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Evening of November 5, 2004All in all, my experiences in jail were quite pleasant. I was happy to be able to experience these circumstances. In fact, I fear that my experiences were driven significantly by my curiosity... When I had helped run yoga meditation pograms in Greenhaven Prison (pictures are toward bottom of page), I had often wondered what it would like to be in prison and I fear that my wonderings turned into prayers (and you really need to be careful what you pray for). Those little beggars do get away from you.... Anyway, this is mostly just a log of what all I experienced just to refresh my memory (so that I, perhaps, won't need to actually experience prison itself). It is pretty boring so feel free to skip it. Also, unless mentioned otherwise, all the enforcement officers were polite and professional and all the inmates were friendly. When I came into the Mandarin House restaurant and sat down, Brewster said, 'You can't be here.' I answered, 'No you are mistaken, it only says that I can't remain here if she comes.' I had finished my dinner and paid the check and was just waiting unitl 6:10PM when I would leave for the 6:15PM bus to the Syda Yoga Center. Just as soon wait in the warmth and comfort of the restaurant instead of the best that we each move on. At 6:05PM six police officers cane into the restaurant and asked that i step outside. We had a short discussion in which I explained that the Order said nothing about Mensa functions or this restaurant, only that I can not remain. As such, I will leave as soon as she arrives. He (Officer Lindsay, I believe) seemed a little confused, but said that I was expected to use good judgement, to which I shrugged (in a government of law, such things shouldn't require good judgement of where to be or not be, but should be clear). He then asked that I follow them out. As I walked out I noticed that Karyn and Alex were in the bodega downstairs. Oh my! After I got out to the street, Lindsay asked that I put my hands behind me and put on the handcuffs. There was some discussion about my bag which I had left upstairs (one of them went upstairs to retrieve it). I had also brought down my left overs from the meal (in order to maintain my slender frame I often eat only half of restaurant meals). Fortunately if disappeared somewhere as there really was nothing to be done with that. Then Lindsay said that I should be put into his vehicle and they opened the back door and I climbed in. It is actually a little awkward getting into a car with your hands hand cuffed behind you. Th back seat was darked so I couldn't see very much, but it appeared to be fiberglass only (no cushions), but clean enough, so that was good. Lindsay reached across and fastened my seatbelt. My glassses then proceeded to slide down my nose (as they seem to do normally), but I couldn't push them up with my hands as I do routinely without enen noticing it. However, now I had to push them up with my knee which was not very comfortable. Of course once they get low on my nose it is harder to breath, so that isn't very comfortable either. What to do? For about half an hour Lindsay enters data into the computer and notes that the order says my birthday is in Octovber (I had mentioned that that was incorrect) and I explain that my driver's license is correct and says that my birthday is in November. Before they put me in the vehicle they had searched me and he taken my ID into the car with him Then Officer Lindsay drove me to the Police Station on Second Ave (about ten blocks from the restaurant). We parked and then took an elevator to booking. I was left in a holding cell for about an hour while he filled out various paperwork (I assume, I wasn't there). The holding cell was a room about ten feet by ten feet with a bench along the far wall. I sat in the corner at one end of the bench and meditated though it was a little unusual to have my hands behind me when I was meditating. Lindsay asked me various questions in the vehicle and in the holding cell (like how to you spell Mensa). He also asked me to sign a form saying that I would give up my right to be arriagned within 48 hours (normally required). He said that it would keep him from having to fill out a form for the judge, but I declined as I really would have preferred to be arraigned in 48 hours. After a while I took off my glasses with my knees as it was such a pain to have them sliding down. After Lindsay had booked me, he escorted me (he put my glasses into my pocket) to another part of the building (again via elevator) to be transferred to the Multnomah County jail (he was in usual black police uniform, they were in dark green fatigue style uniforms with sheriff patches). I was given a receipt for my briefcase (must not have anything worth over five hundred dollars, I said it didn't as there was no notebook computer in it even though my case looked like a notebook computer case). The county sherrifs took off my handcuffs and then took all my belongings except for clothes (they even took my shoelaces). I was told to keep my hands on the edge of the table/shelf in front of me, but when they had to take the battery out of my cell phone, it proved to be a group challenge and I was allowed to help (I couldn't get the back off either, but another officer had a phone like mine and did it). They counted out the paper money I had ($68). They fingerprinted me and walked me down to the holding area where new inmates were processed. On the way over they took my picture. She told me to turn to my right, but really only needed to turn my head forty five degrees to the right (many other people did full turns as in classical police photos). This area was divided into two sections, one for women and one for men with a short wall (about three foot high) between them with the back open to the guard area (them behind four feet tall dividers/counters between their section and the officer sections). In the front of each section was a TV mounted from the ceiling and chairs (fiber glass with minimal padding) facing the TV's. There were about twenty men waiting and about six women when I arrived. Shortly after I arrived they called my name and a woman officer told me to take that. There was a brown bag on the counter and I looked into it to see what is was (brown bag dinner) as she said 'just take it' (I had been sure what she meant for me take) so I took it back with me. As I just had dinner, I wasn't hungry and just hung onto it. Then over the next half hour my name would be called and I would be fingerprinted electronically, classified (what group would be best place for me, any gang problems, etc.), interviewed for offense (potential for release though that was precluded in my case by Washington law) and by nurse (no health problems to report). They also made up a white plastic wrist band with my picture and information on it which was attached to my right wrist. In one interview they asked about local contacts and I gave my brother in Texas. Later he was called by Annie who verified my status (address I gave was correct, no problem with drugs, not a psycho, etc.). One woman made a general appeal if anyone knew a place she could call collect to let her husband know where she was as he would be waiting for her at the airport (and she was most distraught). One young guy (about 20 I would guess) started to tell her his friends number when a heavy set female guard said, 'I told you to cut that out!. He said he hadnb't heard her which I found believable as I also had not heard), but she escorted him to a separate cell. The guards have little patience, but then I imagine there are many inmates who feign ignorance, etc.. After a while another inmate asked if I was going to eat my dinner (it was four slices of bread, a pat of butter, luncheon meats and cheese, an orange, and milk). I said no and gave it to him. He shared it with another inmate. When later inmates came in, they asked about dinner and were told it was all gone. Some would look through the trash can at the front looking for anything edible that had been thrown away. Trustees (inmates in blue jail garb) came by and swept and emptied the trash can... At about 11PM they called my name (after a long gap of just watching the sit coms on TV) and three others (they took people away in groups of four). I was happy enough to move on as I was getting tired. Before we left we had to sign a sheet for toiletries with toothpaste (just under an ounce), toothbrush (four inches long), shampoo, comb, and deodorant. Everyone took one, but I later learned that they deducted $1.50 from the cash I brought with me to pay for it. We were taken to a changing room where we put all our clothes in a hanging bag which was zipped and fastened with a tag (or the wires attached to the tag) with our name on it. When we were buck naked, we were inspected: we had to show our hands were empty, groin area had nothing hidden, and, then, turn around spread our cheeks, and cough twice. After that we were given our jail garb, pink underwear (socks, boxer shorts, and T-shirt) and blue scrubs/PJs (elastic waist). All was cotton and most comfortable. We also got reddish plastic shower sandals which weren't so comfortable. Then we were given two blankets (thin, brownish wool), two sheets (white, cotton flat), a pillow case, and two towels (white cotton, medium size). We were escorted to the glassed in holding area just outside of 6D and waited there for about 15 minutes. When we sat, the guard in the booth down the hall (controlled the locks to the area we were in) told us we had to stand (speaker). That was a bother. Finally the guard for our shift at 6D arrived with coffee in hand and joined us in the holding area. He used his key to unlock the door into his area at the center of 6D, locked the door behind him, and then he electronically unlocked the door to the right which opened to the prisoner area (he was behind a three foot counter which separated his area from the prisoner area). He told us that he was tired and just wanted to get this over with. When we transferred we were each given a half sheet of paper with our pictures and other information printed on it. The guard who escorted us to 6D gave us each the sheet when we went to the 6D holding area. We gave our sheets to the 6D guard as he passed through the holding area and he, later, logged our entry into a big log and kept the sheet. He directed me to 6D6 and when I got to the door (the room was dark as lights out was at 11PM) he unlocked it (I heard the door make a loud clunk) and I went in. The cell was about 12 feet long and about seven feet wide with two bunks. The lower bunk was a solid concrete slab (apparently) raised about one foot above the floor. About four feet above it was a solid 1/8 inch thick aluminum shelf, slightly larger than a normal single mattrees. My cell mate was in the lower bunk. The upper bunk had a mattress on it that was slightly smaller than regular single size, about four inches thick and plastic covered. I spread out the two blankets and used the rest as my pillow. The cotton jail garb was quite comfortable and I didn't undress at all. However, I didn't sleep very well as numerouis scenarios kept running through my head, but who cares as I had no schedule for the next couple of days (no need to be alert).... There is a desk high shelf along the long (12 feet) wall away from the door. There is also a combined stainless steel sink and toilet (one peice) in the corner on the other side of the wall with the door (no separate toilet seat, as, presumably, that could be used as a weopon). The desk high shelf is pretty worthless as there are no chairs (could be used as weopons). I use the desk height shelf to climb up to the upper bunk, which is about its only useful purpose that I can imagine.
November 6, 2004At 7:30AM they served us breakfast. There are 32 cells in our sections and the guard on duty opens groups of doors electronically (loud clunk). We go out and line up to pick up our breakfast. It is served in a tray about four inches thick which are stacked on a dolly (flat surface about six inches off the ground with rail to push it on one side about hand height). They are served by 'trustees' wearing latex/plastic gloves and hair nets. We get our breakfast and head back to our cells to eat it. This morning it is SOS (sliced beef in gravy on really tough roll), grits, sugar packets, and apple juice. They also had coffee which I passed on (I don't drink coffee). While we were eating our breakfast, the came around and knocked on the window (about eight inches wide and two feet high at head height) and asks if we want to go to recreation. I indicate I am interested. After about twenty minutes our door unlocks and we go out and give our trays back to the trustees after emptying the refuse into a 32 gallon trash can. I get paper (three hole notebook paper with lines) from the counter by the guard and head back to me room. I start my log/diary. My cell mate has loads of pencils, none of which are longer than five inches (indeed the rules prohibit pencil lengtheners as, presumably they could be used as weopons if they were any longer). After a while they let us go to recreation, but only about nine go (it is cold out, but how would be know). We go by elevator up to the tenth floor and each are given a sweatshirt (long sleeve, but not really any heavier than the T-shirts, cotton). It is in a concrete cover gym area which is open to one side with a chain link fence all the way to the ceiling. There is a red line about three feet from the fence with signs saying do not cross the line, climb the fence, or yell at the passerby below. It overlloks a park, it is a little chilly (about 50 degrees) and a nice breeze. Several people play basketball (there is one hoop at the far end away from the entrance. Some exercise (mostly walking). Some just chat. I do my usual pushups and situps and walk. One guy is serving ninty days for a $300 fine he never paid since 1993. He was stopped for a U-turn and brought for the fine. He talked about good time which means that every day in county lock up counts as two. I never did understand why that was, but such it is. He was offered to serve work release, but you have to pay ten dollars a day to stay there, so he declined. He would stay here and let his pardner run the towing business until he gets out. Another guy is being held for violating his parole in LA area. He had gotten beaten up badly and was hospitalized for broken ribs and such. Then he left. They will hold him for up to 90 days and if the CA people don't pick him up, he will be released. If he is released he plans on heading back to Oklahoma or Arkanasas where he has family and they don't extradite. For lunch (12:30PM) we had ham (rolled parts), bread (2 slices), salad (lettuce with packet of dressing), 2 cookies, potatoe chips and orange drink (the orange refers more to the color rather than the fruit as it a sweetened Koolaid clone, I presume). It was good (as were all the meals we were served). From about 2:30PM to about 3:30PM we had walk around where we allowed out of our rooms. The 6D section is a large rectangle with cells along two sides with two levels. There are 32 cells, 16 upper and 16 lower. The guard area and door to the section is in the center of the long wall with a TV mounted high in the corner furthest from the cells. There are stackable resin chairs close to the TV area and tables scattered aroud the rest of the open area. The corner where the two walls with cells would be, is cut off somewhat so that there are three wides which all face the guard in the center. I showered first thing. There are showers on each side of the guard areas. The water started out cold, but got nice and warm by the end. I also borrowed the rechargable shaver, but it wasn't much good. It mostly pulled the overgrown whiskers out (it seemed). The shaving section was kept in disnifectant. After my shower I alternated between walking around the the lower level and exercising. My cell mate lent me a book that he had finished, Off the Mangrove Coast, a collection of adventures by Louis L'Amour. It was OK. For dinner, just after 6PM, we had tortillas (wheat flour), spiced sliced beef, beans, rice, lettuce, two cookies, and tea. Dinner was quite yummy. We had a late evening walk aroiund from about 9:15PM to 10:15PM. I just walked around most of the time. I finally head upstairs in my walks and found the bookcase by one of the windows as the break/bend in the cells. It had loads of paperbacks and I chose a science fiction book, Kay Kenyon's Braided World.
November 7, 2004, my 51st birthday.Last night my cell mate got really aggravated as he would always tell me to flush after using the toilet, but I always wipe myself before flushing. However, it appears that the convention in jail is that you fluch right away (and then again after wiping your self I presume). Anyway, as I was wiping myself, he hopped out of bed and punched me pretty softly on the shoulder (it was no punch to speak of at least from my background). It really surprised me and then I decided that I would try to follow their conventions. I don't really think that it is necessary, but bodily functions in such close quarters are probably bothersome to many and so I am willing to do what I can to not offend. It may read cynical, but I really was happy to spend my birthday in jail. They turn on the lights at 7:30AM. There are four set of flourecent lights in our room, all along the wall with the desk shelf. We have controls for three of the four, but the smaller lights by the toilet area has one that is directed upward and which is always on. Occassionally the guards will walk by each cell and check the status of the cell and the fourth light provides light for that. When they have lights out, they cut the lights in the common area (there is still light from the hall outside which comes in through the glass in the top section of the entrance area) and they cut the power to the three lights that we have controls for. Lights on is for the lights in the common area and powers the lights in our cells which we can control. I am glad of the window as I can read by light from there. Breakfast was bread (2), butter, jam, milk, banana, oatmeal, and coffee cake. I went ahead and got coffee which I gave to my cell mate. I wasn't very hungry and kept my banana for later. There was no morning walk around, but I was happy to read my SF book. However, yesterday some of the inmates had to choose between recreation and walk around (they were at the same time), so we may have to make the same choice today. Lunch was at 12:30PM and was hot dogs (2) in beans (very plain), break (2), salad, cake, and orange drink. During afternoon walk around toward the start I try to call my brother, Michael, but could only leave a message (just a requrest to accept a collect call from jail on his anaswering machine). Toward end of walk around I tried again and got through. It was expensive. $4.83 for the first minute and 70 cents a minute for each additional minute. Those costs sound way high to me and must include all the collection and monitoring costs (at least and we can only imagine what other charges they are tacking on). Annie of correctional services had already called him and let him know where I was and that I was OK. He had told my mom which was my main concern. He also said he would leave a message at work that I wouldn't be in on Monday (and would leave the details as to why to me). She had also told him that I would be arraigned on Monday at 2PM and that I was likely because of the circumstances I was likely to be released at 7PM (both of which were later than I would like, but it was good to hear). Dinner was at 6PM and was goulash (spiced beef and noodles), carrots (VERY plain), sauer kraut, bread (2), butter, and milk. Our evening walk around was from 7:50PM to 8:50PM and I was able to see the new Simpsons Haloween special. Too bad I wasn't home to recrod it. Oh well. What to do? Recreation started at about 9PM and I had decided not to go. There was little appeal to being out in the cold and dark that late.
November 8, 2004.Right after lights on at 7:30AM they had clothe and linen exchange. As I was due to be arraigned at 2PM, I decided to skip the exchange. However, my cellmate took off all his clothes and wrapped himslef in one of the two blankets he had. He left is bed otherwise made up as he only sleeps under one blanket with the rest made up. During some walk arounds the guards require people to have their beds made during the walk around. If you wanted to exchange your linen, I presume you could, but it seems that most inmates don't. The exchanges are twice a week. After the exchange, we had breakfast pancakes, syrup, oatmeal, butter, ham and milk (i got a coffee which I gave to my cell mate). There was plenty of syrup and I had the butter and syrup with the oatmeal. It made it much more palatable. However, I did not finish my oatmeal and instead had my banana from yesterday. My cell mate had told me that any food items not from the commisary which were in your cell outside of meal times was contraband and you could get written up for it (if the guard was being a pain in the rear), losing a walk around or worse if there were other write ups. Wow! Here I was living life on the edge and didn't even know it. What a relief it was to get rid of that contraband. Twice a week they accept order sheets for comissary with the items being delivered a day or two later, but I was not around for that. The charges for commisary are withheld from the cash you had on you when you were arrested and anything that friends or relatives deposit on your behalf. In the prisons I visited in New York, the prisoners were out and about a lot more, going to meals outside their cell block and going to commisary itself rather than ordering and having it delivered. Three times a day nurses came around to deliver meds (medications). One time I got an aspirin for a headache, but she said it would be better if I ordered asparin from the comissary. I explained that I didn't expect to be there long enough to allow that. She left me with a form to order meds, but it clearly noted that the meds could be charged to my account. Yikes, they do try to cut costs (which is good I guess). Walk around were in halves with 17 through 32 (upstairs) first. Ours was about 9:50AM to 10:50AM, so I was able to shower before heading to arraignment in the afternoon. I also did my exercises. They have a sit up board at a variable angle. Sit ups at an angle are much harder. They also have a chin up bar and one of those short parallel bars for reverse chin ups (none of that is the right names, but my vocabulary is lacking). I have finished the other two books and am starting Asimov's Nemesis. Lunch was at 12:30PM and was bread (2), solami, cheese, potato salad, cole slaw, two cookies, and orange drink. Because of the time it finally became clear that I would be arraigned in Portland (they don't make much effort to keep inmates informed). About 1:15PM they took six of us from 5D amd eight or so from 6A (the section at the other end of the hall from ours). Of course we waited about 15 minutes in the glassed in area on the way out of our section. Then two guards took us in the elevator to another floor where the court was where we would be arraigned. There were 18 in the holding cell we were put in (there was another holding cell for another group). There were benches on the two long walls of the cell, but not enough room for all of us, so several (myself included) sat on the floor. There was also a toilet/sink in the corner, but with the crowd it did not seem very comfortable. After some time (around 2PM I guess), some guards came and picked up eight of us. Those were taken to court. Everytime we left our cell block, the half sheets of paper with our pictures and information went with us. We would give them to the guards when we were moving and they would give them to the guards who took charge of us. After those who were being arraigned left, we just waited (there was room to sit). One guy who was not arraigned had had his brother pick up his kids for visitation. His brother had asked about getting his clothes and that was considered to be a third party contact and was why he was arrested (he claimed that his boother had asked on his own and without his knowledge). One guy who was arraigned had been just out of prison four days and was charged with possession (PCS) and traffic violations. He tried (with good success it seems) to elude the police and was finally driving on all four rims. When finally stopped, the police beat him up pretty badly with two broken ribs, a broken knuckle, and a badly bruised wrist. They only stopped wailing on him when he screamed and the neighbors started coming out and watching. HIs story had been that he been given a drugged drink and blacked out, only remembering some guys in the park beating him up.... He told us how he had almost lost the police when he cut across traffic to make an exit, but he hit a white cone (?) and lost two tires. He also remembers a police vehicle with those big springs coming straight at him, he braked and spun a little to the right, then accelarted and went right past the police vehicle (with them possibly hitting one of the vehicles that was chasing him). About 2:45PM the guards picked up the rest of us and took us back to our cell blocks. All of our sheets were marked N/C for no complaint. Whatever that meant, but we never saw or spoke with anyone, really. Several of the guys had been booked with us over the weekend and didn't know they were from the 6A cell block. They followed us into the glass holding area for 6D, but noted it didn't look right. We checked their papers and sent them back to 6A (the guards laughed when they knocked on the window) as they clearly didn't know where they were going.. We had a nice long walk around after we got back (entire first floor) for a couple of hours, but I was anxious to get home. I don't remember (and didn't write down) what we had for dinner. After dinner, several guys got their roll ups (called by the guard to take their linen with them), but my cell mate noted that they were headed to another facility. By 8:15PM I was getting quite anxious (could I be lost in the system). The second floor was haing their walk around. While my cell mate recommended that I be patient, about 8:20PM the walk around was pretty quiet when I pressed the call hutton for the first time. I explained that I was supposed to be released this evening and asked if it were possible that it ws just delayed. He said there was no cause to worry and then I went back to my cell. About five minutes later I got my roll up. If they had of told my brother 9PM release I would have been much less concerned, but then I guess it good to occassionally face one's delusions... I left Nemesis (the book) on the table in the common room so that my cell mate wouldn't have more than four book in his room (contraband). There were four of us leaving (including the guy whose brother had asked about his clothes) and we waited about 15 minutes in the glass holding area. We were taken via the elevators to a place were we changed backed into our clothes and signed for them. We were allowed to take our papers and toiletries with us. Then we signed for our clothes and were taken to the property room where they fianlly signed us out. Apparently the women are usually released beofre the men, but in this case they let all the men go into the room next to the property officer while the women waited outside (no mixing). I waited about half an hour for my turn (they went in order of arrival), then it was my turn. He cut off our plastic band, fingerprinted me (again), counted out my money, got my signature and sent me on my way. My story then continues with pictures. Click here to see the next rambling tale
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