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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #11

Updated: Jan 15

I just rolled past 2 months at the LPC. So, by my optimistic estimates I have completed 20% of my time here. I wish I could say time flew by during that did not. But my how things change in a week. As soon as my schedule is set, I will update everyone. But WOW!!!! Things are moving way faster now that my schedule is PACKED. Keeping yourself busy is the key to time moving faster here.

There has been a bipartisan push (including the Republican Senator from Iowa (Grassley and specific republican senators (kills me to write that) have really pushed the BOP to operate under the law/guidelines of the First Step Act. You know like the law requires. Effective January 1st most prisoners time will be re-evaluated. We get credit for being in RDAP, credit for working, good behavior, etc. I have tried to double up doing as much as possible to reduce my time. I get the same time off for being in RDAP as I do for working but I do both so it looks good and if one fails the other can pick it up. However, per the First step act (FSA) you are supposed to get credit for both separately. If you have a job and enroll in a program, you should get double the time off your sentence. FSA is supposed to encourage you to take classes, programs, or work....and reward you for doing so. The BOP just decided it did not want to give prisoners this time off, so it hasn’t.

Additionally, LEAVENWORTH only offers one real program (RDAP).... Not cool. Congress/ Court victories are forcing the BOP to follow the law, add programs, and make the institutions follow the rules as originally intended. To be fair the BOP gets new direction all the time and it must adapt complicated procedures/law for a large inmate population.... That can’t be easy...but then again, its budget is massive as the US spends obscene money on incarceration. FIGURE IT OUT BOP....It will be interesting if my time is adjusted since I am participating in multiple ways to try and get home as quickly as possible.

I have mentioned to everyone we have silent counts where guards come by at night to make sure we are in our beds. They shine a light on us in bed and wake most of us up. They do this 3 times after 10pm. Some guards are cool and don’t flashlights in our eyes and wake us up. Others are not so cool. Have you seen at the beginning of certain movies the warning screen where they tell you “This show” has flashing lights and you should avoid same if you have a medical condition." Flashing light in the eyes of people who have seizures should be a big no. This week a younger inmate who was scheduled to go home the next morning was woken up by a guard who checks using the flashlights in the eyes and the inmate had a seizure. His reaction was intense. He fell and hit his head on the bed and locker. His head and nose exploded...blood went everywhere. He was restrained and sent to receive medical attention. Luckily, he still got out the next day.... but a crazy night.

Several of us at the camp really got into the world cup. It was fun...we all gathered in the mezzanine and watched each game. EXCEPT FOR THE LAST ONE. The guards wanted to watch, and the game was ending near count. So, as we sat in our unit waiting for the count the guards watched the game. We had to wait until they were done before we were let out of our units. We missed the last game for the US...

The restaurant started a conversation with an old school connected Italian (looks like he is Paulie from the Sopranos). Every weekend he makes 6 pints of ice cream. He uses a MOP bucket (super clean), Rock salt, 2 creamers, peanut butter, bananas, and ice. He prepares a peanut butter/banana ice cream flavor that is very good (1100 calories.... Dr. Randy and I calculated because we worry about eating them every week).

Thanks to my friend Matt Mattera (who is living in the real world) I got to name drop a New York restaurant.

Phones have been out for the past week so I can only communicate by email. Lots of inmates can’t write or type so I have been shooting off emails for various prisoners as favors since I’m considered an expert typist here (the bar is low).

My Sparger comes to visit Christmas eve. Super excited. So much for me not having visitors. I say GROUP FIELD TRIP. Come on everyone.

I learned a valuable lessor over the last few weeks. There has been an influx of inmates from other prisons (not camps) where RDAP classes are not available. People are getting transferred here to take advantage of open spots in RDAP. The inmates that come from a medium/low prison tend to handle themselves different. They have lived in prison and operate under different rules. Frankly they have had a much harder prison experience (I will say they have had a different experience...prison sucks for everyone). I resigned myself to try and stay away from these guys. Then I got a new bunkmate that came directly from a medium prison. He sticks with other prisoners that he came in with. It is not that he is not nice...he’s just that he won’t engage like most of the other people here. Lots of people that have spent decent time don’t want to meet anyone else. They trust who they trust, they just want to do time how they prefer. It’s easy to misinterpret this behavior as not wanting anything to do with people. People connect all different ways.... My new bunkmate and I connected over a book I was reading. He has read everything by this author. But that wasn’t what amazed me. He taught himself how to read.... WOW...How can you not respect that? He did it out of sheer boredom. He also is trying to get his GED. Which I will do anything on my end to help with. I was discouraged by the influx of inmates from prisons, and I was wrong. Some are very different because of their experiences. However, MOST OF THEM are just as interesting and personable as the other camp prisoners. They just take longer to get to know. I have spoken to many of you about who I have met.... The trust you extend to people in the real world is different here. It takes longer in prison. Most inmates are fearful of opening up let alone trusting. That has been a big learning curve for me. It just takes time.

I hope everyone is fantastic.

Comments from Dad

I assume Christmas is tough for Scott. I know it is hard and Pat and me. The present for me is Scott has gotten very busy and that means his time goes faster. He has begun a job and is in line to get a better job in a few weeks, He is taking a class which he is enjoying, and he is enrolled in a correspondent paralegal program. He has asked me some questions and shared some to the material in the paralegal program and it is taking all my willpower to not write the institute and complain about the quality of some of materials. When I wrote books, they were refereed by several law professors. We considered their comments and revised materials. I pretty sure the paralegal material was not refereed. However, it is still has value, and Scott is very busy. That is all good. Hope all of you have a great Christmas.

Weekly newsletter. week 11
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