Yard Time Described by an Correctional Officer
As a correctional officer I’d like to share information about the time your loved one in prison typically has outside in the yard. Level 2 and 3 inmates receive several hours a day of yard time if they don’t have a job or have to be in school. Although inmates enjoy getting out of their 9’X 6’ foot cells, it can be very dangerous and troublesome going on the yard. This is the only time inmates have to interact with other inmates from other housing units. At any given time, there can be as many as 200-250 inmates on the yard with as little as two to five yard officers walking around with the inmates.
Even though there is a correctional officer with weapons overseeing the yard, he cannot see all things at all times. It is very important that the correctional officers are constantly watching the inmates on the yard and moving around the yard conducting random searches. Because random body searches are conducted on the yard, some of the inmates resent this and your great communication skills are needed. Some inmates need to be reminded that it’s not personal and that the correctional officer is just doing his job to ensure theirs as well as your safety.
Inmates that are housed in SHU’s (Single Housing Units) are there because they have committed either a very violent crime against another inmate or staff. A SHU inmate will receive one hour a day a few times a week of yard time. Their time is spent alone on the yard with no contact with other inmates.
When inmates get close to being released from prison, they stay in their cells to avoid getting into any altercations with other inmates. I have been told by inmates that some inmates get jealous and want to start trouble with them so they can’t go home. Inmates also stay in their cells to avoid getting into trouble with officers when their time is short.