first days in prison

6/12/21: My First Days in Prison

It is Saturday morning and I am sitting in my room at Yankton Federal Prison Camp. Still in quarantine and will be here for at least 14 more days, but more like 16. They run a Covid rapid test at medical the moment you arrive. Pending a negative, you go to quarantine. You are then tested at 14 days and must wait 2-4 days for a negative test result and transfer to general population. Even if you are vaccinated.

It is a beautiful day, as every day has been. It is late Spring in the Midwest–everything is green and the birds are chirping. I thought that would make things better but it is harder because we are not allowed outside. Even with a mask on. Even for a short amount of time. I feel for the inmates here who have been imprisoned since Covid began. No one on the outside should ever complain about “Covid Restrictions”, as what they deal with compared to inmates is negligible.

I am thrilled to enter the general population and have zero fears or hesitation about doing so. No one reporting to a camp has anything to fear in regards to their safety. Everyone on my quarantine floor is in here for either meth, crack cocaine, guns or violence…or a combination of the above and I truly feel comfortable around them. I enjoy our limited room to room conversations and I think they are all good people at their core–they just made bad choices. They have offered me things or left things outside my door as I still have not yet been able to access commissary. There are no aggressive pay back rates or interest rates, just humans being kind to one another.

I almost filed a motion to stay my sentence pending my appeal. Someone told me you don’t want to go if you don’t have to. I now further understand that statement in a way I could not before. Being in general population will be manageable and there will be ways to find joy in the days. However, being home with your loved ones needs to be appreciated in ways most people can’t fully comprehend. If you are ever indicted do whatever you can to plead out quickly, prepare a plan for sentence mitigation and get probation or home confinement. You cannot fully grasp what you have until it is taken away. Please don’t underestimate it.

By the time most people read this blog, quarantining will be done in the BOP and these challenges will not have to be dealt with. I think the bigger challenge for most people will be preparing for a successful release. So far, I have met with both my counselor and the staff psychologist. I felt that both of them were very genuine in terms of their desire to help to guide those who are looking to prepare for success. The camp has the resources available to those who are willing to put in the effort, but preparing for success will take a lot of effort. Luckily, I have lots of time and a strong desire.

I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of a copy of my 2 year plan (which was taken from me at check-in) and more reading material. No excuses though; I remember the main tenets of the plan and many details as well, so I am trying to accomplish as much as I can with what I have.

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