I have a rather high degree of certainty that if you are reading this you have done more research on prison then I  did during the entirety of my pre-trial.  My apathay towards research about the actual prison had more to do with placing energy elsewhere and a deep sense of “I will go where I go, and there is nothing I can do that will change that”.  I am certain that most of you will be inquiring with Justin and his team about your specific destination.  For this entry I wanted to share with you a nuts and bolts description of Lewisberg Prison Camp.  This will include the layout of the surrounding structures.

The Big House:

Everything in Lewisberg revolves around the main structure that is the Lewisberg prison better known as “The Big House”.  This mammouth structure was built in 1932 and has warehoused many notorious prisoners including Al Capone for you history buffs.  I don’t care if you are the most hardened street guy in the Northeast once you set eyes on the “Big House” you will be reconsidering the actions that brought you to Lewisberg.  It is a giant structure with guard towers,  imposing walls and maintains an almost castle like reflection.  Bottom line you don’t ever want to go to the Big House for any reason.

The Camp:

Adjacent to the big house is the camp which is where I live.  The camp consists of five separate buildings.  The administrative building that holds the main offices, the cafeteria, computers,  library, classrooms, chapel as well as commissary.  There are 2 separate dorm style buildings known as Unit 1&2 for the general campers.  These were neater and provided ample space compared to what I had imagined.  The living quarters are broken up into cubicles that are separated by 5 foot cement walls and it is usually 2 per cube with a bunk bed.  The RDAP building that as I have mentioned hosts bunk  style living quarters and classrooms for RDAP inmates. To expand on this, the bunk quarters are 2 separate probably 50 yard rooms that are 20 yards wide.  The room is filled with bunks along the outside so most men have window exposure which is good.   Both the RDAP building and the Administrative building’s libraries are rather plentiful and are kept in good shape by the inmates. I have read over 25 books in my short stay and have really been pleasantly surprised by the offerings of the library.  Finally,  the last structure is the fitness center or gym which has everything someone would need to work on a healthy lifestyle.

There are 2 separate walking tracks.  The additional exercise areas include 2 basketball courts,  a baseball field that is in great shape, 2 horseshoe pits, a volleyball net as well as some outdoor chin up bars.  There is a little pond that is frequented by a large group of mallard ducks.  The mallards have become the unofficial mascots of the camp as they come up to the admin building at chow time to get fed by the inmates with extra bread etc.  A handful of groundhogs also partake in the post meal feedings to the point where some of them should give a call to Weight Watchers.

Facility Buildings:

Scattered throughout the property but mainly on the other side of the big house are the facility buildings.  This is a working camp so everyone here maintains a job and a majority of these jobs are stationed out of these buildings.  For example landscaping, garage, warehouse, powerhouse, general maintenance.  If you have a particular vocation or trade they try to match you up with some employment that will allow you to continue that type of work.  The hours vary but most people go to their job from the hours of 7-2pm with lunch break in the middle.

View/Landscape:

This part might have little impact on you now as you read but the location of this camp and the surrounding areas is rather picturesque.   Lewisberg camp is situated in a valley and maintains a very nice view of a mountain range to the East and has nice sunsets to the West.  There are small farm structures such as silos and red barns in the near distance that add a milder view to your prison surroundings.

Staff:

Within Justin’s books you have read about the people you will meet within a prison camp.  There are the guards that are situated in each building and perform the counts.  These men and women keep to themselves and really only interact with inmates if there is a problem.  Someone told me before I came that I will have no real reason to have a conversation or ask them questions and that has been true.  Each inmate with have a case manager and a counselor.  Each person is different in regard to how much interaction they will have with each of these particular professionals.  The case manager will only really be involved if you if you have active parts of your case still going such as appeals and when you are closer to being released.  The counselor will assist you in your work detail and living situations here.  My counselor has been respectful and handled my few requests for assistance promptly.  The Unit manager runs the camp and once again has been helpful and respectful in my limited interactions.  Bottom line for being a prisoner is to remember you are a prisoner but if you would like to receive respect from the staff then you need to operate with respect.  No different then the golden rule.

I hope some of these bare bone descriptions of the camp have been of use to you.  I tried to compile this in a way that I feel would have been helpful to me before enrolling here.  In my future entries I will write in some greater detail on how I am handling my time here and what I am looking to get out of the process.  In the meantime if you would like to ask me a question feel free to send a letter to.

Matthew O’Callaghan  73497-050

RDAP Camp

PO BOX 1000

Lewisberg, PA 17837-1000

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