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#62 Coops Weekly - Life from Home Confinement

Updated: Jan 11

Does an inmate ever win any battles against staff & guards (I was asked this question recently which spawned a long conversation)?  The answer is technically, Yes.  Beyond rare, but it can happen.  Let’s get into it.

Craziest thing I have seen/heard on home confinement.  I have mentioned in a past newsletter that drug tests at the DRC are legit (they check for everything).  There are a few drugs inmates do that don’t necessarily show up on most tests (like spice, Suboxone).  Most of the BOP tests are low budge and just cover the basics (but not here).  

A couple weeks back a new person in intake was set to do his drug test (I was standing rt there).  He took one look at the test (im guessing that’s what caused his panic) & He sidestepped the tester & ran to the bathroom to try and throw away whatever he had.  He actually got it flushed.  It was some interesting drama. 

Some basic tests don’t test for Suboxone.  It is legal drug (but it can be abused)…anyway it ending up saving this guy for a day.  I'm sure he got in trouble but I would have expected him sent away immediately,  no he was around 2 extra days and then something must have happened because now he’s gone.  

You could see he was a wreck from day one.  He was dressed nice & charming (why is that relevant?  My point is people go back for all sorts of reasons, his wasn’t because he didn’t have options)….but obviously being back triggered something.  But dumping the drugs (or whatever he had) did buy him a short reprieve.

I tell this story because as beneficial as the BOP rules are there are situations where people get away with things.  

It reminded me when a guy at Leavenworth beat his 100 series shot (which is serious) because he was using his tablet (the guard thought it was a cell phone) & when the guard looked away he claimed the phone disappeared.  Because the guard didn’t have the physical evidence the inmate beat the shot.  He still was sent to the Hole/SHU for month or Two…..but he ultimately won that battle.  

But did he win the war?  Absolutely not, he was forced to start the RDAP program over from the beginning, he was stripped of his chair title in RDAP, which are important in the program….ALSO, and this is the kicker, he was given a different shot (far less serious - 300 series) for using another inmates tablet (the tablet was his bunkies).  CMON???  If everyone got a shot for using other peoples stuff in prison the entire camp would be in the SHU.  

There are situations where an inmate can beat a shot.  Often times guards/staff don’t write the shots accurately.  An incorrect shot with the wrong day or time can cause an inmate to win at his hearing.  Most inmates don’t want to take the fight on.  You will be sent to the SHU & your investigation can take months.  Most of the time you will be the recipient of some sort of retaliation.  The process is very difficult as you quarterback it from the SHU.  You have to gather witnesses by using a staff rep (WHICH STAFF HATES).  A staff rep has to interview inmates/staff, make them aware of the hearing date.  It’s an uncomfortable position for staff to be put in. 

Two recent examples were with RDAP participants.  One was allegedly caught with a cell phone days away from graduation.  He was sent to the SHU & was there for about 4 months.  The date written on the shot was incorrect (or some logistical discrepancy) so he beat it.  The issue of whether he had the phone or not was not even addressed because of the error.  But he was kicked out of RDAP and lost his FSA.  His time was affected.  He should have been going home in days.  

The most common situation when an inmates stands a chance at winning is when they are blamed something they are in the vicinity of.  For example an inmate could be in a common area & contraband is discovered.  The nearest inmate is almost always blamed.  They are taken to the SHU and most eventually win (beat the shot) because it can’t be proven whose items they were.  

Another RDAP participant was sitting on a bed and staff came in and decided to start searching that specific area.  It was a bit of a rare situation he was sitting on another persons bed (which can be a sensitive issue….you better be tight with an inmate if you are sitting on his bed…that’s a big issue for some).  I personally got lectured on this.  Staff found a phone under the bed the inmate was sitting on.  He was taken to the SHU (kicked out of RDAP).  He beat the shot because it couldn’t be proved whose phone it was.  

There are situations that are to sensitive for me to speak on (even broadly) where inmates won because the actions of staff were so egregious that the issue needed to go away.  Ojo, who I have spoken about in previous newsletters is an example (Ojo is out and at a halfway house).  But even if you win that staff is not likely to receive any type of reprimand (of any kind).  Also, it’s game on, the next day they see you.  Staff will make sure you know your place.  

You are not going to beat staff in situations where it’s your word against there’s….it’s highly unlikely you will win even if you had inmate witnesses.

Just like in life, there are situations where people just don’t like each-other.    That is very common in prison,  between staff and inmates.  If you are on staffs radar they can make your life pretty miserable.  You are bound to do something that is ok 90% of the time but at staffs discretion they can choose to bust you (like going in other inmates units…technically it’s not allowed but inmates do it).  

So in short it’s possible to win but I can name on one hand the amount of times I was witness to it.   Each of those times there was either retaliation afterwards or that inmate was still punished (losing good time credits, kicked out of programming)

Please be mindful I’m not taking about the BP / administrative remedy process.  It’s much more likely you can see a win here.  It’s still difficult & time consuming but much more likely.  

Big win for the President (nickname).  Mr.  Kennedy who has helped countless people at Leavenworth, including myself, got consideration on the 2pt. reduction.  Not from help by his attorney….but from a letter he drafted months ago updating the judge as to his progress & requesting consideration.   I have lost count on how many letters we have written between the 2 of us attempting to improve inmates sentences.  Admittedly most of time you come up short but at the very least you update your judge as to your progress & you make your chances of getting a better outcome more likely.   It worth your time to writer your judge.  It can’t hurt to ask. 

NEW SCAM alert - inmates families are receiving calls from people that claim they are a probation officer looking for a guardian.  They want to notify you that you’re loved one is soon to be released.   They are getting  an ankle monitor (current out day is April 25').  The new spin is they don’t ask for money right away.  They will need $$$$ at a date coming up soon (they are using $1000 for example).  At least temporarily they are NOT ditching the number.  Family members are calling back and the scam continues.  They are very patient/answer your questions (which is a red flag….that’s like finding some worker at the DMV friendly).  Again they know everything about your case (which is scary).  They are even offering a badge number & call back number.  202 area code.  Eventually they will break character and/or give up.  But it’s troubling.  They are getting creative.  

My apologies I keep confusing people with using the DRC (daily reporting center) & HRC (home reporting center) interchangeably.  Depending on who you talk to the different initials are used.  I have been told the correct version is “DRC,” 

Officially one month until I am done with Home Confinement.

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Dec 18, 2023

Great Pic. Look forward to these every week. Super helpful.

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