It has been a few days since I have written and I hope whomever is reading and following me, is doing well and in good spirits. I especially hope that all of who have been impacted by Super Storm Sandy are hanging in there. My heart goes out to all of you and your families. If I could be there to help, I would.The week for me has been hectic. Unfortunately it is not over because I actually have to work today. Administration has tasked John and I to take all of the family/inmate photographs during the special “Food Visit” this weekend. Today is scheduled to be for all of the inmates who live on the red side of the yard. Tomorrow is for all of those who live on my side, the blue. Food Visits are a designated special occasion, where inmate friends and family are allowed to bring prepared meals into the facility for the inmates. It will be incredibly busy and I hope it goes by quickly.
“Food Visits” are a privilege allowed to all inmates who are classified as a Phase III. To help you understand what this means, inmates are essentially divided up into three phases. It is all based upon behavior, education, work etc.. I will try to give a detailed explanation of what each phase is, and the privileges allowed for the respective phases.PHASE I – All inmates entering into the prison system are classified as a Phase I for a year. They have to earn an increase in phase.
· $40.00 spending limit per week at the inmate store
· 4 hours visitation per week
· 1 phone call per day
· Only eligible for unskilled work positions at $.10 an hour
· Must live on the top bunk of a bed space
PHASE II – Inmates who have been disciplinary free for one year and who have completed all mandatory education needs will advance into this phase
· $60.00 spending limit per week at the inmate store
· 8 hours visitation per week
· 2 phone call per day
· Eligible for all work positions, but capped at $.30 an hour
· Can live on the lower bunk of a bed space
PHASE III – Inmates who have been disciplinary free for two years, have a high school diploma or GED certificate on file, have maintained the same job for at least one year and have completed all programs; Anger Management, AA, Cultural Diversity, Cognitive Thinking etc..
· $80.00 spending limit per week at the inmate store
· 16 hours visitation per week
· Unlimited phone calls per week
· Eligible for all work positions, but capped at $.45 an hour , but can work up to 80 hours
· 4 Food Visits per year
· Allowed personal cubicle to live in alone
· Can participate in fundraising restorative justice programs
If an inmate receives a minor disciplinary infraction, they can still maintain their phase however any major infraction will force an inmate’s phase to be dropped down at least one level. Any inmate who tests positive for drugs during a random urine analysis, will automatically be dropped down to a Phase I. In case you are curious, I am a Phase III.I have no real way of gauging how many Phase IIIs there are statewide, but for reference, there are 1200 inmates at this facility, and as of yesterday, there were only 127 Phase IIIs on the yard. So there are not that many of us.