September 26, 2018

*  I was recently in the chapel at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp during a time scheduled for meditation. While quietly sitting there alone trying to be spiritual, another inmate came in, removed his shoes and walked over to the restroom in his sock feet. With the door open, he removed his socks, rinsed them out in the sink, put them back on his wet feet, walked to the closet in his wet socks, stayed there for about 60 seconds, came out, put his boots back on and left. Has that happened to you?

* The best presidential quote of the summer has to be, "When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn't work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog." The fact that I wasn't repulsed or embarrassed, not even surprised by the quote unfortunately says more about me than it does the president.

* I'm teaching a class here on real estate investing. I've enjoyed putting together the syllabus and class outline and teaching...

September 21, 2018

While I'm at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp because I broke the law, many here would say they didn't. The more I understand the federal criminal justice system, the more I'm inclined to agree with some of them. Before coming here, I would have never believed this could happen in America. But I've learned some things about our system in the last few years. In short, it needs a major overhaul.

Here's an example. Let's say I worked for the FBI, DEA, ATF, FCC, CIA, SEC, FDIC, DOJ, FTC, IRS or DOL and an informant tells me you might be involved in some activity that could be of a criminal nature. Maybe this informant was someone whom you had sued, a competitor, or someone who just didn't like you. It doesn't really matter. If I had 2 days and access to your computer, phone, tax return and bank records, there's a very good chance I could concoct a theory leading to your federal indictment...for something. Access to your gun safe would help, but I wouldn't need it. If my case was weak, I'd als...

September 16, 2018

Have you seen the Choice Hotels commercial where the marketing consultant tries to push "Bada Book Bada Boom" as the new slogan/mission statement? It's effective and funny, and got me to thinking about mission statements and slogans.

Nike was the first corporation to come with a mission statement. I bet you know their slogan. Some others are a little more grandiose. Cisco wants to "change the world" while Walgreens Boots Alliance is "caring for people and communities around the world." Chevron goes about "enabling human progress by developing the energy that improves lives and powers the world forward." Indeed these are lofty goals, but from the perspective of a former consumer, I'd have to suggest "routers that work even though you don't know why or how" for Cisco, "good drugs covered by insurance" for Walgreens or "cheapest gas and cleanest rest rooms" for Chevron. 

The Bureau of Prisons has what I guess is a mission statement posted here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. It proclaims...

September 11, 2018

According to John of the Cross, a 16th century Spanish mystic, pure faith in God is like a ray of darkness. John believed that when we decide to live by faith, darkness can descend at each step along the way, as our former emotional props are systematically taken away. These props had served us well as gods providing certainty and security. Now gone, the vacuum created by our surrender to faith can actually lead to existential doubt and fear as we no longer have the certainty rooted in a lifetime of reliance on our own security program. That old life is in sharp contrast to walking by faith, where we don't feel certain about anything. 

However, if we are able to patiently and silently let God be God, eventually an invisible trust will emerge. Such trust is not based on our own intelligence, self medication, good deeds, or anything other than God's mercy. Over and over again, our spiritual journey repeats these encounters with faith's ray of darkness as we progress along this path t...

September 6, 2018

I've written so much about the dysfunction, deceit and organizational sickness within the Bureau of Prisons, that when they get something right, I must write about it. There is clearly one area here that rises in sharp contrast to the culture--the Psychology Department.

My first contact with one of the psychologists was during an initial examination when I arrived in August, 2015. This exam is part of the orientation of every inmate, but it was apparent from her questions that she had carefully read my Pre-Sentencing Investigation Report and was familiar with my background and family history. The examination was thorough and her feedback was helpful. I had no contact with the department for a long time after my intake exam. There are 3 clinicians on staff responsible for 1200 inmates at the Low Security Prison next door and for 175 campers, so I tried not to bother them.

Fast forward to early 2018, and I noticed the psychologists were offering a class on Anger Management at the camp. I d...

September 1, 2018

Within an organization as dysfunctional as the Federal Bureau of Prisons, what area is the worst of the worst here? That's a tough one, but at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, my vote goes to the education department. It's two functional priorities for the camp are to 1) make sure the education building is closed as much as possible, and 2) make sure the law library is closed from 11:00am to 12:30pm every day. That's when the law clerk used to take a lunch break. Of course we haven't had a law clerk in over 5 years because we don't have any law books. Anything educational that takes here happens in spite of the BOP. But just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, I've stumbled upon a third function. For the sake of discussion, let's call it the GED Scam. With a little background information for context, here's how it works.

In the federal criminal justice system, after a defendant's conviction or pleading but before sentencing, the US Probation Service compiles a Pre-Sentencing Invest...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones