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.

No comments:

Post a Comment