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Mandatory Minimum Sentencing And What You Need to Know



Brief Overview of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing?


Mandatory minimum sentencing, a legal term which according to the definition given by law means an individual condemned of a crime is given a prison sentence for at least a certain period, in contrast to the punishment issued at the discretion of judges.


To clarify a bit more, let’s look at an example; a person who is caught carrying one kilogram or more of cocaine would be put in jail for five years even if a judge feels their sentence should be less.


Mandatory minimum sentencing laws compel judges to give fixed sentences to every convict, regardless of their accountability, answerability and other extenuating factors.


Historical background of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing:


Initially, mandatory minimum sentencing laws were endorsed and enacted back in 1951. Most of these laws were intended for drug offenses and needed almost three-to-five years of the sentence, at least. Other than this, other drug-related minimum convictions were passed in the late 1950s.


However, most of these laws were altered, repealed, and replaced in the 1970s. The Reagan administration considered drugs as one of the most crucial policy issues. Because of this, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing became a primacy. Consequently, several different sentencing laws were passed like the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which needed necessary sentences for drug abusers and offenders.



How does Mandatory Minimum Sentencing work?


One question which pops in our mind as soon as we hear the term “Mandatory Minimum Sentencing” is; how does the sentencing work, right? Well, here is a little overview of how the system works.


According to a general rule, a judge decides your penalties after you plead guilty or are found not guilty at a trial. Punishments are usually planned to be equally proportional to committed crime according to which the federal sentencing guidelines propose a wide range of sentences according to the distinctive offenses committed. Mitigating can be considered in different circumstances, like:


•    If you are the chief or main offender or an accessory to the crime committed.


•    If you hurt someone or tried to evade hurting someone.


•    What your mental condition was at the time the crime was committed.


Thus, the final sentence can be within a specific range. It can be longer and shorter as well, depending on the discretion of the judge.




Common offenses and Penalties regarding the Mandatory Minimum Penalties:


To fight and combat an array of issues as a result of drug trafficking and other related crimes, Congress decided to make crucial changes in Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, which began in 1951. Most of the penalties and common offenses are related to drug offenses. Other than this, most of the convictions under different statutes require mandatory minimum penalties that relate to controlled substances, identity theft, carrying firearms, and sex offenses.


Other than this, most of the sentences and penalties are linked with planned substance offenses. Over the past few years, drug trafficking offenses, assaults, and crimes have deemed for almost two-thirds of the overall crimes which carry the Mandatory Minimum Sentence and are considerably higher than any other class of attacks.


This trend is not shocking and surprising for most of the people mainly because of the upsurge in the number as well as the brutality of the mandatory minimum sentences for drug trafficking crimes right before the propagation of initial strategies. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 developed some mandatory minimum sentences and penalties for drug trafficking offenders, which was later extended in 1988.




Issues with Mandatory Minimum Sentencing:


As we have already discussed earlier, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing laws are rules which give a certain amount of prison time for several crimes, primarily drug possession. Judges cannot alter or reduce these sentences, even for mitigating situations that would easily lessen the duration of punishment.


It may be argued that some drug sentences may be considered unfairly long, ineffective, and brutal regarding mandatory minimum punishments. This is a major issue with Mandatory Minimum Sentencing and has sparked criminal justice reform in the U.S. Moreover, the three-strikes law, which is another kind of mandatory minimum sentencing that gives someone convicted of a crime a life sentence, is debatably unfair as well for what may be considered low-level offenses by individuals who are involved in a third felony. However, these penalties vary in different states.


Differences between the Federal and State Drug Selling Law:


There are quite some apparent differences between Federal and State Drug selling. Typically, the laws of the state are mainly applicable when drugs are sold within the country, while on the other hand, the federal laws are applicable when the drugs are sold across the borders or even international borders.


Even though there are a few states which tend to use the sentencing guidelines along with the mandatory minimum sentencing, each of them functions differently.







Mandatory minimum sentences are carried on for years despite disagreements by society and judges. In the past few years, South Carolina and Rhode Island abolished at least a few drug mandatory minimums entirely, offering an example for national reform. The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation (CJPF) is also refining and teaching the community about the necessity for modification for years. Back in the summers of 2015, Executive Director Eric E. Sterling of the CJPF invited President Obama to lecture about mandatory minimums for the duration of his leftover months in office. Even though most of the people thought that the laws were going to be reformed, there was no change seen until 2016.


Even though these laws and guidelines were formulated and stated quite some time ago, they can be a little different in different states and regions. The mandatory minimum sentencing laws are mainly used for crimes like drug trafficking both across the border as well as within the same country.


This elaborative overview of the mandatory minimum sentencing explains a lot of things. For more informative articles, stay connected with us on our Cell Block Legendz website.


Source


EveryCRSReport (2018). Mandatory Minimum Sentencing of Federal Drug

Offenses. Retrieved from EveryCRSReport.


Read more on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing by clicking on the titles of the books below: (Affiliate Advertising)



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Proven And Successful Prisoner Rehabilitation And Progress





As unusual as it may sound, some people view the incarcerated as mere criminals and nothing more. In some countries, prisoners are left on their own to complete their sentences while allowing them no chance at redemption or rehabilitation. For anyone who is not familiar with the concept of prisoner rehabilitation, they may have never been imprisoned. Let's get some proper insight into what prisoner rehabilitation is.


What is prisoner rehabilitation?


Rehabilitation is the act of restoring someone's health or state of mind to normal through consistent training and therapy. This provides individuals with a chance to earn their life back. In the case of prisoner rehabilitation, it is the same except for a few changes overall. Prisoners are offered multiple deals and chances at redemption by the State or through justice reforms. They engage in a variety of productive events such as being instated in the prison kitchen, helping in the prison industry or doing different chores at the correctional facility where they reside.


Prisoner Rehabilitation re-educates and retrains people who commit crimes to help them become a better human being and more presumptuously, a better man or woman. 


Prisoner Rehabilitation may help people return to society as a changed individual.  Apart from being viewed as a threat to society, prisoner rehabilitation affords prisoners the opportunity to practice being a viable asset to themselves and society.



What is the connection and/or relationship between criminal justice reform and prisoner rehabilitation?   

  

The connection or the common link between prisoner rehabilitation and justice reform is public safety and society. Both these pillars work side-by-side to ensure that every prisoner has a chance at redemption. Furthermore, prisoner rehabilitation is intended to see that prisoners are given a chance to prove to the judicial system, the state, society, their loved ones, and themselves that they are willing to pay their debt and resume their role as active and honest people.


Now, before anyone sucks their teeth and utters what a crock of crap prisoner rehabilitation is for prisoners in the U.S., we realize and agree that there is considerable room for improvement in prisoner rehabilitation and the treatment of prisoners. We are also aware of the efforts that have been implemented for criminal justice reform to help bring relief to prisoners for injustices, harsh sentencing, and mass incarceration. We will have to see what the outcomes and results are over a period of time for these initiatives and if and/or how much they helped prisoners in conjunction with rehabilitation.


Judicial reforms intend to ensure the classification and processing of every individual according to the degree and the nature of the crime they committed, and reforms are laid out accordingly. The prisoner rehabilitation system aims for the rehabilitation of individuals according to guidelines or specific details laid out by judicial reforms.



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Types of rehabilitation for prisoners


There are a variety of rehabilitation programs available for the inmates and these are described as:


1.  Educational rehabilitation for inmates


2.    Employment rehabilitation for inmates


3.    Counseling rehabilitation for inmates


4.    Wellness rehabilitation for inmates


5.    Community rehabilitation for inmates


Benefits of the prisoner rehabilitation


If someone is willing to throw a concise amount of insight into the subject, then they can witness some of the benefits associated with prisoner rehabilitation and its progress in working on changing inmates for the better. Some of the benefits are:


1.    Rehabilitation leads to progress: The act of providing inmates with a chance to prove themselves and win the trust of the State and society back that may lead to effective and consistent progress.


2.    Rehabilitation is good for changing attitudes on both sides: Rehabilitation does change the attitude of criminals and society toward each other and provides them with a better understanding of how one can benefit the other.


3.    Providing redemption: Rehabilitation provides prisoners with the chance to consciously reflect, plan, and look forward to a chance at redemption.


4.    Improving the behavior of criminals towards each other and correctional facility staff


5.    Retraining inmates to cope with the pressures of society and helping them to grow as individuals









What methods have been and are currently used to rehabilitate prisoners?


Various methods have been used and are still currently being used to rehabilitate the prisoners. These include offering educational and employment counseling as well as community rehabilitation for prisoners. These methods can help to bring fruitful results to prisoners such as changing their behavior toward society and offering them a chance to fix their lives.


How effective have these methods been or not been? What percentage of prisoners are rehabilitated?


These methods have some success in the case of prisoner rehabilitation. Changes among behavior and their reaction towards becoming a better individual for society have been witnessed. Reportedly, almost 66-75% of the prisoners are rehabilitated yearly using all these methods.


Are there any proven and successful methods that have been or are used to rehabilitate prisoners?


It can be said that the methods of providing prisoners with educational reforms have proven to be the best yet. And the chances of success are reportedly almost 93.74%.


What are some successful methods used to help prisoners get rehabilitated? 


The methods including educational and behavioral reforms have proven to be the most effective and have a higher ratio of success among the others.


What hasn’t worked to rehabilitate prisoners?


Prisoner mistreatment and abuse do not help at all. The moment prisoners think that they are being subjected to neglect, not given proper care or their rights are violated, then they may not cooperate with prison authorities. Mistreating and neglecting prisoners are methods that do not work.


What is recidivism?


Recidivism refers to the act of released prisoners' re-committing crimes that caused them to be convicted and re-incarcerated. Many criminals are rearrested for the same crime they committed before their rehabilitation.




Does prisoner rehabilitation reduce recidivism? If so, how?


Yes and No. Yes and in a way where rehabilitation provides prisoners with all of the tools, therapies, elements of choice, and dramatic positive changes in behavior, all of which they can use to contribute towards their share in the betterment of society and refrain from criminal acts they used to indulge in before rehabilitation. In this case, prisoner rehabilitation reduces recidivism.


No, in a sense that no amount of rehabilitation is enough or is going to do any good to improve the progress of a prisoner to help them become a better individual. If a prisoner is not willing to fully change and live by all these pieces of training, which includes refraining from all the criminal acts they were a part of before rehabilitation, then prisoner rehabilitation may not reduce recidivism.  

   

Conclusion


It can be said that without rehabilitation, society nor the justice system are doing any good to provide criminals a chance at redemption. But with the help of prisoner rehabilitation, many convicts can have a chance to turn their lives around and be of service to society, themselves, families, community, and society.




For more articles to help inspire you, visit our Cell Block Legendz Inspiration category and share it and this article with a friend. Thank you!

 

References


ConnectNetwork (2016). 5 rewarding types of rehabilitation for inmates.

Retrieved from ConnectNetwork.

 

CorrectionsOne.com (2015). What are the most successful methods of

rehabilitating prisoners? Retrieved From C1.

 

Maxwell, Eliese (2017). The benefits of prison art: providing rehabilitation

and positive implications. Retrieved from ResearchGate.

 

Solomon, Tamara (2015). The pros of rehabilitation on the criminal justice system.

Retrieved from Prezi.

 

Read More About Prisoner Rehabilitation In These Books: (Affiliate Advertising)




The Dedicated Ex-Prisoner's Guide for Getting Through the Halfway House: 10 Things to Do to Make Your Rehabilitative Stay Short, Productive, & Profitable by Richard Bovan


Prisoner Rehabilitation: Success Stories And Failures (Incarceration Issues: Punishment, Reform) Kindle Edition by Joan Esherick

 

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10 Revealing Facts That You Should Know About Illegal Drug Offenses


We live in a prequel society that dates back hundreds or even thousands of years to our ancestors who engaged in a variety of recreational smoking activities. Some of the activities our ancestors did include using certain parts of trees that provided them with relief and ecstasy. The concept of drug use is not new but redefined or revolutionized over time. The only difference is all those years earlier we didn't name the substances "cocaine” or “crack" as we do now for the sake of identification and determining the type and length of the sentencing for crack and cocaine drug offenses relating to the Fair Sentencing Act. This Act stems from a widescale drug epidemic in the 1980’s when the federal government waged a war on against drugs and crack and cocaine offenses.


What is a drug offense?


A drug offense is the use, possession, growth, manufacturing, or sale of substances that are prohibited by law and those that happen to be related to a dangerous class of drugs known as intoxicating substances.


Apart from being convicted of a serious narcotic charge if found in possession of illegal substances, the U.S. justice system provides criminals with some leniency in sentencing. One remedy in the justice system is known as The Fair Sentencing Act.


What is Fair Sentencing Act?


The Fair Sentencing Act is an act of Congress that was duly signed and initiated by President Barack Obama in 2010. It is responsible for providing convicts with leniency and reducing the sentencing disparities for criminals given the type and weight of cocaine or crack in their possession. Right from the time this act was instated, it provided a legal remedy for multiple criminals and even a few individuals who were caught up in this illegal act by mistake or unfortunate turns of events.



Let us take an instant look into 10 revealing facts about illegal drug offenses and how the U.S. justice system has dealt with such cases that were regulated and processed through the Fair Sentencing Act:


1. Social engagement with drugs and recreational substances


Whenever a criminal or a normal person is apprehended while selling or buying illegal drugs such as cocaine or crack, there is a social stigma attached to it. Whether they live in such an environment that promotes the use of such narcotic drugs or are tempted by others to engage in such criminal activities, society does play an important role.


2. Employment history/criminal past


People who engage in the illegal use, selling or buying of drugs mostly have a violent or criminal past. Their family, friends, or distant relatives may engage in such activities or their neighborhood supports such illegal activities. A criminal record can affect someone’s ability to obtain employment especially if they have a felony drug conviction from selling illegal drugs.


3. Children are on a great verge of the illegal drug business


The favorite targeted age group of some criminal organizations is children because they are an easy target and arise less suspicion when criminals smuggle illegal drugs. This is not only just a crime but a horrendous one. All over the US, this crime is practiced on a large scale by some violent organizations.




4. Illegal drug use has increased


Over the past few decades, the use, sale, and purchase of illegal drugs such as cocaine and crack have increased. Because the overall market has doubled over all these years, there is even a stronger financial push more than ever that has been feeding air into the bursting fuel tank of illegal drug offenses.


5. Modernizing practices involving the latest technology


Technology is another obstacle that lies between illicit drug dealers and authorities who are working around the clock to stop them. The use of modern technology provides tools, equipment, and other important factors that are required to cease the production, sales, or buying of illegal drugs.


6. Professional and thought out distribution channels


What makes the justice system to be a little tough and subtle in announcing the sentencing is whether the individual or organization charged with a drug crime had a proper system through which they carried out activities or was it a one-time deal. If found that the accused have been using elaborate distribution schemes to run the illegal cartel then without any question they are going to prison. 

 

7. Lack of knowledge and proper resources


Criminals charged with illegal drug offenses often lack the proper knowledge and resources to help them score reduced sentences. It is the responsibility of the state to properly debrief criminals in jail or prison regarding their rights and options that can land them a reduced sentence and even complete dismissal of the charges. However, factors such as race and income can prevent the accused from obtaining good and adequate legal representation. Although crack is more widespread in the white, rich, and suburban demographic, it is used more in the black, poor, and urban demographic who may lack the knowledge and resources to legally help them if caught. There are more black people who are charged federally with drug charges.


8. Public spending

The budget or resources that a state is willing to redirect to stop or minimize the use of such activities directly influences the scale of drug offenses happening in a country. If enough resources are not allocated toward stopping illegal drug offenses, then it can flourish.



9. Strictness in terms of sentencing

The U.S. justice system is very strict about illegal drug offenses in terms of sales, use, and buying illegal drugs. Individuals can face a minimum sentence of five years for getting caught with as little as five grams of crack or 500 grams of powder cocaine although they are the same drug produced by different methods. The Fair Sentencing Act increased the amount of crack to 28 grams for leniency for criminals. However, mandatory minimum sentencing seems to counter the effects of the Fair Sentencing Act. Mandatory Minimum Sentencing is when someone is convicted of a crime and must serve a minimum prison term instead of leaving the length of punishment up to judges. 


10. Increasing motivation because of decriminalization


There has been radical hype that the government has annulled various drugs from being illegal. Some people believe that this means they can buy, sell, or manufacture drugs, freely.


Decriminalization of medicinal and recreational marijuana and other therapeutic drugs in some states may be triggering this motivation among individuals and the rate of illegal drug offenses is increasing rapidly. However, marijuana is not yet legal at the federal level.


The U.S court system treats criminals who are serving their sentences under the Fair Sentencing Act with a keen sense of leniency. The Fair Sentencing Act is responsible for the following benefits to people charged with illegal drug offenses:


·         Discriminates between criminals depending on the scale of the offense, such as the type or quantity of the drug sold, bought, or found in possession.

·         Provides the justice system with an ultimate profile for the person under the charge of an illegal drug offense

·         Responsible for reduced sentencing as well as provisions of unbiased judicial access to all criminals

·         Includes access to various prohibition centers where convicts, if labeled as a drug user, can have free treatments and do rehab while serving their sentence

·         Bring enormous reforms to society by providing absolute justice and minimizing arrests that are done on suspicion or lack of proof basis



Conclusion


There are many interesting and revealing facts pertaining to illegal drug offenses including social, technological, educational, monetary, and other aspects. The Fair Sentencing Act that was created in 2010 under President Barack Obama helps to provide convicted criminals with sentencing leniency and reduction for illegal drug offenses. Despite numerous implemented measures to deal with illegal drugs in the U.S., illegal drugs continue to be an issue that is drawing more attention in our society especially with recent criminal justice reform changes.


Stay tuned for more incarceration-related information via our Cell Block Legendz blog. Did you like this blog article? Feel free to share it with a friend. Thank you!

 

References


FindLaw (2019). Types of drug crimes. Retrieved from FindLaw.


Mechanic, Jesse (2017). When a drug epidemic hit white america,

addiction became a disease. Retrieved from Huff Post.


Nolo (2019). Drug laws and drug crimes. Retrieved from Nolo.


USLegal (2019). Mandatory minimum sentencing law and legal definition.

Retrieved from USLegal.


Read More About Illegal Drug Offenses And Criminal Justice Reform In These Books: (Affiliate Advertising)


Illegal Drugs: A Complete Guide to their History, Chemistry, Use, and Abuse Updated Edition by Paul Gahlinger

 

Beat The Feds In Court: A Self-Help Legal Resource for Every American Paperback by Harvey Sr, Edward Aaron


Federal Prison Handbook: The Definitive Guide to Surviving the Federal Bureau of Prisons 1st Edition by Christopher Zoukis

 

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Snitching – The Forbidden Bad Fruit




“Loose lips sink ships.”


“Snitches get stitches.”


“Stop snitching”       

                           

You may have heard these words at some point in your life. You may even be familiar with what a tattletale is. However, do you know what snitching is? Snitching is an act in where someone provides incriminating information to the police about the criminal activity of others so that the cops show leniency in punishment to the one who provided them with information. This way, the one who provided police with information avoids getting in trouble or gets in less trouble. A person who does this is called a snitch.


Today, certain acts of telling on someone may be considered snitching by some people and not other acts. For some people, involving the police for any reason is considered snitching. Other people may differ and feel like if they are not living by street and hood codes and have friends who are connected to the streets and hood, then the strict rules of the code of snitching do not apply to them. Loyalty is abandoned between those who made an agreement to not disclose any incriminating information against each other and self-serving interests prevail with snitching. There have been songs, movies, books, and documentaries made about snitching. It’s a hot topic.


Let us explore snitching by these examples.


For example, let’s say that you are a drug dealer and get caught by the police. You may be facing 10 years in prison, but you want to walk free. So, you make a deal with the district attorney to get less or no time if you agree to inform the police about another drug dealer in the drug game so that the police can bust and arrest them. Or, you give information to the police or district attorney about your co-defendant that you got busted in crime with to get leniency. This is called snitching.


Some adults may have been childhood snitches. Remember these words during the midst of play when a fight erupted in the absence of adults and someone got hit?


I’m telling momma!”


“I’m about to go tell that you hit me!”


“I’m telling on you!”


Some kids probably didn't think much about being a tattletale. They probably felt like the misdeeds of other children warranted a report to Mother Matriarch, who acted as the enforcer of strict repercussions. This would be a form of snitching to some people and not others.


In the workplace and when it comes to project teamwork, employees may blame each other for errors and failures. They may do this to save their image in front of their boss and prevent negative performance evaluations. This may be considered a form of snitching to some and not others.


What actions are and are not considered snitching?


People may often confuse what actions constitute snitching. Here is an example to make things clear for you. If you call police on a kidnapper after spotting them with an abducted child, then you may not be considered a snitch because your actions will help to save the child. Keep in mind that if you choose to be a vigilante to deal with the kidnapper yourself that you may face consequences if caught or injury or death if the kidnapper retaliates against you. However, if you are busted in drug dealing, sign a statement or agreement, and provide documents that will help to arrest someone to get lenient treatment, then that is snitching.


Some people despise snitching unless it involves others who are close to them. If their loved one is a victim of a heinous crime, then they may encourage others to come forth and report information to the police. They may not consider it snitching. However, if their loved one commits an egregious crime against someone, then the loved one(s) of the accused may not report them and may even discourage others from reporting them. They may be viewed as a snitch.


Reasons why people snitch on others to the police:


·    The main reason behind snitching is for someone to reduce the consequences of their criminal acts. A snitch faces punishment according to law because they are a criminal in the eyes of the police. A snitch already knows he or she may be going to prison for an extended period. A snitch wants to avoid jail or prison time, mistreatment and abuse in prison, undesirable food, restrictions on activities, solitary confinement, and negative images of jail or prison. This can make criminals snitch on others to the police. Some people snitch on others out of jealousy, envy, or to retaliate against someone.

 

Another reason behind snitching on others to the police is that a snitch wants to keep their illegal activities active. If they get caught by the police and arrested, then it will be hard for them to keep their illegal activities running.

 

·  The last reason behind snitching is to reduce or potentially eliminate the amount of time served in jail or prison. Police may help a snitch to get out of jail on an agreement that they have to provide information about the illegal activities of others.


Some other words for a snitch are:


Rat

Stool Pigeon

Narc

Informant

Weasel

Whistle-blower

Squealer


Now, here are a few videos, below, that relate to snitching.  (Disclaimer: Cell Block Legendz does not own the rights to these videos and the videos in this article may contain profanity and language that may be deemed offensive.)

 

The Moment You Realize Your Gonna Snitch

 (Side Note: This video probably should have been entitled, “When you realize you got snitched on”.)


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Finding Out Your Boy Is A Snitch

 

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Consequences of being a snitch:


·   There are consequences for being a snitch. Some people are afraid of repercussions from thieves and criminals. Other people view people who don’t snitch to the police as honorable. However, once others find out that someone snitched to the police to get lenient treatment, then the snitch is not viewed favorably. They may be subjected to “street justice” and retaliated against. Some punishments for snitching include getting jumped, maimed, and/or even killed.

 

·    Snitches may feel like they are reducing crime. However, when snitches get lenient treatment from the police and do not get arrested, they are free to provide the police with information and commit a crime. This can raise the number of illegal activities. Snitches run the risk of retaliation if they are not caught by the police while continuing their illegal activities. They can still end up in jail or prison after getting leniency from the district attorney. Therefore, snitching can be a gamble either way. 

 

·    After snitching and receiving lenient treatment, a snitch is not trusted by others who dealt with them. They can become a target in the community they live in and end up injured or worse.


 

What is Dry snitching?


Dry snitching is different from snitching because in this case, someone indirectly tells authorities about someone’s wrongdoings. In dry snitching, the person provides indirect clues about the other person's actions rather than directly report someone’s activities.


Let’s look at this by a simple example.


Imagine that you went on your allowed one-hour lunch break with a friend outside of the office building and when you come back to the office, a co-worker says in front of your boss, "Hmmm…I didn’t know that our job allows us to spend one and a half hours for a lunch break." In this scenario, the boss will know that you and your co-worker were late getting back from a one-hour lunch break.


Another real-life example is that when someone lives at home with their parents who pay their college tuition and they miss a college class and go to a friend’s party. Then, when they get home, their brother speaks in front of their parents that their professor was asking why they were absent from class, today. This will give their parents a strong clue that they did not attend class, and now they may be faced with questions.


Anti-Snitch Code:



Some people feel like there is an absolute need to make strict codes of law for snitches. In the past and to date, police use informants to get information about other criminals and leave them free in society, when it comes to rules of the streets, others who live by the street rules may feel like snitches violate those rules. Therefore, they feel that there is an urgent need for setting strict anti-snitch codes.


Some people are not aware of what happens behind the scenes. They may have no idea about the type of agreements that informants sign or with the police or district attorney. Most of the time, the full story is unknown. Criminal cases can be brought up in the media. Sometimes, paid informants who are immune from arrest are hired by law enforcement and the informants are named and other times, they are not. Informants and/or witnesses may go into a federal Witness Protection Program that is designed to protect threatened witnesses and informants without disclosing their identity. Witnesses and informants may be viewed as snitches by those who favor an anti-snitching code or are being testified against.


To folks who live by an anti-snitching code, it may not be a matter of reducing crime by reporting criminals to get them off the street because they realize that snitches who are criminals end up getting little to no time by snitching so snitching defeats the purpose of reporting. Also, for some folks who live by an anti-snitching code, it may be a matter of maintaining one’s word and honor.


Conclusion


Snitching is an act of telling damaging information about someone else’s activities (usually illegal) for various reasons and can have numerous negative consequences. Snitching can be considered a hot topic for people who live guarded or questionable lives. Depending on one’s outlook or lifestyle, snitching can be viewed as good or detrimental. When it comes to living by rules or codes, there’s an old saying, “If you’re going to play the game, you better know and play by the rules especially if you didn’t create the game.” The best way to win in the game of snitching is to not play the hood and street game at all so you will not be labeled a snitch.


Hot Topic Questions:


What are your views on snitching?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

What do you think about the Witness Protection Program for witnesses?

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Would you do 30, 40, 50 years or life in prison to not be a snitch or police informant? Why or why not?

_________________________________________________________________________________________________


Would you take the death penalty to not be a snitch? Why or why not?

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Would you do life in prison to save your mom or close family member or friend from going to prison to do life to not be a snitch? Why or why not?

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Are you interested in reading books about snitching? Check these books out.

(Disclaimer: Affiliate Advertising)


1. Snitching – Criminal Informants And The Erosion of American Justice by Alexandra Netapoff


2. Snitching: The Streets Are Fair Game But The Game Has Never Been Fair by Ms. Tee


3. Undercover Informant 2: Still Snitching by Ms. Tracy White


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7 Awesome and Interesting Reasons For Writing A Prison Pen Pal

                                                       

                      

The world is huge with over 7 billion people living on the planet. Technology such as email and cell phones have made communications very easy. Who requires more contact than incarcerated prison pen pals? Although inmates cannot have cell phones, they are still human and many of them live in devastating isolation, agony, and loneliness, which is the worst punishment for any human.

 

Keep in mind that convicts can be guilty or innocent of crimes that they’re detained for including murder, robbery, drugs, etc., or on Death Row. Some prisons and jails believe that someone’s mistakes should not deprive them of contact with others who are not incarcerated. Many inmates love to be kept up-to-date about what’s going on with family, friends, and loved ones.

 

Cell Block Legendz also believes that inmates should not be shut off from outside communication and provides a platform of inspiration, information resources, and merchandise for the family, friends, and loved ones of inmates at Cell Block Legendz. Here, you will find many amazing blogs and inspirational articles with incredible real-life tips and feedback.

 

Writing and sending mail is a low-cost and reliable mode of communication with inmates. Handwritten mail from family and friends can mean the world to them. Daily internal mail delivery can be the most anticipated and exciting time for prisoners. Some correctional facilities allow handwritten or typed letters along with photos. Federal, state, and local facilities where inmates reside may have different criteria when writing and sending mail to inmates.

 

Be sure to check online correctional facility guidelines or call ahead to get specific rules about what is or isn’t acceptable when sending a prisoner mail. Certain items are not allowed in mailings. Envelopes may have to be a certain color, nudity is forbidden in pictures, and the facility may prohibit gang insignias or profane and foul language. Some inmates can’t receive postage stamps, envelopes, or paper because they can purchase them from the commissary store.

 

Fast forward…

 

So, you thought it was an epic idea to get a prison pen pal or pen friend after your cousin told you what a legendary relationship that she’s developed with a prisoner she found through an online prison pen pal service. You’ve written your first letter to your pen pal and already, they are asking you for nudes and if you’ll marry them (in that order) (Lol). You’re shocked.

 

You aren’t sure if you should return the next letter from your pen pal or pack up and move in case they get released and decide to drop by, unannounced. So, you decide to end the communication altogether.

 

On the flip side, things can go quite well with you and a prison pen pal. You’ve looked up their case and they don’t have any violent or sex abuse convictions. You love the tone of their letters, they are not insisting that you meet, and they are not writing about sex or asking you for money.

 

You may develop a great friendship over time that may or may not lead to a romantic relationship, love, or marriage before or (if and) when they get released. It happens. Just realize what you may be getting yourself into after your long-time romantic prison pen pal comes home. Check out the video, below, called Gimme Gimme Gimme - Linda and her Prison Pen Pal Freddie LOL. Cell Block Legendz does not own the rights to this video.


 

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…Or, you may discover that your prison pen pal experience did not quite turn out what you expected it to be.





Prison pen pals can be looking for friends, jobs upon release, to get their GED, college degree, enrolled in a training program, or to find a place to stay. Take the time to get to know your prison pen pal(s) (whether they are a woman or man), get to know each other, and be honest and clear about your intentions.

 

Know what your purpose is before you get a prison pen pal and set boundaries between each other upfront. If you have a looming concern about giving out your home address to your prison pen pal, then consider using a Post Office box and/or alias to correspond with your prison pen pal. They probably will not care if you send them a postcard or birthday card from a Post Office Box. It will probably just make their day that they received mail, especially from you.

 

If you ever worry about the safety of using your home address, there are pen pal services like jPay that do not show your personal information. Don’t give out your phone number to a prison pen pal whom you do not wish to converse on the phone with. Keep in mind that the cellmates of your prison pen pal can get ahold of your information and if their relationship negatively changes with your prison pen pal, then your information can be misused by their cellmate.





There are many interesting and awesome aspects of having a prison pen pal. You may discover the following benefits by writing a prison pen pal:

 

An Educational Experience:



Having a prison pen pal can be a fabulous and educational experience. As you get to know the inmate, you can get the perspective of someone who may be viewed as a community outcast and learn some things that you did not know about them before. An inmate can share with you his or her daily challenges and the realities of prison life. Convicts can teach you a bunch of great information like prison rules that are different than the outside world. Information is very valuable, regardless of source or topic. A person should appreciate any knowledge they can get concerning a place that is a world of its own. It can be a blessing in disguise to learn different perspectives from inmates when it comes to survival tips and acquiring mental resiliency.


Prisoners are humans, too:



You may find it hard to believe or relate to, but inmates are humans too.  Before becoming incarcerated, they led a regular life just like you and me. Being pen pals can help you discover what made them take a step outside of the legal line that significantly changed their lives.





Being there for someone:

 


Prisoners must deal with isolation and risks to their safety and well-being. No matter how minor or major the crime is that they committed, isolating an inmate can be a cruel punishment. Your companionship helps them throughout the tenure of their sentence when you write to them. One day, they may be released, and you can earn a great friend whom you helped get through tough times. In this way, you both can interact better and develop a bond.


 

Social awareness:



Interacting with a prison pen pal can bring about social awareness when we share our experiences with others, including our youth. It is a very nice way to spread knowledge about prison in our society. The art of valuing people who may be deemed to be social outcasts in the community and the required discipline in answering their letters are also learned. Sharing pen pal experiences with youth can provide them with the proper mental growth and allow them to understand certain situations that can lead them to become law-abiding citizens in the future because of their knowledge of the pitfalls that incarceration can yield and help them become more familiar with the judicial system.


Showing support:



Some of the prisoners can also be wrongfully convicted inmates who have no one to write to and are lonely and victimized in every way. Writing to random prisoners can give them mental support as having a partner to communicate can help them overcome the mental torture. Keep in mind that a prison pen pal who is nearing release may stop communicating with you altogether even after you thought that there was a close bond between you.



 


Interacting positively:


 

Any open communication that a prison pen receives can remove barriers. Writing a letter to them can help people to positively interact and even encourage each other. Prisoners can become inspired by you to lead productive lives during their incarceration, which can create a positive environment all around.



Boosting Well-being:



Communicating positively with a prison pen pal may help their mental health when they are given a platform to communicate with others on the outside. They may develop trust in you if they feel like they are given a free pass to express their innermost feelings. Exchanging letters and befriending a person on the inside can help to boost morale while also helping them to preserve their sanity.


 

Overall, being pen pals with an inmate can be beneficial and uplifting. It helps in spreading awareness, perspective, and social information. The main goal of pen pals is to develop a friendly and honest relationship with a person living a different life than you in a different environment.


Prison pen pals may be able to receive care packages, funds, magazine subscriptions, and/or new books. There may be stringent protocols that need to be followed for overall correctional facility safety while sending these items. However, it is still a positive step to develop and build a friendly and honest relationship. Inmates may have committed crimes, but they should be allowed contact with the outside world. Taking the time to communicate and interact with a prison pen pal may help them to get started on a greater and noble path.

 

Would you like some FREE incarceration-related information resources? Visit our Cell Block Legendz website, now. 


For more information about prison pen pals, click on the links to the book tiltles below: (Affiliate Advertising)


Pen Pals: A Personal Guide For Prisoners: Resources, Tips, Creative Inspiration and More by Krista Smith




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How To Gain Peace When Chaos Goes Bonkers



Summer is approaching. In certain geographical parts, the weather will become more stable and some folks may or may not be complaining (again) about how hot it is or that it’s not hot enough...Antarctica, anybody?

It can get piping hot or frigidly cold where we live in upstate New York. The weather can literally go from a summer-like day to a snowstorm the next depending on where we are in the spring or winter season. I am hardly surprised to hear folks who are born and raised in my city complain about hot or cold weather as if they don’t know what to expect every year or that it was coming (Lol). I was already thinking weeks ago about the AC (air conditioner) being ramped up because I know what the weather typically has in store for us during our Rochester summers. It can get very hot.

Summer is the time when planned vacations, weddings, Fourth of July fireworks, and other endeavors come to fruition. It’s the time for outdoor festivals and festivities. It seems like more people get out and are more social during the summer.

Regardless of the season and wherever one may live, everyone has physiological survival needs such as food, water, shelter, sleep, and oxygen. It’s not difficult to know that oxygen reigns supreme because mankind needs air to breathe and stay alive.

If you know about the rule of “three”, we can go as long as about three minutes without oxygen, three days without water, and three weeks without food. These statistics don’t apply to people who can physiologically defy norms. Those are the folks who are in the Guinness Book of World Records (Lol).


Is Mental Peace Required?


But, what about our ability to have mental peace as something that we need to survive? While peace may not be considered an immediate need for survival, it’s been said that you can’t put a price on peace. It’s debateably worth more than anything that money can buy.

Just about everyone has had moments or times in their lives where it seemed like sh* t just kept hitting the fan and it seemed like there was no end in sight for relief in mentally chaotic situations. I am referring to times when it seemed like someone’s world was turning upside down, inside out, and all about - when it seemed like someone couldn’t take any more bad news or bad days. I am referring to times where someone was not able to think clearly, their mind was filled despair, they were restless, experiencing loss of sleep or oversleeping, and a mentally destructive war and hurricane was going on in their world.

On the outside, one’s life can be a colossal mess. The bills can be piling up, one’s health can be suffering, one’s job can be stressing them out, one’s personal relationships can be strained, and one can simply not be happy. At any given moment, it may seem like one is going to lose it. And, just when one thinks that things couldn’t get any worse, they do.

Then, there are other scenarios where one can get a raise, lose the 20 pounds that one had worked so hard to lose, one’s social and personal lives can be great and one has just booked that two week vacation to Fregate Island, Seychelles, yet still they do not experience mental peace. There is a myriad of reasons why someone can lack peace. It could be that someone is experiencing fear and anxiety that things are going so well that something bad is bound to happen or that one has not learned to become accustomed to things going well or living a life with peace.


What Is Peace?


Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines peace as a state of tranquility or quiet: such as (a): freedom from civil disturbance (b): a state of security or order within a community provided for by law or custom.

In this article, I am referring to that tranquil state of mind that one feels whether they are faced with conflict, drama, or stress or not. I am referring to the ability to maintain one’s mental composure while “walking through the fire” and coming out on the other side scathed or unscathed, yet still being able to arrive and exist in a peaceful state of mind as a choice. Many people may have been in the spirals and cold-hearted grip of back-to-back stress and overwhelmed to the point where it felt like one could not take anymore and it seemed that peace just evaded them.

“Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be” – Wayne Dyer 

I absolutely love this! I love this because it is an astounding quote and perspective on striving for and obtaining peace. Re-training one’s mind takes practice and willingness to develop positive habits. Developing good habits or breaking bad habits can take time. Social psychology research suggests that it can take 67 days to form a habit. Some folks say that it takes 21 days to break a habit, but I lean toward 67 days. It seems more reasonable to me.

Before re-training one’s mind, it can be easy to become “mentally-addicted” or “obsessed” with a “shoulda…coulda… woulda” thought process regarding how we  think and feel things should have started, ended, or be, that it becomes difficult or impossible to accept things for how they actually started, ended, or are and create some peace regarding the outcome. Holding on to our false ideals and being unwilling to see things for how they really are can cause us to threaten our own peace. Some things just are and will be and other things we can work on regarding ourselves to make things better.


Types of Peace


Experiencing peace may not be a constant for some people. They may experience episodic or cyclical peace. People may go from experiencing peace during certain times of the day depending on the mind set they have, the people they’re around, or the environment they’re in to feeling like they’re going to lose it. Then, they can experience a return of peace.

On the other hand, some people are used to and have learned to become accustomed to functioning in chaos. They may be labeled dysfunctional. However, it doesn’t necessarily make someone dysfunctional if they learned to function in chaos. Emergency room trauma doctors are a great example of people who are familiar with functioning in what can be chaotic situations. It takes for them to remain calm, among many other skills to do their job, but are they totally at peace with tragic situations when they couldn’t save a life? Well, that it is only a question they can answer.

There is inner peace and external or outer peace. You can have inner peace without outer peace and experience an environment of outer peace without inner peace. Whether one loves nature and the sound of rushing waters, chirping birds, and the feel of a gentle breeze against one’s face on a warm and sunny day or gain peace from love and the crisp and cold winter air, it is up to an individual to define what internal and/or external factors brings them peace.

Someone can reap the benefits of operating in an optimal peace zone when they are able to experience peace for prolonged periods of time. It’s like experiencing mental soul food for one’s spirit. It can give one’s mind, body, and spirit a chance to re-focus, stay focused, re-energize, and become revitalize.


Ways to Obtain Peace


There are a plethora of ways to create peaceful environments and obtain an internal and external peace of mind. Peace starts before you enter a room of solace or take comfort in a peaceful environment. It starts with ensuring that your body, mind, and spirit are healthy.

Some things that bring people inner and outer peace are nature, good financial standing, health, love, being happy. Getting peace is one thing and finding peace during chaos is another. There are various ways to achieve peace. You can create an environment of inner and outer peace if you:


·       Use foam ear plugs to reduce external noise in noisy environments.

·       Play calm music in your car, on the bus, or on your (lunch) break with headphones at work. Some people like classical music or music with the sound of wind and rushing waves.

·       Do deep breathing.

·       Try aromatherapy essential oils like lavender, rose, or Neroli.

·       Take a long bath with Epsom salt, candlelight, and soft music.

·       Try Yoga or meditation.

·       Get a professional full body massage and/or foot rub.

·       Use a sleep mask during the day for naps.

·       Go for a walk or drive (on your lunch break or at the park).

·       Read

·       Swim

·       Bike

·       Exercise

·       Go on a peace retreat.

·       Spend time alone at home or away or with others who bring you peace.

·       Organize and unclutter your house, apartment, work space, closet, car, etc. Things may seem mentally clearer when you unclutter and you may be able to think better.

·       Turn off your cell phone, TV, radio, etc.

·       Make time for “Me” time.

·       Face difficult tasks head on and do them first while and when you have a full tank of mental, physical, and spiritual energy (if you are spiritual) and/or pray for peace.

·       Work on caring less about what certain folks think about you.

·       Prioritize daily tasks. Make a To-Do list.

·       Monitor your cell phone and social media usage. Let’s face it. Many folks allow posted drama on social media to threaten their peace.

·       Learn to keep harmony between saying “Yes” or “No” to the request of others so that your peace is not compromised.

·       Learn to manage and be in control of your emotions. Keep in mind that there are some people who will try to test you and bring you out of your peaceful state just to see if they can.

·       Never underestimate doing some quick things like closing one’s eyes, taking some deep breaths, visualizing a peaceful scene or memory, or looking at nature or out of a window.

·       Remove or reduce contact with anything and everyone who robs you of your peace or manage them from a safe distance as best you can. Sometimes, one is faced with dealing with toxic personal or workplace environments. Look for a new place of employment, position, or line of work.

Keep things mentally in perspective. If you think the worse before you have proof, then re-train your mind to focus on solutions and peace if problems arise. Don’t constantly stress over situations beyond your control. Things or something in your life may have happened and you may still be in a place where you are not yet at peace with what and/or how things happened. Allow yourself time to arrive at acceptance and letting go. If you find that you are unable to reach that point, consider reaching out to a professional, therapist, church, support group, or whatever positive alternative(s) you feel may help you deal with the situation(s).

No one is perfect and one may have their moments but find harmony and balance with allowing oneself resting and reflection time vs. self-defeating and stressing time. Look at positive alternatives or the bright side of a situation. Since my mother passed away, I smile as I picture my mother dancing when I was younger when a song comes on the radio that she used to dance to. And, I just may go to pieces if another song comes on that reminds me of her and makes me wish my mother could have lived longer. Nevertheless, I am at peace knowing that I was able to be by her side and spend the last weeks, days, and minutes with my mom before she took her last breath and left her physical body.

Get peace by knowing that you will not idly sit by and allow circumstances to handle you and that you will handle your business despite stress, etc. Consider getting therapy to develop strategic coping skills, couples, or family therapy or devising an Exit plan to leave a situation altogether if your health, safety, sanity, and peace are at risk. Don’t put undue pressure on yourself. Do what you can do and remember that you can do more, later.

Remember the Serenity Prayer: God grant me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference – Reinhold Niebuhr


Conclusion


This article includes some ideas for you to achieve peace, but you may discover other or better ways to achieve peace. The bottom line is that no matter how many stressors or tragic circumstances come your way, you still have a choice to deal with them, decide how you’re going to deal with them, take things day-by-day, chisel away at dealing with stress and chaos, and arriving at peace. Even if chaos has gone bonkers, you can make the choice to operate with peace so that you are able to manage the chaos and function in a healthy state of mind. At any given moment, you can choose to turn on your peace switch.

Sometimes, you may not know exactly where things are going, but you intuitively know and feel that you are headed in the right direction when even throughout a fast-paced and chaotic day at work or in life, you can still find your inner and outer peace and calm to get through any storm.

There are some people who can remain calm and at peace under pressure regardless of the situation and still perform and behave, optimally. The sky could start to fall, and they would calmly, coolly, and collectively put a smile on their face, look at their wrist watch, and peacefully figure out how much time they have left. These types of people who are the epitome of peace, are admirable, and very necessary in the world that we live in especially when chaos goes bonkers.


1)   What specifically brings you inner peace and why?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

 

2)   What external physical conditions are necessary to bring you outer peace and why?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

 

3)   What brings you inner and outer peace for prolonged periods of time?

_____________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________

 

4)   What or who robs you of your peace and how?

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________

 

5)   If you had 24 hours with no interruptions or responsibilities from the time you woke up until the time you went to sleep, specifically how would you create, experience, and enjoy inner and outer peace?

______________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________


If Question #5 seems nearly impossible to achieve by getting 24 hours of uninterrupted time to experience peace, write down everything you would do on paper and work on breaking it down in increments. Can you get an hour of uninterrupted time? 30 minutes? Then, go for it! Well-wishes to you for as much love, peace, and happiness as you can stand in life!


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How To Quit Lying To Yourself To Mentally Grow


Okay, so you may be reading THIS title and wondering to yourself what in the heck could this blog be about or what is the deal with me being assumed a liar (…the nerve of Cell Block Legendz).


Hold that thought and let me clarify some things up front. No, I am not maliciously calling anyone a liar. It seems like no one likes to be lied to or called out as a liar. I get that.


But, let’s face it. Lying happens and in the interesting world that we live in, it would be safe to say that lies probably happen every day and are a part of life.


What Is A Lie?


Merriam’s Webster’s online dictionary defines a lie as to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive. Lying has been around since biblical times starting in the Garden of Eden. And, remember the modern-day saying, “The devil is a liar?”


Movies, documentaries, memes, research, and studies have been done about lying. You may or may not have even heard the saying that if someone’s lips move before the words come out of their mouth, then they’re about to tell a lie.


Why Do People Lie?


Why people lie is another topic. It may be to gain something or keep from losing something. Or, some people may lie just for sport. Yes, there are some folks who just may be “certified, unadulterated, and pathological liars”. They have no reason to lie, but simply do it just because.


The topic at hand for this article is about people lying to themselves and how to be honest with oneself. Whether one is lying to themselves for self-serving reasons to spare themselves of self-embarrassment or kind-hearted reasons to make themselves feel better, the issue is of lying to oneself is real.


Getting down to the bottom of how to deal with the lies one tells themselves is an important issue. It can serve to help one grow and improve their lives or else one may constantly find oneself on the receiving end of negative consequences of one’s failure to be honest with oneself.


Why People May Lie To Themselves


Some people lie to themselves their whole lives. Good luck with getting them to change if they don’t want to or there are other issues that they refuse to address and deal with to help them overcome telling themselves lies.


Lies that one tells themselves that prevent or stagnate self-growth are not healthy. Someone can tell themselves a lie to make themselves feel better if they have low self-esteem or an over-inflated ego and believe their own lies. It’s one thing to tell yourself a lie and another thing to buy into it, especially when it’s not true.


Many people have probably lied to themselves before in some shape, form, or fashion. Some lies that someone can tell themselves are:


"I’m not pretty or handsome enough."


"I’m not smart enough."


"I’m not good enough."


"I’ll never find a good man/woman."


…And, the list can go on and on.


Despite beliefs in the lies people may tell themselves, the above are self-limiting beliefs and you can still work on reaching life goals whether you believe these lies or not. While someone cannot change things beyond their control, they can certainly work on dispelling the lies they tell themselves.


It’s not always what someone sees that stands in their way, but what they refuse to see. Yes, some things are a matter of fact even when someone is in blatant denial about the truth. Denial, self-denial, lies, and lying to oneself are like cousins. They are related. And, lying to oneself is different from positive self-talk.


Examples Of Positive Self-Talk Vs. Lying To Oneself


An example of positive self-talk would be saying to oneself:


“I believe that I can pass my test if I study hard, seek help from my college professor, get a good night’s sleep, and eat something healthy before I take the test.”


An example of lying to oneself would be:


“I don’t have knowledge of what is going to be on the test, but I do not have to study for it because I know without a doubt I will pass it.”


Lies someone tells themselves can deal with their bad or harmful habits or how they handle situations and (romantic) relationships. In abusive relationships, someone can justify abusive behavior of their spouse and lie to themselves. Other lies someone can consciously or subconsciously tell themselves are:


“It’s okay if I do not handle my responsibilities. Eventually, things will just work out.”


“He/She hit me but it’s okay because I made them mad.”


“I can blindly trust people. Everyone deserves the benefit of the doubt.”


How honest are you with yourself? How well do you know yourself? Self-honesty and self-awareness go hand in hand.


How To Stop Lying To Yourself


The first step in doing something positive about lying to yourself is being willing to admit that one is not perfect and it’s okay to (periodically) take an honest look or self-assessment of one’s actions, attitude, and life decisions. But you’re probably thinking, “How can someone make an HONEST evaluation of themselves if they lie to themselves?


Get feedback about yourself from a true and trusted friend and better yet, from someone who is independent, objective, unbiased, and has no interest in or nothing to gain or lose by giving you honest feedback. If you have friends who may not tell you the truth about yourself, then do not ask them. Do not go to others who would have a negative agenda against you and would take pleasure in maliciously criticizing you. Seek constructive and helpful feedback.


If the man or woman you consult with for honest and constructive feedback is not biased, then you can ask them what they think about you, your personality, and attitude. A true and trusted friend will tell you what you need to hear (in a constructive and non-judgmental way) and not what you would like to hear. They will give you honest feedback on what they see as your strengths and weaknesses and offer helpful tips and advice that you seek.


Sometimes, even making an honest assessment of oneself can be difficult if one is not self-aware, know themselves, are in denial about their traits, and/or are unwilling to admit certain aspects of their personality or behaviors. It can be very uncomfortable to “face our demons” and admit our faults or things we can improve about ourselves especially if one does not have an honest, unbiased, and objective barometer in which to assess their actions and personality. It can be very difficult or impossible to grow emotionally and mentally if one is not honest with themselves.


If someone takes the time to make an honest assessment of themselves and get to know their strengths and weaknesses in romantic relationships, work, and their social life, then they have an opportunity to address and challenge the lies they tell themselves to help them grow and improve the quality of their life.


If someone is willing to honestly look at their past history and current situation(s) and admit any shortcomings they had and have or things they could work on and can do differently, then they may be able to get pass telling lies to themselves that are unhealthy and counterproductive to improving their life.


Aside from circumstances beyond your control and any actions of others that are beyond your control, specifically, how well do your words match your actions in positive and non-harmful ways? If you typically say that you are going to act and follow through until you reap a positive result, does it happen, or do you repeatedly tell yourself that you will get to it later (and never do)? Or, are you lying to yourself (again) about your procrastination or other important issues that are hindering your progress?


Past behavior can help to predict future behavior if one doesn’t work toward change by admitting that one is not being honest with oneself and it’s become an issue, seeking help and intervention, etc. Until we face, address, and work through WHY we believe these self-debilitating lies, they can constantly plague someone’s life in negative ways.


Sometimes, it can take one’s world to come crashing down before one can admit that they are flagrantly lying to themselves about situations that are within their control that they fail to appropriately address. Keep in mind that one can still make progress in their lives while lying to themselves and can put themselves and others in harm’s way with lying to themselves. Ultimately, it is best to be honest with oneself to prevent negative consequences as a result of lying to oneself.


Do you have a sense of entitlement to lie to yourself? In other words, do you think it’s okay to lie to yourself because you are not lying to or hurting someone else in the process?


What did you believe about yourself that you proved to be untrue? Get to know yourself everyday by assessing your actions.


Find time alone and look in a mirror. Don’t focus on your physical attributes but look into your own eyes and have a real internal dialogue with yourself. Ask yourself if you are being totally honest with yourself about your ways of thinking.


To dispel lies of self-doubt regarding your capabilities and achievements, make a list of your good accomplishments no matter how minute they seem and you will find that you may be able to dispel some of the lies you tell yourself that you are not good enough or capable of doing something. Self-discipline, preparation, and practice can contribute to the reaching realistic and obtainable goals. However, do not limit oneself because one can meet or exceed one’s expectations.


Write down your core values and principles and anytime you become aware of violating them, revamp, retract, and revise your behaviors and words to get back in alignment with them.


Seek solution-focused counseling or therapy to work through issues that are preventing you from self-awareness and self-honesty.


In many situations including romantic relationships, your gut can tell you when something doesn’t feel right. Don’t ignore the red flags. If you are in what you think is an honest and open romantic relationship, however, the things that your partner says and does constantly do not add up and you even have proof that things are not right, then refuse to lie to yourself about it. Self-honesty is the greatest policy.


No one is perfect and sometimes, it can be easy to overlook our own faults and dismiss self-accountability for actions within our control. Sometimes, someone can want so badly to believe the lie they tell themselves or have things their way that they will dismiss any indication that what they tell themselves is false. Perhaps, they feel if they put the lie out in the universe, then it may come true.


1. What is/are the biggest lie(s) you tell or have told yourself that ARE true?


______________________________________________________________________________________________


2. What is/are the biggest lie(s) you tell or have told yourself that ARE NOT true?


________________________________________________________________________________________________


3. If applicable, why do you lie to yourself?

________________________________________________________________________________________________


4. Under what circumstances do you find yourself when you are most likely to lie to yourself?


_________________________________________________________________________________________________


5. What are your top three positive traits?


__________________________________________________________________________________________________


6. What are three things about yourself that you can improve?


__________________________________________________________________________________________________


7. What are some ways that you can think of to become honest with yourself so that you can move beyond lying to yourself to improve your life?


_________________________________________________________________________________________________________


_________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Conclusion


If one can be honest with themselves in a world where lies do not see to be going away, then at least one can experience the self-growth and positively contribute to walking in one’s truth. Being honest with oneself may allow one the opportunity to mentally grow and improve one’s life and the lives of others. It may keep one from possible self-harm, setbacks, frustration, disappointment, etc. Imagine if everyone was honest with themselves and worked on resolving to take proactive measures to overcome any lies they tell themselves. What a world it would be.


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How To Keep Romance Alive After Incarceration



Okay, let’s dive right into the interesting title of this article because some of you may be thinking that it sounds far-fetched on the surface or had to think about it twice. At first glance, the thought of mentioning how to keep romance alive after someone is locked up may sound awkward in the least. Some folks may be thinking, ‘How in the heck are two people going to keep romance alive when one of them is locked up?’ 


After all, when one generally thinks of romance, it’s easy for romantic dates to the movies, candlelight dinners, walking and holding hands in the park, hugs and kisses under a moonlit sky, flowers and rose petals leading to the bedroom, and the whispering of sweet nothings in an ear can easily come to mind. It can be difficult to feel like romance or romantic gestures and jail or prison go hand in hand. However, there are couples who were romantic or had a close romantic bond before one of them went to jail or prison and their feelings haven’t instantly stopped or went away.


Now, I realize that romance may be the last thing on a couple’s mind when a partner goes to jail or prison. Emotions can be running amok and stress levels can be off the charts if anyone involved does not have adequate coping skills, resources, and support to deal with the situation.

 

However, at some point, it may become relevant if one or both partners decide that they are going to stay together throughout the ordeal and keep romance as an option to do it. If romance isn’t or doesn’t become an issue, then it may be because a couple is normally romantic or has a different type of relationship that works for them.

 

Obviously, if you are not or never have been involved in a romantic relationship with someone who is or has been incarcerated, then this article may not be your cup of tea. However, there are many couples who deal or have dealt with this topic so they can relate, and this article may be helpful for them and others.

 

Sometimes, the topic of staying together or keeping romance alive isn’t even discussed at all by partners and they go with the flow and play things by ear. Or, one partner may exit stage left after one of them is locked up and the relationship dissolves or is on and off again. However, if the couple stays together throughout the incarceration of one of them, then there are some ways to keep the romance alive or create romance between them.

 

Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines romance in many ways. In the context of this article, romance is defined as a love affair or story or an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an especially heroic era, adventure, or activity.


If you notice, the word SEX does not come up at all in the definitions of romance. However, sex (especially great sex) can positively enhance the emotional bond of a healthy romantic relationship.

 

Although physical distance and a lack of physical intimacy that a couple faces when one of them is incarcerated, they can recall positive experiences and memories that they had prior to the incarceration in their minds…without sex. Never discount the power of the imagination.

 

According to Psychology Today (2014), research suggests that the male attitude toward love is actually more romantic. In relationships where a man who is romantic is involved, his attitude toward romance may be possible if/when he becomes incarcerated unless it changes or goes way.

 

A couple dealing with incarceration can come to fall in love each other from the positive experiences and memories they have of each other long before any sex is introduced into a relationship. Romance can help to create lasting positive impressions and unforgettable pleasurable experiences and memories without sex.

 

Irrespective of factors such as the amount of time the incarcerated must serve, the topic of fidelity and infidelity, abstinence, and physical distance, a couple can be and maintain heated romance with each other while one of them is incarcerated. The depth of feelings or romance may depend on the type of relationship that the couple had prior to incarceration or created and developed during the incarceration.

 

A couple dealing with incarceration is encouraged to build an EMOTIONAL CONNECTION AND BOND first and foremost. An emotional connection and bond can enhance romance and vice/versa. It may take a solid commitment and work to create, build, and/or keep an emotional bond and connection that may supersede the couple’s need for focusing on the lack of (regular) sex and physical intimacy that they experience when one of them is incarcerated.

 

If the couple’s relationship was on shaky ground before a partner became incarcerated, then it can be an opportunity to create an emotional connection and bond and become romantically closer. If the relationship was based primarily on sex when one partner gets locked up, then the couple and they may want to consider finding ways to sustain the relationship and romance without sex.

 

A couple can view the incarceration of one partner as a way to take the time to really get to know each other without the distance and lack of physical intimacy being factors. If a solid romantic relationship and friendship minus sex can be established, maintained, and grown, then it can make a relationship that much stronger.

 

It may or may not be challenging for a couple to focus on building or strengthening a romantic relationship when one of them is incarcerated. However, they are encouraged to not view the lack of sexual contact as torture or being deprived. A couple can look at not focusing on the lack of sex as an opportunity to really get to know each other and build an emotional connection and bond that is romantic, exciting, mysterious, and fun. And, the lack of sex would probably only be an issue for couples who had sex prior to the incarceration.

 

The distance and lack of physical intimacy or sex can serve to create, challenge, and strengthen the relationship to different or better levels. These factors can allow a couple to get more in tune with each other emotionally, spiritually, and otherwise while allowing the relationship and romance a chance to blossom and flourish.

 

Sex or even great chandelier-swinging sex does not guarantee a meaningful, romantic, solid, intimate, and successful relationship. However, things like communication (listening, seeking to understand, empathizing), mutual respect, and trust can help to create and foster a better relationship between a couple who is dealing with one of them being incarcerated.

 

It is not suggested that a couple risks having physical sex in between the vending machines, during what they think are “private” moments, or give each other hand or foot jobs beneath the visiting room table in a false belief that these acts are romantic or will bring them emotionally closer to each other. That is a surefire way to get banned or worse if they get caught and it’s not worth the risk. Many prison or jail visiting rooms are equipped with cameras and facility personnel who observes and oversees visits.


Ways To Keep Romance Alive After Your Partner Is Locked Up 


We came up with a spectacular list of things that couples can do to create and keep romance alive when one of them is incarcerated during visits and/or when they are away from each other:

 

1. Partners can wear their partner’s favorite color or favorite blouse or shirt on a visit (keeping in mind the facility dress code guidelines for the incarcerated and visitors).

 

2. The non-incarcerated partner can wear a light scent of perfume or cologne (that the partner likes). 


3. The couple can take a facility photo together as a keepsake and memory when they’re away from each other. 

 

4. A couple can hold hands, kiss, hug, make frequent eye contact, smile at each other, and stare into each other’s eyes during visits. 

 

5. A couple can laugh, grin, and joke with each other during visits to make each other feel good. 

 

6. A couple can flirt with each other and reminisce about memorable times they had together. 

 

7. They can also plan romantic events, trips, and/or getaways that they can do together upon any release of the incarcerated. 

 

8. A couple can verbally and non-verbally communicate with and listen to each other by leaning in toward each other and sharing positive thoughts about each other.

 

9. A couple can compliment each other’s positive attributes that they admire about each other.

 

10. They can appropriately stroke each other’s face, hair, and arms during visits.

 

11. A couple can discreetly share their romantic (or naughty) fantasies of each other during visits or in letters or correspondence.

 

12. A couple can write romantic letters and poems to each other and send romantic greeting cards, artwork, and drawings when they’re away from each other.

 

13. A romantic marriage proposal can be made on bended knee (if allowed) or they can plan to get married in jail or prison and exchange romantic vows and gestures if they feel they’re ready for that step.

 

14. A couple can romantically renew their marriage vows by creating special vows that they can verbally recite to each other (Be sure to check facility guidelines to see what is or isn’t allowable).

 

15. A couple can remember to say “I love you” to each other before, during, and after visits, on the phone, and in letters and correspondence. 


Conclusion 


Basically, a couple can do just about everything they did before one of them became incarcerated. However, they may not to be able to do things like physically go to places together outside of the visiting room and have privacy (unless they’re married and have conjugal visits in states that honor conjugal visits).

 

There may be more romantic gestures that you may come up with on this topic and you are free to ponder those gestures, particularly if you are in a romantic relationship with someone who’s incarcerated or unfortunately find yourself in this situation one day. Ultimately, a couple can decide if and how romance will or won’t play a part in their relationship when one of them is incarcerated.


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15 Things You Can Do When Someone Gets Arrested



Scenario: 


Your alarm clock goes off at 7:00 AM on a Monday morning and you slowly hit the snooze button a few times to get a little more sleep before you must get up for work. You had a very busy weekend and did not catch up on your sleep. Although you’re tempted to call into work and fake sick when you wake up, you decide that you’ll postpone that idea for another time (Lol). 

 

Bills are due this upcoming paycheck and you can’t afford to miss a day’s worth of work in your paycheck. So, you drag yourself out of bed and into the bathroom to brush your teeth and shower before getting dressed. 

 

You don’t feel like cooking breakfast, so you call ahead and place a Pick-up order at your local breakfast restaurant. You figure that you can eat in your car in the parking lot at work. You could just wait to eat lunch on break, but you must make important phone calls that will take up a lot of your lunch break time, so you opt to have breakfast instead and will eat a light snack at lunch. 

 

You look at the time on your cell phone and it’s 8:30 AM. You remember that traffic is a little heavier in your area due to ongoing construction work. So, you gather your personal and work belongings and rush towards the door to leave. 

 

On the way out of the door, your cell phone rings and you do not recognize the phone number, but you decide to answer it anyways. It’s a collect call from a close family member from the county jail and you accept the call. Your close family member has just informed you that they have been arrested over the weekend and decided to call you for help.

 

What do you do when you get a phone call that someone you know has been arrested??? 

 

Typically, we are not faced with a scenario like this on a regular basis. Although no one plans to be arrested, sometimes the unexpected happens and people can end up being arrested and taken to jail. So, unless your friend, family member, or loved one is constantly breaking the law and getting caught or is connected to ongoing criminal activities that lands them in jail, then receiving a call from someone who has been arrested may not be a regular occurrence for you. Keep in mind that when someone is arrested, guilt or innocence in a court of law has not yet been determined. 

 

If you are surprisingly or shockingly faced with a situation where a family member, friend, loved one, or someone you know gets arrested and contacts you, then what are some of the things you can do and steps you can take to help them??? 

 

1. Remain calm, do not panic, and get over-emotional. 


Your feelings may be all over the place and you may have a lot of unanswered questions, but it is more helpful if you do not allow your emotions to uncontrollably get out of hand so that you are able to think clearly to make good decisions in order to be useful for your loved one who got arrested. You may be fearful or anxious after receiving the news that your family member, friend, or loved one has been arrested, but your main goal will be to find out as much information as possible to see if you are able to assist the arrested with getting out of jail. You can reserve some time to process the situation and deal with your emotions at more appropriate places and times. You may not want to be overly emotional in front of children as it may frighten or make them anxious. You can also schedule a time to sit young children down and explain to the situation to them in an age-appropriate manner. For example, if their dad is arrested and accused of a crime, unless it has been aired on the news and no innocence or guilt has been determined, then you may want to tell them that their dad is in jail, you plan on helping him as best you can, and you have to find out more information. If you have children in common with the arrested, then explain to your children that their dad or loved one being in jail does not mean that they are guilty and that they are being held in jail until they complete their court dates and are released or must serve time in prison. Give them an age-appropriate explanation. 

 

2. If you know that you will not be able to help the arrested (immediately), then offer to write down the contact names and phone numbers of others who may be able to help them (sooner than you can).

Contact the people whose name you were given to inform them of the news about the arrested as soon as you can. If you are not able to help the arrested right away and depending on what time you get out of work, you may want to communicate with the arrested that you will not be available to help them until you get out of work. 

 

3. If you decide to help someone you know who has been arrested in a scenario like the above, I do not condone faking sick, playing hooky, or committing a No Call – No Show from work to deal with a scenario like the above. 


You do not want to jeopardize and lose your job and make the situation bad or worse for yourself. I suggest using more constructive and legitimate options such as promptly contacting your boss or supervisor as soon as possible and reporting that an emergency and circumstances beyond your control came up that you’re going to take care of. If you receive Paid Time Off or personal days that accrue, see if you will be able to have that time deducted from your “bank” and still get the time you missed paid to you in your check if that is how things work at your job. If not, you may be faced with your check being smaller than usual for the time you missed to help the arrested. If you have young children, you will need to make sure that things are squared away with a responsible childcare provider or for them to get to and from school while you help the arrested. Keep in mind of how the effects of keeping them with you can emotionally play out on you and them when you are helping the arrested. If the arrested has children and you are unable to care for them while he/she is in jail, ask them if they will be able to stay with a trusted and responsible relative or friend who can care for them. 

 

4. Find out the local, state, or federal police agency that arrested and the facility your family member, friend, or loved one is in when they were arrested and charges without asking for details.


If you received the news from a trusted family member, friend, or loved one that someone you know has been arrested and you decide to help, then you can place a phone call to the jail and confirm your family member, friend, or loved one’s arrest. If it is confirmed that they have been arrested (and you angrily or otherwise feel like the charges are bogus or unjustifiable or not) then do not go to the precinct behaving loudly and belligerently. The arrested most likely has not been to trial where innocence or guilt has been determined by a jury or all the facts of the case have not been disclosed. Plus, you may risk making the situation worse for yourself and it does not do anything to get your loved one released. 

 

5. Can you post bail for them?


Find out if the arrested has bail. Sometimes, someone is locked up with no bail. If the arrested has bail and you cannot afford to post the whole thing, then consider contacting a licensed bonding company where you live if bail is set and to find out information about bail bonds. Research nationwide bail bond companies if you are unable to locate one where you live. If there is no bail, then see if the arrested is interested in having you handle their personal affairs for them or contacting someone else to handle their personal affairs. 

 

6. Find out if you can get a “first time” unscheduled visit. 


Get as many specific details as possible from the arrested while preserving the right to remain silent and not risking anything done or said that may be used against him/her or is incriminating. Discuss any charges and arrest details with the arrested. 

 

7. If you find out that the arrested will not be released immediately, then ask the arrested if they can afford a criminal defense lawyer? 


If not, they may be assigned a public defender if they are held until any charges are disposed of or taken to trial. Remind them that they have the right to remain silent (5th amendment). 


8. Find out arraignment and court dates and times and attend, if possible.


Although your attendance in court may not secure their release, it can give the arrested an emotional boost and a positive feeling of support to see your face in the courtroom. Plus, you will be able to get firsthand information about their case.

 

9. If you are a trusted family member, friend, or loved one to the arrested, then offer to secure their personal belongings and property and handle their personal affairs if they are not immediately released.


You may offer to take preventive measures and ask them if they would like to establish you or someone else as their power-of-attorney to be able to handle their personal and business affairs. Each state may have their own legal requirements so you may want to consider consulting with a lawyer from the state the arrested is in if you are not familiar with drafting and finalizing a Power of Attorney document. The arrested can risk losing their home through foreclosure or apartment or dwelling through eviction along with personal items and important documents if they do not have someone to help them while they are in jail, are not immediately released, and held for a length of time. They may need to have someone secure important documents like birth certificates for them and any children, social security cards, etc., that are in their apartment or house. Becoming a power-of-attorney for the arrested may allow you to contact their landlord or mortgage company, bill collectors, conduct banking transactions, etc. if they get locked up. If the arrested has a job, find out from a criminal lawyer as power of attorney if you can legally apply for a leave of absence on behalf of the arrested if they are going to be held in jail for a brief period so they won’t lose their job. This may or may not be possible depending on the employer’s policies and the state and/or local laws where they live and/or are locked up in. Although the idea of applying for a leave of absence for the arrested may sound far-fetched, you won’t know all his/her legal options and the answers to your questions unless you ask a criminal lawyer or seek professional advice. 

 

10. Stay in touch with the arrested if they are not immediately released.


Keep the arrested informed about any helpful information that you find out that can help them. Make visits and write letters as often as possible. 

 

11. See if the arrested has access to jail commissary and/or drop off facility-approved personal items for them, if possible.


The arrested may be held in jail for weeks or months or more. You may be able to drop off socks, tee shirts, or other facility-approved items for them. Be sure to check with the facility they're in for rules and guidelines on inmate care packages.

 

12. Contact any local support and/or advocacy groups that may offer legal aid and/or advice or share your feelings and concerns with other trusted friends or mental health therapists. 


A support system and access to experts, professionals, and resources are important during this time. It can be helpful for you and the incarcerated to get as much support and information as possible about what is going on.

 

13. Mentally prepare for various outcomes whether the arrested is released or not. 


There is a possibility that an investigation turns up what is deemed enough evidence for a criminal case to be opened and the arrested will not be immediately released. A plea bargain or settlement may occur or the arrested may end up serving time in prison. The incident that caused the arrest of your family, friend, or loved one may change the relationship between you two depending on what they are charged with or end up going to trial for. If they are found guilty and the charges are egregious, then you may want to consider how you will deal with the situation. 

 

14. If they are released from jail and you wish to support them, continue to be a good support system to them.


Encourage the arrested to stay on top of attending all their court dates until the case ends and they are released or sentenced. If you do not mind attending court dates, you may want to decide if you will attend their court dates as support and gain knowledge of the charges, presented facts, and judicial system process. 

 

15.  If you decide to remain supportive to them, then encourage the them to stay positive and find ways to mentally cope with the outcome whether the outcome turns out in their favor or not. 


There is a possibility that your family member, friend, or loved one may not be released back into society. They may be sentenced to serve prison time if they are found guilty of what they were charged with. Ultimately, it is a good idea for anyone to do their due diligence ahead of time and learn about the arrest process and judicial system. While no one plans on getting arrested, a good rule of thumb for anyone who is arrested is to remember that you have a right to remain silent and not incriminate yourself.     


Conclusion


The arrest of someone that you know can cause many emotions like shock, fear, anger, etc. It is important to remain emotionally in control and try to help the arrested as best you can. Be of support to the arrested and seek support and resources for them if you cannot be there in the capacity that you would like. Be willing to learn about the details of their case and about the criminal justice system.


(Disclaimer: Any information on our our Cell Block Legendz website and blog is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice. Seek legal or other professional advice before you decide to act or refrain from using this information.)


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How To Be Strong For Your Incarcerated Loved One Without Losing Your Mind



Okay, so here we are already one month into the new year and January seems like it has zipped by. Not only does it seem like time flies and does not wait on anyone, but sometimes it seems like time is moving faster.

 

Whether or not time seems to be moving faster because I am getting older or due to some scientific theory, I can vividly remember turning 14 years old. It doesn’t really seem like it was that long ago and I easily remember when I became a huge Michael Jackson fan (RIP King of Pop).

 

I knew most of Michael Jackson’s songs verbatim and sat “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed” in front of the TV when MTV released the Thriller video in 1983. I had of all Michael’s wall posters plastered all over my bedroom, wore the knock off Thriller jacket (knockoff Beat It jackets ran out fast), black penny loafers and white socks, many of his pinback buttons that I wore on my shirts and jackets, and the infamous Jheri curl with my own personal bottles of curl activator and Curl spray. In attempts to get my Curl just like Mike’s, on some days, I over-saturated my Curl with curl activator and hairspray and had curl activator and hair spray running down my forehead, neck, and behind my ears (Lol).

 

Some of you can’t front. If you were a young black kid, teenager, or adult back in the 80’s, then you may have been sporting a Jheri, Carefree, tcb, Super, Classy, S curl, Freedom curl, Curly Kit, or some other Curl. And, your Curl probably stained your clothes, furniture, and pillow cases too. Who remembers having that plastic hair cap with the elastic that was worn to keep your Curl moisturized? How many hair bags did you go through after they got old and gooey?

 

Okay, so if you didn’t have a Curl, were you wearing a press and curl with the hot irons, a processed perm, natural, waves, or bald? (Lol) The younger generation 30 years old and under may not be able to relate. However, it seems like we all saw that one man or woman who was wearing a Curl up until the mid-90’s (Lol).

 

Fast forward to 2019 and here I am at 50 years old wondering where the heck did the time go? I can truly say that I am grateful to have lived to reach 50 years old, acquire the positive and negative experiences in my life as well as knowledge that allows me to inspire people, improve their lives, and work on worthy causes that bring me exhilaration and are bigger than me.  

 

Although it can be easy for us to sometimes place the emphasis on the difficult moments in our lives, we should never discount some of the joyful moments. I continue to encourage you to create as many joyful moments as you can before it’s all over (if you haven’t had many).

 

About a week ago, on a cold winter day just after we got hit with our first big snowfall in Rochester, New York, I was running errands and happen to see one of my panhandling buddies, Billy. Billy was kneeling on both of his knees in the cold snow in a small snow-covered field filled next to the street corner where he panhandles. For anyone who doesn’t know how bad and cold Rochester winters can be, it was extremely frigid out that day that I saw Billy.

 

I often hold conversations behind the wheel while waiting at red traffic lights with homeless people and panhandlers in our city.  In fact, I know most of the them on a first name basis. There’s Billy, Julie (RIP), Melvin (RIP), Joey, Charles, and a few others. As a former social worker, I would give them helpful tips and suggestions on improving their lives and boost their morale.

 

Some of them had previous “normal” lives and jobs and just fell on hard times. Billy shared with me that he previously owned his own home and business. Without passing judgment, it can be easy for some folks to look down on homeless people and panhandlers when some folks may be one to two paychecks away from being like Billy and other less fortunate people.

 

Anyways, on the day I was running errands and saw Billy, I noticed a long and cleared path of snow that started from near a building next to the field where Billy was kneeling. Billy had rolled two very large balls of snow; one slightly smaller than the other. It was then that I realized that Billy was kneeling on both knees in the frigid cold and was making a big snowman in the field a safe distance from the intersection. The sight of Billy kneeling in the cold snow to make a snowman and appearing not to have a care in the world hit me like a ton of bricks!

 

It was moving and touched me, emotionally. Among the positive inspiration it gave me, the sight of Billy building a large snowman in frigid temperatures and snow, represented attributes of strength, resilience, inner peace, and living in and enjoying the moment. And, for anyone who has experienced a cold Rochester winter, then you know how cold it can get. I have NEVER seen a homeless person or panhandler build a snowman in Rochester!

 

You would think that the less fortunate would have more important things to be concerned about than building a snowman in frigid weather. Any time you feel emotionally weak and drained, remember Billy. He’s not just a panhandler, but a man who inspired me and perhaps others who saw him build his snowman. Hopefully, it brought others some joy or happy childhood memories when they built a snowman or maybe they were inspired to see him building a snowman in the frigid weather.

 

Whether Billy built that snowman because he was bored, for his pleasure, and/or the visible pleasure of others, how unique, kind, selfless, and/or awesome is that feat? Some people worry about what they are going to wear to a concert, what they are going to cook for dinner, or about something that can be easily taken for granted. Billy took the time to build a snowman when he is in a less desirable position in society where others may look down on him and mistreat him.

 

If you haven’t noticed, for about the last three months, my blogs are meant to help people work towards getting their minds, perspectives, and attitudes better toward life and adversity. For this blog, I want to offer some invaluable ideas on how you can be strong for your incarcerated loved ones (including incarcerated family and friends).

 

My main objective was to first help you to work on getting you mentally into a better place on the outside so that you would hopefully be in a better position mentally for your incarcerated family member, friend, or loved one on the inside (of jail or prison).

 

If you have an incarcerated loved who is already stressed out, worried, and/or unhappy, then it may be difficult for them to see you be stressed, worried, and unhappy when you visit them. That can do them and you a disservice.

 

I am not saying that it’s not okay to process and show your emotions to your incarcerated family, member, friend, or loved one. In fact, it can be healthy for all parties to work through their emotions together. Let them know how much you miss them on visits and when you write letters. Show your vulnerability or be laid back, reserved, or composed.

 

I cannot tell you that you are wrong for being emotional because your family member, friend, or loved one is away in jail or prison. However, in my opinion, one should show some emotional maturity and leave the over-the-top, dramatic, and theatrical drama and anger and any personal attacks at home rather than when you have contact with them. You may want to think about how your incarcerated loved one will feel after you leave and if they will be worried about you, any kids (in common), and/or wonder if you will be able to “hold the fort down” or (emotionally) keep it together throughout the duration of their incarceration.

 

It’s said that there’s a time and place for everything. So, you may want to consider crying, grieving, sulking, and letting it out over the loss of freedom of your loved one during more appropriate times and places. There will come as time when you may be able to sort things out and communicate your feelings together. Also, it can be healthy to let children know that it is okay for them to process their emotions but give them a great example on jail or prison visits by offering them a positive tone.

 

Below are some ways to help you be strong for your incarcerated family members, friends, or loved ones:

 

Check your emotions. Don’t treat the jail or prison visit like a sad funeral. Shedding a tear or two on a visit because you miss them is quite different from coming in looking like a nervous wreck who’s on the verge of nervous breakdown or showing massive anger in the visiting room because they are locked up. That most likely won’t help them gain freedom or solve any issues.

 

I am not saying to put on a facade and pretend that you are not emotionally hurting or affected by being away from your incarcerated loved one. Show some emotional maturity.

 

I imagine that it can be hard holding down the household, taking care of kids (in common), and holding down your incarcerated loved one if you’ve made that commitment. Your incarcerated loved one may be going through his/her issues as well and why not use the time to make the visit more upbeat and uplifting than depressing?

 

What good could you be to interact with a loved one if you are down and out and they see it and that unhappiness rubs off on them? On one hand, they may be thrilled that you showed up to visit them but can become sad or angry if you are sad or angry throughout the visit. Be a positive pillar of strength for them or be each other’s pillar of strength on visits.

 

Be a great listener and share (good and bad) news. At the start of a jail or prison visit, you want to consider discerning their mood. Do they have a big smile on their face when they first see you? Do they seem melancholy or sad? Are they quiet or more quiet than usual? Ask them some open-ended questions after you warmly greet them and sit down such as:

 

Hey, how are things going?

 

Are you glad to see me?

 

What’s been happening?

 

Your mood seems different, what’s up?

 

Is there anything I can help you with?

 

Share details about your outside world with your incarcerated loved one. Tell them how your week went, what you accomplished, what you are dealing with (good, bad, or indifferent), and some of the awesome goals and solutions that you will be working on to get results. Share with them any important and helpful news that you watched or got from reliable and trusted sources. Share your life progress and send graduation pics, copies of your achievements like Certificates of Completion, college degrees, etc. (if allowed).

 

If you are helping your incarcerated family member, friend, or loved one do legal research, then let them know your progress and setbacks as well as get their feedback and suggestions. I have a really great time when I visit one of my cousins who is doing time. He is mentally-seasoned, engaging, and knowledgeable. So, I look forward to listening to his perspectives during our visits and sharing the progress on my goals. So, don’t be afraid to share great news and be concerned that it will make them feel bad because they are locked up. It may make their day and be the only good news they have gotten in a while.

 

Ask them how they have been occupying themselves whether it’s through recreation, exercise, reading, etc. Ask them to share any challenges they may be experiencing and how you can help whether it’s writing more letters, making more visits, sending a package, researching legal contacts and/or resources, etc.

 

Show your interest in your incarcerated loved one’s conversations, goals, dreams, challenges. Give them the floor for a while without interruption aside from paraphrasing what they’ve said when you exchange communication because it may be the only time they get to (comfortably) communicate with someone they know and trust outside of jail or prison.

 

Sharing bad or sad news is hardly ever good for anyone and it can be especially difficult with sharing bad or sad news with people you love or care about. However, you may be in a position one day where you are the one who has to do it. Before you must bear any bad news to your incarcerated loved one, have a prior conversation with them as to how and if they wish to have bad or sad news broken to them. Give them the opportunity to feel empowered to give you their feedback about it. Let them know that you will do your best to help them get through it.

 

Have some fun. Play cards, laugh, smile, joke, take pictures, recall funny (childhood) memories you had together or of family members and friends, and be upbeat during visits. Just don’t get too loud or rowdy or you may get kicked out (Lol). Be upbeat when you write letters to each other and make the experience fun.

 

Have APPROPRIATE physical contact. Your physical contact with your incarcerated loved one can be extremely important to you and them. It may be the only meaningful contact they get or that you have together. I am not saying to a romantic couple that you should engage in sloppy and drooling tongue-kissing and be all over each other like dogs in heat. Remember, that children may be watching or you may risk getting your visit ended by deputies for inappropriate behavior. I am saying that if you have a close relationship with someone and you both are comfortable with appropriately touching each other’s arms or holding hands, then go for it.

 

Remember to greet and depart with each other with a good and comforting hug or “dap” (for guys who may be reading and thinking it’s emasculating to for men to hug each other during a prison visit). Don’t be afraid to give your incarcerated loved one a great big hug if they are open to it.

 

This may not be difficult for some ladies, but it takes a confident and secure man to give another man a hug without feeling or thinking too much into it or being worried about what other folks think. Grown a*s men need hugs too!

 

Be strong, yet vulnerable and honest. Receiving a visit and/or letter from a family member, friend, or loved one can mean the world to someone in jail or prison. Let your loved one see your strong and vulnerable side whether you write or visit. I encourage open and honest communication as well in letters and during visits. 

 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, afraid, or uncertain, appropriately express it to them. If you are feeling like you can conquer the world, let them know. Your strength may rub off on them and showing your vulnerability may make them feel comfortable enough to allow them to open up and express themselves to you. Share if you may be feeling uncertainty about things but let them know that you are willing to do your best to take the bull by the horns to fiercely work things out with any issues.

 

Live life responsibly while your loved one is in jail or prison. Start or continue to do all the things you did and more before they went to jail or prison. Keep working on your goals, going to work, taking care of any kids, paying bills, starting, going to, or finishing college, opening your own business, and/or showing yourself and them that you can be your best self.

 

If you question whether you may be able to maturely hold it together on a visit, then write a letter or two expressing how you feel and ask for feedback before you visit them. It will give you an opportunity to emotionally get things out in a different manner. Perhaps, you have other terrific ideas in mind that may work. I encourage you to give them a try. You may know your incarcerated loved one better than anyone.

 

If you get to the point where you feel your commitment level and feelings have changed over time and you no longer wish to “do the time” with your incarcerated loved one, then be honest and let them know as soon as possible. Be prepared to address if they ask for the reason(s) why things are changing.

 

Perhaps, you may need to focus on becoming stronger through counseling or therapy and feel like you have too many obligations on your plate and things seemed to have become mentally overwhelming and exhausting for you. Communicate with your incarcerated loved if you are not totally abandoning them but taking some time to work on personal issues.

 

If you feel that you cannot “do the time” with them anymore, be honest and let them know as soon as possible. Tell them that you will no longer be interacting with them. This may give them the chance to process the news versus not ever hearing from you again and wondering what happened to and/or between you. Bear in mind that it may potentially affect any future relationship you re-kindle with them. Remember, it is ideal when you can "do the time" with someone as long as it's not creating unhealthy issues for one or both of you. It can take a lot of strength to walk away...or stay.


Conclusion 


This blog is meant to give you some excellent tips to help you be strong for an incarcerated loved one without losing your mind. However, remember that you will need to create ways to stay emotionally-well and strong while you are away from your incarcerated loved one also. Use any support system you have whether that is a community group, solution-based therapist, family, friends, and loved ones, church, and/or whatever works for you to stay strong.


Remember my true story of Billy. If a homeless man, Billy, can take a “minute” and appear strong and resilient enough to make a snowman in the frigid cold weather appearing as though he did not have a worry in the world, then I encourage you to find ways to keep it mentally together and not lose your mind. Create, become, and remain strong and resilient and create as many positive and joyful moments as you can not only for your incarcerated loved ones, but for your family, friends, loved ones, and primarily for yourself. If you are not strong, then it may be hard to be strong for anyone else and if you and your incarcerated loved are a team, then it can make things go easier in the ways that you each can be there for each other.

 

After I began to draft this blog and before I finished it, coincidentally, I saw Billy again standing on the corner where he built his snowman. Below, is a picture of Billy and his snowman from the day I saw him:


Billy


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Owning A New Year and New Lifestyle!


It’s a new year – 2019 - and for those of us who are blessed, favored, and fortunate enough to have made it, it may feel like another extraordinary opportunity for a fresh start in life and to work toward our goals! 

 

You may have heard friends, family members, and associates proclaim sayings like:

 

“New year…new me.”

 

“My New Year’s resolutions are…” 

 

“This year, I’m going to….” 

 

“THIS is going to be my year….” 

 

Now, some folks are probably reacting with the side-eye like… 

 

Okay, we’ve heard this same bullsh*t every year for the past five or 10 years only to hear it again. Whatever!!! 

 

There is a such thing as giving the benefit of the doubt to folks who aspire to want to have more, even if it takes (another) new year. And, I can see how it can be easy to conclude that no progress can or will be made if folks are just giving lip service and not doing anything to bring their aspirations to fruition.

 

However, upon the arrival of a new year, some people may feel like they have a fresh start to make great things happen in their lives. The truth is, at any given time and moment, someone can decide to get started on making changes to improve their lives. 

 

I will not rain on anyone’s parade and take anything away from them if they decide that it takes a new year for them to get started or they needed some time to get in gear, figure out their plans, make the commitment to their goal(s), stay disciplined, and work toward solutions and results. After all, it’s their life and they are the one who must ultimately live with the outcome of their decisions and actions or indecision and inaction

 

Question: What does a new year mean or doesn’t mean for you (and yours)? 

 

Let’s face it. Technically, a new year is the first few days or weeks of a year or when a calendar year begins. Yet, it can mean more to those who put their personal meaning and purpose behind it. 

 

If a new year means something to you, then specifically, how do you plan to give your life greater purpose and meaning and avoid becoming or staying a helpless “victim” or "hostage" of any negative life circumstances? If you have no plans for the new year, then have you considered that you can end up being a willing or unwilling participant of "letting the chips fall where they may"? Can you live with "letting the chips fall where they may" without allowing the outcome to primarily become other people’s issues? If so, then it’s your life. 

 

Regardless and if you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to start assertively becoming a master of acquiring knowledge and learning the “What", "When", "Where", "Why", "Who", and "How” aspects relating to your life plans and goals and deciding if you wish to gain and use your skills and talents that complement the world we live in or chart a new or evolving path of your own that undeniably shifts or shakes up the universe. 

 

Continuous Planning, Reflection, Perseverance & Gratitude


I started planning, implementing, assessing, and re-assessing my goals years ago. Although some of my goals have changed and evolved over time, a common theme remains in relation to the passage of time and each new year.

  

Living to see another new year for me means continuing to be thankful and grateful to my Higher Power. It means continuing to deeply reflect on previous years of my life and the life lessons I’ve learned, discovering where I stand in relation to the most self-actualized woman I aspire to be (and not necessarily the mold that others have cast for me), my values, self-awareness, an honest assessment or re-assessment of my self-growth and progress relating to my goals, and forging ahead despite the temporary and foreseeable peaks and valleys in life.

  

For me, life will always involve the continuation of the process and journey toward self-mastery and self-growth and my passion to help others and see others (constructively) take the bull by the horns to transform their lives. I continue to aspire first to be as wise as I can be aside from being happy and healthy with love as the guiding force in my core. Others may aspire primarily for wealth. It’s not my job to judge, but I wonder what good is wealth without holistic and healthy wisdom and the things money cannot buy? 

 

I did away with making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago. I continue keep a list of the goals that are most important to me and review and modify them as needed. I am aware that unforeseeable circumstances can happen, so I stay as mentally-prepared as I can so that I do not allow negative circumstances to cause me to want to give up. 

 

One year is a good amount of time to put plans and goals into action, measure one’s progress, make any needed adjustments, and "test the waters" of the adjustments. I keep a month-to-month “To-Do" list of the most important daily tasks that I need to work on or complete. It works for me and I encourage you to do what works for you. Some different methods may work better for you or you may not even need a “To-Do" list at all to be effective at achieving your goals. 

I also make regular assessments on the progress of my goals, which helps me to avoid putting undue pressure on myself. Some of the results that I obtain over time are better than others. That is what growth is all about for me, which is reflecting on my "humble beginnings" to taking pleasure in the solutions and effective results that I obtained.
 


An Awakening & Self-Awareness


There are some people who, at whatever age, have surprisingly experienced an awakening of self, quest for knowledge, and/or something unexpected may have happened in their life that caused them to discover that they are ready to create a new life for themselves whether it’s around the time of a new year or at a given moment. They feel and claim it in their heart, soul, and mind that they want a new life and feel that they are ready, willing, and able to get it. 

 

Perhaps, they were inspired by the journey and/or progress of others who set positive examples that showed them that they too can achieve effective solutions and results. Maybe, they did some honest soul-searching and took a deep look within themselves and resolved to face and overcome their fears, demons, negative habits, etc. that held them back. Perhaps, they were simply courageous enough to decide that they wanted to shed the old “them”, learn their options, and take the first step toward the new “them”. Thus, their motivating self-talk is “New year…new me”. Sometimes, their follow up and follow through actions do not coincide with the "New year...new me" words and thoughts or they fail at the first few attempts of self-growth. Then, they may simply give up and give in to the old “them”. 

 

In my opinion, the old “them” can be a constant threat to the new “them”. After all, it can take more time, energy, and effort to put in the work on the new “them” and being the old “them” felt comfortably familiar.  Regardless, they can give it another try and learn new methods to get them on track.

 

My mind set is to not get too comfortable with anything or anybody. Things change and people can change and/or leave us, but life and the passage of time goes on. I have learned to just “enjoy the moments” while they last. Whew! Enjoying the moments can be a difficult task to master especially if you experience day-to-day stress, living paycheck to paycheck, getting laid off, fired, or having no paycheck. I encourage you to PRACTICE “living in the moment” when you are experiencing happiness or moments of satisfaction. 

 

Years ago, despite multiple adversities, I created a LIFESTYLE for myself that involves the CONTINUATION of what I have already been working on prior to the start of a new year. Things do not always work out perfectly or as planned when it comes to achieving my goals, but my current LIFESTYLE allows me to adjust and work on improvements in my life. 

I am not solely referring to a lavish lifestyle of traveling the world, yacht parties, eating caviar, etc. when I refer to the lifestyle that I created for myself. It is more about a mental and acquisition of knowledge lifestyle that I work on for myself. I have programmed myself to normally seek solutions and results for problems. I tend to see things differently from others even if I get their point. 

 

However, I am open to learn new things. I see the bigger picture now. Unfortunate things are going to happen and it is my responsibility to address them and seek solutions and results. If I am blessed enough to get genuine help from others that leads me to positive, effective, and lasting results, then that is good. If not, I keep moving forward without throwing a self-pity party.


Conclusion

 

I encourage you to see the bigger picture beyond just living to see another new year. I encourage you to see the bigger picture aside from making plans and setting goals. I encourage you to maintain or adopt a (new) lifestyle not just for the new year. Usurp any old and negative habits, people, places, and things that no longer serve a greater and productive purpose in your life. YOU must not only decide that you want it, but that you’re worth it so you can not only get started and own it, but share and spread the love! Cell Block Legendz wishes you a Happy New Year and Happy (New) Lifestyle!


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Three Helpful And Undeniable Painful Facts Of Life


There are many debatable outlooks and ways to deal with life and the day-to-day issues that we may experience. For some folks, life is simple and without too many issues and complexities. Regular routines and schedules are adhered to or followed, positive support systems and safety nets are in place to break a fall, and it can seem like some folks live a problem-free life with less chaos and little to no worries. 


For others, life can be figuratively and relentlessly cold-hearted, savage, and unforgiving. Some of you may or may not be familiar with the classic 1991 movie “Silence of the Lambs”. In a nutshell, it’s about a top FBI training academy student, Clarice Starling (played by actress Jodie Foster) and Dr. Hannibal Lecter (played by actor Anthony Hopkins), a clever and violent psychiatrist and psychopath serving life behind bars for murders and cannibalism. Clarice Starling is recruited by an FBI official to interview Hannibal Lecter with the hunch that Lecter may have knowledge about a case. 

 

I won’t go into further details about the movie, “Silence of the Lambs” for those who have not seen it and plan to see it except to say that “Silence of the Lambs” reminds me of how life can figuratively devour and eat you alive and even physically threaten to kill you via stress if you do not do things like methodically prepare, be strategic, wise, mentally resilient, emotionally intelligent, and skillful. Being empathetic, kind, and caring are essential as well.

 

I really liked the movie, "Silence of the Lambs" when it came out and have learned some invaluable lessons from it. As a college psychology minor, I am fascinated by human behavior and the mind and how psychology pertains to life and why people do or don’t do things. 

 

I am not a licensed therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, but I would like to share with you some excellent facts to consider when dealing with life. I don’t care who you are, what you do, where you’re from, your race, religion, political views, social status, how much money you have, don’t have, or are striving to get, who likes you, loves you, are in love with you, and/or hates you, be willing to consider and process the following: 

 

Fact#1: Sh*t Is Going To Happen. 

 

There are not too many ways to get around this fact. If you are unwilling to consider this fact, then you may be ill-prepared and possibly setting yourself up for failure and disappointment when sh*t does happen. 

 

I am not telling you this to encourage you to be pessimistic, but to help prepare you (mentally) for when sh*t does happen. The bottom line is that unfortunate things are going to happen in life and may happen repeatedly or occasionally. Time is going to keep ticking whether you tick with it or not. Change is going to happen whether you adapt or panic, act or stay stagnant, care or don’t care, and/or realize this fact or stay in denial. 

 

Do not allow this fact to scare or paralyze you into inaction. Sometimes, we must figuratively look life and fear straight in the eyes and decide that we are going to go the distance, rest if we must, and get back into the marathon of our life when sh*t happens. It can make your life easier with less worries if you anticipate this fact, prepare as best you can ahead of time, and spring into action while still finding time to enjoy life in the present moment, smile, laugh, and keep pushing when sh*t happens.

 

Just about everyone experiences problems to varying degrees. A problem that seems like a mole hill to one person may seem like Mount Everest to someone else and vice/versa. Regardless of the degree or severity of a problem, you have the choice to be self-aware, admit that issues exist that need to be dealt with, choose to address and deal with the issues, and create solutions to get the results you want. It’s even more beneficial when you can solve a multitude of related issues not just individually, but simultaneously. It’s like solution streamlining. It can be hard work, but well worth it. 

 

Sometimes, we don’t even have to re-invent the wheel to create solutions. Someone who has already been down the road that we are traveling has already paved the way for us to make our journey easier. Sometimes, you can simply put a twist to what has already been done. 

 

Being prepared with knowledge, know-how, and skills can help to alleviate worrying and anxiety about one's future. What I find helpful is to seek out and find (proven) remedies or solutions to solve problems, take all of the necessary steps that involve applying the solutions without cutting CRUCIAL corners, seek expert or experienced help when uncertain, and/or getting innovative in creating solutions (within acceptable guidelines that are not going to jeopardize your life, health, and/or freedom or put others in harm’s way). 

 

I learn continuously by reading, researching, and doing my own due diligence when presented with new information. It’s okay to delay making hasty decisions when sh*t happens, but do not become paralyzed by fear and overcome any fears by repeatedly practicing the action(s) that scare(s) you. 

 

What I have learned and found to be extremely helpful overall is to be prepared by acquiring relevant knowledge, testing it out by running experiments, making any needed adjustments, monitoring and measuring my progress, doing consistent positive things that push me toward my goals despite any negative circumstances, and rinsing and repeating successful actions and results. 

 

Fact#2: People Are Going to Make or Not Make Sh*t Happen. 

 

Throughout history, there have been a myriad of atrocities and misdeeds by mankind – wars, famine, pestilence, etc. As a species, we have shown that we are capable of the best, worst, and everything in between. During times of crises, we have shown that we can pull together to help each other (i.e. during the aftermath of September 11, 2001) and act against each other (i.e. Black Friday sales crowd stampede injuries and deaths). 

 

It’s also possible for some folks to idly sit by and do nothing in times of need out of panic, fear, or for whatever reason(s). It’s easy to say what one may or may not do until one is placed in an actual situation and “put to the test”. That is when the defining moment arrives, you are faced with a decision when your life can flash before you, and you are in your own or someone else’s eyes as neither hero nor coward, but simply just human. The outcome may not just be whether you can live with your actions or inaction, but if you can grow beyond what you think you know and/or transcend that one defining moment into a lifetime or lifestyle of creating meaning and purpose in your life or the life of others during the short time we are alive.

 

Be (mentally) prepared for some folks to (constantly) rain on your parade and even ignore, sabotage, not support your efforts, discourage, and/or disappoint you. In fact, it is not uncommon for others to expect you to lose. While they may believe that they can win, they are not taking any consistent actions to “win” so they end up projecting and displacing their own sense of self-doubt onto you. 

 

Furthermore, let’s be clear. Some folks just may not give a darn about what you are dealing with when sh*t happens because they have their own grappling issues to contend with. Some folks may not help you even if they can. Some folks just don't care, regardless. Therefore, you must see to it that you make things happen when others can’t or are unwilling. Once folks see you winning, they may resent you or jump on the bandwagon. Either way, you must decide that it is up to you to make things happen whether you get help or not. 

 

If you get genuine help from others, consider it a blessing. If you don’t get any help (initially), look at it as an opportunity to learn all aspects of your project(s) or business so that if/when you do form a team, you will already know the ins and outs of what you are working on. It may take a little longer to achieve desired results when you don’t have help when things happen, but positive end results can still happen. 

 

I encourage you to define what constitutes a win or loss for yourself because if you solely leave it up to others, then you may find that you may not agree with their determination and/or be disappointed. It’s also possible that once others see you winning, then they may ruthlessly resent your success. They may not not necessarily and personally resent you, but they may resent the (temporary) failure that they are experiencing and subconsciously assigning to themselves. 

 

It can be frustrating and disappointing if that happens but realize that you must adequately and wisely protect your mental fortitude “by all means necessary” and not allow their issues to impact your willingness to persevere. Some folks believe that it is their job to be mean and hurtful. They may be wounded from their childhood or adult years and unfortunately, it may make them feel better to subject others to what they have been through and felt. 

 

So, decide that you can and will allow it to become your job to not allow yourself to become convinced that you are powerless to smile, laugh, love yourself, and not allow the negativity to permeate your mind, soul, and being. In this case, it has helped me to gracefully deal with mean and hurtful folks by using humor or making humor out of a bad situation. 

 

For example, when someone does or says something to try to ruin my day, I may just smile and tell them to have a nice day or when I am met with an unwelcome demeanor, I may just greet them with “It’s a great day to have a great attitude!” and they usually change or adjust their negative demeanor towards me. Now, I don’t do this to be passive aggressive, but to not allow them access to my inner peace. 

 

I admit that there have been times in my past where I didn’t always handle negative conflict aimed at me well. But as time goes on, I am more self-aware and I focus on self-mastery. I learned my mental and emotional triggers and decide to be in the driver’s seat with them because others may not responsibly handle them with care. Now, there are some folks who may annoyingly test the waters and push your emotional buttons and sometimes, you may have to draw a hard and deep line in the sand and let folks know your position. However, I realize that staying in control of my thoughts and emotions is ultimately my responsibility, which brings me to my last point. 

 

Fact#3: You Have To Take Charge and Be Responsible For Making Sh*t Happen. 

 

If you do not have a learning disability or valid and legitimate reason, then who or what is stopping you from learning or increasing your knowledge? Is it you? We are living in the age of information in the U.S., information is literally at your fingertips with the Internet, cell phone, and/or mobile device with Internet access. You can learn how to enroll into school, college, take classes, learn new skills, watch video tutorials, etc. 

 

Typically, progress involves process and process involves time. We typically must take the time to go through stages of planning, researching, completing paperwork, following up and following through, and not quitting to achieve solutions and results. If you are not rich or wealthy and cannot afford to hire someone to do these things for you and you are unwilling to do it yourself and/or seek help, then it will be difficult or impossible to make anything happen except things like failure, complacency, stagnation, etc.

 

Stay on top of things that are within your control. Do all that you can when you can because when you can no longer do it, you may wish that you did. Constantly seek knowledge not just about what you like or are working on, but what others like and are working on because taking an interest in others can make the difference in getting an extra boost when you may need it from someone you took an interest in helping even if you don’t look for anything in return. Do what is within your power yet do not just limit yourself to what you may be able to do. Assertively push pass what you think are your limits (within reason and as long as it doesn't put you or anyone in harm's way). When all else fails, pray if you’re spiritual or religious, and/or seek expert or professional help. 

 

Acquiring relevant and useful knowledge and taking effective actions have helped me to make good things happen. Maintaining my focus and at times, having laser-like focus have helped me to make good things happen. That meant not partaking in pettiness and being a part of trivial and mundane and irrelevant distractions that serve no real purpose in meeting my goals. 

 

That’s not to say that I didn’t have time for entertainment that is different from partaking in being petty. I love stand-up comedy. I love to laugh and laugh hard. I choose to be happy for the most part. It's okay to "play" and be light-hearted, but know when to get back on track and to business.

 

Practice smiling and laughing more and soon you will find that it will come naturally. You are not faking it until you make it or being phony when you do this so long as you are not being malicious. You are re-learning good habits and it’s been said that practice makes improvement. 

 

Develop strong coping and life skills and decide to become more resilient and resourceful. Choose to take care of yourself REGARDLESS of what issues or problems are on your plate. That means that I get up out of bed if I set my alarm to go off early in the morning (even if I don’t feel like it), do things that are conducive to me meeting my goals (even if I don’t feel like it), and overall, do things that I don’t feel like so that I can ultimately do what I feel like when I want. I do not do what I do for a living solely because of money and rewards, but because I genuinely enjoy helping others and what I do. 

 

So, you now know that sh*t is going to happen regardless of whether or not you are prepared or not. So, what are you going to do about it? Because if you do nothing, you reap nothing, stay stagnant, and risk failure or defeat. 

 

If you decide to do something about it, then start with acquiring useful knowledge, learning the steps you need to take to create solutions, and take the time to execute and work on achieving solutions and results. So, what are you going to do? I guarantee you that if you do nothing and something must be done that you may take an already bad situation and make it worse. 

 

Due to the factors that we may contend with in life such as health issues, others being mean, hurtful, and non-supportive, financial issues, and things of nature beyond our control, we can still genuinely and consistently try and keep trying to succeed. Once we try and keep trying until we succeed or learn from our errors, then we have won. Some other tasks left are to maintain, grow, and help others.


Conclusion 


If you are alive, it's safe to say that good, bad, and indifferent things are going to happen. It’s better to work on making things happen and fail (or even fail big and get better, if the risk is worth it) than to not try at all. We lose only when we do not genuinely try and keep trying. Success is simply failure turned inside out and we never lose if we decide to learn the lessons within the failure. Plus, even if we temporarily lose on the short term, we can decide to start over and again and try until the day we die!


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Five Brief And Powerful Reasons To Never Give Up


Life can be a son of a gun and then some! Some folks seem like they have it substantially easier than others and live a problem-free life, but keep in mind that everything is not always what it seems. Some people may just know how to cope with or hide pain and disappointment better. 

 

Either way, life just doesn’t seem to play fair sometimes no matter how you slice it. Sometimes, you may feel like you have every reason to want to throw in the towel and call it quits, but I encourage you to keep a fire under your derriere (not a literal fire, though (lol)). At times, it may feel like you can’t catch a break if you were wearing a baseball mitt the size of King Kong’s right hand (By the way, I am not sure if King Kong's left or right-handed (lol)). 

 

I wrote this blog specifically with you in mind if you are down in the dumps, not sure which way to turn, lonely and sad from being away from a loved one, losing sleep from worrying, and/or just may need that extra inspiring push to keep going and not give up. Life can be brutal. Life can be kind and life can be everything in between. But, life is nothing if you don't dare to dream. 

 

Make sure that you find healthy ways to take care of yourself so that you can contend with the curve balls and uncertainties of life that may jeopardize your state of mind and put you at risk of giving up. A support system can be great for those who are fortunate enough to have or create in order to stay encouraged, but not everyone has a solid support system. Nevertheless, I put together the following reasons why you should not give up on hope, your dreams, goals, and life: 

 

1) Life is filled with ups and downs and unpredictable twists and turns for just about everyone and hardly anyone is exempt from some form of adversity.


Why deprive yourself of the opportunity and challenge for self-growth and to create individual and/or collective solutions and desired results, to get better at mastering and conquering the "Downs", and lavishing and basking during the "Ups"? Give yourself the (long-term) chance to grow and improve. This can offer you the importunity to inspire others to persevere.


2) Someone, including your family, friends, and loved ones, may be counting on you to set examples of inspiration and hope for them. 


I know. I know. I know. This thought can make you feel like you’re in the hot seat and under extreme pressure. You do realize that diamonds are formed under high temperatures and extreme pressure, right? Be selfless to a degree and shine bright like a diamond! You have yourself, others, and something else to live for as well as others who may unbeknownst to you, be living for you too.

 

3) You may regret one day what you didn’t do or try to become if you give up.

In 1998, I had an elderly husband and wife couple graduate together in my two-year community college graduating class. They didn’t give up and no one can ever take that accomplishment away from them! It's never too late to defy and surpass your own expectations.

 

4) You can give your life some type of positive, memorable, and/or profound meaning and purpose and make it count for something, no matter how minute that meaning may seem, based on how you choose to live before you die. 


Find some joy in the pain. Dance in the rain. Smile or laugh more often to keep from going insane! Dare to wake up everyday with passion and purpose!

 

5) Your life may simply become boring, meaningless, stagnant, and a surefire way to a slow and agonizing death.


Have the last laugh in life by not giving up even if you must rest, compose yourself, and keep pushing. Believe it or not, I’ve seen folks in their caskets appear to have a smile on their face.


Conclusion


It is no secret that once we become of age to experience life in a greater capacity, we can experience the joys and pains of life. It is a given that we will experience and be tested with challenges. Cell Block Legendz encourages you to keep persevering despite your difficulties and never give up. 


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Eternal And Dedicated Lavender Love Forever And A Day

Image Credit SusanPatterson Via https://www.naturallivingideas.com/medicinal-herb-garden/

Welcome


Thank you for visiting us and welcome to our Cell Block Legendz blog page. We are graciously excited to offer you unique perspectives, feedback, and tips to help you successfully learn about and deal with life and incarceration whether you have a loved one who is locked up, has been incarcerated in the past, know someone who has been incarcerated, and/or are just interested in finding out about informative incarceration topics.


It doesn’t matter if you are on the inside or outside of a correctional facility, the passage of time is something we all have in common, among other things. Time is said to be exponentially more valuable than money and materialism. We can get money back, but we can never get time back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. Be diligent in guarding your time. Master time or time will become your master and the wasting of it can create many sorrows and rob you of many valuable years.


Time can be your enemy or friend. I have a saying, “Time is only an enemy when you don’t use it wisely.” So, I would like to give you the wonderful opportunity to begin or continue to produce as many moments of quality time in your life as you can, whether free or incarcerated, to make an impacting difference in your life and the lives of others.


Our Blog Is Our Gift To You


We feel honored to have a blog page as a gift to you and we share our genuine proclamation that we realize that no one is immune or exempt from life challenges and adversities whether they are free or incarcerated. However, we would like you to know that we are here to do the time with you through our platform, encourage you to be a positive vessel for others, and spread the word.


Let’s kick off our blog platform with me sharing and connecting with you intimately about a story behind the making of our Cell Block Legendz website. Here we go!


Eternal Lavender Love

Our Journey


It’s been quite a ride to put the tedious elements together to arrive at this point where our business and website are legally up and running. I, personally, have worked excruciatingly hard and been challenged by things that were difficult, people who tried to discourage and sabotage me, and personal affairs that tried to get in the way. 


Yet, I decided to keep going and I refuse to ever be bitter. I made the choice to just work on getting better and better. I joked with myself and a few others that I had gotten in too deep with extensive research, voluminous business filings, and late night and early morning sacrifices of loss of sleep by frequently staying up all night and not going to bed until after 7:00 AM and getting up around 9:00 or 10:00 AM. 


I sacrificed a personal and social life and overall, have simply invested too much time to turn back and give up. I was simply not going to “play myself” and throw in the towel before I tried to launch my business (lol). I would consider it to be a victory if I tried and failed BIG while getting better than to not try at all. Plus, I love positively inspiring and changing the lives of others so in the end, the time, energy, effort, and higher cause involving you and others are definitely worth it. 


My decision to start this business is not about winning or negatively competing with anyone. It's about me using my time while I'm here to inspire minds from adversity to success through knowledge, self-awareness, self-discipline, empowerment, and strategic actions. 


Some things that took months with the launch of my business and website should have taken weeks and some things that have taken weeks should have taken months. It seemed like I was on a non-stop roller coaster ride to get our Cell Block Legendz website launched and I refused to get off until I could stomach the relentless steep drops.


One of the most sentimental and treasured moments for me prior to the launch of my Cell Block Legendz website was choosing our crucial website design elements. I definitely have to send a shout out to my website design project manager, design team, and tech support for the initial layout of my website and support. You folks rocked! And, I cannot begin to tell you the overwhelming feeling of accomplishment that I got from adding products and putting the finishing touches on the content of our website. 


Our Maternal Dedication


All the while, I was encouraged to complete our Cell Block Legendz website in honor of my late mother. On 03/31/2018, my mother died and we buried her on 04/06/2018. 


Before my mother died, I would go to the hospital every day from 03/17/2018-03/31/2018 and during all hours to visit her. One of the last conscious moments my mother had was when she arrived at the hospital before she was told she had to have surgery and I rubbed her feet with lotion and she voiced how great it felt for me to rub her feet.


After my mother’s surgery, she was kept heavily sedated and could not verbally respond, open her eyes, or get up and out of the hospital bed, but the hospital staff said she could hear us talking to her. So, we talked to her every day and she had a lot of visitors, especially toward the end.


One of the things I did while my mom was sedated after her surgery was gently rub her feet with lotion and lavender oil. Lavender oil is soothing and has a pleasant aroma and for me, rubbing my mother’s feet was like spiritually anointing her feet. 


So, if you haven’t noticed by now and take a look at my website, I decided to include the color lavender throughout my website to honor my late mother and the last time she and I spent quality time together where she was conscious and able to enjoy me rubbing her feet before she left this world.


Conclusion


Despite any and everything, the journey that we have walked thus far has been worth the cause. I feel honored to have been born from such a strong, classy, and knowledgeable woman who was a survivor, who beat cancer twice before her death, and I feel blessed to have been by her side at the beginning of her transition to lavender paradise. Regardless of the outcome or end result of this business endeavor, we eternally dedicate this website in honor of you, Lateene Ann Anderson (12/25/1953 – 03/31/2018). Rest in lavender heaven, mother. We love you eternally!


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