Monday, March 2, 2015

March 2 - Challenges Continue

Monday, March 2

Today was a highly emotional day for Clayton's family as their lives continued to be forced into change around their new routines, and the challenges with his visitation continued to unfold.

Clayton's wife began her day with the difficult task of resigning from her job.  She had worked for her employer for more than 6 years, having started just months before Jocelynn's death.  Her employer had worked with her through the personal challenges around the false accusations and court hearings she had to endure, and supported her throughout the constantly evolving health challenges she faced as the stress worsened.

Clayton's wife suffers from Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Type 3 - Hypermobility Type.  It is a genetic condition that causes severe pain, fatigue, joint hypermobility and dislocations, and a myriad of other trying symptoms.  While Clayton was still with her, he was able to help her with many of the mobility issues and daily challenges she faced.  After years of fighting, Clayton's wife finally decided that her health could not afford to be torn between fighting for her husband and the strength she needed to continue with her employment.

"I don't have enough strength to do both now that I'm on my own," she explained to Clayton during their daily visit, "You are more important.  I will find a way to get by."

The Battle for Visitation Continues

Before Clayton's wife had even left the city after clearing out her old office, she received a phone call from the facility.  She had sent an email the night before providing information they had requested in a prior meeting about Clayton's visitors, and explaining the new information they had been given.  The email outlined the family's concerns and asked for clarification on the proper way to proceed.

When Clayton's wife received the phone call, she was surprised to find that the staff from the facility were clearly very upset.  They stressed to her that the burden of the family contacting the facility on Clayton's behalf was too high.  She expressed her confusion, highlighting that to her knowledge: only 2 emails had been sent with information which had been specifically requested by staff, 2 calls had been place to security about phone difficulties which had also been advised, and there had been the initial meeting.

Clayton's wife tried to impress to the staff that there were literally more than 100 people with questions about: what was going on with her husband, how to send him mail, how to visit him, how to send him items, how to get money into his account, etc.

"I am the reason these people are not descending on your facility," she tried to explain, "I am asking them to go through me; to help you."

The staff then expressed that Clayton needed to "Take Responsibility," communicate on his own, and follow policies.  This only increased his wife's frustration.  She explained to the staff that Clayton couldn't know GCCC policies because he still had not received either the general Prisoner Handbook or the Segregation Handbook since his arrival.  These handbooks outline critical information for success in the facility without undue hardship.

"The only reason my husband understands how anything works," his wife explained, "is from A) inmates from Anchorage he is rooming with trying to explain their expectations, or B) from ME, during my visitation time after speaking with your staff and reading the handbook myself."

Clayton had already been punished once before by losing phone privileges for a day after failing a room inspection, even though he had never received instruction on what was expected for room inspections.  The staff assured Mrs. Allison that her husband would have an opportunity to read the handbook before the end of the day.  They also explained to her that someone would be working directly with Clayton to correct his visitation list, and process the 10 people he wished to have on there.

Money Challenges

In the middle of her conversation with the prison staff, one of Clayton's family members approached her with even more distressing news.  Clayton had managed to get a call out to another family member, and was distressed about the lack of money in his account.  Clayton had reportedly asked the staff for information on the balance of his account; which should have had $94 in it after being carried over from MSPT.  However, the staff reported to him that his account was, instead, empty.

Mrs. Allison decided to head straight to the facility from Anchorage - a 90-120 minute drive - to visit her husband and determine whether more money needed to be deposited.  After arriving, she discovered that the information Clay had been given, only hours before, had been incorrect.  The balance now showed the full amount that should have been there from the beginning.  During her visit, Clayton informed her that he had filled out a cop-out form right away to ask what was going on, and she assured him that despite what he had been told earlier there did appear to be funds in his account.

Clayton Describes His Day

Ultimately, Clayton was able to visit today with his wife and one additional family member who had been successfully processed to his list.

He explained that this morning he was pulled out of his cell unusually, handcuffed, and brought to speak with an officer. They spoke in an office for a while, while he was handcuffed to the chair.  The officer explained that K Mod is very full. Boats (temporary mattresses laid into the walkway) are being used in every cell. The list of people waiting to get into K Mod is extremely long, and individuals are evaluated based on background, need, personal history, etc. They also explained to Clayton that he is an ideal candidate for K Mod, but that they have many like that.

The officer emphasized to him that he needed to be patient, and not fill out too many cop-out forms requesting placement into K Mod.  Clayton was surprised because he hadn't filled out a cop-out for that purpose, but supposed that it must be something they tell all inmates in segregation.  They also explained that if he did get into K Mod, and then opted to leave or had to leave because of punitive measures, it would be much more difficult to get back in. Getting back in could take 6 to 8 months or more. She encouraged that if he had problems (with cell mates, etc.) after placement, to report it on the cell intercom right away.

During the visit the officer also had emphasized to Clayton that he needed to "reign in his family," and that their involvement would not speed the process along.  Clayton began to worry that his family would be penalized for trying to help him, and ask questions on his behalf.

Another officer had also come to Clayton that day to work with him on visitation, as the staff had assured his wife they would do.  They confirmed with him the 10 people he wished to have on his list, and they assured him that 9 of them had already been started for processing, but they still needed information on the 10th individual. Clayton was able to get that information during his call out to family, and report it through a cop-out form late in the day.

During that call he was also able to determine that his phone PIN number finally appeared to be able to call out to all his desired land-line numbers. He had also identified a phone problem he had not been aware of before. It appears that typing his PIN number (a 10-digit number) into the phone too slowly can make the phone respond that you are using an invalid PIN number. Also, typing in the person's phone numbers too slowly can result in a similar problem and a "restricted number" message. Clayton explained that part of the difficulty is due to the awkward way an inmate in segregation must dial the phone.  The phone is wheeled on a cart to their cell door, and they must reach awkwardly through the hole in the door to dial and then draw the receiver back to their ear through the hole to communicate.

CLAYTON'S TIP FOR THE DAY:  When calling out, have your phone PIN and phone numbers to try right in front of you, or the delay could cause you problems and burn up too much of your time.  An inmate only gets 30 minutes for calls, including dialing time.

Commissary Tips

Clayton was able to once again fill out his weekly commissary form last night.  His tip for others is to ask for the balance of your account on the intercom in advance. Because he did so today, he related verbally to the guard that the balance was in error, and also filed a cop-out form.  However, because he did not ask earlier, he is not sure if it will cause his commissary forms to be rejected.

He explained that the commissary has a $25 weekly limit for inmates, however, there is a second form with medical items (like Dove soap). The items requested from the medical list do not count towards the $25 limit, so it does allow for a little bit of leeway for needed items. Earplugs are also from the medical list.  A huge percentage of the list is food items, which Clayton didn't see much point in.  He said there were some medicinal teas on the list that he considered, but no way to make hot water.

Last night Clayton ordered: stamps, envelopes, a notebook, a legal pad, a photo album, dandruff shampoo, earplugs (shaped and round), lotion, Crest toothpaste, dental floss, and a new toothbrush.  A list of commissary items is listed at the end of this post to give everyone an idea of what items cost for the inmates.

Wrapping Up

Clayton tried to pay attention to the daily routine in a little more detail using the clock in the main area today.  Morning breakfast takes place around 5:40 AM every morning, and they come back to collect the trays at 6:00 AM. Then the staff turn the lights back down and don't turn them on again permanently until 7:00 AM. This gives inmates more time to sleep with the dimmed light.  At 7:00 AM the staff also offer, over the intercom, inmates the option for recreation and/or a shower.  Inmates may not be collected for a shower until around 8:00 AM, and shower quickly because you're taken back to your cell by 8:30 AM. Lunch takes place from noon to 12:15 PM. Inmates must eat fast, in only 15 minutes, because if you miss tray collection, your tray has to sit in your room until the next mealtime.  Dinner is around 5:00 PM, and lights generally go out for the night  around 11:00 PM.

Clayton also mentioned with excitement that he got an opportunity to clean his room today. It didn't seem to be a response to a cop-out, but was instead a response from asking guards direcly.  He was given a broom and dustpan to clean the floor, and rags with disinfectant on them.  He had described during prior visits with family, that his room tends to collect what he described as 'giant pink dust bunnies' very rapidly.  He was happy to be rid of them.

Clayton continues to learn Samoan words (like Jesus, God, and Rejoice) from Andy while he is singing worship songs.  Clayton is currently reading in Timothy, Psalms, and from Genesis to Matthew.  He was also excited about the Our Daily Bread devotional for the day, discussing taunts from the enemy.

He wrapped up his visit by informing his wife that he filled out a cop-out form for property disbursement today; authorizing her to pick up his suit and shoes from his property box so it did not become too full.  She promised to watch for the notification from the prison that it was available.

Commissary Examples

20 stamps, $9.80
100 standard envelopes (small), $2.20
notebook with 80 sheets, $2.25
legal pad (8.5 x 11), $1.75
photo album, $1.05 - not sure how many photos it holds
Crest toothpaste, $3.50
dental floss, $2.35
anti-shank toothbrush, $0.55
2-n-1 shampoo and conditioner, $4.10
comb, $1.10
soap case, $.75
deodorant, $3.05
address book (small), $.95
shower shoes (size 13), $8.20

dandruff shampoo, $2.10
earplugs shaped, $0.25
earplugs round, $0.25
Lubriderm lotion, $4.40
100 cotton swabs, $1.30
chap stick, $1.95

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