View Full Version : I have never been to prison. Please help
10-28-2003, 10:57 PM
I am going to prison for 13 to 28 months depending on a plea bargain soon. I am a white collar worker and a first time offender. I spent 2 months in county before bonding out and that is all I have been exposed to. My family and I have no idea what to expect in every aspect. I am going to a state prison in Kansas after the plea. I don't trust my attorney completely and would be greatful for any feedback.
1. Can I request what prison to go to in my plea agreement?
2. What state prison is the best (?) in Kansas (assuming that I will be in med or low level)?
3. How often can you use the phone or have visits (in general)?
4. What will I have access to media wise (computers, TV, radio, newspaper).
5. Can I receive mail every day and send mail every day?
6. Is there a legitimate threat of rape?
7. Is everyone allowed to work if they want to?
8. Can I shower everyday?
9. Are you allowed to have any food in your cell?
I have other questions, but I'll hopefully try to figure them out as I go. I appreciate any and all help! Thank you
10-28-2003, 11:39 PM
My husband is in an Oklahoma jail, but I can give you our info..
1. We had no say at all what facility he went to. First, it was decided what level of facility he needed (max, medium, minimum, halfway house, etc...). That was done at a prison assesment center. Once decided he had to wait for the first space available at another facility. This was one of the longest parts for us.
3. Phone calls were different at each stage for us. At county he could call all day if he wanted. At assessment, he had to stand in line during his 1 hour for a ten minute call. At his current permanent facility he had to wait for his mailing list to be approved before he could call. That took a couple months and he gets to talk for 30 minutes per call and can call whenever he wants. Be careful though and think about how much it costs to call from prison (prison inflated collect calls). We had to work out a schedule because I wanted to talk and he wanted to save me money. So we compromised :)
4. Media wise, there is usually a main TV in the common room. Here, he has to earn levels. The higher his levels the more he can have. He was able to work up to buying a walkman and now a TV. At his permanent facility, I'm able to send him books, magazines, and newspapers but make sure to have the person sending them call to find out the procedures at each facility you are at. Here they're all different. Oh, and no computers.
5. The one rule that has stayed the same for us is mail. He can send as much as he can afford and I can mail as much as I want. Again, check to find out the rules at each place.
6. He hasn't ran into the "rape" threats. He has seen guys that choose to "belong" to someone. We were really worried about this one too. It's been a year and he's doing ok.
7. Here everyone has to work or they lose levels. But it was a few months before he was assigned to work.
8. One of the rules here is that you HAVE to shower everyday. You can lose your levels for being stinky :D
9. My guy wouldn't survive if he wasn't allowed food in his cell!! Each place is probably different, but he can pretty much have as much as he can afford to buy.
We had all your same questions and worries. We've gotten through it day by day just like you will. It's not gonna be fun, but you can do it. And remember to keep your loved ones close. They're going through this with you and will want to help.
10-29-2003, 06:05 AM
the only thing i will add is you can request a prison...before/during sentencing...but they don't have to listen...and it also depends on tthe availablity of beds...good luck and maybe someone from kansas will come soon to help...my son is in kansas waiiting sentencing...he could get 55 monthss but was told a bout boot camp and is trying to request that...cause from what he ssays if you make it through the 6 month boot camp your done..but i hear not many people make it...
10-29-2003, 06:11 AM
Here in Oregon, if you make it through boot camp they let you out early, but on a stricter parole than the regular way. A family friend just got thrown back in who came out of boot camp. She was working and doing the right stuff but just messed up on one little technicality and back she went. They didn't cut her any slack and it wasn't even a big thing she messed up on, to my way of thinking.
But to respond to your post, I think you'll be just fine. You hear all the worst about prison and it truly isn't a place you'd really like to be, but it's not as bad as the horror stories most times, either. You can adjust and adapt to what you have to work with in there. Just keep to yourself and mind your own business---don't mix into anyone else's and don't assume that because someone seems to befriend you that they're going to BE a friend. It takes awhile to know who you can trust and things are not always what they seem, so be wary. But other than that, you can do it okay. Oh, and don't borrow anything, either. If you don't have something, just tough it out.
When my daughter went to prison, what broke her heart was how cold everyone was there. We're a very loving family and she wasn't used to that. The guards were cold, the other inmates were cold, and to make it worse, she got the cellmate from hell who didn't like her-------just thought I'd add that when you go in, you may encounter this as well for awhile. It seems like there's not a soul in your world who cares what happens to you except for the ones you left out here, who you aren't able to have much contact with.
Welcome to PTO family... You may want to check out the Kansas forum (just scroll down the first page) or do a search for the Kansas facilities (search is on the top of the first page). Each state is different and within each state many facilities are different... Good luck and hang in there...
11-05-2003, 12:07 AM
If you read the reply by freckledgrl, I think that would be as close as possible. But since every state is very different in prisons, there may be clear differences. Let me attempt to add what I can after doing almost 5 years in jail and in 5 prisons. First, requests to which prison you can go to initially is probably a big no-no. Security issues require that when transfering an inmate, the general public is not to know, including immediate family. This is to avoid an attempted rescue. As far as phone privilages, if I am correct, you will most likely be in medium custody for a short period, then moved to Honor Grade, or minimum custody. In my state, and on medium custody, phone privilages are few, like once or twice a week, and you have to sign up for it. In minimum custody, it is much more frequent, and you don't have to sign...but watch out for high rates. They are ripping off the families of the inmates because they have to accept the call. In most prisons, you will have access to tv, in some prisons there might be cable; I have been at a couple that had that. I could explain the rules of how inmates determine what to watch, but that is too long. As a citizen, and yes, you would still be one, you have a constitutional right to mai, whether receiving or sending. However, you lose the right of privacy because they can inspect it for contraband, like money or drugs or even stamps. It is in most states, if not all, illegal for them to read the mail without your presence unless there is a clear and present danger on your part. As far as rape, I have never seen it, although like freckledgrl said, there are those who are "property" of other inmates. What I mean by that is not that some guy forced an inmate to become his, but rather more on the levels of gay attraction. If you want to get out earlier, you must work, and in fact you may be required to work regardless, but don't expect minimum wage. My first job was a janitor, making 40 cents a day. The jobs don't get more advantageous financially than that, although there are jobs at $1 a day, and 60 cents a day. You will have every opportunity to shower every day, in fact, you can be punished for smelling, or poor hygiene. Keeping food in your cell actually depends if you are in a cell. In many minimum custody prisons, it is a community living area, kinda like a boy scout camp with a lot of lockers and bunk beds. Keeping food will not be an issue, and yes, most prisons , if not all, will assign lockers, or require you to buy them at you expense. Hope that helps....