Journal Entry: Robert Jesenik-03/02/2024-Journal #8

Journal Entry

Sunday/Monday 2/25 and 2/26

Fairly productive couple of days. Got my medical letter draft done and off, finished last week’s journal and got it posted, and this week will be focused on catching up on 5 book reports.

It dawned on me I haven’t really written about the noise factor in prison. I’m sure my phone calls have it in the background. It’s really one of the biggest surprises I’ve had here in prison, and there’s nothing to be done about it other than find ways to escape the unit or pray for lockdowns.

For better or worse, about 180 of the 220 guys in our unit are Hispanic. The American Hispanics are generally well socialized and behaved, but that’s only 10-20% of the 180. The remainder are from Mexico, illegal for the most part, mainly here for smuggling drugs. They make all the noise as they behave like 6th graders,(similar education as well), have no interest in learning or self-improvement and literally watch TV or play cards/dominos all day in the unit. The screams and laughs and shouting are off the charts. The only time of peace and quiet is when our cell doors close. I write this all at 7 am and the card tables are full:)

Tuesday 2/27

Waking up at 6 am with no cold or sore throat, feeling healthy is so nice! Hopped down to medical at 6:10 to turn in a form notifying the Health Services Administrator my doctor is sending him a treatment letter and to get his proper name and spelling. I asked the nurse about what happened to my hearing test appointment from 2 weeks ago? She put it into the system herself two weeks ago and remembered me. To her surprise, not mine, it wasn’t in there, so she did it again. After 7 weeks they still won’t give me my hearing aid charger without a test, though not sure why I need one if I already have hearing aids? Why else would I have them:)?

Believe it or not, after receiving 8+ books these past few weeks, I’m running low. So I pulled out this 500-page book, Earning Freedom, an autobiography by Michael Santos who had a 45 year sentence for drugs as a first time offender, served net 25 years, and finally getting out at 50’ish years old. His journey, from arrest by the FBI to earning multiple college degrees is a great read, but I’m only half through. What annoys me is he fought wardens, counselors, and education administrators at several BOP locations, while getting to know the head BOP administrators, and even they couldn’t help him at times. Just a true testament to the bureaucracy at play here. And this was 1985-2008, one would have hoped things changed by now …..
I’m wired to fix things, and it’s so clear to me everyone knows the problems for decades and no on can fix them, no one! Not the President, Congress, DOJ, BOP, professors who study prisons, the nonprofits dedicated to prisons, no one!

My day included a 3-hour barber session, yes 3 hours! Long story….. but it looks good:) Unfortunately right in middle of workout time so didn’t get any today. All followed by dinner, movie, and reading.

Wednesday 2/28

Woke up to a small one hour fog lockdown, should be a gorgeous 70 degree day. One of our good inmates transferred out this morning for camp in Colorado, for his last 2 years(9 total). I’ll miss him, solid guy and one of the few who went to church with me. Several others transferred as well.

Finished Michael Santos’s book this morning, really ended up being very inspirational to me at this point of my journey. I wrote a book report separately already, and I’m going to use his ending chapter on planning life post release as a focal point to develop my plans. After the adjustment of coming to prison, it’s easy to get hung up in the frustration with almost everything in this bureaucracy, but it really doesn’t accomplish anything. But doing the work and heavy lifting now for a post release life provides not just focus on something positive, but I have enough time to actually get stuff done which isn’t easy inside. As a tool, I’ve also started re-reading Purpose Driven Life, so over the next 40 days it will be a great resource to help me work on my plan.

Loving my newfound routine. Up at 6, write, email, write, email till 11 or lunch. 12-3 outside workout, 3:30-5 lockdown. Dinner then either library or movie till 8. Read/TV till 9:30 and doors shut again lights out at 10 after inspection. Really allows me to be productive in the morning, and active in the afternoon. Don’t know why it took so long to figure out:)

Outside today I ended spending 90 minutes chatting with Will, who is a former attorney in for wire fraud. He’s the only person I’ve met so far that speaks the same financial/legal/business language. He had brutal treatment in Sheridan during Covid( almost died and ended up in a wheelchair) but none of that has impacted his attitude at all. He has a 7 year sentence and is 3 in, He is suing BOP for $30mm for all the mistreatment. We spent the entire time talking about prison reform, and he has been in discussions with an Arizona Congressman who is drafting a reform bill, partially based on Will’s input. While I’ve been making my own mental notes, reform hasn’t’ been focus for me as it seems so hopeless, but maybe God’s will is taking me that way, we’ll see. I’ll continue to listen and see where things go. One thing is for sure, I definitely have ideas on prison reform, and haven’t seen anyone addressing solutions how I would. Maybe I’ll start blogging, we’ll see.

Thursday 2/29

Weird to be the 29th! Woke up this morning to commissary day, yippee!! Actually got through in an hour, a record, but only got 70% of what I ordered. Not sure why they’re always out of stock on things so much?

Pretty straightforward day. Spent 3 hours outside in 70 degrees, last of nice weather as next 10 days forecast at high 50’s and wind with rain from time to time. Movie was Barbie, definitely a chick -flick. And I totally get why it didn’t get any Oscar nominations!!

Friday 3/1

Woke up today to an interesting email from Prison Professors. They have developed a new course for prisoner’s that’s focused on digital currency. Based on what I’ve read from them in the past my guess is they are also developing an AI course. These courses really are needed if these prisoners are to have any chance in the real world. One of the prisoner’s teaches a day trading class, and the guys love it, its at over capacity. several prisoners already trade, and track stocks,a couple with my Wall Street I give him every day, and want that to be their career when they get out!!

Saturday 3/2

Since on weekends we have an extra lockdown 9:30-11 am, I decided to get an early, 8-9 workout in, though its kind of sprinkling and supposed to rain all day. Glad I did as light sprinkles here and there, but got 2.5miles in plus weights.

Saturday’s are great for Mexican food from some of the inmates. Had 2 amazing burritos for $6. And no need to go to chow for a crappy lunch as well!

I’m spending the weekend without a radio, so can’t listen to the TV’s. Typical BOP, my friend gave me this radio when he left last Wednesday for Colorado. With all his stuff packed and turned in, he found out he was delayed till Monday, so wanted mine/his back for a few days. He still had to scramble for clothes and toiletries as all packed as well, crazy…..

Lots of reading on a relaxing Saturday afternoon,followed by a movie, Transformer 2. Nice way to end the week!

Praying for Freedom and Liberty and to see my Fam and friends again soon! BJ