Every Quarter (90 days) here at the Atlanta Federal Prison Camp, The Officer in Charge (O-I-C) can change. When I first got here the O-I-C was Officer Bouye, then we had an Officer Rosa, two Quarters of Officer Rice and now we have Officer Bouye of Texas again.
One thing is clear: management styles are different. For instance Officer Rice prefers to have all inmates inside the camp during the day and are not assigned to the different camp work details to check in with his office. This includes all inmates who are new to the camp (A and O s), anybody assigned as Camp Maintenance, Convalescent and medically unassigned.
This means that every morning except holidays and weekends, a long line of inmates are outside the Officer in Charge Office waiting to be checked in. This can take an hour. You would not think that it would be easy. It is not. Try standing for an hour with about a hundred guys waiting with nothing else to do. And the checkout process can be delayed by all sorts of things the O-I-C has to deal with. Sometimes officers decide to breathalize inmates they suspect have been drinking alcohol. When this happens it’s a nightmare. And you get to listen to inmates complain. You constantly hear people asking why is this process is necessary? What is the purpose? What is the officer trying to prove?
I can not answer these questions. I did not put the system together and no one asked me what I thought of it. So I just stand as long as I can and then I lean against a wall or on my cane. But it does get old listening to a bunch of whining men starting at 8 am every day.
I guess the men will not have Officer Rice to whine about anymore. He has to retire. He has reached the official Bureau of Prison Retirement Age. So they won’t have Officer Rice to kick around anymore.
Now we have Officer Bouye and his style is totally different. No long lines of inmates standing in front of the O-I-C Office waiting to check in. He conducts what he calls “Lockdown Census Counts.” This process calls for the closing of the prison camp around 8:30 am. No one leaves or enters during this Census Count. Inmates who are not assigned to outside prison work details or to Camp Maintenance and A & Os, must report to their dorms and be counted. Officer Bouye goes to all eight dorms, A thru H and counts the men. But its more than a count. Its his way of getting to know the men. To put faces the with names. He uses the time to familiarize himself with the men and find out a little about their pasts and their cases. Its very subtle and sophisticated.
Both systems are effective. Whether its Officer Rice with his “check-ins” or Officer Bouye with his “Census Counts,” both men get to know the inmates at the prison.
But no matter the system the inmates whine and complain. They don’t want to stand and wait to be checked in and they don’t want to sit in their dorms until they are counted either. You hear the same complaints. Nothing is new.
My former cellmate hates Officer Bouye so everything he does is bad according to him. But Officer Bouye has a soft heart for the sick, elderly and handicapped prisoners. I fall, unfortunately, into the elderly category. And because I sometime have to walk with a cane, I also fall into the handicapped category. Officer Bouye makes sure we get in the front of the line for lunch. He is a man who has respect for his elders. And believe me there are a lot of guards and prisoners who could care less about anyone except themselves. Officer Bouye reminds me of a time when the young had respect for their elders instead of contempt for them.
Now back to my former cellmate. He is over 60. Despite his contempt for Officer Bouye, he is the first to run to the chow line to take a place in the elderly line. So I guess the stomach overrides his contempt. This is the same guy who told me not to complain about things when I arrived. He said there is nothing you can do about things so just learn to adjust. I am not a complainer but I had to listen to him do what he told me not to do for a year, complain! Somebody should have taken his own advice!
One thing is for sure you can’t please all the inmates all the time. And some times you can’t please any of the inmates any of the time.
Which system do I like best? I am a supporter of Officer Bouye’s system. I would rather sit and wait to be counted a few minutes, than to stand for an hour or more outside the O-I-C Office waiting to check-in. Its too hard on your legs and your feet.
Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or mailed to:
FPC-Atlanta; Dorm D
PO Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315