Any of you 'Dopers ever been in jail?

This stems from my topic in the question forum about prison issue shoes. If any of you have ever been in jail, I thought it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on it, experiances, and everything else like that.

I’m sure there are one or two of you out there. :smiley:

Who wants to know?

I was dragged to jail for an afternoon. I had problems with my car’s registration that led to a morass of fines, unpaid tickets and less than current tags. Hell, I had moved to Massachusetts two years prior and still had New Hampshire tags with had expired several millenia ago.

I was cuffed and taken to the local lockup. They booked me. This meant they took my picture, got my fingerprints, asked me some stupid questions and stuck me in a cell. I especially appreciated the straight from the movies removal of my belt and concerned questions about whether I had thoughts of hurting myself.

I waited to see the judge and chatted with a young felon in the cell next to mine. When my time came I was given leg shackles as well as handcuffs and shuffled up the stairs to court to see the judge. He gave me a few minutes to talk to a public defender. I pled guilty, paid a small fine and was out of there after about five hours of incarceration.

It isn’t something I am proud of, but it was surprisingly non-traumatic. Makes a nice story at least.

Worst one I had, Left a bar in a strange town at 2am. Walking aimlessly, saw an officer in a car, asked him where a pay phone was so that I could call a cab. He told me two more blocks and there is one on the corner, ‘thank you sir’ and I stumbled off. I made it one block and 3 cruisers surrounded me, guns drawn, I was handcuffed and thrown in the back of one of the cars. I was ‘detained’. when I got to the station the inferior monkey behind the desk asked me my name, I started to tell him and he told me to SHUT UP. He then asked me my name again, I start to tell him and he tells me to SHUT UP, two more times and I decide I just won’t answer him. Now the monkey is all pissed off and they are threatening that I’m withholding info, so he asks me again whats your name, SHUT UP. I tell them look, you have my license, I’m done talking. They throw me in a cell, with no glasses, which I believe should be cruel and unusual punishment since it is sensory deprivation. I’m all pissed off and fired up and I’m picking on the kid who is watching the cells, I was also on an end cell that had a huge metal wall, and if you hit it hard enough it shook the whole building. They were so pissed at me they were going to throw me in the “little rubber room”. So I quieted for a while, and just to be an ass, everytime I had to ‘drain’ I let it go on the floor, under the plexiglass/bars out into the hallway.

I know its not real jail, but 5 years later it still baffles me why they couldn’t just let me call a cab. BTW it was in Massachusetts, I’ll buy anyone an ice cream cone if they can guess which town, hint: eastern mass.

It’s an experience you can’t explain. It SUCKS!!!

I’ve been in several jails so many times I can’t count. Of course, there is usually glass between me and my clients. Still stinks like hell though.

I have.

Once in the US, once in Mexico, and once in The Netherlands.

All were related to intoxication. I don’t remember much about going there. Getting out was easy in the US, and The Netherlands, they just let me go. Mexico was a bit less . . . gracious. . It was unpleasant, but not barbaric. But then according to them I had barfed on a cop. It was a bit expensive, though.

I don’t get drunk any more.


I bailed out two guys, had to go to the Jail to do it.

A few times I accompanied a partner while visiting a client who was detained in the Metropolitan Detention Center in downtown LA. If you’ve ever seen Mike Davis’s book City of Quartz it’s the building on the cover.

I remember the first time we went down there, not because anything serious happened, but just because it was a surreal experience.

When we got there, we had to sign in, show id, our state bar cards, etc. Then we waited. Then they stamped our hands with a handstamp like the ones they use at a club. Then we went through a “manlock,” a hallway with a locked door on each end.

We then went into the visiting room, which looked like a small school cafeteria, except it was carpeted. The room was full of picnic tables bolted to the floor. Lots of prisoners meeting with family members, and even a few kids around. It actually felt (to my naive, inexperienced self) like a fairly low key scene.

We were to meet with our client in one of the small conference rooms adjacent to the main visiting room. (These rooms are reserved for attorney client conversations.) There were only two chairs in the room, so I went to get another. Before I did, the partner I was with warned me to be careful. I asked him what he meant, and he said “just remember where you are, and be aware of your surroundings.” Looking back on it, I appreciate his giving me that warning, because I think I was a little too casual about being in there, and I needed to be more on my guard.

After a few minutes, our client came in to meet us. As were all the other detainees, he was wearing clothing that looked like pink hospital scrubs, and plastic pink sandals. Naturally he was not in a great mood when we met him, and looked less than his best, but mostly I would say that he looked like a guy who had spent a long night in a bus station after missing the last bus. He looked stressed out but insisted (and he had no reason to lie to us) that he felt perfectly safe.

After we finished talking with him, he went upstairs. Then we went back through the manlock. In order to get out, we had to hold our hands up so they could shine an ultraviolet light to check our handstamps. One of the guards (who we had met when we first came in) joked about refusing to open the door to let us out. Ha ha ha.

In rereading my description, I don’t think I’ve done a very good job capturing the eeriness of it all. The mix of routine, and boredom, and the contrast of knowing–in the abstract at least–that we were in the midst of some VERY BAD PEOPLE, but not feeling in danger. And at the same time, realizing that the reason I didn’t feel in danger was probably because I was ignorant, not because I was realistically assessing the situation.

And then, walking out of that world and into the street. And feeling very very very very (insert an arbitrarilly large number of additional “verys”) happy that I was free to leave and that I didn’t have to stay inside there.

Yes. Three times. Burglary, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and traffic tickets. No convictions.

Well, since I can proudly say that all my experiences were more than ten years ago, and that’s well beyond the statute of limitations for anything but stories, I’ll share my few minor experiences behind bars. q;}

For the setting, let me say these were all american jails in a rather large city’s suburbs. Let me further say that this is a city in Texas, and I have very long hair. You might think this would be a problem. I’m also 6’6" and pushing 300. I’ve never met nicer, more polite, people, than Texas Cops. I have no idea whether the two facts are related.

My very first night behind bars was way, way back in the late 80s. Hey, that’s way back to me, ok. Anyway, some friends and I are in my car goin’ to see a movie (Terminator I think it was). We’ve got a full case of beer in the back seat, and my buddy back there’s swiggin’ on a fifth of Jack. I ask him to hand me a beer (I’m young, stupid, and driving) and as I’m opening it, see a police car right behind me.

I panic. Shove the beer under the seat, full and open, and take the first turn-off I find, hoping he’ll just drive on by.

Nope. He’s on my tail now. Pulls me right over. Looks in the car, sees the huge cooler and three drunken idiots. Calls backup. Finds ALL KINDS of stuff in the car, but decides that one thing is dangerous enough for me to spend the rest of my life paying for: a throwing star, unsharpened, in the glove compartment. Nevermind the crossbow, bong, and (chicken-)bloody baseball bat in the trunk. Nevermind the case of beer (ok we ALL got Minor in Possessions) and liquor while driving (stupid, stupid). I got an Unlawfully Carrying a Weapons charge, and spent the night (one of many as it turns out) in jail.

My friends were free to go. The cops towed my car off. Did I mention we were miles from anywhere? The officers kindly described the circumstances under which they would give my friends a ride home: they arrest them as well. My friends chose to walk home.

I stoically rode forthright into history, calmly and rationally discussing my imminent anal raping with my captor. Perhaps requests for freedom may have been made, my memory is a bit fuzzy… awright, I cried and begged to be let go, ok. Sheesh, you people.

They get me to the local jail, tell me I can bail myself out in the morning, or get someone to do it. Thank god for parents. Or damn him. Not sure which sometimes, but that’s another thread. Anyway, I get my phone call and led off to my luxury taxpayer-funded suite for the evening.

My bed that night was a space on a steel bench, and a scratchy blanket. I was in “the Smurf Prison”… everything was blue, and the big round metal table stuck up from the floor, the same shade as everything else. Except for the stainless steel bench along the wall. A blue steel dividing thing partly covered the stainless steel toilet/sink thing. A big glass window looked out onto the hall. I could see into the guard’s room, behind its own glass… down into the drunk tank, with no nice metal benches, tables, or cots, but the same drain in the floor. Theirs looked to get a bit more use than ours. Nobody interesting in there tonight.

But one person in here with me. Oh, good, I’m bigger than he is, and I know he’s not armed. Let’s see if he’s friendly.

He is. We chat a bit, 'cuz there’s nothing else to do but, I suppose, write on the walls. I don’t want to think about how the previous inhabitants got pens in here.

What’s his story? Well, he was driving down the road and got pulled over, I forget why exactly. They look in his car and see a 45 caliber handgun between his seats. This was before concealed carry was legalized here, and even afterwards, that’s not how to carry a gun. Plus it was loaded and ready to go.

He got the exact same charge I got for my suriken: UCW.

The next day I get bailed out, lots and lots of words from the PUs, and invited to return to court some months later. I get probation, community service, and a fine. My cellmate gets the exact same thing. Grr. Thank you, court-appointed attorney.

Hmm… ok, next story… trying to go chronologically here…

I THINK the bounced-check night was before the birthday party, but I’m no longer 100% sure. Let’s pretend it was.

So I’m poor and young and stupid, as has been previously proven, and will be again. I bounce a check or two at a grocery store, and they take it personally for some strange reason. I, however, think I got free money…

…until, one night, I’m with my girlfriend and her parents in my apartment, playing yahtzee or something.

knock knock A guy in a tie, with a clipboard, and an officer in uniform. Uh. This isn’t gonna be good, is it? Nope, not a lost dog, they got a warrant for my arrest. My girlfriend gets to bring me my shoes, helps me put them on while the friendly officer fits my wrists with steel, and we go away for a while. If I had to put a date on it, I’d say that’s the day her parents stopped liking me. That’s just a guess tho. q;}

For some reason, probably because it was just closer, they take me to a little business-office-type police station of some sort first. Big glass windows, little front waiting room, little wooden chairs to sit in. Don’t lock the door. Leave me cuffed to one of the chairs.

Well, first thing I do is think of escape, of course. Door’s right there, two steps away at most. I KNOW I can get rid of the chair, smash it or just pull it apart. The cuffs would be a different matter. And, of course, the eventual being shot while escaping thing occured to me as well. I stayed where I was.

Another ride in the police car, rather more enjoyable by this time, another night in a local jail, another cold steel mattress and scratchy wool blanket. Couple more stories from the cellmates. Many, many more words from the PUs. And hers. Oy.

Time passes. The friendly people in our legal system decide that I have been a very bad boy, and I’ve broken my probation. Time for me to REALLY pay for my crime (of carrying a decorative ‘weapon’)… another court appointed lawyer. Did I mention I am stupid? lol

Oh well, it’s not too bad. I tell ‘em I have to work, I’ll lose the apartment if I spend a long time in jail, and my job as well. They give me a sentence of a month in the work-release program, which I think is quite fair indeed, yes sir, thank you sir. This program entails my voluntarily driving myself, every night for a month, to the county jail. Getting searched and put in a cell with, hmm, guessing 40 other guys on work release. Sleeping on a real ssteel cot with a real rubber mattress stuffed with fiberglass, and the same ol’ scratchy blanket. Never get a pillow, I guess I could choke on the feathers or something.

Ok, quick note on searches. I’ve never had a body cavity search, thank you very much. I have, however, been strip-searched. The first night of my work-release program they gave me the whole treatment. Strip-search, spray with delousing stuff, shower while they watch, here’s your clothes now get in your cell. The rest of my time in work-release, I had to change from my civilian clothes into rather nice navy blue scrub-looking prison clothes, and had a reasonable amount of privacy (although I was still searched) in which to do so. Every other time, it was a VERY thourough pat down (Yes, they grab your crotch. No, I don’t think they enjoy it much. No, you probably won’t either, if you get the chance to try it.) and removal of belt, shoelaces, etc etc etc.

So, I’m all fresh and clean from the shower, they give me the mattress (good 50lbs or so) to carry, and walk me down the hall and into a group of cells. There’s a kind of jailed hallway area, a ‘group’ area with steel tables and a TV, and a bunch of smaller cells with like four bunks in them. And perhaps twice the number of bunks in prisoners. I’m informed that, no, this is not the work release section, everybody in here is in here for the duration, weeks or months. Uh… excuse me? Hello? Guard? Nope, nothing to do about it. Ask the judge in the morning. gulp

I find a book, a spot on a floor, and a reasonably safe-looking cell, and wait.

Nothing happens to me. I wake in the morning, things get straightened out, and I’m off to work. Come back the next night, and they put me in the proper area.

It’s a converted basketball court, a relatively small gymnasium, with a bunch of metal cots at one end and… lo and behold… REAL furniture! Tables that move! Cheap-ass plastic chairs! A MICROWAVE! A stack of books, a TV, heck, this is almost nice. Except for the 40 other guys here, all about to analy rape me.

Hmm. Ok, I’ve obviously been grossly mis-informed about this whole jail thing, at least the part I’ve seen. These people are friendly! The cops, the guards, the prisoners themselves. I find a nice cot in an out of the way area and fall asleep. This becomes ‘my’ spot, never a question about it the whole time I’m there.

One thing which still strikes me as odd is the sense of community inside that ‘cell’. I was doing this for a month. Some of these guys had been here for a long, long, LONG time. Some had jobs, others had friends on the outside, and they had quite a menu available from the jail store. There was a substantial barter economy in that little room, trading everything from cookies to tobacco to cassette tapes and batteries. Yeah, you could buy a walkman radio to listen to in jail. Lots of guys had 'em.

Wow, this is much much longer than I’d intended it to be. And I’ve barely told the best stories. I’ll finish with the end of this one, then, I suppose.

One aspect of this work-release program which I personally find odd was that, when I arrived on Saturday night after work, I wouldn’t get to leave again until Monday morning. Once a week I would spend a good 36 hours in this cell. Nothing like the folks in there for 10 years or what have you, but at the time it feels like an eternity.

Well, one particular Sunday that I got to spend in this place was my 21st birthday. Yippeee. So much for getting shit-faced, stupid, and arrested… I’m ALREADY IN JAIL.

Did I mention that this was ‘a long time ago’ and that I’ve totally learned my lessons since then? Good. 'Cuz this is the juicy bit.

A few times while I was laying on my mattress watching the other inmates, I’d notice a few of them gather 'round the back of the room, and a particularly pungent aroma that many of us would instantly recognize wafting forth. Hmmm.

That Saturday I slipped a tab of LSD into my shorts, and did acid in jail in celebration of my 21st. Quite the strange experience, and I definitely do NOT reccomend it to anyone. At one point they did a ‘random’ bed-check, lined us all up, and called roll. I swear the guard stared at me for a week that night, before moving on. Or maybe it was my imagination?

Anyway, like I said, I’ve since learned my lesson. Jail is not a good place to be, and I definitely wouldn’t want to spend any extended period of time in one. I haven’t been back in over 10 years, and I like it that way. q;} My experiences, I’m sure, are not typical, but one thing surprised me: Jail Ain’t THAT Bad. I never got beaten, never got shit thrown at me, never got repeatedly cavity-searched by sadistic guards or analy raped by inmates. In fact, I’ve very seldom felt as safe as I have when I’m behind bars. If I can’t get out, there’s not much that can get in, right?

Stay out of jail, kids.

I was in jail one day for something with two other kids. We were all in our late teens. They asked me what I was in for and I told them and they all moved away from me. Then they laughed came back and we had a fairly good time. It was clean. They got taken to juvie but I begged the cops saying my mom would come so they let me stay. After another couple hours she came and got me.

I wasn’t in a cell but a room. Like one you imagine they put mentally disturbed people in. All white and like I said, clean. But if it was for more then 6 hours I would go absolutely stir-crazy.

Twice. Once for 2 days. It sucked.

It only happened to me once. The date, July 4, 1990. I was helping my very-soon-to-become-ex-girlfriend move into her apartment. Our relationship was already on the skids and I was pissed off that she insisted we move her stuff that night instead of watching fireworks. While moving some stuff up the stairs a man complained to us about the noise we were making. Rather than be polite and respect the guy’s wishes for us to be quiet, my very-soon-to-become-ex-girlfriend told me to face up to him and tell him to shove it, or words to that effect. When I refused and recommended that we finish tomorrow she called me a wimp. At that point I totally lost it. I screamed “F*CK YOU!!!” in her face and left. I was so pissed off at that point. I got into my truck and went racing down a narrow residential street with cars parked along each side of it, at 60 mph. I approached a major intersection and saw a police car driving by. I slammed on the brakes and skidded through the intersection. The cop, of course saw it, and he stopped me. I was taken in for reckless driving. I only had to sit in the holding cell at the jail with about a dozen other guys for two hours before my mother came to bail me out. One other guy was in there for disturbing the peace, but I don’t know what the others were there for. One guy, who must have been drunk or high on drugs, was in a separate holding cell. He was slamming on the door and shouting to be let out. he was cursing and threatening to kill the cop that arrested him. Needless to say I was very glad to be let out of there. When I returned to appear in court I got my reckless driving charge reduced to inattentive driving and I saved myself from having to serve a five-day sentence.

I related the same story in the thread about breaking up with ex-SO’s, but I decided to leave this particular detail out of it.

Yes, I got arrested once and it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

I go to the University of Illinois, and last year we lost our football game to Ohio State (the eventual national champion) in a controversial and heartbreaking overtime loss.

Now, the game was in the late afternoon, and I had been drinking for most of the morning and day with friends in anticipation of the game. My best friend and I were hitting it pretty hard, as we bonged maybe 5 or 6 beers and drank a few more, and between the two of us finished a bottle of rum. I was pretty hammered.

So we lose in overtime and the student section is pretty pissed off. Usually after games we all clear out pretty quick so we can get to the bars, but this time only about half of us clear out. Someone says, “we should run on the field!” and my animal brain agrees that this is a great idea.

So I charge down the bleachers and hop the first barrier onto the field itself. I just kept running and I hopped the second cement barrier that separated where the cheerleaders stand and the actual field. Right as I jump over the cement barrier, Jack Arute (the ABC color commentator) grabs my jacket and my sunglasses fall off my head. I was able to pull away from him and now I’m home free.

In my drunken haze, I think I wanted to tackle the buckeye. He was standing over on the other side of the stadium near the away team fan section. So I charge at the OSU section with both birds in the air as the entire student section starts cheering behind me. Luckily I thought better of tackling the buckeye (battery) and just turned around and stopped in the end zone to face 3 or 4 cops. I knew that these hoosier cops would like nothing more than to rough up some spoiled college kid, so I put my hands in the air and said, “Everything’s okay officer, I’m not going to fight.” He says, “No pal everything’s NOT all right. You’re going to JAIL!” I rolled my eyes.

So they try to intimidate me at the stadium for being a student, and how I’m going to get expelled, and blah blah blah. I was pretty drunk so I thought it best to just keep my mouth shut until I figured out what was going on. They put me in a cop car with this crazy drunk girl who was really flipping out. She had punched out some other girl in the stands, and she was pissed off pretty bad. Luckily for me, she made me look like an angel and the cops didn’t hassle me too much.

So we get to the station and I decide that I’m not going to say anything until I have a lawyer. Good move idiot. So they lock me up in the holding pen by myself for about an hour. I sober up a little and then knock on the door to tell them to let me out and that I’ll talk now. I had to answer some basic questions like my name and all that, and then they told me I could bail myself out with a credit card. When I had one they laughed at me for sitting in the tank for an hour because I could have been out an hour earlier.

So I give them my credit card and in the meantime they take my prints and mugshot. I get all excited about the machine, being a computer nerd, because it’s networked to some national print database, and the setup is pretty decent for being central Illinois middle-of-nowhere cops. So I’m all friendly with the cop and he likes me, so he gives me a printout of my mugshot. Hilarious. My friend has one of those new picturephones where you can have the picture of the person calling show up when they call. I made him put my mugshot in there. It’s great having a copy of that thing.

Anyway, so I get out and I get a standing ovation from my friends when I got home. Everyone loved it. I had people talk about it in my classes Monday and I got to brag about being “that guy.”

A week later I appeared in court (freaking out because I got Trespassing of State Supported property, a Class A misdemeanor), and the judge gave me adult diversion. So I had to do 20 hours of community service and nothing goes on my record. I even got my prints and mug shot taken out of the system.

I got probation from the school, which is nothing as long as you don’t do anything bad again.

The community service wasn’t even hard. I mopped this catholic church and the guy only made me do 13 out of the 20 hours. He even introduced me to everyone around as the guy they all saw at the football game. I was a hero.

I never want to get arrested again, but that one time was one of my best college memories.

Qugdop goes to jail every day… :smiley:

Zev Steinhardt

Once, for 18 hours. I’d gotten picked up for driving on the revoked list, and they tossed me in the can til I got paid and could bail myself out. Yeah, I was a bad man!

Twice for a couple hours.

Wasn’t a big deal.

Twice for a couple hours.

Wasn’t a big deal.

Yes. Six days. Not gonna tell you what for. But it was in 1998.

Then I had five years felony probation. Whole different thing.