Category Archives: 2019

Atlanta’s Less Known Site

AUTHORS NOTE:  This post corrects an accidental post of misinformation in “Burning Bridges”:  https://straightfromthepen.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/burning-bridges/  and at  https://waynedowdy.weebly.com/blogs/burning-bridges

I apologize for the inaccuracy reported in Burning Bridges, April 2017.  Wayne T. Dowdy.  The misinformation was that,Sherman spared the mansion because of the hospitality shown to him and his soldiers by Mr. Peters.

Please visit the original post of this blog at https://www.quora.com/profile/Wayne-Dowdy-2?share=1

Response to Quora.com question, “What are some lesser-known sights to see when visiting Atlanta, GA?”

 

One lesser known historical site is the Edward C. Peters House (Peters’ Mansion), located at 179 Ponce DeLeon Avenue, Atlanta, GA.

The house takes up a whole city block, other than a small corner on Myrtle Street and Ponce DeLeon.

A false tale once told claimed General Sherman showed mercy and spared the mansion from his torch because Mr. Peters showed Sherman and his soldiers some Southern hospitality. The problem with the tale is that the house did not get built until 1883, eighteen-years after the American Civil War ended. The mansion did escape the Great Atlanta Fire of 1917. Edward C. Peters House – Wikipedia

A lesser known fact is that that house was once where staff and residents of Chrysalis lived for a brief period. Chrysalis was an adolescent drug treatment program. Between 1972–73, I lived in the Mansion as one of the first five Chrysalis residents, who moved in and helped to restore the magnificent building. That took some work!

Then Dante’ (the owner of Down the Hatch in Underground Atlanta at the time), bought the house for 1.5 million dollars, I believe, and Chrysalis had to move its location.

Before the deadline for Chrysalis residents to move, I had walked out of the six-month program, two months before completion, a behavior that lead me to have a history with the historical site that follows this photo:

179 Ponce DeLeon Ave., Atlanta, GA
Edward C. Peter’s House

Others may want to see the United States Federal Penitentiary on McDonough Boulevard, where many infamous criminals lived and died. Why? Well, why do people watch historical presentations about old prisons? Curiosity, maybe?

U.S.P. Atlanta Federal Penitentiary
United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, Atlanta, Georgia

Many men died behind those walls. I learned to live while there between June 1, 1993 and October 31, 1996. On April 5, 1995, I changed my evil wicked ways and stopped using drugs and alcohol, which gave me a life worth living and made it possible for me to complete my 420-months sentence. And for that I am grateful.

Wayne T. Dowdy (http://www.straightfromthepen.com)

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More From Quora.com

Please read the other posts on QUORA.com and click to upvote if you support the writings you read, including those of other writers in the QUORA community. Thanks!

I posted the following on Saturday, December 29, 2018, and received the most upvotes (22 to date) and 1.8k views.

Read the original post at Quora  https://www.quora.com/How-does-serving-time-in-federal-prison-compare-to-state-prison

How did you feel when you found out you were going to prison?

On August 18, 1988, after my arrest, I knew I was going to prison and planned to avoid that by escaping, and if that didn’t work and I was killed during the attempt, then suicide by cop would be okay. I felt miserable and hated life. I felt an exaggerated sense of hopelessness, despair, disappointment, all associated with the intense hate and anger that scorched my soul.

Today, I’m glad things didn’t work according to my plans and that I changed my thinking and my life.

At thirty-one years old, I didn’t have hope of ever seeing another day as a free man. Months later, I sat inside a jail cell with a man facing the death penalty (I was disruptive and creating havoc in the jail, so the jailers put me in the cell block with the killers).

Once inside that jail cell, I continued to look for an opportunity to escape. To get away I would have done whatever it took. The thought of spending the rest of my days inside a box made me want to get it over with, to spare myself the agony of a miserable existence.

Suicide seemed the solution: For a Samurai Warrior, wasn’t that the honorable way out, death before dishonor?

That’s how I felt, alone, angry, desperate, disappointed, and in fear on spending the rest of my life in prison, with no hope of getting out, unless I escaped.

I changed my mind about committing suicide because I didn’t want to put my family through having to deal with me dying that way.

Today, as a man who walked out the prison doors, even though it was thirty-years later, I am glad I changed my mind about suicide, escape, and all other aspects of my self-destructive mindset and associated behaviors.

Quora.com Blog Posting

In recent weeks Wayne T. Dowdy focused on building a fan base on QUORA.com.

[Updated: January 15, 2019]  The following post comes in response to the QUORA question, “How does serving time in federal prison compare to state prison?” which has received almost 15,000 views  since its posting on December 26, 2018:

When I first began my sentence, an old-timer said, “The states control you physically he following and the feds do it psychologically.”

I found that true. The feds use incentive-mechanisms to control its prisoners (gives prisoners something to lose, recreation privileges, more freedom of movement, better living conditions; something authorities take or restrict access to for misbehavior).

The typical prisoner mentality in the federal system is milder, less violent than many state prisoners. Again, an old-timer gave me a few words of wisdom:

“The federal system lulls people to sleep because it’s more laid-back, and there’s not as much violence every day, so guys forget where they’re at because they get away with so much. And then when one of them does something stupid to the wrong person, he gets stabbed or killed.”

I behaved better in the federal system than when I served time in the State of Georgia, where violence dominates every day activities.

My published writings show the difference between the young knucklehead I was while serving time in Georgia where I didn’t have much to lose, in comparison to the responsible man I become, due in part to the aging process and having programs available to help me change. Read The Price of Change by Wayne T. Dowdy, Midnight Express Books, for an example of the differences in my behaviors in the State versus the Federal system.

Being paid for working in the Federal Prison Industries (UNICOR) made a significant difference because it allowed me to take care of myself, rather than to burden my family for support, and that made me feel better as a human being.

The difference in my behavior illustrates the effectiveness of incentive programs, as well as the difference in the life of a prisoner serving time in a federal or state system; however, prisoner experiences vary.

Happy Valentine’s Day

happy-valentines-day-for-friends-and-family-1

[I am re-posting this blog for 2019.  Valentine’s Day of 2018 did turn out to be my last one spent inside the dungeons of the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons.

And as it stands as I type, I do not have a Special Someone to call my sweetheart, and that’s okay.  I remained celibate for decades and still am, by choice and circumstances, but … this will be my first Valentine’s Day spent on the outside since 1987 and that alone makes it a spectacular day for me.  🙂  Life is Wonderful!]

My last blog contained a Happy Valentine’s Day message but I want to make sure each of you know it was meant for you, too, and was not just a part of the blog. 🙂

I do hope each of you get to spend some quality time with the one you love or with someone special, whether that special person is a lover, friend, family member, or pet. 🙂

Providing I live to fight another day, which I highly suspect I will, theoretically, this year will be my last Valentine’s Day spent inside. Maybe I’ll have a special someone for the next Valentine’s Day, maybe not. The main thing is that I will be out of prison to enjoy it as a free man, alone, or with others. Being the stud I am, I’ll probably have someone to call my Sweetheart by then, but who knows? 😉

Enjoy the special day celebrating life as a living, breathing, human being. No matter how screwed up things may seem, know that there are millions of others who’d love to trade places and have your problems. That is something I have to remind myself of when disgruntled because the world isn’t working according to Wayne.

Have a spectacular day and hug the ones you love and tell them how important they are in your life, and know that you, too, are special!

Wayne,

https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy

Email:  wtdowdy57@gmail.com and waynedowdy@straightfromthepen.com

The Storm & Valentine’s Day Wish

[Update:  I am re-posting this one for 2019 to wish each of you a Happy Valentine’s Day from the outside this year.

 I did not win the administrative remedy on the issue stated below in the original post, but I did win an issue concerning a miscalculation of my Good Conduct Time, which changed my out-date to March 8, 2019.  I left the prison for Dismas Charities in Atlanta, Georgia on August 28, 2018; however, my fight to successfully reintegrate into society continues.  I am unemployed but am not homeless and do have a loving, caring family and some great friends, so life is wonderful!]

The storm still rages within as I continue my fight for successful reintegration into society at an earlier date than approved. Time will tell if I win an administrative remedy process where I present my argument that 119-days in a Residential Reentry Center (RRC) is not “of sufficient duration to provide the greatest likelihood of successful reintegration into the community.”

As stated in my previous blog (“Half a Problem”), to support my position I rely on Congressional authority stated in 18 U.S.C., Section 3624(c), commonly known as THE SECOND CHANCE ACT OF 2007: COMMUNITY SAFETY THROUGH RECIDIVISM REDUCTION (SCA).

The problem lies is Congress giving discretionary authority to the United States Federal Bureau of Prisons, the “Backwards on Purpose” agency (BOP), who has a vested interest in robust prison populations. I will return to this topic later.

Because some of you may not be interested in the halfway house issue, I will share a slightly modified version of a former writing posted on Facebook and published in February 2014 by the Mission Possible, Words of Hope Ministries newsletter, Charlotte, NC. If you like, find other blogs of interest to read on my blogspot.

If new to this site, use the Search feature to experience a variety of writings: “Women Rule the World”; “Burning Bridges”; “Life Beyond the Obvious”; “Despicable Characters”; “Freedom for Another Friend”; “From Where Do Writers Root”; “Social Media for Writers”; “Love & Evil Are Color-Blind”; “Southern Pride – Waving a Confederate Flag”; “A Job Affair”; “Seeking a Real Job” and many others.

sleet stormWINTER STORM & A VALENTINE’S DAY WISH

A Winter Storm struck the south this morning in Edgefield, South Carolina (02/12/14). I woke to the patter of frozen rain on my window. The air system went off sometime before then and it had gotten real quiet, a rare event in prison.

The power grids in some areas have failed and resulted in power outages but we still have ours; even the air system power has been restored.

For the last few hours, we have gotten light snow mixed with freezing rain. I have stayed inside the living unit. Most of my peers went to go eat breakfast around 8:00 AM, which I rarely go to anyway, so I wasn’t about to go battle the falling, tiny-pieces of ice to trudge across more than five-hundred yards of concrete sidewalks, already frozen and ice-covered, to go eat a breakfast I wouldn’t have went to, even with a cool breeze blowing and a beautiful Red Morning rising sun.

Nature won! 🙂 I wimped out and stayed inside to funnel instant coffee; however, I did man-up to go out and battle the slush for lunch. At any rate, wherever you are at when reading this, I sincerely hope you are safe and warm. I know the storm began for some of you many days ago, while others are enjoying beautiful weather, others needing food and water, but whatever your circumstances are, I do hope you are able to enjoy life and take pleasure in what you have, rather than being discontent because of what is missing in your life that you wished you had but do not.

valentines day image

For those of you fortunate enough to have a special someone in your life, I do hope you have a Happy Valentine’s Day and are able to cuddle up to the one you love in some meaningful way.

For those who don’t have anyone special in your life, know that you are loved by many whom you may not have met, yet. Maybe the winter storm in your life will pass soon and you will find the beauty in life as spring rolls in to replace the cold and troublesome weather. Don’t give up! There is always hope. 🙂 Take care-Wayne

EARTHQUAKE: The winter storm continued for days. Two days after I wrote the above, a 4.1 Earthquake hit Edgefield, SC on Valentine’s Day. I told a friend, “Someone must not have gotten a Valentine’s card.”

SIN CITY
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA: I overheard staff members discussing what was said during an August 2017, Union meeting in Las Vegas. A BOP spokesperson stated, “We are running out of prisoners because of changes made in the law and policies implemented by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.”

Some of those policies implemented by the former Attorney General that decreased the prison population, focused on reentry initiatives, and ordering prosecutors to cease the practice of beefing-up criminal charges on defendants to get guilty pleas, as well as to respect state rights by not prosecuting those who grow marijuana in states where it is legal.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is working on solving “that problem” with new policies he has implemented (reversing pot policy), and with assistance from Director Inch, changing BOP halfway house/RRC placement practices, which will increase recidivism.

RECIDIVISM: Read “Recidivism in America” (01/25/17) for more on recidivism and the BOP’s population decline, due, in part, to those policies implemented by the former President and Attorney General (“The B.O.P. began 2017 with 189,333 prisoners, which is substantially less than the 219,298 reported in 2013.”)

On February 8, 2018, the BOP population was 183,447, with 7,149 prisoners in halfway houses, and 2,180 more on home confinement. To show the effect of policy changes by Director Inch, on June 15, 2017, the month before he took control, the halfway house population was 8,848, with 3,559 on home confinement.

HALF A CHANCE: BOP DIRECTOR MARK INCH DISREGARDS PROVISIONS OF THE SECOND CHANCE ACT.

The Honorable Henry R. Wilhoit, Jr., U.S. District Judge, wrote the following about the Second Chance Act in Glenn, Jr. v. Holland, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 127740 (E.D., Ky. 11/03/11):

“The ‘Second Chance Act of 2007’

“The Second Chance Act amends 18 U.S.C. Sections 3621(a) and 3624(c) and requires the BOP staff to review inmates for halfway house placement 17-19 months before their projected release dates.

“The purpose of the Second Chance Act are, in part, to break the cycle of criminal recidivism; to rebuild ties between offenders and their families; to encourage the development and support of programs that enhance public safety and reduce recidivism, such as substance abuse treatment, alternatives to incarceration and comprehensive reentry services; to protect the public and promote law-abiding conduct; to assist offenders reentering the community from incarceration; and to provide offenders in prison … with educational, literacy, vocational, and job placement services to facilitate reentry into the community. See Act, 112 Stat 657. The Second Chance Act requires the BOP to ‘ensure that a prisoner serving a term of imprisonment spends a portion of the final months of that term (not to exceed 12-months), under conditions that will afford that prisoner a reasonable opportunity to adjust to and prepare for the reentry of that prisoner into the community.’ 18 U.S.C. Section 3624(c).”

Maybe Director Inch hasn’t read the statute, which puts the responsibility on him to accomplish the above. The SCA (18 U.S.C. Section 3624(c), Prerelease Custody) begins with, “The Director of the Bureau of Prisons shall, ….” After I receive the response to my Administrative Appeal (BP-9), I will mail him a copy, which includes a copy of a newsletter by attorney Brandon Sample, who explains the legislative process (NEWS@BRANDONSAMPLE.COM).

BOP MISSION STATEMENT: “The Federal Bureau of Prisons protects society by confining offenders in the controlled environment of prisons and community-based facilities that are safe, humane, and appropriately secure, and which provides work and other self-improvement opportunities to assist offenders in becoming law-abiding citizens.”

The mission statement must have excluded the federal prison administrators that I’ve lived under for almost thirty-years, since I’ve not seen many programs that provide self-improvement opportunities, and since I have struggled with the ones at this institution to have regularly scheduled, self-improvement programs that reduce recidivism; i.e., Twelve Step meetings. And the situation here for 12-Step programs is better than what others report who come from other federal institutions.

Perhaps the BOP mission statement was written before private prison company executives corrupted the criminal justice system with their bribes (contributions) to increase their bottom lines and ensure a robust prison population.

Perhaps one can file under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act to see if the Honorable United States Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, and the Honorable Mark S. Inch, BOP Director, received “contributions” from private prison company executives (e.g., Core Civic and GEO Group), whose influences have lead to laws and policies that increased recidivism at taxpayers’ expense, the same as what is happening with the changed halfway house practices.

Read “Half a Problem” for more on the halfway house issue, and “The Truth About Incarceration, Part II” for more on the corrupt influence of private prison executives on prison authorities and politicians.

OFFICE OF INSPECTOR GENERAL REPORT ON BOP HALFWAY HOUSES (https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2016/a1701.pdf):

“The OIG found that, contrary to policy, guidance, and relevant research, BOP is ‘placing the great majority of eligible inmates into RRCs regardless of inmate risk for recidivism or need for transitional services, unless the inmate is deemed not suitable for such placement because the inmate poses a significant threat to the community. As a result, low-risk, low-need inmates are more likely to be placed in RRCs than high-risk, high-need inmates.’

“The numbers tell the story. During the study period, 90% of minimum security and 75% of low security inmates received RRC/home confinement placement. But only 58% of high security level inmates got such placement, while the remaining 42% were released into the community directly from a BOP institution. While the OIG Report conceded that this ‘may be a result of the fact that many of the high security inmates were considered a public safety risk,’ still the Report suggested that because, on average, the high-security inmates were within four months of release anyway, there didn’t seem to be much justification for not sending them to a halfway house, where they (and the community) might benefit from receiving reentry programming.” BOP HALFWAY HOUSE PROGRAM FOUND TO BE DEFICIENT (11/20/16), Legal Information Services Associates newsletter (for free Corrlinks newsletter, send email to newsletter@lisa-legalinfo.com). Visit http://www.lisa-legalinfo.com.

Many of the high-security prisoners released straight into the community, will commit crimes against citizens and return to prison. Providing a reasonable opportunity to prepare for reentry would reduce the numbers of those who do.

In an OIG Report on the BOP Release Preparation Program (RPP), the OIG stated, “Finally, we found that the BOP does not currently collect comprehensive re-arrest data on its former inmates, has no performance metrics to gauge the RPP’s impact on recidivism, and does not currently make any attempt to link RPP efforts to recidivism. We also found that the BOP has not yet completed a recidivism analysis required by the Second Chance Act of 2007. Such analyses would help the BOP know whether the RPP is effectively accomplishing its objective of reducing recidivism.” REVIEW OF THE FEDERAL BUREAU OF PRISONS RELEASE PREPARATION PROGRAM (09/04/16), Jeremy Gordon Newsletter (info@topfederallawyer.com) Visit http://www.facebook.com/gordondefense.

The BOP first must want to decrease recidivism. Remember the Backwards on Purpose agency, whose “[a]ctions speak so loud I can’t hear a word of what [they] say.” Ralph Waldo Emerson.

The new halfway house policy lead to one man here, a recidivist who served 12-years, to receive 12-DAYS in an RRC. Another man served 14-years and received 28-DAYS. Considering that Congress extended the permissible RRC placement period from 6-to-12 months to decrease recidivism, shortening that period will increase recidivism.

THE STORM RAGES ON.
______________________________________
Wayne T. Dowdy writes at http://www.straightfromthepen.com & https://waynedowdy.weebly.com.

Support his writing by purchasing his paperbacks and eBooks.  Paperbacks available from Amazon.com and your favorite eStores.  Visit his Smashwords Author’s Page at https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/WayneMrDowdy for eBooks, some of which are free.

Social Media for Writers

[January 11, 2019:  In the future I will update this blog post to make it current, now that I am a free man and am able to do the necessary research to make the content more useful to those of you who wish to improve your social media experience.]

I am sending this out to provide what I hope to be helpful information for interested persons, or for anyone willing to share the information with a new or aspiring writer, who will capitalize on the following social media outlets: Wattpad, Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook Fan Pages, Blogs & Press Releases. Readers and social media socialites may equally find something helpful. Feel free to share this with others.

WATTPAD

Wattpad is the social networking site for writers and readers that provides an outlet for writers to post their writings for readers to read for free. Check it out. Wattpad recently started offering users the possibility to raise funds for their projects, like Kickstarter.

TWITTER

Twitter limits messages to 140-characters but has continued to grow in the fast paced world and seems to be a must for many who want to be noticed, as most writers and celebrities do. Mark Haverstock says, “Twitter caters to both the busy and the attention-challenged, with a 140-word maximum microblogging format.” (See Tumblr data for more from Haverstock.) These are links to get you started:

http://michaelhyatt.com/the-beginners-guide-to-twitter.html
https://support-twitter.com/articles/100990-signing-up-with-twitter#
http://inkygirl.com/a-writers-guide-to-twitter
http://www.mitaliblog.com/2009/08/getting-started-on-twitter-quick-guide.html
TUMBLR

According to the Writer’s Guide to 2014 ($23.95, Writer’s Institute Publications), in “Stepping Into the World of Social Media” by Mark Haverstock, “Tumblr is a social media site where users can share anything and everything–blog text, pictures, videos, music files, links, and more. … Tumblr is also chock full of inspiration. You can find anything from full-length blog posts, to poems, awe-inspiring pictures, music and links, to great sites all on this one social media resource. Tags allow you to give your posts a little extra exposure, so you can share them not only with people who follow you, but others who check out those tag threads–definitely a feature worth taking advantage of.” All links come from the same source, except for those in the last section (Blogs & Press Releases). The article lists these three associated links for Tumblr:

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Tumblr-Account
http://www.tumblr.com/register
http://digitalsherpa.com/setting-up-your-tumblr-account-and-getting-started
FACEBOOK FAN PAGES

Most writers will probably benefit from having a Facebook Fan Page, along with their own personal pages on Facebook, which after creating a Fan Page, would conceivably benefit by letting their friends know about their Fan Page to gain more exposure. (I recently read that writers should not use their personal Facebook page for marketing their book, since people who sign on as friends are more interested in the writer’s personal life. It is supposedly okay for the writer to write about events in their life, how these events relate to their writing career or the book, but not to use the personal page as a sales platform.) As a writer who cannot access these sites due to being in prison, and thus cannot use the available tools for marketing books and writings as most writers do, I can attest to the difficulties in generating readers and customers for self-published materials by not having the social media forum I would otherwise have if able to access those sites. I have the skills and the technical knowledge to create web pages, blogs, etc.; however, I cannot actively engage my reading audience through blogging or posting my writings on a website, because I have to depend on others for connecting with the outside world, and none of the people I am currently involved with have the time or know-how to do what I need. (I am still in the process of finding ways to do all of the above.) Here is the info for creating a Fan Page:

https://www.facebook.com/about/pages
Ten-Step quick start: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Facebook-Fan-Page
Detailed instructions: http://computer-howstuffworks.com/internet/tips/how-to-make-fan-page-on-facebook.htm
Here are some writers’ Fan Pages you may view for ideas on design and content:

Stephenie Meyer: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stephenie-Meyer/108380102517046?fref=ts (fan page)
John Green: http://www.facebook.com/JohnGreenfans?fref=ts
E.J. James: http://www.facebook.com/ELJamesAuthor
Gretchen Rubin: http://www.facebook.com/GretchenRubin
BLOGS & PRESS RELEASES

Two free blog sites are WordPress (www.wordpress.com) and Blogspot Platform (www.blogger.com). Since I see it used most often, I suspect that WordPress is the best choice. Both have templates and other accessories to help the writer set up their blog. Blogs are a must have social media platform for the aspiring writer to succeed at getting noticed and getting the word out. Some may choose to set up the blog to interact directly with their followers, while others may be too busy for that type of communication with their fans and, instead, elect to post sample chapters from a novel and post survey questions to engage their audience; e.g., which scene the reader liked most, who is their favorite character, what would they like to see happen, etc. By posting chapters in advance of completing the book, the writer is able to arouse interest in their product and have customers waiting to purchase it upon release.

For those who have a book release, try PRLOG (www.prlog.org), which is a free press release distribution service. Good luck. Wayne T. Dowdy (waynedowdy@StraightFromThePen.com).