I am in what is probably one of the easiest “spots” you could be in and still be in prison. Luckily there is little to no violence or gangs, few if any drugs, and I have not seen a cell phone since I entered the system over 5 years ago. I know that this is a rare thing in prison and for that I am very grateful.
But just like any other prison the pain is in being away from your family, friends, work, and society as a whole. However, with nothing going on in here, the staff starts to make petty things up to go after. The most insignificant things become a major issue as there is nothing else for them to focus on. Things like your bed not being made perfectly can result in the entire dorm (there are 8 dorms) going to the chow line last. Most times when you go to chow last they run out of whatever it is they are supposed to be serving and you often go hungry. They do “inspections” weekly and based on your score the dorm with the highest score goes first, etc, etc. It never seems to fail that the dorm that I am in goes last more often than not. Things like “water in the sink” have been cited as the reason that we get “hit” and are made to go last. You cannot make these things up. So, along with the pain of being away from society they take away almost all fresh fruits and vegetables.
However, right in the middle of the compound there is a lone peach tree. Only the federal government can take away most fresh fruits and vegetables and plant a peach tree right in front of you and dare you to touch it. All year long I watch the tree. It buds in early March, the buds flower in late March, the fruit sets up in April and by July they start to ripen. Someone gave me a couple of peaches in June and I laid them on the bookshelf to ripen. Wouldn’t you know it, they found them at inspection and we are still going last 6 weeks later. My nickname is now “Peaches”. — David S.