The cooler last few days has not daunted the outdoor recreation. Our weight pile is outside. I have an inmate that is helping me tweak my weightlifting routine. FPC Butner and the Medium are few of the institutions that still have weight piles. I think this is really a shame. The weights provide great exercise and activity that improves the inmate’s’ health. The weights are heavily used to good and positive effect.
The Low didn’t have a weight pile. The inmates there had to rely on using their body weight for strength improvement with exercises such as push-ups, chin-ups and dips.
Besides the weight pile, my thing is to walk. It takes 5 1/3 laps to make a mile. I figure I can do a mile every 15 minutes (give or take). I try to walk at least twice a day to get in at least 4 to 8 miles (1 – 2 hours) depending on the weather. Our track is made of loose gravel and dirt so it is a little easier on the feet for runners. The tracks at the other institutions are hard surfaces.
I still believe that the most popular outdoor activity is just hanging around, but there is plenty more going on. There is a small stream (and I mean small) that draws the borders of the boundary in the rec yard. A lot of guys will hang out on the benches there talking, reading, writing or just doing nothing. There are also guys that play guitar on the benches. On the not so pretty side, there are guys sunning without their shirts.
Guys are playing bocce ball, horseshoes, handball and racquetball. They recently put up the volleyball net but I haven’t seen anyone playing yet. They have basketball, soccer and basketball leagues by unit. These games are scheduled after dinner so they are very popular.
There is also an indoor rec area. This includes a hobby crafts/art room. There are a few guys that literally spend most of their time in there. There are several pool tables that always seem in use. The rec room has five TVs and a few exercise machines.
No matter what is going on outside, there are guys that stay in the unit reading, watching TV or sleeping. Overall, idleness is a huge problem. There is not a lot of work to keep everyone busy. Some guys can’t work because of chronic illnesses. Others, such as myself, have a job that takes no more than an hour a day. At 12 cents an hour, there is no incentive to work at all. The high paying jobs of roughly $1/hour are the Unicor jobs, but are hard to get. I taught two classes last quarter that paid much better than I was expecting.