Monday, July 20, 2009

another week whizzes by

Another week and another weekend have passed. It was a not a non-event week. I worked on some commissioned pieces (portraits.)

The week started kind of rocky. I went to town to put some money in the bank. I was on my way when TJ called me. Her brother (51 years old) called and he was in the hospital. He was very cryptic and told us he would tell us all when we came up. I finished my business in town and came back for Tj. We went to the hospital to see James. The news was bad. He has cancer. They didn't know where yet, when wee were there. They were running tests to find all of it. He told us that they did tell him a time frame based on what they did know, but would not share with us what it was. I respect his wishes in that. He was on the 6th floor/Oncology unit.

While I was there at the hospital, I went down a few floors (2nd floor/Cardio) to visit my sisters mother-in-law who was there for fluid around her heart and high blood pressure. I talked with her and prayed with her before I left her room. While there, Mom called and asked if I would visit a lady from her church that was on the 4th floor. I went to the 4th floor and visited and prayed with her before leaving her room to head back to the 6th floor.

The rest of the week slowed down a little bit.

Saturday, we went to see Chris. The jail has limited visits on Saturdays to one per inmate. Saturday was the day before Chris's 23rd birthday. His fiance wanted to see him as did the family. so we coordinated to be there at the same time and all go in as a group. That way, we all get to see him and no one is excluded. TJ and I were giving him money into his account to use for incidentals. It has been an education, of sorts, for us, these last two years he has been in jail.

I used to think, (as I discovered many other Americans thought,) that inmates, while having limited freedom, were getting a free ride on taxpayer dollars. This is not so. Yes, we are paying for the facility to house them. Yes, our tax dollars pay for the utilities and the meals. I suppose that there is a system where the cost of incarcerating some prisoners can be offset by considering the cost of them being free in theft, vandalism costs, and loss of life. For what it costs, spread across the population of taxpayers, it could be considered a good investment.

However, I found other things that surprised me. The inmate has to pay for DR visits and other medical treatments. Inmates pay for incidentals such as writing or reading material, when it is allowed. In some jails, (the one Chris is in is one) all outgoing calls from inmates must be collect. They cannot use calling cards. These calls are limited to 15 minutes and cost the callee $4.95 for the full 15 minutes.

There are many other things that inmates must pay for out of pocket. Since the inmates are not paid, per say, for work in the jail, all the costs must come from families. So, our birthday gift will be used for a candy bar hare and there, a soda occasionally, or a colored pencil or paper so he can write home.

The ride up and back was fun. We left MS and headed up the back roads to Beattyville. We planned to stop along the way and get the money order for the gift. Well, in the 50 miles between here and Beattyville, there are no stores that sell money orders. Once we got to the jail, I dropped off TJ and the kids and headed to the booming town of Beattyville to find a store that sold MO's. I eventually found one, purchased it, returned to the jail, and had enough time to walk in and wish Chris a happy birthday and exit.

Sunday was good. Church was good. Fellowship was good.


miruspeg said...

Life is sure NOT dull in your world Ron and you have the gift of relating stories very well.

Oh BTW when I was on Facebook I checked out your music and saw you enjoy Three Dog too. I have put 2 of their songs on my playlist.

Take care mate

TammyJ said...

Thank you honey for putting it out there about the "taxpayer" footing the bill thing. They also have to pay for being there. They charge anywhere from 100 to 500 for the booking and housing fee when the inmate gets to the jail depending on the facility and Chris also told me that a postage stamp we pay .44 for cost him .54 and that 1.25 soda we can get cost him 2.50 it is amazing when you think of it that jail cost the taxpayers anything at all with the prices they charge the inmates for everything. Heck when you are paying 2.00 for one disposible razor you would wonder too what the tax money is for.