Sunday, March 30, 2008

Hard Time Lessons

So someone I knew at one point got in trouble with the law by driving on a suspended license. Apparently that's frowned upon in Virginia, so he was sentenced to serve two weekends in county jail. He never really told anyone about the experience because it was pretty embarrassing, but I figured the life lessons learned from his time in jail will be entertaining and a lesson can be learned. Let's call him, Mikey.

He didn't think the judge was going to throw him in jail, but wasn't really shocked either after watching him throw the book at every single offender no matter what the offense. He remembered the unnaturally high fine he had to pay and then getting details to attend "Weekend jail" from the county clerk.

So check in came. He remembers the look of the new jail and how everything was so clean when he first checked in. He then waited until everyone arrived and were walked to the back. In typical fashion shoes, money, belts, or anything that could be used as a weapon or as currency were turned in with the guard. Then as a final measure to make sure nothing else was being snuck in, everyone had to do the "rear check". He couldn't think of a better term for it.

Then you are handed the supplies that one would need during a weekend stay in jail. Everyone is given one towel, one blanket, one sheet, one toothbrush and a small container of toothpaste. He remembers seeing Bob Barker's name on everything. Come to find out there's an entire company that makes....prison supplies and, well, it's Bob Barker.

Everyone is then let into the dorm for the weekend. The room is simple and unassuming, I heard. The ceiling is very very high, there are 3 rows of bunk beds all nailed to the floor, there were two toilets (one of which stayed backed up), two water fountains (one of which was backed up with toilet water when one of the toilets backed up), and a shower behind a small brick wall. Some people showered, but most were happy with stinking until the weekend was over.

It was first come, first serve for the bunk beds. It was much preferable to get a bottom bunk close to the one television that was in the room. Once settled in, everyone made their bunks and quickly moved to grab empty bunk mattresses to make their beds more comfortable. The mattresses were thin and provided little support.

It was jail for sure. Nothing is allowed to be brought in and one is left to read old sections from the local newspaper and cards for endless games of Spades. There was basic cable on the TV, which I heard was nice, but one was subjected to top 40 music videos all day. The TV was turned off at 11PM and was turned back on at 9AM, if everyone behaved. That never happened. Most of the time, the television was off because someone made a wise ass remark to the guard.

The food was best described as inedible. Every meal was consistant and included a cold, hard piece of meat, a cold and soggy vegetable, two slices of bread, and a basic dessert. Food was served with warm water that had some sugar added. The regular tap water tasted like rust, so the sugar was very much welcome.

The two weekends felt like an eternity. This guy was very lucky though to have good friends which took him to work and back, and a girlfriend that was understanding who had a mother who met him and knew him long enough to drive him to jail. He's very lucky to have such a wonderful girl in his life. We'll call her Janine, for the sake of this story.

The lesson: Pay your bills. Manage your responsibilities. Do not eat Taco Bell before going to weekend jail.