The First Time Going To Commissary


“I’d heard a lot about commissary. Guys were telling me that it was like shopping at a local grocery, which I found hard to believe. I mean, this was prison, c’mon really? That sounded ridiculous. Guys were always pulling pranks on each other, and this sure sounded like one.”


I had been at reception for a month now. The daily routine involved attending sessions where you were tested and evaluated in order to determine your security level and which institution you would be sent to. There were psychological and IQ evaluations amongst a battery of medical tests and immunizations. Then it was off to dental for examinations and treatment if needed. This is what every inmate goes through at the reception center, and it’s exhausting.

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The First Major Lockdown

It was my third summer of incarceration, and I’d spent it outside working out and running the Hamster Wheel as much as possible. I was a short distance sprinter in high school, and I was accustomed to outrunning most everyone. However, if you could make it 400 yards without me catching you, you had a good chance of getting away. That summer I’d told myself I was going to change that, and I set my sights running the mile. I remember watching a woman on television from Kenya shred everyone in the mile. She established a steady quick pace, and then sprinted the last 1/3 of the mile. Wow. That’s 1760 feet of balls to the wall fury. Absolutely inspirational. I told myself if she could do that in just under 4 minutes, then I sure as hell could run a 5:00 mile. It was something I’d never done in my life, and something most people can’t do. I was determined to prove to myself I could do it.

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MONDAY: Training Murphy, and A Perv Strikes

Early this morning– Sometime before the birds wake I find myself sitting up in bed. Man that was a shitty dream. Something about tornadoes and volcanoes suddenly appearing out of nowhere. What the hell is that all about? Looking around the dorm and it’s peacefully quiet. It’s still very early and almost everyone is asleep except for the usual suspects. I make my way down the long aisle to the bathroom because I need to take a leak. My cube is located at the farthest distance away from the bathroom as possible because I am in a dog cube (as I am a dog trainer and handler in the staff dog program). The location of my cube is a blessing really, because I have the entire corner to myself and it’s traffic free. No one has any business being there except for myself and my cubemates. It’s a curse because by the time I return I’ll be half awake having walked all over tarnation. Thankfully I get back to sleep. **

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#19: Video Fridays in 60 Seconds — Wow! What a Clock!

Arts and crafts are a big part of prison life, and for many guys this is where they find peace of mind and solace. When you are making a craft item your mind is free to imagine and free from these walls and razor wire fences. This clock is hand made literally from craft sticks, and I have provided pictures of it from beginning to end:

Some guys draw portraits or pictures of wildlife using pencils and pens, while others spend their days creating unique wood crafts. There are so many different types of crafts, and I’ve showcased them throughout these posts. Behind every craft item there is a story. They are stories about real people who have similar hopes and dreams as those out there in the free world. In today’s videos I share with you one of them.



If you missed some of the other arts and crafts I’ve posted, see #12: Video Fridays in 60 Seconds for an amazing butterfly, knitted wares, and an outhouse, #17: Video Fridays for a color drawn cross, Ivory Soap Eagles and Hummingbirds for an amazing animal portrait, custom drawn greeting cards, and a wishing well, and Prison Hustles Make the World Go Round for a video of a hand made Harley Motorcycle. Above all, be sure to see the portrait painting in Ryleigh Payne–An Angel Returns Home from beginning to end, commemorating the beautiful life of 9 year old Ryleigh Payne.


*Remember be prepared for coronavirus. I wish health and happiness to everyone.

—Christopher—