“What was my first night in prison like… I guess it was kind of a relief to get off the bus because the trip down was so horrible. I didn’t go straight from Tracy Reception Center to Calipatria, I had a ‘lay-over’ in Chino. Which was horrible. They didn’t have a cell to put me in for the night so they put me in a medical holding cell which is like a giant cage with benches. All I had in there was a ‘Title 15’ which is like a rule book about 3/4 inches thick and I rolled that up to rest my head on. And I was so exhausted by that point I actually slept like that. There was no water, toilet, nothing. Then they almost forgot me int he morning and they couldn’t find me but thank God the bus didn’t leave without me.
Actually it was the night I got to D-yard that was a relief. The first two nights I was at Calipatria I was in Ad-Seg because there were no open beds on D-yard. That’s how the program used to run because of the serious over-crowding and most inmates would spend 30-60 days in Ad-Seg. I lucked out because I was the only caucasian guy eligible to go to D-yard and the man they put me in with had refused to take any cellmate that wasn’t white. Which became a weird blessing for me since I wanted to get off Ad-Seg. Calipatria’s Ad-Seg wasn’t too bad,m just cold and lonely. I was in my own cell the first night. My neighbor gave me an indigent envelops, paper, and a penfiller to write to my mom with. The correctional officer gave me a couple books. I wrote to my mom, read a little and fell asleep being so exhausted from the horrible journey down.
My second day they put me in with some guy who was alright. He was getting released in a couple months. The next day I was sent to D-yard and put in with a guy named Chris. Who had his flaws but was an alright cellie (cellmate) He didn’t watch much TV and right away he moved his TV to my shelf so I could watch it. We were cellies for a couple of weeks then we both were moved to other cells after I came off orientation. I think the worst part was being told I would be A2B status for a long time: not allowed to have a prison-job and only allowed a phone call once a month. Luckily Chris was a kitchen worker and could sign up for the phone and he was cool with the tower c/o (correctional officer) at the time and I was able to use his phone times to call my mom. I was A2B for about 3 years until I got my tutoring job. Thank God for that.”
written by Sean
*other inmate’s names have been changed to protect their identity