The Felonious PhD.

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

An Unplanned Journey Part 10 ………………….. All Stories are Valid and Needed!

Today marks my 21st month of incarceration.  It is hard to believe that I have been an imprisoned soul for nearly two years. But it is the truth, lol.  I want to take a moment to say thanks you to Chris for the comment on the blog that spoke to the importance of “forgiveness and redemption”.  I believe Chris is 110% correct in stating that we must forgive and find some form of redemption within ourselves no matter what.  I truly feel that is essential in order to save and nurture our own souls.

Early in my blogging process and months prior to my having to self surrender to the Federal Prison Camp, I was forced to do just what Chris advised.  I remember laying on my bed, which was squeezed into my little room, at my baby sisters house, and I wrote on my white dry erase board the word, “surrender”.   That moment forward began the process of forgiving myself for not being fully aware of the policies and procedures of the obscure Medicaid laws as they related to the Child Welfare system, and all who were involved in my investigation and indictment.  I also promised that I was going to enter the Federal Prison Camp space more of my loving self and would leave there a better version of me.  That is when I felt completely free and peaceful.

I began this blog space because, when my business was closed and children moved, I was losing my mind and did not know what was happening to me legally.  I could not find any information and all of my money was going to legal counsel who offered minimal assistance with providing me any form of clarity into my situation.  The Criminal Justice System process began its process of legal, personal and professional, destruction and I was becoming more and more despondent.  I had no point of reference and felt alone, lonely and began taking the persecution of the Criminal Justice System very personal.  This blog space kept me breathing.   I ran out of funds and could not pay for Therapy, Counseling or a Prison Consultant, not until I was able to obtain a Public Defender, was I able to get any information that made any sense in regards to what was going on.   This blog space gave me the strength to prepare for my incarceration and helped me to speak MY truth about Systemic Oppression not just from a theoretical perspective as a Social Worker, Foster Mother or a Professional, but as someone who is a mother, a woman and was about to enter deep into a Criminal Justice System that I have always despised, feared and worked to avoid.  I told myself that I was going to tell the truth no matter what.   Because believe it or not, Chris, I would rather speak about LOVE, FORGIVENESS and PEACE all day and every day, that is my true happy place.   But I felt compelled to just simply be authentic and speak my truths as I was living them and not revert to my natural tendencies of sugar coating my traumatic experiences in an attempt to lessen the blow to those who are tethered to me.

Once I entered the Federal Prison Camp I realized from the numerous stories and from the incidents I have witnessed, that the Criminal Justice System is more about the process and not much about me or the individual.  A process that has historically been flawed and broken and now as an inmate I was in a position to speak authentically about how the system has the capacity to effect me on all levels of my being as well as a Mother and a Woman.  I wanted to provide a space for another woman, mother who was going to entered into the Federal Criminal Justice, life-changing process and let her know she is not alone.  As women began entering the camp they would seek me out and express to me how the blog space provided them solace and helped their families with understanding what was going to happen.   They would also offer suggestions to me about what would have helped more as they were preparing to leave their children, families and careers.  Women who were fearful and depressed and just wanted to know anything that would let them know that they would be okay.

I am not by any means attempting to portray myself as a Martyr or want others to feel sorry for me.  That has never been my way.  I do what I need and have to do to take care of myself.   However, I have compelled myself to speak honestly about how this process tears at the soul of some people, goes overboard to prosecute individuals and provide little to no opportunity for a productive, peaceful Second Chance.  If we don’t tell it then those in charge wont know.  And I have to have hope, that if they know better they will try to do better.  I know it may not always be “Inspirational” but it is MY own story.  And as this part of my journey continues and eventually end, I would have told all no matter if it is bitter or sweet.

I am thankful for being who and where I am at any and every given moment.  I am also grateful that people are telling their stories as they move into and through the American Criminal Justice System.  Because I know that, “All of our stories are valid and needed”.  I am very thankful that this part of my journey is nearing an end.   I am not finished yet!

The journey continues…………………………………felonious phd 7/2015

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Guest Post…….

I have not written on Dr. Little’s blog since the day I dropped her off at the door of FCI Victorville almost 21 months ago.  She has spoken for herself in every post.  But tonight, as I sit in freedom, administrating comments, i had to stop and consider one follower’s comment.  I may have responded to Chris with great defensiveness because I know every detail of her case and her body of work, but I had to pause and wonder if others in the blogosphere have similar things to say, but refrain.  Not that it matters one way or another, but for those of us who know her, I thought it might be time to reintroduce the world to the amazing, selfless, humble woman that so many of the followers of this blog know and love.

Here is Chris’ comment:

“I admire the fact that you have documented your journey and have not been beaten down by the system. I completed my 21 month sentence for a white collar offense in May. I documented my journey as well and now work in Consulting helping others prepared for incarceration. I have followed your blog. I have to be honest. This is not meaning to be critical, but meant to be helpful. I understand you may not take it that way however, I feel compelled to tell you that I wish you would stop putting so much emphasis on blaming the system for your plight and take some responsibility. Every blog is a repetitive assassination of the flawed criminal justice system not a story of forgiveness and redemption. It is going to be difficult surviving on the outside without letting go of that angst and learning to accept that you must have done something wrong to be there and change your perspective so you can return to society completely humble and prepared to deal with the adversity instead of blaming the system for everything. It is a flawed system and the Camps are full of wonderful people who made mistakes. I found that those who step up and admit they probably deserved to be incarcerated (although maybe not for the ridiculous amount of time they give non-violent felons) they realize they need to change. Blaming the system is not going to help you much when you get out. I would be focusing on positive change.”

This comment assumes, like most Americans would, that if Dr. Little is in prison, she must be guilty.  So, my question is, who DO you blame when it is in fact the system that is to blame? People are forced to plead guilty every day simply because our system is set up to force guilty pleas, or plea bargains to avoid unwinnable trials and ridiculous sentences.  Yes, mistakes were made…..legitimate, actual mistakes.  But the vigor with which Dr. Little was vilified as a fraudster who “schemed and planned to defraud the government” when that was, in fact, not the case is something that no American believes could ever happen to them.  The sad truth is that if you did in fact make a mistake, the govt. regularly refuses to see it that way, so you’re screwed.  Would you be disheartened at the system? Or would you just say, oh well, I guess I deserve to be in prison for making that authentic mistake.  Nevermind that other agencies simply get to repay the money that was mistakenly overbilled; nevermind that the one of the biggest, most glowing examples of foster care success in that town had no blemishes on their billing or audit history;  nevermind that you’ve worked your whole life to improve the lives of every person you’ve ever crossed paths with, and showed respect and humility even to the face of those who slandered you.

Where should that disheartened sadness and anger be directed?  If you CANNOT say, “Well, in hindsight I did intentionally commit a crime, so I’ll do the time because I got caught,” because that would be a lie… what then?  How does a humble, loving, giving, unconditionally accepting, forgiving, honest, do-gooder come to terms with this plight?

Not a day goes by that my heart does not break for her family, all of those displaced foster kids, employees, and all that were tethered to her and her agency’s amazing work.  Our hearts also break for her.  I currently work with a variety of offenders of our criminal justice system.  The need for them to take responsibility for their actions is critical to their recovery and their future.  Dr. Little acknowledged her oversight, however, the destruction that the system caused was unnecessary overkill.  As a result of this travesty, I will do my best to never be ultimately responsible for any work that is funded by any government money because anyone who does is at risk of losing it all…….nobody is safe from the reach of the government and if, in fact, you do make a mistake with their money, you will likely be prosecuted to the fullest extent. There is no way to say, oops, I’m sorry, I didn’t do that on purpose, that was an oversight, let me rectify the mistake.

I hope that, for the world, people who know Dr. Little will feel free to take a minute to share their thoughts here.  I know that usually people just read this blog and then move on, feeling bad for her plight, but I’m interested to hear your feedback.

Thank you for indulging me in this little rant…….

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Part 10……………My American Story!!!!!!!!!

As I approach my 21st month of incarceration and nearing the end of this phase within the Federal Criminal Justice process, I can not resist my instinctual impulse to critically analyze how the American Criminal Justice System has/is creating a structural barrier for myself and others who are/have encountered, endured and survived its wrath.  As an acutely aware human, woman soul I am intrinsically connected to how this experience has and will impact my existence on the micro, mezzo and macro levels as I prepare to re-enter my life.

As I have refined and defined my own personal paradigm in regards to these matters, I have become entrenched in how challenging my existence is going to be, as I re-enter Society, in the next few months.   However, I am empowering myself to look at my situation closely and with a high level of mindfulness, so that I am purposeful and concise as I develop strategies that will lead to my ultimate success.  I know that I need to remain aware of the fact, that I have been absent from the real world for 2 years and I am now labeled an American Felon, which embodies a high amount of disenfranchisements, that quite frankly could bring the Average Citizen to their knees as they attempt to move beyond their  ultimate Social Death as an inmate.  No! I am not being dramatic, well, maybe a little, but the fact remains, that no matter how much we speak of this phase of our lives, being in the past, truth is, it will always represent our present on some level, and I will just remain mindfully aware and prepared to rely on my resilience and courage to push me through.

On the Micro-level, my mother-self have been absent from performing the most important duty or job in the world,   parenting.  Being a parent to my son and all of the young people tethered to me, has always been my priority and a duty that I taken very seriously.  On a personal level, not being able to daily parent, touch, hug or nurture my teenaged son has been the most difficult part of this experience.  It has also forced me to acknowledge how little our American Justice System values the importance of family, children or mothers.  Now that I have been gone and have experienced how the American Criminal Justice System chose to not utilize the many options that were available for a non-violent, 1st time, non-intending, woman, mother soul, I am completely convinced that I will never, ever assist anyone who is involved with the Federal Government System again.   I know that it is not a system that operates ethically, efficiently or with dignity.  That is a personal reality that will forever guide my future endeavors.

On a Mezzo-level I will never re-enter my community of 27 years and operate from a professional level that focused on transforming and inspiring vulnerable youth lives.   I WAS a valuable asset.  Yes! I am bragging on my felon-self (lol).  But I am convinced that no matter how insignificant I am to the Criminal Justice System, my absence, my services, love and commitment to Child Welfare has left a gap in my community!  I know that for sure.

On a Macro-level I embrace the fact that my being, my childhood, my life experiences has always provided me with the OPPORTUNITY to examine my existence in United States of America and encouraged me to operate strategically at a high level.  I can not and will not minimalize my level of anger as I now have to add another level of courage, strength and fearlessness to my being, in order to continue my journey.  I am now empowered to embrace and own “My True American Story”, one that has forced me to operate at a level way beyond any level I have ever operated on up until now or in my past. I am reaching deep into my soul and each day I have become stronger and more confident in my ability and drive to rise above this experience and all that it encompasses now and what it brings in the future.

Today, I have accepted that, despite my own consciousness of truth, in regards to my experience, I am and have been what is RIGHT about United States of America.  My current state of being, as an imprisoned soul, is a true example of what is WRONG with United States of America.  But I truly know and believe that my future will exemplify what is GREAT about United States of America!   I will operate “Beyond Resilient” and rise from the “belly of the beast”, the Prison Industrial Complex, Federal Criminal Justice System and achieve success, Personally, Spiritually, Socially, and Financially.  I am not done yet.  Mad as hell! but completely filled with love and courage.  If you are involved in the Federal Criminal Justice System, just know that you will survive, but I will implore you to force yourself to THRIVE!  That is winning.

The journey continues……………………………………………….felonious phd 7/2015 GB

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My Own Quietly Explosive Here, Part 7…….. “I Saw RED” My own silent rage!

I Saw RED! As I sat in a chair, across from another human being, trying to have hope and desperately, patiently awaiting some information regarding my OWN life, which at this time is in the control of an entity (The Prison Industrial Complex; Criminal Justice System) that structurally, in my professional opinion, is not capable of managing any living souls life effectively. I Saw RED! Not particularly because of the woman-person-human soul that was sitting in front of me, the one who was explaining to me that, I would NOT be getting six-months of halfway, transitional services because I have NOT completed a VT-vocational Tech class, such as automotive-brake repair or suspension or Microsoft 2000 or Resume Writing!. I have taken and completed such classes as, personal finance-which teaches you how to open a bank and savings account, women wellness- which talks about the importance of balance, smart money which discuses the importance of good credit, mortgages and interest rates and renting housing agreements, (lol someone please help me! hahahaha!)
It has been explained to me that I need to take the VT class to prove that I will and can be successful in the community, since I can no longer work within the field I have dedicated 27 years of my wonderful life to serving-the field in which I owe thousands of dollars for still, have given a priceless amount of my blood, sweat and tears, have passionately served with pride, dedication and love, for at least 10 years according to the OIG (Office of Inspector General). So, I am guessing the Criminal Justice System/Bureau of Prisons/Prison Industrial Complex believe the VT classes such as, automotive technology or resume writing are going be my saving grace. Once again, I do not blame the woman I am sitting in front of as I am seeing RED. I blame the ineffective, non-productive, structurally oppressive, archaic and demeaning Prison Industrial Complex, Criminal Justice System. This must change, reform is not enough, simple reform will never be enough! I hope Voters, Politicians, Community Activist and any other living soul understand that this structure has to change soon.
In the meantime I am awaiting a date so that I can plan my future re-entry. I saw RED! As I walked out of the office, after the 10 minutes team meeting, I left confused, angry, frustrated and baffled by a process that has no accountability and renders me completely and indescribably helpless.

I immediately headed to the phone and urgently attempted to call my “PERSON” (an individual who is not tethered to your crisis, life coach, therapist, counselor, friend, who will authentically, honestly and often bluntly tell you the truth by any means necessary in an attempt to assist you with saving your mind and soul!). After several attempts to reach her on the phone, standing there I felt my blood boil from my toes up to the top of my head. I saw RED! I knew my silent rage was at its max. Once my PERSON answered the phone she immediately knew from my tone that I was emotionally in crisis. After explaining my frustration and coming to grips with the fact that I still do not know when I will be transitioning from the Federal Prison Camp to halfway house and then home, she simply reminded me that it is completely about the system, and once again I remembered that at this moment and time I am inmate 47078-048 and that is it. I am not a mother, a professional with a degree, not a sister, not an aunt, not a daughter, not a niece, not a friend, not a woman who needs to know what in the hell is going on in her life.  I am an inmate who is just one soul in this system of many souls. As our allotted 15 minute conversation drew to an end, I felt my level of red move from the top of my head down to my stomach, whew! I hung up the phone and planned to go lay down on my bunk to gather myself completely. As I left the phone area and headed to my bunk I was stopped by my buddy who has been incarcerated for over 20 years, non violent, low-level drug offender. She asked me how my team meeting went and if I received my date yet, BECAUSE, she was still waiting for hers as she is due to be released in less than three months. She has yet to receive her final, definite date! OMG! that was all I could think, as I felt my level of red seep all of the way out of my body. I was reminded that no matter how much of an ego I may have or how desperate I am about being here, or how much I despise this setting, or how much I know that the Criminal Justice System is completely inhumane, I must be thankful, because there are women who have been trapped in this system most of their lives and still the system does not operate with any level of urgency to return them to their family, community, or society effectively or expeditiously.
I have never felt so helpless as I have throughout this experience within the Prison Industrial Complex/Criminal justice System. This journey is often unfathomable to me, I don’t know how to help other souls through this process other than to share all of my consciousness of truth in regards to my experience. I will continue to do that in hope that I can and will serve as living proof that through it all one can leave this structure hopeful and loving and excel despite knowing and believing that we were never meant to survive it! I will continue to be Beyond Resilient.
I am so thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. I am also so grateful that my time is winding down here. I may not know when, but I know it is going to happen!

The journey continues………………………………………felonious p

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An Unplanned Journey, Part 9……My last INCARCERATED Independence Day

An Unplanned Journey Part 9……………………………………….My last INCARCERATED Independence Day!

The irony of this day, Independence Day, and the status of my present imprisoned condition, is quite profound and leaves me speechless as I ask my favorite question, “Is this real life?” (lol). Today as I am sitting here and acknowledging that this is my last Imprisoned Independence Day at the Federal Prison Camp, I can not help but reflect on my very first day as I prepared to surrender into the Federal Criminal Justice System. I will forever be tethered to my feelings as I sat on the metal bench in front of the Camp, awaiting to be processed into the system. I recall sitting there listening to the chain pound against the flag post and sparingly looking up at the flag (the red, white and blue) as it waved so boldly and proudly and fluidly in the sky. I just looked so free and peaceful and it was another moment in my life when I quite honestly felt abandoned by my Country. I was deeply hurt and truly disheartened by how the Federal Criminal Justice System and it’s minions went to great extent to destroy and tarnish everything about who I was and what I stood for in regards to my life as a Social Worker, Foster Mother, Clinician, Community Advocate and a loving, caring soul.
As I sit here now writing this, I have come to the belief that I am this Country. I am United States of America and all that it stands for, not only when things in my life are going well, but I am also a reflection of its dysfunction when things in my life are challenging. Don’t get me wrong!!! I will never ever accept that the only option the Criminal Justice System saw fit for a hardworking, pull yourself up by your own bootstrap believer, American Dreaming, Black, Woman, Educated or mis-educated, Mother, Professional who was non-violent, 1st time non-intending and completely transparent, was to incarcerate and criminalize me to the point where it truly threatened my well-being on all levels. That I will never accept or forget. However, I will use this experience, that has forced me to clearly embrace the fact that to LOVE SELF and LOVE others despite any and all circumstances, as a catalyst to my success in my next chapter. I refuse to allow this crazy experience to be my last one, the end of my story or to render me a victim as well as a collateral damage to its ineffective policies. I will rise!
To sit imprisoned and acknowledge that today is a day about liberation and freedom can be heartbreaking for a moment. I am not sure if I ever took my life for granted prior to this experience with the Criminal justice System, but I can guarantee that after this emotional traumatic journey, I will forever be FREE! No one can touch me, nothing will shake my soul, that is my own consciousness of truth.
It remains to be seen or heard when I will be released from the Federal Prison Camp. The main thing for me at this point, is knowing that my stay will end soon. Two years ago I was sitting up in a desolate, quiet, dusty space, glancing with discontent at the American flag that has been my flag, despite all of the horrendous things it has represented in the past, and I felt orphaned. I mean even more so than I did as I fought my way to being an independent, productive Citizen despite all odds that presented themselves to me. Now I have to add another layer to my being. A layer I completely despise, but like many other aspects of my journey, I have to accept and incorporate into my life. It is just unfortunate that this label, I am now forced to carry, one of a felon, forever portrays me as someone who was rendered unsafe or unsavory, to be an active participant in Society. That is a tremendous heart wrenching thought and reality that I will have to accept and move past one day. I know eventually I will, mainly because I have never allowed negativity to guide my life and never will. But today when I am supposed to be a proud American, I can not help but question and feel saddened by my circumstances.
The 4th of July has many meanings to many people, for me it has always been a time when I got together with my loved ones and BBQed, laughed, sang, and just simply enjoyed each others company as we watched the fireworks at the end of the day. As I sit here alone, isolated and without my loved ones, bbq or fireworks, I have to admit that I still feel free and peaceful. I am lonely, yes, but damn I feel good and positive about my next chapter. I am completely free from any burdens that I once carried prior to my incarceration. I have intrinsically shed all of them and will not allow anything to jeopardize my internal freedom or my Soul ever again.
I will always feels some kind of way about MY FLAG, The Criminal Justice System and MY USA, but it is part of who I am and I am admitting today that I am okay with that. I will use this part of my life as a guide for my next stage and I am planning on my next chapter being my BEST ONE EVER!!!!!! I miss my son and my family and friends. I am sure everyone is enjoying their day and each other. I just want everyone to know that I am good!!!!! I am still my loving, caring self. I love you all!!!! I will see you all soon. Happy 4th of July!!

The journey continues………………………………………felonious phd 7/2015

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Diary of An Imprisoned Soul, Part 9……..Life Journey Jackpot!

Diary of An Imprisoned Soul Part 9………………………………………………….Life Journey Jackpot!

Mr. James Baldwin was once asked, in an interview, whether certain issues in his life had hindered him. Mr. Baldwin eloquently responded, “No, I thought I had hit the JACKPOT. It was so OUTRAGEOUS, you had to find a way to USE it.”
I have always closely identified with Mr. Baldwin’s response to that life question for many reasons. Now, as an Imprisoned soulful woman, I truly understand the depth and the complexity of his answer. I also know for certain that it is my purpose to use this incredibly challenging experience, in a powerful manner, as I enter the next chapter in my life journey.
Over the past 5 years, I have tried diligently not to daily focus on the “why?”. “Why did this happen to me and those tethered to me?”. I did not refrain from that abstract, one-word question, because I could not make sense out of what I felt was a very senseless experience, I did not want to continue to ask “why?” because I would be forced to be open and mindful of the answers that would present themselves. Over the past year, I have let go of resisting the answers to the “Why?” question in my life. Not just in regards to this horrific experience but to every aspect of my wonderful life experience up to this point. I truly understand on a personal level that the answers to the “why?” is all a part of my true purpose. I will NEVER understand or accept how incredibly disheartening and irreverent the Criminal Justice System/Prison Industrial Complex, is to human souls and how it has the capacity to destroy wonderful people. However, I do understand more than ever, that I must love more, love hard, love authentically, love with a bit of discern and most of all I have to actively participate in Loving myself fully and I must do that by any means necessary.
As I maneuver through the Federal Criminal Justice System, which encompasses many traits that are completely opposite of my way of being, I mean it has characteristics such as, a space of nothingness, irreverence, insolence, pain, fear, misogyny, darkness, loneliness, and self hate, I have increased my capacity to Love amidst pure darkness, being forced to merge with my shadow self and mindfully acknowledging my own consciousness of truth has empowered me on a level I have never experienced before. I feel Forever Free!
Like Mr. Baldwin I plan to use the entirety of my life story as a testament to others who have faced traumatic, life threatening and soul changing, experiences to build on the layers of my life as I ascend towards all of my infinite possibilities. My journey is full of JACKPOT experiences, that I can access as I catapult myself from being an Imprisoned Soul to Forever Free.
I am thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. I am also grateful that I will soon return to my teenaged son, my family and friends life. I deeply miss everyone!

The journey continues…………………………………….felonious phd 6/2015

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