Here, the term, “FEDEX” doesn’t refer to a mail carrier service, it means Federal Transfer. I’ve been hearing rumors about a FEDEX for the past few weeks. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me. The guards tell me that the USDB is at maximum capacity. The military continues to convict at a faster rate than inmates are getting released.
Last night the order came through. About 15 inmates disappeared. I’ve heard they were taken to the Special Housing Unit (SHU) without even an opportunity to grab anything out of their cells. They’ll stay in the SHU until they complete out-processing and move to a Federal Prison.
Moving from the USDB into the federal prison system has its pros and cons. The USDB is safer than most prisons, particularly for sex offenders. The odds of being raped at the USDB are practically non-existant; at a federal prison, I’ve been told the odds of a sex offender being raped or tortured are pretty high. The food and recreational opportunities are superior at the USDB, though there’s no internet access. The benefits of a federal prison, to me, seem dim in comparison. From what I can tell, the only pros are that they try to place you at a federal pen close to your home of record, you may have internet access, and you may have a slightly better chance at parole or early release.
The USDB has a high percentage of sex offenders – perhaps as a result of the military’s crack down on such offenses in response to the media spotlight on sexual harassment and assault in war zones – so most people here are pretty averse to being transferred.
I didn’t get caught up in this round of federal transfers. It actually turned out to be sort of a good deal for me. I was upgraded to a room on the first floor (I can make out what’s on TV from my bed) and I’ve been invited to fill a vacancy in the second row to watch TV. There are four rows from which you can watch TV and the closer to the front and middle you are, the more “rank” you have, i.e. the “heavy” for my section sits front and center. (For more on the prison hierarchy and “sections” see: A Learning Experience.)
I started off as a newbie sitting in the fourth row near the end. I’ve made it to the second row in record time. I’m actually sort of proud. It basically means that I’m fitting in well with the front row guys, I keep my cell clean, practice good hygiene, and don’t stir up trouble. There are guys who’ve been here 10 years and are still in the fourth row because they can’t seem to fit in. I just hope my rapid advancement in the section doesn’t hurt me later because of jealousy.