The Felonious PhD.

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

My Own Quietly Explosive Here Part 1………………………….I’M Still Mad as Hell!!!!!!

Lately I have dedicated a tremendous amount of my time here at the camp trying to formulate a plan for my next, which includes but is not limited to where will I work? where will I live? how will I keep myself emotionally strong? etc. I know most people feel that we are happier and are more productive when we limit how much we focus on our future issues and remain present in our NOW. Because of this irreverent experience and after I have lost everything, including my right to PERSONAL PHYSICAL FREEDOM, I know that I must prepare for tomorrow, otherwise, what will happen to me?

As usual when I find myself in a major quandary and my emotional, spiritual and physical self are in an uproar in here (whew and I mean a feisty one! lol) I depend on reading and writing for some healing and clarity. My current reality is that I am MAD AS HELL! Simple, there is no sugar coating it, that is my own truth. Anger has always served as a motivating emotion for me. I know that if something has me angry then I need to change it. But being that I am incarcerated at the Federal Prison Camp and legally enslaved in the Federal Criminal Justice System that has served absolutely no purpose, I have no choice but to move with and through my anger. Over the past 18 months I have wrestled with this process and asked the same damn questions. Who benefits? What is the purpose of this incarceration process especially for non-violent, low level offenders? Does anyone really cares that this is going on? Why destroy a persons life and those tethered to them over nothing? Aren’t I an American with value also?

Daily, as I sit in the t.v. room watching the news, my questions continue to be answered as I witness the on-going incarceration of non-violent human beings. When will it end? Some say I should not watch the news or read the newspaper, like that will somehow change the facts. The facts being, as politicians continue to discuss, debate and plan for Criminal Justice reform, the American Justice System, those who are benefactors and stakeholders, continue to advocate and encourage to support the mass incarceration of non violent people. So yes, I am mad! I am mad that there is a continual influx of elderly females into the Federal Prison Camp of all races so it is not just a color thing. I am mad that as Politicians maneuver for political clout and positions, their policies are continuing the mass incarceration of not only hard working people but they too are getting caught in their own Criminal Justice nets and still they refuse to make urgent changes. That is scary to me. I am mad that as legislatures refuse to honestly legislate for real Criminal Justice changes for political reasons many incarcerated non-violent women are dying, getting physically injured, depressed, mentally ill, isolated and just plain forgotten about in this Criminal Justice System. I am mad that Federal Government Agencies, Federal Government Criminal Justice System and those tethered to it are not encouraged to utilize any form of critical analysis when it comes to over-criminalizing those who understand that to make lasting changes in the lives of vulnerable people you CAN NOT operate inside a box, but know that you must use creativity to effect change and that does not make you a FRAUD or a MONEY LAUNDERER! Yes, I am mad.

I am mad because as I sit here serving as a monetary number for the Bureau of Prisons off the backs of tax paying citizens, my son is without his mother, my grandkids are without their grandmother, my siblings are without their sister, my mother is without her daughter, my foster kids are without their mentor, my extended family is without their niece/aunty, my friends are without their friend. The remaining question is…..WHO IN THE HELL IS THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THAT HAS INCARCERATED ME PROTECTING FROM ME? I am not and never have been a threat to anyone!!!!!! So yes I am mad.

Today I am thankful for the powerful writing of Ms. June Jordan. I have titled one of my books, “My Own Quietly Explosive Here” after this poem she wrote:
In my own quietly explosive here
all silence isolates
to kill the artificial suffocates
a hunger
likely dying underground
in circles hold together
wings
develop still regardless
Thank you Ms. June Jordan because of that poem this week I have been able to breathe deeply. I won’t remain silent about my pain and anger in regards to this Criminal Justice process and I will continue to move forward and RISE in spite and because of it all!
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……..

 

Beginning in January 2015 I will began my official emotional, mental and professional preparation for re-entering my community, my family, my friends, well essentially my entire life. All of this transformative action will be done without any assistance from this system.   Not that I require any assistance from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, but there are many women in here that do need assistance with transitioning from an environment that is proficient at telling you how little you actually matter as a felon, and how low you are on society’s heirarchy. The label “FELON” alone carries a lifetime of shame, disenfranchisement, and one can be self-deprecating if your capcity to understand that no man or system has the right nor the ability to define who you are and your place in the world is not well-developed.

I will spend the next eleven months reminding myself that I am Felonious. As the Felonious Ph.D.,  I have to take ownership of a label that someone else gave me and redefine it in an effort to once again be successful in the United States of America. It is very humorous to me when I think about it.  That happens often in this space. I am not very concerned about my ability to successfully re-enter into society, because I honestly know what it takes and I am well practiced at overcoming barriers in order to achieve the goals and possibilities I have for myself and my son. My biggest challenge and that of other women like myself has been reconciling the fact that this has happened to us, and being able to work with my Ego self and not from my Ego self. A difficult concept to explain but those of us who have endured this process and feel that it was and unnecessary and extreme outcome are stuck with the curse of forever questioning “why” and battle with motivating ourselves to once again becoming a hard-working, active members of a professional community.

I know my next is not going to be easy but my past was not a bowl of cherries either and through it all I am still my loving, caring beautiful self. The true issue at hand here, in regards to re-entry and the many Prison reform discussions and policies, is that there has to be a critical look at how a system such as Federal Bureau of Prisons can be made responsible for my being successful in re-entering when its whole existence is to imprison me? One of my favorite writers, Aurde Lorde wrote, “You can not use the MASTERS tools to dismantle the MASTERS house!”. The issues of Re-entry have to be addressed at the legislative level and not be placed on the FBOP. There has to be mechanisms and organizations at the grass roots level to make sure that re-entry is a priority. The FBOP is a system that systemically feeds itself. I see it so clearly now. And I honestly do not blame FBOP they are doing what they are being paid to do, and that is to warehouse individuals who were deemed unsafe to be free in society….and they’re doing it for a WHOLE LOT of money. We truly have to rethink this process, and now that there are many financial motivations for United States to do so, I hope that many advocacy groups and individuals are preparing to address the many issues that will assist with successful re-entry and reduced recidivism. Otherwise the system will continue to fund the FBOP when honestly many of us could be home working, taking care of our children, and serving our communities.

I want to be an active participant in some, well, many of these discussions. Mainly because if we can get a hold on this system I am sure that we can also assist with minimizing the number of young people that are in foster care. The issues of re-entry go far beyond a place to live and a job. We are talking about how to renew individuals who have endured this process and have lost their human dignity, human possibilities and their human worth.

I am thankful that at 50 years old I can still Dream of a World, and I can also see my next and all of its possibilities. I also know that no one can define who I am and they never will. I just want to find a way to assist others in my position to feel the same way.  That is truly the only way I will completely be FREE!!! It is not all just about me, I have always felt that way but over the past 14 months if I have not learned anything else, I have become aware of my own true PURPOSE and I am thankful for that.

Felonious Ph.D. 12/2014

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