Jamie Whittemore is a member of our White Collar Support Group that meets online on Zoom on Monday even Whittemoreings. We will celebrate our 250th weekly meeting on Monday, March 29, 2021, 7 pm ET, 4 pm PT; all Fellow Travelers are invited.
In 2018 I was a practicing attorney, and was indicted under state law for taking money from my clients’ trust account, for my own use. My practice was closed down abruptly. It took several months for my lawyer to reach a settlement with the Attorney General’s office, during which time I became aware of Jeff Grant and the group that he has brought together. I joined the zoom conferences on Monday evenings, meeting a knowledgeable band of white collar professionals either facing incarceration or else released from it after serving time. I found myself welcomed, immediately and unconditionally, with an understanding obviously based on a sense of shared experience and also with optimism about what lay ahead for me. I learned much about the prison experience, information about practical details as well as about the attitudes and mind-sets that would help me adapt to prison conditions when the time came to enter the system.
I went into incarceration in April of 2019. By that time the regular weekly meetings with people I had come to see as friends, had primed me to make a positive experience out of prison. There were radical changes ahead of course, but there was nothing I could not manage, and in fact nothing I could not turn to advantage, as an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.
Upon release after fourteen months, into a closely supervised sort of house arrest, I was able to return to the weekly meetings via zoom. Old friends were there, glad to see me back on the outside. New members were there, apprehensive about the road ahead as they faced prosecution and sentencing. There is a sense of community that is simply unmatched by any other group I’m aware of. We have in common a faith in each other nurtured by the freedom to reveal our own anxieties, and to express what other friends or family might not care to hear, or might simply be unable to hear. This group has been such a source of strength for me, I hope it will continue for another 250 meetings and long beyond that!