Can you walk us through your cell?
As soon as I walk into my cell, to the left is my toilet. It’s less than a foot away from the front wall and door. Directly next to the toilet is my sink. It’s about a foot apart from the toilet, but higher on the wall. Directly beside my sink is my stand/desk. That’s about 2 feet from the back wall (where the window is). My bed is on the opposite wall of the desk. It starts at the back of the wall and there’s a 3 inch space between the back wall and the bed. The bottom of the bed ends around the sink area. There are about two feet between my desk/stand and my bed. I have a locker box right underneath the window on the floor. It’s about a foot wide and two and a half foot long.
What about the front wall?
Well, the whole front wall is about 5 foot wide (including the door and the bars). The door is solid metal. It’s got a 5x8 inch square hole in it where a window would go. The square is there for me to hang my towel out, so I can get in the shower. It’s also for me to hang my arm out, if I’m trying to get on the phone. The bars are halfway up the wall. The bottom half is solid metal. If I have to use the bathroom, I have to stick a blanket or something like that in it to cover the front of the cell so nobody can see in.
Do inmates or staff still try to invade your privacy?
Oh yeah. (chuckles) If I get myself covered up like that (using the bathroom) while the CO is doing his round, walking, they would stop and knock on the front of the cell to see if I’m alright.
How is the temperature in your cell?
Very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer.
Is there air conditioning?
There’s supposed to be, but we don’t feel it. I have an eight inch fan that helps me circulate air in the summer.
How about heating?
What heating? They turn it on late in the winter time. By then we’re already freezing.
Is your cell otherwise in good shape?
Yeah, other than the fact that the walls need a good, good painting.
Do you decorate your walls?
No, because there’s always a possibility that I could be moved.
Do you have a cell mate?
No. Here at a level 4 there are single man cells. Only at level 2’s and 3’s are there cellies.
Do you like it better with or without a cellie?
Without. It gives me more peace. And I don’t have to sit not even 5 feet away while a person uses the bathroom. And in here, we have a thing called ‘courtesy flush’. It doesn’t matter if you just fart or drop a turt, you flush it twice. You don’t have to wait for the toilet bowl to fill back up, because it’s straight pipes to the toilet. So you can flush as many times as you want.
Well, that got us off topic a little. So, isn’t it boring to be in a cell without a cellie? What do you do to keep busy?
Yes and no. Yes, it is a little boring, because you usually do the same things that keep you busy over and over again. But at the same time, no, because privacy is very relaxing in here. For a good while through the day, I study on my paralegal course. Then, I take time out to write JPays to my loved one, and occasionally my family.
Have you ever paced back and forth in your cell?
Every day…for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Do you look outside your window when you pace?
Uhm, yes. I look out my window regularly, even when I’m not pacing.
What kind of window do you have?
I don’t know how to explain the window. It’s like a salmon ladder window, but all straight though. It’s plexiglass surrounded by metal frames. It’s about 2 foot wide and about 4 foot high.
What’s the floor like?
It’s concrete…along with all the walls.
And your bed? Window
Straight metal with a 2 inch mattress.
And a pillow, right?
No, with a built-in pillow,…part of the mat.
Is it easy for you to fall asleep in your bed?
Raccoons sleep better than me at night. (chuckles) Raccoons don’t sleep at night. (chuckles again)
Do you have any medical problems because of the bed and/or lack of movement?
(chuckles) Inmates were probably why chiropractors started their profession. My back is sore every day.
Anything else that you can tell us about your cell?
Well, thanks to the front of the cell, the way the bars are set up, I’m able to hear everything that goes on in the block. Also, I have a big light above the sink that I can turn on and off, and a plug for my electronics.