Thursday, March 12, 2015

March 12 - Confusion Over Forms

Thursday, March 12

When Clayton arrived at his visit today, he was visibly flustered and depressed.  On March 10th he had received a notification from the prison that postage-printed envelopes his wife had ordered for him through the U.S. Postal Service - after being advised that it was permitted by staff - had been received and rejected by their mail department.  The receipt had a simple statement that inmates were not allowed to receive postage from outside the prison, and given him the opportunity to mail the property out to someone, or have the prison destroy it.  Clayton had completed the attached form, requesting they be mailed to his wife, immediately.

However, today he had gotten a response to that cop-out form saying he hadn't completed the necessary additional form called an "Offender Trust Account" (OTA) form, authorizing and unknown amount of postage - and therefore without it the envelopes were slated to be destroyed.  Clayton explained that the original notice had said he only had 3 days to indicate his choice for distribution/destruction, and it had already been 2 days before he even got the notice back.

Clayton stressed that he didn't even have an OTA form, nor know what was one or how to get it.  He explained that there was a metal mailbox on the wall in the hallway when returning to his cell from visits.  It had metal file-folder-like compartments all around the outside with forms sticking out them various directions.  Traveling to and from his cell was usually his only opportunity to grab a form if needed, and sometimes various forms were out.  He was worried about annoying the guard by fumbling around without knowing what he was looking for, and his wife advised him to ask the guard if they could point it out to him - hoping the guard he had today would be kind.  Even then, Clayton fretted about whether his wife would receive the valuable envelopes due to the delay.

Meanwhile, he had received 3 additional letters the night before from friends and family, and had been excited to read them.  He hoped to write back whenever he finally received the required supplies from commissary.


Clayton had also learned more today about how medical worked at the facility.  In the last couple of days he had gotten the opportunity to see the prison nurse, due to the persistent hive-like bumps he was getting on his arms.  They had given him some anti-itch creme to use in a small paper cup, and he had been using it minimally, not sure when it would run out.  However, now the cream was coming in the small paper cups daily.  When he asked about it the staff explained that his 'prescription' would be good for 6-months, and the medicine would continue to come on the daily med cart.  Clayton's account would be charged a $5 medical co-pay for the visit with the nurse, and wouldn't need to pay again unless he needed another visit for medical.

Clayton's wife could also see that he was continually wincing as he sat and talked with her, and finally asked him what it was about.

"It's just this [hand]cuff on my right arm," he explained with a grimace, "It's collapsed way too tight on my arm and it hurts."

She asked if he would prefer to cut the visit short for the day so he could get them off quicker, but his response was adamantly negative.  He said that the visit was "worth a little pain."

Never Learned My Lesson

Clayton was happy to finally get an opportunity to shower today, after it not being offered for the last couple of days.  However, he joked that he hadn't learned his lesson from Andy's example days before.  When you take a shower in the segregation unit, they bring you fresh clothes and lock you in the shower cell.  You strip out of the old clothes and toss them out into the hallway for staff to take care of.

"Immediately check the size!" Clayton stressed.

Although he had made sure to have new clothes from the guards before giving up his old ones, he hadn't bothered to do so.  Therefore, he was now wearing pants that were three sizes too big for him, and had to be tied on at the waist.   He emphasized that individuals should wait to shower until they had their new clothes already, and check the size right away.  Waiting for later is too late.  Now he needed to take a shower the following day just to try and get properly-fitted clothes.

Also this morning, like every morning, Clayton was given the opportunity for recreation or 'Rec' at the same time he had an opportunity to shower.  Once again, he had chosen not to take it, for fear of becoming sick.  The guards had cheerily announced that it was a mere 10 degrees outside, and although Clayton could see the sun from a window high in the main room, he knew that usually clear days in Alaska were also the coldest.

Clayton had heard other inmates discuss what Rec was like in the segregation unit at GCCC, gleaning what information he could.  They had discussed being locked into individual chain-link-walled cells with awnings over them outside, locked in next to each other but kept distinctly separated.  It was not clear whether any of them were given coats; and he assumed that, like the showers, they would have to wait for the guards to retrieve them even if they became cold.  With Clayton's tendencies towards pneumonia and bronchitis, he elected to avoid the entire possibility, but his wife could see the frustration from not knowing showing on his face.

Always More to Learn

Clayton learned recently that there was another gang in the Alaska prisons.  Previously, he had learned about the 1488 white supremacists gang.  This gang, instead, used NB as its symbol, blended into a single image.  It stands for Native Brotherhood, as far as he's been told, but is open to Alaska Natives, American Indians, Samoans, Asians, Pacific Islanders, and maybe more.  Both Andy and Jones had explained at separate times that neither gang was good, and both seemed to rival each other within the prison politics.

Clayton also learned that he should have a '30 day review' coming up sometime soon, as he will have spent 30 days in segregation and it was apparently required.  He was looking forward to the opportunity to speak with someone in the staff about his current situation, but was happy for now to continue to see friends and family through daily visits.

Clayton's wife also mentioned before closing out of their conversation that one of his best friends had been in a major car accident just before she had left for her visit.  She was worried about distressing him further, but knew he disliked being out of the loop and hoped to give him time to ask questions.  She had managed to determine that their friend not injured enough to need hospitalization, and friends and family were making sure they were being taken care of.  Clayton was shocked, and distressed that he was unable to help, but said he was glad that she had decided to tell him honestly what was going on.  He said one of the worst possibilities was being left in the dark while things were happening with his family and friends.

"I would rather know," he expressed with a sad smile.  

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