Prison Pete

Monday, April 16, 2007
  The best laid plans on Easter Sunday.
It is 9:15 PM and I have managed to waste my first day off since I started playing the keyboard for the Catholic services. Since they celebrated Easter with a vigil service last night, there was no service today.

I had my typewriter out since around noon, but aside from typing two short notes to staff for two inmates and the copies of essays that some inmate received in the mail and others wanted copies of, I have not done much in the cause of moving my life forward.

I was going to start the day typing by making a list of all the things I have in front of me that need my attention with number one on the list being to make the list and included in it would be things like the FAQ you are waiting for, letters to you, Mom and Dad, Abby, and a few others friends I have not heard from in a while.

I am again hoarding up over three weeks of newspapers that need to be reviewed, although one week of them is from this past week and the rest are over a month old. I managed to get rid of a few of the more recent ones week by week, so the backlog has a gap in it. I will hopefully get rid of the most recent ones tomorrow.

Did you read the recent editorial about the prison reform bill for Washington State that the NY Times was bragging about? They specifically mentioned that the bill provided for free GED training for inmates and college courses at inmate's expense. The fact that the Times was pointing out those two items as a great goal really worried me. At both the Fed prisons and here in New York State GED training is mandatory for any inmate that does not have a high school diploma. Not only are the classes free but they count as half a day of the required work assignment and you do get paid for attending classes.

As far as college classes, you will remember I was taking correspondence classes (at my expense) while at Club Fed, and by the time I left they were working with the local community college and offering free classes (including books) three nights a week. So why is the Washington State bill such progress? I think not. Where is the Times research staff? I was going to send a letter to the Editor, but have sort of been waiting to see if anyone else writes. I would think if our new Commissioner saw the editorial he would fire off a letter A.S.A.P. But then again I bet he does not read the Times.

There are inmates here already taking college courses via correspondence or an Advanced Placement type of test that the facility gives twice a year. If you pass the practice test, the state even pays the fee. Now that I think of it, maybe I will send the editorial to our superintendent and see if he wants to brag to the Times.

It is now a few minutes before 10, so I will send this on its way and hopefully send lots more this week.

My basic problem is the need to evaluate what things I would really like to focus on and how best to arrange my schedule to fit it. As an example, as it stands now, I sort of only do maintenance work between 7:30 AM and 3:00 each day.

While the time I am being productive is less than four hours of that time. This is due to the fact that we only have tools to work with for two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon.

If I was to become a dorm porter, I would probably end up working less than an hour a day and be in the dorm the entire time doing reading, writing and music practice. Yes, stuff would not built as well, and our dorm would suffer a bit when it needed something fixed, but is that worth the time crunch I am under to take care of things that might actually be beneficial to me in both the short and long term? For example getting back to writing more blog posts not only improves my writing, but also could find me some more pen pals.

Decisions, decisions.

Maybe someday when I grow up I will figure it all out.
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