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Life on the Inside...
Previous | Next by ralph 27 October, 2002 - 7:00 PM

Well, well, well.... I finally have something to post. First off, Ben, I'm glad to hear that things are going well and I hope to see you soon. My thoughts have been with you through this.

Anyways, on with my story. Some of you know that I lost my license back in January due to a little DUI incident. Due to my shame and embarrassment over this, I put off telling most of you for as long as I possibly could, until, that is, I had to fess up due to so many questions about why I couldn't come down to B'more anymore (I live in Jersey). Well, let's add the final chapter to this saga. The following story hasn't been told to anyone due to the aforementioned (and continued) shame and embarrassments.

After my license was suspended in January, I still had to worry about getting to work every day. At that time, I lived approximately 30-40 miles from where I worked and no one that I worked with lived nearby. Therefore I drove to work. On a suspended license. Through the same town that I got pulled over in for the DUI. I'm a genius. Well, low and behold, I got pulled over for driving on the suspended list. Shiat. I got myself a lawyer and waited for my court date to come. And waited, and waited. In the meantime I moved closer to work so I could get a ride with my friend Ken, whom I worked with. Well, about 6 months had gone by and I figured that my paperwork got lost or I got lucky or something, because I hadn't heard a thing from the court. I figure that I'm in the clear. For once in my life, I got lucky. Thank God. Well, not so fast. One day, in my mail is a notice from the municipal court. Great, my court date is set for September 26th.

Well, that night at court, I found out that the great State of New Jersey apparently doesn't look too kindly upon people who drive with a suspended license for a DUI. Well, that night I lost my license for an additional year. Oh yeah, they also sentenced me to ten days in jail. Ten. Days. In. Jail. The only upside to this sentence was that the judge let me serve the sentence on weekends so I wouldn't lose my job. My sentence was set to begin on Friday, October 18th at 8PM, and I'd be released on Monday morning. Due to some weird math that we have in NJ, Friday night to Monday morning counts as 4 days, and apparently, if you're sentenced to 10 days you only have to serve 8 to fulfill the sentence. So, when all was said and done, I had to do surrender 2 weekends of my life to the state.

I don't know if any of you have ever been in jail before (hopefully not), but I hadn't so I had all kinds of visions and preconceived notions of how it was going to be in my head. Now we're talking county jail, not state prison, so I wasn't exactly envisioning anything like the "Scared Straight" special that they showed on ABC a few years ago. I figured it would be more like "Escape From Alcatraz" or "The Green Mile", you know, with cells with bars, not being allowed out except for an hour a day for recreation in the 'yard', etc. I'd soon find out.

Well, last weekend marked the beginning of my experience on the other side of the wall.

The night began with me standing outside with 10 other guys that were doing the same thing I was, going in for the weekend. I arrived 8, but wasn't able to get inside the building until 10. They only took one person at a time, and being the new guy, I got to go last. I was brought in, searched with the metal detector (thankfully I left all of my weapons at home), had my mugshot taken (keep your eyes open for it on TSG), fingerprinted and whisked into a room the size of a closet for the low point of my night; the strip search. Talk about humiliating. Strip down to your birthday suit and show them that you're not keeping anything in your any hiding places (read: lift, turn around, and separate). Then they gave me my attire for the weekend. A bright orange jumpsuit with a matching pair of slippers. Lovely. After this, I was issued my hygiene kit and footlocker, complete with spork, cup, bar of soap, 3-inch long toothbrush, chapstick sized deodorant, set of sheets, towels, and a bar of soap. I was ready for my weekend of non-stop excitement.

I was walked down the hallway of doors, which could only be opened by some unseen Corrections Officer (CO) till I got to a door marked "Dayroom D". I was home, apparently. The door opened and in front of me sat 10 other inmates, all in matching attire. The CO grunted "Cell 205" and slammed the door behind me. As I looked out before me I quickly realized that I wasn't either "The Green Mile" or "Escape from Alcatraz". I was in "Oz"! I could only hope that it was Oz-lite, minus all of the man-ass and sex. I was standing in the common area, an area of about 250 square feet (25x10) with two small staircases at the far end, one going up, one going down. In the dayroom there were three metal tables (bolted to the ground) with benches and a 13" TV. At the end of each staircase was a row of 4 cells (with doors, not bars). I found my cell directly at the top of the stairs. Upon entry to my cell, I realized that my weekend wouldn't be spent alone. I had a cellmate. He wasn't in the cell though, so he must have been one of the guys in the dayroom. I quickly checked out my accommodations. The cell was about 12x6 with a set of metal bunks and stainless steel toilet/sink combo. Fantastic. Hopefully I wouldn't have to use the toilet. I made my bed (I got the top bunk), which consisted of a 2-inch mattress and 1-inch pillow, and went to watch TV. I sat there silently until 11:30 when they locked us in our cells.

It turned out my cellmate's name was Chris; he was a 21-year-old kid who was in for violation of probation. One day Chris thought it would be a good idea to beat the shiat out of a kid he didn't like and put a cigarette out on his face. The kid reported it to the cops, and his probation officer violated him, giving Chris the remaining 9 months of a drug sentence that he was on probation for. Sleep didn't come quickly that night. I tossed and turned in my most-uncomfortable bunk for a few hours, listening to my cellmate snore.

All right, my hands are getting tired and I should probably get some work done so I'll finish the rest of this post later in the day. Stay tuned for Part 2 of my saga.

10/29/2002 >> pyrex

.. wow. France surrenders. I'm never going to jail. Heh, well, I'll try stay out as long as possible. And even if they did get me, they probably wouldn't have any place to put me, considering all the Swedish jails are almost completely out of space. Whee indeed. Now Ralph is badashell. Badass. Heh.

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