In Notes from the Country Club, what are the rules at the prison?  

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In Notes From The Country Club, Cynthia Mitchell is incarcerated in a psychiatric prison at the Fort Worth Correctional Institution. During her time there, Cynthia has to undergo a series of psychological tests to determine her mental fitness to stand trial for the murder of her abusive husband.

The psychiatric prison is the 'country club' of Kim Wozencraft's novel. As with any prison, there are rules that inmates must adhere to. Some of the rules of the prison are included below:

1)Certain items are considered contraband at the Fort Worth Correctional Institution. For example, only nurses and 'hacks' (guards) can carry matches. Cosmetics, chewing gum, and jewelry are also considered contraband. Exceptions are wedding rings and wrist watches. One of the items inmates are not supposed to have in their possession is a razor. In the novel, Cynthia asks Harold, a hack, for a razor, presumably to use in the shower. However, after her shower, she takes the blade off the razor and hides it in her old locker in between the pages of a magazine.

Later, she discovers that the blade is missing; after a fellow inmate, Nina, tries to commit suicide by slashing her own throat with a razor blade, Cynthia feels guilty and blames herself. So, inmates are not allowed to have razors simply because they can be used as potential suicide weapons.

2)Like every other prison, Fort Worth Correctional Institution requires inmates to abide by compulsory times for eating, sleeping, and rising. Lights are turned out at the same time every night. Every day at 4pm (weekends included), all inmates are counted and accounted for. This particular rule is enforced in all federal prisons.

Laundry is done on Fridays; Fridays are also the days that the prison psychiatrist and doctor, Dr. Hoffman, makes his rounds among the inmates. He checks each inmate's blood pressure and heart rate.

Besides the usual medical procedures, Dr. Hoffman also spends time determining the current state of each inmate's mental health. Our protagonist, Cynthia, has to undergo a series of required competency evaluations to determine her mental fitness to stand trial. The novel describes Cynthia enduring three weeks in solitary confinement in the 'white room,' where she is not allowed to have any books or magazines. Aside from the confinement, Dr. Hoffman also assigns her a battery of tests; one of them is the MMPI (Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory).

3)At the Fort Worth Correctional Institution, inmates are not allowed to congregate in one another's rooms. However, Cynthia and her fellow inmates often break this rule to gather in each other's rooms to talk, socialize, and smoke cigarettes.

 

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Notes from the Country Club

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