…With pain and bitterness, I watch the next victim in a strange green outfit be escorted to the corner cell, Number 24, to be locked up. Answering my question, “why?”, the sad latin girl told me – “I was crying – That’s all.” One year ago, I arrived in this jail myself. It was the first time in my life. Sure, I cried from fear, despair and the unknown. After a short talk with the nurse on duty, I was put in a green outfit in that damn room 24. Three days without sheets, blankets, or underwear. With bare feet, in that green fucking robe. When I questioned why they were doing this to me, the answer was “You could commit suicide – it is for your security.”
This was absolutely a rude lie: never, ever in my life, even in here, in jail, did I want or plan to commit suicide. I was not even hysterical.
Almost everyone who is locked up here for the first time is in terrible condition. No wonder: they have no experience to compare with like repeat criminals may. They are scared – and it starts with booking already. Here is a hell indeed: dirt, rudeness, screams! The absence of any elementary respect. But you don’t dare cry here. If you cry, they think it means you will commit suicide. So, the turtle suit is unavoidable. You try to talk to the CO through the door, but who cares? You could die here of a heart attack. And what? Ok, it’s not a suicide!
Where is the logic? A crying person in despair needs comfort and understanding, not a punishment (even if it calls itself “security”). A crying person is suffering in jail already! But the serge is saying “No, put them in cell 24” and putting the crying person “under observation” for at least 24 hours.. and if they got in on Friday, for three days!
An acquaintance of mine almost cut her veins in this room. She just wanted to be noticed. And they almost missed her…!
My inmates admit if you want to commit suicide, you will find the way to do it anywhere, even in cell 24. This is true! And another truth is that the crying person (in this case, a woman) locked in this scary cell is put here to be intimidated, humiliated, and paralyzed. What else could it be?
- F. L.