Tag Archives: Quora.com

Experimental Prison Project by Wayne T. Dowdy

The Price of Change” by Wayne T. Dowdy

The following post is rooted in my response to a comment on QUORA.COM that concerned my answer to how does serving time in federal prison compare to state prison?  https://www.quora.com/How-does-serving-time-in-federal-prison-compare-to-state-prison/answer/Wayne-T-Dowdy

Based upon showing a positive difference in my behavior due to more humane living conditions in the Federal prison system, compared to my behavior in the Georgia Department of Corrections, a reader commented on the viability of each state creating a pilot program of prisons to mimic the more humane conditions in the federal system, to see how that affected recidivism. Well, maybe not in those exact words, but the gist of the suggestion is the same.

Thanks for the comment and feedback. In my opinion, yes, if the powers that be wanted to, it would be simple to do as you suggest, to create experimental/study group prison projects to study recidivism reduction, through Prison Reform/Improvement.

Mighty American Dollar

That’s what it’s all about: Money. The mighty dollar! The penal systems in America make a lot of politicians and investors in private prison companies, and in the goods and services provided to the prison machine, a lot of money.

Proven prison systems exist to reduce recidivism by treating people differently during their incarceration, and providing necessary resources/tools to help them transition into a new life.

To prove a point that change in the American Criminal Justice system is possible, I refer to an experimental program in America that is designed after a particular prison in Germany, where prisoners are treated more humanely and are less likely to return to prison after release. Prison Reform Progress

In Prison Privatization and Recidivism, I show how the interest of private prison companies and society may join to reduce recidivism while the investors continue to profit through prison privatization.

My concerns and interests are in returning citizens coming out of prison in better shape than when they went in, and being able to function in society upon release, so that each person may experience a better quality of life and hopefully will pass it on by helping others.

Change is up to each individual. Living under more humane conditions helps to encourage positive changes; opposite of the status quo in most prisons, which explains why more than eighty percent of released citizens return to prison with a new charge within nine years.

An Excerpt from Breaking News

Kim Kardashian in the White House

“EVIDENCE OF MORE RECIDIVISM:  Last month the Bureau of Justice Statistics released a new study (“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.”

https://straightfromthepen.com/2018/06/18/breaking-news/

Essays & More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy

Purchase a copy of Essays & More Straight from the Pen today to read “The Price of Change,” a personal essay about the transformation of the author.
Available in paperback and as an eBook.

Record Breaker

The Quora answer I’m posting has soared to a new level by engaging my audience. I’ve received several positive comments from readers, and that makes me Happy! 🙂

[Note: May 28, 2019: 55.4 thousand views and 1,343 Upvotes]

Within twelve hours, the numbers had soared: 17.5-thousand views and 400-upvotes.  Within forty-eight hours of its posting, those numbers doubled and continue to climb. Wow!

I love breaking records!

Many viewers signed up to Follow me on Quora.com and on this website. I hope you will, too. I need all the followers, likes, and hits that I can get to climb the ladder of Internet Stardom.

First Translation:  One reader messaged me and asked permission to translate the post and then translated it into Italian. I was grateful and impressed!

In italiano: Risposta di Alessio Renzetti a: A quale tecnologia ti sei abituato con piu’ difficoltà dopo essere uscito di prigione?

This blog post is a modified reproduction of the orginal version posted on Quora.com. To read the Quora version, click the following link:

https://www.quora.com/If-you-ve-spent-a-long-time-in-prison-what-technology-did-you-find-hardest-to-adjust-to-when-you-were-released/answer/Wayne-T-Dowdy?ch=99&share=cc938591&srid=x5UbO

If you’ve spent a long time in prison, what technology did you find hardest to adjust to when you were released?

This may not be the typical answer in response to the question, but it does relate, and it’s my story so I’m posting in on here and as a blog on one of my websites:

After leaving the halfway house for my first adventure into the free society, three decades later, on a timed-pass for my first trip to downtown Atlanta, I paid $2.50 to ride the bus to the train station (Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority).

METRO ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY (MARTA)

I was shocked having to pay $2.50 for the bus fare that used to be much less.

The bus arrived at the train station. To enter the train terminal, I attempted to go through a turnstile that wouldn’t open. I looked at a MARTA employee and said, “It won’t work.”

“You need to buy a Breeze card,” she said.

“I gotta pay to get in here?”

She nodded. I turned took a few steps and glanced around the terminal. I didn’t see a store or anywhere to buy it from, so I said, “Where at?”

She pointed to an area where I saw several machines embedded in a wall of the terminal. I stood and gazed at one of the machines and tried to figure out how to use it: Too many buttons and features for a mind that had been exempt from using most technological-creations for the last thirty years!


BREEZE CARD MACHINE

For a few moments I continued to stand and stare at the machine, stressed out and overwhelmed because I couldn’t figure out how to operate it (My stress level had more to do with that than the actual technology involved).

Dismiss Charities, Inc., Atlanta, Georgia (Halfway House)

I was in a rush because I didn’t want to be late. I had to call in to the halfway house every time I arrived at an approved destination, or risked being put on escape status and being sent back to prison.

I didn’t have time to figure out how to use the Breeze Card Machine, so I looked for help. I saw a man who worked for MARTA and walked up to him and pointed at the machines and then asked, “Do you know how to operate those?”

“Sure,” he said and began walking toward them with me.

“I’ve been in prison for thirty years and need help.”

Moments later, I was on my way to board the train and before the day was over, a woman at another downtown MARTA train station asked me if I knew how to operate the machine so she could buy train fare.

“Sure,” I said and then shared the wealth and we were on our way to our separate designations.

METRO ATLANTA RAPID TRANSIT AUTHORITY TRAIN

I’ve adapted well to most technology, as is evident by me having several websites now and my using the cellphones I had never used until August 28, 2018, but that darn Breeze Card Machine was just too much for me to comprehend when feeling like a caveman running around in modern society.

Update: I appreciate each response to this answer, all of the upvotes, thousands of views, and a request for permission to translate.

The word “Gratitude” doesn’t express the magnitude of my emotions attached to this experience.

For those who visited my listed website (straightfromthepen.com) and viewed some of my post, most of which were done before my release, please know my publisher created the blog for me, because I had never been online until I went to the halfway house on August 28, 2018.

I explained the publication process in “About Straight from the Pen” (straightfromthepen.com/about-your-host).

Around mid-December 2018, I began managing my websites, blogs, and book revisions. To say the associated technology is challenging would be an understatement. But, hey, for a Caveman, I’m doing great!

Thanks again to each of you for making this a wonderful experience for me.

Essays & More Straight from the Pen

Get your copy today! Paperback ($9.95) or eBook ($2.99) from Amazon.com or from your favorite booksellers. Autographed copies available from the author (see Contact Page)


https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794396829/ref=rdr_ext_tmb

Prison Reform Progress

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

60-MINUTES’ Correspondent, Bill Whitaker, on March 31, 2019, reported one aspect of prison reform in America.

Living on the Edge by Aerosmith

I shared the words of Bill Whitaker with inmates in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, in case the ones who signed up for the WTD4U newsletter did not watch the 60-MINUTES’ interview, by Bill Whitaker, with staff and prisoners at the ‘Rock’; a term used to describe many maximum-security prisons in America.

The prison on stage in the excellent coverage by Mr. Whitaker is in Connecticut. After posting parts of the Interview for federal prisoners to read, I discovered a similar program implemented in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, at the Federal Correctional Institution in Williamsburg, South Carolina.

A participant in Project L.E.A.D. provided a submission for me to post online. I loved having something positive to share on activities in the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

I praised him for doing his part to help create positive change. I will include my response after his submission, “Ready 4 Redemption.”

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve included a brief excerpt and the URL to the following interview with Bill Whitaker:

60 MINUTES

Bill Whitaker,
CORRESPONDENT

“German-style program at a Connecticut maximum security prison emphasizes rehab for inmates

“Taking cues from the prison system in Germany, where the main objective is rehabilitation, a program based on therapy for 18 to 25-year-old offenders is taking shape at a prison nicknamed ‘the Rock.’

“One of the more radical attempts at prison reform is taking place in a foreboding Connecticut prison nicknamed the Rock.  It’s a two year old program based on therapy for 18-25 year old prisoners, whose brains, science shows, are still developing, and their behavior more likely to change.”

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/german-style-true-program-at-cheshire-correctional-institution-emphasizes-rehab-for-inmates-60-minutes/?ftag=CNM-00-10aab7d&linkId=65567301

“Ready 4 Redemption” by M.R.

Greetings! Just like the Project T.R.U.E. Williamsburg just opened up a first time Honor program here in S.C. called Project L.E.A.D. a 12-month cognitive behavior therapy (skill-building) program that helps participants in their decision making, problem solving, social skills and other necessary needs to integrate back into society. We are 10 months in as of today and have psycho educational groups, government meetings amongst each other, assigned mentors and staff facilitated and also inmate facilitated curriculums.

I have been incarcerated for 27 years as of July and I have never been in a better environment. Not even the Challenge program could teach us the leaderships skills we have learned and applied so far in this environment. We also have outside guest that come in our unit regularly, victims’ advocates, USPO’s and various other facilitators have visited our unit and we welcome them with open arms. It’s the only L.E.A.D. program on the yard and has 98 inmates on a 1,400 populated yard.

This program would interest those minds who are curious whether a violent man can change. I’m in for violence and since being involved into CBT, my thought process has changed dramatically. My violent acts have declined and I have not had a violent act committed since 2005. It works. They even allowed me to create my very own curriculum which I instruct in our unit and another outside our unit in education and we are effecting change!

Project L.E.A.D. Participant,

M. R., Federal Correctional Institution, Williamsburg, SC

Response to His Submission from WTD4U

That’s great! I’m proud of you for having the courage to change, and happy for you and your new place in life. Having said that, would you like me to post or otherwise use what you have written in this message? If so, I would have to use your name as anonymously written or have a release of information. Maybe using your first name and initial for your last name would work, like the AA Grapevine does.
Let me know. Thanks for sharing. I love good news to mention about the incarcerated. Take care!

Click the following URL for an associated article on Prison Reform, The Rock, and L.E.A.D.: https://www.quora.com/Would-you-agree-if-your-country-follow-the-prison-system-in-Norway/answer/Wayne-T-Dowdy

Appeal and Irony

Quora Moderation granted my appeal and reposted my answer to the question, “What would happen to the American criminal justice system if no one accepted plea deals and every case had to be resolved in the courtroom?”

Tuesday, March 12, 2019: I replied to a comment and referred to Sammy the Bull and the plea deal made to imprison former Mob Boss, John Gotti.

Ironically, John Gotti’s replacement, Gambino crime boss, Frank (Franky Boy) Cali, was gunned-down on March 13, 2019, the day after I replied and referred to his predecessor, John Gotti.

https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/ny-metro-murdered-gambino-crime-boss-lured-to-death-20190314-story.html

Ironic Reply to Response

For Quora Reader Response, follow thread at https://www.quora.com/What-would-happen-to-the-American-criminal-justice-system-if-no-one-accepted-plea-deals-and-every-case-had-to-be-resolved-in-the-courtroom/answer/Wayne-T-Dowdy

On plea-bargaining: what of situations when a mass-murderer, like Sammy the Bull, receives five-years for murdering nineteen people, because he agreed to say what the government needed said to convict John Gotti?

I have known many men who were in prison because someone lied to put them in prison, in exchange for a more lenient sentence. When most men and women are faced with going to prison or telling lies to put someone else inside in place of themselves, you can believe they will tell a lie and may help put innocent people in prison. That is the flaw in the plea-bargaining system.

On social injustice: Poor people suffer, whether white, black, blue or green. Statistically, based upon percentages, I know those with darker complexions receive longer sentences and are targeted by law enforcement; however, I am white and received a lengthier sentence than many other non-whites who committed more serious crimes.

Before I left prison, an African-American friend asked me to help his people organize movements like Black Lives Matter so that they would be more effective. I replied, “The first thing that needs to happen is to take the color out. All lives matter.”

Martin Luther King, Jr., Spoke Against Social Injustice.

When you add Black, White, Brown, Yellow to any social issue, the color label automatically alienates many of whom would otherwise be supportive if the person pushing the agenda had not made the issue into a racial one.

Click to read associated post: https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/reduce-mass-incarceration/

Truthfully Speaking by Wayne T. Dowdy

While writing a response to a question posed by a reader on QUORA.com, a forum I love because participation makes me think and revives my creativity, I was asked, “Does the rule ‘snitches get stitches’ apply in psychiatric hospitals?”

Her question prompted the idea for posting this blog, so I will use it to let others know what the truth is in regards to prison and the process that led most to prison after their arrest (pleading guilty to avoid staying in prison longer than most men or women deserve).

Read my other Quora posts at https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy

“Does the rule ‘snitches get stitches’ apply in psychiatric hospitals?”

The truth is that the “Snitches Get Stitches” rule doesn’t apply in the Criminal Justice System to the extent that it did decades ago.

The majority rules and based upon statistical data, “The overwhelming majority (90 to 95 percent) of cases result in plea bargaining.” https://www.bja.gov/Publications/PleaBargainingResearchSummary.pdf, and in the practical sense, to get a deal for a reduced sentence that majority cooperated with prosecuting authorities.

Not always but the majority agrees to cooperate during the plea negotiation process, who may then be required to return to court later to testify against another person so they can get a reduced sentence. That includes going back to court to testify against events inside prison to get a sentence reduction.

One of the many Quorans who work in Criminal Justice can supply the statistical data on prisoners who cooperate after conviction, but from my experience, sixteen years of which was spent in four different federal penitentiaries, most prisoners known to have cooperated do not get stitches or otherwise harmed.

However, some do, and some get stabbed or bludgeoned to death, but those are the exception, not the rule. I am not sure about the differences in psychiatric hospitals, but I will share my personal experience on similar issues.

I sponsored a man who was in a United States Federal Penitentiary with me who had a severe psychiatric condition. He gave me a book to read about the condition so I would know to get him help if he began to display certain behaviors that could lead to the harm of himself or others.

To do what he wanted of me could have led to me having to go to prison staff, a violation of the old, strict prison conduct rules (Don’t tell on anyone or talk to staff), a violation of which could have gotten me harmed or ostracized by my peers, if they lived by the old code of conduct. Most do not.

In a psychiatric facility, I don’t think it would be much different; however, if a patient gets reported by a staff member for saying something to them in private and then that trust got betrayed, in my opinion, it may make treatment more difficult unless the therapist established the ground rules from the start, and the patient could think of the situation from a rational perspective. But even under those circumstances, I doubt if the patient would be willing to resort to violence because he or she felt wronged.

A lot of people will harm those who tell on them to the authorities or to someone else about something meant to be kept confidential, but an overwhelming majority will let it go because they don’t want to get more time or don’t think they can get away with resorting to violence, or just accept that what they did was wrong and just let it go.

On a personal level, many years ago, I would have harmed someone for testifying against me in court, but once I got clean and started looking at things from a rational perspective, I accepted that what I did was wrong and let go of the hate and anger I held toward him for betraying my trust. I owed him an amends for my role in putting him in that position.

In other words, I changed my beliefs and became a different man. Now, how does that apply to your question? I used my personal experience to show that there are no hard-fast rules anymore when dealing with tales of prison life or life inside any facility where men and women are restrained or even where they are not. The game changed decades ago and most of the real killers are kept locked in a box once caught and taken off the street. [End quote]

Read ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN to learn more about the life that lead to prison.

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