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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #10

Updated: Jan 15

Dont Stand on the Crates for the love of God

I love sharing examples of how you can get into some drama here even when you are trying your hardest to avoid it. Every Tuesday we go down to get commissary. It’s a big room separated by a semi see-through huge glass wall (which is where all the commissary items are located). We stand by the glass for hours and wait for our name to be called, we then walk up the entrance (picture a teller at a bank) and collect our items. There are pallets and broken wood crates all along the wall, so people stand on them to look through the glass wall to see if what they want is available. So, there I am standing on the crates...suddenly the loudspeaker blares "get off the crates." I immediately get off and try to apologize. To late...Someone in commissary recognizes me and all my items are picked up and placed at the very end (that means I am the very last person to’s a long wait). Did I know that you are not allowed to stand on the crates? Absolutely not. Did dozens of people stand on them before me? YES...If you argue or even try to discuss it with the head of commissary then they will shut down commissary shopping for the week. Staff would penalize the whole unit. I do not want to be the reason for that.

Last night there was a major event at the medium security prison. A helicopter was circling the prison. Some inmates had a spotlight beaming into the copter. The prison and camp were shut down the next day. In the words of Forrest Gump “That is all I have to say about that.” Ha.

In equally big news...a guard named Roman died last night while at the LPC medium on duty (it was not a brawl or anything). The word is he had a heart attack. Sad. He was very well liked.

All the songs that we are allowed to download on our MP3 players are edited...NO bad words whatsoever...So if you hear me sing songs when I return to the world that you recognize but the lyrics are noticeably clean you know why. They even edit out words with a negative vibe.... like "Gun," or "Dynamite." Pretty funny. Everyone listens to music here. I have never been that big a music guy. But now I am constantly listening to my MP3 player and downloading music.

Do any of you have a white noise machine next to your bed that makes "waterfall, wind, water," or other soothing sounds to help you sleep? was really digging deep looking up "white snake," songs and I ran into "white noise," on the prison music library which is every sound to help you sleep that you can imagine, here at LPC. It’s hard to believe I could stumble on to something most inmates did not know about. However, I did. So now almost everyone in our unit listens to rain or wind when trying to sleep.

I have only seen our warden once. He is super tall. Like taller than 6'5. He was supposed to be at the recent RDAP graduation but couldn’t make it. Every day on my walk I pass his house. He has an impressive place at the top of our compound (outside of our fence). There are white rocks that spell out "Leavenworth Prison."...It reminds me of the HOLLYWOOD sign in LA just less glamorous.

Cup CAKE story

My story of the week is about Marcus. Marcus runs the chapel (YES mom I go to church now). When I was DTing heavy I needed support so about the only group that can provide help every night was the chapel. They were a huge help during the worst of my journey. Marcus is one of the most influential people in the camp (he has tattoos everywhere and is ridiculously ripped). If you need go to Marcus. He will do his best to help you. You see people that walk around that everyone knows and respects...he is one of them. He is a great storyteller. This is my favorite story that he has told.

Marcus and his mom are very tight. Each year she likes to do something nice for him for his birthday. After not seeing him (other than visiting at the prison) for almost a decade she decided she wanted to bring him his favorite cheesecake cupcake for his birthday. She showed up on the normal visiting day and was turned away. The guard told her that she was not allowed in to visit since the cupcakes were considered contraband. She begged the guard to make an exception which OF COURSE he did not do. He replied if you bring one for Marcus you need to bring one for everyone in the camp. Marcus Mom replied "OK, I will see you next week." The following week his mother bought and made over 175 cupcakes for all the inmates/guards in the camp. She showed up at visiting and went up to the same guard with the cupcakes in hand. She reminded the guard of what he said ... and she was allowed in the visiting center and the inmates were each given a cupcake (after they were screened of course).

I love this story because his mom and her kindness won the day. She didn’t try to outsmart the guard (which does not work) ...she simply held him accountable. I wish I could explain how much the guard’s factor into everything here. If you go up against a guard, you will lose even if you 100% right. This is one of the few times there was a win for everyone involved.

Stay safe everyone. Miss you.

Comments from Dad

Not sure what Scott will write about next week. I always find out when he sends the content. But I know last week was a rough week. Apparently, a significant turnover at the camp occurred with several inmates being released upon BOP catching up with the legal requirements of appropriately counting inmate credit for work while incarcerated. However, new campers replace the released ones and many of these are from medium facilities, and they behave differently. Also, the age of the facility showed with breakdowns in phones, water and plumbing. Challenging week.

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