It is so incredibly hard to sit here at the acreage taking care of here… The kiddos Kent and I have and just being here for their needs as I have always been. Some times better than others. I’ve definitely been a better parent at particular times, then at other times. The last five years sucked for me as well as my beginning years as a parent. Oh heck, I guess I just pretty much suck at the parenting thing. I know many people feel that way at times and so it goes…
I’ve tried figuring out the parenting thing without any real role models. I’ve tried being upset with God for not sending a mentor into my life to teach me to be a parent. I’ve tried blaming god for the bad parent I have been. In the end I have to take responsibility and just say I didn’t surrender to God. If I had done that he would have shown me a better way. So here I am. The one who did not surrender for many years. And so it goes I’ve helped land my husband in federal prison.
Here is his story for the past two weeks:
This week has been filled with lessons of learning many of the unwritten rules you should know while serving time in federal prison. To be completely honest they started the first day I arrived, but there has been enough this week I thought I would write about it.
To anyone on the outside, it may seem a little comical or sound silly the importance of such trivial things. Much of it has to do with the way one is conditioned upon entering an environment like this. You see things differently when a man is stripped of everything that freedom allows. You have to find ways to find respect, value and honor. By the time the typical person arrives at a federal facility, they have lost so much. Most have lost their income, homes, cars, relationships and a whole host of things that you can’t imagine. Many people that society would deem as “gang bangers” had jobs on the outside.
Following an expensive and lengthy legal battle that lands you in the prison environment, the first thing that happens when you arrive to the location you’re designated to is, you’re strip searched, asked to turn spread your butt cheeks squat and cough. While I didn’t experience this, I have heard many stories from other inmates where the guards mocked their physic. I must of had a nice guard when I was processed because I have plenty I could of been mocked about, but wasn’t. Once your through R&D your assigned to a unit or cell block depending on the location you’re at.
My first night on the floor I was given one pair of underwear, one orange jumpsuit, one pair of socks and a pair of orange slip on dollar store style shoes. The next morning around 5:30am the guard belts out it was chow time. I woke up and went to the main floor of the unit. There’s approximately 120 people assigned on our floor, but only room for about 60 to sit and eat. The other 50-60 men either find a spot on the floor or are forced to eat standing up. Every morning we have had the same breakfast. It consist of a small portion of plain grain flake cereal between 6-8 oz, two cartons of milk like we were given in grade school and small cake about the size of a twinkle, around 7:30 a.m. daily the guard calls out for “new commits.” At this time any new people go down to laundry and are assigned 2 jumpsuits, socks and underwear. This was my first experience of being spoken to like I am the lowest form of scum. The C.O. I dealt with was a middle aged, overweight guy that obviously isn’t happy in his personal life. He comes to work and verbally assaults the inmates he deals with to make himself feel better. They only had 5X underwear I needed a 2X so I went a week without being able to change into a clean pair.
I’m not saying all the guards are this way there are some very kind ones. The few that are nasty make it a very demeaning experience. So after experiencing what I have described… I understand why you don’t reach over someone’s tray even if you’re offered something, you wait for them to pass it to you. You don’t openly sit on someone else’s bunk while talking to others. You get in line making sure everyone around you isn’t ahead of you even if they don’t appear to be in line. If your getting ready to enter into the shower area you shout “all clear” before and be sure no one is dressing outside the individual shower stalls. You don’t pass an item across the front of anyone that is talking even if it just a package of salt and a host of many other small gestures.
I was apparently having an issue with a particular inmate. I say apparently because I didn’t know I was having an issue until four days in a row this particular person was accusing me of cutting in the pill line, spit on my head, shoved me two days in a row. After the fourth day I was concerned something was going to happen. I called my wife and let her know if she didn’t hear from me it was because I got into trouble with this individual.
That’s when Shawnee put out on my face book that I needed immediate prayer. I was trying to diffuse the situation by walking away, but it kept getting in my face. God quickly worked on my behalf. Two gang members (separate gangs) I had helped with some situations went to the inmate on my behalf and made him apologize and shake my hand. They had taken my walking away as a sign of respect for the gangs. You aren’t allowed to fight unless you have permission because any fighting ends up affecting everyone on the floor.
I am so thankful for all of your prayers at my intense time of need. Thank you and please keep praying for me and my family.