The Felonious PhD.

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

My Own Quietly Explosive Here Part 4…………………………………….”We don’t care what she does with the kids!”

Today, it will be five-years that “Ujima Youth Services” has been closed.  I told myself that once I left the Federal Prison Camp, I was going to cease commemorating May 20th, which is the date that my Nevada Medicaid Contract was terminated.  It was also the last official day that I would be able to have foster youth in my programs.  I think it is important for me to end my obsession (just a little one, lol) with how I was closed, my kids, (yes, my kids regardless of what those people say!) were immediately displaced, family and friends were harassed, and my life as I knew it changed forever.  Being able to mindfully and peacefully move onward will allow me to focus my efforts on providing a wonderful, descriptive narrative on how incredible and transformative Ujima was for all involved.  I will never claim that we were perfect, but to its core it was built on the promise of “unconditional love” and  even though it may have been imperfect, I feel its purpose and promise was delivered until its end.

The moment I heard these words as I sat in a conference call hearing with Nevada Medicaid and Attorney General personnel, “We don’t care what she does with the kids” I felt the air slowly seethe out of my soul.  That was the beginning of my depressive self and the end of my dream of a community that provided unconditional love to all that was tethered to me.  I had an incredible time as I embarked on my journey with Ujima Youth Services.  It was much more than I had dreamed.  I will be very conscience in my efforts to not romanticize my experience, because it was extremely challenging operating within the constructs of the Child Welfare System, that is governed by the limiting policies and procedural bureaucracy of the Department of Health and Human Services.  More importantly being forced to adhere to Medicaid fiscal policies and procedures to manage youth in long term foster care by utilizing a Medical Model Modality was a very unnatural way of parenting young souls in foster care.   Being a Medicaid Provider and not a State level contractor made it very difficult to provide the youth in foster care with the opportunity to live in an environment that enhanced their well-being and encouraged personal development so that they (too) could grow into productive and purposeful adults.  Those entities forced us, Providers, families and youth in care, to endure convoluted and on-going obscure policy changes that quite frankly were not conducive to those it was established to serve.  But that is another conversation for another time (lol).

I continue to have contact with many of my older kids, well they are adults now.  I will always be their mother figure and for that I am grateful.   My heart just continues to go out to those youth that were cast away and sent to places that closely resemble the prison setting I am currently trapped within.   For those youth, I will forever feel anger and pain.   There were alternative that could have been exercised by the Federal Criminal Justice System, the Attorney General Office, Nevada Medicaid, Social Services and Health and Human Services, but none were considered.  I just think of that Government representatives statement, “We don’t care what she does with the kids!” and sitting here it is so very apparent to me that Government level Social Systems don’t really care or have the capacity to care about those they are intended to serve.  I completely understand why youth in care, young citizens and many adult citizens don’t care either!  The reality is that to make lasting changes and build a loving community someone has to care, or the cycle continues!

As I embark on the next phase of this journey as a felonious soul (a systemically given life sentence of disenfranchisement) I will remain tethered to those many kids I have worked with and remind myself of how they too were confronted with a life time of disenfranchisement because of their label as FOSTER CHILD (an untethered soul in a community that is forced to rely on and trust in a community of human souls for love, support and guidance) and I will remember how I always encouraged, begged and often demanded that they be the very best they can be despite their circumstances in life.  I miss my Ujima life.  But I am excited to actively participate in achieving my new AMERICAN DREAM (whew!!).

I am completely thankful that I can continue to DREAM and that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given time.   I am also grateful for all of the young people who allowed me to be a part of their lives.

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

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The Absurdity of My Life, Part 5……………….The MisAdventure of the UNI-BOOB!

Today, as I stood in one of the many (welfare-like) lines at the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville California, a woman was discussing with another woman who has a work detail in the commissary (the over priced place we purchase items), how they need to ask for women tank tops instead of always forcing us (women) to purchase the male tank tops. She quickly turned to the other woman and told her that she and the other women, who have details in that space, did ask the CO (correctional officer) in charge about purchasing feminine style tees and they were told that there is no way that would happen.  He boldly informed them that we (women) in our feminine clothing, would be too tempting to the male CO’s.  Once again the subjugation, paternalization, and imprisonment of the female body becomes a major issue for me in this Prison Industrial Complex environment and I am faced with asking my two favorite questions, “What the hell?! and Is this real life?!”.

There are many instances where this system imposes it’s masculine will on the women, who are legally forced to be incarcerated in this unnatural space.  I plan to continue to discuss in detail how the American Justice System has impacted my womanly, motherly, and female identified soul in the future.  But today, I am faced with an urgent challenge that requires my immediate attention, as I plan to transition from the Prison Camp oppressive environment into society.  After 19 months and a tremendous amount of soul searching, I have decided to wait in the long line at commissary and purchase an OVER-PRICED bra in an attempt to transition my current UNI-BOOB from the oppressive BOP issued sports-like bra, that has incarcerated my womanly parts to the extent that they do not know that they are separate entities (lol).  Seriously, I feel it is imperative that as I plan to re-enter society, my family and my life that I also allow my wonderful breasts (plural) the opportunity to exercise their liberties, prior to leaving this ridiculous space (lol).  I am not kidding the suppression of the BOP sports bras make you feel (boobless) and that in itself should be criminal.  This structurally oppressive Prison Industrial Complex has violated the civil rights of my breasts!!!!    Mind you, this complaint is coming from a woman who in the past has frequently worn sports bras without any complaints or hesitation.  I am saying right here and now that, “WHEN I AM FREE, I WILL NEVER WEAR ANOTHER SPORTS BRA AGAIN!”.  So to all of you who are tethered to me, don’t worry when you see me and my breasts are sitting high, proud, and loud and my cleavage is bold and boisterous.  Don’t be alarmed, just be aware that I have not changed, I am simply liberating my breasts and allowing them to live life freely when this craziness is over.

This week I am planning to just breakdown and purchase a bra! Some may be asking, “Why have I not done that sooner?”  And I would have to say that there is a part of me that absolutely hates giving more to this system than I absolutely have to give and honestly I am just plain stubborn.  Now that my time at the camp is nearing an end, I believe that it is important to transition all of me and that includes purchasing an over-priced bra so that I can bid farewell to my UNI-BOOB!   This has been a long, hard and often absurd journey and I am thankful that it is nearly over.  To anyone who is unfortunately about to enter the Federal Prison Camp setting, I am advising you to purchase a white, sports bra and wear it as you self surrender.  You may be able to keep it depending on the officer and the Camp.

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

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Prison Industrial Complex Part 2…….. “Business is Good!”

Today marks my 18th month of incarceration. Every time I sit still with the reality that I am in a Federal Prison Camp for Healthcare Fraud, Money Laundering and will leave here a felon, I get to the emotional state where I don’t know whether to laugh or scream at the absurdity of it all. It is very difficult for me to clearly explain my disposition in regards to this process without utilizing every curse word in my vocabulary, (lol). So I will just say that over the past 18 months I have grown more and more disheartened, angered, and disgusted with our American Criminal Justice System. I am also aware of the fact that WE (Americans) have to fight for more than just simple reform for Justice but we have to courageously strive towards real bold changes to this broken system. From my vantage point, I know that the task at hand is a very challenging and difficult one for the politicians and legislators to address as they should because of Politics. That level of awareness truly places me in a position of helplessness and forces me to plan to focus my future energies and efforts on assisting those who are about to enter this Criminal Justice System and those who will be exiting this process wounded, depressed and battle worn. And that is my own consciousness of truth!

There are many examples of ridiculousness and pure ignorance that occur within this structure. I have learned that unless people are tethered to the Criminal Justice Process and have a certain level of awareness they do not have a true understanding of what is going on in our American Criminal justice System. American citizens do not fully grasp how this process, as it stands, has and will continue to destroy our communities, families, and our individual lives. Here at the camp there is a Correctional Officer who loves to say to the women, “Business is Good!”. I find it quite disturbing and interesting how callously he allows those words to flow from his lips. He has said it to me once and even though I remind my stubborn, prideful, quick-witted self that it is essential to remain invisible in this setting, once in a while the “death of silence” pokes me hard and I am forced to respond. When that sense of urgency to speak in an attempt to save my soul occurs, I do so from a loving and respectful place! (that is my story and that is how I am going to tell it, lol). My one response to his statement, “Business is Good”, was this simple short reply, “that is the truth, so YOU better be careful!”. I am not sure if the CO truly grasps what he is saying or my reply, because if he had any ability to critically analyze what was going on with the structurally oppressive entity that is today providing him with a means to live, he would not be so selfishly entertained by such demeaning statements, and he would be concerned for his family and his own personal freedom.

The Prison Industrial Complex is a high powered, politically motivated, stakeholder guarded, lobbyist protected, financial entity that has become as untouchable on some levels as the Wall Street Banks. This is an analysis that is rarely discussed as a talking point for Criminal Justice reform. As I sit in “the belly of the beast” and participate in this non-productive, visceral process I have become very mindful and alert to how the current reform mandates for the 20-plus years drug laws are finally providing some relief for many who were incarcerated so unjustly as the Americans supported the so-called “war on drugs”. However, I am not hearing or reading any legislation, political talking points or politicians advocating for “closing prisons”. The lack of discussion of real change and de-carceration efforts have led me to believe that the current efforts at reform is simply leading to a legal way to create a “New Felon” that will occupy the space left void by the drug laws and continue to financially support the Prison Industrial Complex. They do not care who they are getting paid for… remember we really are just a number in this process. I am not Cassandra Little, I am 47078-048.
From my vantage point I have witnessed an influx of “white collar” middle-class Americans enter this system for the broad based obscure laws that are connected to “fraud” and young Hispanic women for obscure immigration and border issues. I am not a conspiracy theorist but I am a realist with an acute awareness and connection to reality. I am sitting in this Federal Prison Camp predicting that just as we once were asking “where are all the black men?” because they were trapped in the Criminal Justice System, we will soon be asking “Where are the middle-class, voting, self-employed, free enterprise citizens?”. My answer will be check the prisons and jails!! Over criminalization does not change with reform, it only shifts the blame and moves the dollars to another bureaucratic department. We must defund the Prison Industrial Complex and all of the industries that benefit from its purpose of incarceration and the failure of average citizens. We truly are collateral damage and our communities and families are the ones who lose in the end. Or we can continue to believe the hype and not become conscious, mindful voters who will demand change of the Criminal justice System so that Correctional Officers understand that they are a step away form incarceration and will not be so excited to say “Business is Good!”.
I am thankful my time is winding down at the Federal Prison Camp. It takes a tremendous amount of resilience, intellect and restraint to not just tell some of these folks to “F-off” and to remind them that they could be ME. I will leave here my loving, caring soulful self and live my life to the fullest. I am forever grateful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment!!

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

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Paper Roses, Microwave Chocolates and Kool-Aid…………Valentines Day in Prison Camp

Yesterday was the nationally designated day of LOVE. Well needless to say, as I sit here at the Federal Prison Camp, it was a bit of a challenge for me to truly embrace the full meaning of the day. Also, I am not one who feels that one day is sufficient to tell those who are tethered to you that they are loved, to me that is a daily necessity.

The incredible thing about being around 100-plus women in a small area at this time is that I am afforded the opportunity to witness how truly incredible and resilient the woman spirit is no matter what the circumstances are at any given moment. Throughout the unit you could find small gatherings of women either making a variety of microwave chocolates, various colored paper roses or beautifully hand crafted Valentine cards to celebrate the day.

Being that we are in prison or let me clarify the prison camp, everyday is about us being subjected to deprivation, disenfranchisement and isolation from those we love, instead of enjoying our sweet treats with a nice crisp, fruity smelling wine, we are privy to partake in a nice cold plastic filled container of grape kool-aid. Yes, I said grape kool-aid and I have a big smile on my face! Life is good!(lol).

This is a period in my life that I will never ever forget. And I will always remind myself how important it is to love myself and tell others that they should practice self- love too. I will also remain cognizant of how incredibly creative, strong and powerful the woman spirit is no matter what is going on in my life. Being here I am forced to rely on my own strength and sense of self to wake up peaceful, sane and loving.

If you happen on this space and you are enduring a life-changing experience, are alone, isolated and feeling down, I am encouraging you to go buy yourself some Grape Kool-Aid and love on yourself. That is my plan for the day. I am thankful as always that, “I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any and every given moment”.

I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!

Happy Valentines Day!!!!!!

Felonious PhD. 2/2015

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Pt. 1……………..Shout out to Marissa Alexander (Super Woman)!

This weekend I was fortunate to watch my favorite news anchor, MSNBC-Melissa Harris Perry’s interview with Marissa Alexander. Marissa Alexander is  black, a woman, and a mother who was the victim of domestic violence in Florida and later became a victim of the Federal Criminal Justice System as well. At least once a month I can count on Melissa Harris Perry doing a segment on Mass Incarceration and the challenges that our communities across the country have with the Criminal Justice System. I often find myself craving any form of dialogue surrounding the subject with hope that most of the conversations would lead into some critical analysis of how we need to seriously look at the formation of the Judicial System in America and proceed expeditiously to make some formidable and courageous changes.

Melissa Harris Perry’s interview with Marissa Alexander was just what this incarcerated, black, woman, mother needed. Marissa spoke with passion about her challenges with the Federal Criminal Justice system and the effects is has had on her life as well as her children’s lives. Her story just validated my core beliefs that it is not anger and bitterness that will free us from our internal pains and challenges, even when we feel we have been treated unfairly and without any regard to the truth, it is truly love and love of self that will set us forever free. When asked what she was going to do next, Marissa did not skip a beat when she stated with confidence, love and joy that her first priority was to reintegrate into the lives of her children who she has been separated from for 2 years. Even though she will continue to deal with her legal battles, she will be afforded the opportunity to do so from home as the Federal Criminal Justice system, instead of correcting its wrong, AMENDED her sentence by providing her the opportunity to do the duration of her next two years on home confinement. There is a lot more to that statement but it does not matter at this moment! What helped me as I listened to Marissa’s story, a mother who should not have been incarcerated, was that she is not focusing on anything other than assisting her children who were now teenagers and need her more than anything at this period of their lives.

As I sat there and looked at the television I saw myself, a woman, a black woman, a black woman mother who was now labeled a felon who was saving her own life so that she could be there for her children, I felt proud. I was also proud to hear and see that our stories can be told and received through the media.

Throughout my 50 years of life I have witnessed first hand how women are often placed in positions where they have to literally fight physically, emotionally and spiritually to stay soulfully alive. After overcoming being a welfare offspring, to spending more than half my life in the profession of Child Welfare and now enduring nearly 5 years with the Federal Criminal justice System I can honestly say with some conviction that I am a “SUPER WOMAN”. It takes someone special and soulful to overcome an experience like this, and that is the truth!

I am thankful that Marissa Alexander is sharing her story. I hope she knows that she too is a “SUPER WOMAN” and I am so happy she is home with her children which is where we all should be! I hope more women who have unfortunately interfaced with the Criminal Justice System share their stories. We truly are the only ones who can save ourselves!!

Felonious Ph.D. 2/2015

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A Critical Analysis of Re-Entry & Recidivism Pt. 2………Prison Industrial Complex-Pipeline to Self

As a “Welfare Offspring”-someone who grew up as a young child on welfare and dependent on a systemic structure that had the power to limit your food, shelter and basic needs as well as intrinsically warranted and encouraged a mindset that insisted that one acquiesce to living with shame, poverty and self hate in order to receive Government assistance to stay alive – I am now, as I sit in the “belly of the beast” of the Federal Criminal Justice System, with a tremnedous amount irreverence, admitting that once again I am in familiar territory. I am speaking with an authentic level of expertise when I say the “Prison Industrial Complex” is like welfare, a systemic structure that creates a pipeline that leads directly back to itself!

 

The irony of my life or the absurdity of my life is as such- here I am again trapped in the trenches of a system that I despise for more reasons than one, but, and I say but enthusiastically, I feel empowered in knowing that as an educated Black Woman, with a Doctorate Degree, ability to pull myself up, and a love of self that is limitless, it is more apparent and real to me that, “I was born and raised to be who and where I am”. There can not be any other explanation for my being imprisoned in such an oppressive structure  that I ran from my entire life and still feel FREE!

I consciously and mindfully constructed and orchestrated a life that was totally opposite of my present reality. It definitely was not made to lead to my life in the pipeline to the Federal Criminal Justice System. As I sit here as a reluctant participant in this system, I have gained a level of awareness in regards to Recidivism and Re-entry and the issues of The Prison Industrial Complex. My Birdseye view of this system far surpasses that of many Politicians, Academics and Reform Advocates. I am speaking as someone who has studied, endured and survived systemic oppression on many levels and now to be a part of The Federal Criminal Justice System I have to say I have seen enough!

First and foremost, I do not believe that Prison Reform is going to solve or rectify the de-humanizing effects of Incarceration. Like, slavery, incarceration has to be abolished. There is no fixing this process which is founded on the very premise of slavery. It carries all of its ills and ill effects on the human heart and soul. I am speaking in reference to the inmates as well as the employees. There must be a paradigm shift on all levels of our Criminal justice System and the shift has to be brave enough to highlight the human needs and fiscal rewards for De-carceration. Because let us be honest, it is all about MONEY! As an educated, business minded woman, I can clearly see that for financial and political reasons the Prison Industrial Complex is going to be difficult to destroy or exterminate. For the same reasons we upheld the inindiscretions of Wall Street, we refuse to tackle the many humane challenges that incarceration put on our society. I get it!!!!

So in knowing that the Prison Industrial Complex will not meet its fate soon enough, I see the need as a human and a newly labeled Felon, to increase awareness for how the industry, our American Prison Industrial Complex, is destroying the souls and limiting our wills as citizens and in turn creates a blood line that leads directly to itself. An incredible business model, that can be fixed on the lowest levels immediately if voting citizens, legislators and our community leaders are truly invested in creating a system that allows people like myself and others, low-level offenders, and non-violent at least the opportunity to re-enter our communities and families successfully,humanely and with dignity.

The Prison Industrial Complex and the Criminal Justice System has a structure that has given someone like me a lifetime sentence. There truly is no way to start a new chapter in my life as a Felon. Even I, with all of my work experience, education and determination have a direct line back to this Prison Industrial Complex. It is clearly a system that is structured to continue to feed itself. Currently I am being told that I do not need any re-entry services. I am not sure what that means being that I have lost everything, and if one part of the Criminal Justice System felt the need to put me here I feel that the other should be compelled to help me leave as efficiently as possible. Then it hits me again. This system is a business hence-The Prison Industrial Complex. It is not personal but I am a monetary number to this structure. So not until there is a financial motivation implemented at the Legislative level to motivate the Bureau of Prisons, Jails and the other integral players in the Criminal Justice System, they will not be moved to make sure individuals exit this system successfully and expeditiously without being set-up to return.

As a Welfare Offspring I have internally, mindfully and consciously decided that as a middle-aged educated, strong, willful, resilient, empowered beautifully loving woman, I will once again liberate myself. In doing so I plan to share my story with others and serve as “Living Proof” that no matter where our journey may lead us we are never ever without ourselves! The power is knowing that all that is good, loving and real is internal.

I am thankful that I am now coming out of the “White Collar Woman Fog.” I am now knowing that I can and will reach well beyond possibilities as long as I am fearless and lovingly myself. I will also be doing this without any assistance from the Prison Industrial Complex. I am also thankful that I now know what makes me peaceful and happy. I am determined to not be any part of the blood in the veins of the Prison Industrial Complex once I leave. I am “FREE” internally and soulfully and I am imploring all who are in this system or any structure that is imprisoning them to “Free” themselves too!!!!

Felonious Ph.D. 12/2014

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Merry Christmas…….From the Federal Prison Camp

Merry Xmas! This is my last Christmas being incarcerated here at the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville California. I have to admit to myself and everyone else that I have plenty to be grateful for on this day and everyday and I am truly aware of those things more and more.

The atmosphere here at the camp is a bit heightened but mellow for the most part. The women who have been incarcerated for a while have created means and ways to enjoy the holiday and keep their spirits high, by exchanging gifts that were purchased at the commissary, sharing specially made microwave meals, and by singing and laughing throughout the day. The women who are experiencing this process for the first time and separated from their families for the first time are tearful, anxious, emotional and walking around in a fog. They are just trying to do what they need to do to get through. The constant trips to the phones or the emails to see if someone has reached out to remind them that they are loved has been the routine. The women who are in the similar position like I am and this is their last Christmas being incarcerated are only excited for this holiday to be -OVER!!!!!

I plan to spend Christmas watching the triple header NBA games. A real hoop junkies dream. The sounds of the tennis shoes squeaking, the referees whistles and the bouncing of the basketball will definitely get me through. Once again basketball will serve as my therapy, yes!

I am thankful that this is my last Christmas here. I am ready to spend these precious moments doing the things I love and being around the people I adore. To my peeps I just want to say enjoy each other and love on each other. I love you all!!!

Thanks to my bunkie who gave me a cute xmas present. Life is good!!!!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

 

Felonious Little Ph. D.

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An Unplanned Journey……..Part 1

Over the past three months I have spent a good amount of my time reading memoirs, and several books that are somewhat synonymous with my own  journey. Most of the books that I have chosen are non-fiction genre explicitly tell the story of women who have overcome, excelled and lived to tell about their journeys through the written word.

One of my favorites, of course, is “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou. Her journey, by far, most closely resembles mine.  Not only because she was a black woman, writer, and mother, but also because her journey,like mine, and many others was “unplanned”. There was no road map, no safety net, no financial security, or guarantee of anything. Maya’s journey, like mine, was purely based on stepping out on faith and pure resilience and love.

“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is the most prolific self help book that I could ever read as a black woman . Its prose is filled with words of empowerment, courage and fearlessness. It just signifies for me the importance of giving truth to our realities so that those behind us will have an authentic testimony of all of the experiences we may encounter as women. This is why I am determined to present this journey and write, share and speak the truth of my journey for others who may find themselves in circumstances that truly question all that you are and forces you to look deep inside yourself for strength and realize that it is there.

As I sit here imprisoned and shackled, not physically but intrinsically, I can not help but feel compelled to fight for my own liberation, emotionally, physically and spiritually. In doing so I hope to provide a written means for anyone in need to find peace in my words and let my story serve as a mirror to their own journey. This part of my legal journey has forced me to question my ability and passion for wanting to live a life where I can love all unconditionally and forgive without question. The “unplanned journey” is one that has shaken my soul and at times brought me to tears. At the same time, as I sit in the stillness and silence of this library filled with the smell of stale books, I think to myself, “I could never plan this isolation, solitude and silence.” I think out loud that I have to do something with this “disgusting gift,” the gift of time filled with nothingness and void of responsibility.

Then I read the LA Times and in the Calendar section there is a story on the movies coming to theaters soon. One of the movies is called “Wild” a movie from the Memoir of Cheryl Straub. I read the book and connected, not particularly with the planned part of her journey which entailed hiking the Pacific Coast trail, no way, but I connected with all of the unplanned experiences that occurred to her throughout her planned trip. Seeing that article validated my feelings that I must find a way to tell my story, give a clear picture of my complete journey, not just my incarceration. I was not afforded the opportunity to plan a journey that would provide me a foundation for my transformation, exploration of self, and liberation. I am imprisoned in this visceral and dehumanizing Federal Prison Camp setting for another 11 months. But! I do have complete access to a pen and paper and determination as well as the will of a bull to overcome, overachieve and excel beyond my dreams.

My resiliency is affording me the opportunity to think beyond making lemonade out of lemons. I am encouraged to move myself and others from an imprisoned self to a felon self to “FREE SELF”. My “unplanned journey” will be my liberation from imprisonment of all forms. I will write myself FREE!

I am thankful for the brave, courageous and resilient women who have told their stories. I am equally thankful for the organizations, publishers, agents and editors that gave them the chance to share their truths. Now I have to find someone willing to assist me with “SHARING MINE!”. It must be told.
Felonious Ph.D. 12/2014

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It’s That Time Again…….Holiday Season at the Camp

As I progress through my second Christmas being incarcerated here at the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville California, I find myself moving through this holiday a bit easier than my first one. Knowing that this is my last Christmas here (if I am released on time!), I am not particularly concerned about Christmas per se. Yes,  it is definitely apparent that it is Christmas here at the camp. The dining hall is decorated thoroughly with white shimmery snowflakes that spin while hanging from the ceiling. The windows are covered with several red and green traditional Christmas decorations, and the menu bulletin boards are now entertaining us with holiday colors and reminders. There is even an artificial tree in the window that  the women decorated beautifully. The unit (aka warehouse) where we live is also representing the holiday spirit. The ceremonial 3 foot crocheted Christmas tree has finally made its appearance as it did last year. It still remains spectacular  to those women who are new and can not believe someone took the time the crotchet a tree.

After being here for 14 months I have noticed that Christmas time seems to be the hardest for the women emotionally. It really is the time of the year that is focused on family. Typically we women, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters are at the center of all of the festivities and activities. So during this period the feelings of isolation and loneliness are heightened and are all too familiar to me. It is a vivid reminder of how all of my foster kids used to feel no matter how long they had been separated from their families. Unlike my agency, the Government does not see fit to address the emotional stress these times of the year place on an individual, so it is pretty much left up to the women to support, encourage and remind each other that this too shall pass. Most of the women here are truly phenomenal women existing under extraordinarily unordinary circumstances and so are our families.

I have always been a bit of a Scrooge and begrudgingly participated in the stress and angst of the season. I mainly enjoy the time spent with family and friends. I miss my kids and having my grandkids, nieces and nephews running through the house. I miss the “NOISE”. The noise of laughter and joy and everyone talking at the same time, whew!!!! I MISS MY LIFE! My family, friends and I have laughed and laughed through the worst of times. I have lots for us to laugh about when I return home.

The holiday season here at the Federal Prison Camp in Victorville California is truly just another day for me. It is not horrible or without any form of internal Joy. There are parties, some incredible microwave treats and food, games and even some laughter if you need some.

I continue to marvel at the absurdity of my current life of incarceration, (LOL) but I am thankful that the holiday season is here and I am closer to returning home. I am thankful that my son is happy, safe and loved. I miss him but will be home to him soon.

Happy Holidays to all of my Peeps!!! Love Each Other!!!!!

 

Felonious PhD 12/2014

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Missing My Son……..Not a Moment Goes By

I honestly have no powerful words to clearly express how deeply my heart and soul are impacted by being separated from my son. Once again, I must say I understand how we, Americans, feel compelled to stand by our laws, regulations, policies. And I understand how we feel we must stand by those who we have chosen to oversee those laws and policies accordingly, to maintain some form of order and control. I get it!! But what I have a distinct problem with is how some individuals or corporations are privy to the flexibility and empathy of OUR laws, policies and regulations and others like myself are NOT.

I miss my son.  I feel that there is no greater job or responsibility in the world than that of a parent or mother. I have always taken my role seriously. I don’t just miss presence, I miss advising him, nagging him, hugging him, encouraging him, laughing with him, and imploring him to be the best him possible in academics and athletics. I just miss him.

As I sit here at the Federal Camp and witness on the news and in the newspapers as ALL of the Banks and Wall Street forces have been literally excused from all of their indiscretion by simply paying out monies and not having to admit to any wrong doing, I began to seriously question OUR fair system. How did my erroneous billing of $82, 000 cause such a danger to my community and encourage those in charge to basically destroy my career, tarnish my credibility, and most of all separate me from my son for 33 months.

I am not saying I was perfect and assume no accountability for billing mistakes, but what I do want to know is why was INCARCERATION of a NON-VIOLENT, LOW-LEVEL, FIRST TIME OFFENDER, WOMAN, MOTHER, the 1st and only option that was chosen for me. Am I NOT an American who has just as much value to OUR Systemic wealth and well-being as the Wall Street professionals and the Banks? That is essentially the question.

I miss my son, I miss him every moment. Not one goes by that I don’t think about him as I sit here in this empty space doing nothing and stuck in a process that literally has nothing to offer me. I never dreamed I would be here and still I am adamant that I do not belong here. BUT! here is where I am and all I can continue to do is remind my son that I love him. I will also be persistent with telling him that this experience does not define me as a woman, professional, mother, or as a loving, caring and giving HUMAN BEING!

I am thankful and grateful that my son is who he is because, like me, he wont let this period deter him from being successful in the future. I love you Son-Keep being you.

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