top of page

#65 Coops Weekly - One week left on Home Confinement (but who's counting)

As part of my punishment I am not allowed to go anywhere ("Movement that necessitates an Ambulance...was the only way I can leave my home.") Now refusing me the right to seek medical care aside (which I'm pretty sure you can't do) not allowing to leave the house is counterproductive to my recovery. One of the ways I combat stress and/or the damage I have done to my body is by exercising. EVERY DAY, I workout for 3 hours (every day, without fail). Now I have areas that need surgery so my workout is not grueling....I just walk and use the elliptical machine at my local gym. But it helps me manage stress and keeps me on track (this is not unique to me, countless others exercise for stress). Additionally, I would argue its the single most important thing I am doing to continue keeping myself on track mentally. Exercising is actually listed on my RDAP treatment plan (Your treatment plan consists of all the essential activities you are to participate in to promote your recovery).


When I got my punishment for leaving early for Xmas dinner I asked if it was possible to continue exercising at the gym. That request did not go well. I mentioned that exercise is SPECIFICALLY part of my treatment plan and something RDAP (that class that was 11 months long....something my judge felt was SO ESSENTIAL she sent me 1698 miles away to attend ...and basically ruled my existence inside prison) not just encouraged....RDAP required it. The response I received was somewhat unexpected in the sense that this person could care less what benefits I received from the program, RDAP was of little consequence or care to him. Matter of fact he was quite clear RDAP plays no role in the decisions he makes whatsoever. Why does most staff give RDAP such little respect? Here I was thinking RDAP and my continued recovery was important to them. I did appreciate the honesty (& clarity) though, lets quit acting like them helping me transition back to society is important. Lets focus on making sure I know they hold all the power and that I can keep my suggestions to myself when it comes to what is best for me. They know best. Shut your mouth inmate.


SO rather then counting the days down to my ankle monitor removal I am focusing on making sure I stay off everyone's radar. I made a comment that we knew back in 1971 (The Stanford Prison Experiment) how it would go when you gave people unchecked power over other people. I was shocked to learn how few key people (STAFF) knew ANYTHING about the Stanford Prison Experiment. SO I promised an explanation since now that I am certain everybody (meaning staff) read my newsletter.


The Stanford prison experiment took place at Stanford University (duh the reference) and involved 24 college students who were screened for psychological stability and randomly assigned roles of prisoners or guards in a simulated prison environment set up in the university's basement.


The guards were given uniforms, sunglasses, and instructed to maintain order without resorting to physical violence. However, the guards quickly began to assert their authority in oppressive ways, using psychological tactics to control the prisoners.


They enforced strict rules, employed humiliation tactics, and even subjected the prisoners to degrading tasks (not after months, or weeks....in DAYS)


The prisoners, on the other hand, internalized their roles, feeling powerless and becoming submissive to the guards' authority. Some exhibited signs of extreme stress, emotional breakdowns, and rebellion against the oppressive conditions.


Dr. Zimbardo (THE HEAD GUY), who acted as the superintendent, became so immersed in the role that he initially failed to recognize the severity of the situation. However, after just SIX days (SIX DAYS!!!!!), the experiment was abruptly halted due to the escalating psychological trauma experienced by both prisoners and guards.


To me the Stanford prison experiment sheds light on numerous issues relevant to today's incarceration problems:


1. Abuse of Power: unchecked authority can lead to abuse and mistreatment within the prison system. It illustrates the potential for corruption and actual harm when individuals are given control over others without OVERSIGHT.


2. Dehumanization: The experiment revealed how quickly human dignity erodes. It emphasizes the need to maintain respect and preserve the humanity of incarcerated individuals, highlighting the dangers of dehumanizing conditions within prisons.


3. Systemic Flaws: The abuse and power imbalances observed in the experiment echo real-life situations of abuse, neglect, and mistreatment that are prevalent in today's prisons.


4. Reform: We knew it didn't work back in 1971 and since then we have done nothing but make things worse. There are people out there trying to make things better but the fight they have is so enormous it ALMOST seems impossible.


When I spoke about this study most of these key people didn't believe me. They thought if that study was conducted today there would be more positive results. WOW. (Information about the experiment is readily available on the web. Stanford has a dedicated webpage with citations https://exhibits.stanford.edu/spe)


I have every reason to be excited... I am almost done with Home Confinement. I don't want these newsletters to be a downer....But I will not substitute funny stories (well sometimes I will) over the honesty of the day to day life that occurs while going through this process. Despite my usually cheery disposition this week was hard for me. When you are worried about screwing up you are more likely to screw up.


The Halfway house and Home confinement have been far harder for me then the camp. I have struggled to remember to make the daily call to staff ...especially when the time changes for Holidays (we have SIRI on overdrive alerting me multiple times a day for things I should never forget...I mean how can you forget to call in when you know its IMPORTANT???)....But I start doing something and I almost forget. Anyone of these screw ups could be enough to get me in trouble (and before you think no way...cmon?? that's no big deal)....We lose people from group every week for this exact reason or something even more trivial....so I watch it happen in real time EVERY WEEK.




Whether it was bluff, or a warning, or a clear threat to stop what I am doing....what went down last week shook me up....(the threat of possibly going back to prison and having to spend another 7-9 months in Jail/Prison was terrifying). The fact that they could have done this SO EASILY is the part that scares me. Also it continues to surprise me how little staff care about RDAP (and by extension addiction). Addiction/Drugs after all is the main reason I went to prison (and most other people). The fact that they care so little about addiction shows me everything I need to know in one moment. Some staff don't take this job to help people or protect the public they do it because they love the power it gives them.


TO BE FAIR. I have been reminded by my friends that every camp/HH/HC situation is different. I have friends who talk about emailing in requests for community time (never even seeing there case managers). They can forget to call in all together and nothing happens. There experience is completely different in a good way.


Then I hear stories that make my situation seem minor (lately I have heard some horror stories).


For those going in (and there are a good amount of subscribers who are going in at the beginning of the year) I hope your version comes with the least amount of drama possible. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. But remember its not a game where the goal is to win or lose. Its a game where the goal is to make it out back to your loved ones....your pride and being right should come second to that ultimate goal of being back with family.


At some point you will be faced with a situation where you need to swallow your pride to avoid a problem. At that moment you will learn if you have what it takes to beat the BOP at its own game. They want you to lose your cool. That's when the fun begins for them.



I still have conversations trying to explain the prison economy (STAMPS). I understand it is not easy to understand. But prison money is stamps. While going through my stuff I came across a stamp. This is an actual one....we used these stamps to purchase things in prison. I was excited because I knew I had saved one somewhere and I wanted people to at least see one. (I know .... WOW....its just a stamp)






Craziest thing I have heard/seen on Home Confinement. This is a tale about how even the smallest mistake can have huge consequences. There are such few examples of actual programing (classes) in the various institutions.....one of the few rules you are taught prior to going in....is NEVER say NO to any requests to program. SOME PROGRAMS THEY MAKE YOU TAKE (parenting, anger management, psych, etc).....so you don't have a choice with those. But some classes they want you to take but you are NOT REQUIRED. Well if you say NO to these (ANY) classes....you are entering REFUSAL STATUS (or at least run the possibility of entering RS). Refusal status can cause all sorts of problems. While in refusal status you cannot continue to acquire earned time credits. A friend of ours had less then 2 weeks until he was scheduled to leave for his halfway house and so he politely declined taking a class. This put him into refusal status....HE IMMEDIATELY corrected the problem. I mean within days. So No harm he didn't earn credits while he was in refusal status (so like 10 days total). Well that refusal status triggered removal of over 119 days from his sentence. The days were taken away because of refusal status and then not returned when the correction was made (a simple clerical or computer error). WHAT IS THAT INMATE TO DO? He is leaving to the HH. Instead of helping the case managers and counselors refused to even give him a BP8 (the start of formal requirements to seek redress from an adverse decision by staff). They not only weren't helpful they seemed to revel in his misfortune. The highlight being when the head administrator said "if you were stupid enough to not take the class then you deserve the outcome." Wow.


Whats is even worse is that just because you enter refusal status doesn't mean you lose existing earn time credits (but the BOP gets this wrong all the time).  PER BOP Program Statement 5410-01, section 9, FSAs are not lost in Refusal Status. So the mistake should have never occurred. This inmate was on it from day one....filing everything promptly. So far denials have come in without any explanation...just a random response (NOT KIDDING...the response was just a random comment that had nothing to do with the problem).


Now I have seen BP9 denials with other inmates quite often.... but this situation was so clear I thought it had a chance at the WARDEN level (BP9). But sadly he wont see justice until it goes outside the institution and gets objectively looked at. Meanwhile he will stay at the HH months longer then he should. The appeal process is so slow even when you win you lose.


NEWSLETTER UPDATE: So this Friday feels like the defining moment in this great big adventure. The removal of my ankle monitor and the move to supervised release brings a conclusion to a lot of this. I will be continuing my newsletter I just haven't decided the frequency. The BOP is still in my life....so I will continue to report on that experience until it ends (the frequency - To be determined). So this next newsletter will be a JUMBO addition. My plan is to still write a book with the details and stories that could not be told while the BOP was the BOSS. But this next newsletter will be a big one for me....its in many ways the official conclusion to a crazy life changing experience.



UNFUN FACT



The US accounts for less than 5% of the worlds population, but more than 20% of the worlds incarcerated people.


Might be a problem.

1,198 views4 comments

4 Comments


Guest
Jan 10

I was skeptical when I first starting reading but you have handles this situation perfectly. Theses newsletters were so good. I feel like we went through this adventure with you. You have helped so many people. We are so proud of you.

Like

Guest
Jan 09


Like

Guest
Jan 09

One day at a time, Scott!! Appreciate your deliberation in actions to make sure you stay home!!! Love you and I’m in your corner, Aunt Karen

Like

Guest
Jan 08

GO COOPS. Almost done.



Like
bottom of page