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Old 07-29-2018, 11:53 PM
FML FML is offline
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Arrow Commissary limits?

I recently just found out I'm designated to the camp in Sheridan, OR (even though Taft is literally 30 minutes away from me, they put both of my co-defendants at Taft and me in sheridan.. community ties my ass, I was hoping for weekly visits from my wife and kids and now I won't get any because I don't ever want to put them through the hassle of driving 15 hours to visit me vs. the 30 minutes it would've taken had I been sent to Taft). Although part of me thinks I'm being sent there for a reason, and hoping they put me in RDAP as it's the only facility in the west coast with an RDAP program in a camp. I really really hope and pray that's the case.

My question is how much should I take with me when I SS, can I take $600 money order with me or is the max funding limit the same as the spending limit? I read here that max spending is either $290 or $320 + phone cost. Is the phone cost paid for by the inmate or is it paid for by the receiving caller via collect call? I have been working non-stop since 2016 and saving every penny I could just for this exact situation and thank god I was atleast smart about that and that my family can have something to take care of the bills and won't have to stress over them for a while. Now I'm setting up my financials with my SO and trying to figure out if I should put that $70 phone cost towards the house bill or towards my inmate account for calls.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:41 AM
Free At Last 5 Free At Last 5 is offline
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There is no limit that I know of for how much money you can have deposited in your commissary account, just a limit on monthly spend. They also limit you to 300 minutes of phone time per month, but corrlinks email use is not limited and neither count against your monthly commissary spending limit. Most facilities allow you to bring some money when you report, but it’s best to get your account funded prior to your arrival to be sure you have funds available immediately. Once you find out your inmate number (use the BOP inmate locator on their website and you will show up sometime before your report date) you can deposit funds. Also, you can go to the facility’s website to get information on visiting, mail address, etc. There are many good threads available on the PTO site with tips on commissary account setup and spending limits.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Free At Last 5 View Post
There is no limit that I know of for how much money you can have deposited in your commissary account, just a limit on monthly spend. They also limit you to 300 minutes of phone time per month, but corrlinks email use is not limited and neither count against your monthly commissary spending limit. Most facilities allow you to bring some money when you report, but it’s best to get your account funded prior to your arrival to be sure you have funds available immediately. Once you find out your inmate number (use the BOP inmate locator on their website and you will show up sometime before your report date) you can deposit funds. Also, you can go to the facility’s website to get information on visiting, mail address, etc. There are many good threads available on the PTO site with tips on commissary account setup and spending limits.
Thanks for the suggestion! I have my inmate number already and didn't even think to just put money on my books now even though I SS in about 30 days. Am I correct to assume that it won't matter that I fund it so early because no matter what prison you're sent to the inmate accounts are universal and are managed by the BOP and not the prison?
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:53 AM
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That's correct. As long as it is a bop owned prison, which Taft is not (Taft is privately owned), the money will be available wherever you are. Here is the bop "inmate money" link.
https://www.bop.gov/inmates/communications.jsp#money

My advice is to mail a US Post Office money order to the lockbox in Des Moines, Iowa about a week before you SS. I took money with me when I was remanded to custody, and it took 3 weeks to be posted to my account. Others have posted that their money was available more quickly than mine was. Any other money order will be held for 15 days.

You can prepay your phone calls by moving money from your main inmate account to the "ITS" side, $1.00 on up, using the phone and your 9 digit telephone pin number, which will arrive in the mail. Or you can call collect as long as the receiving phone can accept collect calls.

Local prepaid calls (local to each prison) cost 6 cents/min, all others in the US cost 21 cents/min. Collect calls are 25 cents/min with no additional charges added on.

If your ITS money hits zero during a call, the call will be terminated. I found it to be easier to deposit the entire month's phone money in a lump sum.

Your phone minutes and commissary spending limit will roll over to the next month on the same day, with no carryover of unused limits. The fifth number in your inmate ID #, (xxxxX-xxx), times 3, plus one, so if your number is 5, you will receive new limits on the 16th of each month.

In Nov. & Dec. you get an additional 100 phone minutes on the first of the month, and an extra $50.00 commissary spending limit.
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Old 07-30-2018, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by FML View Post
I recently just found out I'm designated to the camp in Sheridan, OR (even though Taft is literally 30 minutes away from me, they put both of my co-defendants at Taft and me in sheridan.. community ties my ass, I was hoping for weekly visits from my wife and kids and now I won't get any because I don't ever want to put them through the hassle of driving 15 hours to visit me vs. the 30 minutes it would've taken had I been sent to Taft). Although part of me thinks I'm being sent there for a reason, and hoping they put me in RDAP as it's the only facility in the west coast with an RDAP program in a camp. I really really hope and pray that's the case.

My question is how much should I take with me when I SS, can I take $600 money order with me or is the max funding limit the same as the spending limit? I read here that max spending is either $290 or $320 + phone cost. Is the phone cost paid for by the inmate or is it paid for by the receiving caller via collect call? I have been working non-stop since 2016 and saving every penny I could just for this exact situation and thank god I was atleast smart about that and that my family can have something to take care of the bills and won't have to stress over them for a while. Now I'm setting up my financials with my SO and trying to figure out if I should put that $70 phone cost towards the house bill or towards my inmate account for calls.
Yes I can answer your phone questions it's pre paid by you with your commissary you split up you are allowed 300 minutes a month of phone time
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Old 07-30-2018, 11:10 AM
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Don't put money into your account until a few days before you get there. If you use WesternUnion, the money will show up in a couple of hours. I sent my husband money at midnight last night, and it was there at 6am when he logged in. That said, Western Union only let's me send a max of $300 at a time and they charge $9.95 which is a ripoff. I can send $300 every day if I wanted, but why should I pay more than 3% every time to send him money? I could also send a money order for like $1,000 ahead of time to Des Moines which will take awhile to post to his account, and then let it just sit there as he needs, but I am just too lazy and he only goes through the $300 about every 1-1/2 months anyway.

Email and phone you prepay in $20 amounts onto your account. They do not count against your total spending amount for the month which is nice. When my husband calls me, because it's local through Google voice (we've mentioned this to you before that the camp is ok with that, and you will know when you get to yours if they are as well) it is only $.90/call. When he calls his mother unfortunately, it's almost $4/call. He only calls her once/week and we talk every other day. Some husbands call their spouses every day, but then you will run out of time, unless you keep it short. You need to do what works best for you. We would rather talk every other day for the max. We also email constantly. Email is $.05/min and you get to be on email for 20 mins at a time then have to wait 30 mins before you can go back on. You cannot copy and paste, and the sender can't send attachments, pictures, things that are underlined, bold, etc. It's annoying because he often wants me to send scores and what not, so when I copy and paste on my end, it comes in hard to read. Also, there's a limit on characters so sometimes it takes 3 or 4 emails for him to get one thing from me. I have been able to figure out how to send him pdf's of court documents he's wanted, by first converting them to a word doc thru adobe then copy and pasting them. That has been helpful. He's needed it for various research or lawsuits, or whatever.

Turns out while the phone calls are recorded and emails are screened, you'll figure out quickly what you don't want to discuss via email or phone.

If you're going to a camp with RDAP and you weren't recommended originally, you will be able to apply when you get there, and that is a good thing in the end.

Your monthly BOP pay will also get added to your commissary account, but they just received an across the board pay cut of 30%. My husband is in education so instead of the whopping $25/month he now gets $17 or something like that. Not that it means anything to him, but to other guys it means a lot.

You'll quickly learn there's a whole underground economy of stamps. The value in there is about $.30/stamp. You'll trade things for them, tip (ie haircut) in them, or for an item you buy in commissary. CO's know. It's just the way it is. There are drugs and gambling that go on. It will be like nothing you've ever seen before. My husband a white collar guy can't believe the amount of drugs he is surrounded by. They keep having shakedowns but are only finding stolen food. Ugh. So frustrating.

Make the best use of your time. You will hear guys say they are bored shitless. My husband can't believe how busy he has been. He said there isn't enough time in the day for him. The stories he has, are ones you would never believe unless you live it. He's been doing a lot of writing and I think writing 2-3 books simultaneously in there. But he is an excellent writer so he has that going for him. It is a very humbling experience for him and will be for you. You will learn who the bullshitters are quickly and just realize the best thing to do is keep quiet, observe, do your time, and get out of there.

Also, with the money, don't bring a money order in. They can't process it there. You can bring cash in. Our lawyer told him to bring a coupe hundred. I think in the end though, the money we sent at Walgreens via Western Union the morning of his SS got posted quicker than the cash he brough in.

I am sure I have said this to you before, but please feel free to pm me, or have your wife pm me. I am happy to share any info I can as well as the perspective from my end.

I've befriended some other wives as well and we all have similar experiences. The camp, is a joke from a white collar perspective. These guys in most cases, don't belong there. They're just taking up space, not being put to any good use whatsoever. The drug guys, aren't getting any sort of rehabilitation, and have more access to drugs than before they went in. K2 and fentanyl (which I had never heard of before I went in) are everywhere. The manners of some of these guys are horrific, you'll hear language that will stun you, you'll be shocked at the homophobia you'll encounter, which is laughable., etc. Trust me, you cannot make this shit up.

Don't call home collect. You use some sort of voice recognition software to make calls that can be annoying going forward if you don't say your name correctly.

Oh also, be prepared for lockdowns/recall and not contacting your wife at those times and she will freak out when she expects to hear from you and hasn't. That took me awhile to get comfortable with. Not knowing if my husband had a heart attack or was dead. Turns out it was snow related. Now they have them all the time, due to staff shortages, parties, shakedowns, whatever. It's not fun for anyone.

If you ever went to overnight camp, just think of it as a bad overnight camp! My husband who is anti overnight camp, for him this is karma. That is the joke. Lol. He is from NYC and I think it's more that he was a spoiled only child and city kids didn't go to overnight camp, but where we live, everyone's kids go. So his kids went, and my kids went. So it is sort of funny, he is at a place that if essentially like that, without the fun part.

One thing you do NOT have to worry about is getting beaten up or raped or anything like that. Most people there just want to do their time and get out. Most, not all as you will see.
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Old 07-30-2018, 05:39 PM
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Thank you all for the plethora of information, it really helps!

I was just wondering, since I'm going to a camp about 15 hours away, when I get out do they just let me out of that same prison or will they transfer me to the jail in the current city that I live and let me out from there? The reason I ask is that I read somewhere that a guy had hours to report to probation office when he was released and he was stressing over it, I want to avoid that and make sure my transition back home will be smooth.
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Old 07-30-2018, 06:13 PM
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You will be released from that prison and be given transportation to either a half way house or to your home. Your case manager will decide how, but it will usually be by bus. An immediate family member can pick you up at the prison, but that requires prior approval by the CM, who also determines how much, if any, half way house time you will get before your "end of sentence/release" date.

If you are released prior to the end of your sentence, you will be given an "unescorted furlough" to the HWH that will detail how you must travel, and when you must report to the HWH. If you are held to the end of your sentence (the release date shown on the bop inmate locator), you will only be advised of when you must report to your US Probation Officer.
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Old 07-30-2018, 07:00 PM
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Thank you all for the plethora of information, it really helps!

I was just wondering, since I'm going to a camp about 15 hours away, when I get out do they just let me out of that same prison or will they transfer me to the jail in the current city that I live and let me out from there? The reason I ask is that I read somewhere that a guy had hours to report to probation office when he was released and he was stressing over it, I want to avoid that and make sure my transition back home will be smooth.
First you will learn if you are approved for HC or HWH, but you still have to report to the HWH for orientation and depending which HWH you need to go to, it is all a manner of how long you have to stay. As we are in this process now, don't believe anyone in the prison as they have no idea and the left certainly doesn't know what the right says as far as how long you need to be in the HWH. As far as getting to the HWH or HC (if for some unlikely reason you get to skip HWH) they will not transfer you to another prison for release. They will pay one way transportation for a bus ticket if there is no one to pick you up, and give you your prison ID and/or your Driver's license if you showed up with that and it's still valid, and a debit card with your remaining commissary $ on it. Your loved ones can send in clothes or you can wear something the prison has. The other option is that they generally will work with you to arrange to have your family come and pick you up. At my husband's camp they're pretty good about it and they give you ample time to do get there, but they do not give you much leeway if something goes wrong, because they expect you to go right to the HWH. But, of course things go wrong all the time, and everyone I've spoken to that has gone from the camp to the HWH has told me that the key is really just taking accountability and being responsible and calling and telling them that you're late and why. If you're on an airplane, tell them it's late and they can verify it. In our case, we will be flying in late January from Duluth, MN to Chicago and those flights are always late. They only give a 5 hour window and trust me, it will be tight. If you have someone to pick you up, I would go for that, because when traveling alone, you will not have access to a cell phone, or extra money, or even a credit card if something does go wrong.

Also, as far as driver's license. Before you leave, try to get an extra one (go to the DMV and say you lost yours) and bring the one you said you lost to the prison, and have your wife keep the new one. We did that and I have actually had to use his license for sending in documentation for various things. I'm hoping I can renew his license online as well as Illinois allows that, so we'll see. He wears glasses so that may be one reason why we can't, if he's required to get an eye test.

Oh, if you wear glasses, have a copy of your script at home. Supposedly if your glasses break in prison, you're sol, so if it winds up your wife needs to send a new pair in and is allowed to, you will want her to have your script.
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