The Felonious PhD.

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

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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