Doin’ Time: Mr. Vick, welcome to prison!

In recent days, Michael Vick has seen the last good day he’ll see for a while. After the dogfighting/illegal gambling ring was collared, he found out what having 3 co-defendants will ultimately mean: he gets to take the brunt of the sentence.

At this point, I don’t know how long he’s going away for, but certainly seems at least 9 months and possibly, up to 3 years, given the amount of evidence and witnesses the prosecutors could bring to bear.

If Michael Vick would accept my advice, here’s what I tell him:
1) The bus trip with the shackles is the time to figure out what exactly you going to do with your life after prison.
2) The first time they strip search you, try to think of something positive.
3) Your first night: Cry silently. Get that out of your system.

There are plenty of things to forget inside the joint, big house, call it what you will. The “Country Club” is only that way if the prison guards decide to run it that way. Ignorant people get the notion it just happens to be made that way by some inane idea that celebs get that treatment intentionally. That is a guard to guard thing…Since most guards are opportunistic, rejected from the police force, overweight, college-inept parasites, it’s their mission either to dole out punishment in variously demeaning ways or cater to the highest clientele.

Vick won’t do time in the highest security level – meant for the murderer, rapists and child molesters – but he isn’t going away to Band Camp either.

He’ll be processed just like the thieves, drug pushers and white-collar criminals that the FEDS prosecuted. The FED house is different from the STATE PEN. The state is no picnic; plenty of leaches in there. The FED is probably a little more clean, little more structured to handle the various times of criminals. In the State, they just throw them together – violent and non-violent makes no difference, until the behavior problems arise.

Vick might get a shot at a career after jail. Somehow, his remaining football talent will garner him a look somewhere. He might get to be a Running Back or a 3rd string QB, but he’ll get check. Unlike, most ex-cons, he’ll possibly get a chance to rehab his image. Go on TV. Make an effort to show he is a changed soul.

I’ve heard plenty on the RAD or TV that America is the “Land of 2nd chances.” Not as much as people would like to think it is. Most of the ex-cons get very few, if any, chances to undo their recent fate. I heard many of these reporter types reflect that Vick shouldn’t be banned for life from the NFL. That he deserves a chance to “earn a living or practice his trade.”

Well, I’m here to verify that I didn’t get that opportunity. I tried to go back to Industrial Engineering after a 2+ year unscheduled hiatus, and no one of over 400 companies, bit.

So, I had to change my “career” focus. Do crappy jobs. And hope it gets better, while my prior bills (to my incarceration) piled up and earned a healthy interest to further my debt, to society.
I’ve lost $300,000 in potential income. (The cost of a cheap IE for 5-6 years.)

My first jobs out of jail: a grill cook at Bob Evan’s for $8/hr. I was never much of a cook, I mean, I can do it, but restaurant work isn’t the same thing. But that wasn’t enough money to pay rent ($560/mo), Probation ($360/mo) and various other expenses a person living on his own is required to have, like a phone, electricity, food, etc.

So, I managed to get a job a Steak & Shake as a waiter – $2.12/hr plus tips. Between the two jobs, I had to work about 70 hours per week to make it. I drove my shiny new $80 mountain bike to these places about 2 1/2 miles from the only apartment that would take “my kind.”

As a stipulation of my probation, I had to wear A GPS monitor and pay that $360/mo. I also paid $1,500 in restitution to the “alleged victim.” (Sorry, I don’t think it was quite justified.)

Meanwhile, every other week, I had to visit probation, about 15 miles from my residence (Big City.) This meant taking Public Transportation —and going by their schedule. It wasn’t a 1-bus trip, but 2 buses that had a 30-minute gap. I did ride my bike there once – 30 miles of interstate traffic and inner city bliss. The time elapsed to get this done: 5 1/2 hours all total.

Every week, I went to a “therapist” as required by the court. Her fee for group sessions was $90 per session. It was another 5 miles from my residence. Easier, I would ride my bike there quite frequently. But that changed once winter came (very quickly, I might add.)

Anyways, in these 1 1/2 hour sessions, I was to also asked to attend AA meetings on a different night. So, I did, twice. I wish I could tell you my 9 sessions with this therapist helped, but it was such a con – no pun intended. I was to blame in her eyes; and she was dealing with a bunch of other guys that had “problems”, not prison related, and could afford better advice. For my trouble, I just racked up a $600+ debt.

After that, I slept alot on my floor, until my mother bought me a futon for like $125.

Frustration did tend to set in. Money was at the root of it. I’d make just enough to pay rent, probation, and food, that would be about it. (Eating high calorie restaurant food won’t help—Ask Elaine.)

The Restaurant shifts took their toll. On the weekends, I’d get to Bob Evan’s at 7AM, after the bike ride. I’d work till about 2PM, ride quickly home, clean up, and go to Steak and Shake at 4PM. Be there until 11PM, ride my bike home, go to sleep. Repeat on Sundays. Sometimes I would go directly to Steak and Shake after Bob Evan’s, but that meant carrying a bag on my back, plus the GPS monitor battery pack (which isn’t some little thing…you can strap it to your waist.)

I didn’t make a lot of friends, especially if they knew “why” I was there. (And the manager let it slip–not I.) Seems most waitresses have been abused, or at least, more so than your average female. So, it only took awhile before one in particular made it her lot to “press buttons.” I can understand it–now — but then, I had too much of my own trying to live a meager life, and pray I can to stay out of the joint. (Probation Violation: Not maintaining court-ordered fees is a probation violation.)

To Be Continued….

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Comments

  • Bipolar Wellness Writer  On August 22, 2007 at 1:16 am

    JayPee,
    I think the only “good” to come out of this for you is that someday you’re going to write a script or a play or a book about your experiences that will sell and make you famous. Or you’ll fictionalize it and use it as part of a plot! Crossing my fingers for you!

  • Animal Chaplain  On August 23, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Hi,

    In light of the Michael Vick stuff, I am especially pleased to share this with others! As personally satisfying as it would be to spay and neuter Michael Vick (with no anesthesia), our goal is not to dwell on Vick and the evils of dog fighting, but to teach people how animals SHOULD BE TREATED, and what a blessing they are. Thanks for reading it and passing it on if it interests you. If it doesn’t, I apologize. ~ Nancy Cronk at http://www.Animal Chaplains.com.

    Press Release August 22, 2007

    “Animal Chaplains To Honor and Bless All Creatures on World Animal Day”

    ~ from the Interfaith Association of Animal Clergy

    In what will look like a scene from the popular family movie, “Evan Almighty”, scores of Animal Chaplains around the world will bless hundreds, perhaps thousands of animals in many different settings on October 4th 2007. At a pet cemetery on the east coast, to a city park in the desert, to a sandy beach on the west coast, they will walk in on a leash, fly in on a harness, and slither in their cages. Barking, mewing, bleating, mooing, whinnying and purring will join human voices in hymns of praise and worship.

    That day is World Animal Day, a day dedicated to honoring, blessing, and protecting animals all over the world. World Animal Day was founded at an ecologist’s convention in Florence, Italy in 1931 as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4th was chosen as World Animal Day because it is also the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, a Catholic Church holiday which is often celebrated with an annual “blessing of the pets”. Since then, it has grown to encompass all kinds of animal life and has been widely celebrated around the world. Churches and synagogues in many faiths traditions have adopted “Pet Blessing Day” or “World Animal Day” in increasing numbers every year.

    The Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains prepares for World Animal Day by referring its members and visitors to the official World Animal Day website. The site provides ideas and resources to individuals, families, community groups and congregations everywhere. People can post their pledge for volunteering at a World Animal Day event. In addition to blessing pets, volunteers will work at animal shelters, zoos, rescues, and other nonprofit organizations. Dogs will be walked, cats will be brushed, horses will be groomed, and fish will benefit from freshly cleaned tanks. Donations will be given to animal welfare agencies, and pets will be adopted. School children will collect pet food to be donated to charities, and bake sales and car washes will be held as fundraising events. Veterinary clinics will hold free spay and neuter days, or may offer to vaccinate pets at no charge. All over the world, on the very same day, the well-being of animals will be on the minds of millions of people.

    Interfaith Chaplain Nancy Cronk feels a day honoring animals is very important at a time when the headlines speak of animal cruelty such as athlete Michael Vick’s alleged ties to illegal dog fighting. Animal Chaplains would like everyone to know that every major faith endorses the responsible stewardship of the earth and all of its creatures. “Deliberate harming of animals is in direct opposition to teachings in all of the major world faiths. Caring for animals is our global spiritual responsibility. If we can teach this ethic to all of our children, animal abuse and suffering will someday become a distant memory”.

    To find out how to get involved on World Animal Day, go to http://www.WorldAnimalDay.org.uk. To find out more about Animal Chaplains, go to http://www.AnimalChaplains.com.

    (This article may be reprinted.)

    Nancy J. Cronk
    Founder, Chair and Chaplain
    Interfaith Association of Animal Chaplains
    http://www.AnimalChaplains.com
    Email: AnimalClergy@aol.com

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