so on a different page than the one I had intentionally created under my profile: https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy.
I was fresh out of prison and wasn’t up on all the technology after having been inside for over thirty years and having never even used a cellphone or been online without depending on someone else to post blogs for me.
Promotion: Subscribe to Quora+ for answers to questions for any topic. Please use my referral code so that I may earn a small commission. Quora+
Here’s a free subscription code to my Space on Quora where you may read a variety of answers to questions myself and other contributors have answered. Act soon before it expires in one week from the date of this blog, I think:Life Inside and Out.
The blogs I am linking below were ones that I wrote relating to the effects of going to prison and returning citizens, based upon my personal experience. However, because of my security level and history frowned upon by prison administrators (read Essays & More Straight from the Pen for more on that statement), I was too big of a security risk to be placed in a private prison). Though I may not be considered an expert by some, I do have firsthand experience in the field. I do appreciate you reading my blogs on this website or listening to my podcasts on Spotify.
Whether driving in my car or interacting with others, I continue to deal with the effects of decades of life in prison. I am okay and am doing well in the process, and am grateful to be in a position to write about my experiences to give others an idea about how life inside a prison cell may have affected them or a loved one or a friend.
On Quora I wrote the following to support the author in a linked article from The Marshall Project:
Having spent decades of my life in prison and knowing how I was affected by the lack of intimate human contact (no sex with another person for decades), I can identify a lot with what the author of the linked Marshall Project article wrote.
In 2017 while still inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I wrote Damage and Prison that relates to the effect of long-term imprisonment and having to live in unnatural ways. Over three years after my release, I am still affected by the damaging effect of the prison experience.
I share my experience to help others who have been there and can identify with the things I have written so that they know that they are not alone. As part of my recovery process, I practice being open and honest because it is what I must do to remain emotionally and psychologically healthy.
My hope is that the content of the following blog and article will help others to understand more about Life on the Inside and Out.
Once again I had an epiphany: open the doors to let others inside. Inside the contents of Life Inside and Out and my profile on Quora, which is where that link takes someone.
My hope is to open the doors for anyone experienced with the criminal justice to submit content for publication, or to just comment or otherwise participate. The goal is to facilitate positive change through knowledge about what goes on inside prisons. Though American prisons are the primary focus, anyone from any country may respond or send in submissions. Click here to send email.
Please spread the word to anyone on the Outside who has been to prison, or is still serving time in prison, jail, or any other form of confinement, to consider participating. With online access, anyone may respond to questions. Thank you!
If interested in submitting content for Life Inside and Out on Quora.com, email me what you have in mind, or let me know if you want to participate.
NO PAYMENTS for submissions. Sending any content to WTD4U.com through Corrlinks.com to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or any other messaging or mailing system, authorizes the owner, moderator, or administer to publicly post the content on the stated platforms, including Quora.com, Life Inside and Out, and or https://straightfromthepen.com, without expectation of payment.
All submissions will be attributed to the writer who submits the content, unless otherwise stated. Only submit your material!
Any submission should include the identifying data you want publicly displayed, such as your name, institution, state, or anonymous ( e.g., Wayne D., Atlanta, GA; WTD, Atlanta, GA; Anonymous, United States Federal Bureau of Prison, or any other way you want attributed).
The decision to publish submissions for publication will be at the sole discretion of the owner/administrator, or other delegated personnel at WonderfulThingsDone, dba, WTD4U.com and StraightfromthePen.com.
By submitting content for “possible” publication, you agree to allow the administrator at WTD4u.com/StraightfromthePen.com to edit the submission, if determined necessary by the administrator.
INFORMATION ABOUT QUORA.COM and Life Inside and Out.
Quora’s mission is to share and grow the world’s knowledge. Not all knowledge can be written down, but much of that which can be, still isn’t. It remains in people’s heads or only accessible if you know the right people. We want to connect the people who have knowledge to the people who need it, to bring together people with different perspectives so they can understand each other better, and to empower everyone to share their knowledge for the benefit of the rest of the world.
Gather around a question
The heart of Quora is questions — questions that affect the world, questions that explain recent world events, questions that guide important life decisions, and questions that provide insights into why other people think differently. Quora is a place where you can ask questions that matter to you and get answers from people who have been there and done that. Quora is where scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, mechanics, and homemakers take refuge from misinformation and incendiary arguments to share what they know.
Quora now has Spaces, which is essentially a blogging platform for those approved. I am the administrator for the Space, “Life Inside and Out.”
Life Inside and Out: Truthful Answers About Prison Life and Life After Release
Details: Life Inside and Out publishes content about life from inside prisons and about Life After Release.
These are actual Questions on Quora.com you may want to submit an answer to for potential publication.
I’d love to hear different opinions on this: Should prisons be replaced by psychiatric facilities? (If not, do you think prisons should have better amenities/conditions and what kind)? All opinions are welcome, especially if they’re elaborate.
What does it mean that there is no parole in the US federal prison system? Does it mean there is no chance of getting out early? (I’m the victim in this case.)
Why do we refer to a prison as a rehabilitation center, when most prisoners come out worse than they were?
Can you remember the first night you spent in jail or prison? What was the thing that kept you up? Do you remember that fateful day?
Question: Is it harder to do time in general population or Solitary confinement? What’s your personal experience? Since confinement is detrimental for the health which is it still being practice today?
What are the vital lessons one can learn in prison?
What happens if you don’t follow the rules in prison?
Have you ever felt like doing something so bad that you don’t care if it would land you in jail?
After reading all the above, feel free to submit questions you may want posted to see if anyone will answer, or your answer to any of the above questions. Thank you! wtd
Reposted Content:The Truth About Incarceration was originally published by PrisonLawBlog.com in November 2014, before being posted on StraightfromthePen.com.
On Quora.com I posted The Truth About Incarceration, Part I, in response to a question. Then I received several positive comments, one of whom suggested I start a YouTube channel to inform the public about Life on the Inside. Since then I monetized certain answers on my page and in my Space, Life Inside and Out.
Click Here to visit my more popular profile page and associated content. Thank you for your continued support.
The Truth About Incarceration, Part I
Prison can be rough: It can also be a positive experience for those who seek and receive help for the issues that lead to prison, which does not occur often. A cast of personalities comprise the abyss of prison. From some spring enlightenment, displays of moral fortitude, exemplary characteristics; others demoralization, sexual perversion, denigration, solicitude, debauchery, the darker side of humanity. The truth is that many aspects of prison are degrading and humiliating to those who have maintained their dignity and self-respect; however, prison is not always as portrayed in books and movies. A “snap shot” will not reveal the whole picture. Even documentaries on prisons leave a false impression about the whole of prison life or the prison experience. I know. I have lived most of my life behind steel bars, concrete walls, and fences layered and lined with row upon row of razor wire to separate me and my peers from the civilized society. I write this to assure the youth that there is nothing glamorous about incarceration, since I have read and heard how some juveniles and young adults give props to those who have been to jail, prison or “juvvy,” for having survived the experience.
In some segments of society those returning form prison are given a favorable street-status: a reputation of being a “tough” person, a Gangster who may have had to fight daily to make it out alive; someone solid who rode hard, did not “rat” and did his or her time without taking down the neighborhood. Some may have did similar things and been all of that, but for the most part, very few have that experience. But, with the State of Georgia prison system having thirty-two prisoners and one guard murdered since 2010, it proves that prisons can be a dangerous place. Statistically, though, and in actuality, the vast majority of people who go to prison never have a physical altercation. In relation to “riding hard” and not taking out the neighborhood, an over-whelming number of criminal defendants plead guilty to shorten their sentences; only a small percentage of which do not assist the government by implicating others in crimes in order to get the reduced sentence. (See note below for clarification about guilty pleas.) Some who testify and make deals are worse than Judas in the Bible who betrayed Jesus Christ and got him executed, because they lie to get a deal. Numerous criminal defendants fabricate higher drug quantities and exaggerate other committed criminal acts so that the prosecution recommends a larger sentence reduction for providing “substantial government assistance.” Personally, I do not see that as honorable, or something that is worthy of praise or favorable recognition.
Most prisoners are not so scandalous as to create crimes to get deals. Though many may make deals with the devil to get time off, only a few are so morally deficient that they create crimes to get the deals. To cooperate with the prosecution is one thing, and maybe it is what is needed to protect society–telling lies against another person for a lesser sentence is an entirely different matter.
Cases like the one against former mob boss, John Gotti, seem to violate ethical codes, when the prosecution uses testimony from a serial murderer like “Sammy the Bull,” who confessed to almost twenty murders for a five-year plea deal to testify against John Gotti, who received a life sentence and later died in prison.
NOTE: Not all who plead guilty make a deal to testify on others: some just do it because of the evidence stacked against them and the unlikelihood of winning if going to trial. Either way, though, the prosecution makes a deal for a shorter sentence to avoid spending the time, money, and resources necessary for taking a defendant to trial. That fact proves something a lot of criminals in prison hate to admit–pleading guilty is helping the state or government. Ninety-six percent of federal defendants plead guilty: state court plea bargain averages are probably the same. Unfortunately, many of those who plead guilty actually take a plea on charges they are not guilty of committing because it was part of the deal with the prosecuting authorities to “clear the books.” Throughout the years I have met a few who pled guilty to multiple crimes as a package deal for a reduced sentence.
PRISON POLITICS: As reported on a televised documentary, even though John Gotti was a powerful figure on the streets of New York, prison predators zoomed in to make him pay for protection. No one is guaranteed amnesty from prosecution by those enforcing silent prison codes written by unknown authors: Not even a mob boss when left to fend for himself.
Someone sent to prison for murdering someone may actually be a coward and be victimized while in prison. It is easier to stand fifteen feet away and blast someone with a gun than it is to go toe-to-toe in a knife fight or other forms of hand-to-hand combat. It does not take a lot of courage to gun down defenseless or unsuspecting people. It takes a lot of courage to deal with a combatant on equal terms. Please do not misunderstand what I wrote. That is not applicable to everyone in prison for such crimes. Some prisoners are notorious and extremely dangerous; however, most of those find themselves locked in a cage twenty-three hours per day, often after assaulting or killing another prisoner or prison guard. Nevertheless, very few prisoners have to physically defend themselves while serving time in the vast majority of American prisons. The point is, everyone does not have to be skilled in hand-to-hand combat to survive in prison. If such skills were required for survival, only a few would make it out alive. In general, survival in prison depends more upon the personality of the person and the nature of their crimes that lead to prison, more so than it does upon their size or combat skills. A petite person with a strong personality, who the more dominant prisoners respect, may get out of prison unscathed, while a larger, ostracized person with a weak personality, becomes prey to the predators. Truthfully, a larger person is more apt to be physically challenged than someone not so large. Prisons are filled with staff and inmates suffering from a “Napoleon’s Complex” (an inferiority complex rooted in insecurities and the lack of physical stature, which leads to the afflicted going to extremes to prove that he or she is “tough,” and do so at the expense of others).
As shown with Mr. Gotti, powerful people may be preyed upon by the unknowns of society. On the other hand, an unknown may become recognized or powerful inside prison for a variety of reasons: being a “Stand Up” person (not informing on others, standing their ground in physical altercations, fighting for what is right, standing behind their word); being ruthless, yet honorable, reliable; maybe even for changing their lives, helping others, and ironically, by staying out of the mix. To become powerful in prison requires getting involved in the mix (running drug and or gambling operations, participating in prison politics (determining who can stay in general population, who has to go, who gets “hit” (piped or stabbed or both), or by organizing prison disturbances (food or work strikes, violent protest against prison administrations, etc.), behaviors which carry major consequences). But, in my opinion, no matter who they are, what they have done or claim to have done, every prisoner deals with degradation and humiliation. It is the nature of the beast. All prisoners have to get strip-searched (must remove all clothes at the command of a guard who inspects and views private areas to look for hidden items); get told when to go to the chow hall, when to stand for security counts, who can visit or who they can call on the phone and for how long they can speak. Many prisoners are stripped of far more than their clothes (pride, dignity, integrity, self-respect ….).
A prisoner may be recognized in society and prison by writing a book, or by doing something constructive, such as creating or teaching programs to help others, or by learning and teaching life skills to help others become better people. The press never hears about those prisoners because the press goes to prisoners who cause trouble or who get out and commit horrendous crimes, and thus become poster-children for the politicians who push “Tough-on-Crime” bills. Those bills are often written by members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose contributors include officials from the private prison industries that profit from high incarceration rates.
In Part II I will write about the influence of the private prison industry on prisoners and the politicians who vote to push the agenda that assures high incarceration rates in America.
Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy
Essays & More Straight from the Penshows the power of change with captivating content to keep readers turning the pages. Get your copy today on Amazon or from your favorite bookseller. Available in print and as an eBook.
Disclaimer: The owner of this website acts as an affiliate for Life Extension Foundation, Discount Electronics, and PriceWaiter. If you use the links provided and purchase a product, the owner may receive a small commission.
This post is complimentary to allow his voice to escape the confines of prison walls.
I received and scanned the letter from an anonymous inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Virginia. For more information on institutions under the control of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, clickHere
Content is as submitted. Straight from the Pen does not express any opinion on the subject matter or content or the validity of any statement or claim made.