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24th May 2020

Let me tell you about my world these days. As I sit here flawlessly pecking away at a COVID-free keyboard, wearing a mask that I've customized by writing POLITICAL PRISONER across the front of it, I'm watching the clock out of the corner of my coronaless eye. Why? Because I only have an hour out of my cell on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In this hour I have to shower, recharge my MP-3, email, and use the free 10 minute phone call that my captors have been kind enough to grant all of us (per day).

Equally depressing is the fact that 120 souls have been stuffed into the penitentiary project from which I presently postulate from (using this pen). There are four ranges in the cell block, with two being upstairs and two being down. Roughly 30 high-security prisoners per range. When we are allowed to come out of our cells for our hour, we are required to wear a mask. Like so much of this experience, this is not a request. Should an individual lack the sufficient intellect to not follow this mandate, the housing officer presses a little Orange button on the side of his radio and bad things ensue. Not to be Captain Obvious, but it's a sad little life when SWAT-like responses and mandated ass-whippings pass for entertainment. Just saying. There is actually a very good reason for all of the mitigation hullabaloo though.

The coronavirus is running rampant through the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). There are presently approximately 142,000 prisoners in the custody and control of the BOP, spread out over approximately 122 facilities. All of them are presently on lockdown because more than 800 inmates and 450 staff have tested positive for the virus, and 27 prisoners have died (see bop.gov). However, only one staff member has died, which is a blessing that I attribute to their access to better healthcare than the average prisoner. The United States Attorney General William Barr (AG) said several weeks ago that he was afraid the the BOP would turn into "A big Petri dish." His words have turned out to be quite prophetic. Despite mitigation efforts and the lockdowns, the numbers continue to rise. I am living in a worst case scenario and I am in the "Risk group" due to the fact that I have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and asthma.

My prison has only had one staff member that has tested positive, and zero inmates. The officers' are triaged before being allowed down onto the compound. Also, I no longer live in the same cell block that I did a month ago. This is because they took the 50 prisoners from the Challenge Program and moved us next door with the Residential Drug and Alcohol Program (RDAP) prisoners. They did this so that they could free-up our old cell block and empty out two other cells blocks. The felonious itinerant miscreants from these two cell houses were scattered to the winds across the compound for a good reason though. The two cell blocks from whence they came are now quarantine blocks. If a prisoner leaves the compound for any reason, or one transfers into the prison, they are herded into one cell block and quarantined for 14 days to make sure that they are COVID-free. If by chance they test positive, they are confined to the cell block next door. The front door to this cell block has been welded shut. This is most likely the new normal at my institution.

Even corona clouds sometime have a silver lining though. The AG has ordered the Director of the BOP to identify non-violent inmates in the COVID Risk Group (who are not sex-offenders) and who have served over 50% of their sentence, and release them forthwith to Home Confinement. So far over 2000 prisoners have hit this lottery. They have even waived the electronic monoriting provision that is usually accompanied with Home Confinement that is internally done for the first 90 days. Being that I have done around 70% of my sentence and that I'm in the Risk Group, I applied to be released. However, putting a much needed dose on reality into this equation, I seriously doubt that I will be one of the lucky ones. Why? Glad that you asked.

Out of all of the requirements that I would seem to satisfy, I see three potential problems: 1) Despite the fact that I never used a weapon in my crimes or even threatened anyone, according to the courts' interpretation of the federal robbery statute at 18 USC 2113(a), there is no such thing as a "Non-violent bank robber," 2) Residency issues (as in having no home to be confined to), and, 3) Even after 12 yrs in the can, I may still be considered to be "Too live for prime time" to Mr. Bianchi, the Asst U.S. Attorney that had me tranqed and dragged into the dock way back when. I just don't know. If I did hit the lottery of Home Confinement I would probably ask my sister and brother-in-law in Chicago if I could stay with them for a week or so until I could get a small apartment to confine myself to. My plan for the future consists of positivity and healthy living. I envision myself on the back of my boat or in my skybox at Wrigley field, writing my next book as my faithful English bulldog Clyde lays by my side. I have a feeling that Clyde will be more faithful than my last girlfriend was. Just saying.

Until such time though, I'll be right here in the Petri dish, occasionally standing on my toilet and telling jokes to the guy in the cell above me. He's a Muslim named Rakeem, and since this is the Holy Month of Ramadan for the Muslims, this was the joke I told him last night: A guy walks into a sex shop and tells the proprietor that he wants to buy a blow-up doll. The guy behind the counter asks, "Do you want the Christian blow-up doll, the Jewish one, or the Muslim blow-up doll?" The guy looks confused, and asks, "What's the difference?" The proprietor answers, "The Muslim doll blows itself up." I heard several people in the vent laughing and clapping, but strangely, Rakeem wasn't one of them. Go figure. One thing's for sure. It's a tough crowd these days.

To properly close this blog and convey my position to you guys on how I'm feeling about things these days, I have built an anagram into this blog. It's three words that you can get from taking the first letter of each paragraph in the blog. It is also what I would tell AG Barr if I could talk to him. Stay safe out there.

Jeffrey P. Frye 89319-071
USP Coleman, II
P.O. Box 1034
Coleman, FL 33521