Prison Pete

16 10 2007


Prison Pete
This is the most recent blog post from Pete. Here’s his profile: “I am currently an inmate in a New York State prison. I have spent the last ten years of my life living in various federally and state funded gated communities. I was a computer programmer before my career change to living off the taxpayers.”

Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Sitting by the computer, waiting for the blogs to jump.
It is Thursday here, and it has been over a week since I sent the “Short Answer” blog post. After receiving 3 letters written in less than 7 days from my editor, silence. True it has only been less than eight days since I have heard from him it now seems like months.

That is a very large part of what prison life is about. Contact with the outside (and caring) world. The unreality of a prisoner’s life leaves one thirsting for any sustenance from the real world. But alas as much as I hunger, those of you on the outside want to feed off my life. Now I fully understand, and obviously appreciate, your attention. Without it there would be no blog. Which of us does not slow down and look at the crash sight along the road? Yet, if we are involved in the crash we are easily pissed off by all the gawkers.

They just called our dorm for chow, and as usual I am not attending the repast. Tonight’s gastronomical delight is BBQ Chicken .Cubes served over rice. Desert is a 4 oz. cup of raspberry sherbet. I have already had my dinner meal at lunch time today. I had the deluxe version of pasta and octopus, which in this case included a four ounce can of sliced mushrooms, about half a can of tomato paste, one chopped jalapeno pepper and one third pound of pasta

I am enjoying somewhat of a golden boy moment in my dorm. Unfortunately that has not transferred over to two other major area of my life here at Camp Run-a-Muk. The reason things are looking so nice in the dorm area is for some reason several divergent inmate groups all have been able to tap into me for support in some way. At the risk of telling on myself, one area is the popcorn concession.

I recently posted my “grocery list” from my bi-weekly trip to the commissary. Patrick suffered some mild abuse from AD for commenting on that post. My usual popcorn consumption is one 3.5 ounce (unpopped weight) a day. The articles about how the artificial flavoring used in most microwave can cause some irritation of the lungs, even eating as little as one bag a day has found me cutting my intake in about half.

Oh yeah, concession. While I pay twenty-three cents for each bag, my fellow inmates are willing to donate a forty-one cent stamp (selling anything to another inmate is a gross violation of the rules I live under) toward my mailing fund. I know they post a copy of the package list on the NYS DOC website but I was wondering if they also post a copy of the rules we are subject to? If not that will be something I will enlighten my readers on as we go along.

Meanwhile while violating the rules is not a question of when you might violate them, but if the powers that be will decide to look upon an inmate and issue him a ticket. It is next to impossible to go through a day here and not violate a few rules. For example the simple act of me doing the popcorn exchange thing could be looked at as a violation of the following rules: 113.14 – An inmate shall not purchase, sell, loan, give or exchange a personally owned article without authorization.

Maybe this was not such a great example, but if a real live inmate as opposed to Prison Pete were to engage in any of the above actions, which could include “lending” a fellow inmate a can of tomato sauce till the next time he goes to the store, or even practice a random act of kindness and give a new arrival a Ramen Noodle soup (cost 10¢) he could find himself suffering one or more of the following punishments:

1. Loss of recreation privileges – This would mean that an inmate must stay in his six by ten foot cube at all times with the exception of going to meals, school and work assignments. It should: be noted that one result of being on loss of recreation is being moved to the double bunk cube so you now share this 6×10 space with another inmate that might also be on loss. Since the microwave and stove top are considered recreation activities-, you are not allowed to use either of those, nor the toaster. The length of time this punishment is in effect can vary from an average two to four weeks.

2. Loss of commissary privileges – This is usually the second of the basic trinity of punishment that a bad boy inmate will receive. In addition to the above, the inmate on loss of commissary is limited to purchasing some really basic items. Soap, toothpaste, shampoo and stamps and writing supplies.

3. And yes, since I did say trinity, the third punishment is loss of packages. This means that not only can you not visit commissary to buy any edible food items, you cannot have any sent in. Hopefully there is a link to the website showing the package list, but basically an inmate is allowed to receive up to 35 pounds of sealed food items each month. Since one of the other rules of the prison system is that if you owe two or more fines or surcharges they can take 100% of all incoming funds and 80% of your prison earnings (average between $10.00 to $20.00 per month at 100%) packages are the only way for some inmates to receive even the most basic of supplies. Shampoo, deodorant, soap and okay a treat or two.

Hopefully your eyes are not totally glazed over, but as part and parcel of divulging more intimate parts of prison life it is important you understand the domino effect one tiny misstep might have.

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