The Felonious PhD.

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

A Week and a Day (A Year and a Day)…

It is amazing to me how our system finds ways to correct its imperfections when it becomes clear that it has screwed up and caused a cluster for itself.  Over the past week I have met several women who are serving 12 months and a day.  Yes.  A year and a DAY.   When I finally asked what in the heck is with the one day, I was told that the extra day is added so that one can be eligible for reduced time for good behavior.   Apparently if the sentence is merely 12 months then they require every last day of that 12 months be served, but add one more and you can get time off.  So, by adding that day,  the judges themselves have found a way around the dysfunction of their own system.

My laughing partner, Little J, was sentenced to a year and a day.  When she started to complain about the length of time she was going to be away from home, I told her she better be quiet.  There are people in here who have been here longer and have longer sentences than both of us.  So now we try to whisper when we complain.

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The First Week Down….

October 21, 2013

Today  marks one week that I have been in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons.  I have learned a lot in just one week.   Today I learned that if you don’t have an assigned job at the camp that you could spend a lot of time going in circles.  There are so many women here and at times there is not a lot for us to do.   The camp is a revolving door-some leave, more come, and some return.  Just in one week, I have witnessed all of those things happen.  Then there are the ones who feel like they will never leave.

Today a young woman left but she felt extremely nervous about the prospect of leaving.  I now understand why!  In the camp she is surrounded by support and connections.  The women in her circle encouraged her to be her best and she had that positive contact daily for the majority of her waking hours.  A lot of young women, and older ones too, really enjoy and feel safe with how they are treated by the ones with whom they’ve made connections while here.  I get it because that is how I felt when I was in college and shared space with people 24/7. Women can’t help but connect.  Those college connections are some of my longest and most lasting relationships.  But once you are a felon, I have learned that there is one big catch……while on probation, which most BOP women will be, you are not allowed to associate with another felon!! Where does that leave these women who have been bunkies or friends for months, even years?  Most will have to risk being violated or be out there alone to maneuver through the community that they no longer have a connection with.

I have always been a firm believer that the one thing that keeps us whole, happy, and alive is our need to feel like we are connected to someone and that we belong somewhere!  This system is counter productive in many ways.  I won’t spend my next 22+ months focusing on these dysfunctional systemic issues because I’d rather focus on the people for now.  Hopefully someone higher up will one day focus on our system.  I am too sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I will just tell the stories because they are the TRUTH!

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Twenty-Three days and Counting Down!!!

I have been a  Foster Mom, Mentor, Friend and Counselor to well over 200 hundred kids in Child Welfare throughout my career.  The three year investigation and indictment took a major toll on my passion to work in and advocate for the Child Welfare System and Behavioral Health Profession.  Last night I recieved an inbox facebook message similiar to many I have gotten over the past three years, that reminded me once again that my love, dedication and commitment to love and serve others unconditionally will not go unnoticed.  Last night that message reassured me that my purpose over the past 27 years was well served and always will be.  Many  of the messages and comments of support that i have recieved from others has to do with their disbelief in the fact that I have been labelled a “felon”, and the impact that will have on my future.  Specifically my future in the field of Counseling and Child Welfare, where I have dedicated my whole lifes work.   I have to admit that most of their worries are warranted.  Because of the strict laws and background checks, my new label is a severe barrier.  

So, all i can say to all, is that I will find another career path.  One that I am just as passionate about.  One that will allow me to love and give hope to others unconditionally.  One that will provide a space for me to laugh abundantly.  I want to say thanks to O.J. for your message last night.   

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