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.
Update APRIL 10, 2021: Many things in my life have changed since I wrote Electronic Chain over two years ago after I finally completed a 420-month federal prison sentence. That day was a long-time coming and one I often wondered if I would live long enough to see as a free man.
When I look at the photo that I took of Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia, on the day of my release, I am reminded of the times I had to have permission to walk out the doors and through the gates to walk down the street to catch a bus to go to an approved location, such as the Georgia Department of Labor to continue my fruitless job search, or to Grady Memorial Hospital or to the Mercy Care Clinic for health-related issues.
Free at Last, Kind of
The first time I got a pass to leave the premises, when I was kind of free at last for a few hours, I remember standing at the end of the street at a bus stop, feeling like a dog must feel when freed from its leash.
It had been thirty calendar years since I had walked in the free society without a chain strapped around my waist, handcuffs on my wrists, and leg shackles biting at my ankles as I tried to act normal while wearing such unfashionable jewelry.
Returning to Dismas Charities was not always as bad as what one may think for a man who spent decades of his life bound by chains, who lived behind concrete and steel walls, with the outside perimeters decorated with row-upon-row of razor wire designed to slice the flesh of anyone crossing over it into a different world.
Sometimes it was a relief to walk back inside the gates of the halfway house, after walking up a long hill in one of the less-favorable neighborhoods of Atlanta, where the prostitutes and dope fiends hustled the streets to meet their needs for survival in a cruel world.
For me, returning to the boundaries of Dismas Charities was a relief because I was back into a more familiar atmosphere, where I didn’t feel like an alien or caveman.
Behind the gates was where I was supposed to be until told I could leave and not return; the day I longed for but somewhat feared because of the risk of returning to a jail cell if I failed to meet the expectations of the United States Department of Justice or any of the many local law enforcement agencies in Metro Atlanta.
I thank God daily for me not having to live in that environment anymore, where my activities were governed and regulated by program statements and policies, often interpreted by people who lacked the required intelligence to grasp the concept behind broadly-written words.
However, to be fair, I need to clarify that not everyone in authoritative positions lacked intelligence or abused their authority because the policies gave them the power to do so.
Some were good men and women who did all they could to help me and others to walk out of the prison doors and to become better individuals.
I am grateful for several staff members who fell into the latter category, as well as for the ones I have dealt with since my release, none of whom have shown any ill-intent toward me and have helped me to successfully reintegrate into society.
LIFE ON THE OUTSIDE
Today, I live and eat well and don’t have to do a lot of walking to go to and from desired locations. That is because I own and drive a vehicle; work 40-hour per week, have automotive, life, medical, dental, and vision insurance. The walking I do is by choice, or necessity, not because it is my only option.
I am ending this update with a few photos to show that life is good and with the hope of inspiring others who have been released from prison to never give up and to work towards finding a better way to live out here, even when times get rough.
It took me eleven months to find a job, more so because of my age than criminal history, but I never gave up or thought about reverting to my old behaviors.
The God of my understanding has bigger plans for me than being in a cage, and for that I am grateful.
The Night Before I Lose An Electronic Chain
Anticipation may be one word to describe what a person experiences in knowing he or she awaits the finish line of a challenge that took thirty-years, six-months, and twenty-two-days, to reach.
MY DAY: March 8, 2019: On the day of my total release from the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, my weary mind recalled sleeping from about 1:00 am until 3:30 am.
My eyes popped open and refused to close, so I succumbed to the pressure and got out of bed to begin a day I had awaited; a day I didn’t think I’d ever see after my arrest on August 18, 1988.
Miracles Do Happen!I believed I would die in prison or be killed escaping. I was wrong!
When I went to sleep on March 8, 2019, I slept longer than I had in years, maybe because of having completed my 420-month federal prison sentence. Being relieved of the pressure from carrying a heavy burden for three decades of my life, lightened my load.
Not having to worry about getting up to charge an ankle monitor helped me sleep better, too, I’m sure.
(I viewed the ankle monitor strapped to my ankle as an electronic-chain, which I had to wear to go on home confinement. If I had not agreed, I would have had to stay at the halfway house (Residential Reentry Center.))
That morning I signed some papers and a staff member at Dismas Charities removed the electronic-chain. From that point on I was technically freed from the custody of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency I spoke out against for years while under its control.
Leaving Dismas Charities, a loved one invited me to a celebratory meal at a Waffle House. I accepted! He treated me to steak and eggs, with hashbrowns smothered and covered.
And high-dollar coffee, in comparison to the cost of a cup in 1988!
I was shocked to learn a cup of coffee cost $1.50 at a Waffle House!
[Breaking News: On March 13th, I drank coffee at a Waffle House in downtown Atlanta and paid $2.00 for a cup. My brother-in-law said the previous cup was $1.90, not $1.50] Much cheaper than StarBucks!
Then the next day, I ate even better. I’ve been treated so well by family and friends since my release, it’s hard to say when I ate the best. I have eaten a lot of tasty food, at a lot of high-dollar-restaurants, none of which served better food than what I ate during family gatherings on Thanksgiving and Christmas Days.
March 9, 2019: Food-wise, I liked the food at a couple other restaurants better than what I ate at an Outback Steakhouse, where we celebrated my return to the family, but I enjoyed the experience tremendously.
That is because of the time I spent with most of my loved ones, and without me having an electronic-chain strapped around my ankle.
Having an electronic-chain strapped around my ankle, embarrassed me when it showed while I was out in the public; however, I preferred dealing with embarrassment over the alternative (sitting at the halfway house or in prison).
Family Time Made Everything Wonderful!
From FaceBook: I am blessed to have a family who still loves me. This Yummy, Great American Cookie was the final part of my special night out at an Outback Steakhouse to celebrate having closed one chapter of my life and for beginning a new one.
The evening meant a lot because it was the first family outing I experienced in decades without an electronic-chain strapped to my ankle.
There were other loved ones who couldn’t attend for various reasons, but I do want to say that the Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings were really special to me because I got to meet relatives I had never met and to just really experience the gratitude of love.
God blessed me with a wonderful family and I love ’em all!
Roaming the Streets Without an Electronic-Chain
UNLEASHED: My day in the Big City without an electronic-chain
Leaving the Waffle House, my brother-in-law carried me downtown to the Grady Memorial Hospital for medical appointments.
“Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. is rated high performing in 1 adult procedure or condition. It is a general medical and surgical facility. It is a teaching hospital.
“Rankings and Recognitions
“To help patients decide where to receive care, U.S. News generates hospital rankings by evaluating data on nearly 5,000 hospitals in 16 adult specialties, 9 adult procedures and conditions and 10 pediatric specialties. To be nationally ranked in a specialty, a hospital must excel in caring for the sickest, most medically complex patients. …”
Grady Memorial Hospital held the Top-Spot for U.S. Trauma Centers for decades, and still does, I believe.
The above I wrote because of how impressed I’ve been with the level of health care provided at Grady, where I had to go upon release from prison because I had health issues and did not have insurance and could not afford it. I still can’t afford insurance because I’m unemployed!
[My experience at Grady does not coincide with other patient ratings. August 7, 2019: Since writing this post in March 2019, my opinion of Grady has lessened but I still give it props for the greater good the hospital serves to the Atlanta area.]
Though my brother-in-law was willing to wait, I did not want to hold him up as I went about my scheduled affairs. Leaving Grady I needed to check in with the United States Probation Office.
I left Grady Memorial and walked to the Richard B. Russell Federal Building. Many things changed in society since 1988.
Going into the building I ran into a metal detector, with several government officials guarding its entrance. I had to surrender my possessions, including my SmartWatch, SmartPhone, and backpack filled with a variety of items I knew I needed to venture into the Big City.
Once I cleared the metal detector, all of my possessions were returned, except for the cellphone, which I had to leave with the staff members guarding the entrance. I was given a numbered-token to hold in exchange of my phone until I was ready to leave.
As it turned out, I wasted my time going into the Richard B. Russell Federal Building, because I learned I had to report to another office on Monday, in another town.
While in Atlanta, I gave a urinalysis, but still had to give another one at the correct United States Probation Office. It’s all good, though, I’ve been clean and sober since April 5, 1995.
At the Atlanta office, I did get to speak with the most beautiful probation officer I’d ever seen.
Iplanned to attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous that night, but I was so tired by the time I got home at 6:30 pm, after having run around the city and walking over five-miles, that I didn’t even do my typical social media activities.
Maybe all the walking lead to me sleeping as well as I did, without the burden of that electronic-chain and all of the associated factors strapped around my mind and my ankle.
“Time goes by fast when having fun” is an old cliché I use often. For me, it seems I spend most of my time spinning my wheels procrastinating at times.
Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!
You registered on WordPress.com 7 years ago. Thanks for flying with us. Keep up the good blogging.
Revising a Life in Progress
Seven years ago when I began this website/blog with the assistance of my publisher at Midnight Express Books, I was sitting in the only Federal Correctional Institution that I was ever in during the thirty-years and ten-days that I served on a 420-month federal prison sentence.
My primary purpose was to use Straight from the Pen as a way to promote my books and to stand up and fight against the system that held my body but could not contain my mind and spirit. For evidence in regard to fighting the system while on the Inside, please read my blog, Fight for Change, and notice the copies of my letters written to the then BOP Director, Mark S. Inch, and Congressperson, Trey Gowdy.
What I became more successful at was fighting the system, which I continued after my release on August 28, 2018. My plan was to continue the fight with the help of concerned citizens who were willing to fight a worthy cause. Unfortunately, I stood alone when it came to financing the projects, as well as providing the content to elicit additional support.
People are quick to complain about public issues but very few put forth the necessary energy or time that it takes to do something about it, or to at least make an attempt to change what is troubling to them. That is true even when it comes to voting against the ones who lie to get a political seat, only to deceive those who voted to put them in office.
And so the story goes. At the end of the day, my most important goal was to keep from returning to the system I professed to hate. To accomplish that goal, I refused to live my life in a manner that would result in being wrapped in chains again, literally. Because my criminal history and tendency to slip away from confinement, I qualified for the Black Box Special during transportation, via the United States Marshall Service.
Those who qualify for the Black Box Special line of treatment, are escorted with a belly chain (large linked-chain heavier than what is used on most dogs) wrapped around their waist, with the handcuffs encased in a black box designed to make it more difficult to escape. To compliment the arrangement, shackles are secured around the legs near the ankles and often induce pain when walking.
So, as I type, I continue to accomplish the goal to be Free from Incarceration. The Revised Life I now live does not include committing crimes or doing things I shouldn’t be doing if I want to remain a free citizen, a Returning Citizen to society, not to the prison system.
Some of the other things I do are to provide content on Quora.com for my profile page and my space, Life Inside and Out. I am coming up on 1,000,000 views on Quora, and for Google Maps as a guide, over 24,000,000 views.
Right now, though, I need to work on getting some sleep so I can get up and do my good deeds at Goodwill as an Environmental Service Technician.
Feel free to make a modest contribution in the blocks below. I thank you in advance.
Now that I have an employee seen sitting on the keyboard in the above photo, I may correctly use “We” in the following disclaimer: We act as affiliates for trusted merchants and may earn referral commissions resulting from the purchase of a product or service promoted or reviewed on this website.
In this short post, the only affiliate link is for Webull, where participants get three free stocks for signing up and funding an account. Please click the link below if you wish to participate while I work on finding a way to get my new employee to do some work around here.
Sitting on the keyboard looking cute won’t pay the bills. 🙂
Removed link to Webull promotion because I have found that Webull does not honor its promotional bonuses for referrals.
No information contained in any area of this website or in an affiliate link is intended or meant to be construed as financial, health, legal, medical or personal advice, in any shape or form, implied or otherwise, unless specifically stated and supported with verifiable information.
While walking with a friend at the McDonough Goodwill Store and Donation Center, I snapped the above photo of Kirklands’ Autumn Plaque and two pictures. Snapping quality photos is a natural skill for me, as is evident by my 18-million views on Google Maps displayed in the screenshot below.
Revising a Life by Wayne T. Dowdy relates to a variety of aspects from my life (affiliate marketing, relationships, my writing career, and my overall successful reentry into society). More of which I will write about in Life After Release-9.
On Writing: A month ago I came up with the idea for an eBook, Revising a Life, because that is what I am in the process of doing. I am the author, editor, and creator, at least, to the point of where my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, allows me.
One day He will elect to End the Story. For now, though, I am writing the story as I go along one day at a time, accepting that everything will be okay.
I am a good writer and will focus more on my writing career than what I have been doing since my release.
At this point, I am not impressed with the whole affiliate marketing process. I question whether the companies are getting sales from my promotions and not paying me what is due, so …. I am moving on to other companies.
However, I would be more successful at it if I advertised and followed suggestions better than I do when it comes to posting content and mass advertising to market what I promote.
Since my release on August 28, 2018, I’ve actually accomplished a lot but don’t feel like I am where I should be in life by this time. However, I know things work according to God’s will, whether I like it or not.
What is of greatest importance is that I continue to work and to live my life without resulting to old behaviors, such as getting high on mind-altering substances, and then becoming a walking crime spree in action.
Not my style anymore. I retired decades ago.
Picture Perfect: At five million photo views on Google Maps, I was in the Top One percent. Now that I am up to 18-million, can’t be too many others who outperform me. Unfortunately, my success in that area only strokes my ego because it hasn’t earned me a cent!
Now, I am in the Top Ten percent as a Google MAPS American Restaurant Reviewer. That stat may benefit me in some areas but still hasn’t made me rich and famous. 🙂
Still lacking in that area, too. Maybe I need to quit playing hard to get, and focus more on the women who want me and are worthy of my love, rather than chasing others who are so filled with themselves that there is no room for anyone else.
In A Prisoner and a Poem for a Princess shown below (also available in Essays & More Straight from the Pen), I wrote about the only fiancé that I’ve had in decades, which left me with a broken heart when she died from Congestive Heart Failure at the age of 47.
Broken my heart may be, but I am okay with it. Some things are just meant to be for reasons unknown to me.
Once again, in A Prisoner and a Poem for a Princess, I mention hearing a song that made me wonder if it was what was fixing to happen (losing my lover). At the time I did know know Pearl Jam was the group who had redone the old song I heard in my head, before hearing Pearl Jam’s version on the radio.
If you want to hear a great song and witness something special, click to open the YouTube video where Eddie Vetter and Pearl Jam gives three men a wonderful opportunity who came out of prison after being wrongly convicted.