You know, I'm nothing like the guy that lead me to this place. The old me was 25 years old - and now I'm a much wiser 47. As I grow older I find myself enjoying reading more; and I love to learn new things. I try to keep myself mentally stimulated, but my captors are making it increasingly difficult.
When I first got locked up in 1997, things were a lot different. Wasn't much thought given to comfort, or items of comfort. Today (2019) there are many attempts of what appears to be "making someone comfortable"; and that's exactly what it would appear to someone on the outside looking inside. But the truth is it's all about the money. I think back years ago when I attempted to contact Apple Inc; I tried to illustrate an emerging market worth millions- perhaps billions of dollars. They blew me off! All I asked for is 1% of the profits. Well guess what Apple? They are installing the Wifi now and everyone is getting a tablet for free! The cost to use the thing is crazy. 9-12 dollars for a 24 hour movie pass (watch all you want for 9.99, but it only last 24 hours) and they got similar deals for music, games, video's etc. The potential for profit is limitless. I bet if they had a do over, they (Apple) might want to return my call. And I sure wish they would have. That 1% would have made me a wealthy man. Perhaps I should have tried to contact Microsoft - or maybe even Amazon. That's what I get for being partial to Apple products. They are pretty awesome though.
Anyway my point is the people in charge of the powers that be have realized the potential for profit. There is niche market that has previously been overlooked and underestimated. The prisoner! Today I can engage in food sales (Gyros, Burger King) once a month; even get extra commissary (Union Supply) [IneComOrdering.com] where a box of pop tarts are over 5.00! Yes, you guessed it, the comforts come at a high price. We are getting robbed blind - and we're the ones in prison. Crazy how things work out.
What gets me frustrated is the kickbacks to the state, and how it effects me. For example I already have an associates and bachelors degree, and really don't see the need for a 2nd of either - don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for my education, because it taught me how to think critically. Like I said earlier, I like to learn new things. After learning of a paralegal correspondence court through Blackstone Career Institute, I was all over it. I signed up - cut the check got the first couple books and was off learning the other areas of law. I took the first 4 exams; grades good and I'm loving it. The next books show up and they are immediately sent back to the school marked as prohibited! This is what the notice said:
-> The I.D.O.C. does not recognize Blackstone Center Institute as an authorized "vendor" for educational services at Westville. Currently offenders interested in pursuing post-secondary education are RESTRICTED to the Holy Cross/Notre Dame programs or Oakland City Correspondence Program. * I of course added the emphasis on the word vendor and restricted.
Notice if you will the choice of words; it's all about the money and the kickbacks to the state. (You put them in the headlock and we'll go in the pockets). But what about me? I only want to obtain the education that will ensure my successful reintegration back into society. I want to be able to land a good job; I don't ever want to come back to prison. However, nothing in that statement above referenced the word rehabilitation; and isn't that what the Indiana Department of Corrections is suppose to be about? As people re-entering back into your community, isn't that what you want? Sure, take a guy with a past history of poor decision making - give him a history degree and send him out into the world that is bias and unforgiving - for the most part, because there are some good people out there. Let's be honest for a minute, there is only (1) one group of people in this great nation that can be openly discriminated against without any fear of legal repercussions. The ex-felon. Everyone is lining up to get their kicks in. Can't discriminate based on religion, race, sexual identity, etc. But hey, let's pick on the one guy that needs the help the most. The guy who has the history of poor decision making; no wonder the prisons are crowded. Come on society, law makers, Mr. President and anyone else with an ear; give a guy a fair shot- you never know what a guy got to offer - may even become the much needed pillar of the community.
If we can't get a fair shake at life after paying our debt to society; we should learn to support one another. Begin stopping at places that support the successful re-integration of the convicted felon, who hire us, who help to sustain us. Only do business with the business that has the CP sign in the window for "Convict Pride," because our lives matter as well. If we began to support one another and stop trying to one-up each other - who knows, the sky is the limit.
As you can probably tell, this is a sensitive issue for me. I take it personal, but this convict's eyes are wide open, I got dreams and plans to make a difference one day; if given the chance. I use to have a friend that would yell out in the middle of the night "come on outside." I look forward to speaking before the General Assembly in Indiana and one day, maybe even Congress.
To bring some closure to the whole paralegal class thing I got to be honest, I was trying to legitimate my skill set. I've had some victories (legally speaking) and believe I would be an awesome addition to a law office - especially a criminal one, because I can effectively communicate on all levels and my 25+ years behind the walls demands respect. I'm just mad because these people won't let me choose the direction or path of my rehabilitation I've successfully settled 3 suits and got myself re-sentenced. I'm currently trying to change the interpretation of a law. But everything I have (knowledge, money, understanding) is on loan from my Father above.
We were made in his image, can do the same things if we just believe. Words are powerful, as the APWA can say. I'm blessed by the best; 2nd favorite son [got to speak it into existence]. For those who have enjoyed my writings - thank you for your time, may God bless you and yours.
Remember every day is another chance for you to change your life... or someone elses.
- Richard Dodd
Some parting words if I may
1) Nothing and no one is perfect the first time around; but everything and everybody can be improved upon. Even our beloved Constitution isn't and wasn't perfect, but we continue to amend it when needed. So do the same thing with Health Care. We have the beginnings of something beautiful - work with it - Amend it if needed, but to start over from scratch doesn't make any sense.
2) Mr. Trump won the election; with the win comes 4 years in office. Stop wasting time, money and effort trying to destroy the man's image now that the collusion thing is over - move on. Now I hear rumor of impeachment. Come on trials more wasted time, money and effort. Elected officials work for the American people, so act like it and solve some of the problems that plague Americans. We need to come together - and soon; or the rest of the world is going to rip us apart.
Whatever the problems or differences we face with each other- it should never be bigger than the whole (Americans) One Nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all...
A convicts thoughts
[Margin note] I refuse to believe I'm the only one that see's this massive waste of time, money, effort and talent. We use to be the place everyone wanted to go to. Now all we do is fight and argue and talking about the president (regardless if you agree or not) is unacceptable! Respect the Office!
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