Things to Know

To loosely quote Garrison Keillor, "It's been a quiet week at Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp."

I was recently asked by a Prison Consultant for some recommendations for someone who was about to surrender to Federal Prison.

Here are ten suggestions--some I knew, some I wish I had known.

1. Before you arrive, create a Wish List on, so friends and family can send books and magazines you'd like to read. I prefer paperback books, as they are cheaper and take up less locker space.

2. Bring with you a list of contacts that includes mailing addresses, emails and phone numbers. You can add these contacts to your trulincs account as soon as it's activated.

3. Focus initially on listening and learning, saying as little as possible, as it will will takes months to know who can be trusted.

4. Make arrangements for someone to electronically transfer up to $300 to your commissary account as soon as you surrender.

5. Realize that time will slow down. Nothing will happen quickly, so slow yourself down and try to be patient.

6. Prisons aren't staffed by the best and the brightest. Be respectful of everyone, but keep your expectations low and your comments to yourself.

7. As soon as you arrive, quietly ask around if anyone has used clothing, shoes, watches, radios or headphones for trade in commissary items.

8. Keep a journal each day, but mark time in weeks, not days. Select one day each week to honestly evaluate changes in your weight, workouts completed, books read, whatever you want to measure.

9. You can use the time to grow or to wither. It's totally up to you, and don't expect any help. Don't be discouraged if you wither a little some days.

10. Any family member listed in your Pre-Sentencing Investigation Report is automatically on your visitation list and can visit immediately. Everyone else will be required to complete a Visitation Form before being approved for visitation. Check with your counselor as to the procedure.

That's the news from Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp, where all the odors are strong, the visitors are good looking, and the rainfall is above average.