Then, a big guard (don’t remember what he looked like) opens my cell and has me follow a line on the ground and we go through some doors that we had to be buzzed into. Along the path I pass through two more walk-through metal detectors. We get to an elevator and enter it, and I am made to face the back wall of the elevator while we go up. The elevator stopped on the fifth floor. I again follow the line and walk through a metal detector.
I am made to stand next to a wall while the guard does some kind of check-in with a very large, round, windowed room that has 4 or 5 guards in it. After he signs in, we walk towards the unit that I am going to be housed in. As we walk, he asks me about what happened. Again, I tell him that I am innocent (he’s heard it all before, a million times, I’m sure). He asks me what I was thinking and why I would try to smuggle a blade on the plane. I give up trying to explain and just remain silent.
We then approach the doors of the unit I am going to be housed in. We are buzzed in. As the doors open, I am finally given my full dose of reality. Welcome to the general population. THIS…. is not where I want to be…
We enter a very large, two story cell block. There are many cell doors bordering the edges of the block, both upstairs and down. In the middle of the area is a staircase that leads up to the second floor. Right in front of me I see about 15 circular tables, with 4 or 5 chairs around each. At the far end of this block I see another set of stairs.
The first thing that I noticed, and still think about is all the blue shirts I saw. I mean… this is coming right out of a movie. There were about 40-50 inmates in the cell block. ALL of there attention was turned on me when I walked in; many of them seemed to be eyeing me up or trying to make eye contact with me. A couple of them gave me a “whats-up” head nod. I just looked down at my feet and ignored everybody. I didn’t feel like talking to anybody. I didn’t feel like anything.
Next to the entrance was a small room. In this room sat the guy that was responsible for the inmates. Surprisingly, there were no other guards around. In this small room was a desk and also some supplies like soap and towels. Behind the desk, the sergeant was busy filling out paperwork. His face was the kind of face that always looked happy. He seemed to be a very nice person.
He can tell that I am extremely nervous. He tells me that things are going to be fine. He goes over the rules and protocols. I listen with a blank stare on my face. A couple of times he is interrupted by some inmate that needs something. He seems to have a very good rapport with them. They seem to respect him very much.
He tells me that he is going to put me in a cell with Rad. He tells me that Rad is a very nice person, and he often sends new people to stay in his cell. Of course, my mind races here. I think I should go get testimonials from all those “new” people on how there stay was at hotel Rad. That way, I can make an informed decision on whether or not I want to stay in that cell.
Oh wait. I am not given a choice. Sigh…
To be continued
Copyright by Randy Rustick.
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