Prison is months on end of numbing boredom and routine…and then all of a sudden there is a flurry of activity. *chuckle*
Today my cellie, Robert aka Pelon, left for work-release in Lincoln (CCCL). I am sad to see him go because he was a perfect cellie. He was quiet, laid back, didn’t get into any trouble or bring unnecessary attention to the cell. We would share family issues with each other and discuss our futures. We got along great which is more than you can expect from a randomly assigned cellie. So yeah, I’m sad for me to see him go but I’m happy for him. At CCCL he will be able to get furloughs to leave the prison. He is planning on spending his first 8 hour furlough at home with his daughters…and of course getting a good meal *smile* Good for him.
I moved down to the bottom bunk which makes it easier to come and go. The only possible downside is that the upper bunk guy’s remote can accidentally change my TV. The distance from my bunk to the bottom of the upper bunk is the same as between the upper bunk and the ceiling so I have the same amount of head room and space to do yoga. *cheer* All of my origami is now hanging from the bottom of the upper bunk and I moved the pictures of McK just to the right of my TV so I can see his beautiful smile any time I want. *smile* One big advantage of the lower bunk is that I can wear my tennis shoes any time and not have to take them off just to sit on my bunk. It’s a much more convenient bunk to be on so it’s an improvement. *smile*
Once Robert found out he was leaving I went to talk to Jeff who had come to TSCI on the same van as me from NSP. He’s 42 and pretty laid back plus he was not getting along with his cellie so he was looking for a move. He was more than eager to switch cells so he is now my new cellie. We’ve been doing the new cellie chats to get to know each other better. He’s married and got an habitual criminal enhancement which comes with a mandatory minimum of 10 flat. He’s still coming to grips with how much time he has. I think we’ll get along pretty well though I doubt anyone will be as great a cellie as Pelon was. *chuckle*
Last night was the first meeting of the whole Toastmasters’ group. I was nominated by Joe, the president, to be the Toastmaster for our first meeting and I think it went well. My only error was to not introduce the Word of the Day before the prepared speeches. Other than that I think I did pretty well at MCing. I had sort of forgotten how fun it can be to speak to a group. It’s been a while. I look forward to doing it more often now. *smile*
While coming back from the Toastmasters’ meeting I got a chance to chat with George, a friend from D&E who is in B gallery now. He’s a bright guy so I think he’ll enjoy Toastmasters though he’s a bit introverted and quiet so he’ll have to overcome that. I’ll do what I can to help but it’s hard to have contact when we’re in different galleries. I told him my library schedule so maybe I’ll see him there. I was telling him about the lawsuit that I am attempting to initiate over NDCS’s lack of “adequate access or availability” to programming that is required to earn parole. They are statutorily required to provide the necessary programming prior to someone’s first parole eligibility date but some guys have been denied parole because they couldn’t even get into the programs due to delays and backlogs. George asked if I had seen the memo on sex offender programming. I replied I had not and asked what he was talking about. Apparently most everyone in A/B got a copy of a lengthy memo from an admin. explaining changes to the SO programs. Of course this comes out just as I initiated contact with a big name lawyer. *sigh* George couldn’t give me the specifics of the memo, and of course I never got a copy in F gallery so he is going to send his copy with Black to the class we both take on Monday evenings. I called dad this morning and had him hold off on contacting Creager, the well-known lawyer I want to retain for the lawsuit. I will have to review the information in the memo before I move forward on sueing NDCS.
I also asked dad to go ahead and send out the latest letter to state senators I have written. It covers the inadequate access and availability of programming in here by summarizing NDCS’s own reports and data and shows how the denial of parole due to lack of program access is a significant cause of overcrowding. I had been waiting for a cover letter from Dr. Newring, my therapist on the outside, because he was the person who set up the SO treatment programs in NDCS. I couldn’t wait any longer though because the Inspector General for Corrections released his annual report on the 14th so I had to either send my letter right away or I would have to address his new report which I won’t be able to get a copy of until Nov. when my parents get back from their summer trip. The letter was pretty much ready back in July but I kept delaying to get another person’s opinion on it or to get the cover letter from Newring and then all of a sudden the IG releases a new annual report and NDCS sends out a memo about changes to SO programming. *sigh* I need to be much more responsive with future letter writing campaigns. Get it done and send it; no delays. Even if the data in my letter is a little dated now it is still clearly relevant as they still do not offer any SO programs here in PC where most SOs end up. On the up-side, it shows that NDCS is at least paying lip-service to the need for adequate access and availability to programs. That acknowledgement may help if it comes to a lawsuit. *smile*
This past Monday I also started a new class. TSCI is starting a program with the 180 Re-entry Assistance Program (RAP) and the Metro Community College (MCC) from Omaha where they offer college courses for actual college credit. They are also paid for by a government grant, the Second Chance Pell grant. I was lucky enough to get to be one of the first 16 students to take their first course. The 180 RAP program and MCC have an established program at the Omaha Correctional Center (OCC) where they offer 4 different tracks to different Associate’s Degrees. Before a person can start any track they must first take a basic Employability Skills course, which is the only class they are offering here so far. Given that I have had a career already I think I have the basic employability skills down (being punctual, good interpersonal skills, writing a resume, etc) but you have to take this course first PLUS it shows I am eager to do whatever self-improvement I can to the parole board. *smile* As a random benefit I get to see Black every Monday night for the next 11 weeks. *chuckle*
I am still doing the 1.5 hrs of yin yoga every day. I’ve now hold each asana for 4 minutes instead of 3. I’m also thinking of varying the flow so I do different asanas on different days. I really do attribute my calm and upbeat attitude to the regular yoga so I will definitely continue it even on the outside. I just wish there were a way for me to share it with others in here but it requires space and I’m not about to try to teach someone yoga in the middle of the dayroom. Ha! We could use old mattresses for yoga mats and old pillows and blankets for bolsters. The velcro belts work really well for helping with some of the stretches too so the only real missing piece would be space.
I have been doing taiji with my eyes closed in order to work on my balance even more. I am sure that over time it will significantly improve my balance but the more immediate effect is that I am getting better at stepping blindly at the right angles. When I started I would have to peek rather regularly in order to check that I wasn’t too far off the proper lines but now I’m doing much better and only need to check myself a couple of times per third of the form. *smile* I also have a 23 yo kid, Snoopy, who asked me to start teaching him taiji. We had our first session last Sat. and he wants to do a second this coming Sun. He has an extremely short attention span so I’m surprised he asked for a second session. I’ll teach as long as he wants to learn. *smile*