Hello to all of Felix’s followers and supporters! It has been many months since my last post, not much had changed except for the fact Felix got a job cleaning the bathrooms and a class opened up in horticulture. It was something new, he enjoyed learning to plant seedlings and take care of his little plot of land. Other than that, the normal operations of daily life in prison remained the same minus the violence, fighting and yelling he experienced in Florida. His dorm is treated differently due to disability prisoners housed in it.
Life also got better for him when he was given a new counselor, Ms. Smith, who had a profound impact on him. She shared with him much wisdom and treated him with much respect. It changed his thinking, for that I am most grateful. Felix wrote a long email a couple weeks ago and a lot of it he said he wants to share with you all – about Ms. Smith, what he has learned in VA and other thoughts.
“I have a counselor now, Ms. Smith, who treats me like a person. She looks at me as a person and she talks with me and not at me. she does it all with authority but does not push her authority around. She is a people person. That in itself can make a difference in the decision a person makes on a day to day basis especially when confronted with such harsh a place. Friday, March 24 I had my yearly review and she told me I have improved since I arrived here and I am doing really good. She gave me a plan for the next couple of years to accomplish with me also entering the reentry program and finally being released. That is hope.That does not mean it will happen, but it can. Most important that tells me, Felix you are somebody, we care and we are going to do everything possible, from our end, to make that happen.
She sat and spoke with me like a person telling me that I allow other people, staff included, to determine my actions and decisions based on what they said or did. Meaning someone would say or do something and I would react or respond when I did not need to. She said Felix you allow other people to control your actions and it does not have to be that way. Stop and think, before you respond or react. You must think of the consequences of your decisions before making them.
I told her that is exactly what I am learning now. Here in Virginia I can do that but I had to learn how to, this is what they thought me. But most important they removed the violence and gave me breathing room to clear my mind.
34 years in Florida decisions had to be made in a split second just for survival and consequence never came into play. It was life or death, every day and all at the orders of guards. Virginia is doing right to help its prisoners must also be known. The ADA here is outstanding, Mr. Marano really cares about the deaf and blind people and helps in every way possible and the interpreters are here all day every day, I mean they are really here. Not like Florida,
Thanks to the wonderful staff here at Greensville today is my last day of medication, that’s how much I progressed. My headaches are gone also, my stomach problems gone. As of this day, I take no medication for anything.
Here in Virginia, I have not seen a single fight in one year, why because of the professionalism of the staff. I am not saying things don’t happen, just not in the impaired pod and nothing on the scale of Florida. There are some problems but nothing like Florida. If I could rate the two states from 1 to 10, I would give Virginia a 10 and 2 thumbs up and Florida a negative 2 with a shame on you.
It also helps with a good support team like I have. Pat [you are] the best, I would not be alive today if you were not a part of my life, and the same goes for so many others. I truly owe my life to you all, thank you for believing in me when no one else did.”
However, working with his new counselor Ms. Smith has ended as Felix has been transferred to Powhatan Correctional Center to take a job, full time, in the Silk Screen Plant, making signs and labels. He is so excited. These are Felix’s words as to what he was told about Powhatan:
“the best part mom, what do you think it is? I get to pet a cow. That’s right, that is the place where the milk is taken from the mama cows and put in machines and then bags. I am going to love this, plus they have a print shop, a wood shop, a screen print shop, a tag plant and many many others. And the place is very small. That is the part I love. And very clean and respectful, plus Mr. Marano is going to be there.”
Remember the post I did where Felix said he wanted to pet a cow and that he had seen a real horse? That was at Marion CI in FL about 4 years ago. Well, that request to pet a cow may soon come true. The little things in life we take for granted is truly a big deal in Felix’s life. By the way, Mr. Marano is the Virginia ADA Coordinator. I have been in contact with him numerous times and he is truly a caring, patient person for the job.
Felix’s new address is,
Powhatan Correctional Center
3600 Woods Way, State Farm, VA 23160.
Don’t forget his DC# 1805390.
I know he will like to receive some mail at his new home. This is a new phase in his life, a new venture, but, always remember this is still prison. In his 35 years as an innocent man, Felix has never given up. He has found a new venture to better himself and prove to people in general, the parole commission/clemency board specifically, he can be a productive citizen and worthy of being a free man. I will keep you all apprised of any new developments in the legal area of this case.
Before closing there is one thing I would like to ask everyone, is there such a thing as communities for the Deaf – apartment housing for the Deaf, a neighborhood where many Deaf live and work? And if so, will you email DeafInPrison.com? This is for general knowledge too, because many Deaf are getting out of prison around the country and not all of them have families to go home to. I would greatly appreciate any information you may have.
New Experiences For Felix
As you all know, Felix is in Virginia and was housed at Greensville CC since March 2016. This past April he was transferred to Powhatan Correctional Center to take a full-time job in the Silk Screening Plant. He absolutely loves it. One of his jobs was to silk screen the lettering and logo on Virginia Tech shirts. Felix does not realize how much Virginians love the Hokies. Someday he will.
Being able to email has been a treat for him. Email is furnished via JPay’s server. Each email averages 25 cents depending on how many in a ‘book’ was purchased, length of email and if anything attached. The emails are monitored for anything offensive or dangerous to the security of the prison or prisoners. Felix can email me anytime and express his frustration or joy or tell me some of his accomplishments. I again will relate to you in his own words what he has to say concerning Powhatan CC, how he likes his new job, experiencing new challenges:
4/29 – this place is fantastic
5/9 – my job is fantastic, I love it and I work hard, very hard. what I do is print words and pictures on shirts and bags, anything that is fabric, I do textiles and I love it. mom it is so easy, I did a multi-color job today for Virginia Tech, I did 600 hundred prints on a multi-color press called a Brother 541, I am getting lots of experience on different presses. I love my boss and the other deaf and hearing people I work with.
5/22 – The boss said he was picking the best 5 people to work Saturday out of 52 and I got picked. I was shocked and he looked at me and said, you work better than 3 people put together. I currently set up, stock, and clean 3 presses all by myself. The thing is set up for one man per press but like I told them, if you were in Florida you would work harder than I am now and get nothing, so be proud of what you all got here. Also the boss’s clerk had a problem on the computer he has been trying to figure out for months now and today he came to me and said, someone told me your good with access and I said somewhat, what’s the problem and (he) said I want it to print the fonts in color. He left and come back and said, as soon as this guy working with me leaves you are my new assistant. It’s been a good day mom.
6/17 – I am doing good here and my health is improving day by day, mentally and physically. I want to stay here, work and learn until they release me.
7/7 – next week the boss is giving me computer access, mom – no deaf has computer access.
7/13 – just wanted you to know I wrote a program for the boss today, well it took me 2 days to write in on the computer using my off time. What it does is show you how to mix ink for the presses and cut almost all the waste out because I noticed how much waste was thrown away here and I told my self if the people know how to make less ink, small amounts for testing for the jobs there would be no waste. Well I presented it today to the boss and the other printers and guess what, every body loved it, it is so easy to use, got a chance to show off my computer skills in access – its a wonderful place.
8/17 – Hello mom 🙂 I got my tv today, yeaaaaaaaa 🙂 [ In VDOC inmates can buy their own tv to put in their cells.]
8/19It’s Saturday morning and I just finished watching “This old house.” Its on channel 6 from 8:30 am to 9:30 am and I learned installing side walks, it was really good. You can also go to VIDEO.PBS.ORG and see all their how to fix or do this and that. I love it. It is 9:30 and I am still on PBS and am learning about pottery, how to make it and stuff. Now they are getting into the wood work shop, and I really like this stuff. This guy works with real old tools and its neat. Its called “The Wood Wrights shop”, at pbs.org/WoodWrights. Fantastic stuff.
Oh, there are times he has complaints such as roommate problems, troubles with ordering products, misunderstandings with staff and dealing with the other deaf. From what Felix says there is a difference between him and the deaf in VA. He said in our visit:
“My education is 1,000,000 (hyperbole) times different than the deaf here. Hard to communicate at times. Simple things elude me. Hard tasks challenge me. The problem I have here with the deaf, they all went to school, I never went to deaf school, so I am an outsider.”
I told him he is a survivalist. This is what makes him unique. It will not always be this way. He went on to tell me, “I’m a picture person. If I see it, I can do it.”
Felix also learned integrity that didn’t come from watching others behave. That is inward through his faith in God. He has never stolen from anyone. If he likes something he will buy it or do without. His character is totally incompatible with criminality. In all these 36 years being incarcerated, he had not learned the skills to become a criminal. Here in his own words is how he still feels, in an email received on 7/18:
“People have been controlling my life for over 35 years because of a lie and I can’t get it back. Other people have the keys and refuse to let me out and is not fair. I don’t belong here and I am not these people and I don’t like people who hurt kids, that’s me. I know I am innocent and the lord knows I am innocent.”
We had our first visit at Powhatan on July 22nd. The ADA Coordinator said it was in the boonies and boy was he correct. I did find the compound quite large but Powhatan itself is a small camp. I got lost, drove around and around and finally found a van with people in it. They led the way and took me to where I wanted to go.
The new rules are in effect and very strict due to drug problems. Felix, like all inmates having a visit, has to wear a tan color jumpsuit with no pockets and zipped at the back. You can see in our latest picture Felix wearing tan colored clothing. Nothing to eat outside of peanuts, granola bars, candy bars, and soda pop. I sure hope this has curbed the drugs coming in via the visitors. We had a very interesting visit, covered a lot of different subjects. Sometimes we spoke, Felix reading my lips, but due to the noise of chatter, I cannot hear well so we relied on writing notes back and forth.
On the legal front, we have a parole hearing coming up this fall where his attorney and I will be attending. In a email sent to me on 8/15 Felix said he was asked to make a statement on his parole review form and this is some of what he said:
“I just made the statement of how I grew up and how you changed my life and about my disease and I closed with ‘if I had a wish I wish I could go back in time and help that kid make better choices, and be the dad he never had, to learn how to fish, and play ball and be normal human being, something I never had.'”
For those who may not know or remember, Felix has a daughter. She is a wife and mom with 5 kids. By the way, his clemency action is still in line to be heard. I am sorry this post is a little late sending since my last visit with Felix but I wanted to attach his most recent picture, which I just received.
Thank you all for still being supportive and concerned for Felix’s welfare. My next post will be after the parole hearing.
A Brief Note from BitcoDavid
The above post is actually two different posts I recieved from Pat Bliss over the Summer. I appologize for the delay in getting them posted. I’ve been dealing with a number of personal issues and projects. It has been my intention to incorporate ASL Sign language in each post, and to make this a bilingual site. Unfortunately, these two posts were beyond my linguistic ability in Sign. I have been studying Sign for about 5 years now, and although I have gotten significantly better, these were quite simply beyond my ken.
However – and this is important – Felix’s next parole hearing is coming up on September 27th. Eleven days from this posting. I will get a Sign post put up this week, and I also want to Sign a “letter” directly to Felix himself, wishing him the best possible luck. I am hoping that Ms. Bliss will be able to help me get it to him so he can see it before the hearing. Watch this space over the next two weeks, and we will be able to keep you in the loop about Felix’s case.