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Subject: General prison/jail questions
The federal system has "sick call" in the early morning where you see a nurse or PA. They do the absolute minimum for routine illness. If something major happens they take you to a nearby hospital. Depending upon your custody level, you are probably going there shackled. Don't get sick.
Subject: Survive prison
There is NO internet access allowed in prison except at the state level where the Kansas Department of Corrections allows monitored Internet use. It is the only such area that does. At the federal level, there are email pilot programs in use that I used often, but there was no internet access. There are delays in the messaging and the charges were high but it was convenient.
Subject: Survive prison
The separation from family is terrible, but it's tougher on them to go on without you. But the worst thing that I had to deal with was the death of my mother. I was not there for others suffering, for her funeral nor was I able to feel closure.
Subject: Commissary
Most prisons DO have kosher meals, especially at the federal level and if they don't you can contact the Aleph Institute in Miami Beach to arrange for them to get them set up. For the commissary food items, there are limitations to what a "kosher registered inmate" may select from.
Subject: General prison/jail questions
The telephone is a big profit center for prisons and jails and the services that run them. Local calls run about SIX cents per minute, long distance starts at 23 cent per minute and may exceed $1.00 per minute or more. The only way around these ridiculous rates is to use a Discount Service that specializes in prison phone calls. InmateAid has partnered with some credible ones, any that you choose will be cheaper than NOT using...
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Subject: Education & vocational training
The curriculum is overseen by the prison's education department. Every piece of work that you do towards your grade is monitored and verified by the prison staff. You take your test in front of that personnel, your papers or other written submissions are done on your own time, and since there is plenty of that...be true to yourself and learn the material.
Subject: Sentence reduction
The state systems vary by each state, most states offer a program for "good time" reduction for good behavior and for taking approved courses. Some state prisons even have a special matching of good time credits for number of days an inmate works in the kitchen. The federal good time is about 15% of sentence. States range good time credit from as much as 67% (do only a 1/3 of your sentence) to the same 15% that they have at...
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Subject: Commissary
There are items that span from clothing and shoes, to food and drink, to over-the-counter medical supplies and personal hygiene items. Typically there is one day designated for shopping. Remember that the commissary is a privilege and inmates may be subject to revocation for incident reports. For a more complete list, go to InmateAid's Commissary Information page.
Subject: Visitation
Most prisons and jails have an array of vending machines. Make sure that you bring plenty of change and one dollar bills. Don't let the inmate handle the money, the guards may cancel your visit.
Subject: Sentence reduction
The Second Chance Act was passed by Congress in 2010 but the Bureau of Prisons has been slow to implement the law. The caveat in the law allows the BOP to use the statute "to their best discretion." Typically that means less being done than more. We have the actual statute on the site. CLICK HERE to download the 2nd Chance Act PDF