Friday, March 13, 2015

March 13 - Another Friday the 13th

Friday, March 13

Clayton's wife began their visit today by updating Clayton on what was going on with his close friend who had been in a car accident.  She assured him that they were bruised up, but otherwise seemed okay and were now looking into their options for replacing their vehicle.  Clayton was comforted by the news, and asked her to relay his love.

After his visit last night, Clayton had received three new letters from friends and family, and was very excited about them.  He told his wife he was looking forward to writing response letters as soon as he was able.  Last night, he was also able to get a hold of an OTA form, which was needed to authorize postage to return the ordered postage-printed envelopes to his wife.  He had turned in the form as quickly as he could, and informed his wife that he was simply hoping for the best now because he'd had to leave a bunch of the information blank (like the unknown amount of postage).  His wife assured him that she would be watching for them, and also waiting for a call about the property he asked to be disbursed to her many days ago.

Clayton hadn't had a shower this morning because he slept through the announcement after staying up all night reading the book version of Black Hawk Down.  He joked with his wife about his new roommate, Jones, who had the same love of reading that he did.  He said the #1 thing they were always asking the guards for were books.  Other inmates would finish a book and push it out into the hallway when they were finished.  Clayton and Jones could usually see the books lying out in the hallway or on railings around the mod.

He said it felt almost like hustling for books as they would go to the cell door and ask the guards, "Hey... hey man.  Could you pass me that book?"

Clayton managed to finish 2 books yesterday, and get a hold of 3 more he hadn't read yet.  He and his cell mate were allowed to have 5 books in possession at any given time, and once they had both read a book, they would pass it out into the hallway as well.  Clayton also noted that the books available seemed to be an eclectic group of romance novels, thrillers, and dramas.

Getting to Know Jones

Clayton said that he and his roommate had avoided the topic of what the accusations against Clayton were, but at some point today Clayton did mention that he was looking at a probable sentence of 20 or more years.

"Holy shit," Jones had breathed, "What did you do... kill somebody?"

It was obvious that in the time Jones had spent around Clayton so far, he never expected something like that from him - as it completely conflicted with Clayton's obvious gentle nature.  After learning that Clayton was potentially facing a long-term sentence, Jones began to open up a bit more bout his own experience in the Alaska prison system.  He informed Clayton that in the past he'd served more than 6 years for charges related to the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine.  Due to the seriousness of the charges and length of his sentence, he had served time in most of the prisons across Alaska, and even out of state.

He began to explain to Clayton the nature of "Good Time" in Alaska.  According to Jones, an inmate accrues 10 days of good time for every 30 days they successfully serve without incidents that result in write-ups with the prison.  With 12 months in a year, this translates to 120 days of good time.  Clayton had started doing the math, and realized that a 20-year sentence (the minimum in Alaska for a Murder 2 charge) could result in several years of good time.  Jones told Clayton he had known several people at the Seward prison who were serving extremely long sentences and had been paroled at 20 years.  In Alaska, good time is tacked on to the amount of time an inmate must serve on parole instead of truly trimming time off of the sentence completely.

Jones also talked with Clayton about various programs that were available in the Alaska prisons including the LSAT and RSAT programs.  He said the programs were designed as rehabilitation programs, but extended beyond drugs and alcohol.  He wondered if someone with Clayton's history would be able to sign up as a mentor or tutor instead of a participant.  He explained that, in his experience, any level of involvement with a program like this will usually be viewed positively by a parole board. He also explained that these programs are lengthy, and last beyond the time served in jail.  There may not be bars on the windows, but if you leave the program the police are called.

Clayton was disappointed to hear that Jones didn't think the courts would consider time spent on court-approved third party during sentencing.  This was of major concern to Clayton because he had spent nearly three years on third party before the charges against him were dismissed the first time, and his case had drug on for more nearly six years before resulting in a trial.  Jones expressed that he had seen many men make this argument over the years, and had never personally seen a judge even take that time into consideration.

However, Clayton was encouraged by Jones' opinion on what had transpired at MSPT.  After he was initially remanded, Clayton had been attacked in his cell, but refused to fight the man.  At the time, other inmates had expressed to Clayton that his choice not to fight was a very dangerous decision.  Jones, on the other hand, felt that Clayton had done the right thing.  He expressed that for a man facing a shorter sentence that may be true, but someone facing long-term sentences should never risk a fight, and run the risk of losing their accumulated good time.  When a violation occurs, and a write-up is documented, it resets the good time clock back to zero - regardless of how many years have already been served.

Overall, Jones expressed to Clayton that his preferred facility in Alaska was surprisingly in Seward - the maximum security facility.  He believed that the location was much more scenic, and the way the facility operated was much more friendly to inmates serving long-term and life-time sentences.

In wrapping up their conversation, Clayton's family told him it felt odd to think that he had already spent a full month in prison.  The entire experience still felt highly unreal.  His family and friend looked forward to their next opportunity to visit him.  

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