Killing Time While Doing Time

Prison Life

May 02

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011 |

I was thinking today about how different guys are killing time while doing time.


As I have written before, there are no vocational skills training. What little classes there are here, they are one or two hour classes – some during the day and some at night. Some guys are good about going to classes, some refuse to go. Despite the total lack of beneficial classes (in the sense of being able to use the info to get a job), the Camp tries to encourage guys to go to the classes by holding early halfway house time over their heads. I’m not convinced that it matters much as the camp administrators are very stingy about giving guys benefit for anything.


Most of the jobs do not take up much time during the day. The skilled facility and Unicor jobs pay better and are 6 hours/day. The Unicor jobs pay the highest and preference is given to guys who have fines to pay. These jobs are also good for the guys who have no money coming in. I think about the most you can make is a little over a $1/hour. The other jobs take much less time out of the day and pay almost nothing. I get $.12/hour for my job.


A lot of guys work out on the weight pile or on the track. I try to walk at least an hour a day. Card games are very popular here. You would not believe how many guys watch worthless TV, day and night. I like to read my books, papers and magazines. I see some guys stay in bed and read all day long. Sleeping is also very popular here. You can walk into the unit, and you will see at least several guys napping at any time during the day. I’ve seen some guys that never go into the cafeteria so they cook their own food.

Hanging Out

Some guys just hang out, as if they were probably doing on the street. A few guys hang out at the library and use the electronic typewriter for letters or books they are writing. Unfortunately, they have no way to save word documents and no computers to use for word processing. I like typing on a draft email, and then printing it out as my final product. The problem is that this is expensive.

Overall, it is extremely difficult to be productive in the traditional sense. I’m witnessing a total waste of human capital. There is nothing going on here that would prepare these guys for the outside. It is sad. No wonder that the recidivism rate is about 85%. I think the taxpayers would be shocked if they knew about this human warehousing machine.