Tag Archives: reentry

The Truth About Incarceration, Part I


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 Pen shows 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.

Life After Release-8

Big Springs Park

I love a walk in the Park! My life after release has not been one. That hasn’t deterred me from continuing to pursue a better life. I’ll clarify.

The World refuses to work According to Wayne’s plans but I continue to feel Blessed by the Best and to maintain an Attitude of Gratitude.

Health

A few doctors have complimented me on my overall health condition at my age: I don’t look or feel my age and don’t have to take several medications to function and stay well.

At work I can run circles around most of the other employees when it comes to strength and endurance.

Relationships

Update: September 26, 2021: Since my release I have been cautious about getting involved in relationships. In the last two months I’ve met three top contenders who captivated my attention, with the last one who celebrated her birthday today.

Another lovely lady continues to keep me in the Friend Zone but there have been signs of progress about our relationship moving in a positive direction. We are good friends and that is important but I want more! 🙂

“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.” Year One of New Life by Wayne T. Dowdy | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN

Life Goes On and I am okay with the life I have, though it is not how I imagined it would be before I walked out of the prison gates as a free man.

I am fortunate to be alive and in as good of health as I am to complain about anything that happens in relationships. When and if the time comes for me to be in a serious (or a not-so-serious) relationship with a woman, it will happen and my being more celibate than some priest will end as another junction in life begins.

I am okay either way: A fighter and survivor I am!


Ad: Rexing Dash Cam

The times people wished that they had an event recorded is innumerable; especially, while driving vehicles or when walking or running. Rexing Dash Cam is one of North Americas top sellers of dash cams for cars or on the trail while walking, running, or jogging.

I may earn an Affiliate Commission if you use any links on this website to purchase a product or service; however, my opinion remains unaltered regardless of financial gain. 


Finances

My investment plans went great for a few months but then just as for thousands of others, my account values over recent months have gone downhill; however, I am still in the Green in most areas and am grateful to not have been as impacted by the stock market corrections as severely as thousands of investors and traders.

In the rapid changing and volatile Crypto market, devastating is one word to describe activities over the last few months, with over 500 billion lost within a couple of days at one point.

Fortunate for me, I didn’t have that much to lose and retained most of my funds.

To let people know about some of the things I do as a successfully-reintegrated individual, I wrote about the Trading Apps I Use. Last weekend, over the three previous days I had lost between $450-600.00 in Crypto-Trading, a small sum in comparison to typical traders. By Monday at Noon, I recouped the losses. That’s Crypto, up and down, with some swings as drastic as 25-75%.

A few weeks ago I went to a birthday party and swam in a pool alone after the children went back inside with the adults. It was nice having the privilege to get some sun and enjoy being alive and well after all these years.

In the meantime, I will continue to do my normal things to avoid becoming a recidivist, going to Twelve Step meetings to share my experience, strength and hope, remembering where I came from and where I can return if I decide to return to old behaviors.

Though overworked and underpaid by my employer; I remain grateful for my job because it helps to keep me healthy and provides an opportunity for me to meet a lot of lovely ladies I would not otherwise see. One of whom may just be my next wife, whether she drives a Mercedes or not. 🙂

Movie Money by Wayne T. Dowdy

For Motion Picture Purposes

For entertainment purposes, I am posting this blog in response to my release-date anniversary from decades spent inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (08/18/1988-08/28/2018).

As I carve my way into a bright future, I continue to think of ways to generate funds for survival and to pass along to others when my time expires in this thing we know as life.


Making movies come to mind, writing or having a screenplay written from my books, since numerous people who read UNKNOWN INNOCENCE, UNDER PRESSURE by Mr. D., and ESSAYS & MORE STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN have commented that their content is what movies are made from, which is true.



And then I find this old draft with the Movie Money photo and decide to use this as an opportunity to promote my books with the hope that someone with connections into the movie industry will pick one up to make a few million. 🙂





Story Behind the Movie Money

Sunshine illuminated the path as I walked down a street in McDonough, Georgia, on August 28, 2019, one year after I had walked out of the prison gates to begin my new life.

One day while shopping with a sister at a Walmart and in need of money, I found a one hundred dollar bill. That was a couple of months before the bright and sunshiny day upon which I strolled along, pleasant as a peacock.

When I looked down and saw another one hundred-dollar bill laying on the ground, I thought, This is My Lucky Day! I couldn’t believe I had been so lucky to have found, not one, but two one hundred dollar bills within a matter of months.

The bill looked faded but I decided that was because it had laid in the sun too long, unlike me, whom would have turned red instead of whiter.

When I saw the written words on the bill, “For Motion Picture Purposes,” I thought, Tyler Perry and Madea were here again.

Maybe the money had floated around town since the 2013 making of A Madea Christmas, or from some other filming, but I do wish it had been a real one hundred dollar bill that I could have used.


THE END ONCE AGAIN or IS THIS WHERE THE STORY BEGINS?

Master Number 33 by Wayne T. Dowdy

Master Number 33

On the night that I received the medallion displayed above, four members of a twelve-step program sat at a table pulling cards from a deck. I overheard the only male in the small group say, “I don’t want one.”

He didn’t want to pull a card, so I volunteered and exchanged seats, due in part to three lovely ladies sitting at the table where he sat. That is where Master Number 33 comes into play for the topic of this blog, though I didn’t learn that I was a Master Number 33 for several weeks because I recall that I pulled a card containing four images.

The interpreter, Stephanie, then asked me several personal questions before our affair was interrupted for those of us celebrating milestones in recovery to be honored with the presentation of sobriety tokens.

Stephanie made some positive comments about her findings before we had to rearrange our seats for the spectacular events to proceed for which we were gathered.

Months later I asked her what all of that meant that she had said after reading the card, etc. She then sent me the link below on the Master Number 33 and suggested I read it. When I did, I was amazed at the accuracy proven by my history and observation of Number “3” and events in my life, which I will not go into for the purpose of this blog.

In reference to Master Number 33, one example is that in recovery and in life in general, my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, uses me to help others to find a new way of life. Something I do out of love for others and love doing to compensate for the many dirty deeds I did before my conversion (changing my lifestyle in 1995 and retiring from the Thug Life I lived for several years because I didn’t know how to change what began as a child). Here is a quote from Ganehaspeaks.com to support that fact:

“Master Number 33 Powers and Characteristics

“They seem to possess an unlimited reservoir of spiritual energy which they use extremely liberally to help those around them. The root of 33 that is 6 is a number that is naturally associated with family, love, home, and responsibility.” 

https://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/numerology/master-numbers/number-33/


I am responsible! I suit up and show up when committed to helping another person find a new way of life.


Matter of Perception: Thirty-three years ago on August 18, 1988, an event occurred that some may view as good while others may see it as bad, meaning not-so-good.

Personally, since I am the Star of the Show, I see it as necessary and a combination of both, good and bad, because if the event had not occurred, I would not be alive to write this blog or to enjoy the life I am blessed with living today. To understand that statement a person needs to read my book to grasp a full understanding.

Though far from the life I imagined and believe is on the horizon, I am doing well in that I have the main essentials for survival (good health, food, shelter), and am still alive and free as a spirit having a human experience.

THE EVENT: Kentucky State Patrol pulled me and an accomplice over in Campbell County, Tennessee, which ultimately led to my arrest and conviction on several federal charges and a 420-month federal prison sentence, all of which I wrote about in Essays & More Straight from the Pen. (Buy paperback for $8.95 or eBook for $0.99)

Essays and More Straight from the Pen shows the power of change. The well-written essays take the reader deep inside the life of their author who overcame circumstances and obstacles that kept him chained to a life of drugs and crime. The stories inspire and motivate people to not give up or lose hope, and to fight for a new life.


August 28, 2018: I walked out of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons in Edgefield, South Carolina. That was the first time in 30-years and 10-days that I walked outside the confines of a prison without handcuffs, chains, and shackles.

In Electronic Chain on this site, I wrote about some of my experiences after completion of my federal prison sentence on March 8, 2019. And then in another blog, Prison and Personality Changes by Wayne T. Dowdy, I included an update to my life after release and a recent post on Quora.com, all of which I write in hope of using my experiences to help others.

My goal is to convert my negative experiences into positive ones by sharing my experience, strength, and hope with others, as is common in Twelve Step programs.

Conclusion

In conclusion of this blog, I will end with an excerpt from the Conclusion in Numerology: Master Number 33 that if someone elects to buy and read Essays & More Straight from the Pen, will probably see a substantial contrast in the man I am today versus the person I had become based upon life experiences, and thus see the Power of Change I want others to see in my life:

“People affiliated with this number will be loving, sympathetic, emotional, kind-hearted and zealous in their essence.”

Prison and Personality Changes by Wayne T. Dowdy

In the last few years I have written a lot of content relating to prison life and its effect on people, including myself. My writings help me to share life experiences, good and not-so-good, with others who may be interested in reading a different perspective on a variety of topics.

My objective in most of my writings is to educate others, or to otherwise express views to fuel thought processes.  One platform I use is Quora.com, and as can be seen in the following screenshot, a lot of people read what I write.  One of my more popular answers related to challenging technology after release.  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?

Click the image below to go to my Quora Profile.

The latest contribution is in response to the question, “Do you feel that confinement has changed your personality?

I will end this blog post with my answer to the question that includes a link to a blog I wrote before my release and an excerpt:

“No Doubt! Decades in prison changed my personality.  In prison a person often must behave in a different manner than he or she normally would do, especially when interacting with others. 

“In the more dangerous prisons, such as some of which I’ve lived, a person becomes desensitized to external stimuli and learns to do what needs or doesn’t need to be done to survive. Sometimes that may be not responding when seeing an act of violence that the more humane side wants to stop or by getting involved in a situation that he or she doesn’t want to be involved in (participating in a violent confrontation between groups or individuals).  Only those who have lived in the insane world of incarceration may understand what that means. 

“Some of the behaviors learned to survive may involve violent reactions/responses to a situation that a sane person would simply walk away from, whereas in prison, if a person walks away, he or she may become a target for the predators if viewed as weak or a coward, and then have to deal with more unpleasant situations than wanted, examples too vast to go into for the purpose of this answer.

“For me, one of the ways that prison life changed my personality is how I function in a relationship and interact with others.  Even though I may appear to be normal on the surface, on the inside I may feel more restrained to behave the way that I would have before my incarceration where the display of affection is concerned.

“I was released on August 28, 2018, after serving 30-years and 10-days in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. Though I have successfully reintegrated because I decided to change my life in 1995 by getting clean and sober, I still cannot let go of the effects of decades in prison.

“In 2015, long before my release, I paid my publisher to create a website for me because I wanted my voice to reach outside the bars, walls, and fences. On my website I posted a blog, Damage and Prison that I will post a link to below. Some of the effects of decades in prison continue this day. The difference is that I refuse to allow my old behaviors and past to control my actions today. I focus on making healthy decisions as I continue my quest for a better life and to help others to know that change is possible.

DAMAGE and PRISON

Excerpt from Damage and Prison by Wayne T. Dowdy

“Upon release, I will have to undo decades of damage done by the prison experience: suppressing healthy emotions and needs. I must learn to be normal, whatever that may be in an imperfect world filled with broken toys, damaged from life experiences.

[I continue to work on behaving as I normally would do as a free citizen, if not for the damage caused by the extensive incarceration. I still struggle when it comes to relationships. I am a decent, loving, kind, and gentle human being, who doesn’t have to pretend to be bullet proof.]

“I sent out the following message to a friend who posted it on social media for me. A lot of people liked it so I will share:

’03/05/17: To all my Faithful Friends: I hope March brings each of you lots of love and success or whatever your hearts desire. For me, I’d be happy to be able to walk through a park or to sit on a lake to listen and observe the beauty of nature; to give someone a hug, kiss someone special, or to just be able to sit and watch animals; or to pet a dog, cat, rabbit, or a chicken. 🙂

“Hell, I’d be happy to watch some fish swim around in an aquarium. I am looking forward to going to the Georgia Aquarium to see some really big fish! So much in life people take for granted until it’s gone. One day soon I will be reentering the human race. Then I will be able to interact with each of you like a normal person. Have a great day! Wayne’

“[Georgia Aquarium: I walked by the Georgia Aquarium en route to a job fair at the City of Refuge, but have not been to watch the fish swim. I will go soon now that I’m working and can afford to buy the tickets. Everything is expensive!

“Update 08/02/2020: I did visit the Georgia Aquarium with loved ones and enjoyed the experience but was shocked by the entry-cost and food prices.]

“The above indicates the desensitization of prisoners. For over 28-1/2 years, my physical contact with other humans and mammals has been severely restricted. That is definitely true on an intimate level about lovers and sexual intercourse! During this sentence, I have resisted romantic-relationships. I’ve only been involved in three since 1988, and only one of those included physical contact (hugs and kisses on a visit).”

Successful Returning Citizen

The bridge between successful reentry for returning citizens and recidivism may be a narrow path to follow but those who chose to become productive members of society learn to cross it and to stay focused on living a new way of life.  Dr. K. and I are only two examples of those who continue to be success stories by choosing not to return to old behaviors.

In this blog I am giving props to Dr. K., because I am proud of him for satisfying the full term of his court mandated supervised release. Supervised release in the federal system is the same as parole in state systems.

Dr. K. is a man I helped a few years ago to win a post-conviction relief motion. 

He won his case in federal court and left the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons several years before his original release date.  He remains a free man and is living his new life as a truck driver/owner/operator.

In one of my favorite blogs, Out of Many (Out of Many | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN), I mentioned Dr. K. for giving me one of his magazines to read that I used to write the blog.  He also used to encourage me to write from a more positive perspective, rather than the negative one I used to shoot daggers into an issue or public individual I found offensive.

Dr. K., like me, walked out of the prison doors with a goal in mind related to helping others to successfully reintegrate into society.  I sought to use straightfromthepen.org and straightfromthepen.net to challenge the status quo of mass incarceration, and he the creation of a non-profit organization geared toward providing resources to help returning citizens.  After our release, mine of which came much later, both of us ran into an issue of not having public support to accomplish our goals.  That hasn’t stopped either from continuing to live our lives in a productive manner that does not include committing crimes.

Prison life often divides people because of its racial nature.

He is an African American and I am of the lighter persuasion.  Our racial and cultural differences never interfered with our bond as friends while working in the Quality Management office for an ISO certified factory, or when walking an asphalt track to discuss events or to plot the next legal move in his case. 

The main thing today is that we remain free and strive to be successful as returning citizens to show others that positive change is possible and that our past does not define who we are today.  Our lives show that returning citizens can stay out of prison to become part of the solution (being a positive role in society) instead of part of the problem (another number in the recidivism column for Mass Incarceration).

I’ll close with an excerpt from Out of Many

“UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL:  Our beliefs and values may unite or divide us; whether based on racial or cultural differences or similarities, religion, politics, fears, sexual preference or identity, and a whole array of other reasons.  

“How do we keep from falling?  Join hands and accept each other so we can work together to survive this thing we call life.  If each of us represents a ‘cell’ of the humanity organism, those who damage and injure others are the cancers of society, driven by hate and indifference.” Wayne T. Dowdy, Out of Many.

Could Be Me

But for the Grace of God There Go I

Provide Treatment for Addiction Problems to Reduce Recidivism

July 11, 2021: I am reposting this blog because of its importance to me and millions of others. Had I not changed my life in 1995 while inside the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, I would never have lived long enough to walk out of the prison doors. Today I have a life worth living because I dealt with the interpersonal issues I had that kept me caught up in my addition and in prison for the majority of my life.

I am evidence that miracles happen.

In December 2002, a study author stated that eighty-five percent of prisoners had addiction problems, and of those, half had an underlying mental condition (42.5%). To me, that study shows a critical need for providing resources to help treat addiction problems, if we plan to reduce recidivism.

Thirty Percent of Men and Women with Addiction Problems Have Underlying Mental Health Conditions.

Combine Treatment for Both Issues to Change Lives.

I am one who falls within the study findings and attest to the accuracy of the study finding; however, I don’t live that way anymore. The August 2008 publication from Readers Write in The Sun magazine, helps explain why that remains true: https://www.thesunmagazine.org/issues/392/up-all-night

(For more on the study and its findings, read “No Sympathy” on this site)

Note: I am now free and living my life as a productive member of society and reside in metro Atlanta, Georgia.

The Sun magazine Readers Write topic: Up All Night

I have spent many nights wide awake on methamphetamine, cocaine, LSD, and Ecstasy. In the late seventies, I used to go on PCP benders and lose days of my life to blackouts. As a result, I cannot honestly say what I have or have not done.

I am currently serving a thirty-five-year federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. For the first seven years of my sentence, I did cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, or some combination of the above as often as I could. When the guards came around to count us after lights out, I’d fake being asleep to avoid getting a urinalysis the next day. In the morning I’d begin the search for another fix.

Then I began seeing a prison psychologist. I wanted to stop shooting drugs, but I had failed at it so many times that I didn’t have much hope. The psychologist arranged sessions with a drug-treatment specialist. After about a month, she decided that the core of my addiction was shame, and she gave me a homework assignment: to write about the most shameful event in my life.

I decided to give her more than she had bargained for. I wrote from 5:30 P.M. until 5:30 A.M., committing to paper all the sick secrets that I had vowed to take with me to my grave. I filled sixteen yellow, legal-size pages.

The following day the drug counselor read what I’d written and predicted that I would never use again. For thirteen years her prediction has held true. But I keep in mind that my reprieve from my addiction is contingent on my spiritual condition from day to day. To stay healthy I have to attend twelve-step meetings and continue to write about what’s going on in my life. Staying up all night writing, instead of doing drugs, has helped me to reach beyond the walls and razor wire and into the lives of others.

Wayne T. Dowdy

Crumb Catcher

Butler Crumb Catcher

On another website, I posted a blog and used a similar image as the one shown above, but the point remains the same: I am trying to catch a few crumbs through online Affiliate marketing to help prepare a better future and to earn additional income.

I am debating flipping, too (buying and reselling items), to generate additional funds through eBay, Poshmark, or on websites I create and then use search engine optimization techniques to become more visible. Google Ads and Facebook ads are additional options.

For many returning citizens who struggle with finding employments, as I did upon release, starting a business is another option.

My goal is to focus more on building my business to employ others who need a chance at success.

Protect Yourself

Because of the risks associated with a returning citizen, or an ordinary citizen, having an accident in a vehicle or being pulled over by law enforcement, products I found interesting are cameras–dash cams that may be placed on mirrors, or in the front and or rear of the car to record all activity within view.

Rexing Dash Cams

I love the technology available for people to use to protect themselves and others. Follow the link on WonderfulThingsDone for discounts on products sold by REXING to use on vehicles, in the home, or in the woods (trail cameras to record animals or intruders).

If you use any of the links and purchase a product, I will earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Life After Release-7

Patek Philippe

Life After Release continues to be an adventure and a learning experience.  My life on the outside is evidence that those who wish to successfully reintegrate can do it by accepting that things happen that wasn’t in the Pre-release Plans.

I imagined life after release would be much different than it has been for me. 

Expectations of others to support my business endeavors by utilizing links from my websites to purchase items has been a true learning experience. 

What I do know is that Envy Runs Deep, no matter how much a person claims to support the success of a released citizen.  When my success would prove their pessimistic views wrong, I should have known not to expect support, even though the support would not have any negative effect on them or their finances.

One of my favorite sayings is that, “Your actions speak so loud that I can’t hear a word of what you say.”

In one particular case, more than one person close to me has literally bought thousands of dollars worth of items from Amazon, who had been asked to start from the links in my website so that I could earn a commission from the purchase at no cost or risk to them. 

Why would someone NOT support a loved one’s attempt to become a successful affiliate marketer when absolutely NO risk or harm or cost would come to them?

Could it be envy, or a desire to see that person fail, or for some other reason?  Whatever the case may be in this particular situation for me is one that I am certain is not unique to me as a returning citizen. 

I can’t change other people: I can only change how I respond or react to a situation that “I” allow to cause me to experience negative thoughts or emotions. 

By accepting that no one is obligated to help or to support me in any way, allows me to not be angry because that person (or those people) did not act “According to Wayne.”

In the early days of my recovery, I had some affiliates and associates who went to extremes to tempt me into falling back into my evil, wicked ways by offering free drugs, knowing I was trying to not use again because I had a bad problem with stopping once I started; one in particular who would only give it to me to use, not to sell. 

Why?  In my opinion, two reasons, with the main one being that the change in my behavior removed me from helping them to do their dirty deeds. Another relates to the old cliche’ that Misery Loves Company.

When a person (a Hater), has a negative view or image of another person, IF that other person succeeds in an area the Hater has failed or said couldn’t be done, then how would that make the Hater feel?  Not good.

The person who offered free drugs to use, only, died within four years because of his addiction.  He had been one of my partners-in-crime who refused to put forth an effort to change and it cost him his life.

Changes

The above is only one example of many things that I would never have thought would be a reality in my life, even though I knew not to place expectations on others if I wanted serenity in my life. The good thing is that I am aware and know that I must let others be themselves, regardless of how wrong I feel they may be. It’s okay either way. I am only responsible for my side of the equation.

Other examples are my plans to buy a house, sign the contract, and then learn that the house was not a good buy, so then I cancelled the plan and lost $500 in the process. Life goes on.

I got in the stock market and done fairly well for a small time player, and then the stock market goes wild. Though I am still up in the game, and have learned through the drastic swings, I hated losing money I had made. I accepted it and continue to hope for a better outcome in the future.

My plan was to get rich quick. Perhaps I need a better strategy for getting rich or just be grateful for what I have and continue to do the next right thing, not letting the Mighty Dollar take me away from doing the things I need to do to experience more peace of mind, serenity. 🦉

In the near future I am going to write about other aspects of Life After Release that hasn’t worked “According to Wayne” that I refuse to lose sleep over.

Life goes on, and for that I am grateful because I do have what I need, even though I still don’t have all of what I envisioned having before I walked out of the prison gates on August 28, 2018.

PS

That Patek Philippe in the photo is a fake and a terrible time piece that stops keeping time when I lay it down.

Life After Release

Jackson Lake, Jackson, Georgia

My past I leave behind as I churn my way into a brighter future, but I cannot forget from where I came because it consumes too much space inside my head. How can anyone forget decades spent inside a cage with thousands of other men, all living in the Insane World of Incarceration in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons?

Photo by Hert Niks on Pexels.com

Never Forget: September 11, 2001, is a day America cannot forget because each year the media reminds its citizens of the day terrorist used jets to attack the World Trade Center in New York City.

Cannot Forget: I cannot forget because I walked the tiers at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana when the attack occurred, which is the way my brain works (by associating events with my location at the time of occurrence).

Positive Thinking: Though I cannot forget such events and my life inside the prison system, I choose not to allow those thoughts to influence my behavior in a negative manner. I prefer the positive. Had I not been sentenced to prison for the crimes committed on June 21, 1988, I would not be alive today or would have committed even worst crimes if not arrested and put in a cage, which I wrote about in The Price of Change, an essay in one of my books.


In Fence Rows and The Price of Change, I write about a person those who know me today does not see because I am not the same person because I changed my life seven years into a 420-month federal sentence for armed bank robbery and associated charges. Both essays are in the eBook and paperback sold on Amazon and other online booksellers, Essays & More Straight from the Pen or separately as an eBook at Smashwords.com, originally published by Midnight Express Books.

Excerpt from The Price of Change

I started this sentence in 1988. The fear of prison had left many years before I decided to change. After a while one becomes accustomed to the insane ways of incarceration and the depravations included in prison life. Shutting down emotions helped me cope with the murders and acts of brutality I was exposed to as part of being in prison. I continued to shoot dope and live a miserable existence until 1993 when I sought help through the prison Psychology department at the penitentiary in Atlanta. I had to learn how to be intimate with others. Trusting others was difficult because so many people proved themselves untrustworthy, so I built walls to keep people out. To recover, I tore down the walls and shared the secrets of the soul. It took over a year of therapy for me to make noticeable progress, but I ultimately succeeded in learning how to live with myself without using drugs and alcohol, which I have done since April 5, 1995.

Today, I use my experiences to help others recover and can accept myself; character defects included and have come to terms with my past: it’s overdone with. I can’t change it. I can be a better person by treating others the way I want to be treated, and not the way I may feel they deserve to be treated. If I’m being judgmental of others, which I often am, I think about the biblical parable of the adulterer whom some wanted to stone, and Jesus Christ saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” and I know I cannot throw any rocks. My ego says I am better than those I wish to judge, but reality says we are all the same—flawed human beings. By accepting others, I can accept myself, flaws, and all.

Another process was praying for people I resented—without making suggestions about what I thought was deserved. Then I became willing to make amends to those I had harmed as suggested in twelve-step programs, and then to forgive others and myself. In a sense, the way I live my life today is one way I make amends to those I cannot make amends to for whatever reason prevents it. An example of my living amends is in this: when I was at a penitentiary in Lompoc, California, I stole loaf bread and bought Ramen Noodle Soups to feed the birds. Some of my friends would come by and joke with me about feeding the birds because of the process that follows feeding them. I often said, “I’m making amends to the ancestors of birds I killed when I was a kid.” And then I would laugh, but I was serious; furthermore, I enjoyed feeding them, as I enjoy the relationships often restored as the result of making amends.

I wish I could honestly write that I no longer experience resentments or anger, but I cannot. I’m still human. However, whenever I experience anger or resentment, I know what to do to find relief: look within myself as I write in my journal. When appropriate, I share it with another person, and when the situation requires it, take the right course of action that coincides with living my life in harmony with the Universe. As a result, I rarely have conflicts.

I am now a model prisoner with a good reputation amongst most staff and prisoners alike. More importantly, I’m loved by my family and friends and am a good human being, which is a priceless gift that I never thought I deserved. People actually like me these days. The price I paid to get here was tough, but it took what it took. And by the way, “here” means alive, not in prison. Prison is just the place my body resides for the time being.

Speaking of prison, as a matter of principle, I really should not be in prison, but the law is such that if a person fails to jump through the hoops at the proper time, any violation of the law made by the government no longer matters. They call it procedural default to avoid addressing issues in the name of the administration of justice, and since habeas corpus laws changed drastically in 1996 to make it more difficult for a person to obtain relief without satisfying extremely stringent standards, very few ever succeed at obtaining relief through the courts. Spiritually though, I know I am right where I need to be. Had I have won my case, I would most likely be dead by now; therefore, I am grateful for the way things turned out, mostly. 

The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy

My worst enemy looked me in the face every time I looked into a mirror.

BREAKING NEWS

In Breaking News, I wrote about a variety of issues related to reentry, including recidivism, and the lovely Kim Kardashian standing beside President Donald Trump in the Oval Office inside the White House, after she had assisted Alice M. Johnson with having her federal sentence commuted.

To prepare myself for release and to do what I believed would assist me in obtaining employment upon release, I took a program called WorkKeys that gauges a person’s ability to apply textbook knowledge in the workplace. In other words, a GED or High School Education or College, gives a person a knowledge base.

From my limited understanding, WorkKeys tests a person’s ability to take that knowledge and to apply it in practical situations, as well as to demonstrate his or her ability to solve problems by comprehending written or implied instructions to accomplish a goal. Whatever the case may be, I first scored Gold Certification and then returned to be retested because Gold wasn’t good enough for me.

I wanted and received Platinum Certification!

My certificate verifies that Platinum certification shows that those who receive it have “Skills for 99% of the jobs in ACT’s extensive database”; however, when I walked out of the prison doors with a plan to secure employment by demonstrating my vast amount of accomplishments and skill sets, and a high Grade Point Average in college, none of the things I had accomplished meant anything in regards to getting hired.

On June 17, 2017, my publisher posted my blog, Seeking a Real Job. I wrote it to help others find employment, with a firm conviction that I would not have a problem finding a job because of my education and skill sets. I was wrong!

Since I walked in the prison doors at the age of thirty-one and out of the doors in my sixties, I failed to understand that Age was my enemy, a factor beyond my control.

I posted my resume online with several job sites (Indeed, Monster, LinkedIn, Jobcase, Career Builder, etc.). Job recruiters called often. Many of the recruiters literally hung up the phone after I responded to questions relating to my age.

My criminal history never entered the equation.

Dismas Charities Side Entrance Gate

During the job seeking process while at Dismas Charities, a Residential Reentry Center in Atlanta, an employment counselor at the Georgia Department of Labor suggested I dumb-down my resume and said I was overqualified for most jobs available through them, and that I should start my own business.

Eleven months later, Goodwill of North Georgia hired me as an Environmental Service Technician, which is a long name for a janitor or custodian.

Three months after being given a chance, I was Employee of the Month, and then on the following month, I was featured online in the November 2019, Goodwill Employee Spotlight.

The pay was not providing what I needed to survive on my own. I liked my job because I saw it as a way to help keep customers and employees safer by keeping the environment sanitary.

But on a more personal level, I NEEDED more money to prepare for my future. A few months later, I saw an internal job opportunity that paid a lot more. I applied and was hired as a floor technician and though I work like an Alaskan Malamute, I do get paid more and have better hours.

Business: On my days and time off from that position, I work on a business I started one year ago today, on September 11, 2019.

Now I am investing in the stock market and am working on building affiliate marketing websites to earn money by referring others to quality products and services.

Financial Success Shines Ahead!

Relationships

My plans for getting involved in an intimate relationship are still pending. I’ve had opportunities but turned them down; others who I was interested in turned me down, well, kind of. To get involved in an intimate relationship probably requires asking someone out for a date or at least a Roll in the Sack, but …. I only played around with that aspect of romance.

I got what I had coming by rejecting a couple of cougars who were stalking me: What Goes Around Comes Around!

The truth is that I know I need to focus more on building a financial future, and unless I were to find that special someone who would be an asset in that endeavor, an intimate relationship would be distracting because I’d want to spend more time with her than working toward becoming financially secure.

Regarding my children and familial relationships, those haven’t worked according to plan either, but … I know that everything is working according to God’s will for my life.

Conclusion

The most important thing is that I have remained free and am in good health. I continue to live my life without using mind-altering substances and strive towards building that bright future I KNOW God has in store for me, one day at a time.

Everything else will fall into place when it is time for me to step into another life. Going for a ride on a pontoon sounds like a great idea, too, so I can watch the water churn behind the boat as we head towards our happy destiny.