CURRENT STATUS

If you have any questions for Andy about the prison system, what it is like, what goes on there, or anything, please leave the question in a blog comment and Andy would be happy to answer it. It keeps him occupied and allow us to learn about the system.

Also, for his friends, he would LOVE to get pictures of anything, so if you have his address, please send them to him, or if you would like to email them to the blog editor, you can do that and he will print out the pics and mail them to him.

He is now attending the class he must take before his release, and he will mention the journal entry memo they discussed that day in class.

Even if you don't know Andy, feel free to comment on his blog entries, which he gets and will respond to.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A COUPLE OF GREAT MEALS AND RESPONSES TO YOUR COMMENTS

2/20

Happy weekend to everyone.  It's about 10am on Saturday.  I think I've been up for about 30 minutes.  I went to bed before 10pm last night and got a very good night's sleep.  I was dead tired and couldn't even muster the energy to write.  The last three days at work have been pretty exhausting.  I did manage to read a little before I dozed off and I think that made the sleep even better.  I woke up at 3am for a wonderful breakfast of bread, hashbrowns, sausage, and a 5 year old's portion of Fruit Loops.  At least the milk was really cold.  Saturdays are alright around here.  It really does feel like our version of the weekend in here since no one leaves to go to work.  Sundays are boring because I start to grow antsy, but I'll deal with Sunday tomorrow.  I need to do a lot of letter writing today so I hope that at least half of my afternoon will be occupied with that.  By late afternoon I hope to be rested up enough to get in a full and lengthy workout.  I have exercised the last three days, but the sessions have been short because I have been tired from work.

Yesterday was a good day at work.  We went to the county courthouse and did some work on a courtroom that was being renovated.  We finished texturing some walls that had re-sheetrocked, sanded all the walls, primed a couple of existing walls that were already painted, and then we painted the entire courtroom and several offices behind the actual courtroom area.  Best part about the whole deal was lunch.  The county maintenance worker that was leading the project bought us

Friday, February 26, 2010

QUESTIONS FROM INMATES AND A BIG QUESTION/CONCERN FROM ME

Most of the guys here in my tank are aware of this blog.  We have some questions that we'd like to ask and would really enjoy receiving any comments or feedback that you have.

1.  We are in jail.  How and why do things in our tank constantly come up missing or stolen?  (Editor's note - I think someone addressed this in a blog comment when the toothpaste disappeared)

2.  Why do we have to eat the same food over and over and over?

3.  How do you feel about inmates receiving a furlough to witness the birth of their child?

4.  Why can't we get real food if we have money on our books?

5.  Why don't we receive conjugal visits?

6.  In what room do they keep the keg?

7.  Should homosexual inmates be kept separate from straight inmates?

THERE GOES MY DIET! ALSO, SOME RESPONSES TO COMMENTS.

2/18

Hi everyone.  It's Thursday evening and it was another long day at work which leaves me pretty tired.  I ate better today than all of my previous days here.  From the jail I had sausage, hash browns, and milk for breakfast and tuna fish sandwich and cookies for dinner.  While at work we had Dr. Pepper, sour cream and onion potato chips, a turkey and cheese sandwich with lettuce and mayo, a piece of chocolate cheese cake and two pieces of fried chicken.  Although this did not adhere to my diet, WHO CARES?  It was delicious and welcomed.

Now to Peewee's story.  He is a 20 year old caucasian who is about 5'10 and weighs about 230.  He has little to no high school education.  He has the common sense of a bale of hay.  Definitely not a future Harvard grad.  However, he is very nice and pretty funny.  He is on my outside working crew.  He comes off as lazy, but I think the problem may just be

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

FELLOW INMATE'S WIFE CHEATING ON HIM?

2/17

I worked all day today outside doing the same thing as yesterday.  The weather was great again.  Although it was mindless manual labor it did feel good to finally work all day long at something that left me a little tired and the end of the day.  I think I may have even gotten a little sunburn over the last few days.  I guess that's a quality problem since I'm in jail.

I am going to try to start telling a story about or describing some of the other guys in here.  Maybe that will give everyone a little better idea of the dynamic in here.  First is a guy named "Catfish" who is caucasian and probably around 23/24 years old.  I don't know if he has completed high school, but he certainly has no college education (I'm pretty sure that no one in my tank has any college credit, but I'm not certain).  He has a big picture of his daughter by his bunk and she looks to be about three or four years old.  Well, he was in a bit of a weird mood this afternoon.  Come to find out his sister had written him a letter telling him one of his friends had been spending the night at Catfish's house with Catfish's wife.  Even further,

Monday, February 22, 2010

SOMEONE STOLE HIS TOOTHPASTE!

2/16

I'm continuing to receive personal letters here in the jail and that's great.  One of the worst things about this entire experience is the hopeless feeling of not staying connected with the real world.  The letters go miles in alleviating those fears.

Today I talked to a guy here who is also waiting to be transported to prison.  He has been here since January 7th, which is 20 days prior to my arrival.  I assume this means

Saturday, February 20, 2010

REALIZING JAIL IS HOME

2/15

This weekend was much better than the last weekend, since I seem to be settling in a little more.  My dad didn't actually end up visiting yesterday but my mom did, and one of my good friends also came.  I can't wait to get out of here and tell the story of how my friend visited me on Valentine's Day.  That story is bound to get better each time it's told.  He's actually a good guy friend of mine who recently got married, but I did find the timing humorous.

There was no mail delivered today or yesterday so I feel a little limited on what to write about.  Today was a good day at work.  The sun was out in full force, but it was still a little chilly.  I had some time during work to get in some of my exercising.  I'm getting a little bored of exercising 45 minutes each day in our tank so I'm looking for ways to change it up a little.  For some reasons we are only working a half day tomorrow.  That is not a good thing and it means I will be coming back to jail around noon or so.  Hopefully I'll have some blog mail and I'll be able to write for a few hours and respond to some of the new comments.

I kind of freaked myself out a little this afternoon.  I was talking to one of my co-workers/inmates when we were out at work and I made a statement saying something like

Friday, February 19, 2010

VALENTINE'S DAY IN JAIL

2/14

Happy (belated) Valentine's Day to everyone.  If you're one of the unfortunate ones with no one to share this day with, I'm sorry.  I am in the same boat (except he gets to share it with 30+ guys).  I guess it makes me look forward to future Valentine's Days.  Maybe it's better I don't have a partner now anyway, because that would make things tougher on both of us.

As this day passes by, I will reflect on the fact that MANY people across the world are having a lot worse day than I am.  And both of my parents are coming to visit, and I know they love me.

So what did everyone out there do for Valentine's Day?  I'd love to read some good, bad or interesting stories when I receive these comments.  Who out there had the BEST Valentine's Day?  Who had the WORST?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

BEING PRODUCTIVE IN JAIL

2/13

The letters and correspondence I receive in here totally bring back an instant sense of normality.  Thanks to my mom, grandfather, and KS for sending stuff, and a special thanks to the AG/AB household for my new wall art.  The letter writing I am able to do is now making 2 to 3 hours a night just fly by.  Due in part to some of the things I have been able to read and to my own personal experiences and feelings, the last couple of days seem to have become much more routine and manageable.  I'm not sure how many of you will fit into this category, but I know that in my normal daily life I live by constant timelines and deadlines.  Well in jail, there are no deadlines.  There are meal times, but I don't have to attend.  Theoretically I could

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I'M THINKING BREAKFAST AT 3AM IS WORTH SLEEPING THROUGH

2/10

Hey everyone!  I was very excited to receive a big envelope in today's mail that contained a print out of the blog as you are viewing it, along with all of the comments.  There is still a time delay, but I think the gap is shrinking.

My day went well and I had a productive day of work outside.  We cleared brush all day.  Nothing fancy, but it did make the day go by quickly again.

Today was the first day that things seemed normal.  By that I mean that I think I am beginning to accept the fact that I will be in here for awhile.  I am going to have to adapt more to my surroundings in order to not stress myself out too much.  At this point, I'm not sure of the specific actions I will take to accomplish this, but I do realize that I will be able to make the appropriate changes.  But I can already tell from the limited time I have been here that prison is not going to change who I am or my personality.  I do think that being able to adapt better to what is going on around me will make the time go by MUCH faster.  More on this tomorrow.

This morning I decided to sleep through the 3am breakfast, and I think

IT'S AMAZING HOW MUCH A DOG CAN ADD TO YOUR DAY

2/9

It's about 9pm on Tuesday right now. I'm in a pretty good mood as I have been writing Valentine's letters for the last couple of hours. I hope they all arrive on time, but I think I may be a day too late on sending them out.

I went to sleep early last night and slept solid from 10:30 until 3 when breakfast started. After breakfast I was a little disappointed I couldn't fall right back to sleep. I think I tossed and turned until 4:30 or so. We worked outside most of the day doing the same type of work as yesterday. The weather was beautiful today. I think it's supposed to get cold on Thursday so I'm sort of dreading that.

In my normal life I have two dogs. One is a chocolate lab named "Tank". I definitely miss him. He was my running partner. Anyway, today while at work this yellow lab came strolling along. I started petting him and

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

GUEST BLOG ENTRIES FROM FELLOW INMATE

2/10

I'm PJ and I would like to write a little something for the blog.  I sometimes sit and think about

Monday, February 15, 2010

JUST ANOTHER MANIC MONDAY

2/8

I was VERY excited upon returning to the jail today and receiving in the mail some comments from this blog. I really appreciate everyone's thoughts and well wishes, and it is nice to know that people are following along. It looks like it's taking 7 days for my letters to arrive on the outside. I'm not sure if that will remain consistent now that I have an updated address to send correspondence. I guess we'll see. (editors note - responses to the comments will be at the end of this post).

Today we had biscuits and gravy for breakfast at 3am. At 8am the work day started. It was interesting. Three of us went with a county road crew and filled in (with asphault) pot holes and other little areas on the edge of a rural road that had chipped away. Two guys shoveled the asphalt out of the back of a dump truck and I packed it down with some sort of motorized, hand powered steam roller that looked a little like a lawnmower. The work was easy and we worked until about 3:30 when it began it rain. Up until that point it was a very pleasant day outside. Once I got back to the jail I was able to get in my normal exercise routine before dinner was served, which was spaghetti and a cookie (and something else I can't describe, but lets just say it looked nasty and I gave that to someone else).

All the talk around here today was

SUPERBOWL SUNDAY FROM JAIL

2/7 - AM

It's morning on Superbowl Sunday. Not sure exactly what time it is, but I know it is earlier than I'd care for it to be. I slept well last night, but wish I could have slept longer. I've watched the Superbowl from many different venues over the years. I sure do wish I was on Bourbon Street right this second with a mixed orange and chocolate dauiquiri. Sounds good doesn't it? I suppose this won't be the worst Superbowl experience I've had. I think there have been a few years when I missed it completely because of work so at least I'll be able to watch the entire game today. The majority of the guys in here are pulling for the Saints.

Last night the guards came in our tank around 10:30 or 11 and did a shakedown. Basically what that means is that they ask everyone to unlock their lockers and then they get us all to move to a different tank. They search us personally to make sure that we did not remove anything from the tank. Then they search our bunk area and our locker to make sure we have no contraband. Some of the stuff they took last night consisted of 1) Altered clothes - apparently some guys make hats out of the thermal tops and bottoms we can buy. You aren't supposed to alter any of the clothes so these were taken. 2) The pens that we have that are wrapped with paper to make it easier to write with were taken. Again, you aren't supposed to alter anything. For some reason they didn't take my altered pen though. I guess the guards like me. 3) They also took a lot of the guys' food and coffee. They told us that the food we bought from commissary had to be stored in it's original container. Most people that buy coffee end up storing it in some sort of other container. I'm not really sure of the reasoning of the jail rules concerning

Sunday, February 14, 2010

THE NEW TANK AND MY FIRST DAY ON A NEW JOB

2/4 10pm

I just moved tanks.  The guards called me out and asked if I wanted to be an outside trustee.  I wasn't totally sure what that would entail, but I had pretty much made up my mind beforehand that if asked to be any type of a trustee I would accept the offer.  A lot of the guys had put in written requests to be trustees.  I never mentioned it to anyone or filled out any requests.  I figured the guards must have just looked at me and thought I didn't look like the escaping type.  Who knows?  It's crazy how your mind kind of plays tricks on you.  I have been in here a little over a week, but had already grown very comfortable around four or so guys.  It was a little awkward leaving that situation and moving to a new tank.  The fear of the unknown is pretty powerful.  But about 30 minutes after I moved to the new tank one of the four guys I just mentioned ended up getting moved here too, which was somewhat refreshing.  He's a 20 year old kid and I can't imagine how our paths would have ever crossed in the outside world, but he's a good guy.  Believe it or not, his uncle is in the same tank with us.  It's his father's brother.  What are the odds of that?  I guess a little better than I would have thought.  There seem to be a bunch of guys in here that know each other from the outside.

I don't know how much county differs from prison, but here in county EVERYONE wants to

Friday, February 12, 2010

RESPONSES TO BLOG COMMENTS

MamaB, thanks for your concern and guidance.  You had commented to me several times previously on the Prison Talk forum and I'm glad you are following this blog.  I also understand from my mom that you have helped her a great deal.  I truly appreciate that.  This situation that I have put myself and my family in is overwhelming and I assume that you are in the same boat.  I wish the best for you and your family....to respond to your next comment, I haven't seen the library cart yet, but there have been enough books floating around in the cell that I haven't lacked reading material yet.

Maria, thanks for following along and thanks for your prayers.  I look forward to hearing from you again soon.  If there is anything you'd like to know please feel free to ask.

Eddie, did Martha Stewart even get out of the pen yet?  I could have sworn I saw her

NOT POSTING BOND

2/3 4pm

Wow! Who would have ever thought that a tortilla with tuna fish, a packet of mustard and 3 crushed cheetos could be so good? I didn't even like tuna fish until a couple of days ago, but that little concoction has been the highlight of my meal history since being here. Sometimes I wonder what to write about, because it's quickly becoming like the movie Groundhog Day in here.

One of the big issues here in this county jail, is that many of the inmates don't really have any idea how long they will be locked up. I'd say that in my tank it's probably a 50/50 make up of people with felonies vs those with misdemeanors. A lot of the guys here have fairly small bond amounts (between $3,000 and $8,000) but are unable or unwilling to come up with 10% of the cash it would take to pay a bailbonding company to get them out of jail. Anyway, the guys in here that do not bond out are stuck waiting for a court date and are in limbo. The consensus is that

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

FITNESS TIPS

2/2 10pm

Hey everybody, how's it going?  Today went by pretty well for me.  It feels like the time is getting a little shorter each day.  I think I am sleeping a little longer at night so that is speeding things up a little.  Mail came today and I got some more letters so that kept me entertained for a while.  Thanks for the "Get out of jail free" card, JP.  It made most of the guys in the tank laugh, but some seemed confused about why that would be funny.  I tried to use the card but unfortunately it didn't get me too far.

OK, I need some help with some fitness questions. 

1.  How many ounces are in a typical coffee mug?
2.  About how many calories am I burning in here on a daily basis?  I weight 214 lbs and am exercising for about 45 minutes to an hour every day to a decent sweat.  I probably sleep about eight hours a day.  The rest of the time is pretty idle.
3.  About how many calories do you think

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

GETTING TO KNOW MY FELLOW INMATES

2/1
The activities in this tank have grown routine pretty quickly and there isn't much new to write about.  I have sent out a couple of personal letters and hopefully I will receive some back pretty soon.  I think receiving outside correspondence while in here is like taking a 24 hr happy pill.  Speaking of pills, I should mention I have never taken a drug in my life.  Haven't had a puff of marijuana or taken an illegal pill. I am only mentioning my lack of drug use to point out the perspective that I am coming from as I write this blog. I have found out that fact alone separates me from 98% of the people in here.  I didn't know how often some people smoke or the amount of pills that are taken.  The nicknames for all the pills escape my vocabulary.  So when people talk about them I just nod and smile.  Personally, I couldn't care less about any drug that anyone smokes, shoots or takes as long as they aren't wearing me out about wanting to borrow money to buy them.  To each his own.

On the human interest side of stories in here....there will definitely be a fight about the

Monday, February 8, 2010

WEEKEND IN JAIL

1/31

It’s Sunday afternoon at about 4pm. Overall, today has passed pretty quickly. I got a good night’s sleep and went to a church service this morning. After that I exercised for a little over an hour, got the heart rate going, and actually did some good ol’ sweating. Then I spent about an hour mopping our tank (which is 40’ x 30’) and cleaning the shower and restroom area. This place is

Sunday, February 7, 2010

THE NEW DIGS

1/30 - 10:30am

Last night I spent about four hours making the move to a new tank, where I will remain until I am taken to the actual prison.  There are 34 people in this tank.  It's loud, but at least there are more people to communicate with.  A few of the guys from my previous tank got moved into this one.  Everything that I had researched about jail before coming in here indicated that pretty much everyone kept to themselves and that it wasn't kosher to share your entire life story.  That could not be any further from reality.  At this point I could already write a biography on at least four people and I could get a good start on about five others.  I think I'm doing a good job of being the mysterious, clean cut guy.  If we were on Survivor I'd be in the lead.  Unfortunately, we are not.

My dad came to visitation this morning which was very nice.  I wasn't expecting anyone to come and I wasn't sure it would make me feel any better, but it definitely did.  Hopefully it was nice for him too.  The reality of this whole situation has not set in yet.  I feel as if I know everything will be ok when I get out, but I find it impossible to comprehend spending over a year in here.  The lack of communication with my friends is still

Saturday, February 6, 2010

IT'S FRIDAY I'M IN JAIL

1/29 7:45pm

It's Friday night and I'm in jail.  Not a very good thought so I'm going to try not to think about it.  As I was preparing myself to come to jail one of the concepts I had the biggest problem coping with was the fact that my life was coming to a grinding halt, while everyone else was continuing on.  It reminds me of when I was in elementary school, and one day my parents had to pull me out of class in the middle of the day, and I was amazed at all the people that were out and about and driving around.  I remember feeling like since I was in class, everyone should be in class.  It was unsettling to see that the world continued on without me.  Well now I have that feeling multiplied by a thousand.

I think I finally got a decent night of rest last night.  I slept from about 12:30 to 5, when I was woken up for breakfast, and it wasn't the best sleep, since I was tossing and turning and having weird dreams, but at least I slept.  After breakfast I fell back asleep until 10:30, which was nice.  All meals here are served inside the tank where a guard comes by with a couple of "trustees" (inmates that work at the jail) and serve food through a slot in the metal bars in the back of the tank.  We each also have a styrofoam cup that we re-use at every meal, and hold it through the metal bars where they fill it up with whatever they decide we will be drinking at that meal.  So far it has only been tea (which I gave away) or lemonade.  The meals today were

Friday, February 5, 2010

FIRST DAY IN THE TANK

1/28  11pm

Today was my first full day in one place.   Commissary was just delivered about an hour ago.  I don't like the pens they give us from commissary.  It's nothing you would buy at Office Depot...I can't quite describe it, but it resembles nothing that a normal person would use to write anything of length.  The food today was ok and I probably ate too much.  I haven't done any exercising yet, but I will definitely start tomorrow.  I gave my mom a call today to let her know my inmate number and mailing address so that hopefully when she distributes it to my friends I can receive a few letters now and then.

There are now about 20 or so people in our tank, and there are not enough bunks for everyone so some people are on the floor.  Luckily I'm not one of them.  I talked to a handful of guys about their back stories.  Nothing is too terribly interesting or out of the ordinary.  One kid is 17 years old and is here because he hit his dad.  Another guy is a Carne (Traveling Carnival Guy) from Pennsylvania that got stopped with drugs in his car.  One person ran track at a major university and is here on some sort of drug technicality.  About the only funny story is that there is one guy here from out of town that was

Thursday, February 4, 2010

FIRST DAY IN JAIL

I am writing this at 3 am, Thursday, January 28th.  I am pretty tired after this long day.  My sentencing hearing took about two hours to complete this afternoon and I got the the booking department of the jail around 4pm.  It has taken this long to actually get to my cell.  The workers at the county facility are pleasant and so far the experience has not been bad.  I did get my hopes up at the sentencing hearing because we were almost able to work out a deal to significantly reduce my jail time.  Ultimately this did not happen, but I am fulfilled that my attorney was able to give it a solid attempt.  I will be able to rest easier knowing that we have tried everything.

Luckily, commissary for the week was on the 27th, and since I was technically in the jail on the 27th I was able to buy a lot of necessities today rather than having to wait a week.  I bought extra t-shirts, boxers, paper, pens and envelopes along with some junk food to snack on.  There were a few healthy items on the list that I bought too.  I even bought some sardines to try.  As most of my good friends know, I have lost about 50 lbs over the last year.  If I gain it back while in jail I'm going to be pissed.  My weight coming into jail this evening was 214 lbs (I'm 6'2).  I hope to use the time in here to get into some good exercise habits, but it is going to be really tough to start exercising in this county set up.  There is very little extra space.

Everyone in my "tank" is asleep right now but