October 13, 2008

Description of Various Daily Activities in Federal Prison

It’s 7:40 in the evening at Taft Camp and I’m getting ready to go to bed. I’d like to say today was a great day but on a scale of 1-10, I would give it a 4. These low spirited days are part of the journey through confinement. The day began normally enough. As usual I woke at 5 A.M. with enthusiasm to begin the day. My morning routine includes a cup of Taster’s Choice and some time watching the morning news. At 6 A.M. I walked to the chow hall for a light breakfast of oatmeal and fruit. I was on the track by 8 A.M with my friend, Andrew. During the first two of my workouts I ran a hard 11 miles in 77 minutes. When I returned from my run I changed clothes and looked forward to making several calls back home.

In federal prison camp we are allowed 300 phone minutes a month which is about 10 minutes a day. I’m still struggling to manage my phone minutes effectively. My tendency has been to use at least 100 minutes the first week and then battle to try and preserve some minutes for later in the month.

Because I had fallen behind with my minutes, I postponed calling home. Today was the day I would finally be caught up. When I picked up the phone a recording told me that phone calls were not possible. That recording was a stark reminder that I was indeed in prison. That type of disruption and disappointment such as not being able to use the phone that day takes some getting used to. I heard the phone might be down for a week or longer. It is inconceivable to me that anyone in the 21st century, including prisoners, could not have access to a telephone for a week or longer. Don’t 7 year olds have cell phones nowadays? Fortunately, in my 6th month of confinement, I’m able to deal with these little setbacks much better than my first. I’ve prepared my friends and family for these unexpected ups and downs that come with my confinement. Back in April it seemed unfathomable that I could go 2 weeks without calling home.

Justin Paperny

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