Call-outs, Cop-outs, Change Sheets and Shots

These words come up daily in prison. In light of this, I am sharing the ideas behind them so you all can appreciate a small aspect of how a day here goes.

There is a bulletin board located outside the officers station that houses information pertinent to all inmates. On it, daily updates are posted of where everyone needs to be, when they will be there, and for what purpose. It’s like your daily calendar – but open for the entire world to see.

Call-outs: Think of this like an appointment. You’re enrolled in programming Thursday mornings from 8am-10am, you’ll see it on the call-out sheet. Same goes for a medical appointment, psych eval, dental appointment, meeting with a case manager, etc. If you need to be somewhere at a certain time, this is how you know. Miss your appointment or forget to check the call-out sheet and you’re paged over the compound wide intercom system.

Change-sheets: Once it’s on here, it’s official. Starting a new job? You don’t start until you see it posted on the change sheet. Moving bunks and you didn’t want to, or didn’t know it was going to occur? Well, you’re moving today and no amount of whining is going to change it. Say hi to the person you now sleep above. Any lasting changes show up here.

Inmates like to let each other know when they have a call-out or show up on the change-sheet. It’s like the reading police beat in the back of your local paper except it’s not whose in trouble, it’s what they’re up to. Very random but it’s definitely a thing.

Cop-outs: This is an official request. It took me a minute to soak this idea in but around here it is ill advised to simply ask for anything other than the most minor of requests. Questions or concerns need to be documented. If it’s not documented, you never asked. Cop-outs are a way to communicate with staff and not have conversations where you end up saying “but we spoke about this last week and you said…” Sorry bud, you’re an inmate and you’re wrong. That conversation never happened…unless there’s a cop-out. Want to ask a question? Write it down, submit, and wait up to 30 days for a response.

Shots: You’re already in prison and you found yourself in trouble yet again. There are series 100, 200, 300 and 400 shots with 100 being the most severe and 400 being the least. 100 series shots result in being sent to the SHU (segregated housing unit) and most often getting shipped to another prison. Caught with a cell phone, drugs, tattoo gun, needles, a weapon or fighting – you’re about to enjoy life a lot less. You can spend up to three months in the SHU while an investigation occurs before being shipped around the country and not knowing where you’ll end up let alone when you’ll get there. But you can assure yourself it’s a higher security prison.

When you’re names on the the call-out, show up. The change-sheet, deal with it. Cop-outs, better advised to ask less questions. Shots, avoid them.

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