Journal Entry: Gary Goulin-02/17/2024-KINDNESS OF STRANGERS

Journal Entry

I have been thoroughly amazed at the kindness of the inmates here. They remember what it’s like to be new to the institution and have been most helpful. Because I won’t be able to get to the commissary until early next week, people have been most gracious by providing things that make life easier for me. One gentleman gave me the paper, pen and envelopes on which I write this. When I buy stamps next week, this will be mailed. Another person lent me a radio and headphones until I can purchase my own. A radio is necessary to listen to the TV or any movies that are being shown. I haven’t watched TV or movies yet, but it’s nice to know that I have the ability now should I want to. I’ve been given an old pair of sneakers to use until I have my own. Sneakers are a special order and can take a month or two to arrive. The ones I have now are in pretty bad shape. I should be able to use them for an exercise bike, but doubt they can be used for walking the track.

In addition to providing necessary items, the inmates here are more that happy to answer questions. I asked one inmate where the recreation center and library were located. Not only did he walk me to each of them, but gave me a tour! There are a lot of unwritten protocols here: how to use the restroom, where to sit in the “chow hall”, and TV room. Random people have come up and explained these protocols. If a protocol is violated because of a lack of knowledge, a sincere apology is all that is generally required. The kindness I’ve been shown has been tremendously helpful in making me feel safe and not alone.

I’m still getting used to the weather here, also the altitude, which is about 5600 feet. Quite a difference from living at sea level. It’s quite cold here. I don’t know the exact temperatures, but I’d be surprised if the daytime highs are higher than 40 degrees. There’s snow on the ground, and last night it snowed. It was beautiful. I hadn’t seen snowfall in years. This morning was crisp and clear and the view of the snow-covered mountains was spectacular.

I received phone and computer access yesterday. No email access however. The computer access does not connect to the internet. It’s really only for internal communications, monitoring commissary balances, and for printing address labels. We are currently allowed 510 phone minutes per month. Calls are limited to 15 minutes, and one must wait 30 minutes between calls. The 510 minutes means about 17 minutes per day, of calls, in a 30 day month.

After receiving my phone access, I was able to call my immediate relatives and a couple friends to let them know I’m safe and sound. I do miss everyone already. I have a long journey ahead, but I’m taking it one day at a time. I have an amazing group of family and friends who are more than willing to help me.