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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Happy 15th Birthday……..Sonny!!!

I have never missed one of my son’s birthdays until now. It is truly one of the most difficult moments for me to think that he will celebrate, take pictures, create wonderful memories, and I will be absent. Prior to self-surrendering to Victorville Federal Prison Camp, I sat with my Public Defender while she calculated the period she thought I would be gone. Her calculations with “good time” and 6 months “halfway house” services came to 22 months. In calculating my time away from my son I began categorizing the events that are important in his life that I was going to be absent from during my incarceration. I knew that along with his entire sophomore school and football year I would be missing his 15th birthday.

Mothers at the camp do many things to get through the regular days here, and they also find ways to get through the holidays and birthdays in here. I know it is a day I will not get back and I also know that it will pass; but as I sit in this visceral, non-productive, irreverent, paternalistic environment doing absolutely nothing of value for myself, my community, or my son, I can not help but continue to question the motivation of our US Judicial System. I am missing my son’s birthday and I am acutely aware of the fact that most people think, “If you don’t want to do the time, don’t do the crime.” To that I respond that regardless of the “truth,” our wonderful, resourceful Country has many alternatives to incarcerating, non-violent, low-level, first time offending women, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and sisters.

There is no real intellectual reason for me to be absent from my son’s birthday or any other important parental responsibility that I have always attended to throughout his life. I mean, if a man can punch his wife, render her unconscious and still be free to harm again, that begs me to question why am I here? We all should be asking these questions. Who is privileged to get second chances and why?

The wonderful thing is that my son will have a great birthday even without me. He has an incredible support system and people who love him. We are very fortunate. Now as I approach the second half of this unreal journey in prison, I will have to beg, pray, and attempt to convince the staff here that I need halfway house services so that I can re-enter my community and my son’s life sooner than later.

Over the past 11 months I have learned that the system has no motivation to encourage or enhance mine or any of the women’s ability to re-enter successfully. That will be bad for business, so to speak. There is no fiscal motivation for decarcerating us, there is only monetary motivation for keeping us incarcerated as long as possible, we are numbers and bodies. So re-entry and recidivism will never be a real priority until the Government re-thinks and restructures its financial incentives to the BOP.

Today, I am thankful that I have a son who is intelligent, caring and resilient. He has not lost himself in this crisis and I have to make sure I follow his lead. Happy 15th Birthday, Son. I am so lucky to be your mom.

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I Have Never Been or Felt So Helpless……Until Now….

Surrender!

That is the only fundamental principle I have control of in my life at this time.  I cannot parent my child, or console my siblings.  I can’t laugh with friends or manage an of the adult things in my life that need to be tended to.  I have to surrender.

In theory, it all sounds so easy and a bit refreshing when you think about how wearily women trudge trough life as we grow older.  But, trying to surrender to this process is what constantly brings me back to asking “WHY?”   There is absolutely no reason for me and many other women to be here.  We don’t need rehab, we don’t require monitoring (we are kept here by the yellow line), we don’t need meds (well, not yet anyway), so what is the purpose??

Right now, I am sitting under a picnic area staring out at the desolate desert with a beautiful mountain back drop.  I would much rather be at home, if I had one, with my son, helping him prepare for finals and registering for his sophomore school year (which i will be completely absent for) as I sit here as inmate 47078048.

Seriously, what is the point?  How does an intelligent, hard-working, loving mother, aunt, sister, friend, surrender peacefully to this helplessness?  From a government system that continues to incarcerate women at an alarming rate and report differently.  I am an eye witness!

I only have 14 to 15 months (hopefully) left to serve.  So, while I may have a difficult time surrendering to this environment and criminal justice system that creates the truth it wants told, I am truly relieved that no matter what our government does, it cannot make time stand still.

Today I will just sit in this feeling of helplessness.  Like everything else in my life, I will fearlessly work through this feeling.  I am thankful for my strong resolve and my ability to understand that no matter what happens to me, it will pass.  I don’t have to like it, agree with it, or accept it.  I will RISE above it!

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On a Rainy, Cloudy, Windy Day

Today has been challenging for several reasons.  The first is that I was unable to go walking this morning because of that rain and wind.   Being my stubborn self, I was determined to do it!  I rationalized that all I had to do was bundle up.  Well! That lasted only two minutes.  So my next option was to see if any of the exercise rooms in the recreation building were available.  Of course, they were all reserved.  I found myself becoming agitated and mad.  I even laughed at myself because I have never cared about working out consistently.  In the past, I could take it or leave it….especially walking.  I found it so boring.

Then the calm, rational voice in my head surfaced and reminded me that it was no the fact that I could not work out that was on my nerves, but the fact that on a rainy, cloudy, windy day, I could not find the solitude that I am used to meeting on that track.  On the track, I can walk with my earphones on and think about tomorrow and what will be next for me.  Along with getting some much-needed exercise, after I have walked that circle to nowhere in the morning and again in the evening, I sleep soundly without the million thoughts that race through my mind.

Now, as I sit in the unit at 3:15 pm on this rainy, cloudy, and windy day, I have to just adjust and adapt to my surroundings and hope for a better day tomorrow.  Or, possibly, I will try to bundle up later tonight and walk in the rain.  Hmmmm……

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Around and Around…

November 9, 2013

I awoke, as usual, at 5:30 am.  There is an uncomfortable silence from the desert we’re surrounded by that penetrates the walls of this multi-purpose room in an oppressive way on Saturdays when everyone can sleep later than usual.  I decided to get up and take my shower.  Early morning or late night showers are the best here because the water is hotter and more importantly, the shower stall is a little oasis of peace, privacy, and it soothes my soul.  I take as much time as I possibly can in the shower.  Mom’s know how that is!  A few moments of peace in the shower with the door locked is like being transported to a resort experience……until the sound of “Moooom!” makes its way under the door.  Nobody rushes you here, and there is no time limit, but I do wish it was the sound of my sonny’s voice that broke the silence in my private oasis instead of voices over the loud speaker or other commotion that comes with living with hundreds of women.

I have noticed that Saturday mornings are the time when many of the older women are in the t.v. rooms crocheting or knitting.  (Nope…still not crocheting or knitting! I have my limits!)  I already feel conditioned to get on the big track and walk continuously, going nowhere, in a circle.  Little J has refused to return for these walks after her one and only trip.  Every now and then I reverse the direction I walk, just to mix it up.  I’m not sure why it has an effect on me, but it does.  When I am sitting under a tree writing these blogs, or journaling, I look out towards the track full of women of all races, age groups and reasons for being here, I get sad.  it is truly a feeling of being trapped, like a herd of sheep being forced in a circle by a herder (system) that could care less.  Oh, boy!  I tell you, everything is political to me so it’s hard to even enjoy a walk without it becoming a metaphor!  Also, I am fully aware that most of the women are on that horrible, circular track of pain to relieve some of their worries.  Walking in circles is like falling asleep to white noise, at least that is their goal, to be lulled into numbness by the mundane to just avoid the emotions.

Every time I go for a walk, someone starts telling me their story.  I am up to five laps now, which is about two miles, before I am ready to scream out of sheer boredom.  The other day I was walking with a grandma who walks 10 to 12 laps a day.  She puts me to shame.  She is counting down the time until she can get to her grandkids.  She speaks adamantly about her disgust with the system as she is in here for something to do with illegal immigrants.  I try to keep the conversation geared toward her grandkids and her return home because her disposition turns far more rosy when she talks about that.

On this Saturday morning, I walked early and alone.  Now I am going to go practice shooting so I will be somewhat loose for the “Around the World” basketball contest that is usually only for the 45 and under ! Yes, all of the weekend activities and competitions are organized by age.   I get to be an exception.  Otherwise I’d be expected to play with the older group who plays boring games that involve sitting at a table for long time.  Not my style!

Am I in one of my group homes?

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Report to Counselor ___________ Please…..

October 31, 2013

2:50pm

Today has been one of the most emotional days I have experienced since coming to this camp.  The emotional responses of some of the women who have been summoned to the counselor’s office have ranged from pure joy, because their release date is drawing near, or extreme sadness expressed thru inconsolable crying after officially hearing for the first time that she will be separated from here family for the ftwo years. There seems to be something about seeing that for the first time after youve gotten here that strikes a different blow than the abstract knowledge of it before arriving.

I know my unit meeting is swiftly approaching and I too will hear,”Report to counselor __________, please!” Over the past week, I have atatempted to gather some of the information for myself so that I won’t faint or completely come unraveled when I hear them tell me I will be here until a specific date. I like to have the chance to process things on my own so that I can fully participate in the discussion because, over the last three years, listening to the Feds talk usually leaves me puzzled, confused, and just plain pissed. Experience has taught me that I need to prepare myself the unexpected when engaging with the system, because it takes more than just being tough to endure it.

I truky understand how individuals are able to qualify for disability after being here. It would be easy for anyone who is not strong-minded to exhibit anxiety disorder and PTSD symptoms. Those who are not traumatized,  just use camp for a resting place by returning here after resuming their criminalized behavior. I have only met a few, out of the hundreds here, who fall into that  category.

Today I am feeling thankful though. I am thankful that I have support and love on the outside of this camp.  I am truly grateful that my strength and power have been tested and I am assured that my foundation is strong.

I am ready for my unit meeting.

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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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So It Began…..

Yesterday I delivered my dear friend into the hands of the system that has betrayed her.  It was a heart-wrenching experience, to say the least, but she wanted me to let everyone know that she is safe and doing fine.  Since i have the reins of this blog for this one day, I am going to take the liberty to share some of the thoughts that kept me company as I drove away alone from the Victorville prison. 

One of the things that I have heard her say over and over in many situations, to many people is, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”  As I heard her words in my head, they had a new meaning.  While all of our hearts are broken by the separation from her, as we adjust to the new normal, I feel it is now required of all of use who know her to rise up and become all that she believed we could be. 

What are the things you want to accomplish while she’s away? What are the messages you repeat to yourself that are false beliefs which you can once andfor all change?  What is the truth that you can replace that with?  She sees the best in us all.  Isn’t now a good time to see it in ourselves or do what it takes to become who it is that makes us able to see ourselves better?  What goals can you set and achieve that you’ve been putting off?  What relationships can be fostered, repaired, or let go of?  Who can you love more?  Can you love yourself  more?  Each of us has had meaningful conversations with her that could have easily resulted in action……but have you taken that action? I think now is the time. 

We all know that she will make purposeful use of the next 22-28 months.  We should too.  Be better when she comes out than you were when she went in.  That is my goal, and I hope she inspires you from afar to do the same. 

My new insight into her phrase, “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you,” is that she has herself and that is the best company she could ask for. 

Until she sends me a new message…….

Hugs from her!

 

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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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