Today I had a meeting with my counselor at Dismas Charities – my Residential Reentry facility responsible for my home confinement. I first reported to Dismas on Monday April 24, 2023 – almost 3 months ago. During my intake I was told since I have pre existing health issues, Care Level II status from the BOP, and was released under the Cares Act that I am exempt from working anywhere. In the 3 months since reporting, it has been relatively easy to obtain my daily needs. Three different doctors sent medical files stating my need for physical activity so I attend the gym on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week. I’m permitted to go out to dinner with family once a month when I choose. All doctor appointments are approved. I can go to get a haircut twice a month, grocery shop twice a month, and go shopping for personal care items twice a month. I had planned to continue my education and have applied to a graduate online program at LSU which will begin in August and every day I am working on plans for the future.
Today, as I called Dismas to report I was leaving to go to the gym, I was told it was not approved and that I needed to come to the facility. Upon arriving at the facility my counselor informed me that until I found an organization to volunteer with, all of my moves were canceled. I asked how it is reasonable to not be permitted to work, but required to work for free volunteering? I’m told “this is a new BOP policy from the RRM Coordinators office. I explain that I will be in a graduate program in less than a month, can education allow me to have my moves back? I’m told “BOP policy is that you cannot go to college until you are done with your entire sentence so you need to withdraw from the program.” I asked “what about my doctors stating I need to go to the gym for therapy and physical activity” – I’m told “until you are volunteering you are not permitted to go anywhere, no gym, no grocery store, no haircuts, no doctors appointment, nothing.”
The passion to work within prison reform has been growing, so when I get home, I send an email to Michael Santos asking if he needs any volunteers.