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.

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
tell their story and everyone has an excuse.  I've already met Roger, Tiger and Larry.  I know their crime, their DOB, their SS #...everything except the name of their first pet.  At the very least it is amusing.  (Editor's note - makes you wonder if some of these guys are able to find more camaraderie on the inside than they are able to find on the outside).  This tank seems to be a little more mature and serious than the one I came from.  There has already been on altercation.  Everything I have ever read about jail or prison indicates that you HAVE to fight if ever confronted.  My personal experience differs from this, though.  I have seen one actual fight between two guys that were about the same size.  I can't even remember what happened, but they just sort of wrestled.  The other two altercations I have witnessed (one of them tonight) have been between big black guys vs little white guys.  Kind of seems that in both circumstances, goofy little white guys crossed a line and the bigger guy had to dominate (you like that CW?)....sort of like a small dog nipping at a larger dog, who tried to play if off until finally enough is enough.

I think this trustee thing will be good.  It will make the days go by a lot quicker.  Well time for me to get some sleep.

2/6 Morning

It's Saturday morning right now, but I'm not sure exactly what time it is.  There are no clocks here in my new tank.  I think I can get the time by going to the telephone in here and dialing something, but I'm not sure exactly how to do that and I don't think the exact time is too terribly important right now.

I talked to my Mom last night and found out that the blog letters I have been mailing out since last Friday (1/29) have just started arriving.  I was addressing the letters to the wrong zip code.  That's all been straightened out now so hopefully within a few days this can all be done in a little more "real time" (editors note - maybe we can make it like 24 and I will start the blog entries with "The following takes place between 3pm and 4pm.  Event are occurring in real time"  Too bad I can't add the little 24 music and ticker to the site).  I wish I could email or text, but that's not going to happen.

2/6 3pm

So as I was describing before, the night before last I was made an outside trustee.  This basically means that every Monday through Friday I have an outdoor job that takes me away from the jail.  No handcuffs or chains or anything.  I haven't totally figured it out yet, but it appears that there are 6 or 7 guys in my crew.  We go out at about 8 in the morning to go do whatever job is lined up for the day.  I'd like to be able to describe how nonchalant the work we did on Friday was, but I'm afraid I won't be able to convey to you how silly it was.  We've all seen prison movies where the prisoners were out in a field hoeing cotton with four armed guards on horses yelling at them...but get that out of your head because it was nothing like that.  Now we have all seen street repair or road construction crews where five people were all standing around doing nothing.  What I did on Friday was much more along those lines.  Actually, the way Friday morning started may be some sort of sign or symbol of just how stupid this whole prison sentence is or just how stupid I have acted over the last few years. 

Our boss (the guard in charge of us) picks us up in a van and we drive a short distance to go pick up a utility trailer.  My close friends on the outside are well aware that through the years I have become quite capable of doing just about anything with a trailer (pulling it, backing it, loading it, fixing it, etc).  For those that don't know me I will explain by saying that my business for the last 14 years directly involves trailers.  Also, I like boating which involves trailers.  So suffice to say that I am proficient with trailers and get very annoyed when I have to deal with people who can't hook up a trailer or back a trailer up.  So, back to what the boss is doing....he tries to back up to the utility trailer and from that point through the next five minutes it looks like the clown act in a circus with everyone trying to hook up the trailer.  Van not close enough, trailer too low, no block, trailer too high, trying to figure out how to tie down the cargo in the back of the trailer....  I almost couldn't bare to watch.  It seemed the perfect ironic beginning to my prison job.  Believe it or not, that actually frustrated me quite a bit, but eventually the trailer did get hooked up and we were off to the job site.

By the time we arrived I was no longer frustrated and I was enjoying being out of my cell and in the fresh air.  This was the first time I had seen daylight in almost exactly one week.  When we arrived at the job site it literally took the boss five minutes to back the trailer into place.  This time it was amusing and I just sort of chuckled to myself the whole time.  Funny how something so trivial could be such a source of entertainment.  It really is THAT boring in here though.  The actual work day was 1000 times better than sitting in a cell.  We were outside (sort of) in a metal building about 5000 sq ft but several of the overhead doors were open.  The guard stayed in the van most of the time.  There were 7 of us that did, in about 6 hours, what 2 people, hard at work, could have accomplished in about 3 hours.  I hate laziness (and a couple of the guys were lazy) but this was more of a situation of just clock killing.  We had to stay out until around 4:30 pm.  There was only so much work to be completed.  We were painting beds for the new jail so once they were all painted there was nothing else to do.  It's going to take a while for me to get used to this type of work environment.....but as the saying goes "When in Rome......".  Being able to have a job while in here in county should make this time go by much quicker.  I feel very fortunate that things turned this way for me.

After talking to even more guys in this tank I feel even more confident that my overall stay in the county jail will be around 45 days before being transferred.  That puts my transfer time around the middle of March.  Also, after all the "jailhouse" talk going on in here I continue to be optimistic about my chances of being granted parole at my first opportunity.  There are a handful of guys that I have already met that have been in prison before and have been paroled on their first chance (editors note...I guess maybe they shouldn't have been?).  Hopefully I will have the same good fortune.

4 comments:

  1. Congrats on the job, that will help time pass and you wont go stir crazy from sittin gin a cell 24/7.

    About the fighting, TV and movies put alot of drama in it, there is voilence, I mean most guys locked up aren't there b/c they were to nice..But my husband (b/c I was worried about him) told me its all in the way you carry yourself and how you come across. Respect is a major thing. At any rate, he has been in for 2 years and only gotten into one fight and it was more or less a couple hits and it was over type thing...His last time, he did 3 years and was in two fights the entire time.

    Hang in there.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have a couple of prison pen pals and as such, I've been reading your blog with a great deal of interest over the past couple of weeks. Judging from your excellent writing, you're clearly very well-spoken. I was wondering, however, if you might answer two of my fairly random questions.

    First, were you allowed to keep any of the personal property that you had on your person when you reported to jail? As a society, we are so attached to material possessions, that I can't really imagine suddenly having everything taken away from me.

    Second, did you find it difficult getting used to the lack of privacy? One of my pen-pals has been in administrative segregation, which means 23 hours a day alone in a cell. In this case, I imagine a little company would help. But in your case, did you find it difficult adjusting to the fact that you don't really have your own personal space? Thanks for taking the time to respond! Cheers and good luck, Chris

    ReplyDelete
  3. Its my understanding that you usually have to "apply" for a trustee position, much like a job. For you to be approached that way is definately something to be proud of. My sons first outside job was pulling weeds, but he pulled those weeds like there was no tomorrow because he was so glad to be out in the fresh air. Im so glad you responded to my comments, thank you. I hope your mother will either join or just read on the forum for support. It truly helped me a lot. Once you are transferred, she can read on that particular unit for information. If you get sent to the one I think you will go to, you will be ok. My son is there, and he has managed to remain positive.
    One of my favorite part of going to the malls, zoos, etc, is the people watching. People are wierd, arent they? LOL BTW I have a list of prison recipes if you would like it. Maybe when you get transferred you can try some of them,since the food choice is better and cheaper. Some dont look tooo bad, but some are just downright wierd!
    Keep writing!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Congrats on the trustee job. It will help the time to go by much faster. As MamaB said being selected for trustee without requesting it is a good thing. I was fortunate enough to be put straight on a trustee camp when sent to prison. It had a lot to do with my criminal background or lack there of, how long my sentence was, and what my charge was (not aggravated).

    As for the movies where you see the guards on horseback and the inmates working the fields, that does actually happen in Texas prisons. It is called the hoe squad.

    ReplyDelete