The Felonious PhD.

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

My New Bunkee……Moving on Up….

I have now reached the mountain top!  I will spend the newt 20-26 months here in the last phase of the housing process. As I have detailed, the crowded and extremely noisy multi-purpose room  is the first stop on the journey.  In there, most people begin on the top bunk when they arrive.  The bottom bunks are prime real estate for several reasons; if you are older (and I, being a young, fresh, vibrant 49, am on the borderline of old in here which is a sad testament to who is in here, so I  began on top) or handicapped the lower bunk is a necessity for safety reasons.  Other reasons have to do with socializing, and that is all I will say about that matter. As I said, I was initially placed, by the intake worker, on a top bunk, but because of the quick thinking mentors, I was able to switch to a lower bunk in the multi-purpose room fairly quickly.  Typically campers remain in the multipurpose room for three months or more so the goal is to move to the bottom bunk during that time because the next step would be to move to a bunk in the “condos.”  This new neighborhood  is a permanent area divided into  6×8 foot spaces by concrete slabs which stand about 5’10” tall.

As the weeks went by, and as people kept coming, and coming, and coming, I was beginning to feel some anxiety about not being able to have any space at all in the multipurpose room.  One of the experienced lead orderlies in the unit told me how and what I needed to do if I wanted to move into the condos more quickly.  Being my stubborn, independently thinking self, I decided to just find a way to move into the smaller multipurpose room with the wonderful older people.  This turned out to be great because I went to sleep the same time as they did (Haha) and they had wonderful stories to tell.  The only downside to that move was that I was right across from one of the t.v. rooms and people were in my room constantly!  After a week there, I decided that I did need to listen to KeKe, the orderly, and request to be moved to a top bunk which would afford me the opportunity to move into the condo area in a matter of days or just a few weeks.  As soon as I spoke to Keke, the request to bunk with my new bunkee, Net, was processed and I was immediately excited.  She and I have had several conversations regarding this process and have briefly discussed our plans for the future.  So, I knew she was a positive thinker and had overcome many obstacles, like me, to become very successful and eventually ended up here on a devastating 10 year sentence which she is planning to have reduced at her appeal.  Now I feel like I can just settle in and do these next 20-26 months with ease.

My bunkee is great!  We both have to refraine from cursing the system and all that are involved in it.  Sometimes we just go through it and laugh.  Throughout my life, there has been several constant themes;  I can do anything I put my  mind to; I always surpass my original goal and always, and I mean ALWAYS, I meet some incredible, talented and caring people along the way.

Today, I am so thankful form my Bunkee.


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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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October 22, 2013

Most of the unwritten rules and guidelines here are provided on an as-needed basis, which is pretty much ongoing, by the other women in the camp.  In our unit we have dubbed that pipeline of information  Now, the only problem with that source is that it may or may not always be dispersing facts.  It may be old news, which could lead you into some form of unintentional mischief that you could truly do without.

I stay keenly aware of what is being said at  Like most underground, newsworthy stations, most often, it actually is the real deal when it comes to how things are managed in this camp.  I have learned who is who, what to and what not to eat, when to shower, what to wear.  All from this valuable information source.

Thus far, most of the women are quick to tell anyone what not to do and if you do it anyway, what the consequence would be.  At times I have flashbacks.  Not the harsh kind that people with PTSD suffer with, but the kind that make you shake your head and say to yourself, “Is this for real? Am I dreaming because it feels like I’m in a group home just like the ones I used to run!”  It really feels as though I have stepped back in time.

When speaking to the women, many of them feel the same.  This process does not feel as much like a punishment for some of us as it does for others.  I try to keep in mind that I have been here a short time.  And, as the time goes by for me, soon I will also be part of the network!

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