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.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Responses to comments

Eddie C.  My desire to tackle you right now may be at an all time high. I’d be cautious if I were you .There’s not much for me to concentrate on as far as getting out goes. All of that is beyond my control and just a matter of time ticking by on a clock at this point. It’s a struggle to remind myself on a more than once daily basis that I’m still in prison, and I need to make my own security paramount, but I think I’m still doing a good job of it. I don’t want anything to interfere in a negative way down this homestretch, but there is only so much I can do to actively think about it or control it before it becomes counterproductive to do so. I’ve decided to run a ‘homegrown half marathon’ almost immediately after getting out. I’m gonna have Dad drop Tank and me off 13 miles away from his house and we’ll run back together. (Tank is a chocolate lab.) I’ll do an official full marathon soon after I’ve been out long enough to schedule something.

If we could get that guy Kevin on the Jerry Springer show to wrestle a midget stripper, it would be awesome.

Marcs’ Queen Thanks so much for continuing to keep track of me on here. The guys here on this unit all get their shortway answers about 3-4 weeks before the projected release date. I’m not sure what sort of time frame you’re working with, but hopefully, you’ll have some good news soon. I can’t remember the specifics of your situation, but knowing that your husband is waiting for a shortway answer again, pretty much says enough. I realize it’s very stressful to wait. Obviously, “Discretionary Mandatory Supervision” is an oxymoron, when compared to how the term was used before 1996, but it’s all just semantics.

[This may be a good spot for the moderator to explain how Mandatory Supervision works. I’ll skip it for the time being.]

I agree that the effects of waiting on a shortway answer are debilitating to the average inmate, but that is just another facet of our punishment, I feel. What I think is unfortunate, is the effect it has on the families of the inmates.

In hindsight, Kevin does appear to be quite a piece of work, but if you could see him, you’d realize that there is no legitimate chance of him physically harming anyone. The dude was just too scrawny. He may have been able to bug someone to death, but that would be about the extent of it.

MamaB  I think that your son will have his answer by now. I really hope it’s good news. I understand that he was recently transferred here. Small world, huh?

It’s unfortunate he has to endure this lockdown after just getting here. However, once it’s over, and he has a couple of weeks to get used to the place, he ought to be much happier that he was at Holliday Unit. One big difference here is how disrespectful a lot of the younger inmates are. It takes a while to get used to all the mouthing to the guards, all the stealing from the cafeteria, and all the cutting in lines. Once he reconciles this in his mind, he’ll be ‘good to go’. It won’t take too long. He’ll love the fact that he will no longer be behind any locked doors!

Another friend of mine in here, also named Mike (gee, there are a lot of Mikes) has a shortway date at the beginning of March and does not agree with your analysis of FY-anything versus an unpredictable shortway answer. I asked him if he would swap his situation for an assured release in 6 months and he said, “No”. He is serving a 2 year sentence for intoxication assault on his 3rd DWI. Just food for thought. This is the pattern I can see for shortway votes. There are only two groups that are denied their shortways on 2 year sentences, so long as they have no prior TDCJ sentences in their pasts. These are DWI and burglary cases. I only know one case of a 2 year DWI guy ever being denied and he was obviously, the exception. I haven’t seen anyone denied their shortway any longer than a 2 year sentence, as long as they had no previous TDCJ record. I can’t say I’ve noticed a pattern on shortway answers here for the inmates with prior TDCJ answers. I think most of them are denied their shortways on 2 year sentences, but beyond that, all bets are off, and I think it goes on a case by case basis. There are several guys in my dorm who have long records and 5+ year sentences. They have all recently been denied their shortways.

Young guys in here on drug charges are getting a lot of FI-1 and FI-3 answers on their first parole votes when serving 2 and 3 year terms. Almost all ages are getting FI-1’s and FI-3’s on their second parole votes when serving 4 and 5 year sentences for just about any charges, as long as they don’t have a huge background.

My bad on attacking your fishing knowledge! Maybe you should start signing on as Bill Dance, rather than MamaB. I know very little about saltwater fishing and my ignorance surfaced. Thanks for setting me straight. Did you end up catching any fish?

Anonymous - Another Michael here, huh? I wonder if I know him. I wish the best for you and your family.

Mom of Texas Magnum - I guess any new advice I’d have about intake now, is a little too late. Sorry about that, but I’m very happy that you found this site and I’m even happier that it alleviated your fears, if even just a little. The prison experience is a textbook example of “fear of the unknown”. It is also a common thought of mine and my friends in here that our families on the outside are under more strain than we are, because of all the unknowns they experience. Just know that what you are imagining is worse than the reality of the situation, and that your son will be able to make informed and conscious choices on how he chooses to do his time. Great for him that he is writing a blog. It will really help to pass the time for him, and I’m looking forward to reading it when I get out or when someone mails me a copy. Best of continued luck.

MamaB - Thanks for all the drug stats. I’m going to take them to class with me when we return after the first of the year. Sea Biscuit is awesome. Thanks for forwarding the pictures. I enjoyed them.

The rooms here are all AC’d and heated so we have blankets year round. We were issued a seasonal heavy coat a little over a month ago, but it hasn’t been cold enough to even wear it yet.

My dog, Tank, became really sick when he was a year old. I think he ended up spending about 10 days in the hospital and the cause of his illness was never diagnosed. He completely stopped eating and had to be fed through an IV. Seems to me he was only a few days away from death, but he all of a sudden rebounded, and is now one big, hard-headed, in-shape lab. I hope you dog pulls through, and has already gotten stronger. Please keep me up to date.

Walkman type radios are for sale on commissary. Night table alarm clock style radios are common here, but they are all brought in from other units. On non-transfer units, table radios and fans can be bought from commissary. Inmates bring them along to MW when they transfer here from one of these units. When these inmates leave to go home, they let their radios and fans stay behind or they may chose to sell them sooner. A radio sells for about $15 and a fan sells for about $5. Payment is made using items purchased on commissary. For your reading pleasure, let me also note that a cell phone call in here costs $1.50 and K2 and other smoking products can be purchased, but I’m not sure of the costs.

Commissary is much better here than in the transfer facilities. The items are a little more expensive, but there is a wider variety. We go to commissary on the same day each and every week, and it is very possible to keep your locker well stocked with healthy foods, sweets, or a combination of the two.

The cafeteria food here is seems to be indeed turkey based, but truthfully, I really don’t know what that means in layman’s terms. It looks to me like we eat turkey, ham, cheap hamburgers, and some other mystery items. The portions are decent and for the most part we get some sort of desert or sweet item each day. The cafeteria at the intake unit had no windows and you had a limited amount of time to eat your meal. Here, the cafeteria is open and well lit and we have a reasonably unlimited amount of time to eat. About the hot plate…it’s actually a hot pot. This is merely a pot to heat water in for Ramen noodle soups, coffee, and a few other items that are made with hot water. They can be purchased from the commissary for $25. I was on 2 different units and the commissary lists were close to identical. The one here at the CCA run unit is much different, but carries the same type of things. There is a larger variety of clothes to purchase here and it is rare when an item on our commissary list is not in stock. All of this sums up to make the commissary here far superior than a commissary.

The temperature in the dorms here is what it would probably be in yours at home. I wear shorts and a T-shirt 100% of the time when I’m inside. The most I’ve needed outside so far, has been a sweatshirt underneath the normal prison issue uniform. Cloth gloves can be purchased on commissary and I wear a pair when I run early in the morning. Toboggan style hats can be bought ‘off the street’ for $2-$3, or can be made by certain ‘sewing enabled’ inmates in here for about the same cost.

Thanks for everyone’s ongoing interest and support. I hope you all had a great holiday season. I’ll talk to you soon.