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

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 14: "Strictly Dickly?" or "Gay for the Stay?"

At 8:30 AM I heard a message for me over the intercom. It said to pack out, I'm moving. I knew my attorney had told me I was going to DOC (Department of Corrections, A.K.A. PRISON) but some women had been waiting for months to be shipped. That's what they called us-a 'shipment.' And I had just ordered stuff from Commissary. That figures. Each prison has its own commissary, so I would not get what I ordered from jail, and would have to wait until I had money in my new prison account to order anything.

There were four of us leaving jail and being shipped that day to prison. We had five minutes to pack out. It didn't take long since we were only allowed to bring our Bibles and any legal mail with us. News spreads fast in jail, and very quickly everyone knew who was leaving. I received many hugs, "God Bless," and wishes for good luck in the future. I was surprised at all the hugs since no touching is allowed in jail. I asked one of the officers why hugs are allowed when leaving. His answer seemed to indicate his realization that you cannot stop women from hugging as a way of greeting or saying goodbye. Again, in spite of this being jail and being surrounded by criminals, the positive side of humanity was able to shine through. Even Moniqua gave me a thumbs-up through her cell door window.

The four of us leaving knew we were headed for the woman's reception and classification prison about an hour away. That is the place where all the women condemned to prison are originally sent until it is determined which state women's penitentiary they will end up at to do their time. Of course, I KNEW that at the last minute the mistake of my conviction would be discovered and I would be sent home. Nope, it didn't happen again today. How long can I maintain hope?

After what seemed like a dozen strip searches (what were they expecting us to do, steal their precious orange cheese?) the four of us were handcuffed together and seated in a large van. I was scared to death. Surprisingly, the other three girls acted like we were headed on vacation or somewhere pleasant. They sang, told jokes, flirted with the officers in the van, and had trouble sitting still they were so excited. As much as I hated jail, I could not imagine prison could be a place to be excited for. I guess, to some degree, it was the fact that we were actually out of our cells and in a van, the radio was playing, and we could see the familiar world of our county passing by out the windows.

The other three women in the van all had knowledge and familiarity with all of the illegal drugs you can imagine (and the variety of places they can be hidden), so I was completely left out of most of the conversation. Besides drugs, the rest of their conversation consisted of how to resist sexual advances made by other inmates. They made it sound like this would be a constant concern for all of them. All I could think of was thank goodness I'm older. I hadn't had an advance made by a man in many years (other than by my husband of 25 years), so I was sure no woman would be interested!

One girl said that when any woman made an advance toward her she would tell them she is "strictly dickly." She said it had worked for her the last time she was in prison ("last time?" She is only 21 years old!). Another woman said that, even though she has a man and two kids, she might become "gay for the stay" this time in prison. She said having a "wife" in prison made life a lot easier there her last time. I'm usually not at a loss for words, but fear and shock prevented me from asking any questions about this delicate subject at all. Somehow I knew I would eventually find out the ugly truth about this aspect of women's prison society, but I had far too many other things to worry about at that moment.

No comments:

Post a Comment