I have been fortunate enough get treatment for my addictions here at Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp. This substance abuse program is excellent and helping me in multiple ways! People in this program maintain separate living quarters from the rest of the prison camp.  At my location in central Pennsylvania all inmates A.K.A. as “peers” live and take classes “programs” under one roof.  The physical structure of the building is brighter, less intimidating and quite inspirational in comparison to the prototypical prison environment.   I would liken the building to a suburban grade school with large windows and low ceilings.  The living quarters is a large room that houses many bunkbeds and lockers.  The theory of this close living is to promote a tight knit community feel that will aid in behavioral recovery.  Perhaps I will go into the function and thoughts on RDAP in a future entry but for today’s purpose I want to provide a specific “Day in the life”.

As made mention earlier being in prison can sometimes feel similar to the movie “Groundhog Day”.  For those of you who are unfamiliar this movie’s plot was the main character relives the dame day over and over.  It is not difficult fo the reader of this to imagine prison and more specifically RDAP being similar.  There are many things I do benefit from on a daily basis and I believe I am learning a lot about myself and my behaviors  but the structure is most definitely repetitive.

5:30 AM   “Up and Adam”

Days start early here on the camp.  There is no official wake-up time or Revely blown but most inmates start to wake and straighten up by 5:30.  I would say that one of the aspects of this life that is surprising is the expediency people make their bed, get dressed and clean up and start their day.  The majority (myself included) have everything tidy,teeth brushed and dressed within 5 minutes of opening their eyes. From here it is off to breakfast, gym, computers or for someone like myself it is  coffee, writing and planning my day.

7-10:30 AM    “Programming”

These hours are reserved for RDAP programming or classes.  I am not going to expand on this now to be honest If I will in the future due to the sensitive nature of the subject.  I will say that I am finding it helpful and it is very much a scenario of you get out of it what you put into it.

11AM        “Lunch”

Lunch is called.  I will absolutely be writing on the food program at lewisburg federal prison camp in a future entry.   As I am sure you can imagine the process is mechanical and expedient.  We find ourselves usually in and out of the cafeteria within 12 minutes.

11:15-11:30      “Email and Reaching Out”

Warehoused in the same administrative building that hosts the cafeteria isaband of desktop computers that inmates can use for email.  The email system that is used is called tru-links and it is somewhat antiquated and clunky but it  gets the job done.  Everyone has different experience with communication wile in prison.  For me it has been somewhat challenging managing some of this with my friends as I am still dealing with the embarrassment of being here and the lack of info or news to share from my end. Other people really enjoy this experience and maintain a robust email network.

11:30-1:30   “Track and Gym”

This aspect of prison life is one of the most critical in my point of view.  Everyone in prison has different work assignments that they must tend to during the week and many work hours between 8-2.  I will expand on work at camp later but my work detail falls outside of these normal hours so I use this time for exercise.  Other may go after dinner but that is when the gym and track are most crowded.

The exercise facilities at Lewisburg are quite good.  Whatever you might need to maintain your physical health is certainly available.  The walking track is located behind the RDAP building and is a mainstay or even lifeblood of the day for a lot of inmates.  Walking for myself is an extremely valuable and cathartic experience.  Being outside in fresh air while clearing my head and thinking deeply on projects I am working on is a godsend.

The gym is a lot larger than what I had expected.  This hosts a large quantity of free weights, various machines for cardio and a couple of pool tables for leisure.  Everyone is respectful of each other and there is a wide spectrum of fitness knowledge amongst the inmates and I was personally helped by some of the more advanced inmates.

I will be writing a future entry on the theory of improving your physical and mental state during incarceration to add more time on the back end of your life to replace the time lost due to said incarceration.

1:30-4      “Read and Work”

This is a down time that people use fro various efforts with the most popular being napping.  For me I use it to accomplish my RDAP bookwork, reading and writing for future business interests.  A common theme for my entries will be lack of television viewing.  Within our RDAP building there is a large room with 9 televisions showing up to 9 different programs at a time.  Some people enjoy spending their time here but as a matter of practice I avoid this.  I try to maintain a more productive schedule and these TV rooms can be quite territorial and loud.

4:00        “Count time at Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp

Count happens at 4PM as well as 9PM.  This is as is sounds and for obvious reasons taken very seriously throughout the prison system.  They “count” the inmates.  For this you must be standing by your bed at these times. No exception.  It only takes about 15 minutes and you need to stay put until “count clears”.

4:15        “Mail Call”

It is exactly as it sounds.  The guard will dump a large duffle bag of mail onto a table for inmates to disseminate and deliver to other inmates.  You will learn quickly the importance of keeping up correspondence and or having a newspaper/magazines subscriptions.

5:00        “Dinner”

Once again a quick process and you will be done by 5:15.

5:15 – 9PM    “Free time or for some the Great Abyss”

I can’t speak for everyone but I rarely finished dinner and my evening rituals by 5:15 while at home.  What this leaves you with is an inordinate amount of time to yourself.  The big question for me and yourself is how are you going to fill these hours for the duration of your incarceration?  Some slip into the regiment of clocking 4-5 hours in the TV room or playing cards for untold hours.  For myself I try to stick to the following plan.  After dinner I will complete another spin through my email.  Following that I will go back to my bunk to read my newspaper and then it is off to the track for about a hour and a half.  I use this time as more leisure in regards to walking with a group.  Prison can straight up get lonely.  I am someone who can spend a good amount of time by myself and I still look forward to these walks telling stupid jokes and discussing current events.  Having a plan for your day and keeping yourself moderately busy throughout is the touchstone to a successful prison term.  If  you aren’t looking forward you can easily fall behind.

9PM        “Count”

Same as before followed by shower and bed.  They generally turn the larger lights off by 10PM and if you want to continue to read then a book light is required.  Ideally though you will be tired from your day of work/study and exercise and look forward to sleep.  If you read any book on general health they speak of the importance of sleep and if you make it a goal while being in prison you might develop a good habit for it.

This is my average day in a nutshell.  I hope it helps and I hope you look forward to future entries.

Thank you,

Matthew O’Callaghan

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Matthew O'Callaghan