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Leisure Time

Interview with Charlie, Don and Pierce

JM: What types of facilities were available to help pass the time?
Charlie: There is a tiny “legal library” with about 300 paperback books where inmates can request to go. Haircuts, given by trustees or other inmates, are done in the library as well. Commissary is sold twice a week and inmates can use any money on their “books” to purchase snack foods, hygiene items, underclothing, and small entertainment items such as puzzle books and playing cards. Church is usually held on Sunday in the exercise yards. All inmates can go to their exercise yard (one for males and one for females) for recreation twice a week; the only sports equipment available therein is a tennis ball to bounce against the walls. And as I mentioned before, there is a TV set in each tank.
Don: none
Pierce: Church and wreck yard. We played hand ball out in the wreck yard. That was always fun. Some guys made transactions with food and things to get drawings, or things of that sort.

JM: Did you have regular access to the entertainment or was competition fierce? Give details.
Charlie: Except for disciplinary cases, all inmates have equal access to recreation. But as I mentioned before, the choice of TV channel in the tanks is governed by the “tank boss” (longest-serving or baddest inmate) in that particular tank.
Don: competition
Pierce: My tank was easy going so all was well there. I was locked up in Kerrville Tx and the guys there would say it is BET all day in here. Thats all they watched.

JM: Did you have a hard time staying in shape while in jail?
Charlie: Yes. Most inmates put on a considerable amount of weight in jail due the highly starch-based food.
Don: yes
Pierce: No I worked out as much as possible

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?
Charlie: Never.
Don: never
Pierce: Every weds or thurs. I forget which day.

JM: Did the jail offer church services? If so, what were they like and when were they held?
Charlie: Yes. Church is held on Sundays in the exercise yards. Volunteer pastors from the community come in and minister to the inmates. Those inmates in isolation cells can request that a pastor be brought to their cell for ministration but they are not allowed out of their isolation cell for church. The jail accepts donations of Bibles and religious study material for dissemination to inmates.
Don: yes 2 times a week in the gym
Pierce: Yes! It was a blessing. Brother Ernest and Brother Bud use to come and preach to us. Some guys would come for church and others would come to socialize as there were alot of relatives and friends amongst them. Brother Ernest came from a street back groung and was realeased after looking at a lot of time. He brought the word like it was serious business. I then also gave my life to God from the first service I went to.

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