We had a “town hall” this afternoon. This is the first one since I’ve been here. A town hall is a gathering of the inmates in the visitation room for the camp administrator to announce new policies and/or answer questions. There has been a lot grumbling and complaining about the inspections and shakedowns, so we thought that this would be the main topic. However, the subject today was water conservation, sanitation and the new electronic cop out system.
Not much was said about the new electronic cop out system except that we should use it. It is much easier and I think it is a good step forward from the antiquated paper cop outs. The “sanitation” was just a discussion that we should limit our hanging bags to one and to not have more than the allotted clothes.
There is some disagreement as to the amount of allotted clothes. One guy filed a complaint about only having three uniforms. This complaint was appealed to the DC national office. They responded to him that we should have four uniforms. The camp administrator never really answered why we have three and DC says we should have four. I (and everyone else) have three and have always been told that we are to get three. So, the camp administrator doesn’t care what DC says.
Also, a lot of the guys have clothes they bought from the commissary. For example, I have briefs, athletic socks and some gray t-shirts. The camp administrator said, for every sock, brief and t-shirt we buy, we must get rid of one of the prison-issued items. This makes no sense. Typically, the grays and athletic socks are used for working out. The prison-issued items are used for daily dressing.
The water conservation issue was stupid! They are cutting-off two of our six showers during the day for “conservation”. I can’t believe anyone could be so illogical (it is the government though). Ok, so there are four guys in the shower, the fifth must wait until someone gets out and then takes his shower. The same number of guys must take showers. How does this save water? There are rarely more than three guys taking a shower at any one time during the day, so this is really a non-issue.
Given the fact that the camp throws away tons of food, equipment and supplies, and the CO’s fill their personal fuel tanks with gas, I would think they would try to use their time more productively to save money. But, that really is the point. Government employees will always spend whatever it takes to reach their budget. Stuff is thrown away and then replaced just to maintain the budget. I personally think this prison exists to keep the staff fat and happy.
The issue of absence of furloughs was also raised by an inmate. The camp administrator categorically denied that they will not issue furloughs. No one I have talked to has ever known a Butner inmate that has gotten a furlough. Furthermore, I am told that the (now departing) warden specifically stated to not ask for a furlough because it would not be approved.
Overall, I think the camp administrator made a fool of herself. The issues that were raised don’t make sense, and all the guys knew it. I also think that the other staff present were embarrassed by the spectacle. The guys are more riled than I have ever seen. The new warden is starting next week, so there may be changes of staff and policies!