The Felonious PhD.

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

Prison Industrial Complex Part 4…………………….. Conscious Awareness Identity (CAI)-Is this real Life?

Okay! I know that as long as I am alive there is going to be ongoing chaos and madness going on in the World.  But lately there have been a tremendous amount of talking points and incidents that are directly related to my present life within the “belly of the beast”  The Prison Industrial Complex.   Consistently, in the News, I have heard many familiar Federal Criminal Justice System terms, such as, Federal Investigation (a constitutional invasion of Americans privacy, dignity and humanity), Indictment (DOJ & IRS means for terrorizing and destroying its own citizens and fiber of our Country) Imprisonment (deconstruction of a human soul, rendering him/her powerless for the entirety of his/her life as an American Citizen), BOP (a financial broker of goods, services and labor for cheap, off the backs of imprisoned souls and tax payers dollars), Re-Entry (a complete joke! we were never meant to survive this atrocious systemic oppressive system) Supervised Release-Probation (a gateway back to prison and the only means the PIC has to ensure that PRISONS remain the only option for addressing issues of non-violent, non-intentional crimes, maladaptive behaviors, mental illness and poverty).  These terms have become part of normal conversation within our USA News cycle.  Yes, I added my own definition for each phase of this process and those are cliff note versions of my consciousness of truth in regards to the Federal Criminal Justice System process.  I plan to expand on those concepts once I am physically free, lol.

Daily on the News, yes! I know I should cease watching the highly political and fear based stream of information, I have become aware that I may be overly aware and connected to any and every incident that occurs Nationally within the Federal Criminal Justice System Process.  At this point, and considering my circumstances, it is difficult to not be awake.  Honestly, as I sit here I am witnessing an Indictment on a Nation at an seemingly increasing rate.  On a weekly basis there are reports of new indictments on Politicians,  Professionals, Organizations (no banks officials of course! lol) and even Sports.  Everyone has fallen under the Department of Justice’s archaic, mobster-like criminal codes such as FRAUD, CORRUPTION, RICO and CONSPIRACY (these are terms I plan to expand on in the future when I am physically free, lol). Once again I sit in this dehumanizing space asking, “Is this real life?” and “Is anyone paying attention?” whew!!

I know that because I am an INMATE or CONVICT, as they remind me daily, I may be a bit sensitive to the subject matter. I can remember when I purchased my red car, the moment I drove it off the lot, I immediately became aware consciously that I identified with every red car driver on the road and was able to point out every red car.  So I know that my present status clearly dictates my social conscious awareness, still my mindful intuition is saying “WARNING!” yes, this is a warning not to increase or encourage fear, I am so over that narrative!.  I just want those tethered to me and those reading to remain consciously aware without having to become closely identified with the Department of Justice, the Federal Criminal justice System and the Prison Industrial Complex.  I am truly bearing witness for you all!  Not on purpose though, lol! If you are involved with any Organization or business that involves Federal dollars or Federal oversight, just please (CYA-cover your ass).  Because similar to the Military Industrial Complex (MIC) narrative, the Department of Justice and the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) need NEW recruits and it could easily be you!   Don’t be swayed by the discussions in regards to Criminal Justice Reform they are simply Political and will increase as we get closer to the Presidential election, be mindful that here are NO conversations or plans to close Prisons.  Which means as a Nation we have to be bolder with our Criminal justice Reforms to truly change the paradigm.

I am so grateful that I am nearing the end of the incarceration process.  Although, I am not looking forward to the next phase which is the halfway house, I know that I am getting closer to being with my Peeps and this absurd journey is nearing an end.   I am also thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment.

The journey continues……………………………………….felonious phd. 5/2015

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Part 5……………… “We were never meant to survive!”

I have met several incredible women, mothers, here at the Victorville Federal Prison Camp. Recently I had a wonderful discussion with one of the women I love to talk and laugh with. She was sharing with a small group of us how horrific and challenging her journey has been within the Federal Criminal Justice System. Like myself, Ms. Y.C. is a Black woman, mother, sister, non-violent, first time, white collar offender who worked hard to pave a way for herself and her family and struggled to find solace in how the U.S. Government Criminal Justice System worked diligently to create a narrative that was completely opposite of her reality.

During one of our many discussions, Ms. Y.C. shared with us how she and her family explained her absence from her younger children and her teenaged son, who is autistic. She spoke passionately about her reservations about merging her two worlds by allowing the children to visit within a system that had treated her with such disrespect and disdain. As she explained her reluctance I completely understood how a mother bear would do whatever had to be done to protect her cubs. Well the same is true for an imprisoned mother soul, who has endured and experienced how easily it is for a prison staff (also a human soul) to completely disconnect from another soul and simply choose to be mean-spirited and callous at any moment in time, because they feel they legally can! So, the thought of allowing her children and family into this space was nerve wracking to say the least.

As time went, on Ms. Y.C. ran out of excuses and allowed her children and family to visit, which proved to be very therapeutic for all of them. My favorite part of this story is how she and her sister chose to tell the younger children and her teenaged son, who is autistic, that she was simply away at “FAT CAMP” (lol). OMG! we all laughed and laughed at her description of the story. She then proceeded to tell us that her teenaged son, who was sitting next to her, gently patted her on top of her head and kindly stated, “Sheeeesh mom, it is not working! you must try harder.” That interaction immediately did two things for me. First, it provided me the opportunity to laugh and laugh, a wonderful, deep heart felt, soulful laugh at a soulful, loving story as I stood in the bunk area in a cold, barren warehouse. It felt so good! Second, it solidified my insistence that we must tell our stories. We imprisoned, women, sister, grandmother and friendly souls have to leave a deep, passionate, purposeful and powerful imprint on this process by speaking our truths FEARLESSLY!

I am dedicating my next chapter to making sure I tell all that I can squeeze out of myself. As I have sat here in the Prison Industrial Complex, a systemically oppressive environment, it has been the lives, words, and stories of incredible women that have pushed me through and given me the strength to move onward whole and sane. Once again I have relied on the loving words of Dr. Maya Angelou, the powerful words of June Jordan, the womanist prose of Alice walker, the pain and triumph of Mary J. Blige, the peace and soul of India.arie, the authenticity of Tracy Chapman, the intellect and graceful story telling of Toni Morrison, the real deal of Iyanla Van Zant, the courage of Melissa Harris Perry, and the spirit and power of Oprah Winfrey. Those and many other incredible women have assisted me with being purposeful and mindful in this journey.
Ms. Y.C. will be ending her 3 1/2 years of incarceration in about a week. We have discussed the importance of speaking the truth regarding this process. I remind her as much as I can to PLEASE tell her story, give others the real narrative. To use her sharp sense of humor and keen, aware intellect to tell her truth boldly and with the prideful spirit that she embodies. Our stories are very powerful and necessary as we understand the state of our Criminal Justice System and every other Structural Oppressive entity in our society. We must provide others with a clear and precise narrative that awakens and encourages others to not just empathize but take action in their own lives. We have to tell them over and over, again and again as long as it takes to get our Nation, Communities and Politicians to understand that the system is broken, but we can fix it. There has to be some credible, courageous and honest women at the table telling the truth about this process.

Through it all, I know that I may not be able to save the World, like I once so naively thought, but I can provide a prescription to those close to me or near me that will give them some hope and promise for their own tomorrow. I clearly understand, as I have stated numerous times, that our Country was not structured with us in mind (us- being all human souls who reside on the fringes) and essentially, “We were never meant to survive, but we do!”.

I am thankful for my many conversations with Ms. Y.C. and I am truly going to miss her. I am going to miss our passionate discussions about race, class, democracy, prison, capitalism and the elusive American Dream. My hope is that our paths will cross again, after probation, of course!. At which time we could continue to laugh like hell and have a couple drinks, well maybe more than a couple after this ordeal, lol. Thanks to Ms. Y.C. …..Always, and I mean Always do you!
I am also thankful that my time here is nearly over. I am beginning to see the rainbow after enduring this tornado. I have labeled myself as being “Beyond Resilient” because this journey has far surpassed simply being in a storm. And that is my own consciousness of truth!

The journey continues…………………………………felonious phd 4/2015

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Ujima: A Woman’s Work………An Unplanned Journey Part 3

Today as I sat in the library at the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville California. I began thinking back to how all of this began. The essence of time is truly a mystical force that we live with and internally construct as a means to give our existence here on earth some order and meaning. Today I have realized that my former agency, Ujima Youth Services, was  closed down in Reno, Nevada nearly 5-years ago. Honestly when I wake up in this space and realize at the precise moment that my eyes open, that I am still laying here in an ugly, cold-ass warehouse with over a hundred women, it feels like everything  just happened to me yesterday.

It has been nearly 5-years since my heart was broken. Ujima was my life’s work and dream. It was a lifestyle that just about embodied all that I had visualized in regards to providing unconditional love to at risk kids and families in foster care. The word Ujima derives from a Kwanzaa term that is defined as “working together as a community to solve problems.” I wanted to create something that not only had a meaningful purpose but was also an entity that transformed the precious lives of youth by utilizing an “It takes a Village” modality for kids in foster care. For Ujima, that entailed working primarily with youth who were teens, boys of color, with high medical needs, or severe mental health. I loved each and every one of them and continue to love and have contact with many of the older ones whom I raised. I was not just the CEO of Ujima I was the mother for many of them.

After Ujima closed, I began questioning my purpose. Ujima was not closed because I harmed a child or a family. It was closed because of policies and procedures and bureaucratic red tape that create barriers to providers, clinicians, people who worked directly with the youth and other stakeholders to create real opportunities for youth in care and give them an authentic chance to be successful. I was closed because of money!

I was a CEO who loved her job and all of the crises, emotions and daily surprises that arose because of the job. My main goal was always to put the youth and families first and at the center of the program and its decisions. I demanded that they be treated with love and respect. I am not being naive in speaking of Child Welfare. It is one of the most difficult systemic organizations to work in and be a part of, similar to that of the Judicial System. Both systems are structured with an invisible glass ceiling attached to them which limits all possibilities for those involved unless there are people who are willing to create and fight for alternatives to those structures. I was one of those creative, bold and brave people. But I did not have the capital available to me to clearly follow through on my dream. I now understand that by accepting Government funding you are also accepting their mode of functioning. That is all that I am going to say about that!!!

Alice Walker made a comment in regards to how the work, life, and essence of Winnie Mandela was challenged. She was isolated, ostracized, slandered, abused, imprisoned over and over, tortured and lied about in her community. She brilliantly stated that in reference to how others viewed Minnie because of how the press depicted her, she poignantly stated that, “A Woman’s Work is her Signature”. Once I read that over and over and over and I mean nearly a hundred times since I have been incarcerated, it empowers me to continue being my powerful, brave, beautifully passionate self. My work over the past 27 years in Child Welfare literally “speaks for itself”.

Through Ujima I learned that I have the power to embrace anyone and any point in their lives and encourage them to be all that they can be no matter what their circumstances are. Ujima gave me my wings and a platform to grow and learn about the developmental task of youth in reference to being in crisis and trauma. Through Ujima I learned that unconditional love is transformative, which is why I truly believe that through love we can conquer all. I have lived and seen it first hand happen. I have some rich and wonderful stories about the youth I have had the pleasure to share that part of my life with. I can not wait to share many of those stories with others and give some of those youth who are now adults the acknowledgement they deserve.

Today I am grateful, that I have the capacity to understand how powerful “forgiving” and “letting go” is in my life and for others. If you find yourself imprisoned not only physically but by emotionally holding on to your pain or a negative situation, simply “let go”. Also “forgive” all that are involved in your letting go. I promise you will feel so much lighter and prepared to move onward towards another dream or just simply live peacefully and lovingly. I am thankful!!!

Felonious Ph.D. 1/2015

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The T.V. Room….

October 18, 2013-5:25 pm

One week here and I have learned a lot about the culture of camp living.  Not much is different in regards to how things are out in the community.  There are the same racial and ethnic divide issues here as there are anywhere else.  Because of the over-crowding in the camp, the t.v. rooms have been consolidated .  From what I have been told through inmate.com news, there used to be a room that showed only Spanish channels, another room for just sports and news, and yet another room that typically had BET, Law & Order, or Wendy Williams on.  Now there are only two t.v. rooms and the other room, nicknamed the “fish bowl,” has four women housed in it.

The action in the tv room is ongoing…usually the battle is over which show to watch or where to put your chair.  Yes, it’s serious in there!  For once in my life I do not care to watch t.v.  It happens to be way too political to enjoy.  Whew!  As a result, I am using all of my free time to write and walk in circles on the track….oh, the irony!

The t.v. room requires a level of responsibility that I am not prepared to handle at this time.  So much information in only five days.  I am sure I will have many more lessons over the next 22-28 months.  The fortunate thing is that I am open and prepared mentally and emotionally.

How long do DVR’s store recordings….

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A Place to Call Home….

October 18, 2013

Today is Friday.  That, “Hooray, it’s Friday,” mindset doesn’t really hold the same meaning while one is in camp.  Other than they serve us fish for lunch, and if you have a job that pays (near slave wages) you may be off for the weekend.  Today, to keep myself busy in the morning, I helped with waxing the floors in the unit where I stay.  It is incredible to me how women will find a way to make their environment clean and livable.  I say that because I spent the morning putting wax on a concrete floor! Yes, for real!  And I have to admit it does look better!  But, in my mind I was thinking, what the hell?  This is a concrete floor!

Many of the women have been and will be here for a while and for them camp is home.  There are over 300 women here and on each side there are three unit staff members. Also, each side, North and South, have designated leaders in each unit.  Many of the other women don’t like the structure because they feel like no one in the same camp color (green) should be telling them anything.  Well, this structure is familiar to me, mainly because in the college dorms we had Resident Assistants. So I understand the process fully.

I truly admire the dedication these women take to keeping the environment clean.  It is their home and for 22 to 28 months it is mine also.  So, I have no problem mopping or cleaning bathrooms and showers because I love a clean sanitary environment.

Watching a few of the women today made me think about what wonderfully productive people they could be in the community.  Their dedication, tenacity, leadership, and passion for their roles really has me thinking about how they can transfer these fine qualities OUT when they leave here after serving 10-15 years incarcerated.  What are we as a society going to do to help some of these “possibilities” who are living in here at this camp?

I am one who knows my capabilities and have some connections to the outside, yet I will still face challenges.  So, how can we help some of these very capable women, who demonstrate such incredible leadership skills in this micro-community do the same in the real world?

That’s all I was thinking as I was sitting in the library which has an ample supply of  fictional books but extremely limited readings on what to do next.  I did find a book called Beyond Bars written by Jeffrey Ian Ross, PhD and Stephen Richards PhD an ex-con.  Okay,  the one book I’ve found is four years old and written by men (nothing wrong with men, but this is a women’s camp.)  I have yet to see any up to date information for this female population.  There are so many stories to be told on this subject.  I want to find a way to help tell them.  My story is only a small piece of this big, crazy, confused, dysfunctional criminal justice novel.

I need to find a way to make it happen.  Until then, I will just lay low and continue to be my loving, caring self.

Until next time…….

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Laughing Is Contagious…

October 19, 2013

Saturday – 12pm

The day that I self-surrendered, another woman also turned herself in .  “V” is from Los Angeles and we immediately connected because we both found our new prison wardrobe hilarious!! Also, we were the joke of the camp because we self-surrendered on a holiday – which, I gather, is unheard of in these parts.

“V,” from Los Angeles, initially had a difficult time with being here.  No more than any of us, I guess, but she had no problem with letting it be known.  No tough exterior or pretending to be taking her transition well.

Now, “V” is walking around telling jokes and laughing.  Last night we had everyone in our area cracking up over the silliest of jokes.  I am horrible at telling jokes, but I am a hearty laugher.   I mean, when I laugh, I laugh and it can be heard! I think “V” has me beat!  We were laughing over the most basic, juvenile jokes.  You know, the kind that only make you laugh when you’ve had a little too much wine and everything is funny, or when you’re punch drunk from sleep-deprivation.  Those kind of jokes.  Here’s one for you.  What did the three-legged dog say to the bartender?  ” Who shot my paw?”  What the hell?  Did you laugh? I’m pretty sure you did NOT! But, we did!  And i mean we laughed hard enough to draw a crowd.  As they gathered, I realized that even under the most extreme and painful times in one’s life, laughter always changes the moment.  It brings joy to the most unbearable circumstances, and at times the most unbearable circumstances force you to laugh because, well, there’s nothing you can do to change those circumstances.

I am so thankful for my ability to laugh!

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Fourteen Days and Counting Down!

Oh man, two weeks to go before I will be heading to Victorville to self-surrender.  I am  honestly ready to get this part of the journey started, experienced and completed.  Staying true to who I am and how my mind operates, I know there is always a beginning of a process or journey and then there is the middle where all of the action occurs and followed by the conclusion.  I will manage this chapter of my life the same way.  Tomorrow one of my sons and his family are coming to town from Ksnsas to see me before I leave.  I am excited to see them all it is going to be a good week.     

Today I am going to continue to take some of my little things to the storage.  I am trying to just keep the things I know I will need the next week. 

 My youngest son seems to be adjusted well at this point.  That makes me happy and hopeful.  I am planning to leave little notes for him reminding him that I love him and that he needs to continue to progress in school and athletics.  The plans for his life has not changed, they will just be monitored by other family members while I am gone.  

I am planning to call him often so that he continues to hear my nagging!! lol  

Friends have asked me if I was afraid.  And I honestly have to say no I am not.  I know that I will be meeting women who are just like me…  So there is no need to be afraid.  I am just anxious, I have the same feeling I used to get before a basketball game, big meeting, or any other situation where i will have to give of myself.  I would always prepared mentally and I think that is what I have done since I recieved my sentence.  

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C.D. Little PhD., 49 year old African American Female

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My goal and motivation for the next 22 to 28 months.

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