The Felonious PhD.

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

An Unplanned Journey, Part 12…..”Do you believe in Fate?” A question indicative of the White Collar Woman Fog State!

As I progress through the Federal Criminal Justice process, I desperately wanted to honestly, authentically and mindfully disclose my consciousness of truth about this experience as I live and witness it. I wanted to provide a narrative that speaks not from the realm of guilt or innocence but from a perspective of a human who is forced to interact within a not so human-like sub-culture. My only motivation is to assist other women like myself, who find themselves in this space, trapped in their internal self, without a contextual guide for putting this experience in perspective in the hopes that they will not feel alone. I felt alone when this process began for me, not for lack of support or spiritual consciousness, but because I could not find any assistance with what I was enduring emotionally. That lack of connectedness to my core self, nearly forced me to take my own life.

In an attempt to try to provide others with a means of understanding their plight, I have named and defined some of the phases I have emotionally experienced over the past 5 years. Over the past 22 months, one of the phases that I have not only personally experienced, off and on, I have witnessed from other women at the camp, is a stage I labeled as the, “White Collar Woman Fog”. The White Collar woman fog is a state of being which I define as occurring when the newness of being at the Federal Prison Camp begins to wane. This phase occurs regardless of race, age or social economic status. It typically happens after the shock of interfacing with The United States Government. During this period you struggle to embrace your experience as a felon and an imprisoned soul. At this point your NOW becomes very “surreal”. The trauma from the experience, which may have taken years to develop, happens very quickly as your life as a mother, woman, professional, sister, daughter, aunt, grandmother and friend are swiftly redefined. After a few months as an imprisoned soul at the Federal Prison Camp you are emotionally forced to embrace the realness of your “Now” as it relates to your past and will impact your future. That obscure space in the middle of “surreal” and “real” is what I define as “The Fog state”.
That way of being is similar to the struggle of trying to understand the obscurity of some of the Federal Criminal laws and policies that are used to indict and imprison. The trauma initially stems from not being able to tether yourself to what is happening to you within the Federal Criminal Justice System because it is an experience that is totally opposite of your being. But you desperately want and need to make sense of it all, for the sake of your own sanity. Initially, it is literally impossible to become congruent with your current status as a imprisoned felon, the next safest place is within the White Collar Woman Fog state. At least until you are ready to move forward in your journey. It is very challenging maintaining a sense of being in the “White Collar Woman Fog ” because of the systemic oppressive nature of the system is consistently inconsistent, and you are forced to live in a state of wonder or questioning. For some this causes sadness and depression if you try to give it purpose or control it. My advice is to just surrender to it. Walk around in that foggy state knowing that you are safe and there is nothing much you have to do as you are now an imprisoned soul and the BOP will dictate your day to day experiences for you for the most part. Take the ride when you can and just go with the flow.
“Do you believe in fate?” that was a question that my Italian, 60 plus years old, friend ask me. I immediately recognized from the look in her eyes, a level of unknowing sadness or questioning, her solemn voice tone, that she was entering into the “White Collar woman fog state”. That question as well as “Is this real life?” seem to be synonymous with this phase of the imprisonment process. I told her I only speak with a level of expertise from my own truth, and I don’t believe that there were any accidents in my life. I never have. I also explained to her that it does not make any trauma or unpleasant experience easier to endure, but the awareness empowers me to surrender to the experience knowing that I am not alone and life has always worked out in my favor if I allowed it to. I also reminded her that the answers to our questions may never reveal themselves and I have made peace with that fact! After explaining to her my theory about the White Collar Woman Fog, I also reassured her that she was not losing her mind, haha!
Over the past 22 months not only have I become cognitively aware of my own internal transformation, I have also witnessed some incredible awakening moments from other women in here. Unfortunately, I have also seen the complete opposite and that is heartbreaking. I am completely sure that no matter how incredibly hard, isolating, depressing, defeminizing, dehumanizing, absurd, ridiculously unnecessary this Federal Criminal Justice process is on a human soul, you can use this space to leave a better version of you if you choose to do so.
I am thankful that my time at the Camp is nearly over. I don’t know what is ahead and for once in my life I am “kind of” okay with that!

The journey continues……………………………………………………………………..feloniousphd 8/2015

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TRAJECTORY Part 1…. It is time to UN-Pause!

 After today, August 28, 2015, I will have 10 days and a wake up (camp term)before I will walk out of the camp doors and head down the road to the halfway house.  I have spent the last week emptying my already semi-empty locker, since I did not have much, other than what was issued to me through the Camp.  I seem to be ending my stay here similar to how I began my stay, by waking up at 3 a.m. with little to do but stare at the top of the bunk, listening to the symphony of snores that ring out through the warehouse and trying desperately to ignore the other bodily functions that join in occasionally. There is never a dull moment when you are housed with over 100 women (lol).  The semi-quiet space leads way to my obsessive thoughts in regards to what am I going to do next?  How am I going to get to my son as expeditiously as possible?  How am I going to take care of us?  (Whew! the mind, I can not help it!).

     Over the past few weeks, I have also spent more time talking to the few women in here that I have formed wonderful and positive connections with.  As a woman who is about to leave the Federal Prison Camp, I am mindful of the women that I admire and will soon be leaving behind.  Some will be left in the system for a few months, others for little over a year and many for numerous years.  That makes having conversations about my angst in regards to transitioning back into real life a bit challenging at times.  It is incredibly hard to discuss my issues regarding my freedom with the women who are facing years and years and fighting with the Government by applying for appeals, without being completely humble and thankful, regardless of my personal feelings about my own journey through the Federal Criminal Justice System.  One of the women, for whom I completely respect and have sought out numerous times, when I was in need of some truth, lol, is an Attorney from Orange County, California.  Her case is extremely indescribable and her sentence of 121 months for a bankruptcy case is historical in the State of California, (you can read her case at this link- http//onforb.es/1BfvcBk).

The core of our latest discussions have focused on, what are we going to do, as middle aged professional women who have both been a part of Social Systems, work hard for those systems for the entirety of our careers, up until being investigated, indicted, and incarcerated.  Her plans which has not waivered from the beginning is, to just BE.  She feels that she has given all that she had to give and to end up in prison has convinced her that she should just  BE.  We speak at length about the traumatic experience and the impact the Federal Criminal Justice System has had on our ability to be parents, professionals and the active participants we have always been in our lives and our communities.  As I quickly face the reality that I have to UN-Pause in preparation for interfacing my real life, my friend reminded me that this life experience has not destroyed us entirely, but it has changed the TRAJECTORY of our life.  I completely connected to that explanation as I told her that I have NO passion for anything at this moment but my own internal peace and to make sure my son get the best opportunity to launch into college and young adulthood positively.   She reassured me that it was ok, because I have already lived that half of my life.  I can just check it off my list as Dream and Goal achieved, and keep it moving.  It is the truth, I have experienced pure joy from my work and the energy it took to get there, so for now I too can just be.

I am truly going to miss several of the women in here and I will definitely miss my Attorney, Orange County friend.  Because of policies and procedures we are not allowed to communicate with each other once someone leaves the camp.  Another barrier for individuals who have developed healthy support systems when theirs have all disappeared (another issue that needs to be addressed for imprisoned women).  I know the women will get through because that is what we do best.   We all encompass the ability to be active participants in our lives no matter how hard this Federal Criminal Justice process is on our souls and hearts.

I am grateful for the women who graciously shared their lives with me during this difficult period in our journeys.  I am also thankful that I am leaving the Camp very soon and a step closer to getting home to my teenaged son.

The journey continues……………………………………….felonious phd. 8/2015

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An Unplanned Journey Part 11…………What is NEXT?!!!!!!

Today marks the 22nd month of my being an imprisoned soul here at the Victorville, California Federal Prison Camp.  I am also a little over three weeks from being released from the Camp to the next phase of the Criminal Justice process, the Residential Re-entry Center in San Francisco, California.

I am preparing myself mentally to enter into a halfway house environment that is relatively unknown to me.  I am also remaining completely focused on utilizing the residential re-entry phase of my journey to redefine myself professionally, and to secure adequate housing for my son and I.  Transitioning out of the Federal Prison Camp and in the community Residential Re-entry Center will allow me the opportunity to configure a plan to market myself in the Business World.  I am cognitively aware of the fact that I will have to act with a high level of diligence and passion in my quest for employment and financial independence.  This is a critical stage for me since I am 51 years old, have been absent from the working community for two years, was self-employed for many years and now labeled a FELON.

I have to admit that I feel more encouraged about re-entering into the community as a felon in California as opposed to Nevada.  Over the past few months California has proposed and implemented several Criminal Justice reform policies on the state and local levels.  Although, many of those state and local policies will not directly assist me because my charges are on the Federal level, the shift in California’s Criminal Justice paradigm provides me hope for an authentic opportunity for a second chance at success. At this time Nevada is a bit more conservative than California in that respect and I need to be in the best position to succeed.

Currently my immediate goals as I enter into the halfway house are, to work hard to secure adequate employment, ask for a relocation from Nevada, and once I have a foundation, I will transition my son from Nevada to California to live with me.  At that point all of the pieces of my life will finally be in place.  Whew! I know I have to prepare myself to get my hustle on big time (lol).  If for some reason I am not able to remain in California and have to return to Nevada, I will find a way to make that work also. Honestly, I have no choice.  At this time my next is plague with many questions, and uncertainties, but I am remaining mindful that no matter where I live, I am moving forward in this process and getting closer to reunifying with my son and family.  It feels like I have a long road ahead of me, but the urgency of being available to help my son launch productively into college, is my main motivation for success at this time.

I continue to be thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any and every given moment.  I am grateful that my son has began 11th grade and is prepared, positive, confident and loved, thanks to his wonderful support system.  This phase of the Federal Criminal Justice imprisonment process is nearly over.  I am NOT done yet but I am moving onward.  I am READY!

The journey continues………………………………………felonious phd.  8/2015

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Getting to The Core, Part 6……..Putting The Pieces Back Together

The question that I have been asked continuously since receiving my release date of September 8, 2015 is “Are you nervous?”   My immediate response has been, “No not really, I am still just moving through the process”.   As I make myself consciously aware of that question and the feelings I am having about leaving the incarceration phase of this journey, I don’t think nervous is what I am experiencing.   I have started thinking about all of the things that I have to do to put the pieces of my foundation back together for myself and my son, who will be 16 years old on September 15, 2015.  I keep reminding myself that I must continue to just use patience as I strategize and plan for our next.  In reality I will still be under the auspice of the Federal Bureau of Prisons and will have limited freedoms until my Free date which is March 6, 2016.

My logical self completely understands that I will not be able to fully repair, piece together everything that I once had.  I am aware of the fact that I must focus mainly on meeting our basic needs and build on a foundation to sustain my son and I as we continue onward.   My mother soulful self has such a sense of urgency to get life going so that my teenaged son will have every possible, positive opportunity to launch productively into college and his own life.  The mother soul in me is ready to get this going and prepared to do whatever it takes to reunify expeditiously with my son and our life.

I am remaining mindful that the process of putting the pieces of our lives back together is going to be challenging.  At the same time I feel like it is going to be a period where I will reconnect with my son as he transitions into young adulthood.  I truly understand and accept the fact that our lives may not look as it once did prior to this crisis.   However, I am encouraged and prepared to actively strive for us both to enter into our NEW and NEXT positively, passionately and with a new purpose.

All in all, I am not afraid, I am a bit anxious, but I am fearlessly prepared to move onward to the halfway house as I move through the Federal Criminal justice System.   The pieces of my life are most definitely fragmented, scattered, and jagged but they are not broken beyond repair.  I am ready for next!  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 be with my son soon.  I am not finished yet.

The journey continues……………………………………………the felonious phd. 3/2015

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A Critical Analysis of Re-entry and Recidivism Part 4………………….. I am leaving the Federal Prison Camp!

    The past two weeks have been very challenging emotionally as I anxiously awaited a discharge date from the camp. Being someone who has spent her entire adult life planning for next, the past 5 years of my journey have given me a new perspective on the ideology and practice of the word “surrender”. I told myself as I walked into the Federal Bureau of Prisons Camp doors on October 14, 2013, that I was going to ride this rollercoaster ride and be all of ME at all costs. My main mantra throughout this entire ordeal has been, “I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment”. Honestly, that reminder has been my saving grace and provided me a means to move through this process whole, sane and my loving self.

     My heart jumped last week when my last name was called to come to the Unit Team, over the camp loud speaker. I quickly left my library detail, walking briskly through my daily path, telling myself to breathe. I entered the Secretary’s office he asked for my Camp identification and notified me that I would be leaving the camp on SEPTEMBER 8, 2015! YAY! He also proceeded to inform me that I would be going to the halfway house in San Francisco, California. (huh?!) Although I had heard mention last week that I could end up in San Francisco, I was still sure I was going to Las Vegas, Nevada since I lived in Reno, Nevada. He had me sign my papers for processing and told me that I had 24 hours to let him know how I would be furloughing to the halfway house in San Francisco. He wanted to know if someone would be transporting me or if I would be riding the bus to my destination. I left his office relieved and happy. Finally I was going to be able to get a step closer to getting to my son and my life.

As I re-entered the unit, several of the women stopped me and asked when I would be leaving, because when your name is called to the unit team by the Secretary, it is apparent that you have received your date to leave the camp. They followed that question with asking me where was I going for halfway house? At that moment I realized that I have spent my entire 21 months making plans to re-enter society from Las Vegas, Nevada. I had my mind set on moving to Las Vegas and starting over there with my son. It was just another clear reminder for me that one, I am not in control and two, you can not plan anything within this system. The best mode of operation is to just go with the flow. At this point and time I do not care where they are sending me, I am just happy to move on to the next phase of this process.

So, in 30 days I will be heading to “The Bay”. I have to admit I am a bit elated, not only to be leaving the Federal Prison Camp and heading into the next phase of this long heart wrenching journey, I am happy about going “HOME”. I was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. So like I have said throughout this entire process, “I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment”. Go Figure! lol. San Francisco here I come.

I am thankful that my time is nearly over here at the camp. I am forever grateful for everyone who has supported me and my son throughout this ordeal. I am not finished yet! But I feel PHENOMENAL!

The Journey Continues………………………………………………………..Felonious Ph.D. 48/2015

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