Sunday, March 15, 2015

March 15 - First Commissary Received

Sunday, March 15

To say that Clayton was excited at his visit would have been an extreme understatement.  He had received his first commissary order earlier in the day, and told his wife that he had spent the entire afternoon writing letters.  He already had 7 letters to respond to, not taking into account people who had already written him more than once.  He was determined to get these responses out as quickly as possible.

Last night he had also received a response to the OTA form he'd submitted, requesting that postage be approved to mail postage-printed envelopes that had been ordered for him - but he could not receive - to his wife.  He said it had been approved, and the postage had cost $5.  Ironically, his wife reported that she had received the envelopes themselves in the mail the same night, so the response to Clayton had been significantly delayed.

Review of Commissary Items

In this commissary order, Clayton had purchased all of the varieties of paper available.  He highly recommended the lined notebook; explaining that it was the superior option.  He had ordered a legal pad as well, but disliked the yellow pages and explained that the sheets did not tear out easily for letter-writing.  Clayton was also surprised to discover that the envelopes he had ordered were 'standard' sized and therefore, extremely small.  He recommended buying the longer envelopes instead, unless you want to fold each letter several times to fit.  He joked that it was an experiment in origami.

Clayton's commissary delivery also included a small photo album.  He wasn't sure what to expect when he'd ordered it, and was now pleasantly surprised.  The photo album has room for 36 photos up to 4" X 6", and Clayton currently only had 14 to put inside.  The number it could hold was important, because prison policy seemed to indicate that inmates could only have 25 loose photos in their possession, without them being organized into an album.  Clayton noted, however, that the album was fairly flimsy and the plastic sleeves could be torn easily when placing photos inside; therefore, it would be helpful for the photos to be trimmed slightly to fit easier.

Clayton received some basic hygiene supplies as well.  He said he had been entirely too hopeful when ordering the anti-shank toothbrush from the list, because he simply got another 2" flimsy piece of plastic like the one he already had.  He didn't recommend bothering to order one unless you truly needed a replacement.  The mint floss was interesting, because it came in the form of tiny mint-flavored, single-use rubber bands.  Lastly, Clayton had received: lotion for the snake-like peeling of his skin due to the harsh soap in the prison; dandruff shampoo which he had waited to buy, expecting the standard shampoo from his rejected order to arrive first; some chap stick; and 2 varieties of ear plugs.  He was eager to test out the new items the next day.

Jones' Thoughts on Programs

Jones had spent the day talking to Clayton about his opinion of various programs for prisoners in Alaska.  He said that the RSAT and LSAT programs he had mentioned to Clayton earlier were run by an organization called Akeela.

Jones also discussed several halfway houses around the state.  In his opinion, the best house was called Glenwood and was located in Anchorage.  He said that the rules at that location were much stricter, but this meant that overall you were likely to encounter less problems with other individuals housed there.  He explained that in his experience, the halfway houses frequently had a higher concentration of drugs and alcohol than you would ever normally find on the street.

Jones also explained to Clayton that the best plan was usually to try and get into any programs you could immediately after sentencing.  He said that many times there are waiting lists, and that funding for programs is frequently not assured; so, programs may disappear at any point.  If you have not already gotten in, you would have missed your opportunity.  Some of the programs in Alaska were not even originally from in state, but were instead brought to Alaska with prisoners who were returning from out of state, to provide the option for them to complete programs they were already enrolled in.

Clayton also asked Jones his opinion on issues upcoming for him in sentencing.  Jones agreed that a high volume of letters of support to the court on Clayton's behalf would be important to the judge.  It shows community support for the individual, and should be considered during sentencing.  Additionally, he confirmed for Clayton that his security rating could potentially be changed due to his sentence.  Clayton was currently rated for a medium security facility - like GCCC or Palmer Correctional - but there was a slight possibility that after sentencing the judge could affect his security rating and cause him to be sent to a maximum security facility - Seward.  There would be no way to know the likelihood of this in advance of sentencing.

Jones emphasized again that Seward was actually his favorite facility.  He explained that the facility had a lot more amenities built in for individuals facing long-term and life-time sentences.  He told Clayton that the main meal area was very large, and that it reminded him of a marketplace in a third world country; with multiple people standing around and haggling for trades of food and commissary items each day.  Clayton had seen the same haggling play out at MSPT on a much smaller scale, and said it was easy to imagine.

In wrapping up his visit with family, Clayton said that he was currently spending a lot of time in prayer.  He was reading his Our Daily Bread devotional, reading his bible, and had gotten a hold of a small prayer journal to record his thoughts.  He was having a lot more trouble with the other inmates when moving back and forth to his cell, but the tone of the harassment had changed to seem extremely sexual in nature.  Clayton didn't have to truly interact with anyone other than his cell mate, so he planned to just continue to ignore them until they tired of the game.  Meanwhile, he would still look forward to his daily visits.

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