In front of the jail last week, topics of conversation ranged from the construction all around us (that has been underway since late June with little to show for it), to the jail’s plans for video visitation, to the new contract for food preparation, and much more. The following are snippets of conversation:
M: You look around, and it just seems like things are going to get worse here. This construction, for one. They used to have trees here and benches. Then they took down the trees, and they took out the benches.
Y: Yeah, when we started protesting.
M: But what are they putting in here? It’s not gonna be better. You can only assume it will be worse based on what goes on here. They also seem to be doing some kind of construction on the roof. I saw porta potties up there, and stuff hanging off the edge. What’s going on up there?
S: I don’t know.
M: This whole place is a mess.
S: And then there’s fewer benches to sit on in the lobby, and the recently removed curtain where the locker area was. That’s gonna be for video visitation, right?
M: There’s fewer benches because there will be less waiting for visits maybe? We don’t know because they never say. For video visits, forget it. If it comes to that, I won’t go. I’d rather talk to my dad on the phone. It’s bullshit that they’re doing that. I would rather talk to him on the phone than through a video screen.
C: Visits on a video monitor is gonna be worst on children of inmates. And on the inmates themselves. Why would they take away face to face when there’s no reason to? That’s gonna kill people. It’ll make people so much worse off than now even.
T: They’re not doing that, or, if they try it’s not gonna fly. No way. It might be with glass between you, but you’re really seeing them. And the fist bump. I live for a fist bump at that end. You can’t do that on video. If I don’t have that fist bump…It keeps me going til the next time.
S: What do you think they’re doing here (construction)? Do you know?
G: I don’t know. They don’t say. Maybe someone is digging a tunnel out of the place? (Smiles).
S: I like the way you think. (Smile)
N: We were told they put up this (construction fence) to stop us and others from talking to the inmates at the windows.
S: Really? Someone from the jail told you that?
J: No, other people said it, not anyone who works here, I don’t think.
S: So, I see it hasn’t really stopped you from communicating. Or anyone else.
J: (Laughs). No, not really.
S: Does anyone from the jail ever try to tell you to stop signaling?
N: Hell no. They know it ain’t gon’ stop me.