Yes, I am a former prison inmate and I know you have a lot of question regarding time and life in a federal prison camp.
I want to put your mind at ease and make you aware of things to come and what to expect because what you think about is worse than what actually is or happens.
I will share with you my experience and answer any question you may have about going to prison or about loved ones who are in prison. I will provide you with detailed accounts from the first day to the day you leave.
My goal is to help you overcome your fears of the federal prison system and be at peace. Trust me it is not like the movies or what you read or hear about in the news. Prison is actually about how you look at it and how you adapt to changes.
Please contact me with your questions and comments at formerprisoninmate.blogspot.com and I will help you with the facts about life in a federal prison camp.
Thank you and God Bless,
Comment: The information I am sharing with you is based on 2 years incarceration at one federal prison camp in the United States.
make a phone call
have a visitor
For example, I self surrendered on a Monday, purchased items in the commissary on Tuesday, called my wife on Thursday and she was able to visit on Saturday.
Your “words of wisdom” are just that - wisdom, and very valuable, thank you, thank you for sharing!
Is there a difference between federal prison and a federal prison camp?
Yes, you heard correctly, fact is there were numerous stabbings and violent gang fights while I was there but not every day.
The clarification is that Pollock is a high security federal prison and a federal prison camp next door. The camp was not violent and that’s where I was.
The camp inmates had work details to maintain the grounds, vehicles and buildings around the high security prison.
Let me explain, if their is restitution to be paid, usually 25% is taken out of the inmates funds (and that is only a start). If the funds are increased for any reason, the prison system re-evaluates and increases the percentage of taking out of the inmates account. It’ best to have little or nothing. I learned this through my own experience. The prison’s primary goal while inmates are incarcerated is to make sure they pay every dime while they are there.
Thank you for your words of appreciation, my goal is to help in any way possible because there are so many innocent people going to prison.
Regarding the commissary, the best way to describe it is that it’s like one of those gas station convenient stores but on a smaller scale with not the large selection.
There was no limit on buying things except for buying stamps and I think that was because the inmates used it as currency (check out to post on currency).
*Magazines and newspapers were delivered with the mail because inmates were allowed to subscribe to magazines. The camp did get local and national newspapers which were displayed in the library daily for inmates. Inmates also shared there magazines with others.
*Hobby materials were purchased a little different. they had to be ordered through the recreational department with approval.
*Phone time was regulated as well. At the time I was in from 04 and 05, each inmate was allowed 300 minutes a month and 400 on November and December (holidays). We were also limited to 15 minutes per call and then had to wait an hour before the next call, although I think they now changed that to a 30 minute wait now. The phone calls are also monitored so inmates have to be discreet.
Are you from louisiana? The last name looks cajun.
Yes, I am from Louisiana, Lafouche Parish and the last name is cajun.
My percentages are based on one federal prison camp during 2005 and 06 with an inmate population of about 90 people average.
35% Black, 35% Mexican, 20% White, 8% Asian and 2% American Indian
The majority of inmates in the federal prison camp I was in were drug related. What you don’t here about is that most all inmates are in prison because of conspiracy, intimidation, and even threats if they don’t cooperate or plead guilty.
Thanks for the your postings. The information is very helpful for someone new to all of this. I just found out that I am self surrending to Pollock Camp on 8/20. Do you have any special advise on what to expect. Also, anything about the facility would be great. Like internet access to email my family out of state. Also, any expectations around visitation. -Thanks so much!
I am glad that my site is helpful to you. My goal is to help anyone who is facing a federal prison camp.
Pollock is where I was for 2004 and 05. So all the information I have posted is based on my experience there.
I’m sorry to say but there was no email access while I was there. Inmates were not allowed to touch a computer unless they used one for their work detail.
thanks for your help
There are a lot of sports activities available, when I left there was a basketball court, baseball field, handball court, volleyball, open field for soccer and flag football, and a walking track.
The best way to describe life on a prison camp quickly is to imagine being on your own property for 6 months and not being able to leave it.
The thoughts in your mind of the prison camp is worst than the camp itself.
So have your husband focus on the situation as him being on a job sight where the BOP leads the project. That’s what I did.
To answer the second part of your comment the answer is yes, he can still do his work because I have actually seen a tax accountant do peoples taxes which I consider it to be similar in receiving and mailing work.
Items available in the commissary is pretty much like the items in a convenient store when you stop for gas. Lots of junk food, basic over the counter medication and vitamins, stamps, underwear and sweats, a selection of radios and basic toiletries. Again, like a small convenient store.
I believe smoking is now prohibited, I say that because at the time I was in Pollock in 04 and 05, smoking was still allowed but the BOP was in the transition of eliminating tobacco products and going to a smoke free facility.
Rest assured that life in a camp is better than what you think it might be. You will be fine, just keep to yourself and always be honest because your word is your honor and respect among the inmates. Don’t volunteer information, just answer questions with simple answers and be on your best behavior around correctional officers.
Regarding the inmates, you will quickly spot the trouble makers and the rat by observation, then just stay away from them.
I am glad you mention drawing because I like to draw as well. I was able to buy a sketch pad, colored pencils and a calligraphy pen throught the recreational department. Buying art supplies will require filling out some paperwork but it was simple to do. There is also Leather craft classes available. Take care Kevin, you will be just fine.
Also, How are the radio stations there?
Did you have the ability to come and go from the yard whenever you wanted to? I am sure not after 10:30 lights out but how about during the day?
Ever have any problems with the inmates from the USP pollock or worry for your safty while serving time at the camp and working at the max? Work inside the max? What jobs are available and what did you do? Anything with automotive available?
We can all work to change this seriously flawed system!
The music equipment available when I left was a keyboard, piano 2 guitars and 1 electric guitar with amplifier, no bass guitar or drums. About the only thing you could order would be sheet music. Any new instrument would have to be coordinated with camp administration.
There was one instance where a group of guys got together to sing as a group for the camp staff and inmates during Christmas visitation.
The radio station were ok but I didn’t listen to then much and the quality of radio made a big difference based on the inmates.
Yes, you can go in and out of the building as you want until lights out.
No problem with inmates, they usually keep to themselves, you quickly learn who to stay away from.
Yes, there are times when the campers have to work in the max, this only occurs when the max is under lock down and the campers are brought in to help with the food service.
Jobs range from food service, orderlies, education, landscape, welding, warehouse, unicor and garage. I worked in the garage as the clerk. They are always on the lookout for mechanics in the garage.
The food was pretty good, I compared it to the same quality as a college cafeteria. There is some repeat items you will get tired of but the holidays bring out the best foods and make up for it.
Now regarding the medical condition, they will provide for your medication but as for a special facility, hard to say, there are some but usually there is a waiting list of openings. Wish I had better answers but the BOP is so unpredictable.
Regarding the amount of money, I remember being comfortable with $125/month which covered restitution, minutes for phone calls and commissary items (2004 and 05). He is probably getting some finances through a work detail as I did and that helps him some. It’s best to ask him because he knows the financial need best but do it in writing. He does get a report that says how much was deposited into his account but not from who.
Thanks for the blessing and may God bless you also, take care.
I agree, LOVE can not be stopped because it does last forever.
Yes, there is a lot of talk about parole and second chance but the fact is that it’s talk and the BOP operates on facts and written law guidelines.
Thanks for liking the posts, the blog is to help you.
When you receive the BOP letter, you or have a family member call the institution and ask about items to bring and money order (filling it out).
God bless you as well and always trust in Him!
First of all, asking if he is ok is good but it also reminds him of his situation, just talk with him by carry a normal conversation as though he was right there with you or away on business. I say that because like me I was more interested in things back home and how my wife was doing, it let me know that life is still moving forward.
Second, write letters to him because one of the highlights of every inmate’s life in prison is mail call. Share with him what your doing, keep him up to date with things in the community, cut and paste pictures in your letters. I use to receive letters from my wife each week and I use to write every week. The reason for letters is letting him know that someone does care for him and that alone brings a lot of hope and chases the blues away.
Most importantly, let him know he is loved, as a mate, as a friend or as a family member. The key is for him to know that someone back home really cares about him, even if it is just you, keep the line of communication open.
Yes, he will get some time off and sentence reduced with good time behavior (conduct) and also halfway house time. As to how much time will be reduced is something the BOP calculates, your friend should already know from the BOP case manager when he will be released, therefore knowing how much time was eliminated.
Regarding days and nights counting as two, unfamiliar with that one.
Now as to being released sooner, it’s possible because of new legislation, pardons, breakthrough in the case, new federal court laws and sentencing guidelines. Most importantly, Prayer!
(1) Yes, it’s best if books are purchased and sent directly from the publisher, this applies to soft and hard cover books (no hassle). I did have a friend who sent me 7 books throught the regular mail from his house but those have to be paperbacks.
(2) I received, books, letters, pictures, magazines and pictures, other than that they will send it back. I remember my wife trying to send me a composition book but it was turned away (i guest they considered it office supplies). Funny thing about that is that she mailed it a second time by itself with a letter and it got through, go figure. Sometimes it depends on who is processing the mail.
(3) Days were very boring to start but once I received a work detail it kind of settled into a routine of a 5 day work week and that is how I looked at it, contracted by the federal government to do a job, when the contract (sentence0 is up I get to go home. Wake up call was 6:00 am, work detail started at 7:00 am and ended at 3:00 pm with and hour lunch and lights out was at 10:30 pm.
(4) This is a very good question. I did exactly what you want to do and that was I read a lot. I also wrote letters to my wife just about every night. Looking back I guest the only thing I would have done differently would be to read more of God’s word and draw closer to Him and His Son Jesus and at the time that is what I did. I focused on a closer walk with God and a courtship with my wife during visitation. I used the time to better myself and not let the situation of my circumstance overtake me.
Your time in the prison camp will be what you make of it and believe me it won’t be because of the BOP, it’s entirely up to you and your decision.
I want other visitors to your website to know what a special person you are. You have been a great source of information, but more importantly, you have been a wonderful spiritual counselor to me. Your words of wisdom and your genuine care for others who are in the same situation you once were in is a true calling on your life. I thank the good Lord that He has called you to this and you answered! This whole process with “J” going to camp is new for the both of us. You and your website have helped me in ways you will never know!
My heart is filled with joy, thank you for those loving words and the inspiration of serving our King. God bless!
(1) Yes, you will have time in a halfway house, it’s part of the time you will be serving, the BOP case manager will be able to give you exact dates.
(2) When last I was there, Pollock had no weight room but that did not stop the inmates from being creative, you’ll see. There is an exercise room with a few few pieces of equipment, stair climber, threadmill and a cross country ski type threadmill. There is also a walking track that people use daily to walk and jog as well as various exercises. Place also has a basket ball court, handball court, volleyball with sand, baseball field and open area for flag football and soccer. There is plenty of time to exercise, play sports and use the equipment.
(3) Every one must get a job but not all are from 7:00 to 3:00, some jobs like in food service and education department do vary in hours and shifts. Level of education will also dictate qualification for certain jobs and pay rate.
My husband just left for a 6 year term and is in a holdover in philly right now. He wants to see us and we want to see him badly.
I’ve been writing everyday and he’ll get mail from our friends and family too. We were only expecting about 3 years until the night before, so this is all so shocking to adapt to. How long before my visitor form is approved? Do i need to accept collect calls as my phone carrier doesn’t let me from prisons? How much of his sentence will really have to be filled? Thanks — this is a wonderful chance to finally talke with someone who knows. Blessings!!
As his wife you should automatically be approved and listed on his PSI (pre-sentencing report) as well family members. For friends that are not listed, approval usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks.
Phone calls should be simple once his phone and commissary account is set up and that’s usually done within the first week (they are not collect calls but you will be told that it’s from a prison).
He will probably have about 6 months or more reduced from his sentence with good time behavior, his case manager will give the exact date of release and halfway house time (I am estimating about 5 years prison and 6 months halfway house).
Now in regards to your question, I would make a copy of the list and have them both ready and here is why. You are allowed to bring in a few things and I suggest you contact the institution to get a list before checking in. I for one brought my bible and 2 pictures which they allowed so I see no problem with a simple list of phone numbers and addresses (they make a copy to keep on file). However there are times when nothing is let in due to suspicion but I have also seen times when new inmates were allowed to keep their sneakers and watches.
Prison will also be what you make of it. I for one chose to study God’s word on a daily basis, read more to better my reading skills, I weaned myself off TV, I wrote letters just about every night to my wife to keep communications flowing and I treated the situation as another contract job, this time for the prison system. The rehabilitation will be what you make of it, no one else.
Your nature to help others will benefit you greatly, just be cautious of those who will try to take advantages of your goodness.
Now as to the time she will be serving is really calculated by the prison system but on the average people usually serve about 85% of their time.
Sorry, not familiar with the term reception.
As to where she will serve her time, it will probably be in a low of medium security prison because of parole violation.
My husband will spend the next 36 months at Pollock USP. I know that is not where you were at (I wish he was going to the camp,) but please tell me how bad the USP really is. You have been so honest on this website and I need to know what to expect. I respect and commend your wife for I am in the position that she was in and it is not easy but I will wait and I will pray. I pray for my husband everyday but I am scared for his safety. Everything that I have read is so horrible. My husband is a God fearing, loving man. He has never done anything violent, he sold steroids on the internet. He was sent to a USP because he committed the same crime while on probation (stupid) and that caused his points to be 24 points, which is only 1 point over medium security. I would appreciate any info you can give me. Thanks!
It’s worst thinking about it and reading the bad stories so please stop that and focus on God and prayer, trust me it’s not as bad as they make it out to be.
There are bible studies available for him to attend through the various prison ministries as local pastors come to visit, highly recommended.
Thank you for the caring words and Yes my wife was a jewel and very supportive through the whole thing. Yes do pray and keep the line of communication open, write plenty of letters and get routine phone calls.
Regarding lockdown, it’s a time when inmates are confined to their cell because of gang fights or other investigations of a serious matter involved in the prison. Usually when there is a lockdown in the high security prison, the inmates in the camp are taken into the prison to help prepare meals.
Lockdown usually last one to two weeks but if the problem is not resolved (like gangs fighting) lockdown can continue for another week or two, the decision is up to the warden.
If he was approved for pre-release then there should have been a date set for departure and there should be some paperwork saying so, never go by what you hear, make sure it’s in writing.
Prayer and putting God first is your foundation to seeing this through, stay focused on Him and watch His mighty hand bring deliverance.
I am glad you got a letter, keep writing especially during lockdown, it’s like manna from heaven and your fiancee needs to know you care and still support him, he needs your strength and prayers even more at this time. Ask all the questions you want.
I was sentence for 2 months in prison drugs. I Have never been in trouble with the law I’m a full time student and thank the lord they are going to let me finish it. I was told I will be place in La Tuna, Texas but not aware if that’s a camp or not.
This are some question I have for you:
I’m 19 and slim, will I be a target or will I just be the youngest?
What is a halfway house? Will I probably be place there?
Thank you and God Bless you…..
Yes, to the best of my knowledge LaTuna is a prison camp.
No, you will not be a target because you will be with others who are the same age or early 20’s, prison has a diverse age group.
Halfway house is basically a transition between prison and public society where you still have some restraints by way of rules but you also have some freedom of going to a job and being with family and with your short sentence I don’t believe you will be in one.
Yes, a lot of questions but I am happy to answer them for you because I understand. Let’s begin with the concern of the courts. Simple, do not assume anything because when it comes down to it, the judge has the final say. Whether it be probation, halfway house or prison time it’s going to be the judges decision. Just present your case the best as you can and wait on the judge. I remember having my hopes for many things based on what my lawyer was telling me but in the end it was nothing what I thought it would have been.
Now on a personal note, I chose not to plea bargain because that would have admitted guilt and I was innocent and I believe that I am a better man for standing for my rights. God was with me through the whole process and I live in His peace.
First day in a prison camp is like starting a new job or going to college. People stare at you, new surrounding to get familiar with and it’s what you make of your present situation. First day for me was getting use to the camp and observing everything like people, rules, boundries and the building and its’ surroundings. Inmates were good about introducing themselves and wanting to know about me and I just kept my answers brief. First day is also a time of processing, taking your picture, finger prints, issue of clothing (uniform), linens and shown where you will be sleeping.
No, the days will be different due to work details, friends you will make, hobbies and eventually you will get in a routine of daily living, then they will be the same.
Self-surrender is just you showing up to the prison camp on the designated date that the judge orders. I remember calling the camp a week before to know what I could be allowed to bring. The only thing I brought with me was my bible and a couple of pictures of my wife and daughter. I have seen some people who actually were allowed to keep their sneakers and watch. Things that are not allowed during self0surrender will be mailed back to your home.
Guards or correctional officers are like any other people, there are some that are good and respectful while others are just plain mean and treat you like dirt. My best advice about officers is that you treat them with respect, do what they tell you and they will leave you alone, they basically keep an eye on the trouble makers.
Prison camp is not confinement and yes you will be able to go outside to walk as you please and play sports. I use to walk around the track every morning, afternoon and evening before lights out. Space will be the boundaries of the camp. For example, picture being on a 10 acre farm and having to stay there for 6 months without leaving the property and visitors only being able to visit on weekends. Going to bed at 10:30pm and waking up at 6:00am, then work 7 hours a day during the week and the rest is personal time.
Sleeping arrangements, all I can say about that is my personal experience at the camp I was in. It was a large open building with bunkbeds lined up side by side, 3 and 5 feet apart from each other. Metal frame with 4 inch thick mattress and a small locker to put things. On a funny note, getting use to all the snoring was a bit annoying at times but some evenings it was like a rythm of sounds.
The bottom line is that prison will be what you make of it.
The best advice I can give you that made a difference in our relationship is to keep the line of communication open and prayer.
Make a point of calling them each day, learn to budget your minutes so you can touch basis each day even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Write letters, plenty of letters to show them that you care and that they are always on your mind. Let mail call be a hightlight to them as well as yours to come. Letters are a powerful way to express your feelings and remembered.
Remember also that this will be hard on them as well so do your best to keep them encouraged and pray for them.
Thank you and you are welcome, help is what I want to do.
Bathrooms are private stalls (like at a theater) and the showers are private as well (section to shower and section to dry off and get dressed). The only thing that is in the open is the lavatories, one large area. Everything is cleaned on a regular time frame during the weekdays but they can get pretty nasty on the weekends.
Yes, your children will be fine, there are no bars for them to even see and they will see inmates walk freely on the camp grounds. It would be like them going to see you at work but not allowed to wonder off. The area of visitation is a large room with plenty seating and a small brick fenced courtyard with stone tables.
Yes, Pensacola is nicer because it’s a military base and I only know that because of a friend who was transfered there from Pollock.
Pollock houses on the average of about 100 inmates but please remember that I am basing that fact from the time I was there in 04 and 05. Ther was talk of building another unit that would hold another 100 or so.
No, people who are self-surrendering to a federal prison camp are just processed at the camp and they join the population within an hour or so.
I have heard of what you mentioned but I believe it’s reserved for inmates going to a security prison behind a fence.
There are some occasion when a new inmate is isolated but it’s because of medical reason.
One of the first things the BOP does is give new inmates a physical checkup to know about their health. This will be the time for your brother to explain his situation and medical needs.
Prescribed medication will be provided as needed or it will be administered by a nurse during the morning and evening hours.
While incarcerated I remember of 3 men who had to have surgery and the outcome was good and bad but they survived it. The best way to describe it is socialized medicine, you wait for an available doctor and time.
The prison camp will be better than the detention center because they have better procedures that are already in place to care for the inmates.
I also posted a 5 part series on medical services, please read, it will answer a lot of your questions in detail.
Pollock is a high security federal prison and can house many inmates because it is fairly new (about 10 yrs or more). I’m sorry to say but it’s most likely he will be spending all his time there.
In regards to visitation, he may just be in a probationary period before getting visitors if he just got there. I suggest you call the prison and inquire about the rules and regulations. Lockdowns will usually suspend visitation and always call before going because of surprise circumstances.
I don’t know of any policies that hinder a girlfriend from visiting especially if you are approved to visit, then again each facility has it’s own set of rules.
Best wishes and God bless
Yes, most inmates that have a short sentence actually serve the whole time but that’s only what I have observed. It may be shorten a few days or week because of good behavior but you will know that when the case manager does your paperwork.
Yes, you will be given a job, they place everybody regardless of time. Jobs make the time go by faster.
In regards to finances, as long as there is no court fees or restitution then they will be leaving your account alone but do exercise some moderate amount just to be safe. Do not advertise that you have a large amount to other inmates and monitor your funds by keeping your receipts and deposit information.
Thank you for the great comments regarding the site and you are welcome.
Take care and God bless.
The camp I was in did not have any weights but I have heard inmates talk about other camps that did have them.
Exercise equipment like stair climbers, threadmill and stationary bikes were available. Sports equipment is also provided.
When it comes to exercising, don’t worry because inmates are creative, weights were 2 1/2 gallon jugs tied to a steel bar, rocks in buckets became barbells and soccer goals were the place to do chin ups.
Thanks for the blessing and I have already prayed for your husband.
He will probably only serve 6 years or so with some halfway house time.
My prayer was that your husband will have a good cell mate and one who will respect him as a person, remember that not all inmates are bad. Focus on the good things because dwelling on the bad things will only keep you up at night, trust in God to protect him.
Fights and injuries usually occured between gang members and not the general population.
Yes, he will be challenged on a few things but it’s to establish what kind of man he is and will identify his character as a man.
Be a man of your word, if you tell an inmate your going to do something then do it. Trust will have to be earned so always tell the truth.
Always answer question with a brief answer and do not volunteer information, only answer question you are asked directly, yes or no if possible.
Don’t get involved with gangs, racism or money scams, they all lead to trouble if you pick sides or fail to pay a debt. Be cautious of religious debates.
Rumors spread like wild fire so always verify what you here.
Prison will be what he makes of it, a bad attitude will draw the wrong crowd but a good attitude will draw those that are honest and want to just do their time and go home.
Again, focus on the good things and believe on the prayers that God will protect and provide for your husband.
Thank you and God bless you to, God was with me the whole time and he will be there with you as well so stay focused on Him.
I remember that it was about a week or so before self-surrender that I got a letter from the BOP stating where I was going. So you should be receiving a letter soon and it will say where you are to self-surrender.
With the sentence you mentioned it will most probably be a camp and as to the infomation about good behavior, yes it’s true (give or take a few days or week).
Some people from the Texas area end up serving time in the federal prison camp in Pollock, LA. I know that because that’s where I was and there were a lot of inmates from Texas. I remember inmates talking about Three Rivers and wanted to transfer there but the space was limited.
Again, God bless you.
Great to hear about you wanting to better yourself while in prison, that’s the attitude that will get you through it and come out a better person.
Bring a copy of your high school diploma with you when self-surrendering for your records because anyone who does not have a high school education autimatically get put in GED classes.
Each institution is different in regards to education because of their department resources. The camp I was in just started a computer course and only a small handful were selected due to the amount of computers available. One inmate I knew was doing correspondance courses through the mail. The best thing to do is ask the BOP personnel in charge of education and inquire about the options available.
Your daugther is a great motivator and I believe the best thing you can do for her is to just love her, write her letters or draw her pictures. The key here is to let her know that she is always on your mind and it will equally keep you focused on what’s important. I have a daughter also and the past is not what’s on her mind but a daddy who loves her is, that’s the blessing.
The key to staying out of trouble is simple, be a man of your word, tell the truth, mind your own business, listen to the officers, only give simple answers to question (don’t volunteer information) and watch out for all the inventive schemes inmates come up with for bartering and if you do participate, pay the debt quickly.
Again be a man of your word and keep that positive attitude toward education and your daughter going because they are your strengths, God bless you.
Good question, supervised release is just a matter of following the rules. You are required to fill out a monthly report each month. Basic information like where you live, who lives in the same house, car information you drive, employer infomation, amount of money you make and also a series of questions regarding your daily activities and personal contacts.
Traveling is also simple, you will be allowed to travel freely in the district you are living in but anywhere outside the district there is a travel request form that will need to be filled out. Information as to the destination, how many days, lodging, person visiting, their phone number, vehicle information and person traveling with you.
Good behavior and following the rules does help with getting quick approval for travel request from the PO.
Yes, finding a job is harder because most companies do have policies in place that will not hire convicted felons. If the question is on the application about being a convicted felon then it’s a sure bet that it will tossed out in the weeding out process.
Now as to religious services, yes, the chaplian’s job is to see that your religious rights are respected and provided for. If there is a specific faith you follow is not already provided then contact the chaplain. Religious right is one thing the BOP does not like to interfere with or challenge and inmates respect the others faith and they leave you alone.
No apology needed for all the questions, glad to be of service and remember that your questions and my answers are helping many others that are also curious about prison.
This site is about helping and I want to personally thank you for helping by asking great questions.
Take care and God bless.
Yes, I consider Pollock to be a decent camp. I heard a lot of the inmates say that a prison camp next to a military base was better.
Finding a job is the inmates responsibility. Half way houses are not in the practice of providing job finding services. They will post jobs that are available on a bulletin board but that is the extent of their services.
Do not lie on the application, better to be at peace about the job than always worring if they will find out. Be honest with them, most will understand.
I was able to work right away in our family business. I work in the engineering field doing drafting, design and project management. Jobs I applied for were contract jobs, on site and home base.
To me the prison camp and half way house were about the same, you are still under some basic rules but just a little more freedom, like finding your own job, getting permission to leave the house and more relaxed visitations. It’s a trasition phase between camp and actually being home.
Trust me, it’s worst thinking about it than it actually is, you will be fine. All your fears and anxiety come from thoughts of the unknown. It’s no different than starting a new job with new people and surroundings. Yes, there will be people who will not like you but there will also be people who do like you, is that not the same thing we face daily in society. Be a man of your word, friends and respect will come by being a man of good character.
People will stare at you because you are the new inmate but they are just curious and wondering what you are in there for. Just be honest and give only brief answers as they get to know you. Most of the inmates are in the same position as you and all they want is to serve time and get back to there families.
In regards to your daughter, I understand completely because I have a daughter also and missed her 15th and 16th birthday. The best advice I can give you is to write your little girl often, draw and send her pictures, take photographs (if available) and send them to her. Let her know that you are thinking about her. Believe me, it does not matter the situation you are in, all your little girl desires is that daddy loves her and that you are proud of her. Do you best to express that in everyway possible. You will not be the only father in the prison, check out what the other inmates are doing and watch the love they demonstrate as they share photographs of them.
Now, the best and most important information that helped me is my faith in God. My prayer going in was that God would provide teachers and ministers to help me, how beautifully he answered by sending 3 weekly teachers. God was there waiting for me and each day was fellowship with Him. Praising God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit became and still is my protection, peace, strength and security. I rested in the full assurance that no matter what took place, they could not take my salvation in Jesus Christ.
Prison will be what you make of it. Stay focused on what is important, your faith in God, devotion to family and a positive attitude to better yourself for both.
Take care and God bless.
i am suppose to be going to federal prison in a few
months. i got a 5yr sentence for perjury(lieing under oath). my lawyer said that the D.A. was going to request that i take the drug class that is offered and i have heard that if u take this class and pass that it will be directly fallowed by 6 months in a half way house even though i will enter the program after only being there 2 yrs. do u know anything about that. also im hopeing to go to a camp considering the charge but what scares me is that i have five years. so do u think the fact that i got five years would keep me from going to a camp?
its me again i just have alot of questions and you have the only website i have fond that i can get a direct honest answer from i was just wondering if mabey u knew what kind of jobs they offered women? did you get payed to work? how much did they pay you? how long do you have to be there before they allow u to work. how do u even sgin up to work? well hope to here from u soon
Great questions, thank you.
Restitution; Yes, you could pay it all up front but it’s not needed. If the fee is just $200 with a possible 5 year sentence, let them take a little at a time. Yes, 25% is where they usually start with but that’s all they take, they don’t clear your commissary account. Their main concern is that you pay it before you leave.
Drug program; Yes, taking a drug program does reduce an inmate’s sentence, some up to a year. It’s one of the BOP best programs that they encourage inmates to take.
In regards to being in a camp status depends on the crime but with what you mention it will most probably be a camp. I say that because I have known men with 10 year sentence be in a camp.
Most jobs given to inmates whether male or female are usually associated with prison camp functions like education, grounds keeping, janitorial, food service and maintenance of facility. Yes, you do get paid for the work you are assigned to. I have seen pay range from $20 to about $120 per month depending on your education and skills. Jobs are quickly assigned to inmates as soon as they are cleared from medical. You do however put your name in line for the better jobs as they come available.
Inmates usually serve about 85% of there sentence. Drug programs also reduces time an inmates spends in prison.
Pretty much all camps are considered work camps because camp inmates are used as a work force for the needs of the institution.
Searching the internet will give you a number of sites that will give you the information, here is one that briefly describes each facility http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._federal_prisons
Thank you and blessing to you and your family also.
I agree with each point you made, sound advice and good wisdom.
Thank you so much for your site.
im not good at english.
my brother is inmate .i couldnt receive his collect call.
i cant undersand.
how to get collcect call ..what number should i call back?(from800-913-6097)
Collect calls were not allowed to be made from the phones inmates use.
All phone numbers must be approved and phone accounts setup for inmates to call family members. Each inmate has to have money in their commissary account which they transfer to their phone accounts.
It’s the inmates responsibility to have the phone accounts setup and corrected. I say that because it’s easy to hit the wrong code and have the phones mess up a number.
I hope all is well with you. I originally asked you questions regarding my sentence in December 2008, (COMMENT 65). I was released from the camp in Pollock in September of 2009. It was a breeze. Your information was very helpful. My advice to your fan club is to listen to everything that Rickey is telling you. He touches on alot of important issues. I experienced alot of it myself. Rickey, I am here for you if you have any questions due to the fact that I was recently released from Pollock Prison Camp. Thanks again for this forum, it really helps alot of people. Take care!
Yes, everything is well and praise God, you have been released earlier than we both expected. Thanks for the great comments, you are the first person who contacted me before and after prison camp.
Yes, you can help and I would appreciate your comments to any question you see on the website because this site is about helping by providing the facts.
Again thank you for the wonderful comments and God bless you with prosperity in this holiday season and the upcoming year.
Can you or anyone who has been at the Pollock Camp tell me if there are any Unicor programs available there?
Yes, Pollock camp does have a Unicor program.
Thank you very much for the information. Your site is absolutely fabulous. One more question, do you know what type of Unicor program they have?
The Unicor program at Pollock camp was providing warehouse jobs for the inmates, shipping and receiving for textile industry.
Thank you for the wonderful comment, it’s all about helping, praise God!
Yes, the good time behavior does still apply. I was in during 2004 & 05 and received the credit you mentioned (85%).
Sorry, I have no information about Moshannon Valley CI but some institution do have camps associated next to them and still bear the same name.
Drug programs are the only ones I am aware of the reduces a lot of time (up to a year).
I do remember one inmate who was from another country but he was just in the camp for a short time before he was transfered out to another facility in the US. My understanding is that he will serve his time in the US but afterwards it will depend if he has a residence in the US.
Thank you, your comment is a blessing and inspiration, glad I can help.
The BOP case manager will explain to your husband when his actual departure date will be, he is the one who calculates all the factors.
Sorry, I don’t know how the drug program is calculated but it is a fix program, I was not involved with the program but I heard a lot of inmates talking about it.
The residence I mention is for when he is released because they will want to visit the place where he will be staying, it’s also part of probation and halfway house policies.
In regards to vocational courses, the credit in participating and cooperating will benefit him when he makes request from the BOP staff. A good record of his character and cooperation will win him favors during major decision. For example, I had no hassle with furlough papers, received pay increases of job performance and the CO’s left me alone.
My son is in FCI, Pollock La, and was in the big prison until the last few months , and they transferred him to FCI Unicor.When I ask him on e mail about Unicor, all he says is, it is much better than the big prison. He was in Herlong,and got drawn into seeing a Staff bring in cigarettes,but would not tell on them, so they sent him to Pollock, after they made him do 9 months in the hole in Herlong.
His original sentence was drugs and a planted gun where he was staying in our home town.He got 15 years, of which he has done 10.
Since he was transferred to FCI , Unicor, is this a safer place than the big prison?
Since he won’t talk about anything, other than he makes underware for service people, what is your opinion of FCI, Unicor?
Yes, I believe him to be in a safer place and has a good job because all the inmates want to work for unicor. However, based on what you mention I still believe he is in one of the secured location and not the camp because the inmates in the Pollock camp just maintained the warehouse (shipping and receiving) for unicor.
Do you live in Louisiana? I am in Phoenix Oregon, which is 6 miles south of Medford, Oregon.
I think it is so nice of you to have this site for people to ask questions.
Thank you for the encouraging words, I live in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area now but I am originally from Louisiana.
Your son is probably in the new facility that has been recently built. Back in January 2006 when I left, Pollock was still in the construction phase of a low or medium security facility next door to the high security prison. They might have also increased unicor in that area because of it, lot can happen in four years.
my advise to anyone going in is to be quiet, keep to yourself, and try to stay out of trouble so that you dont get sent around to other pens like i done. if you end up at pollock its because you got yourself sented there. like you said to be honest and to keep your answers short.
I asked my son where he is and he said FCI, Unicor, and it is so much better. he said they don’t even lock them in.I do know he is working for Unicor, and said something about a new building, so guess he will be ok. He is a good worker and does not start trouble.
Thank you for your comments, updating us on recent events and the wisdom of your experience. I wish you the best in locating a good job and the prosperity of starting over. God be with you and may He bless you in abundance.
Yes, he will be fine, having a job also makes things go by much quicker. Please keep us updated on any information that would benefit other mothers and families. God bless you and your son.
Thank you for bringing confirmation of the facts and agreeing with Allen. You both bring experience and sound wisdom for all the concerned families with loved ones in prison. Your comments are welcomed.
I also wish you the best in finding a job and to live in prosperity. God bless!
My son is in Pollock, and has been for over a year now. He was in the big Prison, but now since he works with Unicor, he was moved to less security to FCI. I think it is sort of a new building. He says it is a lot safer there, than where they were always being locked down because someone got in trouble. I think he tries to stay away from those kind of people. He is not a trouble maker, and the Warden told me they moved him to less security because he earned it.Every time he writes me, he seems to be going to watch a movie.I don’t worry about him as much as I did when he was in that regular Prison. You sound like you are doing ok. Hope everything goes good for you and yours.This Ricky has a good site for people like me. I check it out every day or so.
Arlene in Oregon
my bestfriend was transfered to pollock and it was really hard to go and see him cause i have 2 kids and traveling is hard cause money is tight.We have been friends since we were 5yrs. old & I love him with all my heart and we were not really close and he has lost his daughter and sister since he has been gone.Telling him how i felt was really hard cause my heart has been broken.We have gotten really close in the past 2 yrs. We have helped each other in hard times but nw with him being in pollock Isee no way of getting there.So my question is are there any places that help with travling when family is too far away and can’t afford to go see them????
Sorry, I am not aware of any places or programs that help in this situation.
Our hopes were always in prayer, family and friends, God always provided.
thanks for all the info bout camp i am waiting to be sentenced and i am thinking that i will be at a camp in the near future and i was wondering if there is a big gang influence in the camps cuz for a mexican inmate like myself it is hard to stay away from the gang influence most of my family is in some kind of tdcj prison gang but i dont know what to expect in federal prison and do you think it is worth joining a gang cuz i am looking at 18 months to at the most 3 years. well, thanx Ricky for any info you can give about my question!
I remember the first day I arrived in the prison camp because the very first inmate that spoke to me was a Mexican who wanted me to join his little gang. Once he found out that I was an American Indian, he quietly walked off and left me alone. What’s interesting is that the very next person who spoke to me was also Mexican and we became good friends. We were both family men and we shared a similar goal of just doing our time and return to our families.
Gangs are very low key in the prison camps because any sign of gang activity is not tolerated. There was a time when another Mexican attacked another Mexican while he was sleeping, never knew why but the rumor was that they were both from rival gangs. The outcome was that they were both immediately taken out of the camp and we never saw them again.
Men have to be on there best behavior in a prison camp and the officers are looking out for the trouble makers, especially gang members.
My opinion is that you stay away from any gang activity and focus on changing your life for the better, especially if you have a family waiting for you when you get out.
Thanx a bunch for all of your info I have been reading it all day it sucks knowing that I will be in prison soon but your info has prepared me for it and given me a since of relief cause I was expecting the worse like these gladiator prisons over hear in the Texas prison system. And I just received some bad news from my lawyer today it looks like the courts are going to pursue giving me at least 33 months and up to 86 months so I’m pretty bummed out right now but I cant thank you enough your info has helped me a bunch thanx homeboy Ricky!
Thank you, my goal is always to bring some peace of mind to all the question that race in a persons mind. The not knowing part is always the worst but when the situation is finally resolved a person can plan ahead and move on to better their life.
Whatever time is given, remember that only 85% is usually served, there is also halfway house time and there are also drug programs that reduce time by up to a year.
I’d say that all camps are considered work camps but they will vary in types of work and for different sectors in society. Some camps are near military bases which provide services to military personnel, others work for specific industries like UNICOR and others just facility maintanance and services.
Food service is one that’s common to all of them and yes, it is the one most people hate but I have seem many inmates enjoy the benefits of working in the kitchen.
When it comes to jobs, it’s usually the camp counselor who assigns the jobs. Jobs are also assigned based on education and skills. For example, if you completed high school to higher education, most likely they will place you in the education department to teach classes or work in the library. Those with skills like computers are placed in clerk type positions. Technical skills are in high demand and quickly placed
One of the reasons that first time inmate go to food service is because other position are not available. However, always be on the lookout for those leaving certain position and ask to be transfered. Put your name in a waiting list for better positions because they do come up and are available.
Thanks for your fast response. Do you think that I can possibly talk to my counselor on the same day I surrender? Or will they not even care?
The first week or so will be a time of orientation and medical check-up before a work detail is assigned. During the orientation time is when you will be introduced to the camp counselor and other department personnel in the prison camp. This will also be a good time to see where you would like to work because this is like an interview process.
Please remember that not all camps are the same but this is the typical routine and yes, some do care.
Yes, you should because your coming experience will cater to the ladies.
Take care and God bless you as well.
1) I would like to get a job that is either
a) teaches me a valuable skill (car mechanic, welder, etc).
b) has perks like use of a computer, extra food, make inmates treat you better, etc.
c) pays high
AND/OR d) easy & lots of personal time/reading, spend in a/c
what would you recommend (perhaps even something I can train at before I go in)? My education level is graduate level but no technical skills (aside from computers, typing)
1) Jobs are assigned based on a persons level of education and skills, this also reflects the amount of pay which are at different grade levels.
With a graduate level education you will probably be assigned a job with the education department, teaching classes to other inmates or helping out in the library (good area to work in and relax).
2) The drug program is available to allrelated crimes, however do check with the case manager and apply for the program because there is a waiting list.
3) Yes, there are self thought programs available, check with the education department because they will know and be able to guide you in the right direction. Finding someone to practice with will be no problem, making friends is easy and a new language just creates a new avenue that opens the door.
4) Learn Spanish, it will be a great asset. Observation and body language skills will also benefit you. Get a subscription to magazines of interest so you can keep up with the latest news. Yes, you can get correspondence schooling, again just coordinate with the education department for those needs.
5) Telling the truth and being a man of your word gains respect from the inmates. Yes, white collar professions help because inmates are looking for guidance and free help. Talents, education, knowledge of sports and technical skills are good assets.
Please remember that my answers are based on a two year stay at only one federal prison camp in LA.
1) To clarify, each department in the prison camp has a fixed amount of pay grades and budget they work with, education is just one dept. I remember the highest paid jobs for inmates where I was were for mechanics, truck drivers, building maintenance (A/C work) which most inmates wanted but you needed these skills to qualify.
2) I am not sure about this question but I would say yes.
3) All teaching regarding audio programs came from the education department or through the chaplain. They will not allow media mailed to you, however special purchases can be coordinated with education dept.
4) I do not remember seeing ear plugs on the commissary list but I did see inmates who did have them.
5) The price (going rate) is the same for all calls. Money was deducted during each call and funds needed to be in your phone account before calls were made.
6) Exercise was ok, I never saw men doing martial arts of any kind. It would definately attract attention from officers and inmates, I would recommend against it.
The more I think, the more questions I have:
1. How do people clip their finger/toenails?
2. couldn’t you get strangled if you walk around with earphones? Do your sneakers have shoe laces?
3. If you barter can you adjust your fees based on who you are bartering with or is that seen as unfair & dishonest? For example calligraphy for your friends one book of stamps but for others 2.
4. Do you have a maximum number of books you can have at anyone time? Is is possible to send books to donate to whatever prison you are headed to if you have used ones that you want to reread?
5. How big is the locker? what is safe to store next to your bed and what should you put in your locker? And what can you carry around with you; like in count line can you be holding a book?
6. I have read another book which is someone in a different FMC than you & he has talked about the terrible food. Is there anyway to find out the specific “quirks” about the particular prison you’ll be going? maybe even choose specifically which one you go to? Or perhaps a blog site where recently released ex-cons may chat about their experiences?
1) Fingernail and toenail clippers are available for purchase through the commissary.
2) I suppose it could happen but very unlikely, especially in a camp because most of the inmates are wearing them when watching TV.
In a camp the shoes or work boots issued are laced as well the sneakers people purchase.
3) Be honest in everything, bartering is a one time agreement with two individuals, however, providing a service is something different that needs to remain the same.
4) There is no limit on the amount of books, the problem is storing them and looking out for them. I would not recommend sending books to an institution because thay may just throw them away, the best way is to just donate books while there.
5) The location I was in provided us with two lockers, one was 36×24x18 and the other was a portable box 24×18x12. Everyone hung their uniforms and coats near the beds, dirty laundry was also hung in a mesh bag near the bed or kept in the portable locker. Books, toiletries, personal items, commissary items like food etc. were kept in the main locker with a padlock. Yes, I have seen men carry books and paperwork to the count line.
6) I considered the food to be good where I was and on special occasions we had a great assortment. The food is prepared by the inmates most of the time so the quality will vary. Sorry, personally I know of no site that would give that information.