Reprinted from The Kalamazoo News, copyright Michael Fountain
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  • .... He’d said the same thing to three others that night, each of them coming into jail for the first time. I recognized the emotion behind it—he was trying to convince them that he wasn’t just part of the system, that he was a human being in a hollow place. I used to work in such a place; I used to talk the same kind of bullshit.

    .... I wasn’t sure how to feel about this. I felt gratitude; I also saw it as just one more way they get you on their side, get you dependent on them.

    .... When you’re in a place like this you walk, sit, eat, answer questions or silently wait according to their schedule, the schedule of the institution, and a friendly individual will get you hooked on the smallest taste of human decency so that you start to think of that particular cop—the cop who lets you keep your clothes on, the cop who flips you a book of matches—as my cop. You watch him move behind the desk with the others; you feel a small sense of panic when he drifts out of sight. His face is the face of Daddy, Uncle, God; the other guards, acolytes of the institution, are bland, unfriendly blobs. ...

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  • 1 comment:

    Anonymous said...

    I've only been the one paying the bail and picking up a "friend".
    They treat you like scum, you are looked down at for being an associate of someone who could have committed a crime....
    Where to go, what to do....you poor naive dumb thing....haven't you been here before? Oh first time?
    When I got picked up for not having my driver's license with me in Ciecero, Ill.---I almost landed in jail, but had enough money to get my own self out. Later before facing the judge, the baliff told me to lie and say I forgot it was in the glove box --I got all my money back and paid no fine...Was it because I was a girl? or because my knees were knocking?
    Smile, Dee Ann