A Federal Prison Camp Story: Violating Probation
Recently, I wrote that I was getting away from telling “stories” about the struggles other prisoners are experiencing here at Pensacola Federal Prison Camp. I believed that the stories were becoming boring and repetitive. As soon as I reached that conclusion, an incident occurred that I am compelled to share with you.
At the end of September, one of the members of the PPDS (Pensacola Prison Discussion Society) went home. I will call him Tom. Tom was a banker, in his early 70’s and was a true southern gentleman. He was one of a handful of people I have met in federal prison that I would like to see after I get out of this place. Tom had a short sentence, 36 months, for bank fraud. When Tom left prison last September, I could honestly state that He would be the last guy I would have expected to return to prison. Last week, I received word from another prisoner that Tom was in the Federal Detention Center in Tallahassee. I was stunned. How could a bright, gentle family man like Tom return to prison just 75 days after his release? Apparently, it was easier than I imagined.
Tom had some dental issues in prison and was looking forward to seeing his own dentist to address his problems. He went to his dentist shortly after being released and was told he needed a root canal. He scheduled the oral surgery and it went well. His dentist gave him a prescription for medication to deal with the pain. On the way home from oral surgery, Tom asked his wife to stop and fill his prescription. She looked at the prescription, told him that there was no need to stop as she had the same medication at home from an older, unused prescription. Tom came home and took her pain medication for 2 days.
On day 3, he was given a routine drug test by the probation department. The test identified prescription pain medication in his system. Tom explained that he had a unfilled prescription for the medication, and that he had taken his wife’s medication after oral surgery. You guessed it! Probation told Tom he had violated the terms of his probation and told him to self-report to the Federal Detention Center. Tom is still there (3 weeks) waiting for a hearing on his probation violation.
Tom’s story demonstrates how careful a former prisoner must be to avoid conflict and a return trip to prison. Tom had no intention of violating the terms of his probation. He was not taking drugs to get high. He was taking pain medication for documented oral surgery. He had a prescription for the medication that he did not fill. Now, He is back in prison costing the taxpayers $3,000 a month.
This does not seem right to me. Then again, my opinion of what is right or wrong is of little consequence in this matter.