Tag Archives for " family "

Sep 01

Home Confinement Restrictions

Prison Life

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 |

Chris was scheduled to go to home confinement in late June provided they gave him his full six months of advanced release. He found out today that they are only giving him 47 days of home confinement time.

Apparently, there is a sliding scale restriction on home confinement depending on sentence length. Generally, the rule provides for an early release of six months to home confinement or halfway house, but home confinement cannot exceed 10% of sentence length. Chris got caught in this rule since he had a short sentence. He was not aware of this rule.

However, Chris could have left Butner in June if he was being released to halfway house.  Chris’ probation officer is agreeable for his release to a halfway house. The benefit is that the halfway house can release him to home confinement when they feel it is appropriate, not subject to the above 10% restriction. The probation officer is willing to help him get his date changed for an earlier release to halfway house.

However, the case manager is refusing to make any changes to his paperwork to facilitate the change. She really didn’t give him a good reason, besides the fact that she thinks her job is done with his file.  The BOP case management personnel are lazy and just don’t care about the guys. It is very common for them to lose paperwork and let open files just sit on their desk using the excuse that they haven’t gotten it back yet. This hassle is very common.

Family Health and Financial Problems Aggravate the Situation

Chris has not been treated here to the same level of care that he had on the street. He was really looking forward to getting back to his doctors. To make things worse, his wife and son have very serious health issues as well.  They cannot take care of themselves physically and financially. The family may lose their house to foreclosure, and are struggling just to get the money for their medicines.   The case manager told him that she could care less about his personal problems.

Chris’ wife will try to get his attorney and probation officer to intervene with the case manager, or someone, to get his revised paperwork processed. No telling how long that will take. This is typical government BS and very sad.

I hope this resolves itself positively.

Aug 09

Patience Required

Family Impact

Sunday, May 6th, 2012 |

“The fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains.” James 3:18; 5;7

There is no doubt that the spouses have the hardest times with our incarceration. I have no doubt that the men do not understand all that our spouses are dealing with. All of this could lead to misunderstandings that could have been easily resolved with a few words when they arose.

I really pray for patience because I need it so bad. My priority is always Christine and our relationship.  And, I realize that without patience, it will be difficult to resolve misunderstandings. Patience is always necessary here because of all the BS that the BOP reaps on us. But, all that we must endure is nowhere near the same as what the spouses require at home.

I listen to the frustrations of the other men, lamenting the problems their wives are experiencing.  These guys are powerless to help their wives and family.  You cannot underestimate the effect of incarceration on the family.

I am so sorry that we must go through all this together, but apart.

Jun 09

Prison Wives Have Real Hardship

Family Impact

Monday, February 6th, 2012 |

Christine visited over the weekend.  We really enjoyed our time in visitation.  She tries to visit at least once a month.  This is a real hardship on her and other prison wives in terms of time, stress, effort and money.  Christine’s commitment is truly a sign of love.  However, the real struggle is at home.  We shared our responsibilities of the house, and I was certainly the breadwinner of the household.  This is probably true of most marriages prior to a loved one going to prison.  But, this is all changed now.

Kevin and Christine at visitation

We don’t have any children, but understand the pressure with children in the household. It is amazing how many guys I see agonize about situations at home.  The children are growing up without a father-figure in the household, the mother is working and there is very little support from others.  The families have a terrible time coping with the realities of prison.  And, many can’t cope!  Children of inmates are 50% more likely to go to prisons themselves.  Most families are on some sort of welfare support.  It is tough.

I feel so bad that Christine is having a challenging time with me in prison. I am in no position to support her in all ways. The wives have the worst of it. We get three meals a day, housing and generally laidback days. The wives are home to pick up the pieces. They are worrying about the inmate, housing, supporting themselves and dealing with the mundane things in life. It is no wonder that 80% of the women of inmates leave their guys.

I am so blessed to have Christine as loyal and loving spouse. I know it has been very difficult for her.  At visitation, I noticed it was the same thing with the other wives. We only see a small portion of families in the visitation room that have our type of relationship. It is very evident who the loving couples are, and you see them consistently. These are the lucky ones. There are so many guys who get no visits, or rarely so.



May 16

Furloughs Denied

Criminal Justice , Prison Life

Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 |

This is a very strange and interesting place. I’m sure that all prisons are different but it always amazes me how some people in authority act. It must have something to do with people that will dominate you if they can, the lack of respect, the laziness, and the lack of human compassion. I’ve previously written how vindictive and uncaring some people here can get but I want to tell you some more about furloughs for funerals and compassion.

Furloughs Denied for Mother’s Funeral

A friend was given an original release date of December 13th.  But, the release date got moved twice to December 27th. The guy’s brother called the camp to get a message to his inmate brother that his mother was dying. The brother was finally able to talk to the camp administrator.  The camp administrator told the brother that “they don’t forward messages to the inmates”, essentially refusing to do anything to let the inmate know that his mother was near death. The brother finally notified my friend by email. To make matters even worse, my friend saw this camp administrator twice since the brother’s call and she never said a thing about his mother! This is a cold, cold woman.

He called his mother in the hospital after getting the message from his brother. His mother died on December 12th in the evening. The camper asked for a furlough to attend the funeral. He was willing to attend the funeral and return to Butner immediately thereafter, and then wait out his final few days. The camp administrator refused the furlough request.

It can’t be because they were afraid he was going to escape. Admittedly, this guy may have pissed off certain management but I don’t think that was the reason. I don’t know if they refused it because they were too lazy to do the paperwork, or they just didn’t care. I think it is the latter reason. This guy was a transfer from Maxwell. He said furloughs were common and encouraged. He cited several guys that were granted compassionate furloughs, or a furlough in the city while family visited from out of town.

Furloughs Denied for Wife’s Funeral

One friend’s wife was diagnosed with cancer the week after their last visit, and she could no longer travel to see him. The camp administrator denied a furlough to visit her before she died. He was also denied a furlough for the funeral.  A young teen daughter is left to pick up the pieces without him. This story is common. Family members die, and they are refused furloughs.

Furloughs Denied for Son’s Funeral

I have an elderly white collar friend who has eleven months remaining on his sentence.   He has been in and out of cancer treatment, which is why he is at Butner. His case was national news. His wife is totally mortified about his circumstances.  She wants him to keep a low profile as possible and for him to do his time and get out. He is very worried about her because she has not been coping well.

In addition, his daughter is unofficially engaged to marry the son of a famous person. He believes they are delaying their engagement announcement until he is released. This daughter frequently travels internationally and has been harassed by the FBI on her travels. They questioned her about her travels trying to determine whether my friend hid any money overseas. He hadn’t, and if he did, he wouldn’t have involved his daughter.

His son was killed in action in Afghanistan by a roadside bomb while on patrol. He asked for a furlough to attend his hero son’s funeral. He was initially denied, then approved, provided he was shackled and accompanied by three BOP officers. I guess they couldn’t come right out and say they weren’t going to give him the furlough. This guy is about 70 and absolutely no flight risk. Also, this is not the type of guy who causes any problems. His wife said, “no way” to their requirements so they will have the funeral when he is released. This guy was given furloughs at both other two camps he was at. This past Sunday marked the six-month anniversary of the son’s death; He took it hard. This is an example of the troubles that incarceration can impact a family.

Furloughs Requested for a Dying Man

Just before my transfer here, another guy was told that he had very little time to live due to his cancer. He asked for a compassionate release furlough so he could go home to visit his last days with his family. The camper died in his bunk about a month or so after he asked for the compassionate release. His compassionate release was approved a couple of days AFTER he died.

Butner has a policy, or practice, that furloughs are not granted, period.

May 03

Thanksgiving Day Thanks

Family Impact , My Spiritual Journey

Thursday, November 24th, 2011 |

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it is truly about family and the focus on our blessings.  This is my first Thanksgiving in prison – away from all that I love.

It is easy, in our too busy and hectic lives, to not consider our blessings daily. The focus of today, though, is only sharper when we are separated from our loved ones. I have witnessed broken families and marriages, the effects of substance abuse, loneliness, illiteracy, and the loss of all hope. The silence and solitude of my month in solitary confinement, and that during my nightly prayers, gave me the opportunity to hear and listen to the voice of God. In the silence, God spoke. It is within this context that I have had the time to reflect on my blessings and the love of my family.

So, I give much thanks to God for my family, friends and for my loving and dear wife, Christine.  She has stepped forward to do things she should not have done on her own.  Her love and support has been unfailing.  I also give thanks for my health and the health of our family and friends; for my faith in God and the comfort He gives me, and the faith that I will be worthy of my suffering.

Like Job, my faith in God is deepened, and I trust God that He will amply restore, in abundance, all that was taken from me. I pray that we all become more than we are in the next year.

Apr 13

Prison Prayers

My Spiritual Journey

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011 |

My religious readings and prayers have increased since coming to prison. We obviously have more time on our hands than when we were dealing with everyday life. My prayer life generally involves reading the daily morning prayer from “The Magnificat” upon waking.  Later, I will read other excerpts from “The Magnificat”, including the mass and the evening prayers.   Another Catholic camper said that he would find me a rosary.  I generally go to communion services every Sunday afternoon. We had a local priest say mass this afternoon.

Ten Prayers

I previously wrote about reading the book titled “Ten Prayers That God Always Says Yes To”.  I say these ten prayers every day.  As a reminder, the ten prayers generally include: God, (1) show me that you exist, (2) make me an instrument of your love and peace; (3) outdo me in your generosity; (4) grant me peace, (5) wisdom, (6) courage and (7) forgiveness; (8) help me get through my suffering, (9) help me make sense of it, and (10) show me my purpose in life.  Powerful prayers.

Miracle Reunion

There are times when people enter your life through the grace of God to serve His purpose. When my three siblings visited a few weeks ago, we talked to the inmate photographer. Something clicked, and the discussion went much longer than I would have imagined given the crowded visitation room. This inmate cornered me later that day, and told me that he had never met so kind and caring people as he met in my siblings.

We carried on a lengthy conversation then and over the next few days. It’s a long story, but he has been “down” for 17 years with a few more to go. He has been estranged from his only daughter since his wife’s death from cancer.  The daughter was only a child when he went to prison many years ago. She is very bitter about not having her father during the illness and death of her mother. The daughter took some actions against her father, that no one should have done to their father, in retribution. She has a son that my friend has never met. My friend has forgiven his daughter and prays for her forgiveness. He asked me to pray for the two of them to be reunited. I have been praying for such a miracle, and brought it for special intention at one of our communion services.

Sometime last week, my friend told me that he talked to his daughter, the first time in years. The conversation was very fruitful and tender. She agreed to visit this past weekend. He continued to pray for the reconciliation of his relationship with his daughter. All to be forgiven and forgotten.

She did visit this weekend. Christine and I were there, and we got great pleasure in watching this reunion. We met with both and recognized this lost love being reborn. It was a beautiful sight. We had a chance to meet her and talk to both in the visitation room.

Grateful to Help

My friend told me later that night how grateful he was for our friendship and prayers. He told me that reunion could not have gone better. Don felt a new connection with his daughter, that one can receive only through the grace of God. She agreed to bring his grandson on her next visit. He particularly loved Christine and felt that Christ was working through Christine and me. He believes we were instrumental in this miracle. It brings me great pleasure to see prayers answered.

I saw God in this story. I saw that God exists; that I can make a difference in someone’s life, and I saw the type of forgiveness that only Christ can inspire. It was a good weekend.