Jockeying to Get the Right Cellie

By J Kevin Foster | Prison Life

Sep 07

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012 |

Smith, my old cellie, went home today. He has a 27-hour bus trip back to Detroit. They are giving him 30 hours to report to the halfway house from the time the bus leaves.  There’s a Native American guy who goes home next week and his bus ride is about 36 hours.  They are letting these guys go home with the clothes on their back and one change of underwear.  The guys on the beach are now jockeying to get the open bunks.  The guys in the cell want to make sure they draw the right cellie.

Smith’s cellie is cleaning out his locker while I write this. There are three guys trying to move into Smith’s lower bunk. The guy who is next in line has a reputation for being uncleanly and just plain weird. This dude has mental problems from too much meth and skin rashes all over his body. He and the upper bunk guy have nothing in common.  I know there will be a lot of tension.  The guy in the top bunk is fighting the counselor over this assignment. He was told, “I own that bunk not you”. This is terrible to put two guys together who aren’t going to get on well together.

All new guys must start their stay in the beach, and then they move into cells as guys leave. This is the whole problem with the system – you can get unlucky and draw the wrong cellie. There’s another counselor here that would have honored the upper bunk guy’s request not to move the weird guy into the cell, but not our counselor. The upper bunk guy can move out of the cell and back to the beach. But, he can never get moved into a cell after that. I’m not sure how much he cares since he is probably going home in September.

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