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.

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