FCCC II, aka "The Workhouse"
What to Expect When You Arrive
When you arrive, you can bring the following items with you:
- 6 Crew-Neck T-shirts, 6 pair underwear, 6 pair socks. -All of these items must be WHITE and NEW in the original packaging when you arrive.
- 6 Paperback books and/or magazines –soft back only.
- 10 Photographs of normal size.
- 1 pair glasses.
- 1 soft cover Bible.
- Money –cash is fine.
They will check them over and give you a big paper bag with all your stuff. You can later swap out books when your visitors come, but you can only have a total of 6 books under your name at a given time. The money you brought will go into your account (minus 40 dollar 'reception fee') that you can use to buy items from the commissary. So if you show up with only 40 dollars, you will have 0 dollars on your account. It is reasonable to show up with about 100 dollars, and more can be added later by your family if needed.
When you arrive you will be issued a wristband, brown canvas top and blue canvas pants, a blanket, towel, washcloth, sleeping mat and fitted sheet. You will also get a cup and spoon. –You will need to keep all these items and turn them in when you leave the jail.
Tip – When you show up and are being processed, be very respectful to the guards. Call them 'Sir' etc. At some point during the check-in, you should try to ask them to be placed in a 'laid-back, chill tank.'
The structure of the jail is set up into large dormitories, called pods or tanks, that can accommodate 25+ people. There may be fewer people, and you would be comfortable with about 10-14 at any given time. There are about 14 steel bunks per tank. The tanks are divided into a sleeping side and a common room. The sleeping side with the beds also has a single-person shower with a curtain and a sink and toilet behind a half-wall. The common room has a couple of steel picnic tables, a TV behind Plexiglas, and two wall phones.
When you get in the tank you will first go find an open bunk (bottom is better than top), place your stuff under your bunk, and get comfortable. If you want to sleep, go for it. However, in the workhouse, the lights never go off. If you like the dark, you will have to put your blanket or towel over your eyes or fashion a mask from some socks or clothes. It gets better to sleep in the light as time goes by. The light is usually the biggest complaint.
Your family can set up money on the phone service which you have access to 24 hours a day. The number for them to call is 1-800-483-8314, once you are admitted. To make a call you will use just use your inmate # from your wristband, outgoing calls only.
Commissary is offered about every 7-10 days. You will get a sheet of paper with options of items you may want to buy, fill in the numbers you want, and money will be taken off your account. The items come in a big paper bag. Some popular and useful items were: toothbrush (a normal one), deodorant, protein bars, instant coffee packets (decaf, unfortunately), stamped envelopes, paper pad, pencil. People also frequently buy snacks such as Reese's or nutty wafers. Your family can add more money at the jail front desk.
Family visitation is about 20 minutes long, through a Plexiglas window.
- Times are: 12-2 PM and 6-9:30 PM.
- Last names: A-G are Sun/Thurs, H-O are Mon/Fri, and P-Z are Tues/Sat.
Your jail clothes are swapped out about once a week, but they come unannounced at night so don't miss it. Whites are washed about every 7-10 days (don't overstuff your washer bag with whites or they won't get as clean). Many people wash their clothes while in the shower, with a bar of soap and hang them dry on the rack. This actually works surprisingly well, and you will never run out of clean clothes if you do this most days. The only things you really need to send to the laundry are your towel, washcloth, and sheet.
The food is approximately average, but every meal is different so at least there is some variety. Though the food is not great, is not inedible by any means, and you will invariably be glad when trays come (5 AM, 10:30 AM, and 4 PM). A glass of milk is offered around 3 AM and 3:30 PM. The protein bars from the commissary are a good supplement of vitamins and protein, for 1.30 each which is not too bad.
What Else Can I Expect?
Not much else is guaranteed. Hopefully, you get placed in a chill tank with some guys that are just looking to pass their time peacefully. You may find a couple of people you get along with and talk with. Just be wary of verbal confrontations or affronts, trading food or commissary in advance, or gambling, since these can lead to fights.
You will catch up on your reading and thinking. Books make all the difference. Some people devote time to TV, playing cards, calisthenics, and phone conversations. The time passes by quickly. You will gain an appreciation for everything that you have in life. And hopefully, you will never have to go back. Best of Luck!