The Felonious PhD.

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

My Own Quietly Explosive Here, Part 7…….. “I Saw RED” My own silent rage!

I Saw RED! As I sat in a chair, across from another human being, trying to have hope and desperately, patiently awaiting some information regarding my OWN life, which at this time is in the control of an entity (The Prison Industrial Complex; Criminal Justice System) that structurally, in my professional opinion, is not capable of managing any living souls life effectively. I Saw RED! Not particularly because of the woman-person-human soul that was sitting in front of me, the one who was explaining to me that, I would NOT be getting six-months of halfway, transitional services because I have NOT completed a VT-vocational Tech class, such as automotive-brake repair or suspension or Microsoft 2000 or Resume Writing!. I have taken and completed such classes as, personal finance-which teaches you how to open a bank and savings account, women wellness- which talks about the importance of balance, smart money which discuses the importance of good credit, mortgages and interest rates and renting housing agreements, (lol someone please help me! hahahaha!)
It has been explained to me that I need to take the VT class to prove that I will and can be successful in the community, since I can no longer work within the field I have dedicated 27 years of my wonderful life to serving-the field in which I owe thousands of dollars for still, have given a priceless amount of my blood, sweat and tears, have passionately served with pride, dedication and love, for at least 10 years according to the OIG (Office of Inspector General). So, I am guessing the Criminal Justice System/Bureau of Prisons/Prison Industrial Complex believe the VT classes such as, automotive technology or resume writing are going be my saving grace. Once again, I do not blame the woman I am sitting in front of as I am seeing RED. I blame the ineffective, non-productive, structurally oppressive, archaic and demeaning Prison Industrial Complex, Criminal Justice System. This must change, reform is not enough, simple reform will never be enough! I hope Voters, Politicians, Community Activist and any other living soul understand that this structure has to change soon.
In the meantime I am awaiting a date so that I can plan my future re-entry. I saw RED! As I walked out of the office, after the 10 minutes team meeting, I left confused, angry, frustrated and baffled by a process that has no accountability and renders me completely and indescribably helpless.

I immediately headed to the phone and urgently attempted to call my “PERSON” (an individual who is not tethered to your crisis, life coach, therapist, counselor, friend, who will authentically, honestly and often bluntly tell you the truth by any means necessary in an attempt to assist you with saving your mind and soul!). After several attempts to reach her on the phone, standing there I felt my blood boil from my toes up to the top of my head. I saw RED! I knew my silent rage was at its max. Once my PERSON answered the phone she immediately knew from my tone that I was emotionally in crisis. After explaining my frustration and coming to grips with the fact that I still do not know when I will be transitioning from the Federal Prison Camp to halfway house and then home, she simply reminded me that it is completely about the system, and once again I remembered that at this moment and time I am inmate 47078-048 and that is it. I am not a mother, a professional with a degree, not a sister, not an aunt, not a daughter, not a niece, not a friend, not a woman who needs to know what in the hell is going on in her life.  I am an inmate who is just one soul in this system of many souls. As our allotted 15 minute conversation drew to an end, I felt my level of red move from the top of my head down to my stomach, whew! I hung up the phone and planned to go lay down on my bunk to gather myself completely. As I left the phone area and headed to my bunk I was stopped by my buddy who has been incarcerated for over 20 years, non violent, low-level drug offender. She asked me how my team meeting went and if I received my date yet, BECAUSE, she was still waiting for hers as she is due to be released in less than three months. She has yet to receive her final, definite date! OMG! that was all I could think, as I felt my level of red seep all of the way out of my body. I was reminded that no matter how much of an ego I may have or how desperate I am about being here, or how much I despise this setting, or how much I know that the Criminal Justice System is completely inhumane, I must be thankful, because there are women who have been trapped in this system most of their lives and still the system does not operate with any level of urgency to return them to their family, community, or society effectively or expeditiously.
I have never felt so helpless as I have throughout this experience within the Prison Industrial Complex/Criminal justice System. This journey is often unfathomable to me, I don’t know how to help other souls through this process other than to share all of my consciousness of truth in regards to my experience. I will continue to do that in hope that I can and will serve as living proof that through it all one can leave this structure hopeful and loving and excel despite knowing and believing that we were never meant to survive it! I will continue to be Beyond Resilient.
I am so thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. I am also so grateful that my time is winding down here. I may not know when, but I know it is going to happen!

The journey continues………………………………………felonious p

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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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My Last Incarcerated Mother’s Day………..A Message From the Camp

I honestly almost forgot that Mother’s Day was this week. Or perhaps I simply put it out of my mind, like I have chosen to do with every holiday in this unnatural space. I have experienced a variety of emotions as I sit here in the Federal Prison Camp, but the most difficult time I have during this period is not being home with my teenaged son and the rest of my family. I remember once upon a time hearing a song called, “A Motherless Child” and I can faintly remember some of the words of anguish that those lyrics contained. But living a life for any period of time as a “Childless Mother” has left such a profound mark on my soul as I sit here simply doing nothing in this space of “nothingness” rendered a danger or a risk to who? I am not sure but still isolated from all that is real and loving to me.

     As a mother, woman, a soulful being, I will never forget how easy it was for a system that has so much leverage and flexibility to not take in account my role as a loving, caring mother, foster mom and was afforded the means to simply discount who, what and how I have operated as a loving, caring, lawful human being my entire life. This Criminal Justice System, our American Criminal Justice System has impacted families in a manner that in my eyes is so Un-American, callous and just plain mean spirited. As we spend this election cycle listening to the politician, political pundants and other lobbyist discuss the ill-effects of mass incarceration and how it has destroyed our Nation, communities and individual lives I want those involved to also understand the devastating impact this process has had on the family systems. I want them to be made aware of how THEY (politicians) are to blame for this mess and how it may just be a political campaign for them, but my life as a black, mother, felon is lived, controlled and fought for on a daily basis, not just when it is time to vote. I want to be authentic in regards to life of an incarcerated mother soul, and I say that as a woman who took her role as. mom, mother, mama, foster mom, mama Sandy very seriously and with real intent to impact those very important lives I was privy to be connected to, it was not a joke to me. I know most peeps will say well, “then you should not do the crime!” to that I say, “when almost everything useful and helpful is needed to impact others lives positively is considered a CRIME by the Government, what are we to do as helpers?”. Then I will add, “talk to me when you become 1 out of the 100 people who will one day be impacted by our American Criminal Justice System!”. At which time I will gladly encourage you to push pass this process and operate beyond being resilient as I have done.

I am fortunate that this is my last incarcerated Mother’s Day. I will be leaving behind many dedicated and loving, non violent, low level, first time offending Mothers, and Grandmothers as I swiftly walk away from this space in a few months. I want to tell all Mothers who are unfortunately involved with this system that you will be ok!. This System will take a lot from you but it can not take away your own “consciousness of truth” and the love you have and give to those you are tethered to regardless of where you are. To get through these periods as I sit in this space I write. I also remind my self that this process will end and when that day comes, I will stubbornly walk out of here more of my loving, caring wonderful self.

I am forever and always thankful that I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment. I am also very grateful for my wonderful teenaged son and for all of the young people who consider me their “MOM”. I am lucky. So no matter what this process has done to me and those tethered to me, I will continue to operate from a place of love and live life FEARLESSLY!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

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My Own Quietly Explosive Here! (Part 3)…..The Manifestation of the Liberal-Republican-Democrat Agenda: ALL Lives Matter to ME!

As I sit here on pause, “doing time” in a Federal Prison Camp, a warehouse for the politically and financially fueled Prison Industrial Complex, I am acutely aware of how Political agendas have begun formulating prior to the elections. I am also aware of how the agendas are typically developed off the backs of poor, at risk, on the fringes, and presumably helpless American People expense. The current political narrative, which seems to always surface during the election year is, “BLACK LIVES MATTER”. Why is that our Black Lives Matters most to Politicians, legislator and other community activists during a period when the system requires something of the Black American? We are needed to serve as the scapegoat for all political parties and still our conditions remain the same. BLACK LIVES MATTER IN THE MAINSTREAM DURING ELECTIONS! One side wants to take care of us, the other wants to dehumanize us, and yet another wants to institutionalize us. At some point we have to critically analyze this process and openly and honestly say, wait, OUR LIVES MATTER everyday. I know my life matters every second I can breathe and the same for my sons. Our lives matter not just because of Liberal-Democrat-Republican politics and liberal voices that now want to tell me that my damn life matters! I am speaking as an educated, black, woman, mother and I am boldly telling all that I know, love and am tethered to, that they are not to believe the HYPE! Be critical with your voice and stingy with your votes. Don’t vote by party lines but truly understand how the politics, the politicians and policies affect not only your ability to live but how they truly impact the lives of those you love.

     I am a mother to a teenage black son, two-stepsons who are Native American and Tongan, a mother figure to sons who are Latino, Hispanic, bi-racial, white and other Governmental racially defined categories and I am saying with pride and enthusiastically that their lives matter too. The manifestation of the Political Liberal-Republican-Democrat agendas are to rally and encourage a narrative that is all so familiar and implies that unless we (Black) Americans get out and fight, who we are fighting we are not sure, but we are to believe that our mere survival depends on participating in this us against the Police narrative, which only sets the stage for all parties involved to perish. We have to understand that our struggles are not simply against the Police, but the ongoing historical modality of Systemic Oppression that we keep voluntarily voting for to suppress and oppress us and those we love. That is my long winded way of saying, do not believe the hype!.

We don’t need to march against the police we need to be marching for jobs and a better educational system that is not structured to send people to prison. We don’t need to keep telling ourselves that our lives matter we know that! We need to develop a plan, provide the strategies and act to empower the young people in our communities to care for themselves and their families, without the constant internal question of their worth. We need to close prisons and juvenile detention centers and open up more boys and girls clubs, job training facilities, community centers, recreational centers, creative arts spaces. With all of the money in America today how can we just continue to accept the fact that poverty continues to exist, we can fix this! We don’t need to march to remind ourselves that we matter, we need to march to Venture Capitalist’s and partner with them to create a gateway and pipeline that will enable our youth and communities to become a part of the fiber of future technology. Use our very resilient and creative minds to impact the world instead of having to stress ourselves with how in the hell we are going to eat, sleep and breathe tonight!

I have a plan once I am out of the “belly of the beast” prison. I am once again broke and homeless but I will find a way to positively impact my son’s life, my families life and continue to provide a road map towards self-love, self-worth and self sufficiency! My plan can not be one that supports Liberals-Republicans-Democrats. I am currently banned from participating in any Governmental Healthcare programs for 10-years because I created a program that transformed the conditions of those who needed the assistance, provided for myself and enabled my family to care for themselves. I know first hand that Liberalism-Democratic and Republican politics is all self serving. In being aware of that fact I also know that “Black Lives Matter” only till elections are over. This American narrative is historical and the story never changes, generation after generation we are fighting the same fight. But Dr. Maya Angelou says it clearer than anyone I have heard, “When you know better you do better”. And after having my hard-working, non-felonious, community based, family oriented, educated life impacted by the Prison Industrial Complex and Democratic policies that limit my ability to help those who need it most, I truly “KNOW BETTER NOW”.

All Lives Matters to me and we will forge together and create a way to care for ourselves and those we love. I am so glad I was born and raised to be who and where I am at any given moment in my life. This has been a long hard road and I am not finished yet!

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

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Diary of an Imprisoned Soul Part 5……………… “We were never meant to survive!”

I have met several incredible women, mothers, here at the Victorville Federal Prison Camp. Recently I had a wonderful discussion with one of the women I love to talk and laugh with. She was sharing with a small group of us how horrific and challenging her journey has been within the Federal Criminal Justice System. Like myself, Ms. Y.C. is a Black woman, mother, sister, non-violent, first time, white collar offender who worked hard to pave a way for herself and her family and struggled to find solace in how the U.S. Government Criminal Justice System worked diligently to create a narrative that was completely opposite of her reality.

During one of our many discussions, Ms. Y.C. shared with us how she and her family explained her absence from her younger children and her teenaged son, who is autistic. She spoke passionately about her reservations about merging her two worlds by allowing the children to visit within a system that had treated her with such disrespect and disdain. As she explained her reluctance I completely understood how a mother bear would do whatever had to be done to protect her cubs. Well the same is true for an imprisoned mother soul, who has endured and experienced how easily it is for a prison staff (also a human soul) to completely disconnect from another soul and simply choose to be mean-spirited and callous at any moment in time, because they feel they legally can! So, the thought of allowing her children and family into this space was nerve wracking to say the least.

As time went, on Ms. Y.C. ran out of excuses and allowed her children and family to visit, which proved to be very therapeutic for all of them. My favorite part of this story is how she and her sister chose to tell the younger children and her teenaged son, who is autistic, that she was simply away at “FAT CAMP” (lol). OMG! we all laughed and laughed at her description of the story. She then proceeded to tell us that her teenaged son, who was sitting next to her, gently patted her on top of her head and kindly stated, “Sheeeesh mom, it is not working! you must try harder.” That interaction immediately did two things for me. First, it provided me the opportunity to laugh and laugh, a wonderful, deep heart felt, soulful laugh at a soulful, loving story as I stood in the bunk area in a cold, barren warehouse. It felt so good! Second, it solidified my insistence that we must tell our stories. We imprisoned, women, sister, grandmother and friendly souls have to leave a deep, passionate, purposeful and powerful imprint on this process by speaking our truths FEARLESSLY!

I am dedicating my next chapter to making sure I tell all that I can squeeze out of myself. As I have sat here in the Prison Industrial Complex, a systemically oppressive environment, it has been the lives, words, and stories of incredible women that have pushed me through and given me the strength to move onward whole and sane. Once again I have relied on the loving words of Dr. Maya Angelou, the powerful words of June Jordan, the womanist prose of Alice walker, the pain and triumph of Mary J. Blige, the peace and soul of India.arie, the authenticity of Tracy Chapman, the intellect and graceful story telling of Toni Morrison, the real deal of Iyanla Van Zant, the courage of Melissa Harris Perry, and the spirit and power of Oprah Winfrey. Those and many other incredible women have assisted me with being purposeful and mindful in this journey.
Ms. Y.C. will be ending her 3 1/2 years of incarceration in about a week. We have discussed the importance of speaking the truth regarding this process. I remind her as much as I can to PLEASE tell her story, give others the real narrative. To use her sharp sense of humor and keen, aware intellect to tell her truth boldly and with the prideful spirit that she embodies. Our stories are very powerful and necessary as we understand the state of our Criminal Justice System and every other Structural Oppressive entity in our society. We must provide others with a clear and precise narrative that awakens and encourages others to not just empathize but take action in their own lives. We have to tell them over and over, again and again as long as it takes to get our Nation, Communities and Politicians to understand that the system is broken, but we can fix it. There has to be some credible, courageous and honest women at the table telling the truth about this process.

Through it all, I know that I may not be able to save the World, like I once so naively thought, but I can provide a prescription to those close to me or near me that will give them some hope and promise for their own tomorrow. I clearly understand, as I have stated numerous times, that our Country was not structured with us in mind (us- being all human souls who reside on the fringes) and essentially, “We were never meant to survive, but we do!”.

I am thankful for my many conversations with Ms. Y.C. and I am truly going to miss her. I am going to miss our passionate discussions about race, class, democracy, prison, capitalism and the elusive American Dream. My hope is that our paths will cross again, after probation, of course!. At which time we could continue to laugh like hell and have a couple drinks, well maybe more than a couple after this ordeal, lol. Thanks to Ms. Y.C. …..Always, and I mean Always do you!
I am also thankful that my time here is nearly over. I am beginning to see the rainbow after enduring this tornado. I have labeled myself as being “Beyond Resilient” because this journey has far surpassed simply being in a storm. And that is my own consciousness of truth!

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

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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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An Unplanned Journey, continued………..My Last Imprisoned MARCH MADNESS!!!

It’s MARCH!!! Not only is it a new month, which is always a major milestone for an Imprisoned Soul,  but also each day that passes pushes you closer to your being “physically free.” After being incarcerated I am very clear on the various levels of “freedom” and I am equally aware of how I am empowered and encouraged on all levels. Along with my being closer to being home, as a feverish hoop junkie, March signifies the beginning of the most important sports event ever………MARCH MADNESS!!! This is my last imprisoned March Madness and although I can not wait till next year to celebrate with all of those I love as we sit in the Peppermill Casino in Reno Nevada, I want to tell everyone that I am planning to enjoy this one also.

 

As I endured this Federal Criminal justice process and fought my way through depression, sadness and deep dark places, I also lost my love for basketball. This year signifies my absolute return to ME! I have always been an athlete and more importantly a “hoop junkie” so to once again feel the joy from the noisy sneakers and the love of the incorrect/correct whistles from the refs, to the ongoing bouncing of that wonderful hope-filled basketball and the 40 minutes of intense action whew!. Oh yes! I love the game like no other and it has saved my life time and time again.

 

As I sit in the TV room in the unit at the Federal Prison Camp I am planning to enjoy every minute. I continue to miss being home and loving on my son and as the months gets closer and closer to my returning home I am beginning to feel more and more empowered to not just put this part of my journey behind me but to completely merge with it and help me Soar. Time has definitely passed on and I truly do not remember much about last March Madness, so thank goodness I am a writer and have a written record of the past 5 years. I like to think my lack of memory has to do with my extreme means of coping, but at the wonderful age of 50 it may just be a way of life. Which makes it even more important that I continue to write about this process not just for others but for my own fading memory, lol.

 

I am thankful for the women in the unit who are also hoop junkies or understanding of the process and make it easy for me to view the games. I am also thankful that this is my last imprisoned March Madness. I am so over this ridiculous process and ready to return to a life that will allow me to be my loving, productive, positive, happy, fun, authentic, beautiful self. All I can say is look out next year. March Madness 2016!!!!!!!! It is on!!!!!!!

 

The journey continues…………………….. 3/2015

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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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