Journal Entry: Kevin Galetto-11/07/2023

Journal Entry

Today was the day I surrendered. Dennis, Remy and Ihla had driven me to Jesup, GA the day before and we stayed at a hotel (Best Western) that smelled rather musty. Ihla decided to bring Buggsie, and he was an angel the whole time. Dennis texted me at about 6:30 AM, and stated that breakfast was being served. Although it wasn’t great, at least they had hot coffee. Dennis and I ate breakfast together, then Ihla came into the breakfast hut to have her breakfast. I probably should have stayed with her for our last meal together, but instead took Buggsie for a walk back to the hotel room. I was feeling rather lost and emotionally drained. I wasn’t sure what to do or how to react. Mom called and gave me a blessing of hope, but even that wasn’t enough to overcome my intense feeling of hopelessness.

We all decided to head out to the prison. “Rip the bandaid off,” I think was my expression. It was a rather short ride to the prison, and we arrived at the gate where the guard asked us where we were headed. Dennis asked for directions to FSL, but we needed to go to Admissions in the medium security prison. I joked, “Is my room ready?” and got a smile from the guard. As we pulled into the parking lot, it hit me rather hard. This will be the place I will spend at least a year behind this barbed razor wire.

WE all headed to the main entrance, FCI Jesup sign overhead in big letters. Dennis had a clip on him, so he wasn’t allowed to go into the waiting room. Ihla and Remy came in with me. I gave my name and inmate number to the guard behind the desk, and she radioed the intake officers. I turned to say my goodbyes and Ihla was in full cry-mode. We hugged and I told her I loved her. I didn’t want to start crying, so I made it as quick as I could. Remy said something like “It will go by fast,” but I knew she had no idea what that meant.

I carried my bible, meds, some medical records and other documents into the prison. I had to go through an airport screening device, placing shoes, belt, medications into a bin that went through a scanner. A guard joked, “That’ll teach you for expressing your rights,” or something similar. I knew he believed in my cause. He told me that he was supposed to go to DC that day to defend the Capitol, but didn’t go for some reason. As we stepped into the courtyard, the guard put a chain around my waist and slipped handcuffs through the hole where a belt buckle would be, handcuffing my hands in front of me. Prior to that, there was a lot of paperwork to get through, visiting a nurse who checked me for COVID and gave me a TB shot. I was strip- searched and given a uniform to put on. The guard asked me what size I needed for pants and a shirt. I told him I was a 38 waist and XL shirt. He gave me a laundry bag and I was escorted in chains, carrying my laundry bag, to a modified minivan that had steel bars everywhere. There was a bar that went across the back door that had a padlock outside of the van. The driver had a shotgun and placed it into the van with the muzzle pointed at my face. I think he realized it, based on my reaction, and corrected the issue. We drove over the the Satellite Low facility where I was unchained and released into general population. The guard pointed me toward the “A” block and told me what cubicle I was assigned, III. Of course, I forgot it because it was a long walk to the building. At Receiving at FSL, they gave me a new mattress and I had to carry that and my laundry bag to my cubicle. Luckily, there was a guard waiting there who knew which cubicle I was assigned. I got lots of onlookers and as I walked down the corridor, prisoners were already jealous of my huge mattress.

I met my roommate, who doesn’t speak English, and there was another guy across the hall who introduced himself.

In the laundry bag were blankets and sheets that my roommate and his friend across the hall (Toco) helped me cover the mattress with. I tried on my uniform (brown, not orange like the movies), and the waist was way too tight. I looked at the waistband and saw 36”x34”. I had to get another uniform and was directed over to laundry. I met my next-door neighbor who is in charge of the laundry. He gave me a 38×32 pair of pants and I walked back across the courtyard trying to hold my stomach in while wearing the 36” uniform. I got back to my bunk area only to find out that 38s didn’t fit either. Again, I marched across the compound to get a size 40. The attendant told me he didn’t have any 40s, but could make me a pair tomorrow. He gave me a size 42×34 and again I walked back to my bunkhouse with 2 pairs of 24×34 trousers. To my surprise, they fit rather nicely. The laundry bag had a belt in it, but it was about the size of a 34” length. I again marched back to laundry to get a size 40 belt and to notify the attendant that the 42s were perfect and to cancel the request for the size 40. After the laundry fiasco, there was a call for chow. I followed everyone into the mess hall where they were serving some sort of breaded chicken between a bun. There was some lettuce and baked beans, and some brown goop I’ve never seen in my life. I found a spot to sir, asking the person across the opposite side of the table if it was ok to sit there. He nodded his head in agreement. I sat down to enjoy this supposed nutritional meal. The first bite was all it took to know what I can expect for the remainder of my sentence. It was tasteless, had and dry. That brown goop almost made me puke. I ate some salad, but the dressing was some sort of get that I assumed was Italian dressing. I ended up tossing the “food” into a waste bin and placing the tray in a window to be washed. I headed back to the “A” block compound, not sure what to do next. Most of the guys in my area speak Spanish, which puts me at a disadvantage to make friends. Apparently, our wonderful Commander-in-Chief decided to close down prisons that held illegal aliens. There weren’t any plans to relocate these prisoners, so apparently the non-violent refugees ended up in Jesup. A few years ago, this prison housed white-collar criminals, doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. After Biden, things went sideways. I guess there was a really big deal that went down a couple of weeks ago where they relocated
ALL the prisoners to some abandoned prison in SC. It seems that drones were being used to deliver phones and drugs to inmates. The previous warden went ballistic and shipped everyone out, based on some tip from an inmate that there was a gun on campus. The guards turned the place upside-down and destroyed personal property of most of the inmates. It was a spiteful at and I think that event changed the dynamic of this atmosphere. No-one trusts anyone anymore, certainly not a newcomer.

Late afternoon, something else happened. Apparently someone was caught with an MP3 card that had something on it that did not meet the rules of the prison. Our block went into lockdown and nobody was allowed to go out after dinner chow. This apparent act cost the whole unit, even though the culprit was apprehended. Now it appears that this punishment will last for 7 days. I borrowed a book from the unit’s pastor. I decided to read to take my mind off the day’s events. I started reading “Killers of the Flower Moon; The Osage Murders and Birth of the FBI,” by David Grann. It’s about a Native American family who discovers oil on their land, and then these mysterious murders take place. Anyway, I fell asleep and was awakened by someone telling me that the callout was happening.

After the callout, I laid in my bunk on my hard-as-concrete mattress, and reflected on the day. All that I could see was Ihla’s face as she looked at me, helplessly sobbing as we said our goodbyes. My thoughts were that I’ve failed her and my family by my actions 2-1 ⁄ 2 years ago when, without a plan or thinking, I jumped on an airplane to DC to support our president, not knowing what to expect. I let my emotions get the best of me, and I acted foolishly and without any regard for the consequences. It may have been a trap, but I walked right into it.