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.

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