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Prison Diaries

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They are really slow with approving phone numbers. I’ll try your number again tomorrow – but I still have to call Pili collect because they are slow in putting money in my phone account. My roommate says it took just over 100 days for them to approve his wife’s phone number – so had no way to call her for 100 days!

I am learning more and more prison policies. It is amazing how little positive things are offered – most everything is punishment. Even good deeds or positive productive organization by inmates is viewed as threatening and punished. Punishment restricts how much you can go to church choir practice, or the library – or outside/indoor recreation – I consider are good things that maybe one should be required to do more of, rather than languish in the cell block and get more angry.

I know everyone in prison thinks that are innocent – but I would estimate that there are  be maybe 20-30% that are truly innocent, trumped up changes, or sentences that are high for the crime – it is sad! So much productive energy and people that are a waste for everyone sitting in prison.

I would really hope that I could help my roommate get a new trial or overturned verdict. He does not belong here – I’ll tell you about it on the phone.

Jan 2, 2011

Another big day! Roommate gave me a real Bic pen to use! It is little things that make a big difference in here – a real toothbrush (just a two inch one), a real razor twin blade, (not these tiny single blade, single use, that you have to use for three to five days), and real pen (not the short rubber one)!

Had great visit from Greg in the morning, and Pili and kids in the afternoon. Greg and I covered a lot of family thoughts, appeal, clemency, etc. sounds like the good CMD Kerchner is doing an ad in Washington Times. I wish I get to see it soon. Pili is so beautiful and so great with the kids. We played War, and Yatzee, Andrew did pretty good with his math adding up the scores. Jack is so cute, got tired and wanted me to hold him again – hurts bad not being able to hold him.

Earlier went to the Protestant church service. It had 25 – 30 people attend – it was a great service. Six guys up front singing/chorus. My roommate (who speaks Korean and Spanish) was playing awesome drums and had a couple of voice solo’s – clearly the best singer here. Pretty good guitarists and keyboard guy was great. Military Chaplain gave a pretty good sermon for the New Year, served communion. Really good – it could be a pretty inspiring TV show to show the world this kind of service.

Also, big news – I got to go out and do outdoor recreational time, there was about 25 guys that went out about 30 degrees. I ran about 10 laps 2 miles and work 3 - 4 more. There were three others that did a little speed work less than 5 laps, and everyone else was around the weight machines, we all wore our big parkas out there, and of course, along the way a few of us get random services – I got frisked on the way out. I was different – running inside the wire here. I ran the perimeter in Honduras at the base. I ran in Bosnia inside the wire, I ran in Kandahar, a marathon in Solano, ran outside the wire at  we built north of Kandahar. But this time – instead of being the good guy inside the wire that is keeping bad guys out – I’m a bad guy being kept in. Sigh…. Three fences and a lot of wire around me, and trucks with shotguns driving by on the outside every few minutes.

Talked with roommate for much longer tonight. Great guy – great attention. He has been here 160 days and still does not have his record of trial – supposed to get it in less than 120 days and we cannot apply for clemency until we have record of trial. He shared a lot about his life, charges and family/wife. Trying to get him to do a congressional inquiry about his issues.

I shared my charges   and issue with him. It started by him saying he heard someone come up and ask about my charges and stuff – he had thought that was pretty rude and did not think people should do that. I told him my charges, showed him a letter from a ­­­­retired CSM We talked about it. I said “I hope you can see I’m not racist – but the issue is totally constitutional.” He said he can see I’m not racist at all, we traded books we had both just finished.

Jan 3, 2011

Normal breakfast, shortly afterward’s I was submitted to the medical clinic, no one knew why. Turns out optometry has scheduled me. Nice brand new clinic just down the hallway. Optometry had all new great equipment, but lacking some set up. Opt. tech was surprised I had contacts. She thought I would get them taken away by optometrist. I told her I might be a little upset if they are, as it was in the manual I could have them. She had me escort back to get saline and case to take contacts out. Optometrist saw me later. He asked – “what is your medical background? These aren’t terms that usually roll off inmates tongues.” He was somewhat surprised I was in family practice. We got word my family was here for visitation hours. He got me on my way with my contacts.

Had another great visit with Pili and kids. Held and snuggled with Jack a little more – since it was last visit – and guard seemed more relaxed. Time went too fast. Way too fast! Got a little Yatzee / War and a tearful goodbye. They have the car all ready to drive back to Maryland.

Well – just before dinner. I’ve completed my health and comfort item order. Hope I spent my $10.00 on snacks and $35.00 on bathroom supplies wisely. Hope I get my last order filled tomorrow – or I may be out of toilet paper soon.

Had a longer talk with roommate about his situation – and mine. I shared about eight letters with him – a few articles from American Spectator and post and E-mail, Senator Smith’s note: he was amused. We both see the need to fix the UCMJ process – he knows so many in here that are getting convictions and time for poor charges. Perhaps I can help my roommate bear his injustice, and we work on correcting others? First step is for him and his wife to her congressional inquiry about his record of trial, then get his clemency in.

Jan 5, 2011

Missed writing anything for 4 January. Sort of busy all day. Had another entry exam – took most of morning – waiting. Linen and laundry turn in. appointment with commons judge advocate for power of attorney. Asked judge advocate about trial of record, some other questions – woefully unable to answer them at the clerk and– and no officer available – so I’ll have to put in another request for an appointment and that will take about a week. I have been warned that getting legal help on the inside is horrible.

Afternoon also had work call at library. Not hard – four guys cleaning and re-shelving books – done in about 15 – 20 minutes – then get to read USA Today's from last week, or other books. I’ll try to read the 100 greatest classics while I’m here, Bible, and several others I’ve been meaning to read for years.

Got a little “calling out” – one inmate worker dishes has poor attitude. Has to be focus of disruption at all times, sees me waiting in chow line and starts yelling about me being an officer.

Received 65 letters today. Guards telling me I’m only allowed 30 pieces of mail in my room – so I need to ship them home or destroy them. I said I put in request to mail room for to ship with them but it takes them a few days, and I’m reading them as fast as I can. Perhaps they can give me an exception to policy, because I am not going to let them take my mail that I have not had a chance to read  - at least not without a complaint! The NCO said he would be pretty lenient with me since he knew I had more than 100 a few days ago.

Was very nice to talk with Pili, kids and parents on the phone last night. I still have to call collect – I guess they have not transferred any money to my phone account yet. Rumor is that this phone company we have to use charges 40 cents per minute for direct calls!

I got to see the sun again tonight! Only times I have been able to see sun is in dinner chow line through the windows for about 30 seconds. Wonder how many inmates have Seasonal Affective Disorder? Not being able to have any natural light exposer for months/years. We do have skylights for light – but they are small and 30 – 40 feet in the high ceilings.

Another long talk with roommate last night. He helped read some of my mail. I have to help him get a new trial – he never should have been convicted. Maybe Lord’s plan for our paths to cross – he is an outstanding person.