Monday, December 21, 2015

FYI: For women/ wives/ mothers hoping to keep in touch with a loved one (a husband, a BF, a son or grandson) sent to prison ("After the Knock on the door") SNY's ( Sentisive Needs Yards) Exist to help SO's and Juveniles sentenced as sex offenders

I offer this link from Daily Strength Families of sex Offenders to wives and mothers on Not the Life because you may want to pass these safety suggestions on to a loved one in prison. It helps to ease your mind about their safety so you can focus on decisions you will have to make   dealing with all the collateral damage out here.  

 Survival in a California Sensitive Needs Yard: Advice from the Inside  (please note, this information is from California but is good survival information for anyone in any prison or jail in the US) the information is from a valuable resource some of you may want to go to depending upon the decisions you make "After the knock at the door" 

The California Department of Corrections (CDC) has set aside a number of prison yards designated as Sensitive Needs Yards(SNY) to accommodate ex-gang members, sex offenders, and others in need of protective custody. The SNY program differs from the mainline in a number of ways. First, guys who have "P/C'ed Up", or gone SNY, are considered "no good" on the mainline yards. Once someone has been in protective custody, either in the state prison system or in their county jail, they cannot safely return to the mainline. Second, nearly all of the "politics" do not exist on the SNY yards. By politics, I'm talking about the racial segregation, the prison gangs, and the checking of paperwork. Keep in mind, however, that there is still a hierarchy among the inmates based on their controlling cases (the charges that brought a guy to prison). Third, the SNY inmates are considered the lowest of the low in the prison system. That includes the inmates, some guards, and some of the brass on the yard. To put it succinctly, as an SNY inmate, you have nothing coming, so don't expect it.

You can, however, survive SNY if you play your cards right. Follow these basic guidelines and you should be okay.

• Be friendly to everyone, but friends with no one. You are likely to meet very few people in prison you will want to be friends with outside of prison. Always be courteous, share when you can, and do not make jokes with casual acquaintances. You never know when someone is going to misinterpret what you say and cause you a lot of grief. Remember: It is easier to not say it than to say it and hope they aren't offended by it.

• Do not tell ANYONE why you are in SNY. Sex offenders are considered the lowest of all the inmates on any yard. A known sex offender will have trouble with some inmates in the form of refusing to cell up with them, being intimidated or harassed, having their property stolen, etc. There is little access to information in prison, so if you do not tell anyone why you are SNY, they will never know. They may suspect, but they won't know.

• If you are a sex offender, develop a cover story. Eventually the subject of why you are here will come up. If you tell the truth, you're in trouble. If you refuse to talk about it, people will make assumptions. You will need two parts for your cover story: an "acceptable" controlling case (the crime you were convicted of), and a reason you are in SNY. To fabricate a controlling case you need to familiarize yourself with the penal code. You will need to know what your crime is called, its P/C code, the possible terms you could have been sentenced to, and whether it falls under the control of the 3 strikes 85% law. Good candidates for controlling cases are theft, drug offenses, drunk driving, and other property crimes. If you've never done drugs, you're not going to be able to pull off a drug offense, so don't try. Drunk drivers don't go to prison on their first conviction, so be prepared to fabricate other DUIs. Also, be sure to research what the experience is like for offenders in your county. The last thing you want to do is be caught ignorant of how the system works.

Reasons you are SNY are tricky as well. If you have gang affiliations, it's easy. If you have gang tattoos, it's easy to say you dropped out. But if you are a clean-cut white guy with no ink and no priors, you've got to be a little creative. You need to fabricate some circumstance that would put you in danger with inmates in the county jail, but be acceptable in the prison system. Any offense involving a child is a good reason to P/C up, but prison inmates don't like guys who hurt children. (It's okay to sell drugs to a child's parents, or kill the parent of a child, but a crime involving a child directly is another thing.) If you can add just the right elements to your story to get the COUNTY to put you in protective custody, you're in good shape because once you've been on the P/C side you can't go to the mainline because you're "no good." 

Here is a possible cover story. I haven't researched all of the aspects that you should before using this story, so do your homework. If you have just a little time to do, around 3 years, try this: You had been drinking, didn't think you were drunk, hit a parked car and left the scene because you were driving on a suspended license. Your niece was in the car, so when the police finally caught you, they charged you with DUI, felony hit and run, and child endangerment. Because of the last charge, the county put you in the P/C tank and now you can't go mainline. It's plausible and safe. Rehearse the story so you can provide enough details to make it believable .

• Respect others. In prison, the word "respect" is thrown around all the time. To prison inmates, any form of courtesy is called respect. If an inmate feels disrespected, he will resolve the issue one way or another. The least desirable way is to fight, but it's a fairly common occurrence. Things you can do that will be seen as respectful include: courtesy flushing the toilet, washing your hands after using the toilet, not spitting your toothpaste in the sink (use the toilet), saying "excuse me" any time you walk in between people, staying out of others' space, speaking in a quiet voice, cleaning up after yourself, not waking people up, and not saying things you think are funny at someone else's expense. If you try to be as neutral, polite and inoffensive as possible, you will probably be seen as respectful.

• Stay away from drama. Most of the drama on the SNY yard revolves around drugs and homosexuals. Guys sell their medications and on occasion some controlled substances get smuggled in. Avoid them. The quickest and easiest way to get hurt is to run up a debt for something you really don't need, like drugs. There are also some homosexuals on the yard who are looking to pair up with someone. It's usually not for love; it's more for sex and money. Guys tend to be protective and the gay guys tend to look for ways to get attention, so steer clear.

• Don't borrow. Prison is a tough place to live if you don't have any of the allowed niceties. However, trouble is right around the corner if you owe somebody something. Convicts have some twisted ideas about how things should work, so it's not out of the realm of possibility that something bad might happen if you find yourself in debt. A good rule of thumb is if you can't pay cash for it, you don't need it.

If you heed these warnings you should be able to fly under the radar for the length of your term. Keep in mind that on an SNY yard, up to 90% of the guys are doing time for a sex offence. They won't admit it, and they will divert attention from themselves by pointing fingers at others. But the bottom line is that guys who have gone SNY want to go home. Be respectful, don't call attention to yourself, and don't be a jackass and you will most likely be OK. Remember, there is only one person you can totally trust to keep you safe --you.

Along with the above tips, there are a few basic things you need to know about the prison system. The following is the most basic information you will need to know. One of the amazing things about inmates is that even though many have been through the system many times, they don't know how things really work. They tend to rely on their own experiences and what other inmates have told them. The following information is reliable.

Reception--After your conviction you will be remanded to the county jail. Within a few weeks you will be transported to a state prison near you that has a reception facility. Reception is a kind of purgatory where all prisoners go to await endorsement to a state prison for permanent housing. Your stay in reception is supposed to last from 30 to 120 days, but nothing is guaranteed.

While you are in reception, you will be screened medically and psychologically. When they have found a place for you at a permanent facility you will be bused to your new prison. In the meantime, you will be in reception, living in the relatively bizarre reception program. In reception you will be housed in a two-man cell with another inmate who could be there for anything from a parole violation to a double murder. Since you don't know who you will be paired up with, you should really practice showing "respect."

The reception program is much more restrictive than the regular program. You will be locked in your cell all day except for breakfast and dinner and a couple of hours on the yard two days a week. You are allowed a shower every other day. Other than those times you are locked up. If you are not a reader, this will be a great opportunity to learn to like it. Also, writing letters is a great way to kill time and really helps to keep you sane. Encourage your friends and family to send you writing packets consisting of paper, envelopes, pens, and stamps. In reception, stamps are like money. You can buy food and other necessities with stamps, but keep in mind that they are not worth face value. A stamped envelope will get you a bag of chips, or a two-pack of cookies, a piece of fruit, or maybe even a "shot of coffee." The more stamps you have, the better.

After what seems like an eternity, you will be called to see your counselor. At that meeting, he will tell you how many "points" you have, what custody level you are, and which prisons you are recommended for. The recommendations are just that, recommendations. There is no guarantee that you will go to either place.

The prison yard you are sent to is determined by the number of points you have. There are 4 levels of custody with level IV being the most restrictive and level I being the least. The point cutoffs are: level IV--52+, Level III--28-51, Level II--19-27, and Level I--0-19. A sex offender points cannot drop below 19, due to the "mandatory minimum" score that is imposed. To calculate your points, multiply your sentence years by 2. Add to that the appropriate amount of points for your age at first arrest: 17 years or under = 12, 18 to 21 = 10, 22 to 29 = 8, 30 to 35 = 4, and 36+ = 0. Then add the appropriate amount of points for your age at reception: 16 to 20 years old = 8, 21 to 26 = 6, 27 to 35 = 4, and 36+ = 0. You also get 1 point if you were previously sentenced to 31+ days in the county jail. There are other factors, such as gang affiliation that earn you more points, but we'll ignore those for brevity's sake.

Level IV inmates are housed in two-man cells as are Level III. Level I and II are typically in dorm settings. Keep in mind that the prisons you see on TV shows are generally Level IV yards. Unless you were sentenced to a lot of time or you had a lot of previous prison experience you will end up on a Level II or III yard.

On the day you leave reception, you will be taken to R&R early in the morning and you'll wait there until your bus comes. You will be stripped to your boxers and given a paper jumpsuit to wear. When you get on the bus, you will be shackled, hands and feet. If you're lucky, the bus ride won't be too long. If you're not so fortunate, your trip may include an overnight stop at another prison. Hope that your trip is a short one. Be sure to follow the one rule the transportation guards insist on: There is no talking while the bus is moving. If you choose to break the rule, there's a good chance you will go to one prison and your property to another.

Finally, money is one thing that will make your prison term tolerable. You can use it to shop at the canteen and purchase quarterly packages from one of the approved package vendors. Here's how the quarterly package program works: Four times a year each inmate can purchase up to 30 pounds of cosmetics, clothing, and food. Each of the approved companies publishes a catalog and also has a website to order from. The best way to get your package is to have someone on the outside order your package online.

The prison will keep a "trust account" for any money you have. If someone sends you a money order, the prison will remove it from the envelope and credit your account. If you were ordered to pay restitution, the prison will deduct 55% from any funds you have and apply it to your restitution balance. The best way to avoid the 55% deduction is to have all of your money sent to you in the county jail. Also, any money you carry with you when you are taken into custody will be put on your books. The prison will not take restitution until you receive a notice that you owe restitution, but if you want to avoid the 55% deduction, get your money in early.

Hopefully this brief guide will help you make the adjustment to prison life. Always keep in mind that those in SNY can expect nothing from anybody. But if you keep your wits about you, keep your case details to yourself, and stay under the radar, you should be okay. Good luck.

As I said, I offer this link here on Not the Life because to wives and mothers may want to pass these safety suggestions on to a loved one in prison. It helps to ease your mind about their safety so you can focus on decisions you will have to make   dealing with all the collateral damage out here.  

They come from a man called REW who posts on Daily Strength Families of Sex Offenders:  
  • Here are the links for prison safety. They were not written by me, but they are good.

    The link below was originally written for inmates---sex offenders---to survive at a Sensitive Needs Yard in California, but the information is still good information and I agree with most of it.
Take Care. And Happy New Year.  Janet Mackie