Monday, April 8, 2024

Microstory 2121: Try to Escape, Blah Blah Blah

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I’ve been calling this weekend jail, but the real and official term is intermittent jail. I don’t know about anywhere else, but the people of this Earth decided that they wanted a lot of their criminals to be able to serve their time while still being able to contribute positively to society. Some prisons offer some sort of work program, but this is difficult to regulate, and studies a long time ago discovered a lot of exploitation, and unfair wage practices. The reason it’s called intermittent is because not everyone can do it on the weekends, because that makes the process too complicated. Everyone who works there would be really busy during these short periods of time, and they don’t want to have to do that. It’s actually harder to get a weekend schedule, because that’s what everyone wants, for obvious reasons. I was able to secure it because of my rising readership count for this website. They argued that my blog was a fixture of public interest that had the potential to paint the court system in a positive light. The system is not known here for its negative press, but good publicity is always welcome, and the judge agreed. So here’s what happened. I checked in at 19:00 exactly on Friday night. First, I should say that there are entire facilities dedicated to intermittent jail time, but some of them cater to mixed populations. You may end up as a cellmate to someone who has to stay there the whole time. In this case, we were all there for the same thing, and I think they’re going to try to keep me with the same cell mate each time, though that might not always work out. I have no feelings on this matter yet, as I have not even had a cellmate, because I was in the intake section.

The intake section is meant only for people who are going in for the first time. Well, it doesn’t have to be their first time full stop. If they’re a repeat offender, they have to go through the initial intake process all over again, so some of the people I saw there might have already known what to do. That’s the point of all this, to familiarize residents with the process before throwing them in with everyone else. So I got there at 19:00, and started filling out forms, and confirming information with the intake officers. After that, I was asked to place all of my belongings in a box after they were logged, and hand it to one of the officers while I went into a privacy room, and removed all of my clothes. It wasn’t that private, though, because we were all in there together, which I didn’t have a problem with; I just tend to notice funny language errors like that. It was just a locker room. So I removed my clothes, and put on an ugly multicolored striped shirt and ugly multicolored striped sweatpants. These did not have any pockets, because there is no reason to carry anything, such as—you know—weapons? Why were these striped and ugly? Well, if anyone breaks out, they want them to be immediately identifiable by their attire. It would be crazy for someone to break out of intermittent jail, since you would only have to wait a day or two, but I suppose there might be extenuating circumstances, like a dying loved one, or some other emergency.

After I got my new clothes on, I tucked my regulars in an aluminum tub, along with my other personal objects. I then put that whole thing in a big locker, the combination to which is known to the officers, and not to me. The normal lockers inside the privacy room serve no purpose from what I can tell. They led me down a hallway where I continued the intake process, which involved another physical exam, as well as a psych evaluation. All of this stuff is mostly for the first time you go there, but they warned me that they will periodically make me go through it all again, so I should never try to rely on a consistent schedule. Once I was cleared for lockup, they gave me a quick tour. The facility is not complicated. The common area is a hexagon in the center, which includes a gym, the cafeteria, chairs, televisions, and a few recreational amenities, like a pool table. That’s where the phones are too. On the first side of the hexagon is the Intake Sector, where the entrance is, as well as all the stuff that I’ve been describing, plus I think some offices on the upper floors. The common area is only a few stories high but the other sectors go up fourteen stories. The actual cells are in the middle levels of that first sector. The other sides of the hexagon are dedicated to all of the other cells, which is where I’ll go at the end of this week.

My first two nights here weren’t too terribly bad, but again, we were all in the same boat. Everyone there was scared, nervous, anxious, or just unfamiliar. Once I get placed in gen pop, I’ll start running into people who know the ropes. There could be drugs in there, or fights; who knows? I can’t give you a full impression since I’ve had such a limited experience so far. They did lay out the rules for me, most of which are obvious, like don’t cause trouble, or try to escape, blah, blah, blah. There are some less obvious ones too, like when mealtimes are, and how often I’m allowed to use the phone. There are times when I have to be in my cell, and even times when I’m not allowed to be in my cell, even if I just want to go in there to be alone or sleep. These vary by the sector, and by my current privilege status, so they’ll inform me of those specifics later. They will continue to update me with my status as my behavior continues to be monitored and appraised. For the time being, it felt more like staying in a hotel in Iowa. As we all know and agree, Iowa sucks, so if you have to be there for whatever reason, there’s no other reason to leave your hotel room. It’s not like there could be something that you would like to see or do, so staying in the room is the only rational way to pass the time anyway. I’m sure that it will start to feel more like a prison the more I’m obligated to go back, so stay tuned for my shifting perspective.

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