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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

New services (coming soon)

One thing I have wanted to do with the blogs since their inception is to vet products and services for those of you who have friends and loved ones in the DOC system. Next year will be my 16th consecutive year as a prisoner of MDOC, so I have an idea of what guys want and what they might need to help them do their time more easily.

I would like to see your feedback on this particular topic. We are thinking about starting out by doing book reviews with links to purchase a copy of the book that meets the requirements of prison mailrooms (paperback, not spiral-bound, no CD inclusions, etc.). So many folks are overwhelmed by trying to do something for their incarcerated loved one because of the numerous and often arbitrary restrictions that they don't even know where to begin. I hope that we can make the process a bit easier.

Once we see how this works out, we will consider adding other services. Keep in mind that these blogs are maintained for me by my loved ones who volunteer their time and energy. They have gone through -and are still going through- what you are going through right now. You aren't alone in all this. There are people who understand and who care. I want to see these blogs spark a community of those affected by the prison industrial complex, who support one another.

A quick reminder... Holidays are one of the most difficult times for prisoners and those who love them. Try to make allowances because it's a stressful period for almost everyone. Love and light to you all.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Update on Wilkinson County Correctional Facility

Thanksgiving Day is on my mind as I write this. What are you thankful for? We shouldn't need a special day to think about what we have to be thankful for, but it isn't a bad thing. I am thankful for my loved ones. I'm thankful that the atmosphere here at the facility seems to be improving in certain respects and only isolated incidents have occurred. I am thankful that Warden Shaw seems genuinely concerned seeing the prison run as it should.

One thing that has changed is the facility's name. This is no longer Wilkinson County Correctional Facility, but is now known as  Wilkinson County Correctional Center (WCCC). There are 22 pods where prisoners are housed, and 16 of them are "general population" and are no longer locked down (not including the two pods where prisoners are housed on protective custody status). There are only 4 pods where prisoners are housed on long-term segregation status, and one of those is an "incentive program" where prisoners classified on high risk or security threat group status are allowed to earn their way back into general prison population. There are two halls at WCCC- the West and South halls. So far, the general population pods on the South hall have not been allowed to go to the dining hall to eat, but are served trays off a cart on their respective pods. All the pods on the West hall must go to the dining hall if they want to eat.

Education programming is in the initial stages of being established. 

There are 3 levels to the GED program:
 - Basic level 1, taught by Mrs. Ware
 - Basic level 2, taught by Mrs. Scott (whom I tutor for)
 - Pre-GED, taught by Mrs. Alexander

Two vocational programs will be offered, in which prisoners can earn certification:
 - Painting
 - Facility maintenance

Alcohol & Drug programs are offered in two course lengths:
 - the short program last 8 weeks
 - the longer program lasts 6 months
Religious programs will soon be held as Chaplain Barnes settles into his role here at WCCC. This is what I'm looking forward to.
Recreation opportunities include:
 - basketball tournaments
 - table tennis
 - a bodyweight workout station donated by the police academy
 - chess
 - checkers
 - dominoes
Some in-cell programming is made available through the Case Managers in the form of interactive journaling. Also, an evidence based program called Moral Reconation Therapy is in the works, and focuses on cognitive behavioral treatment. Pre-release for prisoners with 6 months or less left to serve on their sentence will soon be available.

As things progress I will do my best to keep you updated. Thank you all for your patience with me and my lack of new posts as of late. I hope to remedy that. Thank you for caring and for all your feedback, suggestions and support.

About Steven

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

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