Sunday, May 25, 2008

Life in Prison (Part 3)

For the next few posts of this Life in Prison series, I will be introducing you to some of the friends I have made in here.  They will tell you about themselves through their own words.

My name is Russell Mckinnon.  I'm a native of Nashville, Tennessee, currently incarcerated in F.C.I. Texarkana, Texas on a firearms charge.  Being locked up in jail or prison is never a good thing to be proud of, but you can take the worst situation and get something real good out of it if one chooses to apply his or her time in a positive perspective.  Meaning: If you want to make a change in your life you can correct your mistakes and "right your wrongs".  It is true that time does bring about a change in everyones life for better or worse.  I can only speak from my own personal experiences.  The things I've been through in life.  I would never ever want to see a young man or your woman throw their lives away the way I have mine.  The better years of my life have been spent locked up in a cage like some type of wild animal.  I started a criminal career at a very early age of 11-years-old.  Look at me now.  I'm still serving time and going back and forth to prison doing foolish things.  My point and advice to the youth is: Don't throw your life away.  Stay in school, get an education, no matter how tough things may seem, dont ever give up.  Your hopes, dreams, and goals are attainable, and can be fulfilled. Great accomplishments comes with a price.  Dedication and hard work is the ultimate sacrifice, bearing trials without complaint is patient, and "patience is the key to success".  I have plenty of free advice, knowledge, wisdom, words of great encouragement and guidance for anyone whose life is headed into the wrong direction.  If you would like to touch base with me drop me a line.  My address is below at the end of this message.  Prison is a human warehouse and it is modern day slavery.  So stay away from illegal activities that will put you behind bars.  Luckily for me, I have turned on the light switch inside of my head thats been off for so many wasted years, and now I'm using my brains, and burning my energy in a positive manner.  I recently discovered a hidden talent that God has blessed me with that I did not know that I had inside of me.  I have written several un-published books that are in the process of being published.  If a so-called menace to society can change, so can you and anyone else. "Hit -Yo Boy UP" 

Russell Mckinnon
P.O. Box 7000  
Texarkana, Texas 75505-7000 

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life in Prison (Part 2)

For the next few posts of this Life in Prison series, I will be introducing you to some of the friends I have made in here.  They will tell you about themselves through their own words.

Life in prison... I'm forced to make the best of it!  My name is Nathan Dickey Fed # 18909-051 serving a 121 months for drug charges.  Everyday in you have to put yourself in a position to think for others.  Also constantly having to deal with all the negative mind sets a lot of people adapt.  Now let me give you a chance to go through a reality I had to face.  I was going through a custody case due to the fact my baby mama neglected my daughter.  Imagine being stressed out trying to get your caseworker to work with you because phone meetings have to be setup just to be able to get a call.  Then nobody in my family is doing what I say needs to be done. Last but not least stuck with 1500 inmates that you dont really know and cant really trust.  I lost my daughter to the state and it still hurts, homie!  Each year in prison takes a toll on you if youre not head strong.  Plus you watch for all the correctional officers cause everybody have they days with their power tripping.  This is year 6 for me and without putting myself around good people like Rick "Freeway" Ross with positive goals I would be a lost cause like so many of us here.  TV Radio all day every day is what they do.  If you ever get to do a stretch you'll see who your real friends is!  I aint got anyone out there but my mom still riding for me.  Thought I had some standup partners but since prison the street treat me like I am dead or snitching. Ha Ha I'm still here.  My daily routine is a computer course from 7am to 1pm then workout from 1pm to 3pm after that educate myself with financial knowledge reading 5 days a week.  That's how I survive by turning my negative situation into a stepping stone to success.  I am alway's looking to learn anything to help me make it in this world, feel me.  Holla at your boy!! 

Nathan Dickey
P.O. Box 7000
Texarkana, TX 75505-7000

Friday, May 23, 2008

Life in Prison (Part 1)

Recently I was asked how prison life is. I started to shoot off the top of my head how I felt; if I have not learned anything else, I've learned to think before I react. So I have been pondering this for over a week and I can say that I associate with some sharp cats. Even though we read pretty much the same books, we all have different opinions on a number of things which really helps to gather all of these different views. I think of it much like a think-tank. We are all from different parts of the country. Most have been involved with drugs in one form or another. Some are here for bank robbery, ex-felon with firearms, but they all have a unique story to tell, some have spent the majority of their lives in prison. As for myself, I am 48 years old and have spent a total of 19 years here in prison.  It's great to hear from people on the outside.  I received an interesting letter yesterday that I would like to share with you. I get letters similar to this all of the time and I do my best to reach out and help them all. I won't use this man's name without his permission, I just thought I would share it with you. 

Dear Mr. Ross, 

My name is.... I live in Ypsilanti, Michigan. I am a 29 year old black male who wants to get out of the streets, better myself, take care of my family and go after my dreams so that I can be all that I can be. I recently read your artical that was in Ozone magazine. I was very inspired by the things you had to say about the things that are destroying people, families, and society. So much you talked about hit home for me and the way my life and decisions I made have been so far. I have a lot of respect for you and I admire the way you take responsibility and have turned your life around and now you are reaching out to educate and to help other people do the same thing. I am ready to do that too. 

I have dreams of starting my own record label too. Right now I am working with 4 artists who have a lot of talent and deserve a chance to make it in the industry and life itself. We call our label to be "Drop the Bag" Entertainment. Our music has a variety of Rap and R and B. We write lyrics and create our music and beats and share it with mostly local people. We are told that we are pretty good too. Thats why I am writing to you on behalf of our artists and asking for your help. I know you know how hard it is for rappers and singers both men and women to get backing. Some have so much talent and a lot know most of the time it goes to waste because our resources are so slim. 

I would like to be a part of what you are trying to do. I have also been through a lot of ups and downs, struggles, bad decisions, and disappointments. I have done wrong out there, slipped up on my responsibilities, and I am tired of it all. Just fed up with not doing the right thing. I lost my father when I was 8 years old. I have 5 beautiful kids and I want the best for them. My mother is the strongest woman I know. She raised me well and I want to also make her proud of me. It really hit my heart knowing you are apart from your loved ones, I don't think I could handle that. 

I am ready to take a chance on myself and step out and step up to the plate and be a man. My dreams in the music industry are something I have had for a long time. I want to see how far I can go, I'm reaching for the top. 

I feel like I would be a good candidate for what you are trying to do. I want to work with you as a team player in order to get your label and ours going as well as making an impact on our community. We are loyal and willing to go over and above. We are ready to get to work for real. 

What do I have to do to become a part of your dream? Can you help us with ours? I am willing to come meet you face to face to talk about it if you like. Please consider letting us work with you. Please think about it and write back so we can get this going. Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I really appreciate it. 

Thank You, Peace and Love 

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Operation Sudden Fall

After an overdose at one of the fraternity houses on the campus of San Diego State University last year, Operation Sudden Fall was launched.  The operation was under the direction of the DEA in association with local police and lead to 96 people getting arrested in San Diego, 75 of which were students.  They apparently found a couple of kilo's of cocaine, some ecstasy, marijuana, mushrooms, meth, prescription drugs, and three guns. 

My heart goes out to these students, being that I have witnessed a raid first hand. Police tend to treat you like you have raped or murdered someone. It's extremely easy to get a boot in your stomach or upside you head, maybe you will be just lucky enough to only have your cuffs tightened enough to bruise the flesh. After all, this is a war on drugs... and there are casualties of war. 

Among the arrested was a kid who was about to graduate with a criminal science degree and another who was about to get his master's in Homeland Security!  What if they had not been caught and landed a job working for the government? Better question:  how many like him are working for the government now? I am sure it is more than we can imagine! 

Now that they have gotten the so-called bad guys, do they actually think this will stop the use of drugs?  Or will it instead just make the users find a new source? Through the history of the War on Drugs, there have been millions arrested and this still has not stopped the demand for drugs.  At some point they have to realize that incarceration will not win this war, the education and rehabilation of those involved will.  Education through the hands-on involvement of the true addicts, which would show kids the outcome of drug use. It helped my kids, for I took them on a field trip to the slums to see how awful drug users really look and live. As of this day, none of them get high.  The answer is rehabilitation, not incarceration.  Putting a violator into some type of school to teach them a trade would better him or herself as well as society.  After all, the dealers are looking for ways to make money and it costs less to send a violator to a vocational/technical school as opposed to prison - it costs $34,000 per year to house a prisoner. 

Any drug that has been forced to the black market tends to be more in demand than legal drugs.   Let's look at the big picture, "Prohibition" is what got the prices of drugs so high and created the black market.  Statistics show there have been more deaths through legal drugs than illegal. Through drunk driving and liver and lung cancer, alcohol and tobacco have been two of the leading causes of death throughout the U.S. and abroad. Yet the government continues to allow the advertisement and sales of these products!  I just lost my stepfather two months ago to cigarettes. The doctor told him five years prior that if he didn't stop smoking, he would die. He continued to smoke until his death which proves he had to be addicted.   Why are there no consequences for the tobacco companies? Some might argue that tobacco is not nearly as intoxicating as other substances and should be classified separately.  However, there are many legal prescription drugs that will give you the same effect as illegal drugs. This begs the question: is this really a war on drugs, or just a war on the drugs that don't bring in tax revenues? 

I wonder; if the Feds had been this active in the 60's, would we have the same society we do now? If every hippy that smoked a joint or did a hit of acid got locked up, where would we be? Some of our most creative minds came from that era.   Maybe if we talk about it enough, people in influential positions will start to consider the real cost of this "War on Drugs."  The cost to not only our families and fellow  citizens, but to our morality itself!  When will we change the way we think and start to treat drug use as a sickness and not a crime? 

Ricky Ross


Check out this new video by Kevin Booth about Operation Sudden Fall:

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Game is Not a Game

First of all, no one should ever sell drugs. Those who do must be totally aware of the consequences; a long prison sentence or a man-made grave. Believe me when I tell you that you can't win in the drug game. The only winners are the judge, lawyers, prisons, and other peripherally related authorities that benefit from our ignorance. 

When a man or woman decides to sell drugs, they become a victim without even knowing. So many people get caught up into the fast life of fame and fortune, but most times it's just an illusion. In America, so many Black people are captured and put into the prison system at every "legal" opportunity. The truth is, we are our own worst enemy. These are the facts: there are just six million black men in this country... and 17 percent of them are behind bars. That means that 17 percent of black men can't vote and make a difference. Of the 2.1 million individuals that are locked up, over 500,000 are African-American men between the ages of 20 and 39; the number of black women in prison is steadily rising too. The drug game is not a game at all - it's a pathway to prison or death. 

I think that changes in the law, like the recent "Crack Law" guideline recalculations, are a step in the right direction. This system still isn't right, but it gives me hope that there can be positive change. The answer to crime in our nation can't be to lock everyone up for so many years that they no longer have the ability to function in society. We lock up more people--percentage wise--in the United States than in Russia or China. That is a staggering figure. They say now that 1 in every 100 people are locked up in federal prison, and if you factor in State prisons as well, you get a number like 1 in 33. Think about that. Is this the America you want your children growing up in? It's important to stay on top of the news in your area. Be a part of politics instead of just being on the sidelines as the climate revolves around you. Positive change can only come if we all participate. 

We must find other avenues to reach the fame and fortune that so many of us crave, and that starts and ends with proper education. When a person sells another person drugs, they're also selling their humanity. Not only are you helping to destroy another person, or someone else's loved ones, but you're destroying part of yourself in the process. In order for our beautiful black race to succeed we must put down the drugs, put away the guns, and start picking up books, computers, and any of the many educational opportunities that are out there. Most importantly, we must reconnect with the family. Since the start of the 80's crack era, the black family has been in its worst shape ever. So many black fathers were killed or sent away to prison to serve lengthy state and federal sentences. While leaving their wives and children alone, without a father figure, mentor, or leader. Once again, no one should sell drugs. It's the introduction to death. Your own!

As one of the biggest drug dealers ever, I personally caused so much pain to myself and others that it's difficult, when I look back, to make sense of it all. It is something that I will regret for the rest of my life. 

The hurt and pain that I caused my mother is one of the worst feelings that I've ever felt. All the years of being away from my children is time that I'll never get to replace. Selling drugs brought me the fame and fortune, but it also brought me a great deal of guilt, pain, sadness, separation from loved ones, and loneliness. It bought me nice cars, beautiful women, expensive clothes and jewelry; it also got me a life sentence in federal prison. Thankfully, that was later reduced to 20 years. I've seen so many of my friends lose their lives or get sent to prison for 20, 30, 40 year, or life sentences. It's not a game. It's a reality. 

My advise is: In order to succeed and reach your full potential, you must think first before you take any action. It took getting a life sentence in prison for me to find out who Ricky Ross truly is. I had a chance to look back on my whole life and what I saw was not a drug kingpin from L.A., but a strong black man that was determined to succeed by any means necessary. The time and effort that I put into the drug game could have been spent doing something legal. Eventually it would have bought me the same type of success. 

My current projects involve helping young up-and-coming rappers, singers, producers, artists, and authors to reach their goals. For more information, they can check out my web site at I'm also excited about my soon to be released novel, "Black Scarface," co-written with my friend, Jimmy DaSaint.  Look out for my future movie project about my life. I also have an autobiography that will be released in the near future and am starting a recording label. Right now I am looking for the best and brightest young artist to help me kick off the label. For more details about me and all of my future projects, please go to my web site, or write to me personally at, or:

Ricky Ross 
P.O. Box 7000 
Texarkana, TX. 75505