The Felonious PhD.

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

Writings from the belly of the beast….Part 1-An Eye Witness.

July 7, 2014 – Now I get it! I mean I completely understand the angst that I have endured over my lifetime.  As I sit here at the Federal Prison Camp and hating every moment of it, I am having a very difficult time adhering to the premise that it is easier to just “do the time”.    Being a fighter my entire life has made it difficult for me to just give up or succumb do the negative forces.  I will always fight.

I am clearly fighting my way through this senseless, visceral and inhumane process and environment.  Daily I wake up and climb out of my bunkbed, questioning the entire purpose of incarcerating non violent and low-level offenders.  Other than giving tax payer dollars to the Prison Industrial Complex, there does not seem to be any reason not to utilize the other resources that our system has available to it, other than for money.  It is all about the money that is gained off incarcerated souls.

For the past month at least 80% of the middle-aged, harmless women that have entered the prison camp were incarcerated for obscure and translucent laws and policies that have been placed under the federal guidelines for fraud, wire fraud, mail fraud or conspiracy to commit a fraud.  Honestly anyone can and will be a target if there are no real efforts to critically think about what we are considering a crime.  I know in reality people commit crimes and they do them intentionally.  But this seems to be out of hand and to simply use incarceration as the only model for correcting ones wrongs intentional or not seems to be very barbaric and inhumane.  I know as I sit here in prison none of my concerns may ever matter and the Prison Industrial Complex will continue to profit off human souls, but I will continue until the day I die to speak my own truth in regards to this process.  I may be forever be labelled a felon, but I still even as I sit imprisoned have my rights and freedom of speech.  I truly believe that it is my responsibility to discuss this process with others no matter how embarrassing, or how disheartening, or how traumatic it is for me.  Even if only one person understands and votes or becomes an advocate for real Criminal Justice reform, I will be happy.

But as I sit here at the camp counting down till the day I am home with my family, friends and my son, I can only hope and fight for my own peace of mind.  Although this issue is far from just being about me, I am thankful that I am able to continue to be my loving self.  It is a daily struggle but I have nothing else to do in here, but work on being the best me possible.  I am so excited that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment.

The journey continues……………………………………..the felonious phd.

 

 

 

 

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Writing for the Soul…

November 17, 2013

I have facilitated two of the creative writing classes.  The first week was just spent explaining my vision for the class and clarifying for several of the women that I was not an English major, and could NOT teach them how to write and speak.  I did explain to the class of 17 people who I am capable of providing and encouraging an environment that would empower each of them to identify, enhance, and use their own powerful voices.  As I thought to myself, “Damn, I’m good,” I could see in many of their eyes that they did not have a clue what I was saying.

I recited a poem that I wrote years ago called “Prisons” which is posted in the Inspiration link of this blog.   Then the tone changed.  It was no longer about a period, comma, or grammar, but about how the precise use of words can move us in many ways, and each of us in different ways.  The class consists primarily of older women, with the exception of one young woman who I like and forced to take my class.  Turns out, she is an incredible writer.  I will talk more about her in an upcoming blog.

I ended that class by reading a short essay by Alice Walker about her mother’s blue bowl.  After the first class, many of the women had questions about the structure and rules.  I promised to give them more details in the next class, but reminded them that my number one rules is that there are no rules.

Prior to the second class, a few women approached me about wanting to join the class.  They heard about the class and went to the education department to see if they could start a waiting list.  I agreed to increase the class size which brought the class to 17.

I was encouraged to hear that there was positive review of the class making their way around the camp.  Because every moment here for me is political, and I had questioned myself about agreeing to teach anything here for the “man,” I was glad that I had done it.  Of course my rational mind had prevailed when my rational mind reminded me that this would be good for the women and an opportunity for me to keep doing what I do best, which is sharing what I know and giving of myself.

I will keep a record of the creative writing class and will share it with you after the ten week session is up.  I have already been asked if I am going to do it again after this session, but I have not decided yet.  It is very difficult to plan ahead in this environment.  There is no consistency (that’s all I’ll say on that topic for now).

I am so very thankful for my strong mind and open loving heart.  They get me through every day here.

 

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Creative Writing and the Resistance to the Creative Voice…

Last night was the first night of my creative writing class.  To my surprise, of the 16 students, only two of them were under the age of 30.  Well, I guess when I think about it I’m not actually very surprised at all.  Young people hear the word writing, and immediately become afraid.  One of the young women came because I recruited her, the other because she was assigned to assist an elderly woman for the time they are both incarcerated.  That is an issue I’ll discuss when I’m out!!

As I discussed the environment I wanted to develop and nurture, a few of the older women were more interested in knowing about writing structure, grammar, commas, and precise essay writing.  Whew!  I expected this so I began by telling them that if they were looking for a class that teaches grammar, etc…..this is NOT it.  Most of the audience laughed and breathed a sigh of relief.  I let them know that I would be providing them an opportunity to just write.  No pressure.  No barriers.  However, the only rule was that their writing had to be shared.  They must make their private, public.

The hour was up before I knew it.  Most of the women left with smiles and said that they were going to start journalling while they were still there in the classroom.

There is nothing like a captive audience! I really enjoyed engaging in a conversation about words, writing, and the power of voice.  Even though we are all in one of the most oppressive environments we have ever experienced, writing can still save our souls.  Writing in every form saves my life daily.  Dang it!!  I miss texting!

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The Sunset in Victorville…

I just completed my daily routine of shooting 100 free-throws and then shooting around for 30 minutes.  The basketball courts are in the perfect position to witness the desert sunset.  As I sit and write this blog, I realize most of the people who are taking the time to gaze at the burnt orange sun sinking slowly out of sight are most likely my age or older.  I refuse to call myself an old lady, but I do not see one young person sitting out here oooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing in amazement.   So, I am sitting here cracking up at myself.  The women who are out here this time of day are either jumping rope (yes I said jumping rope), walking in circles around the dreaded track, or just sitting around talking.

I on the other hand have noticed the beauty of the sunset as I reflect on the success of the day.  I got approval to facilitate a creative writing class for the women here, which will give them Adult Education credit.  That looks good on their record, and I will also receive credit for facilitating the class.

After talking to a friend, I have also decided that I can’t just sit here and focus on how unfair and unnecessary this process is for me and some of the other women in here.  The best thing I can do is to continue to document this chapter in my life.  I truly want to find a way to get my story published.  The Felonious PhD is not just my story but the story of many women who have been labelled as felons and are spending their sunsets, noticed or not, here in Victorville.

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