Thursday, May 14, 2009
Five Days Until My Release From Taft Federal Prison Camp
I am so happy to have finished my final Thursday in prison. My time is over, though the lessons of prison keep coming. In these final days of my term I’m keeping a low profile as that has been my pattern. I am in problem avoidance mode, just as I have been from the day I began serving my sentence. Some of my fellow prisoners have a hard time accepting this lesson, and I hope those who expect a journey through federal prison heed the following advice: AVOID TELEVISON!
Although I do not watch television, I sit at a table in the television room to write nearly every morning. I can observe what goes on, and that’s one of the reasons I advise those who want to avoid trouble in prison to serve time without television.
This morning, for example, as I was studying to enrich my vocabulary, I saw an altercation. What many white-color prisoners don’t understand is that even in camps, the population is littered with a few gang members. Those in the gangs claim the television as their fiefdom. I don’t know why prison staff members mix the gang members with the nonviolent offenders, but the reason isn’t relevant. What is relevant for white collar offenders to keep in mind is that unless they are prepared for violent conflict, they ought to avoid televisions.
This morning I saw such an episode. Stan is a white-collar offender in his late 60s. Clearly, he is not accustomed to prison. Juan is in his 30s; and the many tattoos together with the I-don’t-give-a-fxxx attitude suggests that prison is home for him.
Stan was watching an early news program. Juan walked into the room, indifferent to Stan’s existence, and charged the station to a music video show. Stan said, “so that’s it?”
“That’s it”, Juan answered.
“Don’t you respect other people?” Stan was incredulous.
“Go fxxx yourself, old man.” Juan did not hesitate. “If you want to do something, handle your business.”
This may be a camp, though it is still a prison. I’m glad that I have only five more prison days to serve. I advise others to keep mindful of their environment and discuss all of this information in Lessons From Prison.