This article is for those J6 Defendants (bad website, decent data) charged with Misdemeanor offenses at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. It seems that the DOJ is handing down prison time for us, and I would like to help those of you who did not get blessed with probation or home confinement. This article will pass along some of the wisdom I’ve gleaned while prepping for my own impending prison stay.
There have been over 700 people arrested, 150 have taken plea deals and 50 people have been sentenced so far. There are many people in the DC Gulag at this moment, enduring extreme conditions, and hardship. People are surrounding the J6 political prisoners on the web, in places like The Prisoner’s Record, Stop Hate.org and Patriot Mail Project. I am so sad to see what these people are enduring, but in small ways, I can relate, as I’ve also been caught in the mire. Even though we’re not in Supermax solitary confinement, those of us with shorter prison sentences—such as 15 days, 45 days, or like myself for 60 days—we need support too.
It is my understanding that it is very rare to be sentenced lightly in Federal Prison, so this article will address the special needs and issues unique to our situation.
Following are tips to help you along the way. Please share with other J6 Defendants, or other people who are being incarcerated for a short period of time in Federal Prison Camp. I have done a ton of research and spoken to great prison consultants such as Larry Levine and Holli Coulman of Wall Street Prison Consultants and Pink Lady Prison Consultants, respectively. I’ve also spent hours pouring over YouTube videos about the whole Federal Prison experience. It’s a whole new world—but we can make it through together.
Let’s get started:
Federal Prison Camp is Different from the Federal Penitentiary - Federal Prison Camp is minimum security camp for nonviolent offenders with 10 years or less on their sentence. According to sources, prison camp is not dangerous and the biggest concern is not being brutalized by other inmates. I’m told that most of the inmates are helpful. However, as expected, prison is a microcosm of life—there will be people who like you and those who do not. Keep your head down and do your time with no drama.
Federal Prison Camp is Dehumanizing, but No One Can Take Away Your Shine - Make no bones about it. It is extremely humiliating to lay your life down, leave your family and squat and cough in the nude before complete strangers. The punishment is real. The process is extremely difficult, adding stress, strain and distress to your already hectic life. You must manage your strain by following some of the tips in this article, and in articles to come. You must realize that you are valuable, and there is nothing that anything from the outside can do to tear you down, bring you down or make you less of a person. Your light shines from within, and God is the lifter of your head. (Psalm 3:3) Walk in love, forgiveness and the joy of the Lord, which is your strength at all times.
You Can Make the Most of a Bad Situation - There is nothing like being locked up in a camp without your usual vices to give yourself a much needed rest from the world. You will have limited use of phone, email and visitation is minimal, especially during COVID. You will have no computer access, no social media, no internet, no Amazon deliveries (except books), and very little of your usual comforts. You will have to rely on your own inner strength to find ways to serve your time and come out a better person. You can do this in a few ways, such as detoxing, working out, reading and writing your memoirs—or just chilling and getting your thoughts together after a very tough and scary ordeal. Life is not over; you will make it through this as a stronger person.
Make a list of 30 people you want to connect with while in prison. This is super important, because you and your family are taking giant hits, and it’s great to have support—people are glad to help. It may be prayer, networking, practical assistance or just emotional support. Create your list and mail it to yourself at the prison before you self surrender. Don’t be shy. Surround yourself with all the support you can get. Make use of activist resources and groups online. Take all the support you need, because you deserve it.
Pick the Day You Want to Surrender. You can choose the day you want to surrender once you get your designation letter from the BOP. I chose to go in earlier than my designated date to get the sentence over with during the holidays. You can choose to go in early, you just need to call the prison and let them know when you will arrive.
Surrender at the prison at 10am, before shift change. If you surrender earlier, you will have a better chance of being processed that day, and will less likely have to sit in the waiting area all day.
Bring nothing with you when you self surrender. You can have books mailed to you from Amazon, 5 at a time. You cannot bring anything with you. Wear disposable clothes or the prison will mail what you’re wearing to your home at your expense. Some were unable to take their bibles, etc…
Remove your accessories. You can’t wear fake nails in prison, so go ahead and get used to doing without. You won’t need to be glam in a jail cell, so go ahead and strip the extras and prepare to look bleak (if you’re a girl) for a few weeks or a few months.
Send yourself money for commissary. Once you are settled into prison, you will hopefully be given access to commissary (unless it’s limited due to COVID restrictions). You will need to buy things for yourself, such as personal hygiene items, paper and you will need to pay for your phone calls and emails.
Don’t rely on prison healthcare. It’s been my experience so far that your healthcare needs are not prioritized in prison in any way. If you have medication that you need to take every day, bring your prescription with you, but prepare to do without. If possible, wean off meds that you use for sleeping because you may not get healthcare in a timely manner in prison.
There is a million things I could add to this article to help you prepare for a successful, short-term Federal Prison sentence, but the hours of freedom are ticking away… so Lord willing, I’ll be seeing you in about 60 days.