View Full Version : FCI Danbury, Connecticut for Women


Piemuncher54
10-22-2006, 10:36 AM
An old college friend from several years ago is headed there shortly and I wondered what sort of facility it was like. I have read some horror stories on other websites about one particular FCI at Pekin Illinois where just about all avaliable recreational space has been taken up for bads as they are overcrowded, there's even talk about removing the TV rooms to put more inmates in. Are FCI's worse than other womens prisons such as VSPW or CCWF in California.

Also what will she be doing during the day, what sort of timetable can she expect to have to follow eg time you're woken up, what you do during the day and also what time lights out is?

As an Englishman I don't understand the differance between federal and state offences, could someone please enlighten me.

walkingtourist
10-22-2006, 12:27 PM
There is an FCI ("federal correctional institution) and an "FPC ("federal prison camp") in Danbury. I don't know very much about the FCI but I was in the FPC last year, so I can tell you some things about it.
The FPC is always pretty crowded, but there is still space for TV rooms and class rooms and other recreational space.
I don't know if these prisons are worse than the ones in California or other places because I've never been in those prisons. I have been in county jails, but there is really no comparison. They just keep you locked up pretty much all of the time in the county jail, but I never stayed for longer than overnight.
As far as what your friend will be doing all day... when she first arrives, she will be in "Admissions & Orientation" (A&O) status for a few weeks. She will have to attend an all-day orientation session and she will go through various types of medical tests to make sure that she is medically cleared to work. While she is in A&O status, she will be called upon to do various odd jobs whenever the need arises. In the winter, that means snow shoveling. In Danbury, there is a problem with leakage when it rains, so she maight be called upon to clear away flooded areas.
Once she is medically cleared, she will be assigned a job. This will be her schedule, once she is assigned a job:
5:00-ish: count. She must be in her room but she doesn't have to stand up for this one. It's OK if she is still in bed.
6:15-7:15 a.m. breakfast. she can go to breakfast when she wants.
7:30 a.m. or so: go to work. Most new people are assigned to either ground maintenance or to food service. If she is assigned to food service, she might have different work hours. If she is assigned to ground maintenance, she must be on the bus by 7:30 a.m.
7:45 a.m. The boss does roll call and gives instructions and tells everyone what they are to do for the morning.
11:00 a.m. return to the camp on the bus and have lunch.
noon: get back on the bus.
12:15 p.m. the boss does roll call and gives instructions for afternoon work. Also the boss will say what needs to be fixed from the morning work.
3:00 p.m. get back on the bus and return to the camp.
3:00 p.m. -nearly 4:00 p.m. free time. go outside or take a shower or do... whatever.
4:00 p.m.-ish: everyone must return to their rooms for the "standing count." She'll have to stand by her bunk and the Correctional Officers count everyone. Sometimes, they count repeatedly because they make booboos.
4:30 p.m. dinner. People are called to dinner by living unit. The order of who goes to dinner when is based on how well each living unit did in the weekly room inspection.
5:00-ish. mail call.
after mail call and after count "clears" (meaning that everyone in both the camp and the big prison have been counted): go outside, walk on the track, go to the gym, go to evening activities (religious activities, craft classes, exercise classes, etc.), watch TV, write letters, take showers, etc.
10:00 p.m. count ("go to your room")
11:00 p.m. lights out
12:30 a.m. count (the COs use flashlights for all nighttime counts. At first, this will probably wake her up, but, eventually, she'll sleep right through it)
2:30 a.m. count
The difference between federal and state charges: well, they are different jurisdictions. If something involves smuggling something from a foreign country, for example, it is a federal charge. Maybe someone else can explain this part a little better than I can.
I hope that this helps.
m.m.


An old college friend from several years ago is headed there shortly and I wondered what sort of facility it was like. I have read some horror stories on other websites about one particular FCI at Pekin Illinois where just about all avaliable recreational space has been taken up for bads as they are overcrowded, there's even talk about removing the TV rooms to put more inmates in. Are FCI's worse than other womens prisons such as VSPW or CCWF in California.

Also what will she be doing during the day, what sort of timetable can she expect to have to follow eg time you're woken up, what you do during the day and also what time lights out is?

As an Englishman I don't understand the differance between federal and state offences, could someone please enlighten me.

Piemuncher54
10-23-2006, 02:11 AM
Thanks for that information, very enlightening indeed.

nimuay
10-23-2006, 12:08 PM
Federal Prison is for someone convicted of violating a Federal statute - which may involve anything maritime, certain drug crimes, bank robbery, embezzelment, terrorism, multi-state crimes - things like that.

Piemuncher54
10-24-2006, 01:44 AM
Thanks for that, it's something that always confused me

MrsRagnar
11-19-2006, 08:11 PM
Maybe this should be a new thread, but I couldn't find how to start a new one.

I will be spending a month at Danbury in January, and I have a few questions:

Can I bring in contact lenses, glasses, and reading glasses? I am wondering if I need to spend hundreds of dollars on bifocals before I go in, but I'd rather not.

Someone said to bring money in, which surprised me. Are we actually allowed to bring in cash? Are we allowed to bring in anything else?

I read a book about Alderson that said they have mostly male staff and they can strip search women whenever they feel like it. Is Danbury like this?

Will inmates or staff treat me differently because I have a short sentence? I've been told to keep it to myself or the inmates won't like me. I would expect it to make a difference in what jobs I could get, perhaps. GED tutoring sounds nice.

Any information is much appreciated - I am trying to find all the threads on Danbury. I'm sure I'll have more questions later.

MR

NYCandbeyond
11-22-2006, 09:46 PM
MrsRagner- I guess you are going to the FPC since you are only staying a month, if you love your contacts you can probably get some extended wears and keep them in, if they are in your eyes when you come in you can keep them, however you will have to get the doctor to allow you to have saline, etc, my bestfriend went straight from lockup to federal so she had the same contacts in for over a year, ....you can bring glasses, a small chain with a religious medillion, not diamonds on the cross though, a small pair of hoops, or gold balls, and a band like a wedding band. Cash is not allowed, but I guess you can try smuggling it in [/color]

walkingtourist
11-23-2006, 06:08 AM
Hi MR,
Yes, you can bring your glasses in. I think that you can also bring in reading glasses. I don't know about the contact lenses, though. Usually, the answer is no to contact lenses.
You cannot bring any money in with you at all. Take a look at the BOP's website. You can send money to a "lockbox" in Des Moines, Iowa. That money will be applied to your commissary account.
And, for heaven's sake, don't "smuggle" money in. They do a strip search when you first arrive, and you'll end up in the SHU for your entire sentence. The SHU is quite unpleasant so you will want to avoid that. It looks like the Bastille... and living in the SHU will give you a new appreciation of what animals experience in a very bad, unenlightened zoo!!!
About the strip searches. No. Male staff cannot strip search female inmates. That is a very serious human rights violation; Amnesty International would get involved with that, and people from around the world would overwhelm the prison with letters of criticism. Only a female staff member can strip search you.
As far as the short sentence... well, when I was in the camp at Danbury, there were plenty of people who had short sentences, myself included (six months). People will not dislike you because you have a very short sentence. I knew a woman who was there with a one-month sentence. I was quite impressed that her sentence was so brief. She ended up with a job of taking out the trash. It takes a few weeks for you to be "medically cleared" to work, and you won't have much time to actually have your Big Government Job. It is highly unlikely that you will get the job of GED tutor because you would be teaching for no more than a week or two.
If you have more questions, please feel free to ask them here or to PM me.
m.m.

Maybe this should be a new thread, but I couldn't find how to start a new one.

I will be spending a month at Danbury in January, and I have a few questions:

Can I bring in contact lenses, glasses, and reading glasses? I am wondering if I need to spend hundreds of dollars on bifocals before I go in, but I'd rather not.

Someone said to bring money in, which surprised me. Are we actually allowed to bring in cash? Are we allowed to bring in anything else?

I read a book about Alderson that said they have mostly male staff and they can strip search women whenever they feel like it. Is Danbury like this?

Will inmates or staff treat me differently because I have a short sentence? I've been told to keep it to myself or the inmates won't like me. I would expect it to make a difference in what jobs I could get, perhaps. GED tutoring sounds nice.

Any information is much appreciated - I am trying to find all the threads on Danbury. I'm sure I'll have more questions later.

MR

MrsRagnar
11-25-2006, 11:24 AM
Thanks for the answers. I guess I'll get some bifocals and just take those in - they're just so expensive, and I'm so broke now, between the government, the lawyers, and the loss of a year's income.

I'm glad to hear about the strip search thing. According to the book I read, the guards tend to take advantage of their power to get sexual favors and cheap thrills. It didn't seem like the author was trying to be sensational, and my lawyer recommended the book, so I believed it.

I didn't have much hope of getting a meaningful job in there for only one month, but I want some good to come of this - in some way, for someone. But good things usually happen in spite of the "system" anyway - rarely because of it. One thing I'd love to do is help Spanish speakers learn English and vice versa. But I'm afraid that by the time I come out of my shell, I'll be out of there.

How long are they likely to keep me in SHU? (I have no intention of smuggling in cash!!! I was just surprised that someone here said to bring some, and wondered if things were really different at Danbury). Do I have to stay in SHU until I'm medically cleared for work? What kind of medical exam do they do? How intrusive is it?

How long do they usually take to clear visitors? Is it worth it for me to send out the forms at all? I wasn't allowed to see my husband at Canaan for eight weeks, but they cleared his parents a lot quicker.

I love that Ghandi quote.

love, MR

walkingtourist
11-25-2006, 08:14 PM
Hi MrsRagnar,
I think that the book that you read might have exaggerated things somewhat.
I know that bifocals will be pricey but worth it. You'll be able to see, which is always good. I have very pricey glasses, too, with "progressive" lenses. I am truly blind as a bat so I know how you feel.
About the SHU. You could go there for a night or a few days or maybe not at all! If there is a bed available for you, you should go right to the camp. You would be medically cleared to work while you're in the camp, rather than stuck in the SHU.
The medical exam is not especially intrusive. The dentist counts your teeth (as if you were a horse!!!). You'll get a very basic physical. You'll also get to talk to the psychologist. I thought that was fun. You'll be asked if you want a pap smear, which you can either accept or turn down. It doesn't matter because they'll never tell you the result. Plus your sentence is quite short.
Visitors... sometimes, it's quick and sometimes, very slow. Paperwork is not really done too quickly. But that woman who was in Danbury for a month did have visitors so I suppose that it can happen. I would recommend that you try. Just make sure to send out the forms quickly and tell your potential visitors to send the forms to the counselor at once!
I am happy to help, and please feel free to ask any question you like!
Good night.
m.m.
p.s. That Gandhi quote is as true today as it was in his time!

Thanks for the answers. I guess I'll get some bifocals and just take those in - they're just so expensive, and I'm so broke now, between the government, the lawyers, and the loss of a year's income.

I'm glad to hear about the strip search thing. According to the book I read, the guards tend to take advantage of their power to get sexual favors and cheap thrills. It didn't seem like the author was trying to be sensational, and my lawyer recommended the book, so I believed it.

I didn't have much hope of getting a meaningful job in there for only one month, but I want some good to come of this - in some way, for someone. But good things usually happen in spite of the "system" anyway - rarely because of it. One thing I'd love to do is help Spanish speakers learn English and vice versa. But I'm afraid that by the time I come out of my shell, I'll be out of there.

How long are they likely to keep me in SHU? (I have no intention of smuggling in cash!!! I was just surprised that someone here said to bring some, and wondered if things were really different at Danbury). Do I have to stay in SHU until I'm medically cleared for work? What kind of medical exam do they do? How intrusive is it?

How long do they usually take to clear visitors? Is it worth it for me to send out the forms at all? I wasn't allowed to see my husband at Canaan for eight weeks, but they cleared his parents a lot quicker.

I love that Ghandi quote.

love, MR

MrsRagnar
12-18-2006, 10:11 AM
I am really hoping to make friends with some Spanish speakers who can help me improve my conversational Spanish. I'm afraid that everyone will be fluently bilingual and will just speak English to me because it's easier.

I would love to help someone else learn to speak English. I've heard of people pairing up and teaching each other languages in prison.

Is there much Spanish-speaking population at Danbury?

MR

walkingtourist
12-22-2006, 06:16 AM
Yes, there is a fairly good-sized Spanish-speaking population in Danbury. Some of the ladies there do not speak English at all, and some speak only a little English. I found their accents fairly hard to understand at first, depending on where they were from, but, after a while, I did understand most of them.
I believe that there are English as a second language classes in Danbury... at least there were when I left...
m.m.

I am really hoping to make friends with some Spanish speakers who can help me improve my conversational Spanish. I'm afraid that everyone will be fluently bilingual and will just speak English to me because it's easier.

I would love to help someone else learn to speak English. I've heard of people pairing up and teaching each other languages in prison.

Is there much Spanish-speaking population at Danbury?

MR

MrsRagnar
12-22-2006, 10:53 AM
Thanks so much for your reply. I feel a little more inspired now - that I might be able to do something constructive for someone in there.
MR

walkingtourist
12-22-2006, 05:51 PM
You're welcome, and happy holidays!
m.m.

Thanks so much for your reply. I feel a little more inspired now - that I might be able to do something constructive for someone in there.
MR

jamie-laws
09-19-2010, 08:56 AM
FCI does not seem to be worse than womens prisons at least