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).

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

3 Months

Almost no one asks me what I did to get here. Either they don't care or they just assume it had something to do with drugs (which is the case with almost every person I have met). I have only met two other "white-collar" inmates, although they swear there are more here. The intake officer told me I'm his first "hacker" though; the other white collar guys are wire, bank and mail fraud cases.

However, while no one asks me why I'm here, they do ask how long I'm here for. When I say 3 months, I feel like I have to apologize. Apparently, no one has ever heard of a 3 month sentence.
You have to understand the amount of time most of these guys are doing. Many of them are here as their last stop before being released to a halfway house. Once your sentence gets below 10 years, you then become eligible for a prison camp.

Sometimes an inmate thinks that I am just serving the last 3 months of a longer sentence here after spending the first part of my sentence somewhere else. He just can't believe I am only here for 3 months.

I wondered if it would create problems from inmates who might decide if I'm only here 3 months, they will make it feel like 3 years.

Fortunately that has not been the case. Each inmate "does his own time." Each has his own life to live and everyone seems to know that envy or jealousy over another inmate's sentence or release date doesn't change his own situation; it merely detracts from his ability to deal with his own time.

Everyone has said the time will be over before I know it. "3 months is nothing" is the common refrain.

I hope they are right.

PS Necessary disclaimer: my comments are merely intended to reflect the reactions of BOP staff and prison inmates to the length of my sentence, given how they view the purposes of incarceration.

I do not present their views to argue that I should not have received a prison sentence. One could just as easily argue that I should have gotten a longer sentence, so that it would not be a "waste", as one could argue that I might as well have just received home confinement.

Anyway, my sentence is old news to me; I have no interest in rehashing it. It is what it is and I just want to get it behind me. Nonetheless, the response has been interesting.


Anonymous said...

Go Billy go; you'll be out in no time!!!


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