The Camp at Sheridan is comprised of two housing units. Unit 5 is the general housing unit, holding half the inmates, and unit 6 holds the other half (units 1-4 are at the FCI). Unit 6 is the RDAP unit, which is where all inmates either currently in RDAP or “DAP Wait”, and those who have completed RDAP reside. Most people leave immediately after completing RDAP, but if you’re not getting time off, or if you’re a “short timer” who didn’t qualify for a full year off, you may still have time to do at the end of your sentence upon DAP completion.
The RDAP unit is generally under stricter rules and restrictions than the other housing unit. Technically, Unit 5 is now meant to follow these same rules, but in practice it’s much looser in that unit. Examples of these restrictions are: no laying in bed or sleeping during the day, no games such as cards or chess during the day, no TV watching during the day, and no singing or swearing. Generally small things that sometimes feel like much bigger things.
Other than the housing, “DAPers” and “non-DAPers” intermingle. Residents from one housing unit may not be in the other, but we eat together in one chow hall, take classes together, and go to rec together, etc.
There is a track for walking or running, a soccer field, a volleyball court, a softball field, and bocce. There is an indoor rec area that has a couple elliptical machines and a TV, also a table tennis set. Indoor rec also has a band room, with a drum set, electric keyboard, a number of guitars and bass guitars. These are acoustic, but have electric pickups and amps. There is a bit of a wait list to get practice time in the band room, and there are a number of bands that play together throughout the day.
There is another outside rec area that’s covered by a pole barn. There are pull-up bars, a couple more machines for cardio, a couple rowing machines, and some pool tables. All weights were removed in the last year or so.
There are a number of Adult Continuing Education (or ACE) classes that are inmate taught. Some of them are lecture classes, some are more or less educational video classes. This all depends on what inmates are available with what skill set or background.
Apart from this, the educational opportunities are limited. There are a couple basic computer classes, but not a lot to speak of.
There is a reasonably well-stocked leisure library, and a fairly solid inter-library loan program. The law library is on CD ROM and is woefully inadequate. I haven’t been able to find any cases that I’d previously located in the bound copies I’d used at Taft.
This pretty well sums up the camp here. Another thing is that the water pipes are currently being replaced compound-wide, and so the whole place is torn up at the moment. This may interfere with softball next summer, and in the meantime is just a mess. The whole project is supposed to take two years, and just started in the fall of 2010.
A final note—the staff calls this place “Camp Cupcake,” and claims there is no better place to do time. The inmates call it “Camp USP,” and no one has been at a camp that’s more strict than this. The biggest drawback to this place is that in addition to the BOP-wide standing counts at 4pm on weekdays, and the 10am count on weekends, Sheridan does an 8:30am census count, then a 12:30pm census count every weekday, and has an “emergency” count about once a week. All the counting interferes with an inmate’s program. You can either be at work or at your bunk during the census counts, and if you were at rec, dressed in sweats, you have to return to your bunk, put on your prison greens, and then change back into sweats to go work out again, then back into greens for the next count, etc. It’s a little frustrating.
Oh, and it rains all the time too. It’s ok, but I don’t recommend this place unless you have family nearby.
For the official BOP version, click here.