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Old 01-07-2007, 10:45 AM
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Smile Transit vs. ID Unit | An inmates perspective

I've seen several comments and so forth in the forums concerning what it's like on the different units, so in light of that I'll make an attempt to explain.

Transit units: Your loved one may spend up to 2 years on a transit unit awaiting diagnostics and ID unit assignment. (this was done at the Byrd unit when I went through back in 2001, I was housed on the Holiday transit unit prior)
The guards: The transit unit guards can be kind of rough, as many of them see it their duty to teach your loved one exactly where his place is, meaning in submission to the guards. It is here that your loved must learn how to deal with the guards. Transit units have very little general population "movement" and offer far less in the way of a library, educational programs, and work assignments. If you wanted off a
transit unit and assigned to an ID unit, there are basically 4 ways to accomplish this.
1- File a grievance for insufficient law library access to case studies etc,
etc... You may have to prove that you are currently working on an appeal, I'm not quite sure, since I never took this approach, in fact, I took no apporach and simply waited until they transferred me. This is just something I noticed other inmates speaking of and doing, it worked for many of them.
2- Apply for educational courses, vocational or college, as none of this is offered on a transit unit, or wasn't at the time I went through.
3- A medical transfer, this is rare, as they do have medical facilities on the transits.
4- Get into trouble, this is certainly not desired, but I did see people so fed up with transit that they purposefully got into fights in order to be sent on to diagnostics and assigned a unit. I wouldn't advise this for a first timer, as you may very well end up on a unit where the majority of the population are "bad actors", meaning they fight alot and are into all kinds of extortion etc..

Why do inmates get "fed-up" with transit units?, Mainly because they lack enough officers in general to be able to run the rec. periods and the fact that you aren't allowed many of the commissary items on a transit unit that make life more comfortable while in prison. Things such as a radio, hot pot (used for cooking and hot drinks like instant coffee), their own personal fan, etc etc.. The transit units do not have electrical outlets for each inmate use. Another reason is the lack of educational/vocational programs. Many also get fed up with having to walk (even in pouring rain) to get their clothes and to the chow hall. The units are suppose to
provide covered walkways to and from the chow hall for all inmates, including those being housed in the dorms, however the funds allocated for this were appearantly used for something else (go figure) and even on many of the ID units there are no covered walkways. Should you grieve the issue, they simply move you back to the buildings where there are covered walkways to the chow hall.

ID (Institutional Division) Units: These units offer much more opportunity to the inmate, mainly in the way of job assignments and educational programs. For example, on the Michael Unit, you might actually be able to work in the Metal Fabrication industry and actually get paid for it and be able to have some money on your books if you haven't any or anyone on the outside who can afford to put money on your books. Many inmates also use the educational programs to get transferred closer to home,
they simply find out what units offer what courses, then sign up for a course that is only offered on a unit closer to their family. This transfer can takes months due to the waiting lists, but it eventually will take place. At the time of my release, even after the inmate finished the educational program, they had to request to be sent back to thier unit of "assignment" or they simply stayed on the unit. Unless, they got into trouble and brought attention to themselves, then they are transferred back to their unit of "assignment".

That's about the gist of it, I hope this helps in some way.

Dan
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Old 01-07-2007, 09:02 PM
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Thanks for the info Dan!
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Old 01-07-2007, 09:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unbroken
For example, on the Michael Unit, you might actually be able to work in the Metal Fabrication industry and actually get paid for it and be able to have some money on your books if you haven't any or anyone on the outside who can afford to put money on your books.
Thanks for the information Dan but I am curious...you say they can get paid IF no one on the outside is putting money in? What exacly does that mean? My guy has recently applied for one of these jobs at Michaels. He is very qualified for the position (has a masters degree in Mechanical engineering and has a lot of experience in this type of work). The only reason I think he might not get it is because his sentense is very short (2 years) and he could get paroled out soon. According to his letters he thinks he will get paid if he gets the job but I put money on his books for him occassionally. Should I stop? Will they not pay him just because I put money in his account for him?
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Old 01-07-2007, 09:48 PM
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Thank you Dan, this helps us out so much. I will print this and send it to my son since he is heading that route any day now. I guess I should tell him to encourage the college courses because I want him to pick up where he left off. Thank you again for this valuable information. Jeannie
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Old 01-07-2007, 10:25 PM
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perhaps I worded that in a confusing manner, my apologies Adrienne. In answer to your question, no ma'am it doesn't matter if you're putting money on his books, he'll still get paid. Sorry about that.

Dan
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Old 01-07-2007, 10:27 PM
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Thanks for the insight!
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Old 01-08-2007, 08:38 AM
Adrienne Adrienne is offline
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perhaps I worded that in a confusing manner, my apologies Adrienne. In answer to your question, no ma'am it doesn't matter if you're putting money on his books, he'll still get paid. Sorry about that.

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