So much to catch up on…When I left Sarpy to come to D&E I rode with 3 other guys. 1 younger white guy in for selling automatic weapons, 1 black guy about my age and 1 much older guy that everyone in Max2 knew. They called him “Pops” and he had been sentenced by Arterburn after me. As we waited for the transport he introduced himself as Dennis
-break for call to medical-
Dennis is in his late 60s I believe and was given a lengthy sentence. It’s hard to say how long because his account keeps changing. At first I thought he was being evasive to avoid anyone figuring out he was a sex-offender but now I wonder if he has just not come to grips with it yet. The guys in Max2 say he’ll die in prison. The whole ride to Lincoln he talked my ear off since we were seated together. I was just trying to enjoy the scenery and memorize the sight of Lincoln since I won’t be able to see it again for a very long time.
We pulled into D&E which is just West of the Community Corrections Center – Lincoln (CCCL) and just South of Lincoln Corrections Center (LCC). The first is the work release center that Ken, a friend was released from and where I visited Denise. LCC (sometimes referred to as gladiator school) is one of the 4 main prisons and the only one with an in-patient sex-offender treatment program, but there’s a lengthy waiting list for that (about 2 years) so it’s usually someone’s last stop before release.
Admissions in D&E was pretty smooth. There were a couple of guys from Grand Island here before and a huge group from Douglas Co. came in after us but everyone for the most part was laid back and there was no questioning about “what are you in for?” I mailed my suite and necklace home and was happy they let me keep my reading glasses even though they aren’t prescription. That turned out to be very lucky since they don’t sell reading glasses on canteen here so if I hadn’t thought to bring them I wouldn’t be able to read at all. We stripped, showered with anti-lice soap, and got dressed in our new state issued clothing: cargo pants, white tee shirt and brand new black leather boots with our inmate number written along the back of them. When I saw the sgt. who determines where to house you I made a point of telling him I was gay and concerned about sexual assault. He said I was going to a very “laid back” unit so that wouldn’t be an issue. I had said it just to make sure I get housed somewhere less prone to violence even though I don’t honestly fear being raped in here. On the way out of admissions they caught that they hadn’t gotten a urine sample so I had to go back and piss really quickly and made a bit of a mess. Not the best way to go meet your new “best friends,” with a piss stain on your new pants. Luckily I was able to conceal it with my sheets and blankets. *chuckle*
As it turned out, Dennis and I ended up being put in a cell together along with 2 other guys even though the cell was really built for just 2. At least they had installed a second bunk so we weren’t sleeping in boats on the floor. Our cell is about 7′ wide by a little over 14′ long. I measured with a piece of paper. LOL! There are 2 bunks that are 7’x2.5′ at the back of the cell and a free standing pair of bunks long one side, a steel table attached to the wall about 20″x36″ along the other side with 4 plastic chairs in 2 stack, 2 lockers (yeah just 2 for 4 of us) that are 12″ wide, 15″ deep and stacked one on top of the other to just over 6′, and a corner cut out for ventilation and plumbing where there is a steel toilet/sink combo.
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The housing unit has 2 tiers of cells, 32 cell total, 4 of which were originally designed to hold person, all the others were built for 2 so capacity of 60. Now there are up to 4 in the 2 man cells and up to 3 in the 1 man cells for a max capacity of 124. There’s a day-room in the middle and the guards’ bubble behind that with shower/toilets at the end of each of the tiers. The unit is split into A and B side. I’m on A side which has more people but seems to be people with fewer psyc issues, violence, and shorter sentences (but still often in the decades).
(insert diagram here)
When we got to our cell Dennis and I were greeted by the 2 that were there who weren’t very happy to go from 2 to 4 cellies but they were polite and accommodating. I got the top bunk against the outer wall because it has a narrow window. Dennis originally got the top bunk near the lockers but after 1 night of trying to climb up and down to urinate in the night he asked Jeff (one of the original occupants) to switch bunks with him so he’s my bunkie now too.
Jeff has been exceedingly helpful with all the procedural stuff like “what’s the day-room schedule” or “how do you get an approved caller list and PIN for the phones” or “how do you set up the email system on this end” or “how do you use the showers and day-room toilets” (put your chair with your cell number on it to get in line for the shower and if you want to use the toilet in the shower room, instead of shitting in front of your cellies, you take a book and set it on end near the entrance so no one will walk in on you). Jeff has a PhD an did biomedical engineering so he’s very educated and he’s very talkative. Since the unit is predominantly sex-offenders, like in county, everyone’s pretty open an willing to share details, Jeff included. So we’ve talked a lot about his case but not so much about mine (because he’s so talkative LOL!). The other cellie is Robert also but goes by his last name of Jacobs. He’s very friendly…when he’s awake. Hahaha. I guess he’s accepted into the Latino “crew” since he eats with them but I don’t think he’s Hispanic though he speaks Spanish.
Though the exact schedule changes we usually get out for day-room 3 times a day for an hour each, morning, afternoon and evening. We get out for each meal and we get an hour of yard and an hour of gym 6 days a week weather permitting. For control purposes they have the unit split in half, A and B side, and only 1 side gets out at a time but we still get about 5 hours out of our cells a day plus meals.
During our first day-room I met Chris, a pretty flaming gay guy, he’s 22, who does drag on the streets. He’s married to a cop and is in on a prole violation. His partner knew he was on parole and married him in spite of being a cop but apparently something else went down because now he wants to divorce Chris. Poor kid. There are a couple people Dennis knew in Sarpy, like an older white guy named Marshal who got hammered with something like a 30-40 yr sentence. I don’t know what he did but it’s hard to feel sorry for yourself when you meet people
like him. There’s a very buff kid from Western NE named Zach, but they call him farmer, who is here on Safe Keep, a sort of scared straight program where they send you to prison before your sentencing to make you see what you’re facing. He was originally put in unit 3 (there are 9 units in total) but he kept getting into fights so they move him here. We had a long chat about how prison is bad enough so why do people make it harder by fighting each other. I hope for his sake he doesn’t get prison time. And now for a couple if high light from the past couple of days: JP, the older black guy in Sarpy Co., was outright hitting on me to be his prison partner. LOL! The first time I went to the gym here at D&E I was stunned that they had weight machines (with heavy rubber weights, not metal) and stationary bikes so I thought I’d get some exercise on a bike. After going at a steady pace for 20-30 min I was bored so I stood up on the pedals and increased my speed significantly. Then I tried to stop abruptly but the machine had a lot of momentum and it literally launched me over the handlebars and since I kept a hold of the handlebars it flipped me head over heals. Luckily I bent my knees and caught myself with my feet before I cracked my head. When I got up virtually everyone had seen it and most were shocked and afraid I had hurt myself but when it was clear I was unharmed (well, I bruised my left heel) there were several that broke out laughing. I can’t blame them, I doubt they’d ever seen someone go entirely vertical on a stationary bike as they flipped over it. Lesson learned, momentum wins out Hahaha. Yesterday we had Teriyaki chicken (Japanese) with mashed potatoes (American) and a fortune cookie (Chinese). Aside from the cultural confusion of the meal I found it a subtle insult to serve inmates a “fortune” cookie. Mine was “You long to see the great pyramids in Egypt.” Duh! I’d much rather be out sight seeing around the world then in prison. :/
Wednesday night we had a fairly new CO and I guess he was looking to make a promotion so he was inspecting cells left and right. He went into this guy named Mike’s cell and thought he had a major drug bust. Mike had taken the oval cap that comes in a speed stick deodorant an wedged it into the air vent so it stuck out like a little bowl then he poured liquid deodorant into it so the air from the vent would blow over it and spread the scent around the room. With the overcrowding the cells can get pretty ripe which is why they sell those pine tree shaped air fresheners on canteen. We have 3 of them hanging from the light in the middle of our cell. *chuckle* Well, after a while Mike’s liquid deodorant dried out and crystallized. When the CO saw it he thought it was crystal meth and that he had busted Mike for manufacturing it. Never mind that it would be impossible to get the precursors to meth in here but the night shift went ahead and wrote him up for it and started charges for another felony which would have been another 1-20 yrs for him. In the light of day they thought better of i and dropped the extra felony but he still got a week of restriction, which means he can’t leave his cell for 7 days except to eat. I bet the CO won’t be around our unit for quite some time no or Mike might just flip out for threatening to delay his return to his family. I tried to point out to Mike that any violence on his part would also delay his return to them. LOL