Posted: November 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

It would be naive of me to say that I thought that transitioning out would be a cinch. Truth be told it is a lot harder than I expected. Rather more disappointing than I expected. 99.9 percent of what is taught, how to be successful on the outside, is off the mark. The ban the box movement is a hoax and farce.

Employers have found a way around disqualifying applicants in the application. They have made it so, where they use to ask you if you have been convicted of a crime in the last 7 to 10 years, they ask you have you “ever” been convicted of a crime. And, if so what was they nature and for how long. At least in the past they would ask you about it face to face. Now it is left up to the computerized HR system.

Speaking of systems I must say this. The system is DESIGNED, unintentionally, for failure. The idea of one doing their time and starting anew is bs. The label or title of the ex offender/returning citizen is another systematic label to marginalize and disenfranchise. How is it expected for one to not only get out but be successful along the way if they are stigmatized from the jump.

I’m not done with this post yet but I am hiding in the halfway house bathroom stall posting this. Why? Because smartphones are not allowed!!! The only phones allowed are flip phones that have no internet access or cameras. Anyone seen a pay phone?



Posted: November 12, 2018 in Uncategorized

October 4th 2018 is the date I walked out of prison. The day I stepped into the new world. I don’t know what I thought it would be like. I just knew that it is would be different.

People ask me what and how do I feel. I find it difficult to answer those questions. One the on hand I’m free, yet I’m not. On the other hand I never felt like I would ever adjust to the typical living conditions inside of prison, so I never got comfortable. Now that I am free I’m trying to come to grips with it all.

My experiences, thus far, have been positive, for the most part. Civilians have not shied away from me. In fact they seem to be more understanding than those entrusted to oversee my “successful” transition home. Those people have done nothing for me, to say the least. Either you go out and get it or…

I have a lot to discuss but I can’t do it all today. Just know that this site will be more active. Send your friends, family members and colleagues here to weigh in on the discussion.

Here are a few financial strategies one can use while they are in prison that will help them build credit.  Please note  I am not a financial adviser, but we have found these strategies to be helpful.
If you have had bad credit in the past the first thing you need to do is get a copy of your credit report. You need to get this report from all three credit bureau. If you are in prison you need to provide a copy of your id card (with your name and prison number), a signed letter from your counselor. You also have to prove them your social security number, and date of birth. If you are in the federal system this process should be easy. Just visit your reentry coordinator to get information.

If there is anything on there that you contest you need to send a letter to the credit bureau and dispute that information. You are entitled to one free credit report request a year. If there is anything on there that you need to pay off contact that agency and ask if you can make payments. If they allow you to make payments that will help you with repairing your credit.

Another route, is to ask a loved one who has good credit to add you to their account as an authorized user. All they need to do is contact their credit card provider and ask to put you on their account. The card provider will send them a card in your name to their address. They can take this card and make small purchases with that card, in your name. The good thing about this method is you will get 75 to 100% of their credit score. See the article in Forbes, “How to Boost Your Credit Score by Becoming an Authorized User” for more info.  The next step is for you to give them durable power of attorney. They can go on-line print out the power of attorney forms.  Make sure it is a DURABLE power of attorney, this is the one that gives them financial control.  They will send them to you. You fill them out and have the papers notarized. Once they get the papers back they will have to search for a bank that will allow them to open up an account in your name. TD Bank is one that will allow your loved one to set up an account for you without you present.  They are out there. A savings account, debit account is just as good as any other account. The idea is to have an open account with money deposited in it. This also helps build credit and makes it easier to get a credit card upon release.

This is the quickest and best way to get good credit while in prison. The downside is that the person that you are attached to must stay in good standing with their credit. If they take a hit so will you. The upside is that if you open up an account, after building your credit, is you can detach from them. It takes time, good people and patience to do this. But, the rewards and benefits are many. There is nothing like having financial security, especially while in prison.

Prison life is hard. It costs to do time, financially, but you are going to have to make sacrifices and save money. You want to start sending money home so that money is deposited in your bank account. The more activity it shows the better off you are. I suggest setting a saving plan that will allow you to save at least $5000, if possible, prior to release. Even if it is not possible you still want to have something saved.

When you get out of prison there is another strategy you can use that will help you build A-1 credit.
1. 1st of the month take $1600 to bank #1 and open a checking account with $100 and a saving account with $1500
2. On the 4th, obtain a signature loan (personal loan) for $1400 using  your saving account as collateral. *Terms of the loan should be 365 or 12 months with no prepayment penalties. (allow them to freeze your saving account)
3. Take $1400 cash on the same day to bank #2
4. Open a saving account with a deposit of $1400
5. On the 8th of, obtain a signature loan for $1400 (terms are the same as step 2)
6. Take the $1400 cash on the same day to bank #3
7. Repeat step 4
8. On the 12th day of the month, obtain a signature loan for $1400 (terms are the same as in step 2)

Phase 2
1. In the same month you started this process, instead of making merely monthly payments on time, you will make 3 payments. one on the 14th, next on the 21st, then again on the 28th day of the month. (this will trigger the bank report to the credit bureau the timely payments being made on this acct) Payment should not be due until the 30th of the following month so you are paying a full month ahead of schedule.
2. On the first day of the scheduled first month of repayment, payoff the loan entirely. This will release the hold on the savings acct at bank#. With that money begin repayment of the loan at bank #2.
3. On the 7th day of the schedule first month of repayment, make a payment, (payment should not be due until the 30th)
4. Make next payment on the 14th and 21st.
5. On the 28th, payoff loan entirely. Bank #2 must report timely payments to the credit bureaus and frees the $1400 you deposited with them. With this money begin repayment to bank #3
6. On the 29th make a  payment (payment due on the 30th)
7. Make next payments on the 7th, 14th, 21st
8. One the 1st of the scheduled third month repayment, pay off loan entirely. Bank #3 must report to the credit bureau timely payment and free $1400 from your saving account.
You’ve now paid minimal interest and have recorded on your credit file the strongest and best type of credit that you can have: Bank Loan Credit

Strategic Aftercare of bank accounts
a. Bank 1 deposit $1200 into savings
b. Bank 2 deposit $100 into savings
c. Bank 3 deposit $100 into savings

2. On the 7th, shift $1100 from saving in bank 1 to bank 2
3 On the 14th shift $1100 from bank 2 to bank 3
4. One the 28th shift $1100 from bank 3 to bank 1

This is a 12 month strategy that will help you upon release.

by Constance Ray // Recovery Well


Photo by Pixabay

For most of us, childhood is a time of great happiness. Your parents and caregivers teach you how to pump your legs at just the right time to swing high in the air on the play set and how to parallel park so you can finally get your license. Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. We spoke to two recovering addicts about how their parents started them on the path to substance abuse – and how they ultimately overcame their demons.

“My dad handed me a pipe and encouraged me to take a hit.”

On his 18th birthday, Sean’s dad showed up to school to surprise him and get him out early. Rather than taking him to buy a lottery ticket as a rite of passage, Sean’s dad took him to a secluded junkyard and introduced him to meth.

“When we got there my dad turned to me in the truck and asked if I had ever tried meth. I said no and my dad handed me a pipe and encouraged me to take a hit,” Sean said. “Over the next week, I was smoking hits of meth with my dad, which was the first time we spent together where I wasn’t getting yelled at.”

Sean was happy to finally have a relationship with his dad, even if it was a destructive one, but the meth took an immediate toll on him. That first week, he had trouble sleeping and lost his appetite.


“My younger self was hurt in an alcoholic home and was fearful most of my life. I have learned to love myself as no one has ever loved me before.” – Joe Powell, Addiction Survivor

“I was high all the time and that entire week was a blur to me. Whenever I tried to drink water or eat food, my tongue would respond with a sharp pain,” Sean said.

After doing some research online about the effects of meth, Sean quit cold turkey and flushed the meth his dad gave him down the toilet. Unfortunately, the stage had been set and when Sean started having trouble in his marriage, he turned to meth. One failed rehab stint later, Sean finally found the help he needed at a different treatment facility, and is now enjoying the happiest time of his life – in sobriety.

“Sobriety is more exciting and more fun than using ever was. Rehab is completely worth it, and can change your life,” Sean said. “If it’s possible for me to do it, then it is possible for anyone. It can be done.”

“My father’s death was devastating to me, even though he had molested my sister and I.”

Unlike Sean, Hannah’s parents didn’t directly introduce her to drugs, but their actions stemmed a deep depression that Hannah felt only substance abuse could cure. At age 5, her father committed suicide to escape child molestation allegations.

“My father’s death was devastating to me, even though he had molested my sister and I,” Hannah said.


Seven years later Hannah met Matt. They had a common bond – both had lost their father, but Matt wasn’t the best role model, and his dad introduced him to the world of drugs through his job as a drug mule.

Matt brought Hannah into his hard-partying group of friends. Hannah soon graduated to harder drugs, and it didn’t help matters when a counselor prescribed her Xanax for her depression. When her prescription ran out, she turned to her mom’s pills.

“I realized my mom had a Xanax prescription and started stealing her pills while drinking a fifth and a half of whiskey each day,” Hannah said.

Things turned deadly one night after Hannah swallowed yet another mouthful of pills. He body went numb and she fell face first, breaking her nose and knocking out two teeth. After suffering several seizures and flatlining on the doctor’s table, Hannah was finally ready for addiction treatment and discovered a healthy coping mechanism to boot.

“I started taking classes and started to speak with counselors to release my anger and frustration with my father,” Hannah said. “While I was at [the facility], I learned how to play the guitar and write music, which helped me begin to heal … Being in recovery helped me untap a talent I wouldn’t have known I had otherwise.”

Childhood is an extremely impressionable season of life, and for some children, their parents introduce them to drugs both directly and indirectly. All’s not lost, and there is no such thing as being too late to get help. Like Sean and Hannah, you can turn your life around and start making beautiful memories to replace the ones tainted by drugs.

Constance Ray is a guest author from Recovery Well, a site created out of love and compassion for those who have been affected by addiction in some way. // recoverywell.org // information@recoverywell.org

I must say that I am sorry for my absence. I have not blogged in a while, and for good reason. I have been working on a project that has taken up most of my time. So, I want to present this project to my followers with the hopes that they in some way contribute.

It is no secret that we are living in unprecedented times. There is no need to go into details. It is safe to say that a lot of work needs to be done to address these issues. But, we are hopeful and believe they can be worked out and addressed. The biggest issue I see us facing with, on a daily basis, is lack of leadership. We are living in a time where we need good leadership. Leadership that is transparent, focused and clear.

I have developed the Urban Committee Leadership Coaching Academy. The goal is to is bring leaders and coaches from around the world who are invested in community development and leadership. The goal is to provide leadership skills and training to those who wish to become more effective in the way they interact with the world.

Coaching in itself presents many challenges. Coaching within the urban and penal community presents another set of challenges. One of the most im-pactful tool a person has is the tool of influence. UCLCA want to help others get to the place where they use their influence for good, and as a means to obtain success.

I know that change is a slow process and that leaders develop over time, daily, not in a day. It takes a collaboration of real leaders to change the trajectory of a community: socially, economically, and culturally. I want to train, coach and educate others on the type of leadership needed to change. The goal is to train leaders who want to be successful. Who can train others to lead in their absence; to leave a legacy of good leaders.

The platform is built on seven principles of success. These principles are extracted from what I know, from personal experience, to work.
1. Understanding: We know of the problems that exist.
2. Motive: Our motives are transparent.
3. Confidence: We believe in the mission.
4. Determination: We are determined to succeed.
5. Experience: Our experiences gives us a broader understanding and the credibility needed to succeed.
6. Innovate: We innovate and collaborate.
7. Progress: Proper preparation produces progress: right action at the right time leads to success.

I am sending out a call to my followers to share this mission with others, to join in with this mission and contribute to the mission, and to offer any advice or feedback in order to make this mission successful: pass the word, post on facebook, LInkedIn, share with other liked minded individuals so that UCLCA is a success!

Halfway House Questions…

Posted: March 19, 2017 in Uncategorized

I have gotten a lot of questions about the halfway house. People have concerns and really don’t know what to expect while in the halfway house. Each halfway house is different and have different rules and regulations. I know a lot of guys that have gone to the halfway house and have been met with rules and regulations that have made it impossible to stay there. It seems that at every turn there is a rule that prohibits you from moving, being with family, and in some cases working. How do you get around that? 

Here a few things to remember when dealing with the halfway house. 

1. The official name for halfway houses: Community Correction Facility. What does that mean? That means although you can see and smell the outside world you are still under BOP custody. The BOP has contracted you out to a private company that operates under BOP rules and regulations. Any infraction you get will be the same as it would be if you were actually behind the fence or wall. As a resident you have to keep this in mind. 
2. The recidivism rate is 70% that means 7 out of 10 people return back to prison within 3 years of release. So, although you may have changed your life around for the best that does not mean that the other guys there with you have. You will encounter the same criminal lifestyle, habits and behaviors as you did in the joint. You have to take care of your sobriety. You have to have the will power to disassociate yourself from these people and their behaviors. People are not going to care about your needs. You have to care about them. That goes for staff and others alike. At the end of the day it is about money. You are there to profit off of. 
3. I have a lot of guys that get frustrated with the process of finding a job while in the halfway house. I know it is hard to settle for a temp job after spending many years in prison planning on how to get rich. If you did a bid waiting and planning use the time in the halfway house fine tuning your plan. Why? Because if you go out and get that high paying job, the one you always wanted, or you try to get your own business off the ground don’t be surprised when the halfway house mess it up for you. I hear stories all the time of guys that get out and get good jobs only to have to leave them after the halfway house calls the employer. It is as if they sabotage your efforts to get out and work. So how do you solve that? Get the temp job sweeping floors and dumping trash. They are going to take 25 percent of your check anyway. So why make a lot of money to give to them. 
When dealing preparing for release you have to prepare for the time spent in the halfway house. It is part of the bid and along with the bid there will be set backs. Your goal should be to understand them and get around them. The worse is you are there for 6 months to a year. The best thing about it is that while you are stuck in the halfway house your old cell-mate is stuck in a prison cell…dying and wishing to get out. Nothing last for ever. Just as you were able to deal with being confined you will find a way to get around the halfway house. 

The Numbers

Posted: March 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

As the say numbers don’t lie. But I want to add they do change. Here are some numbers for you as it relates to mass incarceration and crime and how it relates to the destruction of the black family.
There is a term, “Carceral State”: A sprawling netherworld of prisons and jails. So I guess the USA has added another state to the country.
The US makes up 5% of the worlds population but make up 25% of the world’s incarcerated population.
From the mid 1970’s to 2017 the incarceration population rate jumped from 300,000 to 2.2 million.
In the year 2000, 1 in 10 black males between the ages of 20 and 40 were incarcerated. 10 times the rate of their white peers.
In the year 2010 it was reported that a third of all black male high school drop outs between the age of 20 and 39 were imprisoned, compared to only 13 percent of their white peers.
The cost of 1 federal inmate, on average, costs $30,000 a year.
The population in Cumberland is approximately 1050. That cost of incarceration…$3,150,000,00.
There are over 50 federal prisons.
Taxpayers pay roughly 5.8 billion dollars a year.
The Department of Justice annual budget is approximately 80 billion dollars a year.
Among all black males born since the late 1970’s, one in four went to prison by their mid 30’s. among those who dropped out of high school, seven in ten did.
Sociologist now say that it has become normal and anticipated that black me will go to prison as they transition into adulthood. It has become a rite of passage.
In 1984 70% of all parolees successfully completed their terms of parole without re-arrest.
In 1996 only 44% did.
As of 2013 only 33% complete parole without re-arrest.

These are just a few of the numbers that black men, old and young, represent. As I said… numbers don’t lie, but they can change. We got to change these numbers.