On August 20, 2014 I was awakened at 11:30pm and told I had five minutes to pack up and get ready as I was finally leaving “the hole” in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and moving to Seagoville, Texas. After five months and five days in a 10’ x 10’ cell, the wait was finally over. God taught me a lot in that time, and believe it or not, I am thankful for the time I spent meditating on His Word, studying, and sharing it to the few people I was around. God knew exactly what He was doing placing me there. But now it was time to move on and continue His work elsewhere.
It was a slow drawn-out process checking out and boarding the bus, but 40 inmates finally left around 5am. We stopped twice along the way to get snacks and to stretch our legs. OK, just kidding!! For the guards, I meant to say! Our feet, hands, and waists were all shackled and connected together. It was ideal comfort for traveling!
Nine hours later we pulled into the Oklahoma City Transit Center at 2pm. It took another four hours of getting clothes, filling out forms, eating, and getting our mug shots taken before finally making it to our unit. Are you allowed to smile when taking a mug shot? Everyone looks so sad, angry, or depressed each time.
I felt like I was in heaven. I was finally able to watch ESPN after 5+ months of no television. So I parked myself in front of the television for the next three hours just taking it all in. I assumed I would be in OKC for a few weeks like last time before moving on to my destination. But low and behold, at 1:30am that first night, I was awakened and told to pack up as I was leaving for Seagoville right away. Again, it took a few hours to load the bus, but we were finally on our way. We stopped briefly at Fort Worth, Texas, to drop off half of the 40 inmates before arriving in Seagoville at around 10:30am. Three prisons in two days. Crazy! I was very thankful the move happened quickly and was now over. Miraculously, Seagoville is a low security prison. Maybe somebody finally realized that I was not a fighter, not a rioter, not a stabber, and saw their mistake by dropping my points down to a low status. I was definitely happy and felt safe again.
Around noon I was walking through the compound to my unit. My first impression of this place was Beautiful! The compound is surrounded by old 1930’s red brick buildings. It has a huge courtyard in the middle with gazebos, trees, flower gardens, and brick paths going every which way. It reminds me of a college campus. There are hardly any fences, but buildings that prevent us from leaving.
As beautiful as it sounds and looks, it’s still prison, and I’d much rather be on the streets. Also, there is no air-conditioning in my unit. Who builds a place in Texas without air-conditioning? I guess that’s part of the punishment. Every day so far since arriving here it has been over 100 degrees. But at least the scenery makes up for it. And I can walk around!!
I do know that doing my time here will be a lot easier than in Mississippi. There are many activities to get involved in (sport leagues, educational classes) and many things to do to pass the time in a constructive way. There is even a weight room which most prisons in the United States do not have for safety reasons. Unfortunately, there are not a whole lot of Christians here, although I have attended several worship services. I know this is where God wants me for now. He definitely had a pull in placing me here. And has the perfect place for me inside these walls. I thank Him for the opportunity for putting me smack dab in this mission field. I never dreamed I would be doing prison ministry in my life. But I believe that’s what I’m here for. And I know with God by my side, all things will work out to His glory.
(Feel free to write to me at: Craig Perino #12180-089; Federal Correctional Institution; P.O. Box 9000; Seagoville TX 75159. Would love to hear from you!)