Tag Archives: United States Federal Bureau of Prisons

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. 🙂

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.

Serving Time in Federal v. State Prison

Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

September 29, 2023, Update: Now you can subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Please do and hit the notification bell to receive all of my posts. Fee free to suggest content you want to see in the Comment section. Thanks! https://www.youtube.com/@straightfromthepen


Serving time in federal prison v. state prisons vary according to the particular prison, as all prisons are not created equal. The security level of the prisons influence many of the factors an inmate will experience, as well as the economy of the prison systems involved.

[Revised for clarity and to add photos on April 19, 2019]

One of my more popular answers on Quora.com is in response to “How does serving time in federal prison compare to state prison,” which you may read below or by visiting Quora.com by clicking here.

When I first began my federal sentence in the late eighties while at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas, an old-timer said, “The states control you physically and the feds do it psychologically.”

United States Federal Penitentiary, Leavenworth, Kansas

I found that true. The feds use incentive-mechanisms to control its prisoners (gives prisoners something to lose, recreation privileges, more freedom of movement, better food and living conditions; something authorities take or restrict access to for misbehavior).

The typical prisoner mentality in the federal system is milder, less-violent than many state prisoners. Again, an old-timer gave me a few words of wisdom:

“The federal system lulls people to sleep because it’s more laid-back, and there’s not as much violence every day, so guys forget where they’re at because they get away with so much. And then when one of them does something stupid to the wrong person, he gets stabbed or killed.”

I behaved better in the federal system than when I served time in the State of Georgia, where violence dominated every day activities.

Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, Georgia

The published writings in Essays and More Straight from the Pen by Wayne T. Dowdy, show the difference between the young knucklehead I was while serving time in Georgia, where I didn’t have much to lose, in comparison to the responsible man I become, due in part to the aging process, and having programs available to help me change while in the federal system. Read The Price of Change (included in the collection) for an example of the differences in my behaviors in the State versus the Federal system.

Being paid for working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) made a significant difference because it allowed me to take care of myself, rather than to burden my family for support, and that made me feel better as a human being.

The difference in my behavior illustrates the effectiveness of incentive programs, as well as the difference in the life of a prisoner serving time in a federal or state system; however, prisoner experiences vary.

My experience in the federal prison system was more of an exception than that of the typical prisoner experience, as was my last state sentence, where I was involved in assaulting two correctional officers, and then later escaping and being involved in taking over the prison. I changed during the federal sentence, after serving seven of the thirty-years I served between 1988–2018.

During the state prison sentences, I did as most prisoners do: became worse.


Prison Corruption in GA is not new. The system was corrupt when I grew up in it during the 70s-80s. If you want to learn more about the growing prison corruption since my departure and graduation into the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons (1988-2018), read this Atlanta Journal-Constitution article on Georgia Prison Corruption: https://www.ajc.com/news/investigations/prisons-inside-job/

I spent many years of my life inside the Georgia Criminal Justice System, beginning as a juvenile and graduating through the system until I finally reached The Big House (Georgia State Prison, Reidsville, Georgia), known for its high-level of violence and racism, some of which was promoted by prison staff. A few corrupt prison guards at the Georgia State Prison assisted prisoners by bringing in weapons, etc. for use in racial conflicts (Divide and Conquer).

During my many years on the Inside, with my mindset at that stage of life, I would have thrived because of my addiction issues with drugs and alcohol. To support my bad habits, I would have been one of the prisoners who sought corrupt prison officials to bring in drugs, drug paraphernalia, and had cellphone existed at the time, those, too.

Now that I live a different life, I see what is going on from a different perspective: people losing their lives due to the lifestyle that comes with the territory.

Corruption will always exist as long as there is a demand for the goods. Of course, as several prisons experienced, drones assist the process as well as corrupt prison officials. For me, I remain grateful for not living that life anymore, and for my sobriety that began when I was at the United States Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, Georgia.

More by Wayne T. Dowdy

Check out some of my content on Quora.com on Life Inside and Out and some of my most popular articles/answers on my profile page: https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-T-Dowdy

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

Life After Release-11(b)

Note: Life After Release-11 first posted on straightfromthepen.wordpress.com

Easter Morning 2023: Happy Easter to those who celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

I’m sticking with the Happy New Year content below that my procrastination and busy schedule did not produce on the planned timeline. I’ve since migrated the content of this website from WordPress.com to FastComet.com for hosting. That project is still a work in progress, as my use of WordPress.org on FastComet.com requires more work and technical knowledge than I have in a sense.

But I live and learn and continue to be grateful for the life I have and my God-given ability to continue to do things that my background would seem to make impossible (never having used a cellphone or personally accessing the Internet until 08/28/2018 (I was online before then with a little help from my friends)).

Though this may appear to be late, it’s not because I began working on this blog before the New Year began, so …. it is timely to me because it is still the New Year and the thought remains the same. 🙂

And a Happy New Year 2023 it shall be and continue all throughout the year!


My Life After Release continues to be different than I imagined before I left the United States Federal Bureau of Prison on August 28, 2018, thirty-years and ten days after my arrest. But I remain grateful because I am blessed on many levels in the areas that count the most: mind, body, and spirit.

On this First Day of 2023, I spun my wheels experimenting on how to export this website to another hosting service I use: FastComet.com. Because I have produced so much content since I began in March 2015, I have a massive amount of media and text to move, some of which I may choose to leave behind as I move on to better terms and conditions than what I pay for on WordPress.com for their premium package. [https://straightfromthepen.com is now hosted by FastComet.com]

The good thing in this change for my Life After Release in 2023, is that FastComet provides me with prompt and efficient service to resolve issues I often encounter because of my lack of technical knowledge [FastComet support team did migrate this website with my assistance at dealing with an inexperienced support technician of to whom I suggested to that he learn about the “exporting” function].


Though everything may not be perfect in the World of Wayne, I still have all body parts intact and in good working order: maybe not in the same capacity as when younger but all do function and serve their purpose.

Age has had its effect on me but with my history I see each day as a gift, regardless of what I experience. The changes have been an upgrade for me on most levels; especially, when considering where I began in April of 1995 to learn how to live without the use of drugs and alcohol.

One of the new skills I learned that I otherwise would not have if not for using WordPress.com with some of the features provided through the Premium package I had, is the ability to use Spotify to turn some of my blogs into podcasts, another one of my many experiments with technology.

Podcasts on Spotify | STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN

And of greater significance, is for God using me in ways I never imagined. This embedded YouTube video from A Steadfast Journey with the spectacular, Dr. Micshell Milsap, is the second of three appearances that I have had on her television show. In Revising a Life-10, I include the link for the first time I appeared. The second filming may be seen here

My life after release since the last time I posted in this series, is too complicated to continue in this post, but if you want to learn more you can check out my interviews on the YouTube channel for StraightfromthePen.

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

Yesterday I posted the content below the subtitle, Effects of Prison Interview, Part II, on my Quora.com Space, Life Inside and Out. And then noticed that when it posted there was not a title for the post. So, now I am revising what I wrote and the process by posting it where it should have been first: Here on StraightfromthePen.com.

Sometime later on, on Quora.com/Life Inside and Out, I will replace the previous content that I use below with this blog. (I modified the title of this blog to be clear about its content.)

If you haven’t read or listened to Part I, you may do so by clicking this link: YouTube Interview with Wayne T. Dowdy – STRAIGHT FROM THE PEN

Effects of Prison Interview, Part II

On March 20, 1995, I planned for that day to be the last day I shot dope or did other mind-altering substances. My plan didn’t work the way I anticipated. Two weeks and three days later, I got high again but stopped halfway through the process and threw away the rest of the joint I was smoking. That was the last time, thus far, and I don’t anticipate reverting to my former ways that helped to keep me returning to prison. Yes, I am a recidivist.

This interview (Effects of Prison Interview by Ms. Begum K with Wayne T. Dowdy, Part II), would not have taken place had I not continued to stay away from what I knew was killing me and helping to destroy my life. If you enjoy watching and listening to it, please click to like, follow me on YouTube, and subscribe. Thanks!

Life After Release -10

After Prison Experience

On one of my adventures in downtown Atlanta, after my release from serving a 420-month federal prison sentence, I captured the photo of this beautiful bus while walking around the city snapping photos using a smart phone. Only Dumb Phones existed before my 1988 arrest and conviction. But at least you could find a phone booth to pay with coins or by calling collect on such a device, instead of having to pay a lot of money for a smartphone and phone plan.

Ad: Speaking of Phone Plans, here is my promotion for Tello.com where I earn 10 Tello Credits for referrals who use my referral code (P3RHP9H9) to purchase a low-cost plan.


Since these posts are read world-wide, I am certain that those in different countries without all of the available technology used in America may wonder how a phone booth looked. Though this photo is of a much older phone booth seen in 1988, this photo does show what would now be a dumb phone, if one could be found somewhere, when compared to a smart phone that I can use the camera of to walk around town taking photos.

Moving on to a different theme, when I first began writing this blog my intent was to post this brief message to refer readers to my page on Quora.com, where I may also earn a commission for those who use my link to sign up for Quora+

Anyways, for a quick blog post with a punch, I am re-sharing a popular answer on Quora that continues to receive a lot of attention because it relates to the technological challenge many returning citizens face upon release. Please be sure to follow the comments in the thread. In particular, what I wrote in response to a comment to help the returning citizen protect himself from scammers:

“Along the lines of security, adding two-factor authentication to an important account is best; especially, if you can use an Authenticator App, such as the one offered by Google or Microsoft. SMS messaging is better than not using any additional measure of security, but that may also be compromised. A lot of SPAM calls may leed to that becoming a security threat.

“Using a credit card versus a debit card is also best, since using the credit card does not require adding your pin number.

“For additional security, in the Manage Account settings on credit or debit cards, add a notification for any transactions done for the lowest amount available so that you will be notified of any transactions posted, and if not you, you can turn off the card immediately and change all associated passwords.” WTD

Thank you!