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About Prison Camp Life

Hello everyone,

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 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.

186 Comments to “About Prison Camp Life”

  1. on 24 Aug 2007 at 7:53 pmanthony
    what prison or s” did you go to
  2. on 03 Sep 2007 at 5:10 pmRickey
    I was in only one Federal Prison Camp, Pollock, Louisiana.
  3. on 14 Oct 2007 at 2:26 amkarey
    is there music equipment in camps ?? been a musician my whole life??
  4. on 14 Oct 2007 at 3:11 amRickey
    Yes, the prison camp I was in had a piano, a keyboard, 2 guitars, 1 electric guitar, and sound equipment which were kept in the chapel or recreation room.
  5. on 04 Nov 2007 at 3:06 pmwilson
    How long does it take before you can use the commissary
    make a phone call
    have a visitor
  6. on 04 Nov 2007 at 11:35 pmRickey
    Use of commissary, phone and having visitors happen within a week.
    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.
  7. on 13 Jan 2008 at 5:45 pmEmily
    Thank you so so much for your site.
    Your “words of wisdom” are just that - wisdom, and very valuable, thank you, thank you for sharing!
    One question:
    Is there a difference between federal prison and a federal prison camp?
  8. on 14 Jan 2008 at 2:20 amRickey
    Yes, there is a difference but also some similarities.
  9. on 22 Mar 2008 at 12:39 pmTilly
    I know someone currently in Pollock. He said its very violent. Beatings and stabbings daily. Murders. Said he’s just trying to make it out alive.
  10. on 22 Mar 2008 at 7:20 pmRickey
    Tilly, thanks for your comment and let me clarify a few things.
    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.
  11. on 19 Apr 2008 at 1:03 pmOgden
    I also wanted to ask…. My frieind was told the feds would be taking 50% of any money’s sent into him after 60 days. That means all his freinds and family will be paying for his restitution??? That is wrong…but it may well be true… DianeO
  12. on 21 Apr 2008 at 8:26 pmRickey
    Diane, very good question, yes it is true.
    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.
  13. on 10 May 2008 at 11:44 pmchance
    This is a very good thing you have created Ricky. Their is not many forums to discuss this kind of “life altering’ events. I do appreciate it.
  14. on 11 May 2008 at 2:34 pmchance
    what kind of items were available in the commisary? kind of food, magazines, toiletries, , hobby materials, etc. Also, was their a limit on purchases in the commisary and phone time?
  15. on 12 May 2008 at 12:30 amRickey
    Hello Chance,
    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.
  16. on 19 May 2008 at 12:03 amchance
    Are you from louisiana? The last name looks cajun.
  17. on 19 May 2008 at 4:26 pmRickey
    Yes, I am from Louisiana, Lafouche Parish and the last name is cajun.
  18. on 19 May 2008 at 6:16 pmjerod
    hello rickey,
    i was just wondering, what was the majority of race in the prison that you were in?
    PS: I am doing a reasearh paper on prisons and if there was anything that you could tell me that would help me finish it?
    thank you,
  19. on 20 May 2008 at 1:15 amRickey
    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
  20. on 20 May 2008 at 6:04 pmjerod
    i have another question, so….what were the typical crimes that the inmates commited to go to jail???
    thank you
  21. on 20 May 2008 at 8:01 pmRickey
    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.
  22. on 02 Aug 2008 at 2:48 amkevin
    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!
  23. on 03 Aug 2008 at 2:58 amRickey
    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.
  24. on 10 Aug 2008 at 10:54 pmredstick
    what about furloughs?
  25. on 13 Aug 2008 at 6:57 pmRickey
    Furloughs are becoming a thing of the past. I say that because even though the BOP has some guidelines on the subject, it’s all up to the personal rules and approval of the camp administrator and Warden.
  26. on 13 Aug 2008 at 10:46 pmredstick
    how do you calculate the halfway house time?
    thanks for your help
  27. on 14 Aug 2008 at 3:30 amRickey
    I don’t know exactly but I have noticed based on people in half way houses and those going that it typically works out to be one month for each year an inmate is incarcerated.
  28. on 20 Aug 2008 at 10:31 pmredstick
    do you have any info on oakdale camp?
  29. on 21 Aug 2008 at 3:45 amRickey
    The only information I know about Oakdale camp is that it was about an hour or so drive from Pollock camp where I was and that Oakdale was established before Pollock.
  30. on 21 Aug 2008 at 2:08 pmNelly
    My husband reports tomorrow Aug 22 08 to serve a 6 mth sentence @ the Federal Prison Camp @ Pollock - He also is someone that has never been in trouble with the law - This is very intimidating for all involved - What is everyday life like in the FPC & what priveleges do people have - Like Karey asked above about musical instruments, are there sports options , tennis etc.. & what are the limitations on your activities - Also, what should he expect , I think the not knowing is the worst for all of us , including my husband ! Thanks for the insight that i’ve already read , it has answered a few questions for us already !
  31. on 21 Aug 2008 at 2:18 pmNelly
    I did forget to ask this also, but did you witness anyone or know of anyone who were able to get things pertaining to there business from people on the outside - Not necessarily completely conduct business, but my husband was told he would possibly still be able to receive plans from me for him to still bid jobs - Do you know of this or know where I could find this out ?
  32. on 21 Aug 2008 at 4:14 pmRickey
    Hi Nelly,
    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.
  33. on 29 Aug 2008 at 10:04 pmDianne
    Your site has been very helpful. My brother just left for a five month sentence for Pollock Camp on Monday of this week. How much money will he need while he is there. What do you buy with your money. Can he smoke there?
  34. on 30 Aug 2008 at 3:36 amRickey
    Thank you Dianne, five months will fly by quickly for him. The biggest cost in a camp is the use of phone, I use to spend at least $60 on just phone calls. Commissary was about $10 to $20 depending on the amount of items someone enjoys. The biggest cost in commissary goods is the first couple of weeks because your getting one time items like a padlock, radio, good razor and toothbrush, watch and toiletries which cost me about $50.
    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.
  35. on 03 Sep 2008 at 7:06 pmkc
    My friends son is in Pollock for life. I was wondering if you may have met him in the place, nice to know if someone met him and he was okay, he says he is but then would he say he wasn’t( don’t want anyone to worry about him). His name is Dan Wert. Any info would be great. Also do you know if there is a way to request someone be moved closer to his family, as it is a hardship being 13 hrs from him? Thanks
  36. on 04 Sep 2008 at 12:56 amRickey
    Hello KC, let me first clarify something about Pollock. It’s a high security prison and a prison camp adjacent to it. Sorry but I have not met Dan because he is probably in the high security prison area and not the camp where I was. I’m sure Dan has already put in the paper work needed to transfer closer to home but it’s up to the BOP to decide his case and availability. Pray and hope for the best.
  37. on 10 Sep 2008 at 5:12 amkevin
    hey man im bout to self serrender september 15th i got a lil time to do i was sentenced to misprison felon and considered a non violent offender and this is my first offense which i thinks bullshit and a bullshit charge that i got… but i been reading alot of stuff on pollock and im suppost to be going to the camp not the hard core jail with lifers… and my parents are going nutts reading about all these killings and stuff and i dont want her to worrie and im just looking to hear how is the camp and is there anything i should know not to do and that i dont know…. and i was wondering they dont have boxing in there? im just trying to do my time get in get out im not looking for friends are to talk to anyone in there bc haft my familys been to prison but in state prisons and they filled me in on somethings and im just seeing what its like… thanks for your help
  38. on 11 Sep 2008 at 1:19 amRickey
    Kevin, yes there is a lot of issues wrong with our justice system. Now regarding Pollock, the camp is safe and those who do cause trouble are quickly removed and disceplined. No boxing, fighting is strictly prohibited and those caught are taken out of the camp.
    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.
  39. on 11 Sep 2008 at 5:34 amkevin
    yea i just want to get in get out im far from a trouble maker and i just dont want to get caught up in any of other peoples stuff thats why i said i dont want to be all buddy buddy with someone i dont know because you cant trust noone….and i know one thing never let noone know your real time that you have bc the simple fact when somone that dosnt care and knows your about to get out may try to plant something on you and keep you there you know like my cuzins said just be you and and honor your word… that sux they dont have a boxing program i would def like to have been still doing what i do but i guess ill have to wait for that a couple of years.. sux but ya man thanks for the info and the info on this jail help out alot and helps the rents to calm down… as for me im good it hasnt hit me yet but im sure it will but i dont have problems with noone and i def.. dont want no trouble while im in there i just dont want noone to think they can walk on me are anything are try testing me hope its nothing like that and have no problems but i guess ill find out…. hope all is well for you and thanks again man
  40. on 11 Sep 2008 at 4:34 pmRickey
    Two years went by fast for me, just find something to keep you busy and it will go by quickly. Let me suggest playing handball, great for hand eye coordination and speed.
    Regarding the inmates, you will quickly spot the trouble makers and the rat by observation, then just stay away from them.
  41. on 11 Sep 2008 at 9:30 pmkevin
    yea i understand on that part thats why im in the mess im in bc of rats but ya i draw real good and got a big background of diffrent talents so ill keep bizy and keep my head in books and stay away from trouble… thanks for all the information on this camp and the federal prison life its a big help and god bless i wish the best for you and your family….
  42. on 12 Sep 2008 at 1:54 amRickey
    Thanks for the blessing I receive it and the kind words. Glad to be of help.
    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.
  43. on 12 Sep 2008 at 1:59 amsue
    Are there any drug programs to help reduce time?
  44. on 12 Sep 2008 at 5:00 pmRickey
    Yes there are drug programs available but that’s something inmates have to discuss with the case manager and camp administration at their team meeting while incarcerated. I remember inmates being transfered to other camps for that very issue and their sentence were reduced by a few months to a year. These programs have a waiting list because of curriculum schedules and prison population.
  45. on 19 Sep 2008 at 7:25 pmMark
    My brother is being transfered to Pollock camp from oakdale min after serving about 3 yrs there. He was wondering more about the music equipment and the ability to order something music related if he wanted it. Did you know of or happen to see anyone get new music equipment in there during your stay? Also you didnt mention a drum kit or bass guitar(4 larger strings). Were they there at all? Did some of the inmates acctually form bands and have shows?
    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?
    I know this is a lot of questions. But this is my brother here and I want to get him as much info as I can. Thanks for your time! You are to be saluted for your work here helping the future inmates, transfering inmates and their families understand the issues they face and answering their questions!
    Finally, my brother heard that the food was better there at the max than at oakdale because those guys “stand up and get what they want more often”. How is the chow?
    Playin bass in Houston Texas and missing my brother,
    Everyone check out FAMM (families against mandatory minimums)
    We can all work to change this seriously flawed system!
  46. on 19 Sep 2008 at 7:30 pmMark
    I was not too sure that i made myself clear that he is going to the camp after my comments about the food at the max. But I think he was assuming that you would eat the same chow. Do you guys have your own kitchen?
  47. on 20 Sep 2008 at 3:59 pmRickey
    Hello Mark, Now to answer your questions.
    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.
  48. on 21 Sep 2008 at 8:45 pmMark
    Thanks Rickey,
    I will relay this information to my brother.
  49. on 08 Oct 2008 at 10:07 pmalex
    hey rickey i was given 10 months hopefully in texas well i was charged with tranporting elegals further in to texas this was the first time and i dont have a bad record at all only one moving violation (traffic ticket) well do you think i will be sent ta a camp ps. I have medical problams and the juge said she was going to recamend a medical facilaty . what are those like and what are my chances
  50. on 08 Oct 2008 at 10:27 pmalex
    one more thing my brother was cought with me we both been on bond for about 8 months now and we were finally give a date an we have to self serrender in januarry will it be possable we will go to the same place he also has a clean record like mine thanks
  51. on 09 Oct 2008 at 4:50 amRickey
    Alex, with a first time offense, only ten months and self-surrender. Yes, you can pretty much expect to be in a camp providing this is a federal offense. Unsure about you and your brother being in the same place, never heard of that one before but again with a minor offense it’s possible.
    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.
  52. on 09 Oct 2008 at 3:27 pmalex
    well, i use a c-pap machine and a oxagen tank to sleep its mandatory due to a stroke i had last december of 07 will they let me have that in there with me and tons of medacation my weight is 450+ so hope thats almost a garantee another stroke soon
  53. on 10 Oct 2008 at 1:20 amRickey
    Alex, your medical needs will be a special case for the BOP and they will have to deal with it and yes I believe they will let you have it as long as it’s approved by a doctor. Again, you will be a special case.
  54. on 17 Oct 2008 at 8:00 pmKevin
    I too spent the better part of two years in a federal prison camp. I tried to research everything I could prior to reporting, but the information that was available was scarce, dated, and mostly inaccurate. So much so, I wrote and published my own website when I got out ( I have received mostly very flattering reviews about the site. It’s more than 300 pages with text, PDF forms, and photographs. No scare tactics about “surviving” or other misinformation, but instead relevant information and guidance for those people with no prior “experience” in the federal penal system who simply want to do their time with the least amount of anxiety.
  55. on 01 Nov 2008 at 6:54 pmBrian
    Hi Rickey, Your site is very informative and insightful. I have been convicted of a drug conspiracy and sentenced to serve 27 months. I have a question for you. I noticed that you said an inmate is often judged on his honesty. I received a 5k1 departure for cooperating with the investigation. What do I say to other inmates if I am asked about this? Do I lie and say that I didn’t cooperate or should I be honest? I don’t consider myself to be a “rat” by any means, however I was facing 60 months to 40 years if I didn’t cooperate. While I am incarcerated, I would never dream of snitching on a fellow inmate. Any insights that you may have for me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
  56. on 01 Nov 2008 at 9:04 pmRickey
    Brian, thank you for the kind words and visiting my site. Now to your question. Based on what you mention it’s a reasonable conclusion that you will be in a camp. A lot of inmates are in similar situation of drug conspiracy, so you will not be the only one in that status. Yes, be honest and just say it was a drug conviction and leave it at that and don’t volunteer any other information. Inmates do not usually pry in other inmates business and they will respect your silence. If someone does continue to ask you for further details then it’s best to keep away from them.
  57. on 02 Nov 2008 at 3:25 amLIZ
    My man just got transferred to fci elkton in ohio. When he got locked up, he used his new jersey address. I live in miami and we recently found each other again and the sparks were still there. Our plans are for him to come home to me to miami. How do we get a transfer? I don’t want him to have to go to a hwh in jersey. Can he change his address to mine or will he have to keep that address? His son lives there. Thanx for the info. GOD BLESS YOU!
  58. on 02 Nov 2008 at 8:44 pmRickey
    Liz, glad to hear that the romance is still alive and well. Now regarding transfer, first there has to be room available, usually towards the end of a sentence, inmates are transfered close to their home address or where family lives and then to a half way house close by. The situation you mention is basically starting a new life somewhere else. He will just have to ask the case manager, apply for transfer and explain the reasons why. The BOP questions everything that is not in the guidelines of normal operations but they do bend the rules. Pray and hope for the best. God bless!
  59. on 02 Nov 2008 at 11:52 pmLIZ
    Thanxxx, got another question for you. How much money does he need monthly? He doesn’t want to ask me and I did send him some he was grateful but he felt bad…his tone was sad. He never asks me for anything. I want to take care of him but I heard that if you put too much money in the BOP takes some of it away. I just want to put enough for him. Can he find out it’s me putting money in? His mom sends him $$$ but I want to alleviate her too. Thank you again and may God bless you greatly…this site helps us so much!
  60. on 03 Nov 2008 at 1:33 amRickey
    Liz, thank you for the caring words, my goal is to help and it motivates me to hear when I do. Now to answer your question. Yes, you are right about sending to much money because if he has restitution to pay the BOP will take it out. Sounds like you have a good man to take care of and support is everything so write to him a lot (mail call is the highlight of each day).
    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.
  61. on 03 Nov 2008 at 3:38 amLiz
    Out of curiosity, how does one get approved by the BOP for calls and visits? I called the other place he was at and just asked the girl to add my number. They were giving him a hard time when we got together. They told him that he had to wait a few months to make changes to his lists. Once my number was added, I sent him a letter and he was able to call me. He didn’t add me then for visits because we were waiting on his transfer. Does he have to do a list all over again or just add me? Do they check background? Do they ask me directly by mail? He just got transfered and I called Elkton and they said he couldn’t call anyone from 2 to 4 weeks time. So…..I have insomnia…he used to call me right before I went to sleep. I loved that his was the last voice I heard ever night. Never in my life have I ever paid so much attention to time. I complain that 300 minutes isn”t enough time….and that time doesn’t go fast enough when you’re waiting for your love ones to come home. We fell in love when we were kids in high school. Our moms separated us and it has been 15 years since we’ve seen each other. But once we found each other…it didn’t matter where he was….just that we were together somehow. We always say…”NOR TIME OR DISTANCE CAN EVER TRULY SEPARATE US….IT COULDN’T BEFORE…IT WON’T NOW”. True Love Last Forever!! Sorry that I got sentimental…I just miss him so much.
  62. on 03 Nov 2008 at 4:17 amRickey
    Liz, adding a new number is done by the inmate through a simple form request. Adding a visitor is a form that is sent to you to fill out and then sent back to the BOP for approval. I’ll agree they don’t move very fast. I don’t know what takes place during transfer with records but I do know that each institution has different rules. I don’t think the list is re-done, they are just processing, again they are not in a hurry. Focus on the love you cherish with him, worry and frustration does not accomplish anything. The best therapy is to write a letter and carry on a conversation as though he were there.
    I agree, LOVE can not be stopped because it does last forever.
  63. on 07 Nov 2008 at 8:11 pmdug
    Wondering if you could shed some light on my situation based on your observations. My plea deal was a split 5-n-5, 5 months in, 5 months home detention. Judge instead sentenced me to 1 year and 1 day, which may fit with the luck I’ve had in life. My lawyer tells me its not all bad b/c I’m eligible for parole the minute I hit the door at the institution (wanted Morgantown, but am going to Lewisburg Camp). My question is: In your experience, am I going to do 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, or the full tilt? I was told the 1 day had significance, that it was a message that the Judge really didn’t want me there to begin with, but had to send me. As an Attorney myself, I find this hard to believe, but then again, I never did do much criminal (defense) work.
    Like all the other posts, thanks for your comments. They help take the fear out of this process. Not sure who your forum is more cathartic for, you or us. Thanks again,
  64. on 08 Nov 2008 at 1:38 amRickey
    Dug, based on what I have observed you will probably serve 11 months in camp and one month in the halfway house. The 1 day simply just puts you in another set of guideline rules of the BOP.
    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.
  65. on 14 Nov 2008 at 9:58 pmdasmith7
    Wonderful site. I am self surrendering on 12/9/08. No criminal history, mail fraud - 1st time offense. I am sentenced to 15 months. My questions: (1) Prior to turning myself in, is there a way to find out from my P.O or lawyer whether I will be in the prison or the camp? (2) Also, should I take a money order for commissary or should i have a family member standing by to add money to my account via Western Union? (3) For a 15 month sentence, how much time will I actually serve? I am hearing 13 months. If you could provide clarification, please let me know. May God bless you.
  66. on 15 Nov 2008 at 12:23 amRickey
    dasmith7, you will be recieving a letter or some notice from the BOP as to where and yes, it will be a camp. Take a money order with you, makes things easier to start (be sure to get clear direction for wiring money later). You are also correct about not serving the whole 15 months, it’s more like 14, possibly 13 and about one months halfway house time.
    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!
  67. on 16 Nov 2008 at 12:31 amJanet
    my friend has less than 3 months left in federal prison and has already turned in his halfway papers does this mean he’ll be coming home soon? how long before you actually go to the halfway house and how long is the stay there?
  68. on 16 Nov 2008 at 1:48 amRickey
    Janet, yes, it does mean he is coming home soon. In 3 months he will transfer from prison to a halfway house. As to how much time he spends in a halfway house depends on how many years he was in prison. Roughly speaking, it’s about 30 to 45 days for each year.
  69. on 26 Nov 2008 at 2:27 amKeisha
    Hi Rickey,
    Thank you for setting up this website. Just reviewing the blogs posted on this site has answered a lot of questions for me. My question for you is this, what do you say to comfort a loved one who is incarcerated?
    I ask because a friend of mine is incarcerated and I find myself constantly asking him “if he is ok”, I know it may appear to be a stupid question, because I don’t think anyone can be ok in jail, but I just don’t know how else to comfort him and show him that his family cares.
    Awaiting your advise.
  70. on 26 Nov 2008 at 5:49 amRickey
    Keisha, you ask a very good and caring question, thank you.
    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.
  71. I spent time at an FMC. There was an adjoining camp. We used to look out at the camp inmates at the track with no controlled movements and no razor wire fences and envy them a little. It’s funny how everything is a matter of perspective. I decided to put together a site to help anyone facing time in Federal prison. ( It’s received quite good reviews, but I’m just glad that I have been able to help people. Going to Federal prison is not easy, but equipped with the right information, major mistakes can be avoided.
  72. on 28 Nov 2008 at 4:04 pmRickey
    Jonathan, Yes it is a matter of perspective and how each person looks at it. Answering the very basic question is a joy and a comfort to know that I helped another person learn and a family member be at peace.
  73. on 26 Dec 2008 at 8:25 pmsandy
    I have a friend who is in rochester minnesota and they gave him 30 years. He appeal back in 2003 and i’m thinking they deny his appeal because he is still there. My question is, can he appeal again? is there a way of knowing if he would get out any sooner? i know for Federal Prisons the nights don’t count as days like at the jails, but if they have good conduct, can their sentence be reduce?
    thanks very much for all your help
  74. on 26 Dec 2008 at 11:06 pmRickey
    Sandy, first of all I am not a legal counsel in any way but in my opinion, your friend should have heard something from the courts regarding the first appeal filed (granted or denied). Personally, I would write to the courts and inquire about the first appeal before trying to appeal again but it might be to late. Inmates usually have one year to file a 2255 form which is an appeal process while incarcerated. The court system works differently in every district (state) and the courts may have just dismised the issue or claim they never received the appeal.
    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!
  75. on 30 Dec 2008 at 1:20 amNelly
    First and foremost .. I give a huge THANK YOU to Rickey for this website !! It was a HEAVENSENT finding it the the day or so before my husband self-surrendered to the FPC Pollock back in August of this year !! The immediate questions we had , the curiosities we had and the typical not knowing were all answered !! It was a very scary and upsetting time for all involved !! With the information and help from a former inmate who has in some sense (walked in the same shoes as my husband), I have been able to sort of understand what my husband goes through on a daily basis - So that being said , ANYONE needing information on a FPC or the expectations of a FPC .. this website is the start for you !! To you Rickey .. THANK YOU AGAIN .. you helped Me to find my ability to march on and gather & give the information to others who were just as grateful as myself .. You are one of Gods many Servant’s who has faithfully shown that you can lead the way for others , and we thank you for that !! I hope You & Your Family had a wonderful holiday season ! My new year is beginning wonderfully !! My honey is coming home on January 6 !! Bless You & Your Family !!
  76. on 30 Dec 2008 at 11:25 pmRickey
    Nelly, Thank you so much for those wonderful comments, they have really brighten my day and made it brighter. I am so glad to hear that your husband is coming home soon. I also know the joy of coming home and I ask the Lord to bless that wonderful day for both of you. Praise God!
  77. on 31 Dec 2008 at 1:53 amKjac
    Hi Rickey,
    Great site - as the others, I appreciate this and it’s great to see someone just wanting to help others out.
    I will likely be headed to a prison camp in a few months (waiting on sentencing now) - likely in the 24 month range. I’m trying to do as much as I can now - such as read up on info about camp, prepare my outside life for my hiatus, and plan how to spend my time in camp. My plan is to do a lot of reading to keep my mind off things. A couple questions I had: (1) I have read that someone can send you books from (directly) - it sounds like used books can’t be sent to you by a person or a company online (to save money) - do you know? (2) What other types of items can people send you - directly from sources (I understand people can’t send you items directly - contraband)? (3) What was the typical day like in camp for you (sorry if you already posted this - I looked through the site) - for instance - what time do you wake up, what time does work detail start/end? When was lights out? (4) Any advice for what you wished you would have done differently during your time at camp - sounds like a stupid question, but anything I could learn from you would be great.
    Thanks again Rickey - and God bless you.
  78. on 31 Dec 2008 at 4:38 amRickey
    Kjac, yes most of those have been answered but I believe in personalizing it because I know how you are feeling. So let’s get started. First I want to thank you for your great comments, it’s the one thing that helps me stay motivated, to know that someone is helped. Praise God!
    (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.
  79. on 27 Jan 2009 at 5:20 pmTina
    Hi Rickey!
    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!
    Your Sister in Christ,
  80. on 28 Jan 2009 at 6:25 amtrush
    Hi Rickey,
    I have to report on Feb. 17th to Pollock camp and was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me. (1) I was sentenced to 36 months and I know I get up to 15% off for good behavior-my question to you is once I roughly complete 85% of my time will I have to go to a halfway house or is my time up? (2) I am very athletic and would like to know all of the fitness amenities available (weight room - type of equipment in weight room i.e. stationary bike, treadmill, type of weights- track, b-ball court, etc.) and is there a time restriction on using the exercise equipment. (3) As far as the jobs go, does everyone have to get a job and are all jobs the same; from 7:00 to 3:00 as posted earlier? Thanks a bunch in advance and I feel really blessed to have someone like you around to help with what I’m about to face.
  81. on 28 Jan 2009 at 7:05 pmRickey
    My heart is filled with joy, thank you for those loving words and the inspiration of serving our King. God bless!
  82. on 28 Jan 2009 at 7:29 pmRickey
    (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.
  83. on 23 Feb 2009 at 5:45 amDakota
    Dear Rickey — finally after lots of googling and cryng i have found your site! Thank you so much for providing a much-needed place for loved ones questions.
    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!!
  84. on 23 Feb 2009 at 7:50 pmRickey
    Hi Dakota, thank you for the great comments and I’m glad you found the site. Sorry to hear about your husband, I to was looking for a shorter sentence but they gave me the maximum also. Now to answer your questions.
    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).
  85. on 13 Mar 2009 at 11:10 pmBrandon
    I wish I could say something original to let you know how much I appreciate the peace your website has given my whole family. I self-surrender Tues, March 31. I have not been assigned yet. I have one question for you. Will I be able to take a sheet of paper in with me that has a list of addresses and phone numbers on it, or should I prepare one and have my Mom mail it to me?
    You are changing lives by taking the time to educate all of us. As you well know, as massive as the Web is, there’s almost nothing available to learn about the federal prison system without some sort of ridiculous charge.
    It is my goal to help others out during my 37 months. It is my nature to do so, but you’ve help me realize I, and all this, have far more purpose than rehabilitation.
    Thank you so much,
  86. on 14 Mar 2009 at 12:47 amRickey
    Brandon, your appreciation and thanks are all the originality I need, thank you. The reason I created the site was for the very reason you mentioned, so again thanks for the encouraging comments.
    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.
  87. on 21 Mar 2009 at 12:09 amLynette
    Hi Rickey,
    My friend was sentenced yesterday to sixteen months. I am unfamiliar with the prison world so that’s why I am here. She was intially on parole and was arrested for a possession charge. Her attorney advised me that she will serve 8 months of that sentence. Is that true? My friend also said that she will be in reception, what is that? Will, she be in a prison camp or high security prison? Any help will be appreciated.
  88. on 21 Mar 2009 at 4:59 pmRickey
    Lynette, violating parole or probation can bring forth serious consequences. I have known of one case where a person finished his time in a prison camp, went home, violated probation and then got put in a medium security.
    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.
  89. on 24 Mar 2009 at 12:39 amPatiently Waiting
    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!
  90. on 24 Mar 2009 at 3:55 amRickey
    Patiently Waiting, you are right , I was in the camp next door. As to how bad it gets will be up to him. Prison is what you make of it. For example, the worst case is getting involved with a gang which can result in serious injuries or worst. Best case is that he keeps to himself, be an honest man by honoring his word, do what the guards tell him to do, watch out for the various schemes, turn his eyes from elegal activities (hear nothing, see nothing) and he will be safe.
    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.
  91. on 01 Apr 2009 at 8:50 pmDonna
    My Fiance just went to Pollock in Jan. He is tryin to stay out of trouble by going to school and trying to keep hisself busy. But he made a comment to me that no matter how hard he try’s to avoid problems and keep busy that you can’t always avoid everything. Does that make since? Pollock is currently on lockdown and has been since this past weekend. We put God first in our relationship and I pray constantly that he stay’s safe. Do you know how long they stay on lockdown? I can’t bring up anything as to why they are on lockdown. I see you were in the camp. They are building a new camp too and I think or he thinks that they will send him there when it is finished. He was approved for pre-release. Do you know how long after being approved that he has left?
  92. on 02 Apr 2009 at 1:04 amRickey
    Donna, yes, your first comment does make since because with all the other inmates around you it is hard to stay focused at times and you don’t want to be rude. It’s just a matter of getting in a routine of doing things and politely saying no to certain people.
    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.
  93. on 03 Apr 2009 at 6:51 pmDonna
    Hey Rickey,
    I got another letter from my fiancee yesterday. He says they have been on lockdown since Friday and they are suppose to let them out an hour a day to take a shower. He said they have not let them out at all. I’m sorry but I’ll probably be askin you alot about this because i’m still knew to all of this even though i’ve been by his side since June of last year.
  94. on 03 Apr 2009 at 10:55 pmRickey
    Donna, The downside to prison lockdown is that those innocent of what is going on have to suffer along with the rest, sad but that’s one way how the prison system disciplines the inmates.
    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.
  95. on 04 Apr 2009 at 7:54 amJohn
    Hey Ricky,
    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…..
  96. on 04 Apr 2009 at 3:35 pmRickey
    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.
  97. on 21 Apr 2009 at 6:43 amJamie
    Hi Rickey, I too am quite grateful to you for providing your time to be such an important and well needed resource. I am dealing with a rackateering charge, and have some questions. I have been offered a deal of 10-12 points, which would equate to 6-14 months respectively, and the people have said that if I were to agree to the deal they would argue for the minimum range of the sentenceing guideline (ie either 6 or 10 months). I have no criminal history, and this was a white collar crime. My first question is if the judge will be able to give me an alternative to going to prison such as going to the halfway house, probation, or house arrest. I have a judge that seems to be pretty leinent on other sentences handed down, and I was wondering if the judge first off has the discression to do some kind of an alternative to jail. I have a pretty good defense attorney, he has never lost a case. But this is his first federal case. If the judge does, what would be the likelihood of getting one and does the BOP usually do what the judge suggests along those lines. My next question is if I am sentenced to a work camp, what will my first day or two be like? Will they be like the rest? How does turning myself in work? Are the guards nice? Also, I can get pretty clostrophobic. Can I go outside pretty much whenever? How much space do you have to wonder and go for walks? What are the sleeping arrangements like? Is it cell style or open room 50 some odd beds? I know this is probably a lot of questions, but I really would like to know. And thanks again. God Bless - Jamie (a guy in case you were wondering, or if it’s relevant)
  98. on 22 Apr 2009 at 4:42 amRickey
    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.
  99. on 29 May 2009 at 12:13 amChris P
    Your Website is like no other. I am currently awaiting sentencing, expecting 18-30 months. your words have given me hope that things may be ok.
    My question is a bit different than others, I am married (9 years), and have 2 boys (5 and 6 years old). I am terrified of losing them and was just wondering if you had any words of advice as to how you and your wife made it and what effect this had on your children?
    Any comment would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
  100. on 01 Jun 2009 at 6:32 pmRickey
    Hi Chris,
    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.
  101. on 04 Jun 2009 at 6:59 pmjerry
    How are the bathrooms set up at Pollock? Are they clean?Private?Also how are the showers set up? Are the showers all next to each other were you have to see some one else showering next to you? And are the toilets next to each other also?
  102. on 04 Jun 2009 at 7:01 pmjerry
    Thanks for all your help! God Bless you..
  103. on 04 Jun 2009 at 7:50 pmjerry
    Is it a place where you want your children to see you? Is it set up to be kid friendly? I was reading another forum about the pensicola camp and they said it was a great place for your family to visit. Some even posted it didnt seem like a prison at all! They wrote that there was huge park and area for you and your family to spend time together and eat ice cream and play games. There experience there was very good. What do you think about Pollock? Does it seem like a prison to the family? Also how many inmates can it hold? Thanks again for your help. I was hopeing to go to Pensicola but they are sending me to pollock.
  104. on 05 Jun 2009 at 4:04 amKevin
    I’ve been reading that some people are thrown in the SHU or Hole for up to a month when they firs SS. Is this true? I know this did not happen to you, but did it to others that you heard about?
  105. on 05 Jun 2009 at 4:14 amRickey
    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.
  106. on 05 Jun 2009 at 4:26 amRickey
    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.
  107. on 18 Jun 2009 at 8:36 pmJanee
    Wondering if someone who has been in a federal prison camp in the USA can give me some information.
    My brother is currently in the process of surrendering himself to a prison camp as I am writing this. He is very scared , because he has chronic severe pain in his spine that he was trying to get surgery for before having to report, but he ran out of time. Can you tell me a bit about the medical care situation. I am hoping for some reassurance. That is his biggest fear, being in there with no help for the pain. He is has been taking narcotic drugs for the pain all the time, and we know that they are not allowed there, so we are hoping also there is still a possibility of getting surgery or at least some type of pain management. He was in a detention center before that was over crowded, and I keep telling him that there will be better medical care where he is….or it is just talk, and once someone gets in there, they are just left to suffer?
    Anything you can tell me would be very appreciated. I am very sad right now. He is serving a 9 year sentence to a non violent first offense, because he had a bad public defender that basically didn’t represent him.
  108. on 19 Jun 2009 at 1:40 amRickey
    Hello Janee,
    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.
  109. on 19 Jun 2009 at 7:11 pmashley
    hello, my boyfriend got 18 years and is in the federal correctional institution in pollock and i was just wondering if he will do all his time there cause we are from waco tx and thats a six hour drive…. i went to go see him but they wouldnt let me but im on his list we have a child together but they told me i might not be able to see him cause we are not married is this true? thanks for ur time and help
  110. on 20 Jun 2009 at 1:24 amRickey
    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
  111. on 17 Jul 2009 at 2:58 amchad
    Hello - I will be self surrendering next month for 4 months @ the McKean camp in Penn. Because it is a short sentence should I assume that I will have to be there for the full 4 months? Do you think I will be given a job? I was also given a 4 month house arrest after prison - so no halfway house? I was not ordered to pay any restitution - do I need to worry about the amount of $ deposited in my account each month? Thank you for your assistance - the information that you have taken the time post on this site is a God send!
  112. on 17 Jul 2009 at 4:45 amRickey
    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.
  113. on 18 Jul 2009 at 4:47 amchad
    Thanks for the info - One other thing I meant to ask - do the camps have weights/exercise equipment? Thanks again!
  114. on 18 Jul 2009 at 3:35 pmRickey
    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.
  115. on 25 Jul 2009 at 9:54 pmNikki
    Blessings to You Ricky,
    I have so many questions, my husband is 26 years old and they have sentenced hin to 7 years at USP Polluck on Conspiracy charges his first offense and they say since he had fights in his background he would have to go to a USP-and I am so worried since I read that he will be celled with another inmate- and he is very passive, he will fight but this is a new expierience for him- he is worried about someone provoking him to fight and he is worried that it will be racial gang tension since he is biracial mixed with black and mexican and even though when he talk he sounds black but looks hispanic- oh my god again we are afraid of older inmates with nothing to lose trying to rape him - or his celly trying to rape him or even worse him being killed. He is not one to just start fights with anyone- I know you were at the camp but is there ANY ANY advice you can give him regards to the rapings of new young inmates and the killings and gang problems on the USP side and how to avoid them he has never been to prison this is his first go round- and we are worried- right now he is in ftc oklahoma waiting to be transferred to USP Polluck- please pray for us and how much time does 85% reduces to on a 7 year sentence??
    God Bless You and Your Family!
  116. on 26 Jul 2009 at 1:45 amRickey
    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.
  117. on 27 Jul 2009 at 7:48 pmNikki
    Thank you Ricky I will write him and share your words- Thank you so much and may God continue to bless you in doing the good things that you do for people like myself and others..
  118. on 02 Aug 2009 at 2:14 amISMAEL
  119. on 02 Aug 2009 at 7:07 pmRickey
    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.
  120. on 08 Aug 2009 at 6:23 amISMAEL
  121. on 08 Aug 2009 at 6:24 amISMAEL
  122. on 09 Aug 2009 at 1:17 amRickey
    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.
  123. on 15 Aug 2009 at 4:53 pmISMAEL
  124. on 16 Aug 2009 at 5:14 amRickey
    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.
  125. on 16 Aug 2009 at 7:43 pmISMAEL
  126. on 17 Aug 2009 at 12:28 amRickey
    I believe it will go smoothly for you because of your positive attitude. Prison will be what you make of it, use the time wisely.
    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.
  127. on 19 Aug 2009 at 5:48 amISMAEL
  128. on 19 Aug 2009 at 3:08 pmRickey
    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.
  129. on 19 Aug 2009 at 8:02 pmISMAEL
  130. on 19 Aug 2009 at 8:03 pmISMAEL
  131. on 19 Aug 2009 at 10:39 pmRickey
    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.
  132. on 26 Aug 2009 at 6:13 amISMAEL
  133. on 26 Aug 2009 at 4:41 pmRickey
    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.
  134. on 10 Sep 2009 at 2:04 amashton
    i think i am suppose to $200 in restitutions can i just pay that when i turn myself in so that the BOP wont take my comisary money or will that still find some reason to take 25%
  135. on 10 Sep 2009 at 1:52 pmashton
    hi Rickey
    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?
    Thank you,
  136. on 10 Sep 2009 at 10:55 pmashton
    hey ricky,
    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
    thank you
  137. on 11 Sep 2009 at 3:19 pmRickey
    Hello Ashton,
    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.
  138. on 01 Oct 2009 at 4:46 pmsteve
    Any updates coming soon? Its been a few months since you posted anything and I seriously value any information your posting so I can prepare before I goto a camp next year.
  139. on 02 Oct 2009 at 1:18 amRickey
    Yes, I do have other posting to put up, I have just been busy with other things and only answering questions as people ask. Thanks, I consider this a wake up call for me to get busy writing.
  140. on 14 Oct 2009 at 5:20 ampatti
    have a husband in Forcht Wade– he’s been transferred around and says he’ll be moving again in 6 wks to work release. He has a 10 yr sentence…. I know they can get out early because of good behavior, but seems a bit too soon, given that he was just sentenced in Jan ‘09. is this possible, or he be going to a work camp, which I have heard about exist in Louisiana and have bad reputations? How can I find out where these work camps are? You are doing a great service, helping folks like me understand the system a bit better! thanks for being here and I hope you are doing well.
  141. on 14 Oct 2009 at 8:13 pmRickey
    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
  142. on 22 Nov 2009 at 7:45 amPete M.
    Hi Ricky - great site - a special thanks and God Bless - I too made it out but from the State side - one thing I urge all your readers to never do while inside is 1. Never Gamble or Wager - 2. Never Borrow or Lend (to those not worthy) and 3. Steer clear of drugs and pruno - 4. Keep excellent track of your time - all your good days and bad. Learn from both of them.
    Again - you have a simply fantastic site. I also sat down one night and penned an abstract that turned into a full fledged book. Writing my book about my prison experience really helped to get a lot of things off my mind - I urge everyone to keep a journal, no matter how insignificant the day may be - it often cleanses the soul to write.
    The book is at - good luck to all and Ricky, again, thanks ~
  143. on 22 Nov 2009 at 2:03 pmRickey
    Peter M.
    Thank you and blessing to you and your family also.
    I agree with each point you made, sound advice and good wisdom.
  144. on 22 Nov 2009 at 11:46 pmlilly
    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)
  145. on 23 Nov 2009 at 2:01 amRickey
    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.
  146. on 11 Dec 2009 at 1:41 pmdasmith7
    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!
  147. on 11 Dec 2009 at 4:29 pmRickey
    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.
  148. on 17 Dec 2009 at 11:34 pmRita C
    Can you or anyone who has been at the Pollock Camp tell me if there are any Unicor programs available there?
  149. on 18 Dec 2009 at 5:18 amRickey
    Rita C,
    Yes, Pollock camp does have a Unicor program.
  150. on 18 Dec 2009 at 5:47 pmRita C
    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?
  151. on 18 Dec 2009 at 9:09 pmRickey
    Rita C,
    The Unicor program at Pollock camp was providing warehouse jobs for the inmates, shipping and receiving for textile industry.
  152. on 16 Jan 2010 at 4:22 amKeshia
    hello. I, and I’m sure everyone else on this site, appreciates the time you take to answer questions in such detail. Thank you for that. My husband was sentenced on dec 3rd for wire fraud. sentenced to 56 months (85% credit 47.6 months). the judge recommended a camp in PA and an AA program. they took him in at sentencing to albany county jail, then on the 6th of January he was transferred to the Brooklyn MDC. He was told that he would be going to Moshannon Valley CI, in Philipsburg PA, in about a month. i cannot find any info on this place. Do you know the difference between a CI and a Camp? Also, was the “good behavior” credit eliminated in 1997? Is there anything else in the prison, other than completing the AA program, that grants credit? Lastly, and most importantly, he is a Canadian citizen who was visiting the US when he was arrested. What happens to non-citizens regarding working in the prison, and being released earlier to go into a half way house? Since he cannot work while in a half way house, do they send him back to Canada, or do they keep him locked up instead? This was a first time offense, no violent history. Do you know anyone who was ever transferrred back to their country to serve their time? Hope this wasn’t too overwhelming. Looking forward to hearing back from you.
  153. on 16 Jan 2010 at 5:55 amRickey
    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.
  154. on 17 Jan 2010 at 12:17 amKeshia
    Hi Rickey. THank you for your prompt response. So, the good behavior is the 15% credit? Didn’t really know what the 15% was for… Do you know how the drug program credit is calculated? I understand it’s up to one year, but how do we determine what it is? Your comment about “it will depend if he has a residence in the US” is about the half way house? Thanks again! You should be commended for the time you take to answer this blog!
  155. on 17 Jan 2010 at 12:19 amKeshia
    Sorry Rickey, one more thing. So, just to clarify… any vocational courses do not classify for credit. Is that correct?
  156. on 17 Jan 2010 at 3:09 amRickey
    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.
  157. on 29 Jan 2010 at 2:45 pmArlene Sherwood
    Hi Rickey,
    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?
  158. on 29 Jan 2010 at 6:18 pmRickey
    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.
  159. on 29 Jan 2010 at 6:55 pmArlene
    I do know he is not in Max security, but the next down. he said he runs a top stitch sewing machine,and is in FCI, Unicor. I never ask him questions .He did say he thought the inmates they put there are not the violent ones, and when they have lockdown, he is not locked down.He said he sure does not miss that.I know recently there was an inmate killed in the big prison, and he said it was in lockdown, but not where he is.I know his P.O. Box changed to 2099 in Pollock, if that means anything.
    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.
    Thanks again
  160. on 29 Jan 2010 at 7:50 pmRickey
    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.
  161. on 30 Jan 2010 at 7:13 pmAllen
    great site brother. i done 9 years in pollock and got out 3 months ago. started my bid down in florida but got into some trouble down there a few times and ended up gitting sent to Pollock I guess as punishment. realized that most of the inmates there were either violent lifers or guys like me who could’nt follow the rules at other places. most of the assaults, stabbings and killins i seen was because of gangs. either they was killin a dude frum another gang or they was stabbin up one they own for some dumb reason.
    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.
  162. on 30 Jan 2010 at 8:22 pmArlene
    Hi again Rickey,
    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.
  163. on 31 Jan 2010 at 1:30 amRickey
    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.
  164. on 31 Jan 2010 at 1:37 amRickey
    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.
  165. on 02 Feb 2010 at 8:38 pmRick
    Awesome website and very accurate and helpful. Just like Allen wrote a few posts before mine I too ended up serving out the rest of my time in Pollock because of my own stupidity and poor decisions which is how we all end up in jails anyway. For me Pollock was a wakeup call because I saw it as kind of the end of the line. Either you were like the Allens and me and you got sent there because you was just a troublemaker at other places or because your a violent inmate with no chance of ever getting out. I think when I got to Pollock it took me a few months before I realised how lucky I was that I had an out date. Unlike many there who will leave that place in a pine box, either because they was killed or because they just plain old died. If you keep to yourself and hang out with likeminded inmates you’ll end up ok. If you hang with the gangbangers and the lifers then you’ll never learn and you’ll either end up there for the rest of your life or you’ll end up another guy getting knifed. Hopefully for the people on here who have loved ones that got sent to Pollock that their loved ones get to finally open their eyes and realize that they gots to stop messing around wherever they at.
  166. on 03 Feb 2010 at 12:16 amRickey
    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!
  167. on 03 Feb 2010 at 1:57 amArlene
    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
  168. on 04 Apr 2010 at 3:16 amBetty
    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????
  169. on 04 Apr 2010 at 4:35 amRickey
    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.
  170. on 07 May 2010 at 9:22 amcheap ghd
    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.
  171. on 07 May 2010 at 5:23 pmmatt
    whats up Ricky,
    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!
  172. on 08 May 2010 at 2:52 amRickey
    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.
  173. on 08 May 2010 at 3:28 ammatt
    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!
  174. on 09 May 2010 at 12:31 amRickey
    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.
  175. on 10 May 2010 at 6:25 pmDenise
    Hi Rickey,
    I want to thank you for all your helpul info, being that I’m facing 3 years in Coleman Satellite Camp (women). It’s my first offense and first time (and last) in this situation and you’ve answered so many questions. I wanted to ask you one remaining question that I’m still unsure about. I’ve heard that Coleman is a working camp (I’m not sure if all camps are working camps), but I was told by a friend that unless I request a job I will most likely be placed in the kitchen being that all newbies are placed to work in the kitchen. I know that the worst place to work is the kitchen so I’d rather NOT even go there. I wanted to ask you if indeed it is possible to request upon surrendering where or what you would like to work in. If so,……who do I speak to? Do you have any suggestions or advice in regards to this issue? Thanks in advance for your help.
    God bless you!
  176. on 10 May 2010 at 11:51 pmRickey
    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.
  177. on 11 May 2010 at 2:00 pmDenise
    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?
    Thanks so much for your help.
  178. on 11 May 2010 at 6:02 pmRickey
    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.
  179. on 11 May 2010 at 6:06 pmDenise
    Thanks you so much for your fast response! God bless you and I hope that when I get out I can help other just like you’ve helped so many people.
    God bless you!
  180. on 11 May 2010 at 6:13 pmRickey
    Yes, you should because your coming experience will cater to the ladies.
    Take care and God bless you as well.
  181. on 18 May 2010 at 5:57 amT
    Appreciate the site. Preparing for prison, so have a couple of questions.
    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)
    2) my charge is conspiracy to distribute controlled substances would I still be able to do the drug program to reduce sentence? Any other programs to reduce?
    3) I was thinking that learning a language (like Spanish) would be a great way to spend the time. Can you listen to language tapes, use flashcards, have many books? How would you approach other inmates about practicing with them?
    4) what other courses/training or other programs you would recommend either before you go in or while in? Someone told me you could get a law degree???
    5) is there a skill or other training you could have that would make your fellow inmates lay off you? someone told me the tax accountants & attorneys do okay…
    Well, I really appreciate your answers, bless you!!!
  182. on 19 May 2010 at 6:11 pmRickey
    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.
  183. on 20 May 2010 at 2:08 amT
    Thanks so much again for your thoughts. Your family are truly lucky to have you in their lives.
    1. So just to verify teaching others might be the best paid job in the camp? What was the highest paid “position” in the camp or the job everyone wanted? Perhaps doctors? or psychologists?
    2. The drug program applies even if you are not a user or former user yourself?
    3. And about listening to language tapes/mp3/CDs? would we be able to get or get sent our own?
    4. Regarding the snoring, ear plugs allowed? sold at the commissary?
    5. About the calls are they 32 cents even if long distance? I think that a the camp I’ll be in is going to be another state than my family & friends.
    6. I know fighting is not allowed but how about practicing martial arts or doing routines/kata out on the track by yourself? I would think not but thought I’d ask.
    So sorry about all the questions but you are such a great resource and I definitely would prefer asking you versus someone on the inside. God bless you & yours. I appreciate it.
  184. on 20 May 2010 at 7:28 pmRickey
    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.
  185. on 22 May 2010 at 1:25 amT
    Thanks for the rapid response.
    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?
    Thanks again for all the time answering our questions. I really owe you one.
  186. on 22 May 2010 at 7:32 pmRickey
    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.


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