rat liker Profile picture
6 Apr, 63 tweets, 11 min read
So I just got out of jail on Saturday and I thought I'd make a thread about it, since going to jail is (hopefully) something a lot of y'all won't have to experience 1st hand. If anyone has any questions about the experience I'm happy to answer.
Note: I am a middleish class white woman who was locked up for 3 weeks for a DWI. I experienced some shitty things but nowhere near as bad as what many less privileged prisoners are subjected to.
So, backstory: a couple years ago I developed an addiction to benzos and got a couple DWIs. The arrests were the kick in the butt I needed, and after the second one I was able to get clean. After a long, drawn out trial, I was sentenced to 96 hours in custody + ankle monitoring.
So I got the time off work I needed and turned myself in. I had to answer a bunch of questions about my background, medical history, sexual orientation for some reason, etc.
They took my purse, everything in my pockets, my wedding ring, my hair tie, and the medications I brought with me and put them in a property bag. I saw a nurse and told her about my medical conditions and the meds I take, when I take them, etc.
Then I got my mugshot (which was a cute picture of me if I say so myself) and prints taken and got moved into a holding cell with a bunch of other women. At some point they moved me to a different holding cell. I was in those cells for about EIGHT HOURS.
These were about 20' by 15' rooms with a bench or two and a toilet and there were like six women in there. There was no soap so you had to just rinse your hands after using the toilet. It was funny because the jail had all these covid safety posters everywhere.
After a long wait we got our jail outfits (fashionable orange striped shirts, orange pants, and orange crocs) and a disposable paper mask. The deputy told us to hang on to the masks because we wouldn't be getting new ones. From there we went to quarantine housing.
Quarantine housing was basically a cell about the size of my bathroom at home with two bunks, a toilet, a little water fountain, and a sort of table thing. There were 20 of these cells inside a larger "pod" which included two showers, two phones, and an open area.
We got a "mattress" which was basically a sort of gym mat thing and two blankets. They smelled BAD, like rotting deli meat. We also got a little bag with a comb, a tiny tube of toothpaste, and a teeny little toothbrush. Still no soap.
They also gave us a little handbook explaining the rules and procedures of the jail. Unfortunately the handbook was from 2018 and severely out of date, but the deputies weren't real interested in answering questions so it was the best information source we had.
While in quarantine, we stayed locked up in that tiny little cell for 24 hours a day except for a daily ten minute break to take a shower or make a phone call. In theory you could do both if you were super quick but in practice it was one or the other.
We finally got some soap about 20 hours in to our stay. It was a tiny little hotel soap kind of thing. I used it to wash my hair, since we didn't get shampoo. It wasn't very good for that. Or for anything really.
The main thing about jail is that it's insanely boring, especially when you first get in. There is nothing to do except chat with your cellmate and stare out the (tiny, filthy) window.
We eventually got one of the inmate workers to bring us a couple of paperbacks but that first day or so was rough. The books sucked too but you know what? You'll read anything in jail. I read "the intelligent fan's guide to soccer". TWICE. I hate soccer.
I got a nasty surprise when they went around handing out medications and didn't have any for me. I take effexor for depression and anxiety, and that is NOT something you want to stop taking cold turkey. I tried getting a deputy's attention to ask about my pills, but.
It's actually really hard to get a deputy's attention when you're in 24/7 lockdown. They walk right by your cell and ignore you. The window in the door of the cell is also super narrow so you don't know when a deputy is coming, you can only see them for a second when they pass.
Eventually I managed to get someone to talk to me. She told me they needed to check with my pharmacy and I'd get my pills once they got the OK. I was already in withdrawals at this point and in a lot of pain so that sucked to hear.
Incidentally, effexor withdrawals include hot and cold flashes, severe headaches, a sensation like your brain is being electrocuted, digestive problems, and severe spikes in anxiety and depression. And jail is LOUD. It was pretty fuckin miserable.
ANYWAY. The meal schedule was weirdly early: we got breakfast at 4/5 am, lunch at 11 am, and dinner at 4 pm. Breakfast was usually unflavored oatmeal, cold unseasoned potatoes, bread, half an orange, and milk. Sometimes there were variations.
Hot jail tip: DO NOT eat the eggs. The eggs are poison.
Lunch was always some kind of soup in a styrofoam cup, a sandwich, and half an apple. The soup was basically the only good we ever got that was actually seasoned. It was also, weirdly, the only thing they didn't give us a spoon for. We always got spoons for breakfast and dinner.
I learned to eat spaghetti with a spoon (tip: use the side of the spoon to cut up the noodles into little bits). Dinner was more variable than bfast and lunch. The quality varied from completely inedible to hungry man frozen dinner.
We only got 15 minutes to eat each meal so you had to eat fast. I quickly learned to rinse and save the little milk cartons from breakfast so I could hoard food in them for later. I saved the spoons too, and the soup cups from lunch. Hot jail tip: save everything, basically.
I figured out pretty quickly why they didn't flavor any of the food: you can buy (extremely overpriced) seasoning and sauces from commissary. Aramark is making a killing serving bad food too prisoners and selling them the means to make it edible.
Hot jail tip: you can't really cook ramen noodles but you sure as fuck can use the seasoning packets to make the meals taste like something other than expired meats and dish soap. You can also soften the noodles by soaking em in tepid water for like 1/2 hour.
The way you were supposed to communicate with deputies was by sending "kites", which were little forms you'd full out with your message and stick through the crack in your door for the deputies. There were three problems with the kite system:
1. You had to actually get your hands on one in order to send it, which wasn't always easy,

2. Deputies were extremely lax about actually collecting them, do it could take hours before they even took it, and

3. Whether they ever responded at all was a crap shoot.
Even the easy kites with simple questions/requests would take at least a day to answer and most of the ones I sent never got any response at all. I sent SO MANY asking for my pills, and after several days of those being ignored, asking to see a doctor. Never got a response.
Probably the worst day for me was when my 96 hours was up and they didn't release me. I had no idea what was going on. They didn't even let me out for a shower or phone call that day so I couldn't try to call someone. I thought they forgot I was in there.
My cellmate had been released earlier that day so I was in there alone. I had no way to contact my family or my job to let them know I'd be in for longer, and I had no idea how much longer I'd be in for. The deputies kept blowing me off when I asked what was going on.
Hot jail tip: when a deputy says "I'll go check your file and get back to you on that" it means "I don't care, quit bothering me". They're not gonna get back to you.
At one point I was super sick from effexor withdrawals and feeling really dizzy and feverish and I asked a deputy if I could get a temperature check, and he said "why?". And I was like I think i might be sick? And he said, and I quote, "Who cares? If you're sick you're sick."
Note that the jail had signs up ALL OVER THE PLACE saying "if you need medical or psychological help talk to a deputy". It's a fucking joke. They don't give a shit.
Anyway I finally got someone to tell me when I was going to be released. Turns out they were planning to keep me for 3 weeks instead of 4 days. No explanation given.
After like a week of badgering them AND getting a lawyer involved they finally told me it was because I turned myself in late so they were keeping me in jail the whole time, no home detention. Which I really wish they would have mentioned when I came in.
Instead of assuring me multiple times that I would just be in for a couple days. Hot jail tip: the guards lie all the time. You straight up can't trust them for anything, ever. If a jail guard told me the sky was blue I'd go out and check.
So anyway after about a day and a half by myself I got a new cellmate. Guess what she was in for? BEING A WITNESS. That's right, she didn't even commit a crime. All she did was get her ass kicked by her ex and then not want to testify.
Turns out they can not only force you to testify, they can also hold you in jail pretty much indefinitely of they think you *might* try to run. This woman was FIVE MONTHS PREGNANT. She lost her job because she'd been essentially kidnapped. And they treated her like SHIT.
In fact, they treated her a hell of a lot worse than they treated me, an actual convicted criminal. Why? I dunno, but given that (a) I'm white and she's black and (b) they're cops, I'm guessing racism.
One thing I'll say for jail is it encourages a lot of creativity. We were making all kinds of arts and crafts in our cells with like toilet paper and maxi pads and spoons and things. You can make surprisingly strong rope by twisting and braiding tp.
And maxi pads are good for all sorts of things. Stick em on the window to block out light, use em as shower shoes, sleep masks, cleaning supplies, knee pads, extra insulation. People even wrapped em around the shower heads to concentrate the flow.
Every once in a while they're come around with a nurse to do a temperature check or a covid test or something and my cellmate (the one who was a witness) would always refuse to cooperate, and they'd say "if you don't do this you'll have to be in quarantine for more than 14 days"
Spoiler: they kept us both in quarantine for 17 days regardless. Cops always lie. Also it wasn't a real quarantine because they kept bringing in new people and never disinfected anything so the whole thing was pretty pointless.
I did get a covid shot while I was in there tho so that's one good thing. It was the j&j shot so not as effective as the others but better than nothing.
I was sick to my stomach pretty much the whole time I was there. Not sure if it was the food or the med withdrawals or what but it really sucks to have the runs when the toilet is two feet away from the beds.
Speaking of toilets, it turns out that if you bail out the water in the toilet you can have conversations with other prisoners through the pipes. My cellmate managed to get a group toilet chat going with a bunch of male inmates from the floor below us.
I was actually having an acute depressive episode and in the middle of a breakdown when she went and ruined it by cracking me up flirting with the damn toilet. Those dudes were THIRSTY too. NGL it was hilarious.
Anyway once we figured out that I was gonna be staying for a while my husband figured out how to put some money in my phone account (which was this whole big pain in the ass to set up and used up an entire day's day room time) so I could call people.
He also sent me a care package with hygiene products, snacks, paper, pencils, and stamped envelopes. Things got a lot better after that. It was real nice to be able to wash my hair after a week and a half, and writing/drawing helped pass the time.
Plus I could skip the really nasty meals and just eat chips and crunched up ramen noodles instead. Fuck you, soap-flavored reddish glop! Hot jail tip: crunched up ramen noodles mixed with flaming hot cheetos are hella good.
There wasn't a pencil sharpener but half the pencils were made out of this sort of paste stuff instead of actual wood and you could kinda scrape it away with your fingernails and then sharpen the graphite by just rubbing it on a piece of paper or the walls.
One weird thing I noticed was that there weren't any tall deputies, and only like two were average height. Almost all of them, male and female, were super short. It was weird towering over all the guards, even the men.
There were a couple of deputies who would actually answer questions and make an effort to help you if you needed it but most of them were assholes. Some of them clearly didn't care and wanted to do as little as possible and some were just sadistic.
There was one who always seemed super pissed to be there, like she hated it even more than the inmates did, and she'd take it out on us. Like it she gave you an instruction and you didn't understand right away she'd get hella mad and start yelling.
There was another who I swear just wanted to fight all the time and would go around trying to provoke inmates. Like she would mock people and cuss them out and call people names and shit. Idk what her deal was.
There was a lot of writing on the cell walls, and bits of paper stuck to the wall with toothpaste. At first I was scared to write anything because I thought I'd get in trouble but by the end I was drawing all over lol. I don't think anyone cared.
I finally got moved to gen pop after 17 days in quarantine. Gen pop is better because you get a couple hours of day room time instead of just ten minutes so you can shower and call people on the same day, plus you share the day room with other people so you can socialize a little
Being able to socialize meant there were opportunities for trade, and there was a whole little economy going on with people trading goods and services. There was this one lady who made shower bags out of cardboard, plastic bags, and magazine pages.
There were also people who did hair and nails and stuff. I never really got involved because I wasn't in gen pop very long. I did make a card for someone's kid and she offered to trade me some noodles for it but I didn't take em bc I was about to get out anyway.
There was this system of mutual support with the inmates. People would help each other out in ways the actual staff wouldn't.
People were always asking me if I had any coffee to trade so I guess hot jail tip: stock up on coffee
I learned that you can absolutely make instant coffee using the tepid water from the cell water fountain but creamer powder is harder to dissolve w/o hot water. It helps if you mix the creamer into the coffee powder before adding the water. Just another hot tip from yours truly

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with rat liker

rat liker Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @rat_liker

6 Apr
I have some sad news: Bart passed away suddenly last week. I've been kind of putting off posting about it because I wasn't really ready to talk about it. Bart was really special, one of the friendliest and cuddliest rats I've ever had (and I've had a LOT of rats).
Bart was incredibly chill. He was the biggest rat in our little group but he was always gentle with the others. When we brought Griffin and Atlas home we were a little worried he and Nick might hurt them bc they were so small. Instead, Bart decided he was their new mom.
He was so chill that he let me get away with goofy shit like putting him in a shark costume and putting a little party hat on him when he and Nick turned 1. Not a lot of rats will put up with that.
Read 5 tweets
4 Apr
alright folks lemme have it Image
1. none of your business
2. who wants to know???
Read 14 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!