Journey of Faith

Everyone needs to get out!

Being this close to awaiting my parole decision, NEVER did I think I’d hear that we needed to move again. My only response was, “are you serious?” We had mere minutes to pack everything and move through out the campus. Our unit had serious plumbing issues and was now deemed unsafe. I ended up being moved to the unit I started with when I originally arrived at Cambridge in 1999. I wasn’t prepared at all. I had a ton of books that I wanted to bring home. I had to ask for help because I was moving from the second floor to the third floor. I can’t lift or carry heavy things because of my hip problems. I really shouldn’t have been on the third floor either. The other inmates weren’t happy that they stuck myself and Miss Linda up there. Miss Linda suffered a heart attack a few weeks prior. They didn’t care. If they cared, the plumbing wouldn’t have gotten to the point where they needed to close the unit. Our unit held if full about 140 inmates. There was 6 hallways and each hallway had its own bathroom. Two toilets, two sinks and two showers. One hallway had no working toilets and we’re sharing ours. Another hallway has toilet issues as well. Mold was a constant concern for us but not them. My job was cleaning the restrooms. It wasn’t too bad as I shared the job with another person. It was one of the higher paying positions at $.26/hour. That came out to about $45-50 per month. It helped pay my cable bill. I actually was very lucky because I only paid for cable maybe 6 months out of the 3 years I was there. Covid brought us some benefits like free cable, no medical copays (yes inmates are charged copays), and free phone calls and emails. The calls and emails weren’t 100% free. We received 2 free calls, and some free email credits. It was nice while it lasted. People I think assume everything is paid for in prison. It isn’t. Jpay the company that provides the service for family and friends to send money to the loved ones in the DOC makes millions. Inmates receive the money which is deposited in their accounts. This money can then be used to pay for cable at $17!month, medical and dental copays at $5 each unless it’s for a managed care like asthma, high blood pressure etc. if you go to medical and need a prescription they can charge you $5 per prescription. If you don’t have it, don’t worry they’ll keep track so if you ever do get money they’ll pay themselves back first. If you owe fines or court fees, 25% comes right off the top before you get the money. I was lucky enough to not owe anything. If you wanted photo copies, you had to pay. Haircuts are free once a month, anything extra like hair dye is extra. Commissary is the biggest money maker. The commissary items are literally items that I now see at the dollar tree. It’s crazy! Clearly the DOC makes money off the inmates and families to keep the plumbing and units working. Instead they we’re having employee appreciation lunches several times a month. All paid for by you, the taxpayer. As a taxpayer and inmate this frustrates me. ALOT! I worked for corporate America and was the recipient of employee appreciation lunches. Never in the 30 plus years though did we have them 2-3 times a month. They weren’t cheap events either. They were barbecues and catered events. I get that they have a difficult job, but honestly at least where I was it didn’t seem that bad. Yes you had your occasional problem inmate but for the most part their job consisted of doing rounds to make sure we were ok, doing count and sitting at the desk to answer questions and pass out papers and tampons. Not terribly difficult. It made me frustrated as a taxpayer that the facility wasn’t being cared for and left to deteriorate without concern. There needs to be a third party that audits and inspects these places. Most of the time they’re done by agencies operated by the state. That’s the fox watching the hen house.