© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

Law Library

February 27, 2016

The law library at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp is a 12' x 14' room with 3 computer terminals to use for legal research (pay by the minute), 2 typewriters, an empty file cabinet, and a copy machine (pay by the page) that sometimes works. The maximum capacity is 7 people. It's used infrequently for attorney/client meetings during day. I use it for reading and writing, typically 2-4 hours each day. 

 

In early December, I developed a staph infection in my elbow. The first antibiotic, which I took for 10 days, did little to help. The second one did the trick, but I ended up with all the drug's side effects plus fever and chills. I couldn't go outside as sun exposure was the only labeled warning, which I ignored, regretfully, but only once. During that period of almost 4 weeks, my 2-4 hours per day in the law library became 5-7 hours, certainly over the excessive line. Since January, I've been back to my usual schedule.

 

We have several inmates here who were lawyers in their former life, but only one whom I would call a "jailhouse lawyer" who helps other inmates with writs and appeals. He does most of his work on one of the Brother ML100 typewriters, literally "cutting and pasting" his work together. 

 

There is a group of us who regularly meet in the law library.  These regulars include my best friends in the camp. Ages range from the early 30s to the early 80s. The group is intelligent, diverse, witty and opinionated, but open minded (each within his own narrow range). Discussions range from economic policy to our favorite prison tattoo and from the First Lady in a Trump White House to which Chicago Album was the best. (Of course, even a clueless clown knows it's their second silver album.) Conversations can also include vulnerable and honest admissions of what we did wrong. In that respect, it might be just where I need to be.

 

Being included in this group is like being a member of the best church small group ever, except I would have to say the stories are slightly more honest and the food noticeably less tasty.

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