Showing posts from February, 2019

Clothing in a Federal Prison Camp

One of the things about clothing in a federal prison camp is that every inmate wore the same color of pants and shirt each and every day. Each camp or prison may vary in color of inmate uniforms but it was still polyester/cotton twill. The unique thing about clothing was that the uniforms were made by the inmates, either at that location or another prison location. I’ll have to give the prison system an A plus on that one because as a business owner, I considered that very efficient and practical.

Showers, Restrooms and Toiletries in the Federal Prison Camp

Among the clothing provided as I mention in an earlier post. Basic toiletries were also provided, items such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, comb, soap, shampoo, cheap razors, shower shoes, toilet paper, washing detergent and towels along with bed linens. These items however were off brand and generic to say the least. Thank God for the commissary. The commissary provided name brand toothpaste, quality toothbrushes and razors, an assortment of shampoos and deodorant soaps. Hair and other body products were also available. Inmates maintaining proper hygiene was not a problem, in fact inmates who didn’t follow proper hygiene would find toiletries on their beds as a reminder from the other inmates.

Sports in the Federal Prison Camp

Competition was very much alive and well in the federal prison camp. Getting involved in sports was one of the primary activities which brought escape to an inmate because for an hour or two they focused on winning the game and nothing else mattered. The prison camp administration knew this very well and always encouraged the playing of sports by providing the necessary equipment for the events. There were officers in charge of the recreational department and seemed to have an endless budget to work from, it was that important.

Weekends in the Federal Prison Camp

Weekends are one of the most boring times in a federal prison camp and at the same time it can be one of the most exciting because of visitation. During a five day week an inmates work detail keeps him occupied and the evening is a time to just rest for the next day so the time passes quickly. When the weekend comes there is nothing to do but hang around the camp and find something to past the time.

People in the Federal Prison Camp

People who are incarcerated quickly go from modest citizen to prison inmate. No matter if you have been falsely convicted of a crime you did not commit, part of a conspiracy, pled guilty due to intimidation or just plain guilty. The minute you step foot into the federal prison camp you are labeled as an inmate and given a number identifying you as such.

Other People in the Federal Prison Camp

The other people I want to share with you are the ones in administration, correctional officer (guards), chaplains and the warden. Let’s start with the warden. The federal prison camp which I was in also had a high security prison next door where the warden’s office was. He was in charge of the camp and prison.

Rats in the Federal Prison Camp

Today I want to warn you of something you need to be aware of in the federal prison camp and that’s rats. I don’t mean the four legged kind even though there are a few of those as well but I am talking about the two legged kind. Basically a rat is someone who tells on someone else to benefit their own agenda or comfort. They are the one’s who speaks or testify against a friend, a coworker or just looks for opportunity to inform the authorities for their own gain and shorter sentence. Sad, but this rat or rats is alive and well in every prison camp. The camp is sort of a protection for them because this person would not survive long in the high security prisons.

Education in the Federal Prison Camp, Part 2 (observation)

In my earlier post of education in a federal prison camp I talked about what was available for self taught education and what was mandatory by the BOP through their education department. Now I want to tell you about the education you receive by observing the other inmates and all their diverse backgrounds and cultures. Inmates in the prison camp came from all sorts of professions and the courts showed no partiality, drug dealers to corporate lawyers, truck drivers to business owners, pastors, insurance salesman, real estate investors, policeman, musicians, etc. I even met a man who had a license to catch snakes, frogs and other amphibians at night and sold them to the zoos for income. What an educational experience that was.

Volunteering in the Federal Prison Camp

There will be times in the federal prison camp where you can volunteer to help other inmates, the BOP (bureau of prisons) prison staff and correctional officers. My suggestion is that you know what you are getting yourself into before volunteering. I say that because other inmates are watching and suspicion is a doorway to a lot of bad and good things. It’s best to just not volunteer for anything until you have observed everything yourself for a while.

Count Time in a Federal Prison Camp

The words “Count Time” is a shout every inmate hears from the correctional officers during the day and evening. Inmates are generally counted four times throughout a 24 hour period. The main count is taken at 4:00pm. When count time is called, every inmate reports to a designated spot on a line, usually there in a number painted on the floor that match your bed number. During this count an officer is coming by with a book that has everyone’s ID and number assigned to them by the BOP. Each inmate calls out his last name and number assigned when the officer comes by while another officer is taking a head count.

Fourth of July in a Federal Prison Camp

Do inmates get a chance to celebrate the Fourth of July? The answer is yes they do. Like most Americans who gather family members and friends for a cook out at a local park and a time of games and other sport activities. Inmates in the federal prison camp do the same as the smell of charcoals burning brings fond memories with family.

Tattoos in a Federal Prison Camp

One of the things that a federal prison camp is never in short supply of is inmates with tattoos, ranging from very detailed works of art to some unusually tactful images. Personally I do not have tattoos and fail to see the attraction why people would have something permanently marked on their body especially when it’s something of poor taste.

Visitation in a Federal Prison Camp, Part 1, The Inmate

Visitation from a wife, a family member or a friend is one of the inmate’s most favorite and welcomed time during a weekend and especially holidays. It is very obvious by the excitement in most inmates when they are going to receive a visit. The sign of boots being polished and ironing of clothes is a sure bet that they are expecting someone the next day. Even the morning of the visit, inmates wake up early and begin their ritual grooming, dressed in clean pressed clothes, neatly shaven and wearing cologne.

Visitation in a Federal Prison Camp, Part 2, The Visitor

People who come to visit loved ones in a federal prison camp must also adhere to certain guidelines. They must first be approved by the BOP and camp administration, this occurs in two different ways. First let us look at the immediate family members, such as the spouse, children, parents and siblings. They are listed on the inmates PSI which is a pre-sentencing report that is filled out during or after an inmate’s trial. The PSI is where the inmate has listed all his close family members and they are automatically approved to visit because this report remains with the inmate through out his time in the BOP.

Visitation in a Federal Prison Camp, Part 3, The Visit

Once the inmate has been cleared and the guest visitor is approved they can now visit in the area designated. This area is a large open room with plenty of seating, vending machines, and no privacy from others, it was like being in a hospital waiting room with all the noise of talking around you. Fortunately the camp I was in had an outdoor area attached with park like tables, benches, and umbrellas which made it very nice during spring and fall.