January 16, 2015

Three Months Down In Federal Prison

Well, as Justin assured me I would, I have survived my first 3 months in Prison. At times it has felt like a year. Here are some random thoughts and observations:

1. I have read 17 books, I have lost 19 pounds and I have jogged approximately 210 miles.

2. As I stated before, Time passes slowly in Prison. You have to engage in a multitude of activities (reading, writing, exercising, classes, etc.) to try and make the time pass in a productive fashion.

3. Federal Prison costs money. I spend around $ 140.00 per month on Telephone and Email services. At the beginning of your sentence, you have to purchase casual clothing (sweats, shorts, tennis shoes, underwear and socks) so you can exercise.
Each month you need to purchase personal hygiene supplies including aspirin, tooth paste, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, etc. Some prisoners spend $ 200.00 per month on food from the prison commissary as they refuse to eat prison food. I spend very little on food but i do purchase protein bars, tuna packs and chicken packs to supplement the high carb/high starch diet in the chow hall.

4. Prison will dehumanize you if you let it. Prison is full of people who are angry, sad and depressed. Living 24/7 in close quarters with people in this frame of mind can cause you to begin to assimilate these characteristics. I try to live each day using proper manners and trying to interact with positive people who are planning on living productive and lawful lives upon their release. Positive people are around, you just have to find them.

5. Planning for your Post Prison life should start upon your arrival at Prison. Rather than wallowing in self-pity or simply shutting down, A prisoner needs to work on a plan to emerge from Prison a better person capable of living a productive life. That may require the prisoner to take a variety of actions to produce the desired result. It could be classes at the local college. It could be reading and writing. It could mean self-help books or taking advantage of prison mental health services. It could mean reaching out to folks in your network to maintain contacts who may be able to assist you with employment opportunities down the road.

Upon entering Prison, many people feel their lives are over. I disagree. The conduct that placed Me in Prison is a snapshot of my life at a desperate and depressing time. It is not the moment that will define the remainder of my life.

Ken Flaska

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