I Feel Great

I really feel great since my conversion this summer to the Catholic faith. I had been interested in the Roman Catholic Church since 1960, when I was 10. That was the year John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States. I would see television news clips of Kennedy and his family attending Mass. I also saw news clips of priests celebrating Mass. I always felt good about what I saw. Even as a kid it seemed God was pointing me toward the Catholic Church.

I did not know anyone who I could talk to about the Catholic Church. All my friends and relatives were Protestants. And I did not know any black Catholics or white Catholics for that matter. And as far as I knew, there were not any Catholic Churches on the Southside of Memphis, TN. I lived in the “Projects” and there certainly were not any Catholic churches near me.

It was during this time I became aware of Pope John XXIII. I was impressed by how revered he was throughout the world. He died in 1963 and President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas a few months later. I felt sorrow over the loss of both men.

Then there was the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, riots and students protesting the war. Thoughts of faith were slowly driven out of my consciousness for a while. It was such a time of sorrow and unhappiness.

But subconsciously, the Catholic Church never left me. Even though the years continue to roll by, I was always interested in the activities of the Church. I was a big fan of Pope John Paul II. I also met some Catholics, not many, in Knoxville Tenn., where I chose to reside after college.

Then my conscience started to suggest that I should join the Catholic Church. About three years before I got in trouble with the Federal government, the call to join the Church became stronger. I took out my Bible and started to read and study it, both the Old and New Testaments. I began to get acquainted with the Scriptures. It took me over a year to read the Bible from cover to cover. Then I started over again, repeated the process of reading and studying it yet again. It took me over a year and-a-half.

As a result, I started to get a feeling of moving closer to God. I have always marveled at people who can quote Scripture by verse: the book in the Bible where it’s located and the chapter and verse numbers. That is impressive. I can’t do it. But I can find important verses in the Bible, given a few minutes. I usually know where the verses I am seeking are found.

Things really took off after my guilty plea to one count of Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in Knoxville, Tenn. in June 2012. I was sentenced to 46 months on February 15, 2013. You would think I would have been at a low point but I was not; I was upbeat and looking forward to the future. God was strengthening me.

When I arrived here at the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp I started attending a non-denominational Bible Study and attending church. But something was missing. Then I heard over the public address system about a Catholic Bible Study that was held on Thursdays. I was not aware there were Catholic services here. I then found out that there was a Catholic Mass being celebrated here at 11:15 a.m. on Sundays, and I immediately made plans to attend.

Mass at the prison camp is conducted by Father John Fallon. He was also leading the Bible Study on Thursdays in the Visitation Center. Right now, though, Thursday Bible Study is on hold. Father Fallon was almost killed in a horrific car accident last summer. His doctors want him to take it easy and let his 70-year-old body heal from its injuries. You don’t heal as fast at the age of 70 as you did at the age of 30. So we get together and say the rosary on Thursday afternoons.

From the beginning, Father Fallon stressed that the Mass is not a church service or meeting. At Mass, the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ, our Lord and Redeemer, is celebrated. And we, as believers and disciples of Christ, who are marked with the seal of one Baptism for the forgiveness of our sins, share in the celebration. We share in the Life, Death and Resurrection of Christ through the Holy Eucharist which Jesus instituted at the “Last Supper.” It’s described in Luke: “And he took the bread and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And likewise the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup which is poured for you is the New Covenant in my blood.'” (Luke 22:7-22)

Father Fallon pointed out the bread we consume and the wine (though of course we do not drink wine in this prison; we don’t drink any liquid during the Eucharist) are changed and become Christ’s Body and Blood. That really made me feel great!

I could not join the Church right away. I needed a sponsor. I found one in Alfredo, a fellow inmate. The sponsor is responsible for you and serves as your teacher, coach and guide.

I also needed to talk with Father Fallon one-on-one. Father Fallon wanted to make sure I knew what I was doing and that I knew the differences between other churches and the Catholic Church. He also gave me some books to read and I got the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well. This has been a great help in teaching me about the Catholic Church and what Catholics believe. So far I have found nothing in them that conflicts with my own beliefs.

Even though I could not take Communion because I had not been Confirmed, I started attending the Mass every Sunday and Bible Study every Thursday. About seven weeks later I gave my first Confession. It was like the weight of the world had been lifted from my shoulders. I confessed things that were embarrassing to me and things that had caused me grief over the last 40 years. Things regarding my family and relatives.

Then Father Fallon completed my Confirmation in front of our small congregation. Afterwards, when Father Fallon asked me how I felt. I responded with a big smile, “I FEEL GREAT!” And I still do! I was finally where I belong. I am home. Every day is great!

I also want to give credit to a great source of help I have had over the last 15 months. I call her “Lady” Barbara Stallcup. She is a devout Catholic and a Third Order Carmelite. The Carmelites are a lay Catholic religious order. This kind, gentle and loving lady has helped me to understand the Catholic faith. She has sent me books on the Catholicism and has given me her support. That has been invaluable. Thank you!

Comments can be emailed to Bernard Addison at bernardaddison2015@gmail.com. Or letters and postcards can be mailed to:
Bernard Addison
44863=074
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315

Death Camp?

When does treatment for an in-grown toenail lead to death? When you are treated at the Atlanta Federal Prison Death Camp!

Take the case of James Smith, who died here in September. James was known just as “Smith” to his friends. He used to come to Dorm D Sunday through Friday to empty trash and collect items for recycling. He would come into Dorm D about 5:18 am and I could set my watch by him. It took him about ten minutes to collect recyclable items from our trash cans and put them into special garbage bins. He did this for all eight dorms.

Now he is dead. Why? Not from inmate violence. Not from an accident. Not from a terminal disease. He is dead because he sought treatment for an in-grown toenail. He was in pain and he needed something for the pain. Smith with prescribed something for the pain at this Death Camp’s Clinic. Next thing he knows he is hospitalized. He is in the Intensive Care Unit. His bodily functions are shutting down. The prescription medication killed him.

All of us were angry. This is the risk we take every day when at the Atlanta Federal Prison Death Camp. Most of the time when we are ill we are told that we will have to wait for our name of show up on the Prison Medical Call Out Sheet. This can take days or weeks. It wastes time.

My former cellmate, Don N., is a good example. He came here to serve 6 months for a parole violation. While on parole he bought a car. Don was the owner of a business and he purchased the car for cash. Since the parole officer did not know about the bought car, he was arrested and sentenced to serve six months at this Death Camp.

Don had had a heart operation before his arrest. He needed constant care. The court knew about his condition. When Don got here he told medical representatives about the heart medications he had been taking and needed. According to him they immediately started telling him why they could not provide him the medications he needed. Then three months into his stay, the problems started. He had chest pains. The pains hurt so bad that he would go to Medical seeking treatment. He was put off or told that he would be put on a “Call Out.” Finally, he was given Nitroglycerin for the pain.

The Nitroglycerin did not work. The medical staff finally got the revelation something was wrong with this man. He was sent to an Atlanta area hospital. According to Don, the doctor told him he was lucky. Had the prison waited 24 hours more, he would have been dead. He needed stents in some of the arteries leading to his heart. He was 24 hours away from death. Away from being just another name of a deceased prisoner at the Atlanta Federal Death Camp. I was told by Don that it cost $150,000 for the treatment and the hospital stay. Maybe that is the reason why its so hard to get medical treatment at this Death Camp run by the Bureau of Prisons.

Take Mike H. He was here a long time before I met him 18 months ago. Mike was sick. I could tell just by looking at him. He was a quiet, soft spoken guy. He was always rubbing his sides. When I asked him what was wrong. He would just say he was hurting. When I asked if he had gone to Medical, Mike would say, “Yes, I am on Medical Call Out. That is all they do, is put you on Call Out.” Mike also had a very bad cough and just kept getting worse. Finally someone felt he should have doctors look at him. They found he had “inoperable” cancer. It was too late. In the middle of a night in August he was transferred to Buckner, NC. Buckner has a medical hospital for prisoners. He died less than 2 weeks later. His body was cremated and his remains sent to a sister. This man suffered for years with this disease. I am told it was Stage 4 cancer of the liver or kidneys.

Then there is “Sport.” That’s the name his friends called him. I did not know him personally but I saw him around. Sport was another prisoner with a heart condition. He was always in pain. He he paraded back and forth to the prison medical clinic. In late July or early August “Sport” was in extreme pain. He was swollen or bloated in the stomach area.
He was told to watch the “Call Out Sheet.” Again, it was too late. His pancreas exploded and he died. Negligence or Neglect? I say both.

In July of this year an inmate named Martin died. He worked for a business contracted with the Bureau of Prisons and the Atlanta Federal Prison. He was overweight. He had had a heart operation, but according to what he told his friends the operation had been botched. So another operation would be needed. Mr. Martin claimed he was in pain and was experiencing a shortness of breath. He was constantly going to the medical clinic and on his last visit he was allegedly told by a nurse, “I don’t know what I can do for you.”

The problem was solved a few days later. Mr. Martin died of a heart attack and the prison did not have to spend any more money treating him.

Men are being maimed or dying in here. Men, who if given proper and timely treatment, would be alive and well. This has NOTHING to do with the Federal Health Care Law. This is a problem that has been going on for years. It would be interesting to find out how many inmates have died at the Atlanta Death Camp over the last 3 to 5 years. I bet it would open a few eyes. We have about 550 guys here and too many of them are over the age of 60. And this Death Camp is not suited for treating them.

I talked about my run-in with Medical about a year ago. I reported there on a Friday afternoon. I was in intense pain. The nurse on duty spent all her time telling me that my pain was not an emergency. Maybe not for her but it sure was for me. And then I got the pleasure of listening to her tell me how hard she had worked the entire week and she just wanted to go home. One thing I do know is that she did not do anything for me. I left Medical still in pain. The inmates helped me get through the next 48 hours. Finally the pain subsided. We all believe I must have passed a kidney stone. Man, was it painful.

I promise I will not stop pointing out the problems we face with medical treatment at this Death Camp. I will do it today and when I am released from this Death Camp, I will continue to call attention to conditions here.

If you are going to sentence 60-, 70- and 80-year-olds to prison, then treat their ailments. No one should be ignored and left to die when treatment is available. The saying is, “The Bureau of Prison Owns Us!” Then treat us. I am really concerned about something I have been told: that the Bureau of Prisons or the Atlanta Prison has life insurance on us. So that when we die IT gets paid, not our families. If this is true, then maybe that is the reason for the poor medical services.

Someone needs to seize the B. O. P.’s records and do a thorough examination of the medical department. The deaths of camp inmates should be investigated. All records, medical emails and everything else should be investigated.

If you agree, please contact your congressmen and congresswomen today.

I am serving a 46 month sentence, after pleading guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. You can email your comments to bernardaddison2015@gmail.com. Or mail them to:
Bernard Addison
44863-074
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315

Charity

One thing I do in prison is read. And since I started my conversion to Catholicism I enjoy reading about the Saints. I have been reading a great book about Maxmilian Kolbe, Saint of the Immaculata.

Father Kolbe and his followers were devout followers of the The Virgin Mary. And the mission of a group that he formed called “Militia Immaculata,” is to promote the the Mother Mary and increase our love and devotion to the Blessed Mother of God.

If you want to know more about the “Militia Immaculata,” get the book or do some research. Or in a year a so I will be free of the Federal Prison Camp in Atlanta, GA and I will be glad to discuss it with you.

Some may ask who is Father Maximilian Kolbe? He was a Polish Franciscan priest. But he was a lot more than that; he was prisoner number 16670 at Auschwitz. That’s right, Auschwitz, the World War II Nazi death camp.

It’s July, 1941 and a prisoner has done the unthinkable. This inmate has escaped. Kommandant Rudolph Hoess gave the inmates 5 days to produce the missing prisoner or face the consequences, from July 28 through August 2. The missing inmate was not produced.

This meant that 20 inmates would be executed because one inmate escaped. SS Colonel Fritsch picked the victims. But he was generous, he decided only 10 inmates would be executed this time.

One of the men selected cried he would never see his wife and children again. Then something miraculous occurred. A prisoner stepped forward and asked to take the man’s place. It was not just any prisoner it was Father Maximilian Kolbe. He reiterated that he wanted to take the place of Sgt. Francis Gajowniczek.

Talk about surprises. This simple request caught the Nazis off guard and the prisoners off guard too. After much discussion SS Colonel Fritsch approved the request. The Father was substituted for Gajowniczek. The 10 men were led to the “Starvation Bunker.” No food or water, in a hot and steaming bunker in early August. It must have been horrific. When a prisoner died, the corpse was removed from the bunker. A Polish inmate forced to remove the bodies said the Father was either praying or kneeling whenever he came in.

After twelve days of this torture, on August 14, 1941, The Father was still alive. The Nazis were getting impatient. They needed the “Starvation Bunker” for some other prisoners. So Father Kolbe was given a lethal injection of poison. He died later that day and his body was cremated on August 15, the day after that.

Neither the Father nor any of the men who died with him cursed their Nazi oppressors during their ordeal. Father Kolbe did not ask for anything either. He never asked for food, water or mercy.

Instead Father Kolbe prayed for the souls of all. Father Kolbe is known as the hero of Auschwitz. He gave his life so that another could live.

Sgt. Francis Gajowniczek did survive the war and returned to his wife. His two teenage sons were killed in the Warsaw Uprising.

On October 10, 1982 Pope John Paul II declared Saint Maximilian Kolbe to be a martyr of Charity. The ceremony took place before a large crowd in St. Peter’s Square. Sgt. Francis Gajowniczek attended the ceremony.

Reading about the Saints can be humbling. You get to see where they placed their faith and hope when the chips were down. We also find out a lot about ourselves.

Father Kolbe put his faith in God and devoted his life to God and his mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. He was not concerned with “self”. His total devotion was to obeying God.

There are those who blindly follow others. This makes them easy prey for Satan. Like Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolph Hoess, who put all his faith and trust in Adolph Hitler. He joined a long list of people who grew up in the Catholic Church and yet deserted their God for hate and murder. At the end of the war this desertion earned him a rope on the gallows outside Auschwitz. Hoess got his earthly reward, justice.

And then there are those like me. I believe in God. But when the chips were down and I needed help what did I do? Wrong, that’s what I did. I did not pray. I did not seek help. I did not turn to friends. I did not seek assistance. I ended up thinking I could work things out myself. So I ended up in Federal prison with a 46 month sentence for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud.

We all will have a chance to prove our Faith. Its called works. Our works determine where we place our faith and trust. Whether it’s God, yourself or someone else. What are works? Some of them include; feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and providing shelter for the homeless.

St. Kolbe chose God in Auschwitz. He gave his life for another. Kolbe was the “Good Shepherd.” The Bible describes Jesus as the Good Shepherd; “He laid down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

Rudolph Hoess grew up in the Catholic Church. He gave his life and faith to Hitler, hate and National Socialism. The decision cost him everything.

Me, I have heard all my life from all kinds of preachers saying we are justified by faith and not works. I am probably missing something but whatever it is, I will go with James 2:14-17; “What does it profit my brethren, if a man says I have faith but does not have works? Can his faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and in lack of daily food, and if you say to them, “Go in Peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them things for the body, what does it profit? So Faith by itself, if it has no works is dead.

Everyday I try to remember the teaching of James. So that the next time I am tested I will pass with flying colors. Instead of failing like a miserable sinner.

I am a recent convert to Catholicism. Since my guilty plea to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud, the Lord has heaped blessings upon me. I was sentenced to 46 Months at the Atlanta, GA Prison Camp. That was a blessing. I have wonderful friends and that is a blessing. I am not alone and that is a wonderful blessing.

Bible verses and references are from the The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version, Second Catholic Edition.

Comments can be emailed to bernardaddison2015@gmail.com or mailed to:
Bernard Addison
44863-074
FPC Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315

Change

Every Quarter (90 days) here at the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp, The Officer in Charge (O-I-C) can change. When I first got here the O-I-C was Officer Bouye, then we had an Officer Rosa, two Quarters of Officer Rice and now we have Officer Bouye of Texas again.

One thing is clear: management styles are different. For instance Officer Rice prefers to have all inmates inside the camp during the day and are not assigned to the different camp work details to check in with his office. This includes all inmates who are new to the camp (A and O s), anybody assigned as Camp Maintenance, Convalescent and medically unassigned.

This means that every morning except holidays and weekends, a long line of inmates are outside the Officer in Charge Office waiting to be checked in. This can take an hour. You would not think that it would be easy. It is not. Try standing for an hour with about a hundred guys waiting with nothing else to do. And the checkout process can be delayed by all sorts of things the O-I-C has to deal with. Sometimes officers decide to breathalize inmates they suspect have been drinking alcohol. When this happens it’s a nightmare. And you get to listen to inmates complain. You constantly hear people asking why is this process is necessary? What is the purpose? What is the officer trying to prove?

I can not answer these questions. I did not put the system together and no one asked me what I thought of it. So I just stand as long as I can and then I lean against a wall or on my cane. But it does get old listening to a bunch of whining men starting at 8 am every day.

I guess the men will not have Officer Rice to whine about anymore. He has to retire. He has reached the official Bureau of Prison Retirement Age. So they won’t have Officer Rice to kick around anymore.

Now we have Officer Bouye and his style is totally different. No long lines of inmates standing in front of the O-I-C Office waiting to check in. He conducts what he calls “Lockdown Census Counts.” This process calls for the closing of the prison camp around 8:30 am. No one leaves or enters during this Census Count. Inmates who are not assigned to outside prison work details or to Camp Maintenance and A & Os, must report to their dorms and be counted. Officer Bouye goes to all eight dorms, A thru H and counts the men. But its more than a count. Its his way of getting to know the men. To put faces the with names. He uses the time to familiarize himself with the men and find out a little about their pasts and their cases. Its very subtle and sophisticated.

Both systems are effective. Whether its Officer Rice with his “check-ins” or Officer Bouye with his “Census Counts,” both men get to know the inmates at the prison.

But no matter the system the inmates whine and complain. They don’t want to stand and wait to be checked in and they don’t want to sit in their dorms until they are counted either. You hear the same complaints. Nothing is new.

My former cellmate hates Officer Bouye so everything he does is bad according to him. But Officer Bouye has a soft heart for the sick, elderly and handicapped prisoners. I fall, unfortunately, into the elderly category. And because I sometime have to walk with a cane, I also fall into the handicapped category. Officer Bouye makes sure we get in the front of the line for lunch. He is a man who has respect for his elders. And believe me there are a lot of guards and prisoners who could care less about anyone except themselves. Officer Bouye reminds me of a time when the young had respect for their elders instead of contempt for them.

Now back to my former cellmate. He is over 60. Despite his contempt for Officer Bouye, he is the first to run to the chow line to take a place in the elderly line. So I guess the stomach overrides his contempt. This is the same guy who told me not to complain about things when I arrived. He said there is nothing you can do about things so just learn to adjust. I am not a complainer but I had to listen to him do what he told me not to do for a year, complain! Somebody should have taken his own advice!

One thing is for sure you can’t please all the inmates all the time. And some times you can’t please any of the inmates any of the time.

Which system do I like best? I am a supporter of Officer Bouye’s system. I would rather sit and wait to be counted a few minutes, than to stand for an hour or more outside the O-I-C Office waiting to check-in. Its too hard on your legs and your feet.

Comments can be emailed to bernardaddison2015@gmail.com. Or mailed to:
Bernard Addison
44863-074
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315

New Email Address

Hello! I have someone new helping me with my blog now and if you care to send me an electronic message, please email to bernardaddison2015@gmail.com and I’ll get it. My blog has been in limbo for a few months now, so if you’ve written and not received a response, please write again! I value your notes. If you would rather communicate directly by snail mail, please do so at the same address as before:

Federal Prison Camp; Bernard Addison; 44863-074; Dorm-D; P. O. Box 150160; Atlanta, GA 30315

Thanks and hope to hear from you soon, Bernard

Generosity

The Bible tells us that God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Cor 9:7b) There are inmates here at the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp whom God really loves. One of them is Andy, my cellmate. For all of his faults, and he has many as do I, he is a generous giver and he is a cheerful giver.

We have been cellmates for over a year now, and I have watched him generously give to inmates who are in need. He gives candy, cookies, honey buns, aspirin, allergy medications and other items to inmates who are hungry or sick.

I have watched him give cough drops and throat lozenges and provide other help to those suffering colds or the flu. Many times he has not been asked for help. He just cheerfully volunteers. When Andy sees a need he jumps in and volunteers to help.

And he never expects to be repaid for his acts of kindness and charity. Many times the recipients of his generosity have come to repay the favors they have received. I have seen him refuse to accept repayment. He just tells them to forget about it. He is a far, far better man than I am.

The rest of 2 Corinthians 9:7 reads; “Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion. That’s Andy. He gives and he does not make you feel guilty about asking for his help.

And then there is Thomas (not his real name). Thomas is a mooch. He never gives anyone anything. No matter what you ask him for, he does not have it. And he complains about those who come to him asking for favors. He criticizes them. He says things like: “I don’t have enough for myself.” Or: “I work hard to get what I have and I am not going to give it away for free.” Or: “I don’t have enough to give out.”

Thomas is a cheap and stingy man. But he is also a beggar. He constantly is in my face asking for things. May he borrow a bag of popcorn, some stamps and envelopes, some cough drops and other things. He makes me unhappy to see him coming in my direction.

I have never asked him for anything. I have never asked any of the guys in my dormitory for anything. But Thomas makes a living out of “borrowing.” I use the word “borrow” loosely. His idea of borrow, is give me something and I will never repay it but I will be back to get something else.

He has never repaid anything he “borrowed” from me. And he is not embarrassed by that fact either.

Then there is Ray (his real name). A few months after I arrived here at the prison I got into an argument with some loudmouth show-off. I was not worried about the guy but Ray silently supported me. He also started asking me for things after this. Things like sweetener, coffee, coffee creamer and popcorn. I did not mind and I never expected to be repaid.

But I was repaid. Ray started coming back to my cell and offering me things. Things like chicken, roast beef, roast pork and other items.

What a difference between Ray and Thomas. Ray gives when he can. As a result it’s a pleasure to give something to him. Thomas never gives anything to anybody. But he always has his hand out. People like Thomas make it hard to be a Christian. When he asks for something, you feel he is taking advantage of you. You give it to him because that is the Christian thing to do. And “God loves a cheerful giver.” Then you have to just grin and bear it.

Note: Biblical verses from The Holy Bible; Revised Standard Version; Second Catholic Edition.

I am serving a 46 month sentence at the Federal Prison Camp in Atlanta, GA for Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud. Comments can be emailed to bernardaddison15@gmail.com or mailed direct to:
Bernard Addison
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
44863-074
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315

Contentment

In prison you always find the unusual. Something or someone who is so out of step with conventional thinking or thought. The Atlanta Federal Prison Camp has over 550 prisoners. Recently I ran across one inmate who is totally happy and content being confined in the Federal Prison System. Theodore W. (Not his real name) is happy, happy, happy.

He has been in state and federal prisons for the last 12 years and he has at least eight more years to go. Theodore was convicted of violating Federal Drug Distribution laws. You would think that being in prison so long he would be constantly thinking of the day he gets out and goes home. And he talks about some of the things he did before he was locked up. He is honest and open about his past and he knows that he did wrong. So he is sorry for his past crimes and he is not just sorry because he got caught. Theodore knows the problems drugs cause and the lives that have been destroyed because of drug use or abuse.

Theodore is White and in his early sixties. He grew up in the south. His family were poor Alabama sharecroppers so they never made much money and he never had a whole lot as a child. When I recently talked to him I realized that he has some sort of mental condition too. The condition causes him to start talking to himself. I do that myself but he also answers himself. Theodore carries on a regular one-man conversation. And his voice changes during these conversations, which makes you think there are 3 or more people in his cell. But it’s just him. This is humorous but it is also sad.

I noticed he does not get any mail or emails. No letters or birthday cards or get well cards. Nothing. He does not get any visitors. But he does have a family. A former wife, children and other relatives. They never try to contact him and he does not try to contact them. He is all alone and he likes it that way.

I asked Theodore what he was going to do when he was released from the prison. He told me: “If they release me and I see I am having a hard time surviving on the outside, then I will commit some type of crime so they will send me back here.” This really surprised me. He went on to add that he likes it in prison. This is his home. I asked, “Why?” He said where else can you get three meals a day, a place to sleep at night, work a few hours a day and get free medical care? Its definitely not the best medical care, but it is free. Theodore does not want to go job hunting at his age. He is not trained to do anything anyway. He does not want to look for a place to stay. Or try to figure out how to pay bills and other living expenses.

Theodore always seems so happy and now I know why. He does not have a care in the world. He also points out that all his friends and associates are here in prison with him. That is another reason not to leave.

He makes some great points about why he does not want to leave prison. He is witty and humorous. He is constantly saying how great things are. Or how great the food is. At first I could not believe this one. I have always thought the food in this joint was horrible. But he loves it. And he is constantly eating something.

He has quirks like all of us. And it takes a while to get used to someone who talks to himself. Tells himself jokes and answers his own questions. This is especially true when he changes his voice and it sounds like an army is in his cell.

And then he will start singing a song that was popular years ago on the radio. Then I hear: “Mr. Addison who did that song? So far he has not stumped this former Deejay but he has come close. One day he asked me to identify who sang a song that he had been singing all morning. It was “Just Dropped In” by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition. The song goes; “I just dropped in…to see what condition my condition was in. Yeah, yeah, oh yeah what condition my condition was in.”

If you drop in on Theodore, his condition is fine. It’s a sad story. But his condition is A-okay.

Ninety-nine percent of us want to get out of here as soon as possible. But Theodore W. would rather stay. His life is inside the walls of a Federal Prison and that suits him just fine.

Comments or Questions can be emailed to Bernard Addison at bernardaddison@outlook.com or mailed to:
Bernard Addison
44863-074
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Knoxville, TN 30315