At Rikers breakfast was served at the early hour of 4:00 (so the inmates going to court could eat and be ready for the bus ride into Manhattan) but here at Downstate it is much more civilized. (Again, a bit of a stretch, civilized?) Here we gather at 7:00. Oh, and it's never referred to as either breakfast, lunch, or dinner, it's all called just one thing ... chow! I know I will come to detest that word. Before we line up to go to meals you get ready to hear the guards scream out, "On the chow." That means it's time to get the state greens all buttoned and tucked in, then line up for food.
I have to say I'm grateful there are no mirrors to be found, anywhere. I dread to see what my shaved head must look like. Laundry is done once per week. You put all your clothes, underwear, and t-shirts, into a net-bag, tie it up, and then your bag is thrown into the wash along with everyone else's. Disgusting! I get three showers a week, Mon-Wed-Fri. Considering it's the dead of summer, 90 degree temps every day, you can imagine the horrid smell of some of these dudes. On shower day I stand by the cell door, soap and towel in hand, ready to go when the guard pushes a button from the control room to unlock it. You're sent in one at a time, you have three minutes.