September 20, 2014
Surrendered to Herlong Federal Prison Camp
This is my first entry since I surrendered to Herlong Federal Prison Camp. Since my last post, I have a new title — inmate. As I’ve written before I am serving my sentence at Herlong Federal Prison Camp which is 50 miles northwest of Reno on the border of California and Nevada. I’ve learned a lot over the past five days (too much to attempt to recall in this post). But here are some of the highlights:
1. It’s not that scary. Sure, I’d be singing a different tune if I were “behind the fence” which means not at a prison camp but in a cell at a low or medium security. There are 120 guys here and for the most part, no one is looking for trouble. That being said, I’m staying on guard.
2. I’ve had a chance to maybe talk to a dozen guys or so in depth. Most of them have not fully accepted responsibility for the actions that got them here. It doesn’t matter whether they’re involved in white collar crime or drug offenses, it’s the same tune of deflecting responsibility and blaming someone or something else. I think Justin Paperny’s approach in interviewing other campers/inmates was smart and I plan on following suit. This should help me better understand others’ mentality so when I’m writing about ethics or speaking of other related things, I can draw upon more than just my personal experience.
3. Lastly, I stick out like a sore thumb. Of the 120 guys in here, maybe 20 are white collar offenders. But the majority of them are older (average age ~50). Because I’m younger and athletic looking I have to deal with a little more of the bravado from other guys sizing me up. Trying to figure out what car I roll in (oh the prison lingo). I’m not overly concerned about it though, just an interesting point being the youngest white collar felon in here (by far).
The big takeaway though is that I’ve gotten a good sense that I’ll have plenty of time and flexibility to spend my time how I want to. I plan on being intentional and committing my time to constructive things. I’ve already read three books, have journaled everyday and am possibly helping teach down the road. I want to again thank Justin Paperny for all of his prison advice prior to self-surrendering. It has made a huge difference during this transition and culture shock.