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. 

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