I've seen a few posts lately from prison guards at multiple levels, so I thought some insight form the other side of things would be interesting. Submitting proof to the mods.

I was in the following facilities: * USACF-E (United States Army Confinement Facility - Europe) in Mannheim, Germany. * Fort Sill Regional Confinement Facility - Fort Sill, Oklahoma. * Federal Transfer Center - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. * Yankton Federal Prison Camp - Yankton, South Dakota. * Leavenworth Federal Prison Camp - Leavenworth, Kansas.

I should be on for most of the day to answer any questions you might have about anything involving prison life, the military legal system, differences in facilities, etc.

EDIT: Thanks so much for all the questions, and I'm glad that I could help people out with anything they need! I will keep checking back and answering any more questions that come through. Even if it's been months since I posted this, I'll still keep answering any questions people have.

Comments: 443 • Responses: 66  • Date: 

HairWeaveKiller60 karma

So I see that you gave someone the short answer for why you got locked up: international drug smuggling.

Care to expand on the story? What kinds of drugs were you moving? How much did you get caught with?

bstyledevi76 karma

I was in the military stationed overseas. I was working a deal with someone else where I would bring drugs back from another country into the country where I was stationed for them to sell. I got caught with about 130 hits of LSD and 3 hits of ecstasy (the X was my personal stash). The person who I was supplying for got caught and gave up my name. I came back from that trip and the MPs were waiting for me.

waviecrockett16 karma

Random related story:

My dad was stationed at RAF Mildenhall when I was starting HS. That year my German class was taking a trip to Germany. I'd been ti Germany so many times already my parents definitely didn't want to spend the money. They were flying commercial and it was mad expensive.

Anyway, all of my friends from that class went and apparently snuck off a bunch of times to smoke weed with a random German dude they met. They then got caught trying to bring back weed (and maybe other shit). I can't remember if they were caught before or after the flight. They were suspended for the longest time I've ever seen.

I wonder what kind of trouble they got in for that. I moved soon after that and never got the whole story.

Also, question for you or anyone: is it extra illegal to bring/have drugs on base (especially in a foreign country)? We were never really extra cautious.

bstyledevi32 karma

One of the charges I was convicted of was something that is only on the books in the UCMJ: Unlawful Introduction to a Military Post. They add it on with a possession charge if you bring it on base.

Skitrel6 karma

How did you get caught?

bstyledevi27 karma

The guy I was selling to tried to sell to an off-duty MP. He told his superiors and they arrested him. When he was being interrogated, he offered me up as the "big fish." He ended up getting a much lighter sentence.

DredfulDisaster46 karma

What are some larger difference between Federal and Military prisons?

bstyledevi78 karma

First and foremost would be the guards. Military prison guards are members of a local MP unit that are assigned to the prison, so it's pretty regular that the prisoners were stationed with the guards or somehow affiliated with them. Most of the military guards saw their jobs as just an obligation and tried to make things as easy as possible for themselves and for the prisoners. They actually wanted to help the prisoners better themselves. Guards in the federal system came in two kinds: the apathetic kind that really don't give a shit about anything at all as long as they can just sit in the guard shack and drink coffee, and the more militant, in your face, trying to assert their authority because they were picked on in high school kind.

The quality of the facilities is a big difference too. Military prisons are very clean and well-kept, while federal prisons are old, run-down, dirty, and unsanitary to the max. Prisoners are responsible for cleaning in both, but in the fed, they either don't care about trying to keep things clean for everyone else, or they look at how much it would actually take to clean their living areas and just give up.

One big difference I noticed after a while is the lack of any real kind of programs to help rehabilitate prisoners in the federal system. The military had rehab plans and tons of different classes offered to help better yourself. The fed had one program that I wasn't eligible for because I didn't have enough time left on my sentence when I made it there. It was called RDAP, and was the only way you could get time off your sentence in the federal system. Completing the 12 or 15 month program (really can't remember) gave you nine months off your sentence.

TranquilSeaOtter42 karma

What's the worst thing you've seen a prison guard do? Did any of them abuse their power?

bstyledevi135 karma

The only abuse of power I saw was something that actually benefitted a prisoner a lot. A guard snuck a prisoner up to one of the employment shops in the middle of the night that was outside the wire. He let the guy see his wife and newborn son for a few minutes, then brought him back down to the main facility. The prisoner was so happy after that, and he seemed like that short visit was a driving force into keeping him straight so he could get out and go back to his family.

On the opposite side, I wish I could go into detail about prison guards abusing their powers and abusing inmates, but I never saw it happen myself. A lot of rumors flew around from people who had transferred from this facility or that facility, but no one really confirmed any of them, so I don't want to spread information that isn't factual.

Just_For_Da_Lulz13 karma

Was the situation with the cool guard in military or federal prison? (I'm guessing military, from your other posts here but thought I'd ask.)

bstyledevi28 karma

Federal. That's one of the reasons it was so surprising.

frankzapra28 karma

Do you still salute officers when you're a prisoner in military prison?

bstyledevi59 karma

No. You are not allowed to, and it is a punishable offense.

hossaim26 karma

Were there ever escape attempts from your prison mates?

bstyledevi64 karma

I only remember one escape attempt. The guy walked out through the visitation room during a visitation session when the guard had his back turned. He made it up the street about a mile and a half before the guards caught him and brought him back. We were put on lockdown for the rest of the day and they cancelled visitation for two weeks. The guy who escaped only had a 45 day sentence.

Alaric200022 karma

Damn did you thank him for screwing it up for everyone else?

bstyledevi47 karma

None of us ever saw him again after that. He went straight to the hole and got transferred to a higher security prison. Word from one of the guards is that he had 18 months added to his sentence.

rabidcanary526 karma

If you are sentenced to hard labor, what happens if you refuse to get out of bed?

bstyledevi43 karma

I don't know of anyone who had been sentenced to hard labor. However, in military prison, you'd be thrown in segregation, lose any good conduct time (time that lets you get out of prison earlier), and have your life made a living hell until you choose to comply. If you don't, then you would sit in the hole for six months at a time.

Angelkitty1528 karma

What's the hole like?

bstyledevi62 karma

Every prison has a different segregation unit, and I only saw it in three facilities I was in for administrative reasons. Never got send there as a punishment.

In Germany, the cell was about 5 feet wide and about 7 1/2 feet long. It consisted of a single bunk and a toilet/sink combo. Single gated door with a slot for food. Single light above your head. That was it. In Fort Sill, the cell was slightly bigger (probably 8' by 7'), and had a metal stool bolted to the floor with a small table where you could sit. Considering that you couldn't have books or writing materials in Segregation, the purpose was somewhat lost. In Leavenworth, I was in the SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) for the first week of my stay there for medical screening and waiting for a bunk to open up. The cell was as large as the ones in Fort Sill, but housed two inmates in bunk beds. It was also the beginning of December, and the cells were not properly heated. Our cell was probably around 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Segregation sucks because you have nothing to do but sleep. Your thoughts run away from you, and it is quite normal to start talking to yourself just to pass the time. I can see how someone could very easily lose their mind in there if they were there for any extended period of time.

http://www.bradleycorp.com/image/668/920-5590_highres.jpg - Picture of the toilet/sink.

kevin1104025 karma

[deleted]

bstyledevi36 karma

Worst and best are somewhat vague terms in prison. Yankton had the best meals, best gyms and the best support programs, Leavenworth had the best music program and the most freedoms, Germany had the best prison guards. Overall, I liked Yankton the most because we were actually treated like humans there. Leavenworth was probably the worst because it was unclean, had less stuff to do, and had the worst cross-section of prisoners.

freemarket2724 karma

when I was in the army, 76 - 79, everyone used drugs, so it was the easiest thing to get involved in dealing. Every now and then you would hear about someone getting busted and sent to Leavenworth. Just a terrible situation. How cynical are you knowing that the government will show no mercy for a nonsense offense?

bstyledevi87 karma

Getting sentenced to 4 years for drugs and sitting next to a guy in my bay that raped two kids and got 18 months was more than kind of unsettling. A good part of the military prison population was people who had crimes against children or got caught with kiddie porn. I only met one of them who had a longer sentence than I did. Then again, another soldier who beat a guy almost to death in a drunken rage and gave this guy permanent brain damage only got 15 months. The sergeant who murdered a Iraqi local national while he was in Iraq and got caught somehow only got like 9 months.

I'm not going to go into the drug argument here, because it would take forever, but I will say this: I saw more people locked up for drugs than any other offense.

triforce72121 karma

What sort of discharge did you receive?

How has it impacted your civilian life (jobs, family, options, etc)?

bstyledevi42 karma

I received a Bad Conduct discharge, which is just above a Dishonorable.

My options are EXTREMELY limited on pretty much everything. Most any apartment building or renter's company runs a background check, so I am automatically disqualified from living there. My job opportunities are the same way.

My family was always a solid support system for me leading up to, throughout, and after my incarceration. My friend circle got a lot smaller because of the number of people I willingly stopped hang out with because of their affiliation with drugs and the people who just didn't want to be associated with a convicted felon. Most people hear "convicted felon" and think about horrible things like rape and murder. I was just a kid who made some shitty choices involving drugs.

triforce72113 karma

How is it legal for you to be denied residency based on a felony conviction?

Is there any way, moving forward, to have your record sealed, or upgraded, based on good behavior?

bstyledevi23 karma

My discharge can be upgraded from a BCD to a General - Under Other than Honorable Conditions discharge. I'm about 6 months away from being able to file the paperwork. The only other thing that can happen is a presidential pardon, which I will file for when Obama leaves office. Most pardons are granted as the president is on his way out the door.

The legality of being denied residency is questionable, and there are people trying to change the laws on this, but I was denied a lot of times in rental applications because I was required to declare my felony conviction. It kinda leaves you in a bad place because you're forced to live in a place that doesn't do a background check, which is normally a less maintained building.

l33tb3rt17 karma

Do you feel you are entitled to a pardon?

bstyledevi53 karma

The only reason I feel that I should have a pardon is because I want to continue living my life as a normal person and be able to live where I want and get jobs in my career field (communications and network support). I have not reoffended and have used my experience to better my life. There's also the restriction on travel. Because I had a drug crime that crossed international borders, I am not allowed to attain a passport. I wish I could have that lifted so I could go travel again.

triforce7217 karma

I'm sorry that it has been so hard. I don't think anyone would debate that what you did was illegal, but I hate the mindset our system has...You make one mistake as a young person and you're fucked forever...so pathetic.

In regards to your work options, do you think you will ever be able to find a career with upward mobility, or are you afraid of being stuck with low wages forever?

bstyledevi14 karma

Unless I start my own business or wait until 7 years after my release date to start a career, I'm stuck with low paying jobs. I'm not doing horribly, but I wish I had a chance to prove that there are a few of us who do change and are still good people despite our pasts.

triforce7215 karma

Is there a significance with the "7 years" you mentioned?

What kind of work do you do?

I suppose this is one of those situations where you'd have to know someone who would give you a chance, without relying on preconceived notions.

bstyledevi9 karma

Most companies I've applied for have said that for them to preclude a felony conviction, you have to be at least 7 years removed from your release from prison.

Currently I work for a wheel shop updating their website and doing internet sales.

boonamobile4 karma

Every rental application I've ever filled out asks about criminal history in one way or another, especially drug and/or sexual crimes.

triforce7213 karma

I'm not debating whether it asks or not, simply how it is legal to deny someone...Effectively, a person could be rendered homeless, because they had no housing options.

boonamobile4 karma

I think it comes from a landlord's right to discriminate against people who are likely to commit crimes on their property, or something to that effect

bstyledevi7 karma

That is exactly right. I was dating a woman who worked for a rental company, and she told me it was all about keeping the building safe for the other tenants. No exceptions were made because they thought if they let one in, that would mean they had to let all of them in.

[deleted]18 karma

"Spent time"

How long and why?

RRRRR

bstyledevi34 karma

I was sentenced to 48 months, which I later had reduced to 42 months by a clemency action. I served 27 months before being released on parole.

Short version, international drug smuggling. Which sounds pretty ridiculous, but when stationed overseas, it's a lot easier to do than you would think.

EpicNoiseGuy10 karma

personal use or for making a shit tonne of money?

bstyledevi19 karma

Personal use for some of it, but having a 1000% markup on things was pretty appealing as well.

iamevil1216 karma

Did you witness a lot of violence and abuse? Do you think its exaggerated in the media or is prison beatings and rapes as huge as people make it seem?

bstyledevi32 karma

This is a two-part answer.

In the military prisons, I saw a total of two fights. One was over a game of spades where someone reneged, and the other was over an elbow thrown during a basketball game. They got broken up pretty quickly. Military prisons have a lot of people who were good disciplined soldiers who broke the law and actually feel remorse for what they've done. Almost all of them are just trying to do their time, appeal their cases, or go through programs to better themselves for when they get out.

In the federal system, I saw more fights, but only one was serious. Most were just little scraps over nothing where two people just were having bad days and rubbed each other the wrong way. A few punches or shoves and it was over. The serious one was over a guy whose co-conspirator showed up at the same facility. The two were not supposed to be housed in the same facility, and they ended up transferring them both to the same prison and housing them in the same bay. The one guy bashed him over the head with a metal folding chair, then punched him in the face over and over again while wearing leather shop gloves so he didn't have any marks on his hands. The guy who got beaten up had a broken and bloodied nose, blackened eyes, some cuts on his forehead that scarred up pretty bad, and he lost vision in one eye for a month or so. They locked down the facility and interrogated everyone who was in that bay (including myself). No one talked and no one had any marks on them showing that they had been in a fight, so they couldn't actually punish the guy who did it. They put the guy in the hospital and transferred him out a few months later. Last I heard, he was trying for some kind of compassionate release because of his injuries at the hands of other prisoners.

I never heard of anyone getting raped. Consensual sex between inmates was more common, especially those who had really long sentences.

ladyhips15 karma

What was the most frightening thing you witnessed? Is prison even remotely similar to how it's portrayed on TV?

bstyledevi58 karma

Locked Up: Raw isn't really accurate at all. They sensationalize things and focus on the most fucked up people in their respective facilities. Most of the people in prison just want to be left alone so they can do their time and get out.

The only thing that I've seen on TV that is really accurate as far as prison goes is a Law and Order: SVU episode called Solitary (Season 11 Episode 3 for those keeping score at home). Skip to the end where Detective Stabler spends a few days in the solitary cell and that's exactly what it was like in the cells in Fort Sill and Leavenworth.

The craziest thing I saw was walking in to a storage closet and four guys were all having sex with each other in a long chain. I had just arrived in that facility, and everyone else in the facility (including the guards) knew that this was going on and never did anything about it. They always cleaned the storage closet afterwards and stayed out of any actual trouble. Still pretty fucked up.

cvvrede14 karma

Why where you transferred multiple times? Or is this common practice?

bstyledevi18 karma

I was sentenced in Italy when I was in the military. It is standard practice for military prisoners who are sentenced to over a year with a discharge to be transferred back to the US. I was transferred from Fort Sill because the military prison systems were too full and they were sending people to the federal prison system to make more room. I was at the transfer center for 2 1/2 weeks before going to Yankton. I requested the transfer to Leavenworth so I could have a parole board. The military prison system still has parole on the books, but the feds haven't done it since 1987. Leavenworth was one of the only facilities where I could have my parole board.

Alaric20006 karma

So you didn't get parole?

bstyledevi10 karma

I got parole and was released after 27 months served.

Alaric20007 karma

Maybe I'm misunderstanding when you say there hasn't been parole since 1987 then.

bstyledevi11 karma

I was sentenced while in the military, so I was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice, not the standard legal system that normal citizens follow. Under those laws, I am entitled to the option for parole. It would have been no big deal had I not been transferred to federal prison, where they didn't have any facilities that offered parole. Leavenworth is one of the only ones left that does it because it's one of the only ones where people have been incarcerated since before 1987 so they still have the option for parole.

Sorry if I was unclear before.

knows2much12 karma

I'd be interested to know a prisoner's perspective on "for profit" prisons, and whether you had any experience with those as opposed to government run facilities?

bstyledevi13 karma

I wasn't in a "for-profit" prison, as all of the facilities I was in were government run. However, in Fort Sill, the jobs you had in the wood shop or finishing shops were for products that the people on post bought from stores. The money went back into the facility and was used for new equipment for the gym and other things like that.

KillerB2311 karma

What is the daily routine in a military prison? Do the routines differ from one facility to another?

bstyledevi14 karma

Daily routine for military prison: Wake up. Morning count. Shower/Shave/Clean. Breakfast. Back to cell block for about 45 minutes. Work call. Recall, prepare for lunch count. Lunch Count. Lunch. Back to cell block, about 35 minutes. Work call. Recall, prepare for dinner count. Dinner Count. Dinner. Back to cell block, about 45 minutes. Recreation (2 hours). Back to cell, shower and otherwise prepare for evening count. Evening count. Lights out.

That was the weekday schedule. The weekend schedule had no work calls and more recreation time. Between the two military facilities, there were some small variations in count procedures and timing, but otherwise the schedule was pretty standardized.

EDIT: Added some periods to separate things.

KillerB236 karma

When you say work call what kind of jobs are you doing?

bstyledevi6 karma

There were a very wide number of jobs in both military and federal prison. Wood shop, stain and finishing shop, laser shop (working on an industrial laser engraver), kitchen detail, dorm cleaning details, chapel cleaning, library, grounds maintenance, masonry shop, shipping and receiving for the facility, the list goes on.

MoastedRuffins10 karma

How would you say your time in prison affected you and your plans for the future?

bstyledevi29 karma

The most immediately obvious thing was that I was discharged from the military. That threw my career plans for a total loop. I lost a lot of friendships and relationships, and having to start completely over in life at 25 really sucked.

The one thing that people don't understand about going to prison is that time stops for you while everyone else goes on living life. You come back after being gone for a long time and everyone has changed and moved on with life. You're still stuck with a mindset that nothing changed when you left. I can only imagine how bad it is for people who get our after 20-25 years.

MoastedRuffins5 karma

That's very true. I've never been in prison but I have had periods of my life where I'm just sitting by and doing nothing. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you to keep going?

bstyledevi12 karma

Don't count the days until you're out. Count the days you've been there. Somehow, it made things go by a lot quicker.

cydisc1189510 karma

If I recall correctly, the prison in Yankton is the former Yankton College, where NFL great Lyle Alzado went to school.

No question. Just thought I'd add that.

bstyledevi8 karma

Very right. I believe Playboy Magazine said if you had to go to prison, it's like the #3 place to go. I don't consider my time at Yankton real prison because it was so laid back.

PlatypusEgo9 karma

Nice AMA. I have an odd interest in penology- especially concerning the drug war- and I know quite a bit about federal and state prison systems, but I've never had the chance to talk to someone who's spent time in a military prison. My questions mainly concern your time there:

  1. Any idea how security levels are assigned in the military system or if there's much of a difference between levels (like in the federal system, where the relatively laid-back minimum-security camps and the notoriously brutal maximum-security USP's are a night-and-day difference)?

  2. Was there the same level of violence/exploitation culture in the military prisons? Did the inmates seem to have a sense of camaraderie due to their service?

  3. What was your daily routine like?

  4. What was a typical meal, and would you take it over an MRE?

  5. How were snitches and sex offenders treated?

  6. Was the attitude of a typical military inmate much different than the attitude of a typical federal inmate?

Just a few off the top of my head- answer as many or as few as you want. Thanks for the AMA!

bstyledevi6 karma

Most of these I've answered already, but I'll throw out some generalities for you:

  1. Security levels in military prisons are done within the same facility. The minimum security prisoners had their own cell block separate from the mediums and so on. The new USDB at Fort Leavenworth opened while I was in custody, but I never knew anyone who went there, so I don't know what it was like there.
  2. There was definitely a feeling of camaraderie in military prison. Sticking together and helping each other was definitely our goal in making it through our time. There was very little violence.
  3. Boring and monotonous. I enjoyed working a lot. It helped the time go by, and the best job I had was running an industrial laser engraver in Fort Sill. I actually earned a certification for it while I was there. Falling into a routine helped whittle away the time.
  4. Standard military chow hall fare for food. I'd take it over an MRE any day. Sometimes we got to eat MREs if the ovens were broken, but we got searched when we left the chow hall so we wouldn't be able to take anything back to the block with us (like peanut butter or jelly).
  5. Sex offenders stuck together and no one else associated with them. Snitches were completely ostracized by everyone. There were only a few snitches (including the guy who snitched on me) and they had a hard time because they had no one to talk to.
  6. Military inmates see the light at the end of the tunnel. They look at improving in the long term. Federal inmates see in the short term, such as what's for dinner tonight.

BrazenBull9 karma

Former Army Staff Sergeant here...

I'd love to hear some stories about the crimes and sentences of the higher ranking officers.

Also, what was the flight from Europe to the States like? Was it a prison plane like in ConAir, or were you on a civilian flight handcuffed to an MP? (Obviously I am completely ignorant on how this works)

bstyledevi11 karma

I was transferred on a Delta flight when I went. I was escorted by two guards, and I was in civilian clothes (jeans, t-shirt, hoodie, tennis shoes). I did have a Body Cuff on under my clothes. The image I'm linking shows one when it's completely tightened. During the transfer, it allowed for a full range of movement for my arms and legs. They also allowed me to somewhat hide it underneath my hoodie, but when we were walking, they were always holding one of the handles.

http://a1.ec-images.myspacecdn.com/images01/58/d67de2b7bbaab7dc3a414fa62c0183ee/l.jpg - Picture of the Body Cuff fully tightened. I couldn't find one that showed the system while someone was just standing there. It was actually pretty comfortable, minus the handcuffs, but they left them loose enough that they didn't dig into my wrists.

I flew from Frankfurt, Germany to Atlanta, GA, then to Oklahoma City, OK, where I was driven to Fort Sill in a rental car.

When I transferred from the FTC in OKC to Yankton, it was on a more Con-Air style flight, but it was just a plain white plane with no markings. The inside had standard plane seating, but no special controls of any kind. Everyone was in full hand and leg restraints.

As for crimes and sentences of higher ranking officers, I only know of a few... there was an E-7 (P) who was convicted of raping two women, one of them a 12 year old girl. and got 12 years and a DD. Another E-6 raped a woman and got 6 years. A Major was charged with murder, but beat that part of the charge and only got convicted of some smaller stuff in conjunction with the crime. He got 2 years, I believe.

Most of the offenders were E-4 and below. Many of them were at their first duty station in their first two years of service. There was a guy who came through the facility in Germany that none of us ever saw. He was given 99 years for murdering his wife with a hammer, then trying to murder someone else who showed up at the house while he was trying to clean it up. He was kept in Maximum security the whole time, and the facility was locked down every time they needed to move him. He was there for three days before transferring to USDB Leavenworth.

SojurnaTrufe8 karma

[deleted]

bstyledevi24 karma

Prison gangs don't exist on the military side.

On the federal side, most people saw gang members as attention seekers who were just trying to posture themselves and start drama. I know in some facilities like Florence ADX, the gangs are more prominent and it's a lot more touch and go than it is where I was. My only real exposure to it was a group of 4 of us in the transfer center at OKC. The spades table was me (white guy, unaffiliated), a high ranking Sereno, a Blood, and a member of the Texas Aryan Brotherhood. We had no real interaction with each other aside from paying cards, because we were all really good spades players. I had teamed with all of them on different days, and there was no actual racial tension between us. When we left the table, it was more like "you stick to your people, we stick to ours" kind of mentality. I guess the card table was some kind of neutral ground there.

Racial segregation isn't forced or expected, but it does just kind of happen. White people tended to hang out with white people, blacks with blacks, latinos with latinos, and so on. The only group that was ostracized by everyone was child molesters and kiddie porn convicts. They had their own group that was racially diverse, but no one else really spoke to them.

mooseman1827 karma

How's your life now? How was it too see your family afterwords? How do you live your life now after all that time you did? Also, when someone goes through a hard time they normally gain alot of wisdom. Any bits of advice?

bstyledevi14 karma

My life is good. I've got a solid support system and a good group of friends. Seeing my family was awesome, especially since I hadn't seen them for a long time before I got locked up. It was a tear-filled reunion for sure.

I live just like most anyone else, although I'm a bit more reserved and guarded than most. I also notice things that other people don't on a normal basis, but that stems just as much from being in the military and having a good attention to detail as it does being in prison.

Advice? Don't fuck with a prisoner's sweets. I've heard of people in higher security facilities getting killed over Skittles.

mooseman1827 karma

I'v also always wondered this. What kind of things do you notice that others don't on a normal basis? just curious.

Thanks for the AMA BTW!

bstyledevi7 karma

People in prison often notice smaller details like where people are in a crowd or when someone is reaching for something. It's a certain kind of paranoia that comes with being in there and thinking you have to constantly be on your guard. In truth, you don't because most people aren't really going to fuck with you for no reason.

I notice it when I'm out at a bar or in some other crowded place that I see where people walk and little things that they do. It works well when I work one of my jobs working for a band, because I can see that the crowd is shifting a certain way and I can bring myself closer to a location where it seems like someone might get pushed into the band or the equipment. Your eyes just follow people in a different way. It's kind of hard to explain.

katbutt7 karma

What are the biggest differences between military vs. federal prisons? Given the choice, which would you choose and why?

Edit: errant comma

bstyledevi19 karma

If I had to choose, I would go back to military prison. The prisoners there are much more disciplined and mature than the people in federal prison. We all understood that we were in it together and had to make the best of it, so we would do things to keep everyone entertained, like card tournaments and (during the summer) baseball games.

Reallyspicytuna10 karma

When all else fails play spades.

bstyledevi34 karma

I had never heard of spades before I got locked up. When I got out, I could play it better than almost anyone I know.

Also the card game Casino. I started playing Casino with someone one night at a bar and they asked me "Where were you locked up?"

rotty24127 karma

At any point during your incarceration did you ever fear for your life?

bstyledevi8 karma

No. I thought I was going crazy a few times in segregation, but I never feared that someone was going to hurt me or threaten me.

rotty24127 karma

On a side note, did you ever fear your would hurt yourself?

bstyledevi6 karma

Once when I was in segregation. I understand why they don't really let you have anything in your cell in there because you start thinking of the most creative ways to kill yourself.

auntie_M7 karma

You've mentioned programs that focus on bettering yourself. Could you tell us about some of the more successful programs, and some of the less successful programs?

bstyledevi11 karma

Some of the classes I went through really helped people talk out their problems and how to turn the negatives in your life into positives. I really enjoyed a classed called Victim Impact that made me realize that I hurt a lot more people than just myself. The class on Interpersonal Relationships did the same thing. The Drug Abuse classes didn't do things like focusing on what drugs are and what they do (as we all already knew that firsthand), but more on their effects on those around you and physical damage to your body.

The Career Preparedness class wasn't really effective because it didn't really address the needs of us in the class. The person who ran the class had never done it for anyone but white collar criminals, so they didn't know how to address people who had dealt drugs their whole lives. The people in the class helped each other more than the instructor did.

GeoGoddess3 karma

I really enjoyed a classed called Victim Impact that made me realize that I hurt a lot more people than just myself. The class on Interpersonal Relationships did the same thing....(elsewhere you wrote)...Now that I'm released, I realize that prison made me understand the value of small things in life that most people don't appreciate.

What can you tell us about your upbringing that resulted in your lack of understanding/consideration of these things. I don't ask this in order to judge; I'm genuinely curious as to the factors that have people be unaware or unconcerned about the impacts of their choices on others. I really appreciate your candor, honesty, humility in doing this AMA. Your true appreciation for the second chance that you're giving yourself comes through loud and clear and I wish you all the best.

bstyledevi3 karma

It's not that I had a bad upbringing, it's that I didn't take into consideration things like effecting my unit, my family, my friends, things like that. My only consideration is how bad this was for me. I knew that it disappointed my family, but I didn't think about anything or anyone else.

On quite the contrary, I had a great family life when I was young. My parents taught me respect and consideration for others as well as taking personal responsibility for me actions. I just decided to disregard that advice and be a fuck up.

SenMaster6 karma

Is it true that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger ? Or do you feel handicapped after the experience?

bstyledevi16 karma

I feel that the experience taught me a lot about people and who I am. In prison, you see people who are truly the bottom of the barrel of society. Not wanting to go back to prison isn't so much not wanting to be incarcerated again, but it's more of not wanting to be around those people again.

I used my experience to better my life and become a better person. I wish everyone who got released from prison did the same.

budy86 karma

Did they help you with finding a job afterwards?

bstyledevi7 karma

No. One of the conditions of my parole was that I had a job upon release, and I had a friend who owned a computer company who offered to hire me when I got out. I had to do all my own legwork to get out on parole. Those who don't get parole don't receive any kind of assistance upon release. They just get told "There's the door, good luck."

Offtheheazy5 karma

How was the food? Which place had the best? Worst? Most interesting meal?

Thanks for the AmA!

bstyledevi10 karma

In Fort Sill, they had a program where your family could come for visitation and eat Thanksgiving dinner with you. The meal they cooked for us was separate from the gen pop meal. We had actual turkey, some decent steaks, all the trimmings, it was almost as good as home cooking.

The worst was the chicken at Leavenworth. They cooked it once a week and never trimmed off any of the fat. They didn't so much cook it as they did boil it for a little while. Half the time it was still pink. There were also a lot of people who argued about cooking procedures and certain spices based on religious grounds, so the guards said that they couldn't use ANY kind of seasoning on anything.

The consistently best food was in Germany. The cooks that worked the kitchen were German local nationals, and they actually took the time to prepare higher quality meals. There were less people at that facility, which meant they could make more of a variety more often.

CassandraVindicated5 karma

America really has a hard-on for punishment and their food is really indicative of that (from what I understand). I frequently have conversations about the US having 25% of the world's prison population. People seem to agree that this is bad, but balk at any idea of lowering sentencing rules, improving rehabilitation programs, or god forbid, outright releasing non-violent prisoners.

bstyledevi4 karma

I wish the focus for drug crimes would be on rehabilitation, not on incarceration. It helps when someone actually wants to change like I did. Unfortunately, the bad intentions of some keep things from changing.

J_Diggity5 karma

Please compare and contrast your civilian prison experience with your military prison experience. Did you still have to render military customs and courtesies as a prisoner? We're you addressed by rank? What were the ranks of the guards/other prisoners?

bstyledevi7 karma

As a prisoner, it is stated that you have lost the privilege of saluting. However, you still address the guards by rank and name. I was in prison with ranks from private to master sergeant, and officers from lieutenant to major. Even if you don't officially lose your rank as part of your sentence, you are no longer addressed by rank. It's just "Prisoner Smith". Guards have the catch all term of Cadre, but I still addressed them by rank and name. Most of the day to day guards were between E-3 and E-5. Some of the front office personnel were E-6 and E-7. There were only a few officers that even came to the prison, mostly for security rounds during the evening.

jxj245 karma

What sorts of differences were there between the incarcerated enlisted and officers? Types of offences, attitudes, prospects, etc?

And what sort of interaction between the two groups?

bstyledevi9 karma

Once you hit the front door of the prison, your rank officially doesn't matter anymore. It came down purely to maturity and attitude. There was a Captain who got locked up who was the biggest crybaby I'd ever seen about every single little thing. He acted like a child, so we treated him like one, and there wasn't anything he could do about it.

spritef5 karma

what was he in for? what were some of the other crimes that officers were in for?

bstyledevi7 karma

He was in for a fairly stupid offense: disobeying a direct order from a superior officer. It was something kind of ridiculous, like not reporting back when he finished a detail. He had a 10 day sentence.

Iskaral5 karma

How do prisons deal with different dietary requirements for vegetarian/vegan, gluten/lactose intolerant etc. prisoners? Are there any differences between fed. and military prisons on this?

bstyledevi6 karma

Both the military and federal systems were kinda shitty with diet management for people with any kind of dietary restrictions. One of my good friends in Yankton has celiac disease, and he was given a special plate at every meal. It had a few pieces of lettuce, a tomato, and maybe some chicken. That was his meal for like every single meal while he was there. All the nutrients with none of the variety.

Shakey_J_Fox4 karma

  • How many years did you have in the service before you were caught?
  • What rank?
  • Was there anyone else implicated with you that was also sentenced to prison?
  • Was there anyone that got away with it?

Thanks for the AMA.

bstyledevi5 karma

2 1/2 years in, I was an E-3. One co-conspirator caught, he got 2 years. Another co-conspirator was already getting kicked out, so they just let him get kicked out and never tried him.

Shakey_J_Fox6 karma

Did you ever see the other guy in lock-up?

bstyledevi7 karma

He got locked up 4 months after I did, and they tried to put us in the same cell block. I warned the guards to move him or me, and they moved me to another block. I would see him at chow or in the gym, but we never spoke.

littleson9123 karma

Why? Was that the guy that snitched on you?

bstyledevi3 karma

Yes it was. When I was getting ready to transfer out to the Federal prison system, I heard that he was transferring in to Fort Sill. After I got out, I got ahold of some of my fellow prisoners who were still there after I was. They said that he got jumped the first day he was there for being a snitch, and after that no one spoke to him except the child molesters.

akumagold3 karma

Not to be rude or stereotypical, but in prison is it anything like the Shawshank Redemption where there was trading and/or smuggling of items?

bstyledevi7 karma

People traded items on a regular basis. In military prison, we got a goodie bag once a month that had things like Twizzlers, some ramen, a small container of off brand Kool-Aid, that kinda thing. We would trade them with people for all kinds of things.

In federal prison, stamps are your currency. You could buy a box of Oatmeal Creme Pies from someone who worked in the warehouse for 10 stamps. A pouch of Bugler tobacco was normally a book and a half (30 stamps), Single cigarettes were normally 2 for 3 stamps or (when one of the smugglers got busted) 1 for 2. You could buy a bag of chicken breasts from a warehouse guy for cheaper than it would cost to buy it at the grocery store on the outside.

furious_idiot3 karma

You worked Comm eh? Airforce? If so, what AFSC?

I work Comm in the USAF, and am stationed in Europe. I have a love for hallucinogens and molly, but this AMA has definitely made me never want to consider that sort of thing whilst being in the USAF.

bstyledevi5 karma

I was Comm in the Army. 25F - Network Switching Systems Operations.

I knew a lot of people who would roll on the first day of a 4 day, then even if they got UA'd after the 4 day they would still drop clean. I don't recommend it, but if you do, be careful. Also from my experience, drugs that were overseas were a lot cleaner than drugs here in the US.

[deleted]3 karma

[deleted]

bstyledevi4 karma

I was in good with the Employment NCOs, so I would volunteer for extra details that had me working 18+ hour days to get a total of like 17 days off for every month I worked. They tried to take all that earned time from me when I went to the fed, but I fought it and won.

bakedpatato3 karma

How many article 15s did they stack on you?

Just kidding. Seriously though, do you feel resentful towards the military/UCMJ for basically making you a societal pariah(not trolling, I'm military myself)? And I do hope you get your general discharge. You seem like you're trying to get on the straight and narrow.

bstyledevi7 karma

I resent myself for allowing it to happen, but I resent the military for giving me such an aggressive punishment compared to others.

Also, I had a General Court-Martial. 3 counts, 9 specifications.

RhetoricalOracle3 karma

You mentioned that it is common for MPs acting as guards tend to know the prisoners, how did they see/feel about your particular offense of trafficking hallucinogens?

Also, thank you for actually providing comprehensive answers. It makes for top notch AMAs.

bstyledevi3 karma

They were not judgmental at all. Those of us who expressed remorse and actually admitted to breaking the law, they saw as role models for other prisoners. It was normal for us to volunteer for extra details and assist the guards in any way we could so we would be seen as model prisoners, which really helped us out when it came time for consideration for tier elevation within the prison or for a parole board.

An0nymauz3 karma

Do you think that because you were military the prison sentence was easier/harder?

bstyledevi5 karma

I was told by a number of people (attorneys included) that if my crime would have happened in the states, I would have received at most 18 months. Most of them agree that since it was a first offense, I would have probably gotten around 6-12 months. It didn't help my case that Italy and the US were on kinda shaky ground with our relations as far as our presence there with the military base, and they were trying to use this as an example of why the US shouldn't be allowed to build another military base there.

SimEnt3 karma

You hear a lot of people in prison deny their crime, I know you have admitted to yours but do you believe the time you served was fair?

And is it true that prison guards are mainly in it due to a sick attraction to power?

Alaric20003 karma

Nor the op but drug crimes seem to be higher sentences. Also at least for military they become prison guards because the army tells them that's the job that's open.

bstyledevi16 karma

I don't think the amount of time I served was fair, but not because I warranted less or more time. I felt that people who had much worse crimes than I did got much less time than me. Molesting a 7 year old should get more than 12 months. Raping someone should get more than 2 years. However a guy who got caught with some weed got sentenced to 6 years. How is that remotely fair?

Most MPs do prison work because that's the unit they're assigned to. I couldn't really speculate on civilian guards.

IAK283 karma

[deleted]

bstyledevi7 karma

They don't go around looking for reasons to punish you. Most of them just want to make sure everyone is safe and that their count isn't messed up. The only time that they really cracked down on every single rule and regulation was when a prisoner committed suicide while at work. I've actually stayed in touch with a select few prison guards since I've been released, and they're good people. The ones who are assholes you learn to not cross and put on a show when they're around.

JangoLegend2 karma

How did being in prison change you? What were causal factors?

bstyledevi8 karma

Going to military prison first definitely was better for me, because it taught me how to be a prisoner that wasn't a complete fuckwad. People would regularly argue with the guards over the dumbest things, like game pieces for a board game or saying they NEEDED time on the phone even though they had no money to place their calls. Watching that happen made me realize I never wanted to be that guy.

Now that I'm released, I realize that prison made me understand the value of small things in life that most people don't appreciate. I was looking forward to doing certain things that most people never question, like being able to turn my lights on and off, or walking across carpeted floor. I saw one carpeted room in the 27 months I was in prison.

SiriusLeary2 karma

What are the biggest differences in the prison cultures?

bstyledevi3 karma

The main difference is attitude. The people in military prison have an outlook on life and plan for what they're going to do after they get out. In federal prison, even if they have shorter sentences, they act like they're all lifers and they will never get out. They focus on the short term, like what's for dinner that night and who's playing what game and what's on TV.

Lode252 karma

Does military prison segregate itself along racial lines like in federal prisons?

bstyledevi3 karma

Not really. Smaller groups do, but for the most part the people didn't really care.