FAQ About Prison Life

Book Kevin

These are questions that I often get regarding prison life and how an inmate is treated:

Q.  Will I be safe while I am prison?

A.  The simple answer is you should be safe as long as you don’t do anything stupid.  I’ve seen fights break out over the dumbest things, primarily in the TV room or on the basketball court, but I never saw anyone get sent to the hospital as a result of a fight at the camp.  The higher the security level of the prison, the higher the risk of someone hurting you but it is easy to avoid confrontation.  The best thing is to respect your fellow inmates.  Don’t cut in line; talk respectfully; don’t sit on someone’s bed without their permission are all things that show respect.  The only real caveat is that some types of inmates bring more trouble than others due to the nature of their crime.  Cho-mo’s (child molesters) are shunned by other inmates.  Butner is a place that holds the highest percentage of sexual predators in the secured facilities there.  The cho-mo’s all hang out together and, for the most part, are ignored by the other inmates.  The first thing I was told when I reported to Butner Low was don’t associate with the cho-mo’s or the other inmates would think you were one too.

Q.  I have a chronic health condition.  Where will my health problems be treated?

A.  You may be classified as a Care Level 3 and then you will likely be sent to a facility attached to a Federal Medical Center such as Butner, Devens, Rochester or Lexington.   If your situation is serious enough, you will probably do your time in the actual medical center.  These are high-security prison hospitals that house all security levels of inmates.  But chances are that you will be at another facility more matching your security level and get specialized treatment at the FMC.  For example, Butner has a Camp (minimum security), Low, Medium and High facilities.  Inmates from each of these facilities go to the FMC every weekday for specialized treatment.  The more routine examinations and treatment are handled in the medical office in each facility.  I was a Care Level 3 so I discuss my medical treatment a lot on my blog and provide a lot of advice.  If you are going to a medical center or have health-related questions, you should contact me to discuss your particular situation.

Q.  What are “call-outs”?

A.  You will be put on a call-out list that is posted in the unit the night before if any staff member wants to see you.  It is your responsibility to be at the appointment on-time or you could be subject to disciplinary action.

Q.  What are “cop-outs”?

A.  If you want anything from a staff member, you need to submit a cop-out to that staff member.  The staff member will respond in writing or put you on a call-out to address your request.  I have no clue why they are called cop-outs but you will be filing a lot of them over your time.

Q.  What recreational opportunities are available?

A.  Almost any team sport has its season at each facility.  You should be able to play pool, handball and/or racquetball, boccie ball and walk the track.  Some facilities have weight areas.  The ones that don’t have areas where guys get creative in using their body weight to keep in shape such a push-ups, pull-ups, etc.  There are also recreation rooms where you can paint, knit, play the piano or guitar and throw darts.  Card games are very popular in the units.  You should be able to keep very busy.  I tried to walk at least 2 hours and lifted weights for about an hour every day.

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