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  • Michael Pelletier

Prison Obstacles

The prison permits inmates to practice crafts in an area designated as the Recreation Center. It is painful for me to reach in a wheelchair being that it is over one-quarter mile distant from my living quarter. Regardless of the weather conditions, all must go outside, rain, sleet or snow, etc. It is limited, time-wise, to a single two-hour period, once daily for six week days. However it is normal for the time to be greatly reduced because of staff shortages, and emergencies.

We are allowed to spend $180.00 every two weeks. If you spend your $180.00 on art supplies, it prevents you from going to commissary until you are revalidated. The money has to be on your account for the prison to freeze it and add a mark-up of 30% to your order. The prison will only send your order out when they have accumulated enough orders.

I got a job at the art room in order to have more time to paint. It's a place where I can get away from the stressful environment of my living quarters. We are only allowed to have three projects at any one time, rotating them so I can continuously paint without smearing any one of them.

To send the paintings out, we are only allowed to send to someone that has been approved and on your visiting list. I have to make my own boxes to mail out my art paintings, with empty toilet tissue cardboard boxes. The box cannot be bigger than 24”x30” for the post office to accept. The box and painting are then inspected by the guard before sealing it. The package is then brought to the mail room here, until enough packages accumulate before the guard brings them to the UNITED STATES POST OFFICE downtown to be shipped.

Ordering your supplies can take one month, then mailing your packages out can take another two weeks.

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