COMPARING WOMEN'S FEDERAL
I just received your letter. I have shared it with a friend.
Now, as for the ventilation system in Hamilton - interesting. Please let me share an almost identical fact we here at FCI Tallahassee are experiencing.
In my housing unit, F/E side of Unit, we've been without air conditioning for over two months. We were told the "parts" to repair it were ordered. Now "confidential information" says there's no money to fix it and Warden Clark can't be found.
Also, half of C Unit, G Unit, and the Barber Shop do not have A/C. Let me share with you that FCI Tallahassee sold their well to the city of Tallahassee for $$. Also, they (here at the prison) eliminated the graveyard shift at the powerhouse - so now they don't have to pay a guard and inmates to work. So, if we are unable to pay to fix A/C with all this employee money being saved, I'd have to ask as a taxpayer, "WHERE IS THE MONEY GOING?"
Also, without A/C, fresh air would be welcome, even if it were hot air. But, we are not allowed that choice. Our windows are bolted shut. It sucks when the dryers catch on fire inside the unit or the hot water heater catches fire, as both of them have. We have no fresh air entering. The A/C, when functioning, doesn't bring in fresh air. This is a sore topic for us here.
I agree with you about prisons. They could actually send people home in better shape (especially in education and skills), if they would just permit folks to go home in less than twenty years or more.
In the federal system, we get 54 days per year good time. So, for a first time EVER offender, such as myself, with 25 years, I get to do over 21 years, if I am 'good'. What a deal, eh? And guess what? Nobody even used any vaseline on me!! Yes, all new law offenders, from 1989 on, get 54 days per year good time!
Now, you did ask for suggestions Re: Simple improvements, what works, achieving peace amongst ourselves here.
The first improvement I ask for is to drop Janet Reno's platform of "Hard Time" without the luxuries of educational or rehabilitative programs. I began doing time prior to her reign, and there was much less hostility and more self-improvement. People who previously didn't have the time, money or motivation to try to better themselves could, and frequently did, by taking college classes or vocational training. Upon re-entry into society, they had a marketable skill which improved their chance of success.
Now, here's a major breakthrough that the BOP (Bureau of Prisons - Federal) doesn't even know they have within their grasp: Boot Camps.
An acquaintance of mine, who I met in prison, received five years and the judge sentenced her to boot camp. Now (I'll call her 'Susan'), Susan was in her mid thirties at this time, had been in and out of jails and rehab for her heroin problem with nothing working. She did nine months of Boot Camp and our paths crossed again. Let me tell you, she was changed. She told me herself that they cured her of ever even thinking of jay-walking again if it meant returning to Boot Camp.
Boot Camp is nothing easy. Instead of handing out lengthy sentences for first time offenders, even those that may commit socially grievous offenses...Give these people a taste of Boot Camp with the understanding that if they fail to complete it, they can move on to prison and have double and triple the time to serve. The Boot Camps work.
Lots of people do deserve to be here and for a lot this is a better life than they had in the "free world". But, with these long sentences, our courts, laws, and prosecutors are not allowing us the second chance at life. We are not being allowed a mistake when we are sentenced to life. Do you understand?
I'm working on my ninth year now. I'm a first time offender who received twenty-five years. I've got clean conduct both prior to my time and during the entire length of time I've served currently. But I'll get no breaks.
My baby brother is currently in USP (United States Penitentuary in Lompoc, CA). He has suffered physical and mental abuse there by medical staff, just like in USP Atlanta. As for court records/transcripts...In my plea agreement, I have the government's guarantee that both my parents and husband would not be charged or indicated in this federal case, nor would the state press charges. I was not allowed to plea unless my baby brother copped to all eleven counts and agreed to forfeit his state appeal on a previous case. Just what kind of Kangaroo government do we have. This is coersion in my book.
Prisons are so prejudgious. I didn't suffer from it until I came to prison. Now I am targeted because of my skin color, or lack of - or better yet, my lack of Spanish. Odd, really.
Let the young man who was hit on the journey...Ray? Let him know I do feel for him. Did Ray get this injury on his candlelight vigil here? Were these surgeries all from the car accident here?
I shall as usual share your letter with others here and if you want, feel free to use my letters or if anyone would like an interview, I'm always willing. Ask away - any questions you have on the federal system, I'll answer.
Kay, if my prayers are answered and I'm able to get some of my remaining thirteen years off my time, I shall do whatever I can to add my efforts to yours out there. In the mean time, I thank you for all you do for us.
Let me thank you again for the time and effort you took to reply to me. Thank you and the churches that are praying for us. I believe in prayer... and we do need all the help we can get.
Peggy J. Barnett
501 Capital Circle N.E.
Tallahassee, Florida 32301
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