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Summer/ Holiday Packages

1:54 PM

I remember the first time I was told I would be able to receive a package, I was still in Unit 32 and had just signed on the "High Risk Incentive Program." Years of experience in dealing with prison administrators has taught me to take what they say, not with a grain of salt, but with an entire bag of the stuff. Which is probably what they say about us prisoners, too. But they told us we'd be allowed to receive a package; that we were already approved. Weeks later after our families attempted to order a package for us, we found out we had not been approved. 

That was the first time. The second time went more smoothly, thankfully. And in case you are ordering for your loved one, below you'll find info that will hopefully make it easier. If they can order from the regular commissary menu, then there are items on the package menu that you might want to avoid because they are also on the regular menu. 

Items on commissary menu that you want to avoid on the package menu:
  • 1 Malt-O-Meal Frosted Flakes 
  • 12 Malt-O-Meal Tootie Fruities 
  • 14 Zippy Cakes Blueberry Cheese Danish 
  • 15 Zippy Cakes Mega Buneez 
  • 17 Zippy Cakes Strawberry Cheese Danish 
  • 79 Bridgford Beef Summer Sausage 
  • 81 Bridgford Sliced Pepperoni 
  • 90 Van Holden's Mild Dill Pickle 
  • 93 Brushy Creek 11.25 oz. Lasagna with Beef 
  • 101 Velveeta Macaroni and Cheese 
  • 105 Velveeta Cheesy, Refried Beans 
  • 106 Velveeta Spicy, Cheesy Refried Beans 
  • 107 Sevilla Refried Beans 
  • 109 Velveeta 2 oz. Cheesy Rice 
  • 110 Velveeta 2 oz. Spicy, Cheesy Rice 
  • 111 Cactus Annie's 8 oz. 6 pk. Flour Tortillas 

Good deals on the package menu:
  • 19 Keefe Kitchen's 
  • 11 oz. Strawberry Toaster Pastries 6 pk. 
  • 20 Toast'em Pop-Ups 11 oz. Blueberry Pastries 6 pk. 
  • 51 M&M Peanut 5.3 oz. 
  • 52 Moon Lodge Stuffed Jalapeno Potato Chips 
  • 53 Moon Lodge 6 oz. "Whole Shabang" Chips 
  • 54 Moon Lodge 6 oz. Sour Cream and Onion Chips 
  • 55 Cactus Annie's 13 oz. Corn Chips 
  • 89 Bumble Bee 5 oz. Tuna in pouch 
Items I recommend:
  • 2 Tang 12 oz. Instant Orange Drink Mix 
  • 7 Keefe 10 oz. Hot Cocoa Mix 
  • 8 Keefe 3 oz. 100% Colombian Coffee 
  • 30 Bud's Best Candy N Cookies - Butterfinger 6 oz. Mini Cookies 
  • 31 Bud's Best Orange Dreamsicle Cookies 6 oz. 
  • 45 Hershey's Miniatures 5.3 oz. 
  • 65 Kar's 7 oz. Nut & Yogurt Trail Mix Unsalted

If you have and questions or want to share your experiences with us, feel free to leave comments here on the post. We hope this info is of aid to you. For more info on how to order a package for your loved one, click here

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Adventures with Big Bill

1:39 AM
Over the years, I've met some rather...interesting characters. And because I'm such a caring and sharing soul, I'm going to regale you with tales of them. No, no, don't thank me. It's quite alright. This is for your reading enjoyment.

During my time at Unit 32, I was housed around the guys on death row quite frequently. That's where I met Bill. If you were to see Bill, your first impression would be of a guy who looked like he'd been a part of the Hell's Angels. About 5'11", 320 lbs., dark brown hair cut in a mohawk, and a full beard. Undermining this first impression is the one-piece button-up jumpsuit that he's wearing. I got the feeling he had received it when he first came to the row, that it was about 5 times too large and he kinda grew into it, like a goldfish into its bowl. The jumpsuit was once red, but now it just looks pink. And then Bill opens his mouth and says something like "Hi!" sounding for all the world like Ned Flanders from The Simpsons.

I used to get moved on a weekly basis, and I remember the first time I had to spend a week across from Bill. A memorable week it was. The first thing I noticed is that Bill is lazy. He came shuffling up to his door, stuck his arms between the bars, waved and said "Hi!" in an eerily cheerful voice. I saw movement near his feet- in his shuffle to the door he'd disturbed the dust bunnies in his cell, which were the size of small tumbleweeds. As I said, Bill is lazy.

One time I saw him "washing" his laundry. He had put a shirt in his sink, jammed the button so the water kept running, and then shuffled back to his bed. Every 30 minutes or so he'd come shuffling back over to the sink and -with just his index finger- poke at the shirt he had in there. After about the fourth time he did this, I asked him what he was up to. He replied that washing machines have an "agitate" cycle, so he figured he'd do the same. I told him he'd probably have to agitate a bit more vigorously if he expected his shirt to get clean. He said, "If I did this to you, wouldn't you get agitated?" I had to admit that I most likely would. As an aside, when he finally took his shirt out of the sink, it was green. The water at Parchman isn't the best.

I imagine that in prison you're likely to hear a variety of tales moreso than in other places. I've heard my share, certainly. Bill's spiritual beliefs were a hodgepodge accumulation, and one of the tales he shared with me was from when he was attempting to become a monk. Via correspondence. I guess it's possible, but I'd never heard of anyone doing it that way. According to Bill, at some point he disagreed with some essential doctrine or questioned some practices within the Church. He wrote to the Vatican and received a response from Cardinal Ratzinger, the Dean of the College of Cardinals at the time (and current Pope), saying he was anathema, from thenceforth excommunicated from the Church, and that he was, "Damned, damned, damned to hell, hell, hell." Thrice damned. Sounds like some conversations I've had with my exes.

In the following years, Bill went through some changes. His best friend on the row was executed and that deeply affected him. He lost weight, became more subdued. His death sentence was commuted to life without parole and he was released to general prison population. I don't know where he is now, but if you're out there,'s your pancreas? =)

-in memory of "Bart"
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About Me

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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

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