The Felonious PhD.

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

Forever Free Part 1…………..One month free, life is good.

Today marks a month of my being free from the auspices and ridiculousness of the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Even though I remain captive in the Judicial system for another three years on Supervised Release, nothing compares to being free from the belly of the beast. My probation officer has been a pleasant part of this journey. Mainly because every interaction I have had with her up to this point, she has treated me with dignity and respect without skipping a beat to do her job. So I know it is possible for our system and those who work within it to do better. I am witnessing it first hand.

Now I have to complete my 100 hours court ordered community service hours, and try diligently in the conservative town of Reno, Nevada, to secure adequate employment. I know I have a challenge ahead of me, but that is not a new way of being for me. Nothing or no one could ever disrupt my spirit and steal my joy again, so I will continue to push forward lovingly and with purpose. Truly, this is the only way I know how to operate.

These days I ask myself this question, “What do I want?” I ask that question in regards to all aspects of my life. I have decided that Professionally I want to work in the college setting. I love that environment and the energy that young people who are learning and finding their way have. I am not sure if that is possible with my being a felon but that is what I am striving for, and that has always been my long-term goal. Personally, I only want peace and will not allow anyone within my space that does not want the same thing or try to infiltrate my peaceful and loving environment. I am now free to live and build the life that I want and I am not going to miss this opportunity.

This unplanned journey has been so surreal and often foreign to me. I know that only time will move me past the trauma I have personally experienced, and I will continue to remain mindful of everything that I have gone through and overcome so that I can share those experiences with other women whom unfortunately find themselves in the Federal Criminal Justice system. I left several incredible friends behind in the camp and will not forget them either. I want them to know that they are not invisible, alone or unworthy.

There is nothing like being free. Lately I have been trying to organize my many blogs that have not been posted, as I attempt to piece together my life over the past few years. I want to write a book that will clearly tell not just my story but one that will provide a window into the stories of many of the women, mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters and friends that were incarcerated when truthfully there were other options. So for the next year that’s my goal. I will never forget how I felt as an incarcerated soul, so that I will forever live my life FREE! Peace.

The journey continues………………..feloniousphd 4-4-16

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

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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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