The Felonious PhD.

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

Life On Pause…..

Every Sunday I try to create a peaceful, positive, and cognizant space in my heart and mind so that I don’t lose sight of who I am and my intrinsic purpose.  I also try to prepare myself for another week that is completely out of my control.

Often, I have conversations with my bunkee who is also intelligent, driven, and a once successful business woman.  Her common theme during many of our conversations has been about how her life is on pause.  I gather that having some element of control over what happens to her in BOP custody  and utilizing the word “Pause” allows her some control over what is to come next.

For me, being on pause is a complete waste of time.  As I listen to how this single mother of two boys worked hard to achieve her dream, I become overwhelmed with questions of how can I help women like us once their lives are no longer on pause.

The theoretical formation of living a life on pause can be a bit debilitating.  I was looking at it as if I was viewing a movie and, like I have done many times, I hit the pause button.  Once I returned to viewing the show, was I more or less attentive?  Did I lose excitement after I had paused?  Or, did I just turn it off never to return to view it again?

Life on Pause has happened to many people in our country, not just inmates.  I just know that women who are here for white-collar crimes and who were driven and successful will face a unique situation when reentering their communities.

I want to, once again, be Living Proof that it can be done.  After living my Life on Pause phase, I want to be able to hit the play button and enjoy a happy climax to this story.  I know that if I start there, I can once again help others believe in themselves, even though they are Felons.  We are the new wave of Government Subjugation and we do not have the time to wait for them to once again correct their wrongs.

I am thankful for the hones, open, and sometimes heart-breaking conversations with the women here. It gives me an opportunity to be selfless and attentive to others with challenges and in pain.

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Should I File a Motion with the Judge?….

On almost a daily basis, there are small groups of women discussing their cases, unfair sentences, and disbelief about being stuck in such a non-penetrable system.  I entered this camp prepared to endure my 33 month sentence and all that comes with it.  After bearing witness to what a system could do to me, I just surrendered to being treated unfairly and told myself that I would create a space where I could voice my truth and provide a forum for others who are going through the same traumatic experience as I.

As i listen closely and attentively to these white-collar women’s concerns and questions about how they were treated unfairly, I am beginning to formulate a theory that after they have had an opportunity to come out from the fog of Governmental abuse, they are waking up and saying “HEY!” something is wrong.

Recently a case was heard in the Ninth Circuit Appellate Court that is very similar to my case.  The physicians were charged with fraud because they did not physically see the clients, but they did attend care meetings, discussed treatments, goals, and plans.  Actually, that has been general practice up until Medicaid/Medicare changed the rules.  Along with that, the prosecutor based their sentencing on relevant conduct which, in my mind, is Constitutionally wrong.  It says that if you billed one client this way, then every single patient/client billing in that practice/agency has been fraudulent throughout the entire period for which the indictment applies.  Additionally, they can just assign an arbitrary number of dollars which is used to determine a sentence.  Even though they could not prove anything, they can scare and bully people into lying to get a lower sentence.  Well, the ninth circuit vacated the sentence and sent it back for re-sentencing, but realistic numbers have to be used.  So much money wasted by our government!

Now, the question is, should I file a motion to vacate my 33 month sentence?  Many of my Federal Prison Camp “attorneys” say yes I should!  I am going to observe and see what occurs at the sentencing hearing of this particular case and consider the outcome.

If you are interested in the case, the link is located at http://www.bloomberglaw.com/public/document/UNITED_STATE_of_AMERICA_Plaintiffapealee_V_ALEXANDER_POPOV_DEFE.

I am so thankful for my Federal Camp “Attorney’s!”  They sure keep life humorous and interesting.  And, they keep me aware!!

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Unemployment in the United States….

As I sit in the t.v. room, here at the camp, watching the news and listening to the correspondents speak about President Obama’s plans for solving the unemployment issues in our country, I am silently saying to myself, “Who is going to hire me?”  I know that I am a minuscule part of this  huge crisis we have in our country today.  But because I am no labelled a felon, charged with health care fraud and money laundering, I am going to face a huge challenge when it comes to securing employment.  I have always put myself in a position that makes it difficult for an agency or organization to say “no” to me.  I made sure I had sufficient education, unshakable work ethic, and honed interpersonal skills.  Barriers were there for me to overcome.

Now in the present, I feel like public enemy #1.  I am an African-American woman and now a FELON!  Whew!  My loved ones feel confident that i will find a way to reinvent myself.  Actually, at the end of my sentencing hearing even the judge made reference to my resiliency, personality, professional skills, and education by trying to assure me that I will find a way to have a productive life after this travesty!

Although in my heart I know I will find a way, because I have the will, I sure want to say I am nearly 50 years old, worked in the same profession for 27 years, built myself from scratch, and I should not have to start over!  I took my grandfather’s words to heart when he said, “To pull yourself up by your boot straps, a feller has to own a pair of boots.”  I worked hard for my boots!

A lot has been taken from me.  And to my grandpa I will say, “Grandpa, I will have my boots.”  So I guess I will have to start there!  If you have a job opportunity for me, I will be knocking on your door in the next 18 months!

I am thankful for my strength, love for life, and my family history!

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Are you Breaking any Federal Laws?…An Over-Criminalized Country…

Over the past four years, I have learned more about our Federal legal system than I would have ever cared to know.  Ironically, as an undergrad, my goal was to become an attorney.  My Bachelors Degree is in criminal justice.  I had aspirations of working within the legal system because, even then, I always saw our system as broken, biased, and elitist.  Unfortunately, I have been placed right in the middle of a structure that I have despised and avoided for my entire life.

Currently, the system I am “stuck” in is over-crowded and fiscally draining resources that could be utilized to better our society.  Our administration is well aware of this crisis and they have been quietly formed an over-criminalization task force. What the hell?  This is occurring because within the United States Penal Code, there are well over 4,000 offenses that carry criminal penalties.  There are also 10,000 to 100,000 federal regulations that can be criminally enforced.  Are YOU breaking a federal law?  Possible one that you don’t even know you’re breaking?  I can guarantee you that if you get on the Government’s radar for ANY reason, they can and WILL find a way to indict you.  I am not writing this to increase fear.  I just think that those of you who are voting members of the United States public should be aware of certain civil liberties we have given away to our government.  I too have to take responsibility for not actively paying attention to how I voted and what I voted for in all elections.

While our news stations are spending time on stories regarding how other countries apply laws, such as Italy, Korea and now Ukraine, we have not heard the discussions going on with our own Attorney General Eric Holder.  We have a major crisis her in our own back yard where we are able to BE the change.  Where are the discussions with Eric Holder.  I wish Mr. Holder would come to the Victorville Federal camp and have a discussion with me, an average, non-violent citizen with no legal history, professionally educated, and hard-working who was made into a felon.  I have a very intriguing story for Mr. Holder.  I will also ask Mr. Holder if he looked at all of the Federal codes and if he has ever inadvertently broken one of those may laws that are able to be LOOSELY applied to anyone caught in a prosecutors self-serving cross-hairs.

I feel like Marvin Gaye and want to ask, “What is going on?”  I am thankful for our strong history because I am always reminded that this too shall pass and that the United States finds ways to correct its mistakes.

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