May 30, 2018

* Let's begin with these words from Thomas Merton's book New Seeds of Contemplation. "Nothing is more suspicious in a man who seems holy, than an impatient desire to reform other men...Renounce the futile concern with other men's affairs. Pay as little attention as you can to the fault of other people and none at all to their natural defects and eccentricities."

* My friend Buddy, the camp cat, has been sick. He has an ear and eye infection. Thankfully we have a kind-hearted officer here who took him to a "cat lady" who then took him to a Veterinarian. He just returned and is better, but his eyes are still runny and he can't hear. Please pray for Buddy. Yeah, I'm asking you to pray for a cat. However, I also understand there's a 99.9% probability it's not even close to the weirdest thing you've ever done.

* Several weeks ago, President Trump pardoned Lewis "Scooter" Libby who was convicted in 2007 of perjury and obstruction of justice based on charges brought by then Special Prosecutor P...

May 28, 2018

ALERT TO ALL WITH SHORT ATTENTION SPANS: THIS IS RATHER LONG. You might need to take a couple of breaks, but don't give up.

By existing statute, inmates who behave themselves can have their sentences reduced by earning 54 days of "good time credits" for each year of incarceration. However, the Bureau of Prisons has interpreted 54 days to mean 47 days. This alone should tell Congress that it's a bad idea to leave the execution of its intentions to the interpretation of the BoP. I'm not sure Congress has learned its lesson.

On May 22, 2018, the US House passed the First Step Act by a vote of 360 to 59, in a rare bipartisan vote. Those who voted against the bill did so primarily because they want to do more and because they, like me, don't trust the Department of Justice and particularly the Bureau of Prisons to implement the legislation in such a way as to fulfill its intentions. A similar bill has been introduced in the Senate, but many Senators want to see more prison reform along with s...

May 25, 2018

The world's cutest and sweetest granddaughter turned one year old this week. That's all I have to say about that.

May 20, 2018

I was 65 years old yesterday. I guess I'm now officially entering late middle age. After age 50, most birthdays are forgettable, anyway. But such was not the case for my 60th. The day before, I had fallen through a rotten board on a boat lift I was painting and broken 5 ribs when I hit a steel I-beam on my way down into the waters of Lake Brazos. After driving myself to the ER, I ended up spending the night in the hospital. 

The next morning I told the hospital staff that if I wasn't released by 3:00pm, I was simply going to walk out as there was a party that night at my house. Not surprisingly, the discharge papers were all completed by 2:55pm. I was not going to miss that party because, months before at a charity auction, a friend and I had won a catered dinner for 20. At the party that night, I remember being convinced I was really happy. Granted it could have been the painkillers, but it also may have been the people or the food. OK, it was the pain killers.

So now it's 5 years later...

May 15, 2018

Have you ever awaken from a dream and couldn't remember the day of the week or even where you were? I did that this week here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. Obviously, as I became more fully awake, my first words of the day were something akin to, "Oh shoot!" 

I've had some weird dreams here. For the first time in my life, many of them have had a reoccurring theme. They've been replete with a random cast of characters--people I've know all my life, but who usually appear out of context. Consistently, I'm not in prison, even though I know I'm supposed to be. I'm not sure why I'm not in prison and have no idea how to get back. Now I'm not a dream interpreter, but I wonder if I should be learning something from my subconscious through these dreams. I'm inclined to believe they mean I'm now fully rehabilitated and should be immediately released. As this cursory interpretation works for me, I intend to pursue their meanings no further.

There is, however, more than one way to awaken from a...

May 10, 2018

In a recently televised interview, Martha Stewart was asked if she could recall any good that had come from her incarceration in a federal prison camp. She gave a quick, heartfelt, emphatic and one word answer, "NO!" While I completely understand Ms. Stewart's response, I have learned some valuable life skills here at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp. In fact, there are so many, I've made a list of them.

1. I've learned how to put on my underwear after a shower while wearing shower shoes without getting my underwear wet. This requires planning, concentration, balance and is detailed, step by step, in an early post here

2. I've learned how to make a flat sheet into a fitted sheet. However, this trick only works with a sheet for a single bed which I hope to never again sleep on after I leave here. 

3. I've learned that 6 snoring inmates within 4 feet of me is a soothing choir of background noise, but a soloist is unbearable. See #4.

4. I've learned that when inserting ear plugs before bedtim...

May 5, 2018

Before I arrived at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, a wise friend told me that I could use this place like one would a monastery. Unfortunately, I had no desire to go to a monastery either, but the advice was sound. I have tried to use this period of incarceration for a badly needed spiritual, emotional, and physical re-calibration. I've also thought it made sense to write about this journey here in hopes that others might learn something, realizing that perhaps my life's purpose was only to serve as a warning to others.

For lack of a better plan, I've approached this personal re-calibration as I would if I were redoing a house, something I've had lots of experience doing. I figured I would need to remove a wall or two to create that open concept floor plan that is the current rave on HGTV. I also expected to redo the bath and kitchen, paint, and do something with the floors.

I'm here to report that after 31 months, the renovation project has gone pretty well, at least so far. I've remov...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones