(originally launhed into cyberspace on 03/14/2007)
Many of you have asked what my prison stay was like. It's hard now
for me to believe that it was a whole year. (Time flies when you're
having fun.) Of course, it was annoying not being home, and being
censored, but other than that being there wasn't really all that
bad. I missed out on all the exciting stuff you see in prison
movies (violence, gang warfare, etc.), mainly because I was in a
federal prison "camp." There were no locks, no fences, and the
"guards" were unarmed. Though calling it "club fed" is a bit of an
exaggeration (it's not THAT much fun), anyone there could have
walked off whenever he wanted, though of course anyone who did
would be put in a lot worse place (with extra prison time) if he
There were a little fewer than 200 guys there, covering a wide
range of ages, income levels, education levels, cultural
backgrounds, etc. Most of the people there were there for non-
crimes: mainly possessing a substance without government approval.
Though a few of them actually committed real crimes (the kind with
victims), they were all non-violent, white collar stuff. No one who
commits violent crimes is sent to a camp, and no one stays in a
"camp" if he gets into fights or threatens people. So the place was
not at all scary.
I kept busy working on half a dozen different projects (writing
books, music, etc.), when I wasn't working at the powerhouse. (The
whole place is pretty much kept running by the inmates, who do the
food preparation, cleaning, maintenance, etc.) I also spent lots of
times wandering around the outdoor track, which overlooks woods and
a really cool pond... that I wasn't allowed to go to. I saw plenty
of wildlife: deer, coyote, skunk, turkey, groundhog, heron,
turtles, frogs, snakes, salamanders, a zillion kinds of birds, etc.
There were a few interesting folks at "camp" (all of them inmates).
Mostly I hung around with one particular militant moderate who was
aspiring to achieve apathetic complacency... and failing horribly.
(I think I contributed to pushing him off the political spectrum
entirely, though he didn't need much of a push.) Hail, the Great
Most of the "guards" (who are called "camp officers," not "guards,"
probably because there's nothing for them to actually guard) were
decent enough, though there was the occasional control-freak,
aspiring tyrant. The staff was an interesting blend of thinly
veiled control freaks and incompetent bureaucrats, with a few
exceptions. (Anyone who likes big government should go to prison
for a while and see what it's like when they run everything.)
As far as I could tell, I received no special treatment (positive
or negative) for being an "enemy of the state." The folks at the
BOP (Bureau of Prisons) pretty much do their thing, and probably
don't care much what the IRS thinks.
On average Tessa and Elyssa visited me every other week. (It's 150
miles from my house, so that was a bit of a challenge.) A few other
people visited along the way, too. Because of the "points" system
they use, limiting the number of visits per month, I kept my
visiting list limited to family and close friends.
Mostly it was boring and uneventful, though I got a lot done on a
lot of projects. It was, of course, tough being away from my family
for that long, not being able to help them at all. But we all
survived. And I'm sure it will come as a shock to all of you that
my "correction" apparently was not a success: I still like freedom,
and still dislike liars and thieves (IRS, DOJ, etc.). They did
terrorize me into giving them money I know I don't owe, and signing
returns pretending my income is taxable, to minimize the torture of
my family. (Ah, what a swell country.) But, I'm happy to report, my
soul is still my own.
(P.S. Sorry nothing more exciting happened while I was inside for
me to tell you about. Actually, I'm not really sorry.)