Friday, March 6, 2015

March 6 - New Roommate and Commissary Rejection

Friday, March 6

When Clayton's family came in for his visit today, they surprised him with 4 family members.  Clayton's eyes went wide when the video screen actually activated, and he could see the four smiling faces.  This presented a little bit of a challenge for the family, due to the way the video visitations are conducted.  The video screen on the wall only has 1 phone attached to hear your loved one through, and the cord attaching it to the screen is less than a couple of feet long.  However, the family managed by spinning a couple of themselves around backwards and huddling all four heads around the phone receiver.  It was far from comfortable, but definitely worth it to see and speak with him.

They then discovered that Clayton had been assigned a new roommate.  The man was a stark contrast to the last, and Clayton still wasn't sure how things would turn out between the two of them.

"He's real quiet," Clayton explained, "He hasn't really talked much at all so I know almost nothing about him."

Clayton described the man as being in his mid-40's or later, shorter than Clayton's 6 feet, and rather unhealthy looking.  He had a nearly shaved head, many tattoos, and was extremely thin.  Clayton described him as 'pretty laid back', and said the man certainly didn't pose any kind of physical threat.  He also appeared to be an avid reader, like Clayton.

The man had mentioned that he had a history with methamphetamine.  When Clayton mentioned that he was a Christian, the man said that he worshiped the Great Native Spirit.  Clayton was fairly sure the man had "PC'd up" - requested protective custody - either because people thought he was an informant, or he actually was one.

The man, who we will now call 'Jones', explained to Clayton that he only had 7 weeks left before he would be free.  He is originally from Anchorage, and wants to return there.  Like Andy, Jones was frustrated by the inability to call Anchorage phone numbers.  The man had immediately filed a cop-out to be moved back to Anchorage, but Clayton wasn't sure he would get a response at all, or at least in the next 7 weeks.

Commissary Rejected Due to Prison's Error

Clayton had not received any new mail today, but he got a shocking paperwork response.  His original commissary form from March 1st had been returned as rejected, with a simple red NSF stamped on the bottom of the form.  NSF stood for 'Not Sufficient Funds.'  Clayton's wife was immediately angry, remembering the date earlier when Clayton had inquired about his book balance.  The staff had told him then that there was no money on his books, but within a couple of hours after she had arrived at the facility she was told his balance was correct and more than sufficient to cover any commissary he had purchased thus far.

"This is their mistake!" she said in frustration, "It has to be.  That money should never have been off of your books."

Clayton was visibly disappointed, but did his usual best to put on a smiling face.  This first order had been items Clay was desperate for, for hygiene purposes.  It had included things like: shower shoes, a comb, shampoo, soap and a soap case, cotton swabs, deodorant, and a small pocket-sized address book.   He had waited for his second commissary to order items like stationary so he could begin communicating with other friends and family who were not allowed to visit him.

"It's okay," he assured them, "I will just reorder everything this week."

But Mrs. Allison knew this meant it would be at least 2 more full weeks before those items arrived after they were ordered, and her heart hurt.  Meanwhile, they had no way of knowing if Clayton's second commissary order would be falsely rejected as well, as the problems with his books had been addressed after that form had been filed.  They had still not received any clarification on why the books were ever said to have been empty.  

Tip of the Day:  Make sure to ask the guards about your book balance early enough in the day on commissary day.  This is the only day you will be able to inquire about the balance through the intercom, but if it is not done early enough, problems may not be corrected in time.

Catching up With Family

Clayton spent the rest of his visit catching up with his family and sharing fun information with them.  He learned about the used car that was recently purchased by a family member, and talked with them about various video games they should play and write to him about.  He also reminded them to let people know that when he calls, his cell mate is standing right behind him - so questions they ask can be awkward and they should avoid that if possible.  He will relay as much information as he can through daily visits.

He also discussed the copy of National Geographic he had been given earlier by the chaplain at MSPT.  He still had it, and had the chance now to relay that it was actually an October 1979 edition!  He explained that it looked brand-new despite its age. He was highly amused that there was an advertisement inside for an 'upcoming' 1980 tourist book proudly stating, "Come see Alaska!"  Some of the other ads Clayton described as priceless including a Kodak ad for the 1979 Olympics.  Another one had a woman wearing an apron and standing in a kitchen advertising a 'brand-new' over the range microwave, like it was brand new technology.

One of the articles inside the National Geographic magazine was also on the 'new technology' of fiber-optic cables.  It discussed how telecommunications would change with scientists predicting that these would be in every home in America by the year 2000.  Another article was about a man living in the Colorado mountains in a tent created with $300 in materials who was herding goats. Clayton said that the most interesting article was talking about the last province in China to fall to communism. It described thousands of Chinese people hiding in caves from bombings. 

Before wrapping up their visit, Clayton's wife asked about the informational armband he had been given at MSPT and still appeared to be wearing.  It looked like a laminated piece of paper; like someone would be assigned in a hospital.  Clayton explained that it was a write-up offence to remove the armband at any time, but that if it needed replacing eventually a cop-out form could be submitted to medical with the request.

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