My husband and I traveled across the country to visit my son in Florida last weekend. We paid for airfare, a hotel and a rental car. When we arrived, we were denied visiting because the facility was in lock-down. We had traveled many hours Friday on the plane and then the next morning got up early to drive an hour to the facility. How disappointing for my son as well as for us.
We were told to call the next day, Sunday, to see if it had been lifted and it had not. There wasn’t much hope, as the entire administration goes home for the weekend and there apparently is no one to make a decision. On Monday, we called again to be told absolutely there would be no visiting. (We would have changed our plane reservations if there was) When we got to our transfer in Dallas, my son called to say the lock-down had been lifted. Another disappointment!
I have sent a letter to the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, Mark Inch, to ask that these rules be changed. It is not fair for a family to take the time and money to travel to visit, only to find they can’t. If it is a matter of security, they could escort the few inmates who have family from out of town visiting to the visiting room. How could this cause any concern or trouble? It is imperative that inmates be allowed to have contact and visits with their families. In this case, lock-down was due to a fist-fight. Why did they have to lock-down the entire facility over this? It’s just beyond my comprehension. Why should all the inmates and their families suffer over what a few do?
Most importantly, how can I plan a visit and spend all the time and money to go across the country and not be sure I will even be able to visit? This is not an incentive to encourage visiting. Even If I had known the night before, the tickets are already purchased and it would be prohibitive to purchase refundable tickets, never mind cancel hotel and rental car. There has to be a better way.
If you have had this experience, please write to Mr. Inch at:
Federal Bureau of Prison
320 First Street NW
Washington DC 20534
Only by voicing our problems can we get the BOP to make changes to their policies!
What is a dropout yard? It’s a term inmates and prison staff use to describe a certain type of facility. They are scattered across the US and are sometimes referred to as SNY or Special Needs Yards.
Who’s placed in these facilities? Former law-enforcement personnel, gang drop outs, and sexual deviants for a start. These inmates are placed there because there aren’t any politics in them and most inmates leave everyone else alone. They are supposed to be safe places, and most of the time they are. That isn’t to say some of the people incarcerated in these facilities don’t still have a target on their back for being a sexual predator or a snitch. They do, and they still have to watch their back even in the dropout yard.
In order to get transferred to one of these facilities, you have to be recommended for the transfer. Most inmates are sent there after being housed in the SHU or Special Housing Units in other facilities. It gets expensive to house people in the SHU, and they are overcrowded, so one solution is to transfer individuals to a dropout yard. Another way to get there is to debrief and drop out from your gang.
As they get older, some gang members get tired of the continuous drama in gangs, realize the futility and stupidity of it all, and just want to serve their time and go home. In order to do this, they have to debrief by giving information to authorities. Often this is dangerous for them, but there isn’t any other way to get out. (Most gangs adhere to the blood in – blood out rule.) They will remain marked as a snitch. This is actually pretty ridiculous, as the authorities already know who is who and what they are all doing anyway. What is told to them is already old news.
Dropout yards serve a purpose for those who just want to pay their dues and go home. Hopefully, these facilities will not turn into places where gangs and drugs thrive the same way they do in regular facilities.
The Bureau of Prisons is updating circumstances at Beaumont FCC on their web site. Luckily, they apparently were prepared and no inmates had to be transferred or were in danger. Although they lost power at different times in the past few days, the backup generator was operational. Here is the latest update:
September 1, 2017 UPDATE: (BOP) – Power has been restored to FCC Beaumont, and generator power is no longer being used. The Inmate Telephone System (ITS) is currently operational. The FCC continues to use its own reserve of water to operate the Complex. There is ample food and bottled water for inmates and staff.
The State of Nevada has approved my son’s parole! So what’s next? He has to finish his federal time and will be out February 2019, just about a year and a half. Am I nervous? Yes! Is he even more nervous than I am Yes!!!
Can you imagine not having seen scenery like this in 13 years?
You haven’t used a “smart” phone, you don’t know how to use Facebook or Instagram or any of the social media sites. You don’t have job, you don’t have any money, you don’t have transportation and you don’t know where you are going to live. You don’t really know how you are gong to take care of yourself. No matter how big and bad you might have been in the prison system, you are a novice on the outside, and of course you are afraid. Mostly, you are afraid of failure and going back in. You have spent most of your time in solitary and don’t even know if you can function in society. Can you stand the “noise” on the outside? Can you interact properly with people? Can you stay sober when you have been an addict?
The ONLY way you will survive is with the support of friends and family. That’s it, otherwise you are dead in the water before you even start. Family members remember when your loved one gets out they need your support!
I will be here to support my son. I’ll help him find a suitable place to live away from friends who only want to drag him down. I’ll help him find a job and transportation. I’ll help him conquer the new technology. He is signed up to program with Hope for Prisoners. He will also attend substance abuse programs. I sincerely believe he has the determination to adjust to society and will not be one of the 65-75% who go back in.
My only goal is for him to be happy with himself and the new life he will have. Yes, I know it is up to him and not me! But, I will support him and not enable him. He is a changed person and I believe he will be successful!
Keep tuned in to follow us on his path to freedom and to his keeping free!
Re-blogged from Prison Policy Initiative
For families of incarcerated dads, Father’s day comes at a premium
by Lucius Couloute
In the U.S., we often hear ‘you do the crime, you do the time.’ But incarceration isn’t just an individual-level problem, it affects entire networks of people. This Father’s Day I’d like to bring attention to the pernicious consequences of parental incarceration and the exploitive ways in which private telecom companies profit from the separation of families.
Crime has been declining for decades, yet the number of children with a father in state or federal prison is now over 1.5 million. If we include jails, 1 out of every 28 children now has an incarcerated parent. And the latest estimates suggest that Black and Hispanic children are up to six times more likely to have an incarcerated parent than their white peers.
From 1991 to 2007 the number of minor children with a father in state or federal prison increased 77%.
Victims of a war waged – largely on poor communities of color – long before they were born, over-criminalization forces children to contend with a vast array of barriers that prevent upward economic mobility. Parental incarceration is associated with an increased risk of childhood poverty, health problems, school suspension and expulsion, and can be a source of stigma for children as they navigate the world around them. During a period when bipartisan support for reform appears to be in flux, it’s important to remember that young lives are at stake when we over-incarcerate.
And as if the forced separation of fathers from their loved ones wasn’t enough, telecom providers have found a way to benefit – and indeed profit – from parental incarceration. At a time when phone companies provide unlimited long distance calling for people like me and you, it can cost an incarcerated person and their family up to $24.95 for a single 15-minute in-state phone conversation. These exorbitant costs help explain why over $1.3 billion a year goes to the prison telephone industry.
A more recent development has been the growth of the video visitation industry; where local jails collude with private companies to charge up to $1.50/minute for low quality offsite video conferencing services (not including any additional fees that get tacked on for good measure). As jails across the country implement this technology they tend to scale back or eliminate in-person visits altogether, all the while receiving kick-backs from the private, for-profit telecom companies.
The exploitative practices of the prison communication industry – which penalize families for trying to stay in touch – amounts to a kind of regressive taxation. In this case, the profits come disproportionately from poor people already struggling with the absence of a loved one. From both a policy perspective, and from the perspective of families, replacing in-person visits with poorly functioning and expensive video visitation is unacceptable.
So on this Father’s Day, millions of children will be without their fathers, and without the ability to pay the outrageous costs associated with speaking to them. I hope that by the time Father’s Day comes around next year, state lawmakers take the initiative to better regulate prison telecom companies, and most importantly, reduce the number of incarcerated people.
Never mind the fact that we are not making progress for rehabilitation of inmates by keeping them in solitary, not educating them, and not teaching them skills so they can get jobs; we the taxpayers, are also paying for that failure!
Below is the 2016 annual cost per inmate for incarceration in California. Please take a look at this, because this is your money and you are not getting a good return for your dollars! Speak to your congress person and let them know you want a change for the better. There is a 60-70% recidivism rate. That could be lowered with programs like Hope for Prisoners in Nevada, more job training and better education. Take these people out of solitary and put them into jobs that will provide them skills for the outside. By the way, it costs more to keep an inmate in solitary than in general population.
How much does it cost to incarcerate an inmate?
California’s Annual Cost to Incarcerate an Inmate in Prison
|Type of Expenditure
||Per Inmate Costs
|Inmate Health Care
|Facility Operations and Records
|Facility operations (maintenance and utilities)
|Maintenance of inmate records
|Reception, testing, assignment
|Inmate Food and Activities
|Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
- It costs an average of about $71,000 per year to incarcerate an inmate in prison in California.
- Over three-quarters of these costs are for security and inmate health care.
- Since 2010-11, the average annual cost has increased by about $22,000 or about 45 percent. This includes an increase of $7,900 for security and $7,200 for inmate health care. This increase has been driven by various factors, including (1) employee compensation, (2) increased inmate health care costs, and (3) operational costs related to additional prison capacity to reduce prison overcrowding.
Last Updated: March 2017
This morning I was reading a blog from Soni Quick who writes “Inside the Forbidden Outside”. She has a lot of information relating to incarceration, and I enjoy her blog. Today she promoted “Ink from the Pen Magazine”, which showcases a lot of fabulous art from behind bars. You can purchase inmate’s art from their site. Please do look at this site as well as Soni’s blog.
I sincerely believe the way inmates are treated is not productive for rehabilitation. If the prisons themselves promoted inmates who have talents, put more inmates into jobs where they can learn, and made sure all inmates got an education so they could survive on the outside, the end result would be fewer prisoners, fewer prisons, and more productive members of society.
Taxpayers … listen up. Your tax dollars are not being used effectively. There is a 60-70% recidivism rate. You are paying anywhere from $25 to $75.00 per day to house inmates!
I’ll post the Annual cost for California in my next blog.
In the meantime, remember to take a look at Brett McKeehan’s book Solitary Words.
It has some terrific art and poetry! Available on Amazon: