You may be curious as to what a typical day in a Federal Prison is like. Every level of prison is different. During the past 3 years I have spent time in a county jail, a federal detention center, a medium security prison, solitary confinement, and now a minimum security prison. Each one is different from the other; each one is a place you do not want to go to. But the minimum prison I am living now is one I can tolerate. We don’t have bars on our cells. We don’t even have cells, but are assigned rooms with doors. My room is a two-man room, shared with a 66-yr-old man. It is similar to a college dorm room but smaller. Inside the room you will find a bunk bed, four six-foot tall lockers, a huge bulletin board, a table, and two chairs. We also have a four foot by five foot window that faces the highway, and a huge water tower. After being in a solitary confinement cell and not seeing the sun for five months, the room I have now is like heaven to me. It’s a cozy room and I enjoy the peace and quiet of it. There are no loud obscenities yelled at all hours of the night; there are no screams and arguments between inmates. It is a room shared by civilized adults who are making the best of where they are.
My weekday mornings begin at 6:30am, (I sleep in on the weekends till about nine) and meet my friend Garrett for breakfast. Both work and class start at 7:30am. I only have a few more weeks of class left, and then will start work at 7:30am. After my two hours of class time, I work in the education department until lunch at 11:30am. I do an assortment of jobs for the department, such as arranging bulletin boards, cleaning classrooms, making copies, etc. After lunch, I report back to work at 1:00pm. During my 90 minutes of lunch break I am able to spend an hour of alone time in my room. This is my quiet time with God. It’s always a great time for study and prayer. I encourage all of you, if you don’t already, to set aside time during each day to have a quiet time with God. I know God would love that. This is something I wish I would have started years ago. We have a tendency to only seek God when we are in trouble, but by spending time with Him during good times, it may help keep you from trouble!
From 1pm to 3pm I’m back at work again, doing whatever assignments are given to me. After work I usually go back to my room and nap, read, write, or do a word puzzle. Then it’s dinner time, followed by working out, running, playing sports, or attending another class. At 8:30pm the compound closes and everyone has to be back to their assigned housing units for the night. This is the time I usually read, watch television or play cards until midnight, and then go to bed.
Of course, not every day is exactly the same, but most are very similar. I also try to make time for playing guitar, going to the chapel services, prayer groups, and other special events that are organized. The days absolutely fly by. On the weekends we have more freedom to do what we want, when we want. Each day we also have the option of going to the chow hall to eat or not. Some people like to “cook” in their rooms with what they buy at commissary. And let me tell you, I’ve learned how to make some crazy food with the limited amount of supplies and food we have. My roommate can make a cheesecake and apple pie that compares to what you would buy at a bakery, while only using coffee creamer, lemon juice, water, apples and cookies. It’s pretty impressive what people come up with. Can’t wait to cook a meal for you all someday!!
Overall, I feel very comfortable at this place. I truly believe God has placed me in this prison for a reason. I make every effort to surround myself with positive and uplifting people. I do my best to make God’s light shine through me. I don’t know exactly how much time I have left. But I do know I’m not going to waste any days. I feel I am happier and less stressful now than I have been in a long time. It seems like most days I’m learning new things about life and about myself. Yes, I’m 34 years young, and have a long life ahead of me yet. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me these next few years in prison and especially when I get out. It’s all good!!!
“Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16
P.S. Mail is still one of the best parts of my day, so feel free to send me a note and I’ll write back to you. And, as always, your continued prayers are certainly appreciated.