True Stories of Doing Time: Entry Two:
by Terry Chandler (TC30)
Terry Chandler #941311
Stafford Creek Corrections Center
191 Constantine Way
Aberdeen, WA 98520
I arrived on a Saturday which is not normal, but the con air plane had been broken down so they were doing make up runs to get caught up on inmate transports.
It was September in California so most everyone was outside on the rec yard enjoying the weather when I got there. I had only been in my cell for about ten minutes when an old timer came up and introduced himself and said if I had any questions he had an open door policy and I was welcome to ask. The first thing I asked is if he had a smoke? He hooked me up with a pack of bugler and some matches and gave me a bit of a run down of the place. I won’t mention anyone’s name for obvious reasons, but this guy and his crime partner were both in my living unit and they were serving time for an extreme extended police chase/gun battle on the freeway.
On Monday morning my cellie and I had to go down to laundry to get our issue of clothing since we arrived over the weekend, (my cellie came in on the prison bus with me). On our way back to our living unit, we were standing there waiting for the corridor officer to let us in when the deuces (deuces is what they call it when they need immediate response from all available staff) were hit in upper I-unit for an officer down. I was amazed at how many people came running!!! Within a matter of thirty seconds the corridor was filled with staff and medical responding to the call. That was my first time seeing the deuces being called but it is something that became normal to me over time.
Over the next week I went through all of the orientation process and I slowly got used to moving around from place to place. The one place I enjoyed going to was the movie theatre. When I first got there they still showed uncut R-rated movies (Showgirls was the first movie I saw there), plus they showed a different movie everyday of the week, one night was for oldies and another night was for Spanish movies. That all changed after April 3, 1997 though, I will explain later what happened on that day but if your curious now, I’m sure you can Google “USP Lompoc April 3, 1997, and you will be able to read about what happened on that day that completely changed how all inmate movements were done after that day.
During my first few days of being there I was approached and asked who I ran with? I said nobody, that’s when I learned that most people click up with a group known as a “car” when they get to prison. I chose to be an independent, I got to prison on my own so I was determined to either survive or fail on my own. I won’t be a part of something where I will have to do something because I’m told to do it, no thanks!!!!!! It’s not easy being an independent though, you must show respect to all the different cars while not making your own race look bad in any way. There are so many different unwritten rules and laws in prison that you must abide by and you had better learn them fast.
I was now settling in and trying to figure out my path and what I was going to do? I had a long road of decades of prison ahead of me and I needed a game plan if I wanted to reach the end of my sentence in one piece and semi sane.