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.
Nice Brush, huh? That belongs to PriceWaiter. Click on it to find great deals on several categories of products. Be sure to read “How it Works” to help people save money.
PriceWaiter is one of the companies I promote because I believe the company really does help people to save money. In addition to that, if someone purchases a product from PriceWaiter by going through any links in this blog, I will receive a small commission and will be grateful. I thank you in advance!
For those reentering society, saving money may make a big difference in their outcome; however, finding a great deal won’t make a difference unless that person committed to change their lifestyle.
On a personal level, I made a choice that returning to criminal activity was not an option. I gave enough of my life to living on the Other Side and am not willing to do anything that could cause me to have to return to the environment I hated. Returning to it would only help the System grow bigger and stronger. That is why I changed my life (I do not want to be a part of the Mass Incarceration in America. My actions must show I do not want to return to a life spent behind bars, hoping for better days).
Today, I hope for better days as a returning citizen, one who becomes a success story to show others it can be done. I refuse to give up fighting for a new life, a better life, which is a driving force behind me and my promotion of PriceWaiter and other companies who allow me to earn a small commission if anyone uses the links I provide on this website or others to buy any items, regardless of the particular item I may promote.
In the following example, I am promoting PriceWaiter’s discounts on electronics; however, many others are available, including appliances (33% off), and many others you love.
These kind of deals are hard to beat. PriceWaiter strives to get customers the best price available.
My hope is that you, the reader, will visit PriceWaiter and find substantial savings. PriceWaiter will help you negotiate lower prices. Check ’em out! Thanks!
Please post a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to voice your honest opinion about PriceWaiter or any other affiliate company, and whether you purchased an item so I can verify that I am being paid. Thank you!
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
That Patek Philippe in the photo is a fake and a terrible time piece that stops keeping time when I lay it down.
My life after release continues to be in the present, as I have not become a recidivist who got out of prison only to return with a new charge(s) or for a technical violation on supervised release. For me it is easy since I don’t do anything I’m not supposed to do: I don’t get high, don’t run the streets, get permission before going out of the area, and just do the right thing by living in harmony with the Universe on most days.
In these types of blogs, I write from my personal experience and perspective, more so than from a broader, more general perspective of life after incarceration, or about my life while inside.
However, issues affecting those of us released, as well as those left inside, remain important to me, as will be shown if you search this website for “recidivism,” “returning citizens,” “Federal Bureau of Prisons,” “Incarceration,” where I have written numerous blogs relating to those issues. I contribute the following paragraph as a great resource for information.
PRISON POLICY INITIATIVES
For those interested in a more technical aspect of issues relating to Returning Citizens and recidivism or other prison-related issues, the Prison Policy Initiative contains volumes of important research information. I am personally grateful for Peter Wagner who devotes time and energy towards making a difference in the lives of others.
Fairshake.net is one of the best, if not the best, resource for returning citizens who need a broad base of information to help them carve their way into a bright future.
The owner of Fairshake.net invited me to write a few sentences for the Fair Shake New Year’s Eve Edition. This is what I was published:
“‘Miracles happen every day but what I learned is that sometimes I must do my part to make a miracle happen. I do what I believe to be the right thing and then get out of the way. I refused to give up my fight for freedom and fought 14-years to get Good Conduct Time. My last victory allowed me to leave for a halfway house on 08/28/2018, instead of 12/26/2018. My hope for better days got me through the dark days spent inside the dungeons of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons. Today, hope keeps me moving in a positive direction in pursuit of the many goals I remain focused on achieving. Never lose hope!'”
My popularity continues to climb on Quora.com, where I have written several articles/answers about my experiences relating to life in prison and other related topics. The bulleted list that follows this screenshot of my statistics, shows the most read and upvoted content. These days I don’t have much time to devote to writing on Quora, but if interested in any of the topics, visit my profile page on Quora.com to access my Answers (https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy).
How are new inmates treated when they first come to prison?·
If you’ve spent a long time in prison, what technology did you find hardest to adjust to when you were released?·
As someone who has been to prison, what are the most common inaccuracies about prison life portrayed in movies?·
How does serving time in federal prison compare to state prison?·
In prison, inmates yell “12” to alert other inmates when an officer is present. Why is the number 12 used when they alert each other (or does this only happen in Georgia prisons)?·
When does the day start for inmates in federal prison?·
What happens in prison if you don’t get along with your cellie and it is a dangerous situation? Can you request a new cellmate or a transfer to a different cell?·
Do all men in prison have sex with other men?·
If you were imprisoned, how comfortable would you be without any privacy?·
Is it true that people get sprayed with water in prison, when they first get there?·
What is a secret which you would not tell anybody in real life, but would on Quora using anonymity?·
What incentives do inmates have to behave well, especially those in for life? Do they care about their quality of life while on the inside knowing that they’re not ever getting out?·
People believe that prison should be tougher for the inmates, since there are too many luxuries awarded at the expense of taxpayers. Is being in prison as good as people think it is or worse than people could imagine?·
Are jail/prison inmates treated differently based on the crime they committed?·
Did anyone attempt a prison escape while you were an inmate?·
Can you survive and stay healthy on food provided to you in prison? Is the food clean and nutritious enough, or do you need to order out like the rest of the inmates?·
How many people who attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings stay sober over 5 years?·
What were you in prison for?·
What is something you’ve seen that you wish you hadn’t seen?·
Does “giving yourself up or turning yourself in” really give you a lighter jail sentence?·
I have more to say but don’t have time to write it, so I will close by asking those who like or want to invest and trade stocks, to read Massive Change by Wayne T. Dowdy. Watch the two YouTube videos by Stock Moe to learn something you didn’t know. 🙂
Sign up for a Webull account and fund it with at least $100 to get an free stock ranging in value. That will help me to earn two free stocks, too. 🙂 I thank you in advance!
Life After Release means more than some may see when reading this blog. I am a fraction of the true gravity that these posts represent by concept, a mere example of the thousands of returning citizens who reenter society each year who face unimagined circumstances.
Today I’m at a local park enjoying the cooler weather as Fall approaches.
I was blessed with seeing a deer crossing the paved path upon which I walked snapping photos and taking videos on a device that did not exist before my arrest on August 18, 1988, a smartphone.
Yesterday, I learned not to trust or depend on Air/Vac machines to work. At $1.50 each attempt to check and inflate my tires, and at three locations, I succeeded at getting three of my four tires properly inflated.
I ran out of quarters!
One definition of “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
Well, I must be a little off in the head because I could have pulled into a Goodyear or PepBoys and not have dealt with thieving Air/Vac machines, but I chose to do it, not once, but three times before pulling into a Goodyear shop to get air in the fourth tire, and it was free. 🤠
More will be revealed. Right now I need to ZOOM-IN to a Twelve Step Meeting on the other side of the United States.
Isn’t life grand with so much technology? Speaking of the such, now I am doing affiliate marketing on WonderfulThingsDone.
In my quest to become an affiliate marketer, of which I receive a small commission from any sale of a product or service I promote, I stumbled upon Freight Broker Boot Camp, and was impressed when I could not find any negative customer responses or complaints against the company.
Then I began to wonder if convicted felons could become a licensed freight broker because I know and have known several men who were released and then found jobs as truck drivers, and so I thought, why not become a freight broker if it pays well?
Driving a truck takes a lot of time and energy and may be more difficult for an elderly returning citizen, or for some, not all, convicted felons to do because of restrictions imposed as a condition of supervised release, probation or parole.
That would eliminate an opportunity that may help him or her secure employment or to otherwise find a lawful occupation to help stay out of jail or prison.
Finding and scheduling a load for a trucker to haul is easier and may become an overall, more lucrative occupation.
In some cases state laws may control whether a convicted felon can get a surety bond, but the short answer was YES when I added this question in the Google Search engine: “can convicted felons be freight brokers?”
“Yes. having a felony does not mean you can’t apply or be granted a freight brokers license from the FMCSA. You need ONLY to be a VALID US Resident.”
Jobs for Felons also supports that answer and goes into more detail about the process one must go through to start a business as a freight broker.
The above answers made me feel better about promoting Freight Broker Boot Camp, which appears to cover every aspect of going into that line of work and received a lot of great reviews by students.
For $185 right now, and the potential to turn the knowledge gained into a lucrative business, is a good deal for anyone willing to put forth the time and energy to learn the process in thirty-days, and then apply it towards becoming an independent business owner.
Note: The only affiliate link is to the Freight Broker Boot Camp
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?
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 Penor 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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
A proudly posted photo of the drug screen results as seen on Facebook, along with the following caption:
Living Clean and Sober has its Benefits. Those tiny bottles once caused me lots of stress! They also lead to me going to the hole (segregated housing unit) on more than one occasion, over 25-years ago.
I am grateful for the life I am blessed with living today that does not include the use of mind-altering substances, unless a person wants to include caffeine into that category. I do drink coffee but that’s better than other substances I used to think I could not live without.
Today I am free because I gave up my former behaviors that kept me locked in cages away from the civilized society.
If I can do it so can anyone else who makes the decision to change their lives, one day at a time.
While I was at the United States Penitentiary in Pollock, Louisiana (2001-2004), a member of Twelve Step programs wrote me and said that he had also learned that he did not have to return to prison, one day at a time. True.
We, those of us who have been in prison, usually have a choice to make that will allow us, as returning citizens, to remain in the free society.
Please help to spread this idea like a fire to generate support and encourage positive change for fixing the broken criminal justice system. Help Change Lives and Build a Healthier Society. Wayne T. Dowdy
You are granted permission to copy, print, and publish any part of this document, but you must give attribution to the author. You may alter this document, but you must denote the changes in some manner. You may not charge for any work where this document makes up the majority of the work’s text. Jason Glascock
Formula for Integrated Rehabilitation & Education
Statement of Purpose
A person’s education is an on-going process gained through all of life’s experiences. The environment in which a person is immersed is highly influential in the quality and breadth of education. It, therefore, behooves a society to create such an environment that encourages an individual’s self-development, and this development ought to enrich society with individuality’s ability to adapt.
The strength of a culture, society, community is based on the strengths of the individuals bring to it. Without the individual, there is no community. Therefore, the individual is a more important aspect that must be protected. The purpose of A.F.I.R.E. is to develop an environment whereby the individual can grow into a being that is solidly independent that can then choose to become interdependent within society.
The A.F.I.R.E. is a long-term project to create an environment that the person is immersed in. The environment is all-encompassing with a carefully and intentionally created effect that is unique to the individual. The person is given access to resources that allow them to guide their own development, with assistance available, in a context that is supportive of self-discovery for the individual to become a fully realized being. The environment offers the person to make the choice, without coercion or force. The environment is reinforcing of the ideas of individuality and the person as the creator of the community.
is to be instituted in a five-phased process with specific goals. These goals
build on the goals of each previous phase. The phases are not set, but intended
to be dynamic, adaptable and open to new solutions, but always with the
overreaching goal to creating an environment that allows the individual to
achieve the greatest benefit of self-empowerment.
develop a set of personality, aptitude, interest, and metrics that can be used
to inform both the person and prison about how to create the most advantageous
environment for that person, identify freedom potential factors already extant,
and determine what to build upon.
develop a basic set of self-empowerment resources available in the main
develop computer lab resources for extended studies.
develop staff training programs that encourage healthful interpersonal
develop prisoner training programs that encourage healthful interpersonal
Goal: develop an industry-supported certification schema for education.
Goal: develop post-release support for reintegration, including:
– social development with people of shared
interests, i.e. clubs
develop staff centric incentives program for positive relations
develop prison diversion programs that begin at arrest.
develop elementary through high school programs for all students which reduce
risk by inspiring healthy psychological growth.
develop independence schools to encourage freedom potential factors.
goes much further than the STEM Initiative in creating an entire environment
designed to encourage the pursuit of that which grows the individual into a
healthy and complete being. STEM is a basic educational paradigm, but AFIRE is
about how to live, how to think about living, and how to create the best
situation for the person within a prison setting to grow in a positive manner.
Currently, prison is designed to be debilitating. The philosophies of the penological system are to handicap the prisoner and make him/her into an inmate subservient to their will, to take away the individuality and make them nothing but a body. Everything is a punishment from the beds, clothes, food and showers, to relationships with family and support groups. Every opportunity is carefully constructed to ensure failure, encourage strife, and negatively impact the psyche.
A.F.I.R.E. works to change the culture of prison into a healthful experience. Punishment is the separation and periodic denial of close relationships and the freedom of travel, not the denial of educational opportunities, health, and the pursuit of skills that can enrich society. We hurt ourselves when we harm others, and prison is a terrible harm to inflict on our community members. The prisoner is no less part of our community while in prison as they are in the Free World.