Mike Freshko provides insider information and resources for those interested in FPC Montgomery. Read below to find Mike’s overview of inmate life at FPC Montgomery.
Rdap Dan: How big is the FPC Montgomery camp?
Mike: This is a large camp. Approximately 700-800 inmates.
RDAP Dan: How hard is the atmosphere there?
Mike: A lot of the guys here, who have been at other camps, lows, and mediums, say it feels more like low even though there is no controlled movement. But it’s a matter of perspective really, because many others call this place “Camp Cupcake”. In general, the inmates are pretty laid back here because they know they will eventually get to go home and they don’t want to spoil that. There aren’t really any politics here, so people hang out with each based on proximity and/or common interests.
RDAP Dan: Is there a lot of fighting at FPC Montgomery?
Mike: The only times I’ve overheard verbal disputes is when people are in the TV room. My bed was near the TV room and sometimes the arguments got pretty heated. The disagreements range from being about which channel should be on to disputing which streets run along the Atlanta Falcons stadium. I normally avoid the TV room, not because it’s dangerous, but because I realize what a waste of time it is.
RDAP Dan: What’s there to do to pass the time?
Mike: There is a lot here to keep you busy. For sports, they have tennis, softball, flag football, soccer, racquet ball, basketball, horseshoes and bocciball. They also have yoga classes and a music room where you can practice piano, guitar, bass, drums, and some wind and brass instruments. There are some top-notch musicians here that have organized bands. You can also watch television, and there are jobs to do, which also helps pass the time.
RDAP Dan: What is the job situation like?
Mike: Most people are required to work here, unless you are retirement age or have a physical disability. There several here with walkers, in wheelchairs and there’s one person here who is blind. Most of the jobs at FPC Montgomery camp deal with the maintenance of the base, so you might be doing things like taking care of the grounds or cleaning inside the various buildings. There are some good jobs like clerks, commissary, teaching GED classes, facilities and town drivers. The only jobs that pay well here, like in the other prisons, are jobs where you’re working for Unicor. Here, if you work for Unicor, you’ll likely be doing laundry. I currently work only a half day because I have RDAP in the afternoon.
RDAP Dan: How much money do you need to be comfortable?
Mike: As far as the amount of money someone needs to live comfortably here, that is relative to the individual and the type of lifestyle they want to live while in prison. If you are financial secure, you could easily spend $360 on commissary, $100 phone, $20-30 email, and hundreds of dollars for music for an mp3 player. Personally, I spend $450 to $500 a month. If you have less money available to you, you can definitely survive on less, but you’d be giving up some common comforts in the process.
RDAP Dan: What is the food like?
Mike: Basically, the food is edible. The lunches tend to be better than the dinners. During the week, a typical breakfast consists of oatmeal, grits or cereal and apiece of some type of fruit. The weekend brunch is a little better and usually consists of scrambled eggs, turkey bacon or sausage, and tater tots, potatoes and biscuits and gravy. As far as the meals go, I most look forward to lunch. The lunch menu here goes like this: Monday rotates between tuna salad or pizza; they serve a chicken sandwich on Tuesday, hamburgers on Wednesday, chicken on Thursday and a fish sandwich on Friday. Unlike some prisons, you can sit anywhere you want to sit in the chow hall, which is what we call the dining area here.
RDAP Dan: What kinds of classes are available to you at FPC Montgomery?
Mike: There are many corporate lawyers, bankers, and doctors incarcerated here who teach classes and the information is top notch! Some of these people are (or were) millionaires here and they teach around areas of expertise, such as real estate, finance and business management. If you have the chance to take advantage of these classes, do it. If you want to take any college courses, you would have to contact colleges that offer correspondence courses and pay for them yourself. There is also the RDAP program and I highly recommend that.
RDAP Dan: Tell us more about the RDAP program.
Mike: At this time, there is no wait list for the RDAP program at FPC Montgomery. The RDAP program here is intense, more than others according to people who have done the program at other prisons. There is a lot of negative talk about the program from people who were kicked out or just signed out because they could not apply themselves. I almost didn’t request an interview due to these negative rumors. I figured I would wait until I was able to transfer to the Miami Camp, but I changed my mind. I have been in two weeks now and it’s going well. I see why some were not able to complete the program. It can be very overwhelming and intimidating at first. All the camp and RDAP rules must be adhered to, and it is tough for some guys to adapt to this new environment. I love it, myself. We are in our own separate building where everyone learns each other’s name and greets everyone civilly. There are constant meetings and seminars, along with the weekend activity. If you surrender to this program and apply yourself, you will get whatever you put into it. Don’t be afraid of failing to complete the program because there is constant support and help from anyone you ask. I finally understand what community as method means. I would recommend this program for everyone, even for the ones who would not get the year off due to participating in RDAP. I might not get the year off, but I will still remain with the program, because I see how it can change my way of thinking.
Are you facing federal prison time? Do you need the assistance of a qualified prison consultant? Call me at 509.434.4695 and let’s talk about how I can help.