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COOPS - Weekly life from Kansas #2

Updated: Jan 5

Well Dorothy! Unfortunately, it appears I am in Kansas

Leavenworth Medium United State Prison. I entered on the left about where the vehicle is. No pictures are available of the camp.

92776-298. That is my inmate number. You can look me up at the Bureau of Prisons.

Probably the most humbling thing I have ever said. I won’t get into that too much. The last newsletter covered it.

This place is huge. I would compare it to community college in size. Walking around the camp probably takes 30 minutes. Kansas is huge and spread out. I started off in the crazy dorm and was promptly moved to the RDAP camp. The first day/night I was welcomed to Kansas with wind over 30 mph and loud lighting. RDAP is the residential Drug alcohol program. Because of my addiction problems I qualify, and the good news is I got in immediately. Getting in is not assured and getting in immediately is very unusual. Obviously, I expect to benefit from the information and strategies I will learn but also graduates qualify for a release to a community site or home confinement much earlier than would otherwise be the case. I will take some credit for the fast processing by being prepared and persistent. The program is a lot of speaking and diving into problems, analyzing yourself in a way I have not done before. I am looking forward to that part. I sleep with about 25 guys in a dorm room. The bed in smaller than a twin and I am on a top bunk (which for my size is not ideal but that’s the way it goes).

I promised I would be open and honest about what is going on, but I don’t want to be depressing so I’m going to try my best to stay positive. It’s a lot to handle at first let’s just say that. I didn’t have to quarantine (can be up to a month in a single cell in the medium security prison.). The lack of quarantine was because of preparation. I had all my records and particularly important was documented vaccination status. I am not sure my lack of quarantine served me well with other inmates as they do not want to hear about avoiding something they did not avoid. Coming in I knew to be circumspect about myself, but I need to be even better at nondisclosure. White Collar advisers/Prison Professors was essential in my preparation, and they advise to be a submarine. Good advice.

PLEASE check your email as there are several of you I cannot yet email and that is the easiest way for me to communicate. I will get around to calling you this week (I really need to hear friendly voices). We get 400 telephone minutes a month. I already have gotten running shoes/shorts. That was huge. I came in before commissary day (which was lucky) so I was able to get some things (commissary is where you buy extras). You can get Adidas, Nike, etc. Honestly there is much more here than I expected, or the available list suggested. Much better than expected.

Comment from Father Carper

As you know we found out Scott’s placement about 6 days before he was expected to report. We assumed he would either be in California or Oregon based on the recommendation by the Judge and language in the First Step act. 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b) requires the BOP to house inmates in facilities as close to their primary residence as possible, and to the extent practicable, within 500 driving miles. Among the reasons for this is to facilitate family and friends’ connection to better prepare the inmate for health in prison and life after. Of course, there are other criteria, but the placement was a real shock. Surrendering to the Marshals locally or in San Diego involves being sent all around the country and can take a considerable amount of time and unpleasant conditions before arriving in scenic Kansas. So, we flew directly to Kansas. Getting last minute fares means the cost was about same as if we wanted to fly to Cairo, Egypt. Frontier had budget fares (still pricey because last minute) unless you bring luggage, carry on, want a seat, or need to talk to a gate agent all of which are extra costs. We did get random seats but otherwise avoided the add-ons. I knew about Spirit airlines, but Frontier was new to me. If there is a god, I will be spared flying either of these airlines in the future. They made what obviously what would have been a delightful trip stressful. We have had some bad days and leaving Scott at Leavenworth was one of them. But with all our support he be will back to make us smile again.

Getting There

To me the most intimidating thing in the United States is prison.

As we drove up to Leavenworth Medium Security wing (the place where Michael Vick went-excuse me for name dropping) it is terrifying. Leavenworth is massive. Upon arrival you have no idea where to go. We walked into the main building which had to be opened by a door drawbridge and went in. They let my father come since is an attorney (he got his license to help with father is amazing). We were quickly told to go wait at an adjacent gate. It’s a massive gate about 2 stories high with all the barbwire trimmings. There is a little call box you speak into. I have never been more terrified. I pressed the box and spoke into it. Nothing. We then waited about 15 minutes and a guard pulled up in the driveway around the prison and told my dad he needed to leave for me to be able surrender. Watching my dad walk away was awful.

After my father left a guard arrived and walked me into the main building. I spent the day going over my health and other issues as you basically give them a life story. As I mentioned because we had received excellent preparation, I was ready with all my information. That led to avoiding quarantine which was huge. It allowed me to get immediately into the camp. I was able to walk to camp unaccompanied and without handcuffs. They just pointed me in the direction of the camp.


My first day I spent walking the grounds, meeting a few people. The camp probably has 290 people. My information suggests most camps are much smaller. People are nice to new guys and give you advice. I have met some solid people that I expect I will be friends with. Based on advice received from Prison Professors I was expecting many white-collar inmates. It does not seem to be the case here. In college or the world, you usually see people who would be in your tribe. Going off appearances I seem to stand out big time. I may be the only person without a tattoo. The age difference is all over the spectrum, trending younger. I expect there are people I can relate to here but again this place is massive and you don’t really meet people except in your dorm. There is supposed to be a person at Leavenworth camp who Prison Professors also work with, but I have yet to meet him. I am not sure what he looks like. Another person I am supposed to meet came in a day after me but was unvaccinated so I expect he will be quarantined for some time.

I intend to make this a positive experience and the key will be finding a routine. balancing work with some leisure far, I just walk (thank God I got Adidas the 2nd day here). I have probably walked around this place 20 times already. I wish (but don’t wish you) could see this place. The first night I heard loud thunder and intense rain. Next to me was a guy watching the movie Andor. So, I just lay awake in a new unfamiliar place. I miss everyone. Please sign the authorization for email if you have not already. When you sign it, I am notified and can then correspond. My dad says it is easy.

Email is the easiest followed by phone (I will be calling each of you to connect). A recording will tell you are getting a call from an inmate but don’t worry it is not a collect call and I am not just any inmate

Signing off. Wish me luck.

Weekly newsletter. week 2
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