The Felonious PhD.

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

Happy Holidays………. I had a FREE Christmas.  

Last year I remember saying to myself, as I sat in the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville California, that Christmas is just another day.   There is nothing like not being with your family and friends or surrounded by that circle of love, or that peaceful, loving feeling you have when you are connected to people.  As human beings that is an innate and natural way of being for us. As women our entire lives are spent ensuring that those connections are nurtured and available.  So when we as a society, continuously imprison non violent human souls like myself, without even assessing the need to utilize alternative methods of punishment, we take the chance of seriously causing trauma to not only the imprisoned souls, but all of those souls that are tethered to them. I think of those imprisoned women souls that I spent the past two Christmas with often and they will forever be in my heart and my thoughts.   
I am thankful for many things these days. My life is far from what I have envisioned or planned but it is good. I am so happy my son is all of himself. There is no feeling or words to express how grateful I am to all of the people in our lives that has taken care of him during this period. I for one understand how many families who have been impacted by the criminal justice system are invisible. It was incredible to be able to spend the holidays with my family’s and friends, as I continue on with this journey, it reminds me that this process is not just about me. So happy this phase is almost over and I can end this chapter in my life. As always I am forever thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. Peace. 

The journey continues…………12/2015

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Three months of halfway house………….My next is around the corner!

     I have completed three of my six months of halfway house in the Residential Reentry Center. For me this period has been much more emotionally settling than being totally isolated and invisible at the Federal Prison Camp. Many of the women at the camp are afraid to enter into the halfway house setting for many reasons. I truly feel like it has been a much needed transition for me and I am thankful. This week I was able to visit with my Hometown family of East Palo Alto. They have been a major part of the past five years just as my Reno peeps and all those who are tethered to me have been. But other than my family my EPA peeps truly understand the depth of my angst in regards to being involved in the system. I have seen my sister from another mother and father Meg Sanders. I was able to visit with the “person” Rebecca Reynolds who has help me manage most of my crazy during this process. We were able to visit outside of the camp visiting room and I did not have on green. Too bad she could not earn her MFT hours from me because I am sure she would be done by now. Being able to go home for the first time on thanksgiving was phenomenal. Being able to have consistent phone contact with my family and my friends has assisted me with maneuvering towards my next and it eases my anxiety as I prepare to go home. Now I just need a job in Reno. Not the easiest place to be a felon so this is going to be a bit of a challenge for me but I will just have to see how it goes. Whew! Anyone have one call me! For real. 

     I can not imagine how emotionally challenging it must be for those individuals who have spent years and years behind bars. I just wish there were more services to assist with being successful in your transition. There Is so much work to be done if this system truly wants to make changes. As many of the older incarcerated souls have entered the halfway house after years of incarceration they are just left to figure things out on their own. Most will tell you they don’t care as long as they are almost free. I just know that eventually they will care and then what? There has been so much about this journey that has me planning to get a job save my money and buy a little shack near a beach town. I guess I have reached a point where I understand that nothing matters but love and peace of mind. Well and a good bottle of wine.  

     I am thankful my time is almost over, I can not say that enough. I am thankful for the people in my life that has walked through this with me. I know we have all endured a lot. I am ready for next. Peace. 

The journey continues………..12/2015

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The Criminal Justice Industrial Complex……Its all about the money! 

I am convinced that we have to continue to actively participate in critically analyzing why ‘Real Criminal Justice Reform’ will not happen easily and without some extreme systemic changes.  And the discussions have to include the financial gains and losses that will most definitely limit ‘real reform’.   We know the truth and have all of the facts.  Now we, Americans, must operate with some courage. Change is not easy but it is necessary…….#realreform!

The journey continues………….feloniousphd 12/15

  

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……….America’s LEAST Wanted!

     Growing  up and entering young adulthood in the 80’s, I often struggled with how I was going to effectively maneuver myself in society as a Black, Gay, Woman. I used to utilize my tri-factor status as a means to fuel my energy and motivation to always do my best to work hard and make no excuses. I often found myself in spaces and places that I was often not welcomed. I did not do this on purpose but I did things such as apply to college in Orange County straight from the hood or attend school at a private southern baptist college because I desperately wanted an education, I did many things without any fear or restraint. I knew an education would propel me through anything and I was determined to earn one at any cost. Truly my role as a ‘sister outsider’ has always empowered me. It honestly forced me to over-achieve.         

     Now as I am about to re enter my life and my community after being an imprisoned woman soul, I am once again preparing myself to present all of me. Understanding fully and knowing realistically, and remembering consciously that at some point I will not be welcomed. Now I am not whining like a little baby or blaming, I am just stating some facts that have never stopped me before. I am authentically aware of the fact that I, Cassandra Denise Little embody almost every quality and title that our United States of America would rather extinguish or ostracize in some prison camp. I Am a BLACK, GAY, WOMAN, FELON and that is my own consciousness of truth. I seriously intersect with every social crisis or talking point in America right now. How incredible is that? Lol. 

     Many of my favorite writers have spoken eloquently about the internal and external battles of always operating as an outsider. I have diligently studied how many of my favorite artist have gone so far as to harm themselves emotionally spiritually or physically because of the ongoing battle with acceptance, belonging and simply needing and wanting to be loved by our Country. I realize now that how simply being alive as yourself places you in the middle of an American Social Crisis daily. The battle will never end. James Baldwin was correct in many aspects of his analysis of how difficult it is for an artist or a conscious individual to live peacefully in America. But after my imprisonment and experience with the Criminal Justice system, 27 years in Child Welfare, college career and childhood. Whew! I feel that I am armed and ready to live my life peacefully as an outsider. I will create my own safe space within the madness. I have lots of practice with doing that.  

     At the wonderful age of 51 years old I am now adding another layer of otherness to my me-ness. I am once again planning to utilize my education, will, tenacity, stubbornness and creative mind to not just survive this ordeal but to excel at a high level. I no longer operate on the premise of having an American Dream. But I do have plans and goals as I enter into late adulthood. Life as I know it is not perfect but it is good. This sister outsider feels phenomenal. 

     As always I am glad I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. Peace. 
The journey continues……………………feloniousphd 2015 

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