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

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Day 10: Why ever would someone come BACK to jail?

There are women here who are highly "experienced" at being in jail. My first roommate has been to jail eight (or is it nine?) times. The woman with the filthy mouth who I was shackled to on my way to court yesterday has been to jail four times (and she has four kids, including a 6 month old baby!). It is always obvious which women have been here before because they know all the answers to all the questions and are familiar with all the day-to-day procedures.

I heard some fascinating stories when talking to these repeat visitors. Each and every one of their stays in jail was related to drugs. Not that all of them were there for possession, selling or manufacturing. Their crime may have been theft, prostitution, or carjacking, but the ultimate reason for their crime was to get money for their drug habit (or a car to drive into the city to buy their drug of choice).

Many of the women who were "repeat customers" had some very interesting things to say that made me wonder if their jail experiences were not unpleasant. If anything, some made it sound like coming to jail is a positive factor in their lives. My eight-or-nine-times-in-jail roommate said she likes to catch up on her sleep while in jail, and get on a regular day/night wake/sleep schedule. Apparently her drug habit makes that impossible. Another woman told me that jail is the only place where she gets three meals a day. While nobody described it as their "secure" environment, it is obvious that jail is the only place where they have regular rules, structure, and known expectations. The most bizarre suggestion some women made was that they get to spend time with their friends, and make new friends while in jail. What? Jail as a social experience?

Unfortunately, I will have plenty of time to listen to the stories of fellow inmates. I have no desire to be here, but apparently some women's experiences in jail are meaningful to them. Yikes.

1 comment:

  1. Very touching story, but I was wondering what you were falsely convicted for?