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COOPS Weekly - Life from Kansas #25

Updated: Jan 15

This week was Rough

My closest friend at LPC Phil was given a formal warning. It was intense. Phil is wildly popular here. I have not met a single person at camp that does not think the world of him. I was so proud of our group of friends. Jones, and Ojo sat outside with Phil....not to protest...but to support. The measure of a good friend is not what you do in the good’s what you do when things are tough. Both are solid friends. Lucky to have them here.

We all were a nervous wreck. Phil handled this tough situation far better than I would have. Super proud of him. He is ok...he was not sent to the SHU or kicked out of the program. But scary because it is another example of how anything can happen.

Craziest thing I have seen or heard @ the LPC this week.

This place cracks me up. Things happen here that would never happen outside in the real world. I was yelled at by medical staff for walking in the middle of the hallway. WHAT????? Can you imagine if a DR. yelled at you while you were walking in a hall.... WITH ZERO PEOPLE IN SAID HALL. So bizarre. But not unexpected here. I do not mean spoken to loudly I mean YELLED AT.

I have been assisting people at LPC in different areas. I worked on two divorces this week. Tough when you get notice of a divorce in prison when you can’t do anything? Crazy. I assisted one’s efforts to get outside counsel in ad litem (dad helped also). Also, I was able to help a fellow RDAPer get his full FSA credit and an additional 4-month halfway house. Big week. Very excited for him.

I received 2 outstanding compliments this week. The first was after chow. One of the new guys who is wickedly funny told me "I was one of the most eccentric people he has ever met." I love that!!! Not sure it was a compliment. But I took it as one. There is a reason he said what he said...I will explain later. The other was the same day in our unit when several of my RDAPers asked me if I ever considered becoming a motivational speaker.... HA? Love it.

Photo in celebration of the Sac Kings making the playoffs after 16 years. Early in Covid we posed for Big Heads. The Big Heads attended games at the otherwise empty Golden 1 arena. It is full now.

The story is all the better because.

On the outside Scott is the Imelda

Marcos of athletic shoes.

Everyone outside knows I am a bit wacky. But here they are just learning. The eccentric declaration was about a comment I made about another inmate removing his shoelaces and me trying to convince him to put them back in....Let me explain.

There are two types of shoes here. Sneakers and boots. We wear boots for RDAP and for work (We are initially issued black boots, like the army.) Most roam around wearing sneakers all day, the boots are tough to wear. There are 3 brands of sneakers allowed. Nike, Adidas, and New Balance. The New Balances are rare, so it is pretty much just Nike and Adidas.

And its specific shoes in those pretty much everyone wears the same shoes. Some people buy outside shoes(contraband) but they get busted and forced to take them off wherever they are if a guard sees them (imagine if you are outside in the have to take them off right then and there if a guard tells you). You see people walking back to their unit in their socks all the time.

Anyway, the commissary featured Adidas slip on shoes that are popular. Some people take the laces out (they really aren’t needed on the shoe) .... My buddy Phil took his laces off.

Doc Randy (my other closest friend) & I have these same shoes, but we kept the laces in. It has become a running joke that anyone who had the laces off is on Phils team...and anyone who kept laces on is a member of the APM (anti-Phil-movement)

It might not read funny, but it is funny in here (c’mon we have nothing to do). When I was called "eccentric," I was giving a passionate speech to a new inmate who had recently bought the shoes to keep the laces on.

Gangs in prison

Several people have asked again what the people in here are like. Let me discuss one aspect. There are gangs. Although there is a far less intense gang presence here than in higher security prisons, there still are gangs. We have the brothers (African American, St. Louis, Kansas City, Bloods, Crips). The Paisa's (Mexican gang) ...The Aryans, the Italians (some older mob guys), and the unaffiliated. I have been lucky to make ins with most of them. It makes living here easier if they sign off on you. I write letters/emails and help in different ways. It helps me get along with just about everyone and I enjoy helping people.

Rooms and tables are controlled by these different groups. There are black, Hispanic, and Aryan tables that if you sit down, you will be told to move elsewhere.... That happened to me the first couple of weeks. The first month I was told to move three times in one day. There is St. Louis and Kansas City TV rooms. They have some interesting rules for these rooms. If you are of the same race but not the specific gang, you are allowed to come into these rooms twice a day. My buddy Ojo (who is black) tells these funny stories about getting thrown out since he always comes and goes. Ojo is well liked by everyone, so he gets away with a lot of additional privileges until someone in that room has had enough.

You also cannot watch the TV unless you are part of that specific gang (you can’t even watch from the outside window). I think it is super political, but I’m told this is nothing compared to a low/med/high prison.

The Paisa's (Hispanics) are the most interesting group to me. They are soooo connected. They have a hierarchy that is fascinating. The younger guys (new inmates) run around and take care of the older members. They do everything together and have each other’s backs on a moment’s notice. They cook together every night and really make sure everyone is taken care of. Hard not to admire the way they look after one another. I have a running joke with them that I am an honorary Paisa. I work out with some of them which I’m told is very rare. Who knows?

The Aryans spend all their time working out. They are massive, fully tatted up. Some of them are super friendly, but they are not to be trifled with. We have some that are joining RDAP in the next few months so that will be interesting. We also have a few guys that are connected. They keep to themselves. I have tried chatting with them, but it never goes very far. I do get my ice cream (when I treat myself) from one of them.

I have some fascinating stories about my interactions with each group, but I will need to save that for later in person discussions. Don’t forget to ask when you next see me.

Weekly newsletter. week 25
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