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  #151  
Old 04-22-2019, 07:44 AM
Bikerguy Bikerguy is offline
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I have been very busy these last few weeks and I have not seen this post in a while, I will try and answer any question I can.

Mailroom regulations, I can only answer in general terms. But regulations are always changing, The main reason why no stickers are are allowed is that it can be a way to smuggle drugs into prison. Suboxone is usually the preferred drug that can be hidden under a sticker. The prison probably became aware that it was a method being used so they clamped down and ether started enforcing the "no sticker" rule or added it.

As for Counselors, different prison systems use different titles for different jobs. But based on the way your question is worded I would say a counselor is more geared for management of the inmate. Bed assignments, job assignments, visitor lists, disciplinary issues, things of that nature.


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Originally Posted by carm2405 View Post
Please could you give me some advice Bikerguy about the mail-room regulations?

Today I had a letter returned to me from a prison because of "no stickers or labels". I had put an address-label on the top left corner and the stamp on the top right corner. The name and address was hand-written. There were no other labels or stickers on the envelope.

I understand the prison can't allow stickers - but why not the address label and stamp? How can we send mail if we can't stick a stamp? And they require the return address, so why can't it be a label - do we have to hand-write that?

The strange thing is that for many years I have sent mail like this to the same prison and it has never been returned! This was my first time writing to a new inmate. Are the mail rules different depending on the inmate??

Please could you also tell me what the role of the "counsellor" is in the prison? Is he/she a CO or a psychologist?

Thanks for all you share on this thread. It is helpful and appreciated.

Last edited by Bikerguy; 04-22-2019 at 07:54 AM..
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  #152  
Old 04-22-2019, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Miss mistake 88 View Post
How does the booking and process work upon arriving to prison for the first time? And how long after you are booked into prison is it till you get to go to the commissary?
Where I work commissary is usually 2-3 days provided there are funds in the account.
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  #153  
Old 04-22-2019, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
My question is, What do you do when you run into a family member or an inmate's family member knows one of your family members?

I have had both situations arise. The latter, I said hello and that I had recently spoken with her uncle - it created problems because neither the uncle nor I knew it was a problem. Now, a few years later, I ran into a couple of COs attending a concert.
Generally it is not a problem if we run into a former inmate or a family member outside the prison. If it is a simple "hello, how you doing? Staying out of trouble?" It is a general non-issue.

If there is some sort of words exchanged between the two parties we report it, just in case.

As for prior relationships, if a staff member becomes aware we notify our higher that one exists. Generally it is also not a problem, but management needs to be aware and they determine if it is a problem. We have had inmates try and compromise staff that they knew on the outside, try and get a favor or to overlook something. If management is aware of a prior relationship then it allows them to get a better handle on the situation.
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  #154  
Old 04-22-2019, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Camry94em View Post
So this is my first time ever on HERE and I have a super important question. So my husband finally got transferred near me an I have tried visiting him at 3 different prisons now an every time Iím told I have to do fingerprints an then I got a letter saying Iím denied visiting him. I have no criminal record the only two things on records years ago have been successfully expunged. I have never been in jail or prison. I just had a fbi background check since Iím in nursing school an it came back clear so I know my record is good. What else would be there reason for denying me. Iíve sent my expungement papers to warden which it was 12 years ago an I know it wasnít on background. I need to why I canít see my husband an heís been in there over a decade an Iím running out of hope. He is currently at ECI/Annex in MD. Any insight is appreciated sooo much!!
I am sorry I can not help you in your specific question. All I can tell you is to have your inmate talk to his counselor or case manager to find out why you were denied. You can also request the why of the situation from your end.
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  #155  
Old 04-22-2019, 03:36 PM
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I understand why you are curious. I minored in sociology in college and prison is a society all it's own. I am here to try and understand it better. If I can understand it better it can make me a better CO. After much time lurking on the board I decided to make an account and start by answering some questions. There are a few questions asked around the forum that could only really be answered by someone who understands why prisons operate the way they do. I am no expert, but I can still bring a different perspective on the different situations. Mainly on why we do certain things a certain way.

Contraband is a tricky situation and I can't answer with a solid %, every place is different and has different measures that the inmates have been able to go around. Some prisons have a drone issue where they fly over a compound and drop big packages for the inmates to grab. Other times it comes in through the mail or through the kitchen deliveries. And yes, staff get greedy and they try and bring it in too.

The vending machines are supplied by an outside vendor, we do not set the prices.

A good book I read once said that 30% of the prison population is attempting to get over. Running gambling rings, extortion, selling drugs, we deal more with that 30% then we do with the 70% that is just trying to get by. We manage the best we can by treating everyone as equal as possible.

I can't comment on specific situations that you or your inmate has been through. I just don't know the whole story. We do our best to insure that every inmate is fed, given medical attention and housed in a safe environment. But it is not going to be the grand Hilton, and it is not a 4 star restaurant or top notch medical care. We work with the budget allowed to have. And that is way above my paygrade.




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Originally Posted by Kimimi View Post
Iím curious why your here? I know your allowed and welcomed and all that but why are you here? I also would like to know how many coís a day do you think walk by an inmate having their civil rights overstepped by another co and do nothing. How many times have you crossed that line yourself. The contraband you mentioned what owecentage do you think is rough in by coís. These are the things I want to you to help shed some light on the corruption etc inside our prisons. Talk about why a co breakroom has snacks and soda etc cheaper than canteen or the inmates sodas. Why do the inmates raise money save money for activities and most of the time itís lost or stolen by the prison. The list goes on I would like to know what you have witnessed first hand that in your prison you work. I could write crap all day long on here. I really would like your honesty and opinion. Are cops just so desensitiEd that they start treating prisoners inhuman. Is the pay so bad they start bringing the contraband in to make ends meet? I know there are good and bad I am assuming your good if your on this site. Tell us about your insight into the bad you must see it, we donít see what goes on beyond the visiting room so canít gain insight.
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  #156  
Old 04-22-2019, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by SUMI67 View Post
Thank you for offering insight! I have a question, my husband ss to Marion camp, il on Thursday. When we arrived a guard came out and told me that the dorm is not accessible and he couldn't stay there. About two hours later another guard came out and told me they were transporting him to McCreary camp on Friday. I have not hired from my husband and the bop.gov shows hes at Marion USP. Does that mean that he was put in the adjacent medium security prison?
I am sorry I really cannot answer specific questions. I would call the specific prison and inquire through them. I would also ensure that your inmate has money on his account to be able to call you and tell you where he is. It is a long and slow process at times, but you will eventually know more about his situation.
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  #157  
Old 04-22-2019, 04:50 PM
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I am not familiar with federal prison camps. There are various threads in the federal forums that can better answer your questions, sorry.

Work programs are right away, depending on the job. The kitchen is always needing more workers. It could be anywhere from a week to two weeks before they get their job. Now it takes longer if they are wanting to work in better spots, say in the library. They need to wait for a spot to open up.

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Originally Posted by Julietrk123 View Post
I was wondering if you could enlighten me about the federal prison system and how a Low or camp inmate day goes ? Do they have cells with two people per cell or is it more like a dorm?
Also how long does it take for an inmate to get into programs or work in the prison? Are there jobs that the prisoners go offsite to perform such as CDL driving programs that some facilities have?
I would also like to know if you know anything about the new law passed where federal inmates only have to serve 65% of their time compared to the 85 it previously was and if that has gone into effect yet
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  #158  
Old 04-22-2019, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikerguy View Post
I understand why you are curious. I minored in sociology in college and prison is a society all it's own. I am here to try and understand it better. If I can understand it better it can make me a better CO. After much time lurking on the board I decided to make an account and start by answering some questions. There are a few questions asked around the forum that could only really be answered by someone who understands why prisons operate the way they do. I am no expert, but I can still bring a different perspective on the different situations. Mainly on why we do certain things a certain way.

Contraband is a tricky situation and I can't answer with a solid %, every place is different and has different measures that the inmates have been able to go around. Some prisons have a drone issue where they fly over a compound and drop big packages for the inmates to grab. Other times it comes in through the mail or through the kitchen deliveries. And yes, staff get greedy and they try and bring it in too.

The vending machines are supplied by an outside vendor, we do not set the prices.

A good book I read once said that 30% of the prison population is attempting to get over. Running gambling rings, extortion, selling drugs, we deal more with that 30% then we do with the 70% that is just trying to get by. We manage the best we can by treating everyone as equal as possible.

I can't comment on specific situations that you or your inmate has been through. I just don't know the whole story. We do our best to insure that every inmate is fed, given medical attention and housed in a safe environment. But it is not going to be the grand Hilton, and it is not a 4 star restaurant or top notch medical care. We work with the budget allowed to have. And that is way above my paygrade.

That is interesting the percentage you give for the prison population.

After serving time at Elkton, Iíd say itís higher than 70-30. With more than 70% trying to get over with something.

Although, in my opinion, Iíd say that at Elkton, the percentage of decent COs to be 30%. As compared to 70% of the COs there to be condescending jerks.

So maybe it evens out somehow.
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  #159  
Old 04-22-2019, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Fockwulf View Post
That is interesting the percentage you give for the prison population.

After serving time at Elkton, Iíd say itís higher than 70-30. With more than 70% trying to get over with something.

Although, in my opinion, Iíd say that at Elkton, the percentage of decent COs to be 30%. As compared to 70% of the COs there to be condescending jerks.

So maybe it evens out somehow.
To be honest, yes 70% are really trying to get over on something, usually it is something minor, I get that. It is the 30% that are the real "bad apples" per say that are there to influence the other 70% and staff.

It was something that I read a long time ago in a book that was introduced as reading material during my academy. I guess I try to be optimistic and hope it really is only 30%.
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  #160  
Old 04-23-2019, 07:47 AM
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Good to see you back here Bikerguy.
I have another question for you... recently an inmate penpal of mine told me that there is more violence in lower security prisons. He moved from max to medium and he says the max security place had more "good" people (i.e. inmates) than those who just want to start fight... but in the medium he sees more violence.
Do you know if that is because there is a different ratio of CO to prisoners in different levels, so the inmates in the max perhaps can't get away with it as much??
You might not know this if you haven't moved around... but just thought I'd ask as I'm curious! Thanks.
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  #161  
Old 04-23-2019, 08:37 AM
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I've spoken to various inmates about living in different prisons. Piecing together what they told me with what I know I gathered this.

There is definitely a higher level of extreme violence in a high security level prison vs a medium or low. Most everyone is living on edge. Waiting for a beat down coming around the next corner. When they come it is brutal.

Because of this there is a high level of respect between inmates. Also the social groups are tighter. (Blacks, whites, Spanish etc) they police their own.

I believe what your pen pal is talking about is the culture shock of going from a high to a medium. Yes it is more open and more freedom. There is also a different level of inmate. Many guys in mediums started in mediums. So when guys work down from a high, there is a culture clash between the two types of inmates. Also the guys that leave highs might be older and they clash with the young kids who know only medium life. Guys in their 30s and 40s doing longer sentences along side guys in their 20s doing shorter sentences.

It comes down to the difference between a convict and an inmate.

I'm sure there are more petty conflicts between inmates at a medium because there is not that respect/fear that exists in a high.


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Originally Posted by carm2405 View Post
Good to see you back here Bikerguy.
I have another question for you... recently an inmate penpal of mine told me that there is more violence in lower security prisons. He moved from max to medium and he says the max security place had more "good" people (i.e. inmates) than those who just want to start fight... but in the medium he sees more violence.
Do you know if that is because there is a different ratio of CO to prisoners in different levels, so the inmates in the max perhaps can't get away with it as much??
You might not know this if you haven't moved around... but just thought I'd ask as I'm curious! Thanks.
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  #162  
Old 04-23-2019, 09:49 AM
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That is very interesting and it makes sense. Thanks!
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  #163  
Old 04-26-2019, 06:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikerguy View Post

It comes down to the difference between a convict and an inmate.

I'm sure there are more petty conflicts between inmates at a medium because there is not that respect/fear that exists in a high.
I have read that in different articles/forums - the convicts (i.e, those who are oldtimers, have been up multiple times, and/or have longer sentences) tend to be more in control of themselves and others around them. In some ways that is good and others it could be bad. I know because of it, they insisted my son was too young to be using drugs, helped clean him up, gave him purpose, taught him to be more respectful to his mom (me), and other positive things (I haven no doubt he learned things that are negative in our regular society, but were necessary in prison - i.e., racial prejudice.) The end result, he has been clean for 5.5 years and has never gotten a ticket, because he knew how to follow the rules and to be respectful (guards and inmates both).

The inmates tend to be the short-timers. The ones who don't know the rules, don't practice good hygiene, think they can manipulate guards and other inmates easily, allow their personal demons (drugs, alcohol, gambling, fighting) to interfere with others, bring too much attention from guards, and create havoc.

Not all fit the convict vs. inmate role, but a good portion seem to.
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  #164  
Old 05-06-2019, 03:29 AM
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I asked my penpal who is in federal medium (life sentence, recently transferred from a max prison) what he thought makes a good CO. His reply might be a useful addition to this thread, so sharing it here:


What makes a good CO? Respect is always a big plus. and not to look at all of us the same for i not think like 99% of the ppl here.
PPL assume that since we are in prison we are piece of sh*t. there are good and bad on both side. why this one lady CO help me transfer to a medium. that is big. well actually 2 of them. they like my artwork and i treat them with respect. one time all i did was to hold the door for her. such small gester.
A CO once told me God bless you and a few other ppl do that. i always thank them for it does things to me when they say that.
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  #165  
Old 05-06-2019, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bikerguy View Post
It comes down to the difference between a convict and an inmate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
Not all fit the convict vs. inmate role, but a good portion seem to.
My husband is going on year 17. He has always referred to himself as an inmate, never a convict. He gets what they mean, and even though it's where he's been most of his life, it's not his whole person. You can be an inmate for life, you can be a convict who's in and out. In my experience, time to move past the assumptive titles. They do more harm than good.
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  #166  
Old 05-09-2019, 10:29 AM
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I always try to treat every inmate I come into contact with respect. I respect their personal area and things even when I conduct a search.

I'm friendly and personable. I'll talk to anyone. I have found showing an inmate disrespect right off the bat just leads to a bad working environment and general difficulty in the unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carm2405 View Post
I asked my penpal who is in federal medium (life sentence, recently transferred from a max prison) what he thought makes a good CO. His reply might be a useful addition to this thread, so sharing it here:


What makes a good CO? Respect is always a big plus. and not to look at all of us the same for i not think like 99% of the ppl here.
PPL assume that since we are in prison we are piece of sh*t. there are good and bad on both side. why this one lady CO help me transfer to a medium. that is big. well actually 2 of them. they like my artwork and i treat them with respect. one time all i did was to hold the door for her. such small gester.
A CO once told me God bless you and a few other ppl do that. i always thank them for it does things to me when they say that.
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  #167  
Old 05-17-2019, 08:25 PM
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Originally Posted by miamac View Post
My husband is going on year 17. He has always referred to himself as an inmate, never a convict. He gets what they mean, and even though it's where he's been most of his life, it's not his whole person. You can be an inmate for life, you can be a convict who's in and out. In my experience, time to move past the assumptive titles. They do more harm than good.
It is interesting because 25 years ago, the convict would have been the negative and the inmate the positive, but those defining characteristics and usage have changed. I haven't been there, so it's not my place to define it. But, the experts and the convicted who write about this stuff have used those words to differentiate the prison population, which to me it is their right to do so, not mine.

We as a society define people by putting them into categories based on gender, race, economics, education, employment field, and so many other things. I agree that all of these titles engender bias and create harm. On the other hand, we have to use words to communicate ideas as that is all we have to work with. But, No Single Word completely defines any person.
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Old 05-17-2019, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lizlizzie2 View Post
On the other hand, we have to use words to communicate ideas as that is all we have to work with. But, No Single Word completely defines any person.
I absolutely agree! But there's this thinking...
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Originally Posted by Bikerguy View Post
It comes down to the difference between a convict and an inmate.
that permeates this culture. I don't see it as much with younger incarcerated and staff, but there's a generation of folks who definitely have it ingrained. But as you said-- we're on the outside, it's not our place to define anymore than it would be mine to define another person's sexual orientation or gender.

Reminds me of "lady doctor". I still shudder when I hear it. It wasn't untrue-- they are women and they are doctors, but the title was meant to denote inequality as defined by outsiders. *sigh* Language, eh?
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  #169  
Old 05-20-2019, 12:21 PM
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We live in a society that places labels on ourselves. I feel that is ok. As long as we know are are more than that "one" label. As long as we don't loose focus on the other, good labels out there. Father, Mother, Aunt, Uncle, Son, Daughter etc.......

As for convict, inmate etc. I don't place the label of "convict" on someone. It is something they place on themselves. I see it as a way to separate themselves from the crowd...and sometimes from the petty prison politics that exist. "I'm a convict, I am above this BS." (The BS being the prison drama that exists.)
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  #170  
Old 05-20-2019, 12:53 PM
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can a prisoner send a letter if the prison has lockdown? i have not heard from my frend for a long time and he is in the beaumont prison
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  #171  
Old 05-20-2019, 05:18 PM
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Yes, he can send letters as long as he has stationary and stamps, since lockdowns in federal prisons usually stop any access to commissary shopping. What usually happens is that mail, both ways, slows down considerably during lockdowns too.
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  #172  
Old 05-20-2019, 07:23 PM
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Hi,

Correctional officer or any learned / experienced members, please help further my understanding, if you can. I do not expect any thing jurisdictional - specific as I know that is not going to happen.

Why would an inmate be labeled an Ą escape risk Ē if they have no prior attempts and this is their first time incarcerated? This was decided @ time of security classification. Any ideas that come to mind? Thanks.
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  #173  
Old 05-20-2019, 08:04 PM
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Hello. As a CO I am hoping you would enlighten me. I understand that you can not answer specific questions regarding particular systems and facilities. There any generalized answer based on your knowledge and experience would be appreciated.
Of what would a daily routine of a recently re-classified and transferred 4/4 male inmate consist? This is a close, not max, rating in Arizona. At what juncture, if any, is he likely to be offered drug classes/counseling, perhaps a job, or continued education? Or is this move likely to be largely punitive due to repeated drug violations while incarcerated?
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  #174  
Old 05-20-2019, 08:18 PM
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Interesting thread.

What would you say the percentage is of inmates who have been placed in "the hole" a least once?
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Old 05-20-2019, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Ne Plachí View Post
Hi,

Correctional officer or any learned / experienced members, please help further my understanding, if you can. I do not expect any thing jurisdictional - specific as I know that is not going to happen.

Why would an inmate be labeled an Ą escape risk Ē if they have no prior attempts and this is their first time incarcerated? This was decided @ time of security classification. Any ideas that come to mind? Thanks.
I'm only guessing here, but my bet would be if the inmate has overseas ties/dual citizenship, and the financial means to leave the country. I'm by no stretch a CO, though, so it's just my wild hunch.
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