Kevin’s Cellmate

Prison Life

Feb 27

Friday, August 26th, 2011 |

Kevin described his living conditions during visitation today.  He has 350 people in his unit, and one is sure to draw an interesting cellie.  Kevin’s cellie is in for attempted murder-for-hire or he would be in a higher security level. The cellie, Brandon, is only 26 and has served 8 years. His mother was an accomplice and is in a prison in Indianapolis. Apparently, Brandon is mentally slow due to drugs at a very early age, and because his mother is an alcoholic and druggie.  Brandon couldn’t stand their other cellie, most likely because he is black, so the other cellie moved out. So, that leaves just Kevin and Brandon in a 3-person cell for the time being.

Stamps as Underground Currency

Unused stamps are used as currency in prison. Copyright: andylid / 123RF Stock Photo

In his own way, Brandon is teaching Kevin how to survive in the system, especially about stamps being the underground currency. Brandon has offered to do Kevin’s laundry for one stamp because Brandon needs the money.  Kevin doesn’t have any money but can purchase stamps at the commissary or from other inmates.

Once an inmate amasses stamps, he must get rid of them by trading the stamps for something the inmate needs.  The buyer of the stamps can trade the stamps for something purchased at the commissary.  The stamps are not traded at face value but at 3 stamps for a $1.

We decided it’s not worth Kevin’s time or money to buy laundry soap at that cost! It takes another stamp for an inmate to iron Kevin’s khaki uniform. Kevin is trying to coach Brandon to go through drug rehab.  Brandon, like a lot of these inmates, should become responsible in the real world after release — something he has never done. At the age of 18 Brandon had already fathered three children with three different women!