Rules are Rules

VINCE

Well, Mother. I hope you’re proud of me at the peak. I have finally become what I always wanted to be when I grew up. For $2 a day, I sew the crotch flap on the front of men’s briefs for the Minnesota Department of Corrections. I finally made the big time!

Actually, it’s not all that bad. And I’m learning how to do something new. And as far as prison wages are concerned, I’m in a job where I can make $2 per hour if I bust my ass. In comparison, nearly every prison job starts at 25₵ per hour, and peaks at $1 per hour after a year. I started at 50₵.

I should mention that all prison wages are docked 50% to pay fines, fees, and restitution. So I actually get 25₵ per hour on my check, and I’m slowly paying my fine of $135 off. After that’s paid, they will still take out 50% and put it in my gate fee account, which I get upon my release.

This week’s book selections: Michael Crichton, Andromeda Strain; Nelson DeMille, Gold Coast; and Preston Douglas, Blasphemy. I started with Blasphemy. It’s really good thus far. Look it up, maybe you’ll agree.

I’ve been a busy boy. Mostly with work. And a fair amount of gym time. I’ve started playing something called pickle ball. It is a lot like tennis but indoor, with a wiffle ball and an oversized ping-pong paddle. It keeps my heart rate up for a good 1½ hours. It’s way more fun than running. I really need to find a way to make running interesting. I can’t stand it. I get bored after a mile and quit.

Tomorrow I get to see my caseworker to find out the actual date for boot camp. And I will explore other early-release options. In all reality, I have no desire to go to boot camp. If I have to sit a couple more months to be released in another way, I will probably go that route. But I’ll go to boot camp, just to get out of my current SRD (Supervised Release Date, or parole) of March 1, 2017.

All right. I saw my caseworker. We went through my options. My boot camp date has been moved up. If I can make it through the six month program, I’ll be a free man. That was my best option.

For most of the week at work I have been cutting, then sewing together, the elastic waist bands that will eventually be sewn to the top of all the other completed parts to finish the 5XL briefs. Twelve hundred in all. Everybody else, however, had to take all 1,200 apart to replace one faulty piece of cover tape that was missed upon inspection. It looked like a horrible job. I even had to re-serge a few flys. But another week has passed.

Ten months from now, I’ll be free. If I follow the rules. Participate actively in drug treatment, and keep my mouth shut. I’ll be alright. I will keep in mind I’m saving 18 months of my life by doing this. I look forward to the challenge.

I was talking to a friend just now in the hallway and over the loud speaker the CO yelled, “Close the door in the north!” Referring to my friend and me. I was half way in my room, he was outside. For whatever reason, he came in to the room to continue our conversation. What we didn’t realize is that we could have both lost our boot camp eligibility for it. Because there are no cameras in the rooms, only the people that reside in a room are allowed in it. Because of rape and fighting they are strict about it.

I could have been taken to the hole. If you go to the hole for any reason, boot camp goes away. Fortunately, neither of us has had any disciplinary problems (in prison) and we were given written warnings. But now you can see how easy it could be to have to do that 1½ years in prison.

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