Tag Archives: returning citizens

I Am SimpliSafe Now

I am SimpliSafe now in my first house that I bought in September 2023. With me being a returning citizen who served over thirty years (1988-2018) in the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, it makes me proud to show what I have accomplished since my release.

Buying a house and installing a SimpliSafe Home Security system are two of many things I’ve done that proves returning citizens can be successful.

And I am only one of thousands released from prisons across the United States and throughout the world to verify that statement.


This is a view from my Inside Security Camera with active monitoring by SimpliSafe. Any movement inside the house triggers the alarm system when I am away.

And as this video from my Inside Security camera shows, even while in the house, I have the system set to record any activity. I’ve only accidently setoff my Extra Loud Alarm twice since installing the system. šŸ™‚

This video is of me trying to figure out if the doorbell camera was functioning properly that I had just installed, which is evident that it was by viewing this short clip. Only the first few seconds have any meaningful content.

I installed motion sensors in every room of the house to cover every entry point to keep my house secure when I am away. With my job being sixty miles from the house, I do a lot of traveling, so I felt safer once I had the system up and running to protect the most expensive investment I have ever made: a house.


In addition to the above, one thing I began focusing on before my release was to establish a social media presence to increase my chance of success upon release.

To do so, I had a Facebook page set up shortly after becoming a published author in 2015, which is also when I paid my publisher to create this website with the primary purpose of advertising my books, and then it became much more than a platform for me to sell books.

Speaking of the such, if you would like to purchase either of my books, paperbacks may be found on Amazon.com and many other online retailers.

These are two of my favorites that I redone after I had access to the Internet and my Amazon account. Click on the covers to order or search the titles online for you favorite online bookseller:

If you have any questions you would like to ask about any issue, check out Quora.com. Here is a link to another blog I hope you can find time to check out, as well as the links to my YouTube channels (https://www.youtube.com/@straightfromthepen and https://www.youtube.com/@WayneTDowdy3).

Thanks for reading this blog and hopefully subscribing to my YouTube channels.

Great News for Returning Citizens

Walking out prison doors after an extended period poses many challenges, including the need to find employment and health insurance. Many states may offer programs to help returning citizens but some of the assistance is minimal.

Disclaimer: The following is not a suggestion to buy or purchase any product or service, even though I am an affiliate marketer. Always to your due diligence before buying or selling anything online. In the following paragraphs I mention Parks Insurance, which I did search online for any customer reviews, as I hope you will do. Most reviews were positive but I did find one negative review that did not go into much detail. ALWAYS be cautious about providing personal information without ensuring that it is safe.

In this blog I am happy to share an excerpt from the FairShake.net newsletter about FREE INSURANCE for returning citizens and their family members in all fifty states and US Territories. If interested, please contact Park Insurance Agency linked below to apply or to send the information to anyone you may know who is in prison or their family members, once you verify the service by searching for Customer Reviews.


Sue K owns FairShake.net and provides valuable information for the incarcerated and their families that she sends out in newsletters to select prisoner who sign up, and posts on the website. Here is some spectacular news that she reported in her most recent newsletter that I suggest you read in full at https://www.fairshake.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/11/FS-News-Philophobia.pdf


“One year ago I reported on an opportunity for all returning citizens to receive free insurance. It was a new program, and I had no testimonies to share. Today Iā€™m happy to report that it is available in every state! Parks Insurance Agency offers many benefits including zero-cost health plans, free physicals, prescription coverage for new and prior medications, access to recovery treatment, mental health counseling, doctor and hospital visits, and all pre-existing health conditions will be covered (i.e., asthma, diabetes, cancer, etc.). The benefits also extend to household family members upon your release. For more information contact: Parks Insurance Agency,153 S. Oakland Ave, Rock Hill SC29730 Phone:866-932-7200. Your supporters can find out more here: https://parksinsured.com/

Please check out this blog and sign up to subscribe to my YouTube channels to help support this website. Thank you!

Amazon.com: W. J. Hagerty Silversmiths Pump Spray Polish : Health & Household

W. J. Hagerty Silversmiths Pump Spray Polish

I use the W.J. Hagerty Silversmiths Pump Spray Polish to bring to life multiple silver items, two of which I display below for illustrative purposes.

In-process after using W. J. Hagerty Silversmiths Pump Spray Polish

After Rinsing with Water and Polishing with Soft Cloth

Before Polishing
After Polishing to Prepare to Sell on Mercari.com

Promotional Ad

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Use this link to sign up to buy and or sell on Mercari so that you earn or save money and I earn a small referral fee. Thanks!

It’s easy to buy and sell on Mercari. Get up to $30 when you get started. Use code GUFMTB when you sign up with my link: https://merc.li/Uzfbb6sXb #mercari

YouTube Growth by Wayne T. Dowdy

Nope, this isn’t about my now having 1.5 Million views on Quora.com, but I am boasting that I do. Please check out my profile page https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy. This blog is about the YouTube Growth I am experiencing.

Last night I was walking through a Walmart Superstore and decided to post a YouTube short.

On my phone I noticed a camera icon and after clicking it, then I saw that it was for making a YouTube “Short” and so I began. Follow the link to LinkedIn to see what happened and where I hope it goes on my journey as a returning citizen who is making a positive difference in the lives of others: LinkedIn

Dr. A.I. Bing Redemption

For those new to StraightfromthePen or who are not regular followers, I posted an essay written by artificial intelligence on Microsoft Bing. Click the following link to read it if interested: https://straightfromthepen.com/2023/05/02/dr-a-i-bing-on-recidivism-study/

Well, I gave Dr. A.I. Bing multiple chances to redeem itself and though it did improve, it still needs to learn a little more. In the following paragraphs, Dr. A.I. Bing wrote decent essays in response to my requests but the essays still don’t seem to be consistent with the findings in the targeted study (Recidivism of Prisoners Released in 24 States in 2008: A 10-Year Follow-Up Period (2008ā€“2018) summary (ojp.gov)). A.I. needs Second Chances, too.

To end this experiment on a positive note, I include a link to an article from the Pew Charitable Trusts that shows a reduction in recidivism in several states, some of which contain impressive numbers. There is always hope!

Please like and subscribe to my YouTube channel for StraightfromthePen. Thanks!

I now present to you, Dr. A.I. Bing on Recidivism in America:

Settings: informational, blog post, long

Request: Essay on Ten Year Follow-Up Study on Recidivism in America

Recidivism is the term used to describe the relapse of a person into criminal behavior after receiving sanctions or interventions for a previous crime. Recidivism is a major challenge for the criminal justice system in the United States, which has the highest incarceration rate in the world. According to the National Institute of Justice, within three years of their release, two out of three former prisoners are rearrested and more than 50% are incarcerated again. This essay will summarize the findings of a ten year follow-up study on recidivism in America, conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and published in 2022.

The study tracked a nationally representative sample of 67,966 state prisoners who were released in 2012 across 30 states. The study measured recidivism by criminal acts that resulted in rearrest, reconviction or return to prison with or without a new sentence during a ten-year period following the prisoner’s release. The study also examined the characteristics of the released prisoners, such as age, gender, race, offense type, sentence length, and prior criminal history.

The main findings of the study were as follows:

  • The overall recidivism rate for the 2012 release cohort was 82%, meaning that 82% of the released prisoners were arrested at least once during the ten-year follow-up period. This was an increase from 76.6% for the 2005 release cohort and 67.8% for the 1994 release cohort.
  • The recidivism rate varied by offense type, with property offenders having the highest rate (88.3%) and public order offenders having the lowest rate (73.6%). Violent offenders had a recidivism rate of 83.4% and drug offenders had a recidivism rate of 76.9%.
  • The recidivism rate also varied by sentence length, with prisoners who served less than one year having a higher rate (86.4%) than those who served one year or more (79.9%). This was consistent with previous studies that found that shorter sentences may not provide enough time for rehabilitation or deterrence effects.
  • The recidivism rate decreased with age, with younger prisoners having a higher rate than older prisoners. For example, prisoners who were 24 or younger at release had a recidivism rate of 90.3%, while those who were 55 or older at release had a recidivism rate of 53.9%.
  • The recidivism rate was higher for males (83.4%) than for females (76.1%), and higher for blacks (85%) than for whites (78.8%) or Hispanics (80.3%). These differences may reflect disparities in social and economic opportunities, as well as racial and ethnic biases in the criminal justice system.
  • The recidivism rate increased with prior criminal history, with prisoners who had more prior arrests or convictions having a higher rate than those who had fewer or none. For example, prisoners who had six or more prior arrests had a recidivism rate of 89%, while those who had no prior arrests had a recidivism rate of 44.3%.

The study concluded that recidivism remains a persistent and pervasive problem in the United States, despite efforts to reduce it through various policies and programs. The study suggested that more research is needed to identify the factors that influence recidivism and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions that aim to prevent it. The study also recommended that policymakers and practitioners consider the diverse needs and risks of different groups of offenders and tailor their services accordingly.

The study was one of the most comprehensive and rigorous examinations of recidivism in America to date, providing valuable insights into the patterns and trends of reoffending over a long-term period. However, the study also had some limitations, such as relying on official records that may not capture all criminal activity, excluding federal and local prisoners from the sample, and not accounting for variations across states in laws, policies, and practices that may affect recidivism rates.


IvyPanda. (2021). The Recidivism Rates in the U.S.. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-recidivism-rates-in-the-us/

National Institute of Justice. (n.d.). Recidivism | National Institute of Justice. Retrieved from https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/corrections/recidivism


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Request: Essay on Ten Year Follow-Up Study on Recidivism in America

Hi everyone! I’m super excited to share with you my latest essay on a very important topic: recidivism in America. Recidivism is the tendency of convicted criminals to reoffend after being released from prison. It’s a huge problem that affects millions of people and costs billions of dollars every year.

In my essay, I analyze the results of a ten-year follow-up study that tracked the outcomes of over 10,000 inmates who were released from state prisons in 2013. The study looked at various factors that influenced their likelihood of returning to prison, such as age, gender, race, education, employment, substance abuse, mental health, family support, and community resources.

The findings are fascinating and surprising. Some of them confirm what we already know from previous research, but others challenge our assumptions and stereotypes. For example, did you know that:

  • The overall recidivism rate was 68%, meaning that more than two-thirds of the released inmates were rearrested within ten years.
  • The recidivism rate was higher for men than for women (71% vs. 62%), and for blacks than for whites (75% vs. 63%).
  • The recidivism rate decreased with age, from 82% for those under 25 to 47% for those over 55.
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had a high school diploma or higher (61%) than for those who did not (74%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who were employed (59%) than for those who were unemployed (73%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had no history of substance abuse (54%) than for those who did (72%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had no history of mental illness (65%) than for those who did (74%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who had strong family ties (57%) than for those who did not (71%).
  • The recidivism rate was lower for those who lived in areas with high levels of social capital (55%) than for those who lived in areas with low levels of social capital (72%).

These results have important implications for policy and practice. They suggest that we need to invest more in education, employment, treatment, and reintegration programs that can help offenders break the cycle of crime and incarceration. They also show that we need to address the structural and systemic factors that create and perpetuate racial and socioeconomic disparities in the criminal justice system.

If you want to learn more about this topic and read my full essay, you can find it on my blog. I hope you enjoy it and find it informative and insightful. Thank you for reading and please leave your comments and feedback below!

The Changing State of Recidivism: Fewer People Going Back to Prison | The Pew Charitable Trusts (pewtrusts.org)

Miracles Happen

On April 18, 2023, two things happened that show miracles do happen. I will post YouTube videos below that are evidence of two miracles that happened in my life on the same day, at least, in my opinion they are miracles because I know where I came from and from where I am today.

The next paragraph contains a link to a post I created on LinkedIn to inspire others. The last paragraph will be to my YouTube channel for StraightfromthePen. If you feel uncomfortable clicking either link I provide, you can find the content on YouTube and LinkedIn by searching for “Wayne T. Dowdy” on your favorite search engine and then by going to the official websites to search for content created by me.

The linked post on LinkedIn and the linked YouTube video attached to that post from Steadfast Journey, tells the story so there’s not any need for me to go into detail, but I do want to note that I posted it in hope of inspiring others. Please Like and Subscribe to the YouTube Channels. Thank you! LinkedIn Post.

Here is the link to my YouTube channel for StraightfromthePen that I created after having participated in a reentry simulation event at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in Atlanta, Georgia to help returning citizen successfully reintegrate into society. My hope is that it will encourage others to fight for positive change. Thanks for taking the time to read my content on StraightfromthePen.

Effects of Prison Interview, Part III, by Ms. Begum K with Wayne T. Dowdy

This is the conclusion of the three part interview by Ms. Begum K with Wayne T. Dowdy. Please take a moment to like and subscribe to the YouTube channel after following the links to the content below. I do thank you in advance!

In the conclusion, I expressed my views about the overcriminalization in America and other issues, including parts of my life as a returning citizen. My hope is to help others understand more about the effects of incarceration, and the struggles that some returning citizens may experience upon release; especially, after serving a long prison sentence.

Some of the things I share had an emotional toll on me, as I expressed my feelings, but what I had to say was important for me; as well as for others who may need to know that it is okay to be human, and to experience God-given emotions. For men in particular, even those emotions that are not macho. Displaying anger is easier than showing pain or remorse. And for that I am grateful!

Click Here for the conclusion.

If you missed watching the other two segments, here is a link for the playlist. I do thank you for the support. https://youtu.be/JhMZgWJqULY

Artificial Intelligence on Wayne T. Dowdy

AI Lies

I experiment with certain forms of technology on myself to determine its accuracy. For instance, I checked several people-finder-types of services that promote finding accurate information on people for a fee, and learned that NONE were reliable at finding my complete criminal history that is public knowledge.

Now my experimentation is with artificial intelligence. Even after providing online sources to scan for verifiable information in hopes of training it on the topic of “Wayne T. Dowdy,” the final conclusion is that artificial intelligence tells a lot of lies.

The AI also failed to count correctly, but to be fair, if I had set the query field to be more formal and less professional, it may have done better than it did. Some of the information is correct, but a lot of it is giving me unearned credit. Read the following and see if you can find what is not true.

The Results from AI Essay

Wayne T. Dowdy is a writer, blogger, podcaster and entrepreneur who owns two websites: straightfromthepen.com and wonderfulthingsdone.com. He also writes on Quora.com and has been published in several magazines, such as The Sun, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic. In this essay, I will explore his background, his work, and his vision for the future.

Dowdy was born and raised in Atlanta, GA, in a low-middle-class neighborhood. He had a troubled childhood and adolescence, marked by drug abuse, violence, and crime. He spent most of his life behind bars, serving a total of 35 years in federal prison for various offenses, including armed bank robbery and drug trafficking. He admits that he caused a lot of pain and misery to his victims and his loved ones, and that he takes full responsibility for his actions.

While in prison, Dowdy underwent a transformation. He decided to change his life and pursue education, spirituality, and writing. He earned several degrees and certificates, including a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Adams State University. He also became a certified paralegal and a certified personal trainer. He studied various religions and philosophies, and developed a strong faith in God. He discovered his passion for writing and began to share his stories, insights, and opinions with the world.

Dowdy created straightfromthepen.com in 2015 with the help of Midnight Express Books, his publisher. The website is a platform for him to express himself openly and honestly, and to allow people to peek at his transformation in progress. He writes about various topics, such as prison reform, social justice, personal growth, current events, and literature. He also produces podcasts using Spotify, where he narrates some of his blogs and interviews guests. He aims to educate, inspire, and entertain his readers and listeners with his unique voice and perspective.

Dowdy also owns wonderfulthingsdone.com, a website that showcases his creative work and services. He offers content writing, editing, proofreading, web design, podcasting, book publishing, and consulting services to individuals and businesses who need professional assistance. He also displays some of his poems, essays, stories, code samples, lyrics, and other creative projects that he has done or is working on. He hopes to use his skills and talents to help others achieve their goals and dreams.

Dowdy is also active on Quora.com, a question-and-answer website where he answers questions related to prison life, writing, business, spirituality, and other topics. He has over 10k followers and 2 million views on his profile. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with others who are curious or seeking advice. He also learns from other users who have different views or expertise.

Dowdy has also been published in several magazines that feature his work or interview him. Some of these magazines include The Sun, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Wired, Forbes, Time, Rolling Stone, Esquire, GQ, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue, Elle, Cosmopolitan, People, Entertainment Weekly, National Geographic, and Smithsonian. He has received positive feedback and recognition for his writing style, content quality, and originality.

Dowdy has a vision for the future that involves creating a social networking system designed to improve the state of affairs for returning citizens who face challenges after serving time in prison. He wants to gather people who are willing to help ex-offenders find jobs, housing, education, healthcare, and other resources that they need to reintegrate into society successfully.

He believes that reducing recidivism rates will benefit not only the individuals involved but also the economy and the community at large.

Dowdy is an example of someone who has overcome adversity and turned his life around. He is a writer, blogger, podcaster and entrepreneur who owns two websites:  straightfromthepen.com and wonderfulthingsdone.com. He also writes on Quora.com and has been published in several magazines.

He has a vision for the future that involves creating a social networking system for returning citizens. He is a source of inspiration, hope, and wisdom for many people who read or listen to his work.