A couple of days ago, I got a phone call from an inmate at the County Jail who was requesting services and information. We quickly established he was in need of information and a "Get Out of Jail Free" card. Little did I know I would be visiting this lost soul.
He explained his plight and was pleading for someone to help him with his issues. It was soon decided that the best ILS to help was Chester, who was more then eager to lead him an ear. Chester set up a date to meet with the gentleman, then came and asked me to assist him. The man was deaf and he needed an interpreter. As the only interpreter for our agency, I was taken aback and did not know what to expect. All the jail movies I had watched came flooding back to me. I soon came up with a plan of attack and told all my friends and relatives where I was going just in case something should happen.
Chester assured me that things would be okay and not to worry, we would be meeting the inmate in a little interrogation cell. Boy, did he lie!! Although he swears to this day he had no clue as to where we would be meeting, I still think the whole things smelled like a set up. You see, he arrived earlier then I and spoke with the Sheriff. No one knows what they discussed to this day.
Once I arrived jeans, tee shirt, and my nastiest-looking pose, I was ready to face the music. I know I should have worn boots but it was just too hot, so I sported sandals. Chester also assured me he would be waiting out front for me so I knew I was in the right place.
He was not there.
It was only when I drove around the parking lot for the seconded time that he came out from hiding. He stated that he was just talking with the Sheriff waiting for me and that they were ready to take us in. When we got there, the Sheriff asked if we had ever been to a Jail before. I replied firmly, "NO". He then informed us of The Rules; mind you they are simple but scary.
- Rule 1: No knives, guns, drugs, etcetera, are allowed in the Jail.
- Rule 2: Don't agree to sneak in or out anything for the inmates at any time.
- Rule 3: This Jail has a NO Hostage Policy - which simply is if you are taken hostage they will not barter for your life.
Just what I needed to hear. I was going to be stuck here forever.
Suddenly my plan of attack came flooding back into my mind and I was quickly taking in everything I saw. We were taken back to the door, and we did not even have to pass through the medal detector, humm. Once we were in the courtyard, we were given Visitor Passes. I felt like they were saying, "Easy Targets -- take me." I put mine in the most inconspicuous spot I could think of, hanging at the end of my shirt.
The courtyard is actually a long corridor with rooms and doors on each side. We passed the medical examination room, janitorial closet, and then the cellblocks. We were taken to Cellblock E across from Cellblock D. I only mention this because there was a man from Cellblock D, who looked over at me, pointed, and called back to his roomies that there was a woman outside.
Now, Chester still swears that he did not know where we were going. Once inside the Cellblock, we found out that all the interrogation rooms near the door were being used but the laundry room was open. The laundry room was around the corner from the Deputies' Station at least four feet away.
The inmate was the brought in. He was a nice enough gentleman. Chester was very thorough even though I had asked to go as quickly as possible. I did not want to stay there any length of time.
We had been there about twenty minutes then I looked up out the doors window and saw a line of inmates in front of the door. Plan of attack was soon established again just in case. They were all looking at me, staring me down. I continued with the task at hand but the inmate would not leave -- he wanted to keep talking and kept bringing up various issues.
Finally, the Deputy came in and said it was time for lunch and he needed to eat. About ten minutes later we were out of the laundry room and standing next to the Deputies' Station. We were waiting for someone to come and escort us back out of the facility. For about five minutes, I had about forty inmates staring me down. I took a deep breath and looked around me, noticed the kitchen area behind me, the inmates in front of me, who was sitting with who, how many got up to leave the table, who dumped their trays, and who went to their room. I kept thinking the odds were not good, one Deputy, Chester, and myself against forty inmates. The plan of attack quickly formed -- yes, there would be casualties but they would be small.
Then finally our escort arrived and we quickly fled Cellblock E, back into the corridor, returned the visitor badges, back out into the main hall, and finally out the front doors into the beautiful sunlight and fresh air. It was the most beautiful sight -- FREEDOM!!!!!
On our way out, Chester mentioned to me, "I can't believe you had the balls to go in there, you really surprised me." I just nodded and smiled to myself and said, "Thank you," got in my car and left. People still ask me what my plan was -- I just laugh and smile sweetly. That night I called my parents to tell them of my experience. They were happy I was home safe and sound.