Thursday, June 25, 2015

June 23-25 - HIVES!

Tuesday, June 23rd

After Jocelynn's birthday, and Clayton's visit with family, his mood improved and he made an effort to bring himself back to a positive outlook.  On Tuesday, Clayton focused most of his attention on writing letters.  Letter writing has become one of Clayton's primary ways of remaining connected to friends and family, as his visitation list is limited to only 10 people due to statewide Department of Corrections policy.  Clayton excitedly informed his wife during visitation that he had mailed around a dozen letters that day.

Clayton also spent the day preparing for the weekly inspections that take place on Wednesday mornings.  For inspections, inmates clean their cells and common areas; attempting to adhere to strict guidelines for cleanliness and organization.  The various modules within the prison compete with one another on inspections, and the winning mod gets an additional 'late night' for the week.  On a 'late night' inmates in that mod get to stay up for an additional couple of hours instead of being locked down for the night earlier.  Clayton makes it a personal effort to ensure his cell is always going to pass inspection in all areas.

Clayton was also very excited that he managed to get a lot of work done on his Rock of Ages (ROA) Discipleship Institute bible study program.  He's currently pressing forward through the section on the book of Matthew, and was able to get all the way to the section on chapter 21 of 28.

During visitation, Clayton and his wife were also pleasantly surprised to be one of only 2 families participating in a visit.  This allowed for a much quieter and more personal visitation time.

Wednesday, June 24th

On Wednesday, Clayton's cell passed inspection but the mod did not win the additional 'late night' for the week.  He decided to dedicate his day to finishing the ROA bible study on Matthew.  He was very excited to have it completed, and was ready to hand it over for review.  He explained that there was an inmate in the mod assigned to collecting and mailing in the bible studies from everyone, and that they had postage-paid envelopes for that purpose which were provided by the chaplain.  This ensured that inmates did not require their own stamps and mailing supplies to participate.

When leaving for his visit, Clayton noticed that there was once again a large pile of mail which had not yet been delivered.  Ever since his arrival in K Mod, Clayton had become used to mail delivery occurring right before he was taken to visitation.  However, over the months he and his family had come to learn that different shifts of guards (especially new staff) would often do things differently.  He explained that for some reason, the current shift of guards were waiting to sort mail and deliver it until the middle of the night - 1am to 2am - and so even though he could see that it was in the Mod, he would not be able to report on the mail he received until an additional day later.

He also mentioned during visitation, that one particular guard on current rotation had a cruel habit.  Clayton explained that all of the other guards did not bring in food from the outside for their shifts.  They understand that food from the outside is an incredible temptation for the inmates; especially those with extremely long sentences.  However, this new guard will bring in food from the outside (cheeseburgers for example) and "make a big show" of eating it in front of the inmates.  Clayton said he had heard numerous whispers around the mod of inmates who were finding that temptation extremely difficult.

He heard one man whisper to another, "Man... I've got so many years... if I tackle him I bet I could get a bite of that thing."

The second man responded with, "They'd taze you man."

And the first man came back with, "I think it would be worth it."

Clayton said he hoped he never saw any of the inmates go through with it, but said he would get as far away as possible if it ever occurred.


During his visitation on Wednesday night, Clayton began itching terribly and said it felt as if the skin beneath his arms was burning.  He struggled throughout the visit to keep from scratching.  His wife asked if he wanted to cut their visit short, and asked to be checked out.  But Clayton wanted to have his full hour for the day, and decided to ask the guards that 'strip them out' after visitation to take a look at it.

Being "stripped out" is something that all inmates have to do after visitation - and sometimes before - depending on the shift of guards at the time, and the guards level of experience.  It requires all the inmates to strip down and demonstrate that they don't have anything hidden on their person, by bending over and 'spreading their cheeks'.  They frequently have to do this as a group without the benefit of private screening.  It is a process the guards go through to ensure that inmates have not received contraband from visitors.  The facility is equipped with a body scanner that inmates are put through - which views their internal organs to see if they have swallowed anything.  Some guards are familiar with the scanning equipment and just put them through the scanner.  Others are unfamiliar, and strip them out instead.  Still others do both processes.  Clayton has explained before that he has been attending visitation almost every day, and still doesn't know what to expect on any given night.

After visitation was over, he asked the guard doing the strip out to check under his arms, and was surprisingly sent straight to medical for an evaluation.  The guard confirmed that Clayton had hives under his arms, all the way up the back of his neck and behind his ears.  Then when meeting with the nurse, they confirmed that the area under Clayton's arms looked as if it had some kind of severe chemical burn.

Clayton was immediately given 2 Benadryl and an ice pack, sent back to his cell, and told to check in with the nurse at medicine call in the morning.  He was able to trade the ice pack back and forth under his arms to try and fight the burning sensation.  Fortunately, Clayton had purchased a tiny tube of hydrocortisone creme (anti-itch) from the commissary list weeks before, and was able to apply it to his arms to make the night more endurable.   He was instructed not to use soap, lotion, or any other substance on his arms for 2-3 days to see if the reaction would cease.  Upon leaving, Clayton was handed a receipt showing that the visit with the nurse had cost $5 with the Benadryl he'd been provided costing an additional $5.

Thursday, June 25

Clayton was able to get a call out to his wife the next morning and explain what had happened around his allergic reaction.  The medicine helped, but Clayton was concerned that he was going to run out of anti-itch cream, and would not be able to even order more until Sunday.  Then it would take 2 weeks to arrive.  He still had no idea what was causing the reaction. The skin beneath his arms was purplish and obviously burned.  However, he said that overall he was doing much better.

Clayton's wife had to inform him that she learned after leaving visitation the day before that 2 members of Clayton's family had separate incidents in which they tripped and fell, and ended up in the emergency room.  She spent much of the visitation time relaying the information she had, and assuring him that they would be fine.  It was yet again frustrating for Clayton to be separated from those he loved when he wanted to help.

Otherwise, the day had been a good one.  During visitation Clayton explained to his wife that he had received mail from her the night before - finally receiving pictures of the photo event that took place to show support for him on May 31.  He was very excited to finally get to see all of his friends, family, and other community members dressed in green.  He had also received commissary today, and was happy to get some of the supplies he had ordered.  Unfortunately, he realized he had ordered the wrong size batteries, and would have to wait 2 additional weeks before he could use the tiny alarm clock he'd received.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Email to GCCC Admin - Summer Festival

On June 12, 2015, Clayton's wife wrote an email to the Superintendent of GCCC about an upcoming event at the prison - the Summer Festival.  She had been discussing the event for the last couple of weeks with other individuals awaiting visitation with loved ones, and had seen the distress around their inability to participate.  She had experienced this disappointment herself.

She decided to write the following email to communicate that experience to staff.  Then, she read her message to a couple of other individuals who had discussed it with her previously, and soon found other individuals asking for a copy of the email, or checking in periodically to see if a response had been received.  Up to the time of this release (June 23, 12:24 pm), no response has been received from staff.

Individuals who had heard the email thanked Clayton's wife for her effort, and expressed that they wish more people understood what it was like to have a family member in protective custody - and the types of hardship they face for that status.  Therefore, Clayton's wife has decided to share this email itself on the blog here, so that more of you can have a glimpse at this experience without the need to experience it yourself.  

COPY OF EMAIL:  Sent June 12, 2015 at 11:38 PM

Dear Mr. Conant,

I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts with you on the GCCC Summer Festival which, as I understand, will be taking place tomorrow, June 13th.  I have very little information on the event, but understand it to be an opportunity for inmates to arrange in-advance to spend a longer period of time with family in a group-event atmosphere.  I personally believe that family support is critical to inmate success both within your facility and upon release, and I believe that an event of this type is an excellent practice.  

I am writing you this email to communicate that I believe an opportunity of this type should also be extended to inmates currently housed within the K Mod.  The K Mod is designed specifically for inmates in protective custody.  These individuals have not been assigned to K Mod as a result of bad behavior of their own, but instead due to threats of harm or actual harm done by inmates who will get to participate in events like the Summer Festival.  

Families of individuals in K Mod already have to endure additional hardship in relation to visitation due to their status.  Visitation hours are only available from 9-10 pm at night; an exceedingly late time frame for those coming from Anchorage, or whose physical limitations make late-night visitation difficult.  K Mod families are also not afforded the opportunity to request extended 2-hour visits like their counterparts in the general population can request.  While I understand the complications faced by GCCC staff in keeping our loved ones safe and separated from general population, it still results in frequent disappointment for those of us trying to access our loved ones.

Additionally, it concerns me that an event like the Summer Festival would be posted in the K Mod despite their inability to participate.  This results in disappointment for the inmates and families alike.  I visit my husband every night that a visitation is available.  At least 3 different individuals have asked me this week alone, “Do you know what the Summer Festival is?  Do you know if my (son/husband/loved one) can participate?”  I had to watch one woman fight back tears upon hearing that K Mod was not allowed to participate, and she responded with a, “Well i hope he doesn’t know about it then, so it doesn’t make him sad.”

I appreciate everything that GCCC staff do to keep my husband safe.  I understand, and have accepted the fact that this means the opportunities we have are different.  I am writing this in an effort to help you see through the eyes of their families.  Our loves ones are not missing out on this opportunity because they’ve done something wrong in your facility.  They are missing out, and we are missing out, because their lives and safety have been threatened by some of the very people who may be participating.  K Mod houses some individuals who haven’t even been tried in a court of law yet, to have the opportunity to show their innocence.  Others, like my husband, are discriminated against due to media coverage beyond our control.  

I would ask that you take these things to heart when scheduling events and opportunities in the future, and be confident that K Mod is not being excluded due to the extra effort required to make something similar work for our families.  There are many of us who sit in your waiting room on a regular basis, eager to see our loved ones and provide them our love and support.  


CJ Allison

Monday, June 22, 2015

June 22 - Jocelynn's Birthday

Monday, June 22nd

The weekend of June 20th through the 22nd proved to be one of the hardest weekends of the year thus far for the Allison family.  Sunday, June 21st was Father's Day, and much of the weekend was spent celebrating that holiday as much as possible between family.  Monday, June 22nd would have been Jocelynn Renee's 8th birthday, and would have been a struggle all on its own.

Father's Day

Clayton's wife spent much of the weekend with her father and father-in-law, celebrating Father's Day to the best of her ability despite circumstances.  Clayton was not able to celebrate these events with them, but was able to get phone calls out to family instead.  Since Jocelynn's passing, both Mother's Day and Father's Day have been a struggle for Clayton and his wife for many years.  It is difficult for others to understand what it is like for bereaved parents on such holidays; especially when the parents have no living children.  Fortunately, the Allison's family members are very supportive and helpful in taking time to remember Jocelynn with Clayton and his wife each year.

This year, however, brought an entirely new meaning to the day's sorrow.  The word Bereaved is known by most as implying the loss of a loved on through death.  It can also mean to be deprived of the presence of a loved one through extended absence and/or by force, even if death is not the cause.  Today, Clayton's wife struggled with her bereavement for him and Jocelynn both; Jocelynn having been taken by death, and Clayton taken unjustly by force.  Family and friends have often commented since Clayton was remanded in February that the time period immediately following the trial felt like a funeral, but oddly felt as if Jocelynn herself had died again after her memory had been so terribly corrupted by the injustice of the trial.  Father's Day this year proved to bring that feeling back to the surface once again for many.

Clayton's wife was not able to visit him on Saturday, as the K Mod is not afforded a Saturday visitation time as standard policy.  On Father's Day itself, she was able to visit, but struggled to be an encouragement.  She found herself beginning to cry in the waiting room (something she does not do in public easily) before the visit even began.  Fortunately, the staff at the facility recognized her struggle, and allowed her to keep tissue in her hand for the visitation time.  Clayton also struggled, acknowledging that he had spent most of the day in his cell reading and listening to music, and declining most invitations to games and social interaction.

Jocelynn's Birthday

On Monday, June 22nd, Jocelynn Renee Allison would have been 8 years old.  It is difficult for both Clayton and his wife to imagine what she would have been like at this age, but impossible to avoid imagining.  In prior years, they would spend the day together; retelling old memories and holding each other against the pain.  This year those habits would no longer be an option.

Clayton's wife spent the day reviewing old footage of Jocelynn that was taken during her life by family and friends, and compiling it into a remembrance and awareness video to share with the rest of the world.  The video is available at, and incorporates both who Jocelynn was and what has been done against her family in her name.  Clayton's wife also was able to visit Jocelynn's grave, and carry out her tradition of placing fresh flowers from their home.

Clayton began his day with his morning bible study, during which he decided to share his struggle with others in the group.  When he first announced that it was his daughter's birthday, he was congratulated by many.  When he explained that she would have been 8 this year, a profound silence fell upon the room before condolences were offered in their place.  Clayton explained that this was why he had been keeping to himself over the last couple of days, and a couple members mentioned noticing his change from his continuously positive demeanor.

However, during bible study the group read from 2 different devotionals, and Clayton found them both to be very encouraging.  He asked his wife to share both of them, from Our Daily Bread and In Touch, with friends and family online in hopes that they would find encouragement in them as well.  Later in the day, Clayton was offered several invitations to play various games with other inmates (both those who knew of Jocelynn's birthday and who did not) and this time he decided to join them.  It proved to lift his spirits as well.

At the day's end, during his visitation time, Clayton was able to visit with his wife and three additional family members.  Clayton met them with a smile and said the "extra hugs" were helpful in ending his day.  They spent the visitation time retelling old stories of Jocelynn and some of their favorite memories with her.  Many memories brought laughter and smiles, and the family could only hope that other families could hear each other as they struggled to keep their spirits lifted but their voices as quiet as possible.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

June 18 - Back on Track

Author's Note:

Thank you to all of you who have been hanging on and waiting for an update to the blog.  I apologize for the excessive delay, and will attempt to briefly summarize here what has happened in between the last blog post in April and now.  The intention moving forward, is to complete blog posts on days falling between April and today as time allows, and as notes are available.

Most importantly, Clayton was moved into the K Mod, a module in GCCC specifically designed for inmates requiring protective custody.  This was a major answer to prayer, and opened up many more opportunities for Clayton, and improved his overall quality of life dramatically.  He now has expanded commissary options, opportunity to socialize (including a daily bible study with other inmates) better access to phones, and CONTACT visits with individuals on his approved list.

Meanwhile, Clayton's family and friends have continued to fight the battle for him on the outside.  They have been working with the local press to provide information on Clayton's situation.  They've scheduled a photo event, providing family, friends, and members of the community the opportunity to show support for Clayton in a highly visible way.  Most challenging of all, they have been battling continuing false information about Clayton's case which has shown up in recent court documents, and will be the subject of an entirely separate blog post.

As if this activity would not cause enough of a drain on time available for blogging, Clayton's wife has also been battling difficulties with her internet connection for months now.  Initially, her modem needed to be replaced.  Shortly there after, her internet service provider informed her that the signal from the main exterior line to her house was bad, and needed repair.  Then technicians came out and continued to try and improve the signal by re-wiring most of her house.  THEN, after the signal from the provider was finally repaired... her wireless router fried and had to be replaced.  Upon replacement, the new router worked initially, before a major failure that shut down the internet connection to the ENTIRE house yet again.  Ultimately, she has been informed that there is some kind of malicious software on her primary computer which is sabotaging her internet connection.

But this will not stop the family's efforts!  Despite the continuous battle, Clayton's family succeeded last week in releasing; a website dedicated to releasing information about his innocence and the corruption in his case to the general public.  They also plan to launch a public awareness campaign in the coming weeks, and continue to prepare for Clayton's upcoming sentencing in early July.

Thursday, June 18

Clayton's wife came to visit him tonight, as she is now able to do 6 days per week.  Visitation for the K Mod at GCCC is highly restrictive due to the requirements for keeping K Mod inmates completely separate from general population inmates.  This means visitation only occurs from 9 to 10 pm at night every day except for Saturdays, when no visitation time is available at all.

Clayton is now permitted contact visits with individuals from his approved visitor list.  This means that during visitation his visitors are allowed to briefly embrace him at the beginning and end of the visit.  During this embrace, they must keep their hands visible at all times and keep the contact relatively brief.  In between hugs, they must sit on opposite sides of a table from him, in a large room with many other families at tables.  There are red lines on the table tops with a significant gap in the middle.  This gap is called "No Hands Land" because no other physical contact is permitted during the visit, including holding hands, and neither the inmate or his visitors can cross the red line on their respective side.

Clayton has always been known among family and friends as a frequent source of hugs.  He has expressed to family and friends many, many times since entering K Mod that he would "endure just about anything" for this brief physical contact with his loved ones.

Recovery from Food Poisoning

During the visit, Clayton looked much better than he had in days, and seemed to be back to his normal chipper demeanor.  During his visit the previous Friday, Clayton had become visibly ill.  He later was able to determine, after visiting with facility nursing staff in the morning, that he had come down with a severe case of food poisoning.  This seemed to happen immediately after dinner that night, which had been a common meal the inmates refer to as "Clump;" a meatloaf-like ball of meat.  After speaking with a couple of the other frequent visitors, Clayton's wife was able to determine that several inmates within their Mod came down sick that same night.  However, tonight Clayton finally seemed to be bouncing back.

Bible Study

Clayton mostly kept to himself today.  After meeting with a chaplain the day before, he had been inspired to press through a particularly difficult bible study he has been working on since shortly after his arrival in K Mod.  This bible study was being offered by the chaplain, and is published by the Rock of Ages Discipleship Institute (ROA).  He had already completed, and received certificates for, the courses for: That Ye May Know, Assurance, Baptism, The Bible and Prayer.  Now he is working on one for the book of Matthew, and had become bogged down.  The chaplain, not knowing this is where Clayton was currently stuck, mentioned in his meeting that many people get stuck there and never continue.  Clayton was determined not to fall into that category!  He spent all day yesterday, and most of the day today pushing forward in the hopes to complete Matthew soon.

In addition to the ROA bible study, Clayton had been introduced to another bible study by another inmate while in segregation.  This study is offered through Emmaus Correspondence School.  He has completed more than 4 courses already, and received certificates for each.  His family hopes that these certificates will show officials that Clayton is spending his time productively, and continuing to better himself despite his circumstances.

Staying Positive

Clayton's wife was able to update him during the visit on the progress the family has made in their efforts to show the world his innocence, and the wrongs that have been committed against him.  She told him that initial responses have been very positive, and she has encountered a few new people this week who have taken an interest in the blog.  They spent much of their visit, as they frequently do, joking and teasing and lifting each others spirits as much as possible before eagerly awaiting their short opportunity to visit the next day.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Lonely Lover & Caged Love

In May 2015, Clayton's wife wrote a note on Facebook called "Lonely Lover," and then printed out this post and sent it to Clayton.  She never expected him to write and send its counterpart in the mail, but he did.  Clayton and his wife would now like to share these posts together on the blog, in an effort to show some of the emotions that loved ones on opposite sides of the prison walls must deal with.  They feel that these pieces will always belong together. 

Lonely Lover - May 11, 2015

I sit in my living room, letting the sounds of spring wash over me.  Despite the sunny sky, the sound of rain fills my ears, first gently then pounding.  The small droplets run in rivulets down the glass windows on one side of my house.  I wish he were here.  

If my lover were here, I would sit in his lap.  I would whisper into his ear about what I hear; the sounds that he usually cannot detect.  He would hold me in his strong arms as we sat quietly.  No need to rush.  No need to to busy ourselves with anything other than watching the Earth wake up from its dark Alaskan slumber.

He was taken from me; just as surely as our daughter was taken so many years ago now.  I turn a thankful face to the sky that the world can no longer harm her the way it harms him each day.  They stole his life in her name; with deceit and trickery.  I am powerless to save either of them.  

I am never alone, and always lonely.  My heart aches beneath my smile, and my spirit trembles behind the strength I show the world.  We are persecuted, slandered, and tormented.  My daughter’s life is twisted into a vile mockery of her true former beauty.  I remind myself daily that it does not matter what the world believes.  Our God knows our story.  My lover knows my heart and I know his.  

But he is not here with me.  There are whispers of him everywhere I look.  He built the planter boxes on my porch; eagerly awaiting the young plants they will house beneath the sun and rain.  He sat and read in this chair beside me, and laughed at my continual antics.  He made this house my home.  

Some cannot bear the pain of being here.  The whispers bring them too much pain.  I cannot bear to lose them or leave them.  They are all I have left.  Unlike our daughter, I am blessed with more than just boxes of old photographs or plaster molds of hands and feet.  I live for the brief time each night in which I am allowed to see him.  

In those moments, he is still not allowed to be my lover.  He must lock away all but the most basic aspects of himself.  He can embrace me briefly as he comes and goes.  He cannot hold me.  He cannot tickle me.  He cannot carry me when I am weak.  I can see the pain in his eyes when he sees me limping, and the fear when he sees my exhaustion.  

My lover is my strength.  For many years now, he has carried me when I could not walk.  He shouldered burdens I could not carry.  He reminded me to take my medications, and leaned me against him when I no longer had the strength to stand.  He is still my strength.  My love for him fuels my every action, and safeguards my every word.

As the sounds of the rain slowly tapers off, so do the tears upon my cheeks.  My lover would not want me to wallow in my grief.  I hear his voice whisper to me as it has for so many years, “Take your medicine.  Eat something.  What are you going to do today?”

Today, I take on the world again.  I fight until the day he comes home to me.  

Author: Christiane Allison
Date: May 11, 2015
Location: Wasilla, AK

Caged Love - May 21, 2015

I sit in my cell, letting the sounds of the prison roll past me.  The babble of voices, the jingle of keys, the clatter of dice.  I can see the rain rolling across the sky out the windows high above me.  I wish I was with her.  

If I was not caged here, I would be spending this moment with her.  I would hold her tightly and we would watch the sky together.  We wouldn't need words to speak with each other.  

They took me away from my loved ones.  The reason they say is that I supposedly harmed my precious daughter whom I lost long ago.  I cannot explain adequately with words how wrong they are.  I am powerless to stop them or to change my fate.  

I am never alone and always lonely.  My love longs to be free from this cage I am in.  Everyday I am treated like, and surrounded by, some of the worst criminal offenders imaginable.  My only salvation, my God and Her.  She knows my heart as I know hers.  

But I am not with her.  I currently reside behind these concrete walls and razor topped fences.  When I wake in the morning before the dreams fade I reach out for her.  I awake to the cage.  

Many cannot handle living in the cage.  The whispers and pointed looks harm as surely as sticks and stones.  Many have nothing left; everything has been taken.  I live for the brief time each night when I can see her.  When she can be held and does not disappear like a wraith in the night.  

Even in this moment, with her in my arms I must be careful.  The cage has rules that must be followed.  The threat, losing the "privilege" to see her.  I gladly, with a smile, suffer any and all indignities and barbs for this chance to see her.  

My heart aches knowing I cannot be there for her like the times of old days past.  I want to be the one she leans on and give her my strength when she is weak.  Her pain is my pain for we are one.  

She is my love, my precious one.  We walked together through a tough and wandering road.  Just when the sunlight was shining through the clouds I was taken from the road.  Now I sit here in my cage, dreaming of the day when we can walk that road together again.  

Author: Clayton Allison
Date: May 21, 2015
Location: Goose Creek Correctional Center, Wasilla, AK