The Felonious PhD.

White Collar Female PhD. Felon, Prison Camp, Re-Entry, Criminal Justice Reform. Women, Lesbian

The New Moon….

There are feelings I cannot quite extrapolate in visceral terms, but yesterday, as I was shooting basketball, I was immediately struck by the presence of the moon.

The past few weeks I have reminded myself that I have to formulate a process for my own continued growth as I sit here in this simplistic environment which offers little to no creative, emotional, or intellectual stimulation.

As I witness the system’s ongoing pathology and immeasurable amount of indifference to the truth, I am nauseated by the atrocities that are going unheard as well as unseen.  Being forced to actively be a part of a system that shows no love, makes it very easy to become dismayed and feel disenchanted.  I am a natural dreamer and I truly believe in sacred possibilities.  But I sit her silently, following the rules, keeping a low profile, and inside I’m secretly screaming for my freedom.  The freedom to seek those possibilities.

As I shot baskets and continuously glanced at the moon, its presence and beauty pierced my soul, and spoke to my heart.  It woke me up from my internal strife and reminded me that anything and everything is possible.

As I wake up in the morning and go on about my daily routine of, well, nothing of significance, wearing my green clothes, I tell myself that it is I who has to define my purpose.  I also have to willfully pursue it with the same passion and fervor I have pursued everything else in my life.  even within this non-thinking, non-emotional, non-academic environment, there is a free space.  That space is in side of ME!

I am grateful for the full moons.  No matter what their existential significance is for others, right now, they represent an opportunity for me to soar and reach for a level of consciousness that inconsequential to the environment, but necessary to my inner peace.

I am forever thankful for my mind.  Ignorance and indifference is NOT bliss.  In other words…

I AM BORED! LoL

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This Time In My Life…

There are many things to cope with when moving through this process; as I navigate my way through it I am always thinking, theoretically speaking, about how I can intellectually and socially make a difference even though I’m stuck here.  Being in the midst of mid-life, a period when most people are contemplating what regrets they have, or what remains on their bucket list, I am asking myself what do I want to do when I grow up?

I become very apprehensive when I begin thinking about the array of problems that plague this system and all of the subsystems related to it.  These problems also plague women’s vision of themselves as a result of being part of it.  Similar to being a champion for change in the child welfare cause, it would take an inordinate amount of vigilance to ever scratch the surface and bring about change or rectify all of the problems in this system.  I have thought so far as…..I should run for office.  I have nothing to hide!  Being a voice is not enough though; you have to be at the table, sit right in front of people with similar level of power.  This I know for sure!  Then I immediately remember how BEING the change I desired to see in child welfare only opened me up to scrutiny, other people’s jealousy and weakness, and now prison.

There has to be a social movement.  Not an individual desire to make change “stick.”  As I sit in this camp and watch the news, or eaves drop on conversations, I see that we are far from a social movement.  We are so afraid, and I get that. Whew…do I get that!  Because one of my biggest fears throughout my life was the fear of getting into trouble.  So I avoided trouble, didn’t do anything that would get me in trouble…..what a joke!  I now know that doing the safe thing does not protect you, and I am living proof of that.

My next phase of life will be spent living fearlessly.  What more can be done to me?

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No More Tears…

I have been here at the Victorville Federal Prison Camp for 90 days and a day.  I want everyone who has the opportunity to read my blog to know that…… I MISS MY FAMILY!  I miss my sisters!

I miss calling my sister Mooneyes daily and hearing her calm, silent, strong, passionate voice.  I miss her telling me what the full moon tells us this month.  I miss having her reassurance that everything, in the end, will be okay.  Actually, she reminds me of my ability to shine even in darkness and promises me that like the sun, I will rise again and this time brighter than ever.  I miss her gentle yet strong spirit and sharing a glass of sake with her as I eat a chunk of meat and she munches on something natural and healthy.

I miss my loud sister Tonya.  I miss her calling me 10 to 15 times a day asking me what I am doing. I always quickly responded by saying, “The same thing i was doing five minutes ago, crazy.”  I miss her yelling at her kids, grown kids, as she talks to me on the phone.  i miss her!  I miss her fly-by visits.  Her running through the door to say “Hi” and then in the blink of an eye she’s screeching out of the driveway.  I miss her!  I even miss yelling at her every time she asks me for “spare change.”  “What in the hell?” I would say.  I miss her.

I miss my chocolate, dimpled sister Beatrice.  Like me, she has no fear and will do what she has to do.  I miss her!  I miss hearing her cheerful voice and loud laugh which can quickly switch to a soft marshmellow side.  I miss her.  I miss hearing her stories about her adventures in Atlanta, her crazy job, and how the girls are doing.  I miss them.  i miss telling her to take her butt to school and hering her tell me some story about why she has not done so yet!  I miss her!

I miss my baby sister Carita!  I miss doing her laundry and cooking for her as she cared for her baby.  I miss our laugh sessions and t.v. watching on the big screen. ( I miss that t.v. lol)  I miss our discussions about change and moving forward.  The possibilities of tomorrow.  I miss her.  I miss planning her next move with her, because I know that she will retreat to the safety of her nest.  I miss her.  I miss talking about the kids and laughing about my crazy nephew Aidan’s, antics, Kaity’s growing up and Jacob’s ability to handle everyone’s personalities without cracking.  I miss them and her.  I miss holding baby Viv as Carita ran to Wal Mart quickly wishing she would hurry back as Viv, then 2-3 months old, would scream her head off for her mama.  I miss her and them.

I miss my niece Unique calling me to find out what’s for dinner…..every day!  LoL  I miss her wanting to borrow everything, from some chicken to flour, to a skillet to cook it in.  I miss her.  I miss her running into the door whining and complaining about her mama and having to remind her that she is grown and it is no longer called running away from home for her.  it is called ‘growing up’.   LoL  i miss her.

I miss my niece Kimi.  I miss her impromptu visits as well as her planned ones when we would eat, drink, and laugh.  I miss her.  I miss her old soul conversations and her ability to say, “You are right.”  I miss her. I miss baby X coming through the door and immediately stripping down to his undies as he ran to the snack cabinet, which was always read for him.  I miss him.  I miss Christina’s hugs and smiles.  And I miss always, and I mean always, preparing to go beg for my Jaiden. I miss her and I miss them.

I miss my grand-kids, my sons, and all of my other family members, aunt, uncles, and all of my other kids who are now adults and part of my family.  I miss physically being a part of their every day lives.

Most of all, I miss my on, Aaron.  How does a mother put her absence of 22-28 months in perspective or into words to a 14 year old?  All I know is that I miss doing his stinky laundry and fussing about it.  I miss hearing him sing in the shower in the morning.  I miss he jokes and seeing him make others laugh.  I miss him.  I miss throwing a mama tantrum when he has not taken the time to do his homework correctly or when he forgot his sports hear for practice.  I miss giving him advice about sports and school or his social interaction with kids at school.  I miss him!!  I miss the physical and emotional gratification I get from being his mom.  I love him and I miss it! I miss listening to him talk smack to his cousins and grown siblings.  I miss watching him grow up, emotionally and physically.  I miss brushing his hair in the morning before school and I deeply, deeply miss tucking him in and rubbing his head at night.  I miss him.

I have no more physical tears to give to this process, but I will continue to cry through my words and the blog.  No matter how strong my mind is, and how intact my spirit and soul are, I will forever be scarred by this experience.  keeping in mind that like my physical scars, they heal and have a story of their own.  I am not ashamed of this scar.  it is as a part of me as the physical ones are on my body.  My hope is that those I love will also move past this period and use it to find their own way.

For my son, I just hope that for the next 19-26 months, he knows in his heart that i, his mom, loves him and that will never change.  He also needs to know that if he messes up in school, he will have me to deal with!!!

So, I have no more tears, but I do have a lot of hope and love to share tomorrow and days after that.

I am thankful for my family.  I love you all!

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3 Months down….19 to go!

January 14, 2014

This past weekend I sat in the dining hall and ate dinner with two sisters who were sentenced to 33 months for a white-collar crime.  The stories never cease to amaze me.  Also, the need for those of us who truly feel wronged by the justice system to find a way to forgive and rebuild our hope is consistent.  Most of the white-collar women that I have spoken to were small business owners or independent contractors.  Every once in a while there will be a story from someone who had embezzled from a company that they worked for, but thus far, the stories have been about those of us who had our own visions and wanted to create our own businesses and serve our communities.  Also, as business oriented individuals, we wanted to be compensated as CEO’s for the businesses we operated.

The sisters, upon first glance, look like twins but are not. Over the past three months I have observed them doing everything together.  Their daily routine, phone calls, and any other  activity outside of the unit is done together.  As we talked about the ridiculousness of how a system can destroy one’s credibility, career, and desire to succeed, I heard them echo the same feelings of betrayal for attempting to achieve the dream that American’s propaganda has encouraged for centuries now.  They both feel like they are no longer safe here in America.  To be safe here would mean they will always have to explain their Felon label or be reminded that they are not extraordinary for being successful by in essence the total opposite, they are less than because they are now Felons.

When you are a highly driven woman and you have the education, skill level, and confidence to sit at anyone’s table, this process can drive you to insanity.  Our conversation included talk about how the government is not happy until they have laid you out on your back, paralyzed you with fear, butt naked and crazy as hell.  Then they move on to the next person.

Over the past 90 days, my struggle has not been one in which I try to remain sane.  My sanity is well in tact.  My challenge is trying to formulate a plan for myself that does not entail my having to leave the USA in order to live the loving and peaceful life I truly desire.  I figure if I can get that figured out over the course of the next 19 months, I will be okay.  I want to truly speak to others as a ‘Native Daughter.”  On who loves her country unconditionally and also be able to offer some hones, critical feedback about many of the atrocities that occur in our  criminal “injustice” system.  I want to do that from a loving place.

The past 90 days have been very difficult for me.  Not because I am in a Federal camp, but because I am away from those I love.  That will never get easier so I just allow myself to have that ache and longing for them.  I just keep in mind that “This too shall pass.”  Everything eventually has an end.  In the meantime, I will continue to be my loving and caring self despite my circumstances.

I am forever thankful for those who love me.  I want to say, I love you all back!!

 

 

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Prisology.org

We are sharing this post from Prisology’s Facebook page hoping you will also pass this information on to everyone you know so the pressure remains on this committee to take action for these necessary reforms!
Prisology
Another delay, everyone. The Senate Judiciary Committee met today, voted on some judicial nominations, and then delayed a vote on the bills. We have received over 20,000 support letters thus far, and will continue to inundate the Committee with your voices. If you have not already done so, please encourage everyone you know to visitwww.prisology.org/action to show support for the reform effort!
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Being Mindful of All

The main theme that permeates through this camp about me is, “Is she crazy?”  This constant conversation has really given me a new perspective on mental health, mental stability, coping, and self-preservation.  I have always felt like I had an innate ability to “read” people.  By utilizing my childhood instincts, my young-adult life experiences, and my grown woman awareness I can sum up a person in one conversation.  Then, add my professional training and clinical background, and I can complete a mental health status exam and psych-social summary all in one sitting.  But being here at the camp, I find that almost every individual that I come into contact with has an Axis 1 or 2 diagnosis with PTSD features.  I am constantly laughing with my few crew members here that people probably feel the same about us.  “Am I crazy?”  Haha!

As we discussed the behaviors and conversations of others, I began to realize the similar themes between the women and their experiences.  The common topics are loss, despair, pain, shame, loneliness.  These are topics that resonate when they discuss their indictments, pre-trial experiences, and investigations.  Then I become mindful of how all of that felt to me.  The emotions that surface surrounding the whispers that one hears, the loneliness of being ostracized from the community,and  the fear of prosecution and the future persecution are very familiar.  I have endured and embraced those feelings and, with help, have overcome that part of my journey.

I am mindful now of how I interact with the women here because I too was crazy at some point in this process.  The judicial system and government bullies have caused many women in here severe trauma and they are suffering from PTSD.  This system is so ill-prepared for the intellectual, hardworking, law-abiding women whom they have labelled “Felon.”  Once these former CEO’s and accomplished business-women regain their insight and realize their purpose, things will look different for them.  I am “Living Proof” of that.  And when they are ready to file a civil lawsuit against our government for false imprisonment, emotional distress, business losses, etc…..I will definitely be ready to join.  Until then, I will continue to be mindful of all of them and their stories.

Today I am thankful for my strong mind!

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A New Year…

2014 has arrived and I am forced to accept that this year is going to be much different for me.  I am astounded by my feelings that although I am currently incarcerated in a Federal Prison Camp being guarded by yellow lines around the grounds tho serve as a reminder that I cannot go anywhere that I want to go, this year is still full of possibilities for me and every other mother, lover, sister, aunt, wife, grandma, and friend in here.

During a discussion I had with my bunkee, she unselfishly told me that I have re-inspired her!  I quickly became humble and quiet.  She followed that with, “Your presence is inspiring.”  Then she went on to explain how she too had lost her hard-earned business, homes, car, and livelihood, and gained a 10 year sentence for invisible money.  I told her that from what I have grasped from this experience, up this point, is that we have to refuse to be subjugated by this system.  I then heard my good friend’s voice in my head saying, “A year from now, things will look different.  Just get through the year.”  My roommate has hit her year of being incarcerated and I can feel how she wants to hold firm to the sacred possibilities.  so, if my presence serves as a spark for her I am thankful.

I have always been a humble-silent leader who loves to lead from behind.  I am changing that for my next phase of life.  I am going to live the duration of my life Godly, fearlessly, and lovingly.  What more can be done to me?  I feel exhilarated by the possibilities for the new year and the years to come.

Happy New Year!  Live it Fearlessly!

 

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Ten Year Ban…

I received a notice from the Office of The Inspector general stating that I have been officially excluded from participating in any Federal Health Care programs for a minimum of 10 years.  There are many things that are going through my head as I read and re-read this letter over and over again.  My immediate thoughts, I have to admit, are not pure.  I have already been told that I cannot be a licensed social worker for 5 years, and now I am being told I cannot work in the health-care field for 10 years.  One would think that I murdered a patient, abused a child or some heinous thing of that nature.  But the truth is there was nobody harmed by my actions or my unintentional financial oversight.  Much to the contrary.

The government’s over-zealous, misguided, and unnecessary use of tax payers dollars forced them to formulate a summary to justify trying me for well over three years with the end result being that there was erroneous billing of $82,000.  Which, if I was left to operate and take care of my kids (remember, the kids nobody else wanted or was able to take care of) would have been repaid without all of this chaotic havoc.  But, that just seems to have made too much sense.

As I sit here in the Federal Camp, I want to know, “Why do I have to pay anything back to the government and be jailed also?” As a United States citizen, I can honestly say that being here for 22-28 months should make us even.  I have lost my license, career, home, and the stability of my family.  I feel like the Government truly owes me!  This is overkill.  The crack using politician has not received half of the criticism, legal problems, or persecution that I, as a sober, non-drug user, self-made, law-abiding, loving woman has endured.  Where is the justification for such a biased system.  I wish I could speak to Eric Holder.  I want to see him here at the camp with women who not only look like myself but like all of society, who also want to know what they did so bad to their country to deserve this extreme punishment.

In regards to my 10 year exclusion I say, “Oh well.”  It truly is a loss to the profession and the people I would have served. I am an incredible professional, have facilitated change in hundreds of lives.  There is only one ME!

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My New Bunkee……Moving on Up….

I have now reached the mountain top!  I will spend the newt 20-26 months here in the last phase of the housing process. As I have detailed, the crowded and extremely noisy multi-purpose room  is the first stop on the journey.  In there, most people begin on the top bunk when they arrive.  The bottom bunks are prime real estate for several reasons; if you are older (and I, being a young, fresh, vibrant 49, am on the borderline of old in here which is a sad testament to who is in here, so I  began on top) or handicapped the lower bunk is a necessity for safety reasons.  Other reasons have to do with socializing, and that is all I will say about that matter. As I said, I was initially placed, by the intake worker, on a top bunk, but because of the quick thinking mentors, I was able to switch to a lower bunk in the multi-purpose room fairly quickly.  Typically campers remain in the multipurpose room for three months or more so the goal is to move to the bottom bunk during that time because the next step would be to move to a bunk in the “condos.”  This new neighborhood  is a permanent area divided into  6×8 foot spaces by concrete slabs which stand about 5’10” tall.

As the weeks went by, and as people kept coming, and coming, and coming, I was beginning to feel some anxiety about not being able to have any space at all in the multipurpose room.  One of the experienced lead orderlies in the unit told me how and what I needed to do if I wanted to move into the condos more quickly.  Being my stubborn, independently thinking self, I decided to just find a way to move into the smaller multipurpose room with the wonderful older people.  This turned out to be great because I went to sleep the same time as they did (Haha) and they had wonderful stories to tell.  The only downside to that move was that I was right across from one of the t.v. rooms and people were in my room constantly!  After a week there, I decided that I did need to listen to KeKe, the orderly, and request to be moved to a top bunk which would afford me the opportunity to move into the condo area in a matter of days or just a few weeks.  As soon as I spoke to Keke, the request to bunk with my new bunkee, Net, was processed and I was immediately excited.  She and I have had several conversations regarding this process and have briefly discussed our plans for the future.  So, I knew she was a positive thinker and had overcome many obstacles, like me, to become very successful and eventually ended up here on a devastating 10 year sentence which she is planning to have reduced at her appeal.  Now I feel like I can just settle in and do these next 20-26 months with ease.

My bunkee is great!  We both have to refraine from cursing the system and all that are involved in it.  Sometimes we just go through it and laugh.  Throughout my life, there has been several constant themes;  I can do anything I put my  mind to; I always surpass my original goal and always, and I mean ALWAYS, I meet some incredible, talented and caring people along the way.

Today, I am so thankful form my Bunkee.

 

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A Return to Love…Message from the Federal Camp

Sitting outside soaking up the Victorville sun while relaxing at the picnic table, I am acutely aware that no matter what…Life is Good.  No, I am not trying to make lemonade out of lemons;  I am definitely not in denial.  The truth is, as I have explained in prior blogs, this experience as annoying as it has been, cannot define me.  My heart feels pure, filled with LOVE and peace.

So many challenging experiences have occurred for my loved ones over the past few months.  We have had relationships end, the passing of my grandchild (love you baby Kamillo), got through the holidays apart, and the process of redefining the structure of each of our lives continues.  My only wish is that those who are close to me always return to love.  No matter what happens, we can and will move forward if we choose to do it….and best it’s done in a LOVING way!

I feel loved, actually I know I am loved, so I want all connected to me and those who are not, to know that they are loved.   I completely identify with my loving self.  It is not political, not money hungry, not an inmate; my loving self is completely human, authentic, and courageous.

When all else fails, I don’t care if others laugh or tease me, I return to love.  I will always operate from a loving position.  I have always preached that, and now in this sterile, unbelievably oppressive and dysfunctional system, I have the opportunity to completely embrace that part of myself.  It does not mean that I am not mad as hell sitting here wasting time.  It just means that to me, Life is GOOD and will be even better when BOP is out of my life!

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