Prison Pete

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
  Selfish, Self-Centered, and Self-Pitying.
Go ahead; tell me what you really think. I certainly get many varied comments to the blog. (Oops, there go two more sheets of typing paper to a fellow inmate.)

Some people think this blog is fake, written by someone with an overactive imagination.

I have met very few inmates that are content to be in prison.

The animosity among inmates toward the staff and other inmates still surprises me after nine years. There is daily talk about hoping this or that staff member gets injured or killed. Most inmates spend each day talking about wanting to beat up on this or that inmate for real or imagined transgressions.

There are a few inmates that are at the top of the food chain and are able to get their needs met at the expense of other inmates. This can be something as benign as speaking down to another inmate calling him all kinds of names that usually included one or more 'four letter' words, like 'fucking idiot' as one of the more mild expressions.

Even if that is the expression being tossed about, it would usually be projected at full volume, (Think of a Hollywood depiction of a Drill Sergeant) and repeated four or five times in thirty seconds or less.

Then there is the removal of your personal property. It could be as simple as stealing some of the prison supplied clothing or a physical break-in to your locker and the removal of over $100 of personal property.

Then there are the officers that love to administer physical punishment just because they can, and not necessarily in any direct relation to an action of the inmate.

I know there are a lot of people who put themselves in prison, and I am including myself in this group. I have met some who certainly do not belong in prison.

Perhaps if you were to have a brother or other relative that had not 'whined about his conditions or pestered me for favors’ it is because he knows his request would fall on death ears.

Certainly one way I have seen some inmates deal with incarceration is to not write anything at all. Perhaps he might be one of the top inmates and is getting things from other inmates?

Two months before my departure from Club Fed, I left the clerk job I had in the Recreation Department. I was complemented by more than 75% of the inmates who were participants in the Hobbycraft program at how much better everything worked while I was there, and how screwed up things were since I left.

Some of what I write might indeed be whiny. I have received some uplifting comments. In particular, one woman, herself a former inmate, had commented about how my remarks help her remember what it is like on the inside and how much she has to be thankful for now that she is on the outside.

Yes, I do ask for things. Some of my requests end up getting posted and I am not sure if the full dialogue makes it to the blog.

One example was my request to my editor to send me food. I admit to a certain amount of overreaching expectations with this request. Having spent nine years in the federal system where having food sent on was not an option, I arrived in the New York State Prison System and was told that I would be in that particular location for over five months. That initial location had me spending over twenty hours a day in a cell by myself.

My parents came up to see me, and when they came back the second day of their visit they had brought a bunch of fresh fruit and vegetables. The officer that checked in the food made a comment that it was all such healthy food. (I now see that a lot of the food sent in is processed food and junk food.)

My parents were going to spend several months down in Florida, and my question to my friend was would he be willing to send me some food once or twice a month, with my parents sending the money needed.

The reason this made some sense to me was at the time I was within the same postal region as my editor and any package he sent would arrive within a day or two. I had assumed that when he went shopping for the family groceries it would not be all that much more work to toss a few extra things in the basket. I always did the food shopping when I was out in the free world. Well it turns out that my editor did not have anything to do with food shopping, it was a task that his wife took care of.

When I received the letter from my editor telling me he would not do the food shopping and how it was a task that he was not even involved in, I believe my response was, Hey no problem, I would not want to blow the sweet deal he had with his wife.

In fairness, I do ask a lot of things of my Editor. I had thought that they are mostly questions, and he is perfectly capable of telling me No. I might not be happy about it, and I take this public opportunity to apologize to my editor for any hissy fits, whining rants and other childish and unappreciative behavior I may from time to time exhibit.

I often received high praise from most of my work supervisors while in Club Fed. I am a strange bird. I have become comfortable with who I am. Yes, I might ask a lot of my friends, but I am also very giving. Even though I have limited resources, I share my carbon paper, typing paper, and typing and letter writing skills with many of the inmates here.

I have recently completed, at no charge to the inmate, an extensive legal filing. If successful, this filing will bring about his immediate release. The usual consideration expected for this type of legal assistance is in the $100 plus range.

By doing this gratis, I am risking pissing off the inmate that considers himself the jail house lawyer here. Mind you he has never gotten any positive results for any other inmate, which is the norm for most wannabe legal eagles, but that does not seem to stop them from fleecing their fellow inmates. Was it not P.T. Barnum who said something about a sucker being born every minute?

It is easy to take portions of my behavior and paint me in an unfavorable light. Hopefully, I listen to constructive criticism, and modify my behavior.

As far as my asking for things, unless you have been to prison, it is impossible for anyone to divine what I need and do not need. I have learned that it is good for me to express my wants and expectations. This is not being manipulative.

When I receive feedback to my questions, I might re-phrase my request to further explain the importance, modify the request to better meet what the other person is willing to do or drop the request altogether. That is what I hope happens most if not all of the time.

I do not have any problem if anyone wants to point out anytime I fail to behave in the above fashion. While I can not tell anyone how to feel, I can only ask that you not feel guilty about saying no. I do not have a problem with a negative response. I find that is healthier in the long run for any relationship.

Time to go and cook dinner. I will come back and proof and print the four pages I have put into the memory so far!

[Okay so it really took many days to come back and get this proofed and printed, but I think it has aged well.]
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