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Leisure Time

Interview with Pat and Sam

JM: What types of facilities were available to help pass the time?
Pat: the only thing available to pass the time is really the tv, books from the outisde if you're lucky to have them, or rec time outside or in the gym. The law library is ok for legal work but you can't take out any leisure reading books, magazines, or news papers.
Sam: Mostly, I read to pass my time. Books are the greatest escape inside those walls. I also wrote letters or just wrote to keep a journal. That was a great way of venting as well. Working out is a staple way to pass the time, vent any stress, and stay in shape as well. You could exercise, play basketball, or handball. Other down time is good spent watching TV or playing cards or dominoes. I also drew things for people as well. It's good to have extra little hobbies to keep yourself preoccupied.

JM: Did you have regular access to the entertainment or was competition fierce? Give details.
Pat: I was fortunate enough to have my family sending in 2-3 books every few weeks which kept me always able to be readying. I must have read about 250 books by the time i left including all the other books i spotted around. i would trade for mine or just borrow and return. I read about a book every day and a half when i'm incarcerated. I watched tv but people like watching mindless things so i would just stay to myself mostly.
Sam: The only real source of entertainment was the TV, and usually the TV was under the control of the most respected person on the tier. Everything else is limited to recreation movements or using little hobbies to keep yourself entertained. As mentioned before, reading was my greatest entertainment. Of course, other hobbies can help. One guy used to carve chess pieces out of soap.

JM: Did you have a hard time staying in shape while in jail?
Pat: staying in shape depend on your work ethic. you can do pushups, crunches, dips or squats wherever and whenever you want so its not that hard. at the time there was a weight room in the dorms but they've since been removed.
Sam: Not at all. Jail is the best place to get in shape. Nothing but time, so there is no reason to not get and stay in shape.

JM: How often did you get to go outside? What did you do outside if you were allowed to? If you were not allowed to go outside what could you do for exercise?
Pat: We go outside once a day unless its raining, snowing or below a certain degree. Basketball is the only thing to do outide other than just standing or walking around. Sometimes we could go to the gym if we couldnt go outside.
Sam: Recreation movements were usually once a day, depending on how the officers felt. There wasn't much to do beyond basketball, handball, or working out. If you couldn't go outside, then you could always workout on the tier. Most people chose to do that because the recreation yard is a hotspot for trouble.

JM: Did the jail offer church services? If so, what were they like and when were they held?
Pat: the jail had catholic and spanish services as well as jumar for islamic but no hebrew services which i always was disappointed about.
Sam: They did offer them, but I can't say I ever went to them. I'm not a very religious person, so I never attended.

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