Some people live in a world that the rest of us can't even begin to recognize.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 3: Prison officers are nasty

The process of being processed as a convicted, sentenced 'criminal' is long and tedious.  Not to mention scary. You have  no connection with family and see nobody with a friendly or familiar face.  You get treated like dirt. Worse than dirt.  And, no, not by other convicted people, but by the individuals whose jobs it is to run the system. Being found guilty means you automatically are the equivalent of a lowlife scum, worthless outcast, reprehensible reprobate,  good-for-nothing maggot, black sheep miscreant. You no longer have anything in common with the 'professionals' that work there, and everything in common with the criminals.

How bizarre then that I had formed an odd type of a bond with the women who I spent hours with in the holding/processing cell. None of these women were ones I would have ever sought to interact with in the past. Clearly, the concept of "Group Identity" based on shared experiences overruled any other factors that would never in the past have made the eight or so of us into a cohesive group with any kind of bond that cemented our friendship.

When my name was called to finish being processed and moved to a 'real' jail cell, the other women in the cell wished me good luck, called out what appeared to be sincere statements that their prayers were with me, and expressed hope that we would see each other again when we were given our cell assignments.  Their kind words made  me feel bad that I had absolutely no desire to ever see their faces or hear their voices again.  Their words did, however, plant in me an emerging realization that these 'criminals' were people, too; people who DO have something in common with others in society. They still are human beings with emotions, compassion, and the ability and desire to interact with others.

I followed a female officer out of the holding cell (I think she was female. Nothing personal, but she was built more like a man than a woman.) Her inexplicable anger and hatred of me was apparent within the first moment that I left my cell.  She immediately screamed at me for not walking in front of her and between the taped yellow lines on the floor (sorry miss, I must not have gotten my copy of the 'walking the halls in jail' rules). I apologized and stated that I was not aware of those expectations.  "Do it again and I'm writing you up."

She led me to a room where there were shelves of clothing and personal items.  "What size are you?" she asked.  I told her I wore a size 10 pants.  Ooops, another jail mistake.  "I don't give a f*** what number size you are, are you a medium, large, or extra large?"  Hmmm.  Not exactly the response I get from the Talbots associates where I shop.  Okay, I told Officer Manly Bitch (she never told me her name,so I had to come up with something to refer to her as, right?) that I am probably a large.  She yelled again, this time telling me I had better be sure because I was going to wear whatever clothing I chose, even if they didn't fit.  Yikes, I didn't want to wear clothing that was too tight, so I went with all extra larges.  Even for underwear.  No, there was no opportunity to try different sizes to get it right.

Now for the difficult part.  I was not given a room to dress in.  Officer Manly Bitch instructed me to remove each piece of my current clothing, shake it out in front of me, then place it into the large plastic bag she was holding up.  What?  Strip naked in front of this bitch?  I did what I was told, but hurried when I began removing my underwear.  Instead of placing them oh so politely in her plastic bag I made the grievous error of tossing them quickly  into the bag, thinking that way I'd be able to dress myself again sooner.  Big, big mistake.  I thought she was going to explode.  "If you throw anything at me again you will regret it til the day you die."

At that moment  the information Tammy had told me about where she had hidden her drugs became important knowledge to possess.  I was forced to bend over to prove that I, myself, had nothing hidden in my private areas. Never having been asked this before, I can't imagine what I would have thought was going on if I hadn't just heard Tammy's story. I SO wanted to ask the officer if she found any giant faux burritos up there (a family joke) but restrained myself.

Okay, so I was strip searched, forced to stand naked in front of a manly woman, yelled at and made to feel like scum, and about to be locked into a cell.  But wait!  I finally, FINALLY, had some socks to warm my feet.  One pair only, and they looked like they had been worn by dozens of others before me, but I finally had some socks!

No comments:

Post a Comment