"Count Time"

In Federal Prison the guards do a regular daily “Head Count”, for obvious reasons, to make sure that no one has escaped. During the weekdays we are counted in our cells at 5am, 4pm, 10pm, 12am and 3am – without fail – and in-between those, in the cell counts, are two counts made at our job sites; these two head counts are the only counts taken outside our cells.

During the weekends there is one extra “cell count” at 10am. To add to this there are surprise “Census Counts” where we are required to produce our pictures IDs to verify who we are. Why, you might ask? Well the answer is of course that during a count in which you’re supposed to be in your own cell, some of the fellas will actually be “Out of Bounds”, this means if per se, they could be in the cellblock but in another cell getting, for instance a tattoo, or something. To do this a couple of guys will switch cells for a couple of hours … no problem, a correct head count won’t catch this – but a Census Count will. How? Well, when they call a Census Count we are required to put our picture Identification in the window of our cell, then the guard comes around with a picture ID book and checks the ID and the faces in the cell … pretty simple right.

Last year I took a job working on the Recreation Yard. I do odd jobs, clean up, pick up paper and paint … yeah paint. As you know, I’m a pretty good painter. And due to this skill and this skill alone I was given my job with the understanding that I would paint for the Rec. Dept. and staff. I don’t like doing it, but, I like being outside the cellblock and having the freedom to roam around, plus I am able to do a little painting for myself ever-now-and-then – so its a fair trade. The only downfall to my job is that I work a HELL of a lot of hours – no seriously, I work 7 days a week and 5 of those days are from 6:30am to 8pm! Yeah, the only respite to those long days is when I’m sent back to my cell for, Head Count.

It used to be that we were out of our cells from 6am to 9pm, but due to this Corona hysteria we now get out at 6:30am and lock-in at 8pm – so you can see I have very little time to go back to the cell block to do the things I need to do, like shower, call my family or answer Emails – so for those of you who are wondering why I’ve been slow to Email – this is why.

I told you that we have a mandatory count at 4pm – but we are locked in out cells at 3pm for this count. To compensate for this, no time to shower our bosses let us go back at 2pm so its a mad rush to use one of the eight showers … because practically every one else goes in at 2pm also. My point is, I spend more than half of my one hour away from work and out of my cell in a shower line and the other half in the phone line trying to maintain a phone relationship with my children.

On the weekends we not only have to be in our cells for the 4pm count but the 10am count as well. But sometimes, when we’re really busy our boss will gather our IDs and give our names and numbers to the Lieutenants Office getting permission to keep us at our job site – that happened over this past Christmas Holidays. Well, it appears that one of my co-workers was given the responsibility of returning all of out picture IDs to us, after, we had received permission to be counted at work. Hmmm.

Recently we had a surprise Census Count, so I hung my ID in the window and stood behind it for identification. When the guard walked up to my window with his Picture ID book and looked at my ID, I noticed a strange look on his face – he looked at my ID, then and looked back at his book, then at me and with a smirk on his face said, “Your photo is outdated. Take a new one!” … so I grabbed my ID and looked at it and, low and behold, without my knowledge someone had taped a picture of a young transvestite over MY picture … yeah, obviously during Christmas …Oh well all in good humor … What? of course I am – as soon as I get the chance to snatch his ID, its game on 😉

We've had a "Lucifer" siting!! Two actually, one resulting in a physical assault. I'll fill you in next time. Yep, it's getting rough in here.

For those of you who are new to my writings, read past episodes and encounters with Lucifer on this blog site.

Peace be with you. Mark

Three Rivers, 3-24-21