Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feb 28 - Visitation Challenges

Saturday, Feb 28

Clayton was able to get a call out to his family on Saturday, but he emphasized to them that there was a new problem regarding visitation.  A guard had visited him at his cell earlier in the day and informed him that all of the visitor forms he had completed after arriving at the facility would soon return to him rejected.  They said that too many had been submitted, and the guard did not return to explain further.  Clayton also said that one of the family phone numbers he had been able to depend on for getting in contact was now not working, despite his earlier attempts to fix the block on his phone PIN number.

Confusion Over Visitation

When arriving at the facility for their daily visit, Clayton's family checked in to find out their status for visitation.  It was confirmed to them that all of the forms Clayton had completed for visitation since arriving at GCCC would soon be returned as 'denied.'  When Clayton first arrived at GCCC, staff had explained to his family that a visitor contact form had to be completed by him for each person before they would be allowed to visit him; with the exception of a single video visit which would be allowed during processing.  They explained that the information collected previously at MSPT could not be used for this purpose.

Now, the staff explained to family that this information was incorrect, and that Clayton's visitors list now included more than 18 people, and was not allowed to exceed 10.  Some of the individuals on Clayton's visitor list had been added as far back as 2009 when he initially turned himself into the police after the first indictment of charges against him.  Strangely however, some of the people to have visited him as recently as February 13th at MSPT had not been added into the system at all.

The staff at the facility did not seem to agree on whether Clayton would be able to correct the list, or even if he would be able to request information on who was on the list currently.  Meanwhile, the staff recommended that - like everything else - Clayton submit a cop-out form requesting assistance on the issue.  His family walked away confused and distressed, but hoping to be able to communicate with someone at the facility that could help them resolve their problem soon.  Thankfully, Clayton's wife was not denied the ability to visit for the time being, as she had already had a form completed and had been visiting the facility thus far.

Clayton Remaining Positive

Despite the upcoming challenges to visitation, Clayton was attempting to remain positive.  His cell mate, Andy, had continued to teach him more words and phrases in Samoan for conversations with his wife as the days passed by, including: 'have a good night,' 'see you tomorrow,' etc.  Andy had also been discussing with Clayton the appeal of the US to individuals in Samoa, talking about the increased wages.  However, he explained that basic living expenses between the regions were vastly different, and the US had many expenses that folks in Samoa did not have to deal with.

Dinner today was interesting: burritos, rice and beans, corn bread (that he could actually eat), an oatmeal cookie (which he gave away) and salad.  He gave away the cookie to Andy and actually ate the salad, but decided not to eat the beans out of courtesy.  Clayton informed his family that he and Andy had an inside joke; either "you are full of frogs" or "I am full of frogs."  Apparently, on a previous day Andy had farted incredibly loudly and Clayton told him one of his dad's old jokes about it being a frog.  Andy found the joke so funny that he continued to use the phrase for everything now.  Especially when other inmates were being particularly foolish and they agreed that "they are just full of frogs."

So far, things had been very quiet during day, without the typical yelling all night the night before.  After finally getting some rest Clayton ended up sleeping in and missing the call for a shower.  He had been working out every morning and every night.  In the morning he would work out for approximately one hour after breakfast and after they had turned the lights back on.  Then he would exercise again after dinner, but before bed.  Now he began to regret the prior day's workout as he wondered if he smelled (Clayton has a notoriously bad sense of smell).

Clayton had joked with Andy that they were going to learn a new exercise that day; and had shown him "bible curls" with a bible in each hand.  He also had a new bible verse for friends and family to read - Psalms 18:16.  As of right now he has read Matthew to Revelation again.  He wanted to encourage friends and family to send him bible verses and stories that they thought would be encouraging for him to read, or that they felt impressed with.

Surprisingly, Clayton did get access to a new book the day before.  He was standing outside of his cell, waiting to be taken back inside after his visit with his wife the day before, when he noticed a book balanced on a railing.  He asked the guard if he could take the abandoned book back to his cell and the guard agreed.  Much to Clayton's surprise, the book - which shall not be named - was bad enough that Clayton was not able to finish it.  His wife expressed utter shock, as this had only happened to him once before in the more than 10 years she had known him.  Clayton loves books more than any other pastime on Earth.

Clayton mentioned in discussion with his family that a new inmate had been brought into segregation that day.  He explained that it had caused quite an uproar among the other inmates.  They had been screaming and yelling that the man was someone who had raped a young boy.  Clayton said he would not even attempt to judge whether anything about their shouting was true, because the same people also called Clayton a "Chester" (child molester) even though it had nothing to do with even the false case against him.  Clayton explained that all the inmates would shout and scream and cause a huge scene any time that this new guy, or Clayton, were taken to or from their cells.  The man had also apparently received an earlier order of commissary items shortly after arriving, and the men had been screaming at the man's roommate to throw his things away.

Commissary Needs

Clayton explained to his family that he discovered a commissary need today which he hadn't anticipated before.  When looking at the commissary list previously, Clayton had noted with amusement that there was a rather vast assortment of lotions available on the list.  "Why would I ever order that?" he had joked to himself, but now a new predicament had taken the amusement out of it.  Now he knows...

When removing his socks Clayton realized with a shock that he was beginning to peel like a snake up to his ankles.   The skin peeled as if it had a bad sun burn, but it did not burn or itch.  It appeared to be an extreme case of dry skin.  When he spoke with his cell mate, he realized that Andy was having the same problem, and Andy's dark skin only made the condition seem more drastic as the skin peeled.  Andy's theory was that their skin was drying out due to the soap they were given by the prison.  It wasn't until Andy suggested buying lotion from the commissary that the light bulb clicked for Clayton, and he began to laugh.

Clayton was not sure when commissary items would be scheduled to arrive, but he hadn't received any so far.  He also mentioned with a heavy sigh that he understood why the prison staff balked at the idea of letting him bring a pen into the video visitation room, even to take notes, as he described that he was looking at his visitors through the outline of a penis which had been gouged into the screen.

Clayton informed his family that he had not received any new letters or responses to previous cop-out forms during the day.  A friend inquired during the visit about the metal D-rings they could see attached to the wall behind him and he explained that this was the method used to attach his belly chain to the wall during an in-person visit with his lawyers.  They would connect the belly chain to the D-ring with a set of handcuffs.  A D-ring could be found on all four walls of the visitation room.  He also noted that the room had a lot of plug-ins for laptop computers, and a dry erase board on the wall for the lawyers use, which could not be seen from the other side of the video.

In wrapping up his conversation with his family, Clayton discussed a few other odds and ends.  He explained to his family that inmates are given an opportunity to go outside every morning at the same time as they are given the opportunity to request a shower.  However, as far as Clayton understood, they were not given coats and so he was worried about getting sick if he took them up on the opportunity.

Despite the concerns about visitation, Clayton remained intentionally upbeat.  Clayton's family intended to contact security on Monday, as instructed by staff, to find out why their numbers were still being blocked.  They also asked the staff if there was any way to send Clayton postage that he could use for sending return letters, and were informed that there may be a possibility to send pre-printed postage on envelopes; which the family decided to look into.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  The family was able to determine many days later that sending envelopes is not a possibility.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Feb 27 - Still Learning How Things Work

Friday, Feb 27

When leaving the conversation with his family yesterday, Clayton had been concerned about how his cell mate, Andy, would react to the wild and false allegations against him from the other inmates.  Now, every time he leaves his cell they end up screaming, "Alison!  Chester!" etc.  Fortunately, Clayton was happy to report that Andy simply shakes his head and replies, "They're stupid."

His conversations with Andy had also given him another idea to think about most of the day.  Andy and his wife had been able to raise enough money for bail, but weren't able to find someone who was willing and able to serve as a third party for the court.  Years earlier, Clayton himself had been on 'third party' status for more than 2 years, so he was very familiar with the requirements.  The individual(s) have to be within sight or sound of the person on bail 24-hours per day, 7 days per week until the resolution of the trial or dismissal of their charges.  It can be an impossible burden for anyone who works, unless they are able to divide it between more than one individual.  For example, Clayton's third party had been divided between 2 family members.

Clayton had been pondering whether a program could be developed that would provide court-approved third party volunteers/employees.  He talked about the various complexities around the issue.  However, a program of that nature would provide a service for families in the difficult situation of being trapped in the court system.  As Clayton's own family had learned, a 'right to a speedy trial' frequently meant years before finding a resolution.  Especially for individuals whose family are out of state or out of country, finding someone who could meet this need on a strictly voluntary basis can be practically impossible.

Tips for Commissary and Inspections

Clayton learned today that if someone in the prison has $20 or less on their books, they can claim an indigent status with the prison.

"Indigent inmates may mail, at the Department’s expense, up to five pieces of mail per week, legal or otherwise, weighing up to two pounds each. (See Indigent Supplies for the definition of an indigent inmate) Each piece of mail must have a Commissary Request form 302.11A filled out and attached to the letter. Indigent mail needs to be written in the comment section of the form. The Superintendent may consider requests of heavier pieces of privileged mail on a case by case basis. Inmates may not use indigent mail to ship out excess property" (Goose Creek Correctional Center Segregation Handbook, May 2013, p 32).

Clayton also learned that someone with an indigent status may also fill out an indigent commissary form.  He's not sure what other supplies are available on that form, but it is handy to know for individuals who may not have any money, because the prison will not necessarily alert them to this option if they are unaware.

Clayton's family had also gathered some basic information on how to pass inspections from the guards to pass along to him.  The day before, Clayton's cell had failed 'cell inspections' while he was away at the showers, and therefore Clayton had lost phone privileges for the day as punishment.  Clayton's wife explained to the guards out front at the facility after her visit that it was impossible for her husband to know how to pass cell inspections consistently, when he had yet to be given the opportunity to read the Segregation Handbook which included these instructions.  They agreed this was an undue burden and relayed some basic information to her verbally: make sure nothing is ever covering vents (apparently vents can reverse-draw air in case of fire), speaker boxes, or the gap in the door; keep things on desk to prevent fishing; no blankets or sheets can ever be draped off, around, or in bed to block off light; and penalties for inspection failure last only 1 day.

More detailed information on room inspections can be found on pages 12 and 13 of the Goose Creek Correctional Center Segregation Handbook.  However, much of this information pertains to the special module at GCCC for PC folks called K Mod.  In the segregation cells, inmates are not allowed to leave their cells except at designated times with an escort, and inmates are not given storage bins at all, so the rules are applied differently.

Little Details

One of the guards commented that inmates in Administrative Segregation are sometimes given the opportunity to read the Segregation Handbook at the law library for that section, but that the law library kiosk has been down for a while.

Clayton mentioned that the health inspections had also been different between MSPT and GCCC.  At MSPT he had simply been given a TB test after being at the facility for a couple of days.  At GCCC they took his temperature, blood pressure, weight, and asked about allergies and basic medical history.

Lastly, Clayton told his family that he was reading in Matthew right now, and specifically about Jesus calming the storm.  Andy has been reading Isaiah 53, and they had been discussing their reading together.  His family told him he should also check out Psalm 69 and Isaiah 54.  Overall Clayton said he is keeping his hopes up and deciding that if he's going to be in there, he is going to make his time worthwhile.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Feb 26 - Magazines and Phone Problems

Thursday, Feb 26

Clayton started his conversation with his family today by explaining there was no news on the paperwork front; meaning no letters had arrived, and no responses to cop-out or visitation forms.

His new routine had become: workout, read, eat, learn Samoan, eat, workout, sleep.

While reading and sleeping he had discovered something new about the blankets.  They reeked, and Clayton has nearly no sense of smell so he wondered how they would seem to a normal person.  He also said they seemed to be laced with other people's random hair.  Both he and Andy have very short hair, but they were both pulling hairs out that appeared to be over 6 inches in length.  "In general," he said with a grimace, "Grody."

Due to his speed reading, Clayton had already burned through the bible once, and was now hopping around to read select stories.  He told his family he had read the stories of: Job, David, Jonah & the Whale, Nebekenezer, Daniel, Samson, and was now working on Abraham.  He was very pleased that the bible he'd been given also had a concordance, so he could explore the appearance of different words and themes.  He told his family he felt particularly impressed today with 1 Corinthians 13, a chapter about love.  He said that he loved and missed his family and his wife.

During the day, Clayton had also learned a new exercise from Andy.  He explained that the bunk beds have ladders here, but they are 'pathetic' with very tiny steps.  There are no hand holds, and so inmates don't really use them.  Andy showed him that he could thread his sheet through the ladder like a sling, and then use it to curl his body weight up towards the bunk; making an effective bicep exercise.  Clayton said they had been stumped before on how to manage an exercise that was truly good for your biceps.

Magazine Fishing Show

Clayton excitedly told his wife that just after her arrival, and before their visit, he had gotten to watch the greatest fishing expedition yet.  It had taken place directly across from Clayton's cell, so he'd been able to watch the entire drama unfold from his bunk.

Apparently, just after he had been notified that his wife had arrived for a visit, a man across the room on the upper balcony attempted to 'fish' a stack of magazines down to someone in a cell on the lower balcony.  "I'm not sure how many magazines there were," he explained, "but there was definitely more than one."  The man had punched a hole through the magazines and tied the 'fishing line' through the bindings.

Remember, 'fishing lines' are made from all kinds of materials (bedding, towels, stitching from clothing, etc.) through a very destructive process.  Just a few days ago, one of the guards caught an inmate ripping up sheets for super long lines, and they had stripped him down to his underwear as punishment and to prevent him from making more.  Clayton said that keeping 'fishing lines' from other inmates out of your cell was a real challenge.

Back to the story at hand...  AFTER Clayton's wife had arrived for her visit, and the guards had informed Clayton they would be coming, this man from the upper balcony begins his 'fishing' attempt. He flung the magazine stack and line out from under his door hard enough to go completely off the upper balcony.  On its way down, it managed to fall through a metal staircase and get snagged.  The man worked to get it free, but instead the line snapped off completely and the magazines landed in the middle of the walkway on the lower floor with a tremendous thud.

The 'fishing' failure began an absolute FRENZY within the unit.  Everyone began yelling and shouting at once; screaming things like:

"Get it off the floor quick!"

"The guards are coming for Allison!! Hurry!"

"You idiots! Now we're all f*****!!"

"Someone get a hold of it!"

Suddenly, 5, 6, 7 guys or more (men that Clayton hadn't even realized had 'fishing lines') began throwing the lines out into the hallway from their cells; trying to snag the magazines before someone came to get Clayton.  Eventually, someone did manage to snag the cut line and drag the stack into their cell; which immediately began an entirely new round of shouting:

"Hell yeah!"

"Hey man!  Those are ours!  You'd better give them back!!"

"Man we rock!"

Clayton said it was by far the funniest thing he'd seen within the prison.

Learning Samoan

In addition to reading, exercising, and watching amazing feats of 'fishing', Clayton's cell mate had also begun teaching him words and phrases in Samoan.

Samoan phrases essential for calling your lady, according to Andy:

Ou te alofa ia te oe = I love You

Ou te Manao ia te oe = I want You

Pele = Baby or Honey

Clayton said there were many more phrases he'd written down and learned, but didn't have time to go through them all.  In general, he and Andy were still getting along well, but he had become concerned on his way out to visit with his wife.  Many of the inmates were yelling at Andy when they came to collect Clayton.  They were screaming Clayton's name and yelling out "Chester" (prison slang for a child molester), and asking Andy if he "realized who his cell mate was".

Clayton was very distressed by this turn of events, because the false accusations against him had only seemed to spiral into more blackness after entering the facility and had nothing to do with the case against him anymore.  He knew how much Andy loved his own family, and worried about whether the man would believe the wild accusations, but his wife encouraged him that he and Andy had gotten to know one another and surely the man would recognize that Clayton was not capable of a crime like that against a child.  The very thought made his wife sick.  She was already sickened by the state's horrible distortion of her daughter's memory being used to steal the life of her husband, but this twist was by far the worst yet.

Phone Blocked

Strangely, all phone numbers now seemed to be restricted from Clayton's personal phone PIN, so he had not been able to get a call out to his family earlier that day.  His family had been instructed by staff to speak with security about the oddities of some phone numbers not working on earlier dates and had called.  Now. Clayton's wife explained that security had told her they blocked all numbers from his personal phone PIN number because somehow his number (and many others in that unit) had been passed around to be used by others.  Even though she had requested for her own number to be unblocked, the change had not gone through yet, so Clayton was unable to get word out from the prison even if he did get access to the phone.

This caused Clayton great concern about how someone else could have ended up with his number.  He explained to his wife that he had thrown away a bunch of paperwork in his old cell when he was moved.  They don't have access to actual trash cans in their cells, so they had been using a large brown paper bag instead which had come from Andy's prior receipt of commissary items.  Clayton had simply left the paperwork he didn't want to keep in the bag in the cell when he moved, assuming it would be disposed of by staff before someone new entered the cell.

Clayton had learned at MSPT 5 years ago that having too much personal paperwork on hand in your belongings could prove dangerous if someone nosy decided to go through and read it when you weren't present.  Now he feared that this choice had been more dangerous.  He explained that the paperwork not only had his phone PIN, but his commissary number, legal paperwork, and PC information as well.  He said that he planned to fill out a cop-out form asking about it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feb 25 - Lawyers and the Fire Marshall

Wednesday, Feb 25

When he met with his family, Clayton went over more details about what meals are like at the facility.  He explained that for breakfast this morning the inmates had sausage patties with eggs and some kind of hearty cheese sauce, pancakes, and syrup.  Apparently breakfast always comes with milk here.  For lunch they had some kind of small hot dog with chili.  Dinner was a similar consistency to Dinty Moore beef stew with salad, green beans, and a cookie.  Clayton gave Andy his cookie, because he is trying to eat healthy.  Much to the shock of everyone in his family, he is actually eating the green beans and salad every day as well.

Clayton also mentioned that he gave Andy the top bunk when they changed cells yesterday.  He joked about getting up to the top just being one more exercise, but his wife remembered him talking about the bruises the upper bunks cause from the leap.  Clayton was also giving Andy the opportunity to read the Christian books from the chaplain, so they could discuss them together.  The first book he had been given was Finding God in the Dark, and the second was a book of testimonials that Clayton believed was called Resound.

Clayton explained to his family that now that he and Andy had both finished both books, he was very excited about passing them along.  Both books had a note written from the chaplain on the inside cover saying, "Pass these on."  Clayton had discovered during his stay that sometimes when someone was done with book, if they slid it out into hallway guards would offer it to other inmates in nearby cells to read before removing it.  He was hoping that someone else given a chance to read the books would learn more about God from them.  


Clayton also mentioned that his lawyers came to visit with him today.  He explained that they planned to file motions for a mistrial and for an acquittal, but they did not want him to get his hopes up too high because of the way the legal system works in Alaska.  The lawyers get to be in the same room with Clayton during their visits, without the glass or video separation.  They were very encouraged by his law library research, and encouraged him to continue if he was able.  They also emphasized to him the importance of collecting letters from family, friends, and community members on his behalf asking for reduced sentencing.

However, he also explained that whenever he meets with the lawyers in person, he is chained to wall with belly chain.  This hadn't been done before at MSPT.  Here at GCCC his hands are cuffed to the belly chain separately.  In Clayton's opinion, one guard who walked him to his visit had been particularly considerate.  Guards do not have to, but frequently will, attach one hand with a set of double handcuffs so that the person has more room to move one hand for writing or holding a phone.  It is still awkward, but not impossible.  This particular guard had offered his personal set of handcuffs to give Clayton this use of his hand when there wasn't otherwise another set available, and Clayton felt very thankful.    When asked about the ankle cuffs, Clayton explained that they were not used in the video room or behind glass typically.

Fire Marshall Inspection

Interestingly, no showers were offered today because of new activity in the unit.  Apparently the Fire Marshall had come for inspections at the facility, and was checking smoke detectors and sprinklers in all cells.  Until the inspection, Clayton hadn't realized there was a smoke detector covered by metal grating in every cell.  He wondered why that would be true.  "If there's a fire, it's not like I can get out," he joked.  

Clayton said that he had asked multiple guards about cleaning supplies, but hadn't yet been successful in getting any to work on his cell.  He was hesitant to fill out a cop-out form because it might bug the guards.  His wife encouraged him that the guards expressed that this was the primary method of communication in the cells, and may be the only way to get a response so he planned to fill out a cop-out form for cleaning soon.  

Other than the visitors for the day, Clayton wondered about when responses and mail would arrive.  He had not yet figured out when the commissary he'd ordered would arrive or how much of a delay to expect in the process.  He also wondered how long it would take the letters from his family to arrive.  Someone from the family had sent in a question about whether gum was available on the commissary list, knowing his fondness for it, and he said there wan't.  He did advise his family though, that he'd figured out that he didn't get access to a phone much past 7 or 8 pm, so they didn't need to worry about waiting that late for a call from him.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Feb 24 - Bible and More!

Tuesday, Feb 24

When Clayton met with his family, it was obvious that he was in much higher spirits than ever before.  He had a very active day today, moving cells from one area of the prison to another.  He was informed that he was being moved to the 'less rowdy section' of the segregation area.  Much to his surprise, his cell mate Andy was being moved with him.  Clayton was very happy about this, because they were still getting along very well and he would not have to adjust to a new person.

The move came with a bunch of new paperwork arriving as well.  He received what he described as instructions about Protective Custody (PC). and how the process worked within the prison.  It included information on how an inmate could request re-release into the general population as well.

He also got paperwork on his personal property that had arrived from MSPT, and information that his personal property would never be allowed to exceed what would fit in his assigned box.  He was concerned about the space in the box that was being taken up by his suit, shoes and other belongings that had been on him when he was remanded in court.  His wife informed him that there should be a form he could request and fill out to release belongings to her, and he planned to look into it.

In addition to the information on his other belongings, he was given his personal paperwork from MSPT, including: notes from his prior research at the law library, a couple of sheets of blank paper, and letters he had previously written to his wife without the ability to send in the mail.  Clayton expressed to his wife that he would like to save everything he can throughout his experience within the prison system, in an effort to educate those outside about what the experience was truly like.

Positive Response from Staff

After moving cells, Clayton also met with staff from the facility for the first time himself.  He was given additional forms to fill out for requesting visitors, for which he was extremely thankful.  He had grown frustrated about his inability to get these forms previously, so he could request visits from friends and family.  Inmates in Alaska are limited to a list of 10 approved visitors, which they are only allowed to change once a year.  This inhibits their ability to interact with their friends and family by any means other than letters.  The guard who delivered the forms also explained to him how previous forms he'd completed had been filled out incorrectly due to a section on the bottom that he had assumed was for the facility to complete, and he was able to correct and resubmit them quickly.

When Clayton moved from his old cell to the new one, he left his books behind for the staff to collect or to be passed to other inmates.  The staff member that met with Clayton passed along religious supplies in addition to the forms.  They said the supplies had been provided by the prison chaplain including: a brand new New Living Translation (NLT) Bible, a Christian newsletter and pamphlet, 2 Christian books, and an "Our Daily Bread" devotional calendar.  He asked his family to relay his gratitude to the guard staff.  He didn't get to meet with the chaplain himself, and still wasn't sure when services would be, but he was very encouraged.

By the time Clayton met with his family he had already read the first of the Christian books called Finding God in the Dark, and said that it was an excellent read.  He was also beginning to read about Daniel in the lion's den in the bible after the recommendation of a friend.  "Tell everyone I'm ecstatic about the bible!" he said.

Settling into the New Cell

Clayton had been able to get a call out to his family earlier in the day before his visit, but was distressed to report that his own home number didn't appear to be working from the prison phone.  It was extra bizarre because he had already successfully called that number once before from this facility, and only now did it not seem to work.  He wasn't sure who to contact about the problem, or how, but planned to try and ask about it.

After arriving in his new cell, Clayton noted that the floor was dirty as it had been in his last one.  He still had no idea how to find out if he could clean his cell, so elected to try to use what he had available to him and set to work.  He used one of his two towels as a rag to wash the floor, and his small sink to rinse it as needed.  Then Clayton noticed red running over his hands.  "I thought I was bleeding at first," he explained to his family, "but then I realized it was dye."  The dark purple towel was oozing red dye from its fabric, leaving Clayton to wonder if he would eventually begin to resemble a purple-people-eater after enough time using them.   

He also learned more about 'fishing' today.  Peering into other people's cells he was able to see that they created their elaborate 'fishing lines' from all kinds of weird resources, including their towels, their bed sheets, and even the stitching from their own clothes.  "It's dumb," he explained, "and super destructive.  I think they're only doing it because they're so bored, but it's no excuse.  It's wasteful, but there are a LOT of people doing it."

Clayton also learned today that the big caged area in the middle of the cell block is the legal library he had been hoping to visit for their section.  He was surprised to discover that there was a typewriter down there for inmates to use, and said it suddenly made sense why he had seen typewriter ribbons on the commissary list.  He didn't seem to see any books in there from where his cell was, so he still wasn't sure how the law library worked exactly, but he hoped that he would get an opportunity to soon.

Clayton had gotten his cell mate, Andy, to join in on his exercise program recently, and they were still getting along well.  They had both still avoided the 'Big Question' of why each was serving time, but both felt more comfortable that way.  Just like with most of the other people in Clay's life, he enjoyed making Andy laugh, and he talked with his family about funny stories he could tell.

Clayton's wife mailed him a letter on Monday morning, and two other family members sent off letters today.  The whole family now waits to see how long it will be before those letters are delivered. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Feb 23 - Commissary Finally

Monday, Feb 23

On Monday, a few of Clayton's family and friends were afforded the opportunity to speak with the staff of GCCC.  They discussed some of the critical issues of concern for them about Clayton including visitation, media coverage, protective custody, medical concerns, and Clay's need for a bible.  The family explained that even though they probably heard this a lot - with Clayton's case they truly were dealing with an innocent man who'd been falsely convicted and had no idea what was happening to him now, or how things worked within a prison.  They explained that Clayton's access to a bible would be key to his ability to adapt to the new environment, and the staff agreed to have one provided through the prison chaplain as soon as possible.  The family left the meeting generally feeling positive about the discussion, and hopeful that Clayton would soon have some of these needs addressed.

When Clayton's family were able to meet with him again they updated him on how the meeting with GCCC staff had gone, and their hopes that he would have a bible in the near future.  Clayton discussed some of his own concerns after meeting with attorneys earlier in the week.  He discussed factors in the case which had ultimately led to the false conviction, including the diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos Type III - Hypermobility Type in Jocelynn's mother being banned from mention within the courtroom.  He also talked about other topics that had been banned from mention in the trial including: the behavior of doctors who had jumped to conclusions early on; the behavior of police conducting investigations with the family; Clayton's past work experience providing services to young disabled individuals with great success; and much more.  Clayton was very concerned about these critical issues being raised and discussed options with his family.

Commissary Tips

Clayton was very excited to report that the commissary form had finally arrived late last night, as Andy had suspected it would.

Tip #1: STAY AWAKE.  Late Sunday night, the forms arrived and were stuck in the door.  The forms have to be filled out right away because they are collected shortly after that same night.  Clayton and Andy had been napping when the forms arrived, and when the lady came by later to collect them, they almost missed her.

Tip #2: COMMISSARY INVOLVES MATH.  Some items are in some kind of category indicated with stars, while other items are not.  The form has 3 columns: item costs, 3% tax, and total.  Inmates must do their math carefully because they are limited to spending $25 per week initially - including the sales tax.  Andy explained to Clayton that if your total exceeded $25, you don't get anything that week.  Clayton also noted that the commissary list was much more restricted in Administrative Segregation (PC).  For example, the list included stationary items like paper and envelopes, but no pens and pencils.

Clay elected to focus this week on hygiene items he had attempted to get before leaving MSPT: soap and a soap case, 2-n-1 shampoo/conditioner, shower shoes, a comb, etc.  Inmates are also limited to purchasing 10 items per week, so they have to be selective.  Unfortunately, this commissary list did not allow fingernail clippers, but Clayton explained that he had access to some when he showered.  He also elected to buy a small pocket-sized address book in the hopes that he could begin to collect needed information for calling and writing to folks during visits.  His pants do not have pockets, but there is a small pocket on the front of his shirt that he could use to carry things to the video visitation room whenever it arrives.

Tip #3: - BUY EAR PLUGS.  Clayton explained that the lack of ear plugs was really beginning to cause exhaustion from a lack of sleep.  In-part, Andy apparently snores very loudly.  Much worse, however, was the constant yelling between cells all night long.  Clayton explained that the inmates in the segregation unit ended up on weird schedules.  They seemed to sleep all day, and only begin to truly wake up in the evening around dinner time.  Then they would begin to get loud.  He said you could lie in your cell and try to drift off to sleep, but every so often someone would start screaming, "HEY!!!!!" or just plain screaming for no reason.  Occasionally they would shout back and forth, but it seemed like they simply screamed at the walls more often than not.

Always a New Challenge  

Clayton and his roommate had been given the opportunity to use the showers that morning, like normal.  He had a new tip for inexperienced inmates however:  WAKE UP.  The guards come by in the morning and offer showers to anyone that wants one.  However, it happens relatively early in the morning. If you sleep in and don't hear the offer, you miss your chance for the day.

In their area of the prison, Clayton explained that showers are single cells interspersed between 3 or 4 of the cells in the block, so you're never taken very far from your own cell.  He also explained that it is extremely easy to hear conversations between shower cells and room cells.  He reminded his family that inmates toss out their current clothes after being locked inside and are given fresh ones to change into.  One person in the showers today, however, had a rather unfortunate series of clothing mishaps.

This person had been escorted to the showers and locked in, tossed their clothes out and showered, but were never given a new change of clothes.   This meant that after they were finished they had to stand around naked in the single enclosed cell and wait for the guards to return.  When guards finally arrived they tossed in some new clothes, but the inmate was immediately distressed.  The clothes were much, much to small to even try to put on.  They begged the guards for a larger size, and then waited again.  Finally, a new set of clothing was tossed in, and much like a scene from Goldilocks, this pair was about 2 sizes too big for the already large man.  He ended up having to tie his clothing on, and elect to wait for a shower the next day in hopes of getting correctly sized clothing.

Clayton spent the day re-reading the books he had received from the guards before.  He would occasionally read out sections of Outlander to his cell mate to make him laugh.  While reading Clayton realized that part of the caged station he could see in the center of the main room, but not identify earlier, was an elevator for meal trays.

He told his family that he wished he could use the law library like he had been doing at MSPT for research, but so far his request by cop-out form had gone unanswered - as all of his cop-outs had so far.  At MSPT he had been making good progress in learning about sentencing and various case law, so he tried to relay what he had learned to his family for their own efforts.  He explained that LexisNexis could be used to look up case law, both in Alaska and nationally, and that it was relevant because cases with similar situations could be compared and contrasted in how they were handled by the courts.

As their conversation wrapped to a close, Clayton told his family that he continued with his exercises as well.  He had developed a new exercise of his own where he would get into the position to do lunges, but push against the wall with all of his strength to work the muscles.  He also discovered that he could do pull-ups on the edge of the bunk.  The bunk was too short to do them normally, but he could kneel, cross and lift his ankles, and do a modified version of a pull-up from the shorter platform.  He said it was hard on the hands though, because of the sharp edges of the metal on the bunk.

Exercise once again left Clayton thinking about how dirty his cell was.  He wondered with his family if there was ever an opportunity for him to clean his cell.  At night, inmates in yellow come in to clean the walkways, but no one seems to come in and clean the cells.  He explained that the cell had gunk built up around the edges, and that it was inevitable for crumbs to build up after meals each day.

Clayton's family was once again left with more questions than answers, but looked forward to a visit the next day.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Feb 22 - Books and a Cookie Thief

Sunday, Feb 22

When Clayton was able to visit his family again, he was feeling much more positive about his cell mate (Andy) and much less nervous than the day before.  He was back to smiling.  Of course, part of that happiness likely came from the arrival of books.  Clayton has a passion for, and genuine addiction to, reading; a trait that his daughter Jocelynn had recognized even in her short life.  Her mother fondly remembers watching Jocelynn lie next to her daddy with her own cardboard book, flipping her pages as he did so on his paperback, and studying her pages and his face.  

Clayton explained that a very kind female guard came through last night with a push-cart of books.  They allowed each inmate to choose two books from the cart to keep in their cell, if they were not already over the limit of 5 books in possession.  Clayton was surprised to find the first book from the Outlander series in the pile (a rather steamy collection of romance novels).  He explained that the prison had clipped the front of the book off so there was no picture on it.  He grabbed it to give his cell mate a good laugh.  He also picked up a Dan Brown book he'd never read before called Digital Fortress,  To anyone who doesn't know Clayton personally, he is also a speed reader; meaning he can read a chapter book this size in just a few hours.

During the day, Clayton had also gotten the opportunity to learn more about Andy.  Andy expressed that he considered himself from both American Samoa and Independent Samoa, and started teaching Clayton some basic words and phrases in Samoan.  Andy explained that he was very surprised to be placed into a cell with another inmate, and that the segregation cells in Anchorage have only one person.  He liked that better because he could pray and think about what he had done wrong without the presence of another person.  So far, none of the segregation cells Clayton has seen at GCCC have 3 people, and there are actually some empty cells.  Andy also discussed missing his family, and expressed that he specifically wanted to start a petition some day for conjugal visits for married people in prisons (which is currently not allowed in Alaska).

Surprisingly, Andy seemed much better at getting responses from the guards, and was even willing to do so on Clayton's behalf.  At this point, Clayton was still desperate for a toothbrush.  He described Andy going to the cell door and pleading with the passing guards, ""Please! Please brotha'... We need a toothbrush!"  A guard did respond eventually, but Clayton expressed concern about whether the prison has money problems because the guard handed the toothbrush over like it was hard to get and a 'special favor' to get.  Andy was also able to get 2 additional contact forms for Clayton to use to request permission for people to visit him at the facility.  Clayton had yet to receive any response from the 3 cop-out forms he had submitted with questions.

Later in the day, Clayton had laughed and joked with Andy; expressing that he himself had developed a 'married man tummy' over the years.  Andy had laughed and agreed.  "God I'm out of shape," Clayton expressed to his family after beginning an exercise program of his own.  He said he was pretty sore, but had only been able to find one exercise that would cause his heart to really work; the step-up exercises described the day before.  Clayton explained that exercises like jumping jacks or running in place are too loud to be a good option; as they draw unnecessary attention from other cells.

Settling In

While lying in his bunk, Clayton noticed bits of paper stuck in a square-like pattern above him.  It apparently used to be a picture.  After asking Andy about it, the man explained that some people in the prisons use toothpaste as glue to affix things like pictures onto surfaces.  It's not allowed by the prison, and while Clayton said he could understand the desire it "wasn't worth wasting the toothpaste on" in his opinion, or the risk of losing any privileges.

Clayton also noted that the blankets used at the Mat-Su Pretrial Facility (MSPT) and Goose Creek Correctional Center (GCCC) were radically different.  Inmates are given two of them, and two sheets, in both locations.  MSPT blankets were made of a soft, felt-like, blue material.  If you pulled them up to your chin, your calves and feet would stick out on the bottom for an average six-foot man.  At GCCC, the blankets are much larger.  They can be pulled up over his head and extend past his feet.  They are also a much warmer wool material, but they are itchy.

Clayton was very excited that he had finally figured out a way to make a much more comfortable pillow.  Inmates are not provided pillows or pillow cases by any facility.  Clayton had rolled a towel inside of his sheet to make a pillow the night before.  He doesn't want to use the blankets because they are itchy.  He doesn't want to use the towel alone because they absorb moisture, and could breed germs and things against his skin at night.  Using a sheet by itself got really uncomfortable, but with the sheet and towel together it was like, "Yeah."  He had finally found the combination that would be comfortable enough for decent sleep.

In describing his surroundings further, Clayton explained that the cells have four windows; one in cell door, and three in the wall next to the door.  The windows are 3-4 inches wide and very tall up and down.  Even lying in his bunk he can see the inmates in other cells, and what they are doing; causing a bit of a fish bowl effect within the unit.

He could also see that there is a big clock on the wall in the main room, allowing Clayton to track time much better throughout the day.  He is on the second floor, around a big common area that is empty except for some kind of station in the middle of it.  Using the clock, Clayton was able to determine that meals are delivered around 6am, 11am, and 5pm.  His family was very surprised to hear that lights out was at 10 pm.

In MSPT the lights had remained on at full brightness all hours of the day.  Here at GCCC the main lights are apparently dimmed at night, and cell lights are turned off entirely.  Clayton expressed that it was a very refreshing change, because it gets decently dark and makes it much easier to sleep.  He explained that they also turn them back on at 5 am for the early morning meal, but then turn them back off again for a couple of hours to allow folks to sleep longer.

Cookie Thief!

Clayton said they seemed to be having more disciplinary problems at the facility today, because more people had been hauled into the segregation area.  He described the ordeal as the funniest experience he had had at the facility so far.

Among the sounds of the shuffle outside his cell, he heard a guy scream out, "Hey!!  Hey [so-and-so]!!  Is that you?!"

Pretty soon, a second voice replied, screaming back, "Yeah!  What do ya want?!"

The first voice replied something along the lines of, "You fat bastard!!  You stole my cookie you m***** f*****!!  You just wait!  I'll get you!"

Clayton began to laugh as quietly as possible about the apparent cookie disagreement when a third voice chimed in with a, "WHAT?!  [So-and-so]!  That was you?!  You stole my cookie too, you...!"

And a fourth voice with, "You S** of a B****!!  I'll kill you when I get out of here!  How many f****** cookies did you steal you $#@$@%$#%!!!!"

They apparently carried on for an extended period with their screams, shouts, and banging; incensed over the theft of their private stash of sweets.  Clayton explained that at MSPT the vast majority of items on the commissary for purchase had been additional food items, but that there was a limit to the number an inmate could purchase each week.

Clayton also explained that even though guards had expressed to his family that Sundays were commissary days, no commissary form had come yet.  Andy seemed to think that they would get commissary forms late that night, because that was how it had been done in Anchorage.  There was also, to Clay's disappointment, no church service announced today.

Clayton's family was overall happy to once again be able to see him, and thankful that he was in much better spirits than the day before.  The main concern that he expressed was his continued lack of a bible.  His family assured him that they would look into ordering one for him as soon as possible.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Feb 21 - Roommate in Segregation?

Saturday, Feb 21

On Clayton's second day in GCCC, he was settling into the new segregation cell before he got an opportunity to meet with his family again through the video visitation system used at the facility.  Video visitation is an option that allows family and friends to see their loved one on a video screen from inside the facility waiting room, while their loved one can see them on a video screen in a secured cell within the segregation area.  This video screen has a single phone attached to communicate through, but enough room on the visitor side to seat two people comfortably.

Clayton's update for the day was surprising, as Clayton discovered that he had a new cell mate in the segregation room with him.  He reminded his family of the layout of the cells.  There is a bunk bed on one wall. The wall directly opposite to the bunk bed has prongs/hooks on the wall for hanging things on, and there are 2 stools and 2 desks/benches for setting food trays on and writing on.  

Having a new cell mate was concerning for Clay and he appeared very nervous.  "Riddle me this batman...," he expressed to his family, "If I am in here for protection... and they throw someone else in here for fighting...?"  Clayton was referring to the fact that the same cells are used for both Administrative Segregation (PC) and Punitive Segregation for punishments far as he knew.  So far, he and his cell mate had not discussed what they were serving time for, but the new cell mate claimed (true or not) that he was in the SMU for fighting.

Otherwise, Clayton seemed to get along with his new cell mate well (referred to from now on as 'Andy').  Andy is a Samoan and a Mormon, who enjoys singing worship songs from the upper bunk.  Fortunately, Andy had his own copy of the bible, which he would sometimes discuss with Clay, and they would say grace over their food together.  Clayton described him as friendly and funny, with a lot of enthusiasm about his family on the outside.  Clayton's main concern revolved around the man's potential response to the false accusations against Clayton, as he could hear other inmates who had been thrown into the SMU talking about the "baby killer" from many cells away.  He could also possibly end up with a 3rd roommate, if this facility uses "boats" (temporary mattresses for the floor) like the previous facility had.

Clayton's new cell mate began explaining some of the prison lingo and common practices to Clay.  He explained that some inmates in the segregation cells would use their bed sheets to hang between the wall hooks and the bunk beds "like making a fort".  In those cases it would make a form of privacy screen for bathroom breaks, allowing one person to sit on the stool on one side of the sheet, while the other uses the bathroom.

The cell mate also explained to Clayton a common pastime of some inmates in the SMU called "Fishing."  Fishing is when inmates make ropes out of God knows what, and fling it into other people's cells through the gap in the doorway on the bottom of the cell.  They tie objects like soap or toothbrushes to the end of the fishing lines to add weight, so they fling farther and have the potential to snag on items.  Apparently, inmates do this in search of other people's commissary items, like coffee.    Some of the catches in fishing are snags, while other times it is agreed-upon items for trade tied onto the lines.

Andy explained this practice to Clayton after they had nearly lost their only pen to another inmate's fishing expedition.  Their pen had been lying on the floor when a line suddenly flew into their room and nearly snagged the pen on its way out the door.  He said both of them dived for the pen to save it from the fishing line.  Neither Clayton or Andy have interest in fishing.

Inmate Communication

The only pen allowed in the SMU for writing on forms is like the floppy inner portion of a normal pen, but only 2" in length.  Andy explained that inmates have ways of attempting to make them longer, but none are very effective.  This makes writing very difficult, which is ironic in an environment where nearly everything has to be communicated to the guards through writing.  All inmates are provided with cop-out forms, which are a multi-purpose piece of paper used for inmates to communicate information or questions of nearly any variety.  Guards are rarely available for direct questions, which means most answers mean waiting for a written response.  In general, Clayton's experience has been that the guards don't ask you or inform you of anything specific.  You have to know what to ask for.

Visitation is entirely managed through forms.  Family and friends are not allowed to visit an inmate unless that inmate has provided a contact form, requesting to meet with them first.  This form is difficult, if not impossible, to complete right away due to the information requested for each person.  The inmate is expected to know things like each individuals birth date, driver's license or ID number, home phone number, and much more.  Additionally, they also have to provide information on whether each person has any previous felony convictions, or is on probation or parole.  The forms can take up to 90 days to process according to the facility, and visitors are only allowed one courtesy video visit before processing is complete.  This makes visitation with any inmate after they are first imprisoned extremely difficult.

Additionally, phone access for inmates in the SMU is equally challenging.  There is no specific time for calls, no guarantee that an opportunity will come at all on a given day, and no way for an inmate to leave a voicemail.  This means family members end up waiting around for a call that may never come, or miss their only chance to hear from their loved one. The phone in the SMU is on a cart which gets wheeled to the cells.  A slot is opened in the wall, and the inmate must reach through to get it and then dial the phone.  Only 30 minute calls are permitted.

There is no mailbox for outgoing mail in the SMU units, so inmates are dependent upon guards to come by and pick up the mail.  Clayton discussed the additional need to avoid putting things on the floor, even though the main method of passing paperwork and outgoing mail out to guards is beneath the door, because people may "fish" for their paperwork.  Instead, Andy explained to Clayton that leaving the paperwork sticking out through the side of the door was a much safer method.


Clayton explained to his family that life in the SMU units is quite different from life in any of the general population mods.  Inmates are locked in their cells all day every day with or without a cell mate.  The assigned clothing in the general population areas consists of bright yellow shirt and pants with bright pink underwear and socks.  In the SMU unit, however, the shirt and pants are bright red, and all underwear and socks are a deep purple color.  The towels and bed sheets provided to inmates match the color of their socks and underwear.  Amusingly, SMU unit inmates are given boxers, while the general population is provided with briefs.

Life in the cells can be incredibly boring.  One of the options to pass the time is exercise, which Clayton found himself strategizing with Andy over.  He discovered that he could use the stools in the room for step-up exercises or for using as a base for push-ups.  He explained that the floor of the cell is too dirty for exercising on.  Instead, he would do exercises like crunches in the limited space on his bunk.  He also was able to do exercises like wall squats, which one family member commented would end up as 'fall squats' if they even tried it.  The comment gave Clayton a good laugh.

SMU inmates are also given the option daily for a trip to the showers.  If an inmate elects to shower, they are escorted to the showers by a guard, provided fresh clothes as they hand over their dirty ones, and then locked in the shower until the guard returns.  Inmates are escorted everywhere in handcuffs, and there tends to be a lot of waiting around for guards to arrive.  Even a simple page from Clayton's cell resulted in over an hour delay from pressing the button to speak with someone before a response came from the intercom panel.

The showers are a big metal cell with a small shelf for soap, but without any form of hooks on the wall.  At this time, inmates are provided the opportunity to use a safety razor and toenail clippers, which are both items they are not permitted to purchase through the SMU commissary.  The shower water is controlled by a button on the wall with no temperature control, but Clayton expressed that the water bordered on hot.  The water within the showers sprays over most of the available space, so Clayton explained that he had to place his clean clothes on the floor and cover them with a towel to try and keep them dry until he put them on.  At this point, Clayton had still not received a toothbrush and was near desperate for one.

Clayton's general demeanor was very nervous at the end of the conversation, mostly worried about how life with his new cell mate would turn out, but he remained positive.  He looked forward to trying to get another call out, and hoped to get to visit with family briefly the next day.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Feb 20 - In a Segregation Cell

Friday, Feb 20

As Clayton's wife got ready to leave for visitation at Clay's new facility, she got a call from another family member who had received a call from him.  The update was even more frightening than the day before, and she rushed to the facility to see what could be done.  Clayton had been moved into protective custody (PC) less than an hour after arriving at the new facility the day before.

Clay's wife did manage to get to see him at the new facility after Clay had a chance to meet with his attorneys.  During the brief visit Clayton was able to shed more light on what had happened.

Arrival at GCCC

After arriving at GCCC, Clayton was assigned to a new cell.  The new cell blocks were drastically larger than those at the previous facility, housing over a hundred men instead of less than 20.  His new cell mate started giving Clay information on how things worked at the new facility.  He was outfitted the same way he had been previously with bright yellow shirt and pants, and pink underwear, socks, sheets, and towels.  However, the new shoes were blue, and Clayton had been unfortunately provided 2 lefts instead of one for each foot.

Shortly after arriving at his new cell, Clayton said a group of about 6-7 men showed up at the entrance to his cell and started asking him, "Are you Clayton Allison?  Are you the baby killer?"  He informed them that he was Clayton Allison, but they had their facts wrong.  They said that they did not care, and left.  Within a few minutes a new man came to his cell and threatened to knife him.  Then a few minutes later a second new man came and said, "What are you still doing here?  If you don't roll out, we're going to kill you."  The third man came before Clayton had even been at the facility for more than 20 minutes, and told him that they would get 10 men to hold him down and knife him to death.

At this point, Clayton decided to speak with the guards about his options.  Unfortunately, the only way to do so is to go into an office in the middle of the common area in the center of the cell block, where everyone can see exactly what you are doing.  He explained to the guards the kinds of threats he was getting, and that everyone seemed to know exactly who he was.  They told him they could never advocate for fighting for any reason, but that even if he was able to defend himself against one man, they would bring two the next time.  If he beat two, they would bring five, and eventually 10.  They explained that there really was no way to win in a cell block like this, and so he elected to go into PC.

After he made the choice, the guards gathered 5 of themselves around him and explained that it was to protect him from being jumped during transport.  He said they were a little condescending, but overall helpful and explained that they didn't want to let him get hurt.  When they exited the room, Clayton said the noise in the common area was almost deafening.   Nearly all of the inmates were standing around the room and along the balcony, banging with their cups, stomping their feet and screaming, "Allison!  Allison!  Murderer!  Allison Baby Killer!..."  They once again all seemed to know who he was.

Welcome to Segregation

Clayton was then escorted by guards to the segregation units at the facility.  These units are single room cells with a bunk bed, two stools, two table/desk-like pieces of furniture, and a sink and toilet.  The white walls are covered on the inside with graffiti from prior inmates.  Clayton described very colorful and intricate graffiti, along side what you would see within a typical bathroom stall.  Some of it was so high along the ceiling, he pondered how the inmates had managed it without climbing the walls or pulling some kind of "superman maneuvers" while drawing.  The cell has a single door with one small window, and a gap between the bottom of the door and the floor.  Guards use this gap to pass paperwork, food, and other items inside to the inmate without opening the door.   There is also a small segment of the wall that can be opened and closed to pass a phone receiver inside.

He was not assigned a cell mate, which he was very thankful for, and asked his family to pray that it remained that way because these cells were obviously designed for more than one man and you are locked within them 24 hours a day.  He had no access to library or exercise equipment, and was informed that the showers were not working.  He had no pen or paper, and not much to do but sleep and stare at the walls.  "But at least I'm safe," he explained to his wife.

While Clayton told his story, all his wife could think about was the prosecutor's analogy from the trial weeks earlier as he interviewed potential jurors.  The man had discussed his thoughts on criminal negligence and asked them if they would ever leave a child alone with a pack of angry dogs.  She couldn't help but feel that this very scenario was now being played out in front of her.  An innocent man had been thrown into prison with a group of people with their own histories of violence, and who wanted him dead purely because of something they had read in the newspaper and assumed to be true.  But somehow the act of throwing a man into this situation isn't criminal?

As Clayton sat and spoke with her he was chained around the waist with one handcuff attaching his left hand to the waist chain, and two connecting his right hand.  This allowed him to just barely hold the phone to his ear on that side, while the metal from the cuffs dug into the skin of his wrists.  He explained that he was also secured around the ankles.  When he had met with his lawyers earlier that day, he had been allowed in the same room with them, but had been chained to the wall instead.  When he is in his cell, he does not have to wear any of these confinements.

Clayton explained that he was told this facility had a special module designed for inmates specifically in PC.  Placement in this module required the inmate to complete an internal application requesting placement, and Clayton had completed the application the night before.  However, the guards explained to his wife that the module was currently over full, and that placement would take time and require other inmates transferring out of it.  Until then, Clayton would need to remain in his current segregation cell.

Clayton said that more than anything he wished he could have a bible, and his family plans to order one for him to be delivered to the prison as soon as possible, but it will take days to get through the mail.  Before ending the conversation, Clayton sent his love to all his friends and family and thanked them for coming to visit him each day.  "As long as I get to see your faces," he said, "I am going to be okay."

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Feb 19 - Attacked

Thursday, Feb 19

Clayton's wife awoke on Thursday to an early morning call from him.  The words coming out of his mouth were fairly normal, "Hi. I miss you.  How are you doing?"  However, after more than nine years of marriage, she could tell that something was very wrong.  It was obvious that he was not able to tell her directly what was wrong, but that he wanted her to get there as soon as possible to visit him.  She flew out of bed and asked two of his friends to leave early for their visit that day.

When they arrived at the facility for visitation that morning, Clay looked a little pale and she noticed small scratches on his neck that hadn't been there the day before.  "Did you do that to yourself?" she asked, and he simply shook his head no.  He began to explain that he was nervous about who could hear him even just in the room he was talking to her from, and that he could not explain anything over the phone because the phones are located in the main common area of the cell block where everyone around you can hear every word you say.

He then proceeded to explain that everyone in his cell block knew who he was and what he was charged with, and that he had been attacked twice in his cell already.  He said that someone from the cell block had a copy of the Frontiersman article about his trial with photos of his wife in it.  The cell block approached him as a group, and threatened him.  Much more concerning to him, they threatened his family.  They explained that they would look up information from the outside on his friends and families' home addresses and phone numbers and would start threatening them and would hurt them.  Later that same day, a member of his family was pumping gas near their home and had someone screaming at them that they were family of "the baby killer" and that they should watch their back.

Clayton was attacked by inmates in his cell twice on the 18th.  He explained that they grabbed him and threw him around a little bit, kicked him in the side a couple of times, and threatened to kill him.  He insisted that he wouldn't fight them, and instead focused on blocking blows.  "I won't give up the right to see my family," he explained.  He wouldn't show his wife the bruises on his side, but he assured her that he didn't think they were bad enough to need any kind of medical attention.

When his cell mate learned about what had happened he was very upset.  He explained to Clayton that with the amount of time he is looking to serve, he won't survive if he refuses to fight.  It is not safe to request Protective Custody (PC), because you earn a reputation as a wimp.  It is not safe to refuse to fight for the same reason.  But in Clay's eyes, no price was worth giving away his family by ending up in PC by fighting or not.   "I was afraid I wouldn't get to see you before it happened," he explained to his wife, "I think it may only be a matter of time now."

Clay asked his wife to communicate to his lawyers what was happening.  "Don't let them intervene on my behalf," he asked, "It will only make things worse."  His wife communicated the information as requested.  However, when his lawyers attempted to see him the same day, later that afternoon, Clayton was no longer even at the same facility.  He had been moved to Goose Creek Correctional Center.  They wouldn't be able to get any more information on how he was doing until the next day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Feb 18 - Moved Into Long-Term Lodging

Wednesday, Feb 18

Today, Clayton was visited by family during mid-day visitation hours.  He was able to call ahead and notify his wife that he had been moved from the booking area in Mat-Su Pretrial, over to the long-term cell blocks in the same facility around 8 pm last night.  Everyone in this cell block has already completed trial and is serving or awaiting sentencing, which can take months.  He suspects that he may end up in this location until after his own sentencing hearing in June, but there is no way to know for sure.

Clayton was eager to communicate that the move resulted in many drastic changes; some of them positive and some not.  Many of the positives have to do with the facility itself.  Each cell has: a bunk bed, a real porcelain toilet, sink, mirror, and surprisingly a desk with 2 fixed stools.  The cell also has a real door with a tall narrow window, which still locks them in at night.  He was told that inmates apparently sometimes hang things over the window for relative privacy. The lighting is also different, with boxy covered light fixtures attached to the walls instead of the ceiling.  Just like in the former area, these lights never turn off.  However, some inmates have apparently been known to cover the lights with their assigned pink underwear in an attempt to dim the light, resulting in an odd form of pink mood lighting.

The cells are about the same size as in the prior portion of the building, but the ceilings are much higher; resulting in less of a cramped feeling overall.  However, Clay is the third man in his cell, meaning he gets to sleep on a mattress on the floor in the walkway for now.  Thankfully, the mattresses are apparently much better quality than before.

The new cell block is laid out in 2 stories (of only four cells each) with a big common area in the middle and an upper balcony; very much like you would expect from a typical prison movie.  The two levels are connected by a set of stairs, which can be used for exercise.  The common area has a pull-up bar and jump rope available near the TV.  It has four tables like before, but they are round, with small round stools fixed to the ground around them.  Clayton says the TV is a flat screen, not much different in size from the one in our own living room, and it actually has the remote attached to the wall near it.  It seems to receive the same basic channels as the prior TV.

Each level of the cell block has its own shower, which is much  nicer than the steel-walled version from before.  These showers have actual shower tile and the water temperature seems to be much better controlled.  There are small wall-mounted hooks on the walls for your towel, but they cannot take much weight or force before collapsing by design.

While the facility is much nicer than the prior cell block, the population of inmates is radically different.  Some other inmates transferred into this cell block with Clay from the previous location, but he wasn't familiar with any of them.  These new individuals are awaiting sentencing or serving time.  In general they are more aggressive and more serious, but are not suffering the effects of coming down from drugs and alcohol the way many inmates were in the booking area.  

As mentioned before, Clay has two new cell mates.  One is very quiet and keeps to himself, so Clay knows very little about him.  The other has decided to "show him the ropes," as he has been at that facility for more than a year.  For example, he showed Clayton a trick for securing the sheets provided to the mattresses for better sleep.  This fellow says he is a Christian and appears to be at least an amateur artist, who Clayton noted was very good at portraits of the love in his life.  This is also how Clayton learned that inmates are allowed to wear wedding bands, as long as they have no stones and fall below a certain dollar value.  Clayton doesn't have to worry about this complexity himself, since he and his wife have wedding ring tattoos.  Clayton feels very fortunate to have ended up with the cell mates that he has.

Clayton described acclimating to the new location as the process of learning an entirely new set of rules.  Previously, the rule of thumb was to fade into the background and go unnoticed as much as possible.  Here, clarity and politeness are of utmost importance.  He described getting yelled at when he made the mistake of reaching for the pitcher of juice and accidentally crossed slightly into the space above another inmates tray with his arm.  He was informed that the expectation is to ask for someone to pass an item politely, and never come close to entering someone's perceived personal space without addressing them directly.  In fact, the bunk beds do not have ladders to get up and down, despite their considerable height, but the inmate from the upper bunk must request permission to step on the lower bunk before attempting the leap.

Another inmate informed Clayton that the cell block he is currently in set a record for the number of inmates involved in a fight (9) a few months ago, but the number of inmates in any given cell block is relatively small.  When a fight breaks out in the facility, all participants are placed into solitary confinement as punishment.  It makes no difference if they were the aggressor, or simply someone who was attacked.  Therefore, avoiding confrontation is critical.

The most exciting change for Clayton is library privileges.  Previously, Clayton had to listen for the announcement that a trip to the library was available, and the option was not given frequently.  Now, he is fairly sure that he can have library access for one hour each morning, Monday through Friday.  The biggest limitation is that he is only allowed to have 5 books and 5 magazines in his possession.  He looked into whether he will be able to donate items to the library in the future, but their library apparently has as many books as it can currently house (including a law library) and may not be accepting donations.

Today he also got to meet with the prison Chaplain.  Church services are held there on Fridays, with brief visitation also on Wednesdays.  He graciously brought a piece of paper, a pencil, and an envelope for each inmate in attendance, so Clayton can finally write notes if needed in his cell.  The Chaplain also gave Clayton a National Geographic magazine to read with the bible Clay already had from the library.  He will have to purchase stamps through the commissary.

Clayton's Commissary Advice for New Inmates:
#1 Shower Shoes - Apparently many inmates in this facility suffer from some form of skin infection which is transferred by contact with the infected skin and common area surfaces.  He was advised that having shoes to wear in the shower can cut down on the likelihood of catching this infection.
#2 Shampoo - Each inmate is provided with a very small bar of soap, but other inmates have expressed that over the long-term this simply will not cut it without shampoo.
#3 Toothpaste, Toothbrush, and fingernail clippers - These are basics.  (You can request a razor to use each morning at breakfast when needed.)
#4 Stationary - While the Chaplain provided the absolute essentials, you must purchase paper, pencils, envelopes and stamps if you want to send additional mail.

Inmates are restricted on the amount of money they can spend on commissary in any given week based on the amount of time already served, and the amount of time left to serve.  You can find more information at  In addition to commissary, inmates can also receive limited items in the mail, purchased by friends and family, from approved companies like

Clayton's spirits remain high.  He is thankful for everyone who has come to visit him, and sends his love to all of you.  This is the first daily post we have been able to make on his behalf, but we hope to post prior days with descriptions of his experience soon.  The blog titles with contain the dates for each entry.  We also plan to continue with regular updates from him from now on.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Welcome to the blog for Jocelynn's Daddy - Clayton Allison

Clayton is a loving father, steadfast spouse, amazing friend and irreplaceable community member in Alaska.  He was falsely convicted of Murder 2 in Palmer, Alaska, on Friday, February 13, 2015.  Clayton now faces the challenge of being an innocent man in a system not properly designed to deal with the innocent people trapped within its walls and processes.  Instead of giving up hope, or allowing this failure of justice to silence his voice, Clayton Allison plans to author a regular blog post from beyond his confinement.

Clayton is an avid reader, as was very frustrated before facing trial that there was so little information available for individuals to use to know what to prepare for when the justice system fails them.  Therefore, Clayton would like to use this opportunity to share his experiences with the world; illustrating what it is like to truly experience the Alaska prison system.  He also looks forward to using this space to communicate with family, friends, and community members who will not be able to listen to all of his stories and experiences in person.

Clayton's family does not plan to fade quietly into the night, while the rest of the world simply accepts the injustice found here.  We stand steadfast with him throughout the trials yet to come.  We welcome your prayers and support.  Pray for justice, because justice is all an innocent man truly needs.

-- CJ Allison