New Life at Waseca Prison
I would have written sooner to let you know that I've taken up residence in FCI Waseca, but I released your address along with all my other stuff to Mom before I left Sherburne.
They transferred me to prison July 27, and boy was I glad to finally get out of that county jail. My first week here, I spent hours looking at the sky and the sun and trees and stuff - it's amazing how much prettier everything is when you haven't seen it for almost a year and a half! Waseca used to be an old U of M campus, so it's set up pretty nice for a prison. We have a horticulture/landscaping work/study program so the grounds are kept up extremely nice. (The only bad thing is we are positioned in the middle of a triangle anchored by 2 pig farms and a waste recycling plant, so the morning breeze sometimes has a tendency to wake you up rather rudely.)
Waseca is a low security prison which means its surrounded by a double razor wire fence, and we can only move from place to place for a designated 10 minutes every hour. Also since it's a low, while there are fewer fights and almost no stabbings, the level of respect between inmates is much lower that I had hoped for, (there are a lot of punks running around acting like 6 year olds who skipped their ridalin dose,) I'm pretty used to it because county was the same way. Right now I'm housed in E unit, which is open dormitories - just like bunk beds our of Full Metal Jacket - on the top floor, and 2 man open cells in the basement. It takes about a year to get moved to the basement, so for now I have absolutely no chance at privacy or quiet.
When I first got here it was worse though. I was put in the same unit as I'm in now, but I started out right in front of the TV/microwave area, and I was literally surrounded by blacks. So, since we are not locked down or required to be asleep at a certain time, I was lucky to get 4-5 hours of sleep a night due to the ice machine rattling, microwave doors banging, or arguements on who is the best college basketball player that needed to be settled at 12:00 in the morning by screaming at each other from 3 ft apart. Thankfully last Thursday, I was moved to a different "range". Ranges are groups of 11 bunk bed sets surrounded by six foot high walls, but all on the same floor of E unit. There are 2 ranges by the TV room/kitchen area separated from 4 ranges in the back area by a floor to ceiling wall. So, while the bottom bunks have some privacy by being only open to their range, the top bunks can see across everything in their room. So, after complaining about the noise for 2 1/2 weeks, I was moved across the big dividing wall to the other group of ranges and put in range 4 where most of the people I hang out with live. This translates into a much easier lifestyle due to decent comradeiry and the fact that in prison slang "You've still got to lock up the house (your front locker), but you can leave the hubcaps on your car overnight!" (Your living with your own color and can relax a little.)
Prison is kind of hypocritical in that way. Everybody claims to not be a racist and they all say their not "haters", but everyone is segregated. There is a black and a white line for the chow hall and we eat on separate sides. We try to bunk in different areas as much as possible. Down in Rec the pool tables are generally separated into color as well as the handball and basketball games. A guy is not going to get stabbed by hanging out with a different color, but we just naturally are more comfortable when we segregate ourselves as much as possible. The same thing goes for the hispanics and the natives, although both of these groups mingle comfortably with the whites. The simple fact that when you live around people from different cultures 24/7, unless you can find some basis for respect, a lot of hate is bred. With most of the examples of the black and to some extent the native raes in here. They give you very little reason to respect them. The hispanics are pretty good people though.
I find perfect examples of this phenomenum down in education where I work as a tutor 7:30 - 3:30 M-F. The day is split up into 2 different classes of about 25 people each. When you get into any federal prison, if you don't have a GED or high school diploma your required to take GED classes until you can either pass the test and get your GED or you have spent 240 hours in class and can then drop out. Out of the 75 people in class each day, their are maybe 12 whe are actually trying to pass. It's fucking sad. The prison pays for the program and all the tests. 4 tutors are available in each class, and you're required to sit down there everyday for 6 months anyway, and 80% of these idiots think they're to cool to ask for a little help, or to try and better themselves. They would rather sit in the back of class and have paper fights than better themselves. I'll give you one guess as to the color of most of these "pimps". It's pathetic! But, it also makes you want to better yourself so that there is no chance you could ever end up like that - so in a weird way, they are helping me to help myself. Ha, ha, ha.