Prison Pete

Monday, September 20, 2004
  From the "Who is stupider?" file:
I guess I can write this knowing that Alexis, who has the distinction of being the first blogger to link to my blog, will think the following is justice. To me it is just another example of the vast wasteland that Club Fed is.

We get to watch two movies each week. They must be rated G, PG, or PG-13. Although we have cable TV, the only two commercial-free channels we have are PBS and TCM. Neither channel is the ones selected by the inmates, so the weekly movies are the rare chance to watch commercial-free entertainment.

Each Friday and Saturday, the control center is responsible for playing the movies. The movies are picked up from the local Blockbuster by a member of the Recreation department and delivered to the control center each Friday afternoon.

Two very important facts are: (1) we have to purchase a special license to allow us to show the movies in the housing units. The cost of this license is over $5,000 a year. If you have ever read the FBI notice at the start of each movie, it clearly states that the movie is only to be shown in private homes. Well, even though this is "Home Sweet Home" to 1,600 men, according to the government’s definition it does not qualify.

The concern for copyrights is not always topmost in the prison system. When I was in a county jail, one day after a championship boxing match was broadcast, it was shown on the jail TV's for the inmate’s enjoyment. Mind you, the copyright law is a Federal law so the local county jail's attitude is "copyright permission, bah we do not need no stinking permission."

Also, one should not look too closely at the majority of the output from our 30,000 copy per month leased copier. We here in Fedville must be sure to obey all the Federal laws. (Well, some of the laws all the time, and all of the laws some of the time.)

So back to tonight's movie, "13 Going on 30". Well, the question was (you do remember this started with a question) "Who is stupider?"

The control center puts the video in the player, and then it is available on the 144+ TVs in the day areas in the housing units. No, we do not have TVs in our cells. Each housing unit, twelve in all, has five TVs in their day areas. The sound is broadcast over the FM radio band so that depending on which TV you are watching, you simply tune your radio to the frequency for that TV.

Unfortunately, the movie tonight played the entire time with the skew/tracking messed up, so the picture had wavy lines all over it and the soundtrack kept skipping. Now it would be nice if an inmate could just pick up the phone and ask the control center to adjust the VCR, but that is not an option.

We do have a corrections officer in each unit, and he has the ability to reach the control center via radio or telephone. Well, there were a total of twelve corrections officers working in the units last night and apparently not one of them called the control center, or if one did, the officers in the control center did not care to remedy the problem.

So I sat there the entire time and watched the entire movie, all the time hoping the problem would go away. Needless to say, the problem did not clear up.

As mentioned above, the money used to pay for the movies is not taxpayer dollars, so here is a case where my money was used to provide something for my entertainment, and I was powerless to control the outcome.

Ah, such is the existence of a federal prisoner. Not all punishment has to be of a physical nature. To some of us, the non-physical stuff can be quite painful!
Why do I find it hard to feel any sympathy for you and your 'living conditions'? Hey, maybe you could complain to the Human Rights commission or whatever organisation it is that you have over there, three NZ prisoners received fifty grand a piece because they complained about their 'poor living conditions' and insufficient resources, (sarcasm intended). I lived with a guy for twelve years who had spent two thirds of his life within the prison system. He always thought that the world 'owed him something more' - both inside and outside of prison.
Pete it was a lousy movie anyway!!!
Your blog was featured on 3-Blogs A Day. I hope things work out for you, and perhaps this will gain you a little more attention or at least stroke the ego.
Glad to hear that tax payers are not paying for your videos, how about the $5000.00 dollar yearly license? And the 5 tv's in each housing unit? Audio on FM? Problems with "log books"? You are right, it is a vast wasteland. I'm surprised they let this financial info clear. Only in America can a prison inmate that is "paying his debt to society", and "doing his time" be able to, or have access to, for that matter, a webblog. I don't think your situation is ideal by any means, but, cmon, blogging, watching videos on the 5 tv's, the unfortunate situation of a 2 man cell,.....That's not exactly "doing time" I have been to rehabs that didn't have the luxuries you have.
You're a fool Rob. Anyone in any prison in the world who is able to send letters out of the prison could make a blog like this one. But anyway, let me ask you a question. Next time you're complaining about some problem in your life, would it help you if someone said "Well you think you've got it hard. There are millions of people in the world who don't even have access to clean water." Would that make you believe that your situation wasn't so bad after all? Of course not, it would just be very annoying.
Hope the typing is going better for you than your use of analogies ditdotdat. Maybe you should stick to being a tech geek and leave the smack talking on the shelf. I would, however see the ridicularity of the access to water comparison and see that maybe I am pole vaulting over mouse turds that I see as my problems, just as Pete has done in that post. Try to mix in some reading what is there, and commenting on that.

I mentioned that his situation is not ideal, and that the "problems" he discussed were relatively miniscule, even when compared to, say, State prison life.
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