I was depressed today due to a culmination of many things including being treated curtly by several guards for not having an empty trash can, having some things other than my bible on my locker, and a guard told me to take off my hat in the dining room. This last item wouldn’t have bothered me except that another guy was standing near me wearing a Rastafarian rainbow hat. Several other guys were wearing either wool hats or baseball caps. It just appeared that these guards were trying to get on my case. Also, I’m really realizing that I am in prison. Sometimes it is very hard for me to keep my mouth shut. I’m trying to stay out of trouble but I must watch what I say.
I went to my Admissions & Orientation (A&O) today and was given a A&O Handbook. A&O is mandatory for all new inmates and is given every Tuesday. They had representatives from each department talk a little about their programs and do’s and don’ts. Some things that came out of the session:
Anything weighing more than 16 oz. must have printed on the package “Authorized by BOP Policies” and state the contents (e.g. magazines, books, etc.). A magazine is technically not media mail and has to go at a higher postage rate.
They have new continuing education classes posted all the time but the inmate must pay the tuition if there is one. Inmates teach some of the classes, and they set up their own curriculum. I’ll check to see if there is anything interesting. I’m going to try to get setup to use the legal library.
They also said that there is a minimum wait of 60 minutes for email coming and going, and the system does break down occasionally. They know there is a problem and they are trying to fix it. I am paying $.05/min for the email system. I bought 600 minutes when I came in and I now have about 200 left. It’s not a problem buying more time if I have money in my account.
The maximum phone numbers I can call are 20. Also, I would need to get approval for collect calls (which really doesn’t pertain to us).
It is mandatory that all inmates work for at least 90 days in the kitchen, which is about the worst job on-site, unless they have another job that facilitates the entire prison. I have been working hard trying to find a job. So far, I applied to library, education, laundry, psychology, and to Unicor for a clerical position.
Unicor is the textile factory run by the prison making Air Force shirts and jackets and food service pants. I would not be able to work in the factory per se because I can’t sew, but I applied for a clerical position. The problem is – all tell me that they aren’t hiring right now. The regular jobs pay something like 5 to 10 cents an hour. The Unicor jobs pay between $.23 to $1.15/hr. Preference is given to guys that have restitution, fines or child support to pay. I have none of that so I may not get the job.
Psychology Services has an inmate to inmate mentoring program. I would be perfect as a mentor because of my Stephen Ministry training. I’m meeting with that department head this afternoon.
One CO said the prison is very adamant that the family should not call unless it is a true emergency. The prison will check and verify the reason for the call (i.e.; call the hospital, funeral home, etc.). They can shutoff contact with the family member if that person is caught lying.
The Compound Officer talked about visitation. They are very strict on visitation. Everyone is either watched or videotaped, and the tapes are viewed later. They also said not to get there too early. Typically, 30 minutes in advance of the visiting time is good.
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