Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


FPC Pensacola has more activities than perhaps any other prison. At least, that's what I hear.

  • Weight Pile. The weight pile is an outdoor pavilion with any kind of weight machine (plus free weights) you could want. There are also two bocce ball courts next to the weight pile.
  • Cardio Room. In the cardio room there are 14 cardio machines (treadmill, elliptical, bicycle, etc) and 5 abdominal machines.
  • Library. The library has a decent collection of paper and hardback books. There is no check out procedure; you just take what you want. No one knows how many books there are since there are no records. The law library has an impressive collection of legal volumes, which are mostly used by the white collar guys. This is also where the daily papers arrive at about 1:30p each day.
  • Game Room. There is a large game room above the library for cards, dominoes and ping pong. There are also a lot of magazines, newspapers and a couple more TVs.
  • Music Building. Instruments for use by inmates, including acoustic and bass guitars, keyboards, brass instruments, drums and other percussion instruments.
  • Art Building. Art supplies.
  • Leather and Woodcrafts Shop. An impressive collection of wood and leathercraft tools and machines. (Note from Bill's wife - there is an inmate here who is making the most beautiful large salad bowls - very impressive! Everyone is trying to get on his Christmas list!)
  • Basketball Court. 2 outdoor basketball courts plus occasional access to the base gym.
  • Ballfields. Well-kept softball field with bleachers and storage room, in blue and white. There is a sign posted, "FPC Softball." If you didn't know better you might think it stood for First Presbyterian Church Softball, or First Pentecostal Softball! There is also a soccer/football field.
  • Chapel Video Room. The chapel has a large library of religious-themed videos and a special TV room to watch them in.

I'm sure if I were here longer, I'd find time to participate in a lot of these things. But for now, writing, working out and receiving visitors is taking up most of my free time!

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