UNDERSTANDING NEW CHRISTIANS IN PRISON
One thing I have seen and know to be true is that these trials don’t last forever. They will end and peace will come again. Trials and tribulations are just one of the many things your friend or relative will have to deal with on a day to day basis. For you to understand the daily life in prison and help your friend or relative better, other problems need to be explained.
The first problem area is bathroom and shower time. In level IV prison, an inmate’s bathroom is in his room except for his shower. There are only two showers per floor in his unit. The toilets are stainless steel with the sink as the back rest for the toilet. The reason this is written about is to show you on the outside how there are situations that you wouldn’t even think about, that can be major concerns and stressful for your friend or loved one in prison. He will have to time things just right to use the restroom with two men living in a cell. He will need his time and his bunky will need to have time plus there are factors such as different yard times or when the officers will shut the door to the cell. No one wants to be stuck in a six by ten room with another man and have to sit in plain view while he is using the restroom. Unfortunately, no matter how many times one calculates when to use the bathroom, there will still be times when there is an emergency and both men are in the cell when it happens. Those are very embarrassing times. If an inmate has a bunky that will not respect him when it comes to bathroom time, it can be a very stressful situation that will end up in bad feelings or possibly a fight.
Shower time can even be more stressful. With only two showers for 48 men, stress can escalate very quickly. Remember in level IV, the inmate is only out 4-5 hours so he needs to work in his bathroom time and shower time while trying to fit it into everyone else’s schedule. He has to make sure he doesn’t get locked in or out of his cell during these times also.
Now level II prison bathroom and shower time are much easier. There are more bathrooms and the bathrooms have a shower for everyone’s use in the unit. There are two bathrooms per floor in a unit. Also, an inmate is not locked down all of the time and even when he is locked down he can still get out and use the bathroom. The downside to level II is that everyone is using the same toilets and sinks. Many times he will be faced with cleanliness issues. He might think that he is clean, but others may think that he is dirty. In some ways, it is better for him to change the way he cleans himself than to receive daily persecution from others. He may be doing nothing wrong. It’s just that many others just have germ phobias or like to hear themselves complain. Personally, I overcame many of these phobias because of my faith in Christ.
Your friend or loved one will also have to deal with the noise level in his unit, in the yard or in the chow hall. There is noise almost everywhere he goes. Some prisons are noisier than others but in all prison noise will affect and irritate any inmate from time to time. Noise is one of the hardest trials to deal with because one can not get away from it. It’s hard to imagine for those of you on the outside because you can usually get away from noise if you want. In prison, if an inmate goes from one room to another, there will still be some type of undesirable noise.The best way to handle noise is two fold. First of all, an inmate can pray about it, asking God to provide options to relieve the problem of the noise level. Second, he can find different times when the noise that bothers him is not present. For example, instead of going out in the yard, he can stay in his unit for a week to see what days or times are the best to schedule his personal quiet time. He can form a personal schedule that will give him the quiet time he needs which will reduce his stress level significantly. These
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