July 1, 2009
Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.
Letter #89: God and I Are On the Move
Yes, the time is correct. It is just before 9:00 a.m., and I’ve picked up pen to write. Major news has happened here, and I wanted my prayer team to be aware of what’s ahead.
First, last night Keith came up to my door during top tier’s dayroom to tell me he’d just been called to see his counselor, and they’re shipping him off to Ironwood, a state prison near Blythe, on the Arizona border. His family is from the L.A. area, so the distance for them will be the same, but we weren’t planning on losing him until six to eight months from now, when he would go to his annual review, drop six points (two for good behavior and four for having a job for a year), and become eligible for a Level II facility, like the one located only an hour from his house. His parents had sent in a “travel hardship” letter from back doctors, but it hasn’t arrived yet, so it’s too late—it could have prevented a move.
Since they are transferring Keith before he’s had the job a year, he’ll have to start over at the new facility, and it could be at the following year’s annual review—if he has had a job for a year—that they drop his points to Level II status and allow him to transfer closer to home.
The good news in all of this is that God knows all of these details and made sure to get Keith transferred before the letter from the doctors arrived. He’ll be going to a brand-new yard, where it will be crucial to have strong Christian leadership in place. I’m excited for him in that regard, and he has a great attitude. He’s looking forward to instigating great things for God in that facility.
As we’d determined months ago, I’ll be assuming Keith’s leadership role at our yard Bible Study. This means that I not only have to be there every day, but when dissension arises, as it did when Trinity left, I need to step in and keep the focus on the Word. I’m grateful for the opportunity, and I know we’ll do great things for God.
Now, for the biggest news: I’m leaving Soledad State Prison. My favorite correctional officer came to my door just a few minutes ago to tell me that, by August, our entire “B” yard would be transferred to “CTF” State Prison, and our yard would be converted back into a General Population (not Sensitive Needs Yard) Level IV (instead of its current Level III). This is, besides a Maximum Security facility, the worst of the worst, so my favorite cop is going to try to leave soon—transfer or quit.
I asked where CTF is located, ready to hear someplace that is at least three hours from my family, and he said, surprised that I’d forgotten, “It’s next door—you know, Old Soledad!” This is the place I’ve prayed would eventually open up an SNY Level II yard, so I could transfer there when my points dropped enough, and stay close to my family. (Remember, I started with 44 points; I dropped two points at my annual review; 27 points and below is a Level II.)
I’ve been grateful to not have a job so far: it gives me more extra-curricular time, and makes sure I can stay as a Level III (thus staying in this area) for a while. I’m praying I won’t get a job right away, but there are lots of “vocations” at Soledad. Yippee. I get to learn to make socks. Which is perfect for my rehabilitation, in case I ever want to work at a sock factory when I get out. Folsom makes the license plates, so, no, you won’t be able to get vanity plates from me. I’m sorry.
Change is good; change is tough. This squashes my move with James, making me grateful I never told my cellie I was planning it for three months. Lord willing, we’ll cell up at the
new old facility (they say it’s like a dungeon).
On the other hand, they supposedly have a full orchestra there … maybe I’ll be allowed to have more piano time? Who knows? Anyhoo, please pray for us all as we make this big adjustment. I trust that the Lord is doing great things!
Since I won’t be seeing my cop anymore, I told him I wished I’d get a chance to give him a fist-bump goodbye (we’re not allowed to touch officers, obviously). Well, my cell door had just popped open to release everyone for morning meds; he stuck his fist into my cell, and we bumped. 🙂
More news later!