The Felonious PhD.

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

A Very Private Party…..

Happy Birthday to me I am 50!!!

I woke up wishing that this entire process was just a long, horrible, and often humorous dream. There is no way in the world I am laying here in a shell of a warehouse with a steel ceiling with steel beams and humongous bolts showing through. The huge piping for air and heat readily exposed and running from one end of the barren ceiling to the other side. And the shiniest concrete floors ever. Looking over I examined the many light fixtures that covered the building and was hanging down by industrial wire that is strategically place in each of the four rectangular corners. This is so surreal!!! Is this real life?!! (lol) really I am laughing it is funny. I thought to myself this birthday revelation is so surreal I can not even cry, as I lay silently on my top bunk ( lord help me!) covered up with a thin regulation tan blanket, at least it is not green, hahaha! On top of the thin blanket that the Officers are always patrolling to make sure we do not have more than 2 or they will quickly confiscate them. Truly this life is a movie and I mean a sitcom not a drama. I luckily have a bunkie who is an awesome crotchetier and she made me a personalized blanket that says (“Little”) at the end so no one will steal it, so I am good. (Thanks bunkie).

I decided that I am going to keep this day to myself. To share alone with me, myself and I. It truly gives a new prolific meaning to “private party”, one of my favorite songs from Indie.Arie, as I sang it in my head I quickly flashed to myself in the house alone singing as loud as I can and jamming that song. I miss home! Then I thought about how this is a milestone birthday and typically I would have some sort of gathering that would include music, laughter, friends, family and lots of wine and some good food. Whew! I miss real food. Just as I was about to lose my, I can do this day alone by myself without being depressed attitude, I reminded myself that I will have many more birthdays. Also, I truly felt and looked damn good for a 50 year old woman in prison, sleeping on a bunk bed, in a warehouse with over 160 women, wearing some ugly men clothes and wearing crocs (yes, croccs, ugh!! I never!) lol.

So today on my 50th birthday I am going to celebrate me for me and be thankful that I am still here, somewhat sane and cute as ever! Happy Birthday to me! I am good!!!! Peeps I love you all………..

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Should I Feel Lucky?……

As I was standing in yet another line waiting for the commissary to open, a woman who has been here a while began talking to me and asked me a couple of questions regarding the Sentencing Reform bills that are pending approval.  I learned quickly to never assume I know the answers to any legal questions or policy issues, so I don’t offer them when approached for answers.  Our legal system is so confusing and many of the people who have been incarcerated by the Federal System for a long time get very anxious about pending or new legislation.  So, it can be a slippery slope for anyone, especially an inmate, to give any feedback to an inmate regarding laws.

The woman, who happens to be in her late 50’s, was an administrator for a company that billed Medicare and Medicaid.  She went on to clarify her legal case and discussed how her indictment was built on the prosecutor and investigators summary and testimony that she INTENDED to defraud the government.  They then refused to bring to light that she had passed a lie detector test and quite frankly was not in the position to even bill for the services that they alleged she billed in their discovery.  When it was all said and done, she was sentenced to 152 months….yes, over 14 years.  This sentence was based on her intent to conduct fraudulent activities.

I know that many Americans say, well everyone always says they are innocent!  I have not spoken to anyone here who has said they have  not made a mistake, but most of the White collar Women in here, like myself, had no intent to commit the crimes they’re serving time for.  The issues could have easily been remedied without tax payers spending thousands and thousands of dollars for legal costs as well as the $28,000 to $54,o00 a year that it costs per person to house a Federal inmate.

When I hear about these long sentences that have been given to non-violent, law abiding, hard working, first time offending women, I silently ask myself, “Should I feel lucky?”  My 33 month sentence was the end of a loooooong heart-wrenching process.  I think at this point, I only feel lucky that I have survived.

I am thankful that some of the reform bills may assist people who were given outrageous sentences.  The pending reform bills are the only opportunity that some of the non-violent, first-time offenders will have for being free before they are senior citizens.

Please read up on these reform bills and press upon your government officials to act to pass these reforms.  Also, take some time to look at the Federal Government laws that may affect your life and your business dealings.  Some of the new legislation is requiring that the government list all of the laws and codes on their websites for citizens to have access.  I would hate for anyone else to unknowingly break a law that would lead to the destruction of their career, personal life, and finances and ultimately land them in Federal Prison.  It’s not as far-fetched as people think….I’m proof of that!

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A Grown Woman and a Bunk Bed….

Where does a 49-year-old woman begin when discussing the perils of sleeping in a bunk bed?

Quite often I find myself cracking up at how uncomplicated, neurotic and comical my life is right now.  A few nights ago, I decided I was going to climb on top of my bed and listen to my music and read.  Yes! I said climb up to my top bunk!  As I was sitting up there in my BOP shorts, BOP t-shirt, and BOP men’s socks that are way to big, oh, and my green beanie because it’s cold up there, I looked over to Ms. B.B. and said, “Look at me!!”  I was swinging my short legs over the side of my top bunk looking like a 12-year-old boy!  We cracked up!

As much as this experience is frustrating and disheartening, it is equally funny as heck!  At time, this experience is so unreal and ridiculous!  I just keep reminding myself that I have been through worse, or at least that is what I tell myself.  Then, I remind myself of how so many of my foster kids, and kids who didn’t come to me, have endured and overcome similar and even worse experiences.  Then I channel my inner Cynthia, Adrian, Max, Johnny, Daniella, Eddie, Todd, Davonne, Brandon, Richy, and Nick and all the others.  I embrace the PTSD and chaos that my nephew Dee overcame, and I think of his sister and brother.  I honestly incorporate everything I have told them over the years about no whining and blaming others because nobody cares.  I remind myself that I have to define my experience and share it in a way that will encourage and uplift others.  As I have used with them in the past, I will definitely rely on my sense of humor because sometimes laughter is the only healthy alternative.

I am so thankful for my kids.  They have shown me that I have to practice what I have preached!

So, every  night, after 9:30 pm count, I climb my grown woman butt up to the top bunk and say thank you that another day has ended!

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