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COOPS - Weekly life from Kansas #5

Updated: Jan 11

Finally feeling human

Looks like I am finally getting back to normal. My body feels like its rebooting though I’m not there yet, but hopefully soon. People have been super supportive and helpful. But I have purposely stayed out of everyone’s way so no drama. It is a big relief to be able to function close to normal. Feeling subpar in a new truly different environment than any I have ever experienced has made my blending in even more challenging.

Few thoughts

I have noticed 2 things. One, my fingernails grow much faster than I would have thought. The 2nd. There is nothing easy at the Leavenworth prison camp. Usually, I can handle situations well. I just laugh and shake it off. But I’m kind of laughed out here. It’s frustrating to know there is little you can do to make your situation better. This is the first time I have faced this type of adversity.

The BOP is the holy grail of unproductive bureaucracy. If something is not broken give it time. They find a way to make things harder. Everything is difficult. My most important example is my detoxing. It was unnecessary. The medication to avoid withdrawal is an approved medication on the prison formulary. But Leavenworth does not choose to offer it. Instead, they offer an alternative. The alternative is a shot given once a month. They would rather give a shot once a month vs. a daily dose. I get it. But they require that I stop my previous medication and go through weeks of withdrawal and start over. Get blood work, labs, and then reapply through the BOP office. The plan was for it to take a week. I’m heading into my 5th week here next week. Perfectly bad story that encapsulates how things work (or don’t) in a prison. AGH!!!!!

I thought I had shared all about this place, but dad tells me I have not. The difference between what I am writing and what I think, I guess. A few of you are worried about my candor on some subjects. I am touching issues lightly compared to how they are addressed in everyday life here. People appear to be brutally honest as they share their thoughts on their situation...loudly and very publicly. Most people, including staff, are not shy about the camp and its various aspects, strengths and weaknesses. BUT worry not. I will be careful.

Leavenworth is considered by the residents to be one of the worst camps if not the worst in the nation. It just is what it is. There are prison rumors you dismiss and then there is information that is just part of daily life. This place is brutal.

How did I end up here again? So far from California. Despite all the preparation I had the mistaken notion the camps were generally alike. So wrong...the camps are profoundly different. New transfers come in daily from all over and you hear about other camps. I made the mistake of asking a new transfer about Sheridan, Oregon (the place I expected to be sent).

I wish you could have seen his a longing for a loved one. Huge mistake. I spent the whole day in envy, in the end I asked him to stop talking about it. Sheridan is supposed to be next level.... gardens, fishing, running tracks, softball, soccer fields, weight room, activities galore. The Sheridan transfer is however, now closer to loved ones.

In Kansas all of the exercise opportunities are lacking. Again, this is prison, so I wasn’t expecting a five-star resort but the stories you hear from other inmates involve games and sports, things to help occupy your time. The closest we get to sports here is horseshoes or cards. All I wanted was a decent track to run. There is however a rather sophisticated gun range next door where the citizens of Kansas go in packs to shoot up the earth.

There is a softball field and a ridiculously long trail next to the barb wired fence, some scattered weights, and some broken exercise equipment.... But darn it one can exercise anywhere. I will make it work. I will not leave Kansas without being under 200lbs. it’s the one promise I made to myself that I will not fail. I’m coming to grips with where I will be spending my time. I need to get creative.

So why am talking about this? because despite the weather, the food, the lack of anything to do whatsoever, this place will not break me. if I can do this, I can do anything. It will be tough, and I already feel like I’m leaning on some of you very hard. But there is no way I let this break me. The hard part is behind me. Thanks everyone for your continued support.


Here is the rest of the layout of the camp. On the north side next to my dorm is gymnasium with a full basketball court. But picture a dilapidated court with uneven surface and half a dozen deflated balls. Nobody plays. Next to the gym is a library and a GED classroom. Directly upstairs are pool tables and a TV room. It is my favorite area. There are about 6 tv's and two pool tables that are popular. everyone takes very good care of them. I have not played yet but I will. The highlight is Sunday day night when the Kansas City Chiefs play. Everyone watches it together. I love being with fellow chiefs’ fans. it’s a bizarre ironic moment and it give me some peace. This is my one saving grace with me being a Chiefs fan even though I am from California. People are perplexed.

Going downstairs there is a Doctor and Dentist office where you gather in the morning for meds/medical. Next to it are two separate dorms and offices of the various staff. Counselor, Case Manager. At the center of the complex is what is called the bubble and that is where the security headquarters is located. You meet there for assignments, to pick up mail (infrequently available) and generally for anything business related.

There is an outside visiting area. The visiting area is nice. We have RDAP meetings there and I stare at the vending machines filled with stuff I will not eat (we can’t eat it as it is reserved for Guests). That reminds me if I do let anyone visit bring a ton of change. Follow the hall to the end and you have phones and computers and the two largest dorms. Lastly there is the commissary room where we go to get supplies and food once a week. Across from the bubble is the cafeteria where we eat three times a day. The food is the same each week with small variations. It’s not terrible. It cracks me up to hear people always asking for the food menu. It appears to be the same as last week. Really do you not know? That it. Welcome to Kansas Leavenworth Camp.

Comments from Dad

Scott did lots of venting this week, but he does seem to be settling in making acquaintances and working on a routine. I also continue to learn. When CorrLinks stopped working for Scott, I sent him a letter only to get it returned two weeks later. My sin was putting a return address sticker on the letter. The return envelope above says no label. What was I thinking? Compared to Scott I am a detail person, but BOP will put that to the test.

Scott is not expecting to get visitors given his distance from all of us and the relative inaccessibility of Leavenworth but a few of you are putting that to the test. Getting approval to visit requires time as each visitor must be approved which requires submission of a visitor form so BOP can check you out. I have copies of the form and a few of you have started the process. Remember no color, no labels and any question not completed will require one to begin the process all over again.

If you do visit the standard advice is to bring $20-$30 dollars in small bills and quarters in a clear plastic bag for the vending machines discussed by Scott in his text.

To the left above is Scott with Marie sometime in 2019 or thereabouts.The other picture is Scott finishing a run in the spring of 2022.He is over 360 in the first photo and around 240 in the second.His goal upon release is 200 lbs.

Weekly newsletter. week 5
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