6/14/21: First Week in Prison

What Grade will you Give Yourself?

It is Monday, June 14. I’m having a hard time admitting this but I am in really high spirits today, maybe even enjoying myself. I have given in to the circumstances of my situation and am doing what I can to stay busy, productive, and relaxed. All of my hours and days may not have this attitude but when you feel positive you have to go with it. 

One of the other people in quarantine with me was in a really good mood and it was my second day here. I asked him how he manages to be so enthusiastic amidst such circumstances. He replied, “All I’ve got left is my enthusiasm, the Feds took everything else”. That is likely the heaviest yet most uplifting thing I have heard about moving forward.

That person, along with 7 other guys, moved out of quarantine and into the main compound today. I thought I would be jealous of them but instead I was simply happy they got to go enjoy the outdoors–they put in their time. All of them have been up here for 19 days, and all came from a low security prison. All of them have already served more time than the entire duration of my sentence here at Yankton.

Once they all left, I decided to clean my room and theirs. After all, there is no housekeeping here. The whole task took about 3 hours and ate up a nice chunk of my day. I even used an industrial floor buffer…my floors are beaming. Due to the low number of people quarantining it is extremely likely that no one will occupy that room for the duration of my time in quarantine.  But when I’m on compound, enjoying all the privileges afforded to us, someone is going to be starting their first day in quarantine and hopefully their transition is easier because their room is clean.

After the guys moved out there was a “The Walking Dead” post-apocalyptic vibe where we put on our masks and went to see if anything good was left in their rooms. A couple books, a National Geographic magazine and a couple apples. I was actually pretty enthused about the apples; I left one of them for someone else. We all share pretty well. 

Before I came in I read horror stories of people “giving” you things to get you settled. But then charging high interest rates and wanting to be paid back at least double. That hasn’t been the case for me at all. Everyone, at least in my limited experience and interactions, is looking to help each other out. My most prized possession at the moment is a pair of used shower sandals that are 2 sizes too large. They are quite comfortable, especially when compared to our BOP issued work boots. If you know me, you know that “Scott Laney”, used “shower sandals” and “most prized possession” aren’t 3 combinations of words you thought you would hear from me. But here we are–and I”m smiling about it.

Quarantine isn’t even halfway done yet but I’ve turned a corner and am making the best of it. I got blindsided by the news of needing to quarantine because I’m vaccinated, so I thought I wouldn’t have to. Those first 24-48 hours were rough, but I’ll make it through the rest of this. Either way, it will come to an end and I would prefer to look back and think “yes, that was somewhat miserable, but I didn’t let it destroy me.”

So I’ll give myself an A. Not quite an A+, but it’s an A I’m proud of. 

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