Prison Pete

Wednesday, October 17, 2007
  Home Sweet Home.
I am lucky to have one of the two best cubes in the dorm. Out of 50 cubes (ten of which contain the double bunk bed) there are four rows of cubes. The back row, which has four single cubes and the ten double bunks. The single cubes in this row are found at each end, and two more in the middle of the row, where there is the aisle for the fire door.

While it is true that each of the corners has windows on the side and back edge of the cube, they also have a double bunk neighbor on their other side. Since the cube walls are only four feet high and the top bunk is five feet, there is no privacy at all in these corner cubes. Plus since the double bunks usually contain those inmates suffering punishment for some rule infraction, you can see why even with the extra widows they are not all that great.

The other two corner cubes are on the opposite wall and while this wall is also the wall for our Rec area, there are windows for two and a half cubes at each end. Since the middle two rows have an aisle at each end, they do not have any direct access to windows.

If you are following all this and I have successfully painted an accurate word picture, now you may see what a prime location my little piece of real estate is. I have some relative privacy when lying in my bunk as long as my nearby neighbors are lying down too they cannot see into my cube. With the aisle from the center row directly in front of me, this and the other corner cube are the two best.

Now those of you how are thinking ahead probably already see where this is going.

There are sixty inmates living in this dorm. With a few rare exceptions, everyone would like to have their own cube, and furthermore why not have the cube with windows on two sides. All it would take is for an unlucky occupant of the prime corner cubes to incur some sort of rule infraction and all of a sudden the corner cube has a vacancy sign posted.

Yes it is true if you manage to have some ill wind blow upon the occupant of the corner cube, you might not be the one to get it, but for some inmates as long as you get the current occupant out, that is good enough.

On the personal side, me, my typing, my three foot long keyboard and lots of books and other property would have a tough time existing in a double bunk cube.

Just one more point on the double cubes: the person on the top bunk may not find it necessary to remove his boots or sneakers before climbing up on his bunk and will often sit on his bunk with his feet hanging over the side. There is no way to have your feet over the front or back of the bunk. And the one side is up against the cube wall, which is the air rights of your neighbor.

In my case, one little infraction and all of a sudden I would be forced to eat three meals a day in the mess hall, lose the ability to move around in my cube without considering how to hit two bodies in a space already too small for one, and never have the peace to practice the keyboard.

For example, some inmate wanting to see me move could toss a can top under my locker and drop an anonymous note and all of a sudden my cube is searched, the can top found, and out I go.

Gangs, did someone says gangs? Yes they exist here. As a matter of fact one of the prime methods for inhibiting gang activity is to keep the inmate population in a constant state of motion. We have a weekly turnover here of twenty to thirty inmates a week. This is out of a total population of 840 inmates. In addition to inmates arriving and departing the compound, we have movements between dorms. I would say that les than one third of the inmates in this dorm have been here been here as long (or longer) than the eighteen months I have accrued.

Allegedly, one of the times I was attacked in my cube while I was asleep was part of a gang initiation right. If it was not for my hard head I would have suffered some serious physical damage. The logic of proving you are a good candidate for a gang by attacking a sleeping victim while the dorm is in relative darkness and the officer is not in the immediate vicinity escapes me.

What a difference a few months makes and some turnover of both inmates and staff. At this point, all the officers that were working in this dorm on a regular basis over the last eighteen months have left for other posts. That is why one cannot place too much importance on any one officer. If you are known to be a favorite of a particular officer, when he leaves often that is the cue for some sort of retaliation for being too close to "the man".
I had to park my drug-addled ass in a treatment center for a few months quite some time ago. It's certainly not prison, but the dormitory surroundings are similar to what you describe there. The lack of privacy nearly drove me nuts; I can't imagine actually adapting to it long term. Thanks for the description.
Well, here's to you avoiding any hassles and keeping your prime real estate!!
interesting post Pete, maybe my favorite one so far. I thought it really accurately illustrated some of the major concerns in prison. Things like appreciating the tiny limited things available to you in prison that people on the outside wouldn't even notice. And of course, the resulting competition between inmates to seize control of those limited assets.

I knew exactly where you were going with this post when you began to describe your prime piece of real estate.

I hope your good luck continues and you're able to hang on to your cube.
Post a Comment

View my profile
Contact Prison Pete
Contact the Editor
Blogroll Me!

December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010

December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009

December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008

December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007

December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006

December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005

December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004


Powered by Blogger


Emily Dickinson
Janet Evanovich
Ian Fleming
Jonathan Franzen
Robert Fulghum
Sue Grafton
Tami Hoag
Jean Shepherd

Johann Sebastian Bach
Virgil Fox
Benny Goodman
Vladimir Horowitz
Itzhak Perlman
David Russell
Lonnie Smith

Radio and TV Shows
All Things Considered
Capitol Steps
Fawlty Towers
Fresh Air
The Infinite Mind
Jazz After Hours
Jeeves and Wooster
Pipe Dreams

Media, Publishers, Networks
Augsberg Fortress Press
Hamilton Bookseller
NY Daily News
NY Newsday
NY Times
PC Magazine
WNED Buffalo, NY

Helpful Organizations

Federal Bureau of Prisons
NY State Court of Appeals
NY State Department of Corrections

Typing with a Dvorak keyboard
Fastback Book Binding System
Who links to me?