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.

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