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Friday, 23 March 2012

more dolls and more movement

Two things to blog about today, especially as it's been a good couple of weeks since the last post. First I'd like to introduce my newest pair of dolls, Abney and Teal:

These two have been a real labour of love! They are the characters from a Cbeebies animated show of the same name, and have been made for a friend's 2 year old daughter. You can see some episodes of the show here and decide for yourself how well I've matched them to the characters. I did have to make a couple of changes, to accommodate a 2 year old's fingers and temper in being able to dress and undress the dolls! I'm especially pleased with Teal's hair and her sneakers.

Second, the fall-out from my husband's momentary lack of judgement continues. On Sunday I thought I would start a letter to him using the Jpay email service, and when I hit the preview button I noticed that his housing assignment had changed.

This is something we had expected, but even so it was a surprise and not a welcome one. It means he has been moved from minimum security to medium security, and makes it more likely that he will have to turn out for hoe squad. And no, that has nothing to do with hookers.

So I've been waiting all week to hear from him, and as is often the case, the letter that did arrive today was written the day before he moved cells. It's a very wierd concept, living 2 weeks behind yourself all the time. And people wonder why I may get a little testy sometimes when I read forum posts from people who haven't had their morning/daily/hourly email fix from their penpal and O-M-G could it be that their penpal doesn't want to speak to them anymore or perhaps the penpal is laying in a pool of blood taking his (it is invariably a he) last breath.

As mother would say, some people don't know they're born.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

This is why TDCJ needs to allow international phone calls by inmates

The best example of a real situation has occurred to illustrate the stupidity and missed opportunity of TDCJ and the Texas Legislature in not permitting inmates to make international calls via the new phone system. Inmates are permitted only to call those on their visitation lists who have a registered USA land-line with the phone company (excluding Hawaii and Alaska). And for those thinking that Skype would circumvent this issue, it wont. You have to provide proof of residency that matches the landline number.

There was a riot at my husband's unit last Thursday.

Normally I wouldn't be too concerned, because it is a big place and often he is nowhere near where the trouble is. I just wait for the letter with the details which usually takes between 10-14 days to get here. But this time, the circumstances are different:

The confrontation happened when the field crew were returning to the chow hall. I currently don't know if my husband has been given his old job back on food service (which would put him in the chow hall when the disturbance occurred) or if he is still assigned to the field squad and had to go out to work (which would put him in the chow hall when the disturbance occurred), or even if he is still not being called to work at all and just went for his lunch as usual (which would put him in the chow hall when the disturbance occurred). So whatever his assignment, the chances are high that he was there.

I've been told there were several officers and inmates involved, an officer has a broken jaw and injured hand (and I'm sad for them that they had to deal with it) and that tear gas / pepper spray was used. The unit was put on temporary lockdown, which was later lifted for all excluding the wing where the field crew are housed.

I am pretty sure that once the lockdown ended, many inmates got on the phones and were telling their loved ones that they were OK. Those whose loved ones live in the USA anyway. My husband doesn't have anyone to call because none of the family over there have a land-line in their name - like so many Americans and a growing number of Europeans. So he can't even call someone and ask them to pass a message on to me that he is OK. He fulfills all the inmate-related requirements for calls, such as not being in Ad Seg.

So I have to wait for around 2 weeks before I hear anything from him, even if he mails something out that very night. How is this fair on me, when others can receive calls? I'm not asking for special treatment, just equity with other friends and family of TDCJ inmates who are no better or worse individuals than I am.