This post was supposed to come out on Sunday, March 17, but I have really had a hard time writing this so that it would make any sense to anyone reading it. I have been more than a little ADD about things lately, and I really can’t say that I’m surprised, given just how much (both good and bad) I have on my plate these days.
As some of you older readers will remember, I posted a blog about my middle son’s unfortunate incarceration back in December. It was right before Christmas. Ahhhh, there’s a new way to Grinch it out for the holidays, not that I often need a reason.
Sunday, 3/17, was 90th day behind bars. Twelve weeks. Three months. One season. Boy have I learned a LOT in that period of time.
Innocent until proven guilty – No…not really. Pretty much everyone I’ve come in contact with is assuming my kid is guilty. I don’t know whether he is or not. I like to think that what he has told me is the truth, but I’m not the detective on the case; I’m not on the jury, and I’m sure no lawyer, but after the sheriff of our fine county saw fit to post the kid’s picture up on his Facebook page for the whole world to see, it’s pretty apparent that the common, average Joe thinks anyone photographed in county-lockup-orange should be hung from the nearest tree, or taken out with the rest of the trash.
Right to a speedy trial – Ha! There’s a joke for you. Kid has been in since 17 December. First court appearance was 8 January. All first appearances that day were bumped to a later date. MUCH later. THREE MONTHS later. Maybe it won’t get continued again.
Bail – Contrary to what you see on t.v., or you might have heard via word of mouth, bailing someone out of jail is not a cheap activity, ESPECIALLY if said someone is locked up because of anything remotely felonious. The going rate to bail someone out of jail in our neighborhood is 15% of the total bond amount. This is non-refundable and how bail bonds-people make their livings. I get that. I also think I may have been in the wrong line of work all these years. I’ve had some people come to me and tell me that XYZ Bail Bonds Co. only charges 5%, I smile, thank them, and know that it’s actually 5% DOWN, the other 10% can be made in payments. And God forbid the bailee skips and doesn’t make court, or leaves town? God help ya…they are coming after you for the entire amount of the bond.
Public Servants – This title is nothing more than a cruel joke on those of us that do not work for a municipality. Since December 17th, I have been “lucky” enough to have experienced some mighty fine examples of humanity working for our mighty fine county. Now I can’t really say that ALL public servants are hateful I-don’t-give-a-rat’s-ass-about-you-as-long-as-I-get-my-paycheck kind of people, but an awful lot that I have come in contact with would fall into that category. They’ll treat you like YOU are the one that committed the crime, and don’t really care that this is not something you’ve had experience with. Ever. So, you learn to grow a thick skin and hand it right back to ’em. Killin’ ’em with kindness doesn’t seem too terribly effective, in my humble opinion. Again, I’m not saying all jail personnel are ass hats. In fact, I’ve met some very kind jail employees that don’t walk around thinking that they rule the world.
Jail Telephones – In a nutshell? THEY SUCK!!!!!! I don’t care if it’s the ones that they are allowed to use when they collect call their people, or the ones that are used when they are visiting with you. They suck. You can rarely hear out of them, and at least, if you get the crap phone while the inmate you are trying to speak with is in front of you, you can kinda try to read lips. On collect call night? Not so much, and then you get the additional bonus of not only being frustrated, but knowing that they are charging the crap out of your PayTel account so that you can pace around your house screaming, “Hello? Can you hear me? Hello? HELLO?”
Sending Books – Don’t send hardcover books. Ever. They end up with the inmate’s personal belongings. Apparently using the corner of a hardcover copy of “A Purpose Driven Life” and “The Bible” have been used as shivs at some point? I dunno. And each inmate can only have a certain number of books on the floor in his/her name at any given time, so if your inmate accepts delivery of his cellmate’s book because the cellmate already has a book on the floor? Your inmate is SOL.
Other Parents – No, you surely aren’t the only one to have your beloved offspring unfortunately incarcerated for the first time. There are others out there, just like you, in the same position, and sometimes you bump into them. Sometimes they are in the same position as you – there for their weekly 15 minute visit, sitting there wondering where the hell they went wrong in parenting their child, and have kind of just gotten used to blowing chunks of their Saturdays sitting just outside the Magistrate’s office. Others are there for the first time. These are the parents that are confused, scared, and maybe even a little bit ashamed, because this is all new to them, and they haven’t learned, yet, that this waiting area is absolutely a judgement-free zone. This is the mom that gets on the elevator after her first visit with her jailed son or daughter, and loses it and really just needs to be hugged. HUG HER! I imagine that she must have felt better after crying, but I have not really allowed myself the luxury of crying after a visit. Not going to let the jail people see that this is getting to me. (And after 90 days of this shit? You can cool believe it IS getting to me.)
Miscellaneous Tidbits –
- The canteen kiosk that takes your money will charge you $3.25 per cash transaction. It’s a fee for paying with cash. Ironically, that machine does not take debit or credit cards.
- Bumping into people you know may very well happen. This is one of those “what happens at the jail stays at the jail” situations. Do NOT tell everyone you know that you saw so & so bailing out his kid/wife/father. That is simply poor taste, and absolutely inconsiderate.
- Ten minute collect calls and fifteen minute weekly visits are the fastest ten and fifteen minutes you will experience during your week.
- Public Defenders aka Court Appointed Attorneys – Six words: You Get What You Pay For.
- Never purchase your loved one an item of clothing in any shade of orange. Ever. I have already been warned in advance.
- “Go to jail. Go directly to jail. Do not pass GO…” references should probably be withheld whenever possible. At least until probation is over and/or the sting of the entire incident has faded somewhat.
So, I think that pretty much covers it. Should anything pertinent pop into my head, I will be sure to add it to the list.
Until Next Time…