Mar 16

New Custody Meant New Freedom


USDB West Gate

New Custody Meant New Freedom

There wasn’t anything special about my custody hearing. It went about the same as all the other hearings I’d had up to this point. They asked me questions and I answered them with the intent of saying what I thought they wanted me to say.

In my mind, I believed that every answer I gave them was true. The hope was that they did too. After getting the negative results from my parole board, I was a little nervous. There really wasn’t any reason for the custody board to deny my request, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.

It didn’t take long to get the results from this custody hearing, maybe a week or two. The results were just what I thought they might be. The board approved my elevation to Trustee and I would be moving out to the Local Parole Unit (LPU). This was some of the best news I’d received since arriving at the Disciplinary Barracks (DB). So many things would change because of this new arrangement.

The point of this custody level was for me to prove that I was trustworthy and then earn the privilege to have so much more freedom. In turn, this was one of the last steps to prepare me for integration back into society. The sooner I moved the better my life would be. My brown prison uniform would be exchanged for a bright blue one, and I would leave the confines of the DB. No more prison walls to keep me contained. Another really important benefit of this new level of custody was that I would no longer be referred to as Inmate. Some of the other benefits, I would not realize until I actually made it out there.

Even though I wasn’t leaving just yet, I needed to do something. The amount of personal property that I owned wasn’t much, but I started going through it to purge the junk and organize the important stuff. Anything to make me feel like I was moving immediately.

The joy of knowing that I would be leaving my job at the 3 Wing mess hall was unexplainable. It had only been a year and a half since I started that job, but I wanted out of it since day one. Unfortunately, my detail would remain the same. The LPU had its own dining facility and the DB felt that it’s where I belonged. This didn’t really excite me but under the circumstances, I couldn’t complain. Even if I did, it wouldn’t change anything anyways.

There were a few people in B-6 that I respected enough to miss when I left. My friend Wally was one of them, but I would be able to see him during NA meetings. All the classes, the chapel, medical, dental, and mental hygiene appointments were still inside the walls. Coming back inside would be unavoidable, however I would not have to stay.

About a month later, when the day came for me to move, I was ready. Grabbing all of my personal belongings that were all organized and secure, I headed towards the door of building B-6 that lead out into the courtyard. As I passed the guard desk to sign out, he informed me that I needed to head to West Gate. Once I got there a guard told me so go through the door at the foot of the watch tower. Ironically this was the same door I came through when I arrived at the DB almost two years ago. When I stepped into the tower, I saw another door with a window.


This door lead to the outside but more importantly, it lead to the blue military van that was waiting to take me to the LPU.

New Custody Meant New Freedom (Click To Tweet)


Next post: Adjusting to Freedom.

If this is your first time reading my true life story and would like to start at the beginning click the title below.

The Fort Leavenworth Story

  • Steven Tessler

    I wish that we could have seen the look on your face once you left the DB.

    I’m sure nothing could erase that smile off of your face!

    Anxiously awaiting next weeks post!!

    • David Mike

      Yes, it was a good day. Life was different outside of the walls. Even the air was different.

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