When I was sentenced to federal prison on July 2004 and started serving 44 months in October of the same year, my family and I did not know what would happen.
Mainly because although technically I am a criminal, as evidenced by the fact that I am going to jail, I have never had trouble before, there is no one I am close to or even know.
Of course, we are curious. no, let me say another thing. my family is curious and I am afraid.
I looked at Oz and you can only imagine what was going on in my head before the day I really threw myself into Camp Atlanta.
To minimize the stress associated with that day, we began to learn as much about the experience as possible.
We searched the internet and found that there were only a few things, mainly from some crazy people who apparently had and were trying to take advantage of the experience of promoting a book that was nothing more than fluff, not actually sharing anything important.
I bought one and it was just a bunch of basically incoherent crap and once I shared a prison recipe for a stew.
The information I need, the recipe I don't have, I end up knowing that cooking does happen there, and sometimes it's going to be really good, but that's the story of another era.
Now, I would like to share what to expect if you or your loved one face this experience.
First of all, one of the big things that I care about is violence, and while I do think that violence is prevalent in the prison system, at Camp level, violence is actually non-existent, during my entire stay, i'm in two different facilities ,(
I took it for 29 months.
I saw only two violent incidents, both of which were soon suppressed.
However, one should know that there are things that make the transition from citizens to prisoners less painful.
For example, prisoners are not allowed to carry cash.
In fact, it's a real no, it won't leave you in solitary confinement, it won't ask any questions.
If you are found to have cash, you will be punished, so do not do so, bring any cash with you and try to sneak in cash during the visit, or take any cash if another prisoner provides you with cash.
All inmates are given a prison ID card, which is also very similar to a credit or debit card, and your family can send funds to your account each month for your personal use.
You are allowed to carry a maximum balance of $300, but keep in mind that $300 must last for a month and include your phone charges which, by the way, are expensive, limited to 15 minutes and trips to food outlets, toiletries and other clothing that do not meet prison standards, such as sportswear or tennis shoes.
However, you do want these things because you only get standard prison uniforms and shoes, both of which are very uncomfortable, but you must wear sneakers and tennis shoes after four o'clock P. M. every day if you are lucky enough to have them.
I was lucky on the day I reported having beds, but the prison was overcrowded and often had no beds.
In many cases, if not in most cases, the prisoner is assigned a solitary confinement or hole because the prisoner likes to call it that way.
I realize that it seems to be an unfair practice for many people, because this hole is usually reserved for prisoners who violate the rules or have problems with conduct, but it is a practice that arises out of need because there is not enough space or bed at all to move around.
Keep in mind, however, that this practice is closely monitored and stays are usually limited to only a few days.
3 uniforms, belts, underwear, T-shirts and black work shoes were distributed to prisoners.
They should keep the uniform clean and the shine of the shoes, even though none of the factories I am in are strictly enforcing this.
Every prisoner needs to work unless it is a disabled person, but it is also paid, although it is a trivial sum of money starting at $3. 00 per month.
In a short time in Atlanta, I found the best job in this compound.
I am a payroll clerk at the power company, responsible for all the office work there.
At this time my salary is $50 per month and I am the highest paid person in the camp.
Visits are on Saturdays and Sundays, and statutory federal holidays are from eight o'clock A. M. to three o'clock P. M.
There is no time limit for the visit, but only 4 visits at a time.
I have a big family so on certain days depending on the number of people they visit on their shift.
Visitors must go through metal detectors and women must carry a transparent plastic wallet with only car keys and driver's license.
They are allowed to bring change for the vending machine.
Be sure to have your visitors do this, mostly in the dorms, as some machines are old and don't charge bills, however, eating pizza or sandwiches from the machines can be the highlight of the prisoner week.
Excessive touch is not allowed, only two kisses are allowed for each visit, one arrival and one departure.
Smoking is not allowed and will be held in solitary confinement if caught.
I 've been smoking for years, but I don't know the rules will take effect soon after I arrive, forcing me to quit smoking.
If you smoke, quit smoking, get help before you arrive if necessary, but make it easy for yourself to transition.
Softball, basketball, track and field and, in some cases, free weight can all be entertained, although they are slowly being eliminated.
To calm the Fed's imagination and limit violence by limiting the production of testosterone.
There are also fitness machines such as treadmills and stationary bicycles, but there are very few compared to the number of prisoners.
I found that walking is the simplest and most convenient way to exercise.
If you are taking prescription drugs, be sure to bring them along with a written prescription if possible.
A doctor will see you.
Soon after arrival, if any, he will write a script for something like that, just like my blood pressure medication.
You will not receive any anesthetic in your monthly self-administered medication, but for obvious reasons all other medications will be available in the daily pill call.
The food in both of my establishments is not very good, but it is edible enough to meet people's dietary needs.
Water and soft drinks were available when I first arrived, and soon after that the soft drinks stopped.
There are special meals on the holidays.
Breakfast is six o'clock A. M. , lunch is 11: 45 a. m. and dinner is 4: 30 p. m.
Both facilities have a library consisting of books donated by charities and prisoners.
They are small and poorly managed.
You can send reading material but not obscenity or offend others.
Letters are allowed, but all letters are checked for contraband.
All prisoners love and look forward to letters from their families as they are the lifeline to the outside world.
In both camps I slept in a concrete cube of 8 by 10 with two metal beds, two metal lockers and a small metal table attached to the wall. And two metal chairs.
The cubes were placed in a barracks with a TV room at one end and bathroom facilities at the other.
In addition to the stalls where the toilet is located, the bathroom area lacks privacy.
The showers separated by curtains are right across from them, with a series of sinks on the wall in front.
The TV room features two wall-mounted TVs, a microwave and a small sink.
Tables and chairs are permanent in one facility, but not permanent in another.
The TV has no speakers and can only be accessed via a headphone radio that can be purchased in the small sale department.
It seems to me that this is necessary because watching TV is definitely helping to pass the time, especially at night.
There are movies on some weekend nights, but they are old and usually I am not interested in watching them.
The main network offers games and other special programs.
No cable channels, ESPN, etc.
Each housing unit accommodates about 125 men, so noise is a constant factor that makes it difficult to sleep and even talk frequently.
Earplugs are available in the small selling department and I recommend them as necessary items.
A Christian worship ceremony was held on Sunday and a Catholic mass was held every two weeks.
It can be said that it can be difficult to adjust your lifestyle, but it turns out that most of this experience is what you think of it.
Obviously, this is not the place that any of us will choose, but it will do well to make the most of it when it becomes a matter of fate.
I use this time as much as I can to improve myself.
I read and study as much as I can interested, exercise, correct questions and lost more than 100lbs.
During my 29 month stay
It's not something I would choose to do again, and it's not something I want my worst enemy to do, but through this experience, on the other side, in my opinion, I became a better person.
As long as you treat it with the right attitude, you can.
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