Have you, a family member, or someone close to you that you know ever been locked up or jailed? What about ever being arrested on a Friday night, not getting bailed out until Monday? And From time to time you might hear or see someone say "free my bro or so and so." Well this piece is about my three night stay, after being arrested and how I somewhat understand where the “free my….” statement is coming from. Lockup and/or jail are not cozy, comfortable, or good places. Anyone that ever glorifies it is very foolish and ignorant.

As some of you may know already, almost two years ago I did a three-night stay in lock up. And while that whole situation is over and done with all charges dropped and record clean, it is a memory I still have. I'm not traumatized or anything but it isn't something forgotten and a story I would like to share.

From being handcuffed to patted down to cavity checks. Three long nights and three long days time only known by breakfast and dinner, neither of which were very enjoyable. Out of my normal element not knowing anyone, replaying the thoughts back in my head, trying to figure out why and how I'm here. Sleeping on a metal slab, no pillow, mattress pad, or cover. Sitting in a one-person cell with a telephone, only allowed to make long distance prison phone calls, a sink, and other guest who want to talk without shutting up. We were all guests there; many of them weren’t there long and left me wondering why. Wondering why was it this (the situation and charges) that has brought me to see this side of the judicial system. One time wondering if I truly was trying to see this side of the system why couldn’t it be something else, something that I’ve actually done. Like possession of drugs, driving while intoxicated, robbery, something where I committed an actual crime.

But, semi-alone with my thoughts and I say semi because even though I’m in a single cell, the lights don’t fully go out, the guard passes ever so often, and those annoying neighbors.
No shower for days, and having the feeling of letting others down! There were things on campus that I was missing, a volunteer event I was suppose to attend, and sitting there wondering what others would think. One of the first times in life that I actually cared what others thought. But it was the moment, the situation, and what I didn’t know that was being said. Would they believe it or would they know who the real me was? With it all I remembered my time in Corporation Counsel's office assisting with Juvenile prosecutions. I started to think how those young kids felt and what might have been going through their minds.

But through it and after it all I gained some perspective about everything. When we see and hear those "free.... or free my bro" statements, it's not because everyone is innocent. It's because when it hits home like that, you don't want someone you're close to in a place or situation like that. As I said before anyone that glorifies jail is both very foolish and ignorant.

It's not a place I would send my worse enemy to, even if I had one. There's nothing nice about sleeping on a cold metal "bed", staring at a wall with chipping paint, or have a toilet in your room. There's nothing appetizing about dry bacon and egg sandwiches for breakfast with coffee you don't like or not being able to eat when you please and when you do the fries are cold. It's destabilizing to see others who have sold drugs or drive while under the influence have a lower bail amount or get out before you. But it's even more dehumanizing to open your mouth, lift your tongue, then bend over, spread your cheeks and cough. 

I remember that Monday after having spoken to a court appointed Attorney, seen the judge, been read the charges, and told what my bail was I was transported to the detention facility. After having gone through the initial intake process, I went to go speak to the facility’s counselor. This is standard procedure for anyone that’s new to incarceration to speak with the counselor, to get an understanding of what is in-stored for you. It was then that I first broke down and cried. The previous nights before I figured I would be out on Monday; make bail then, after having seen the judge and go home. That wasn’t the case. After having seen the judge, minutes later I was shuffled away to this detention facility. Being that I had been at the detention facility for some hours I actually had started to rationalize it all, preparing myself; both mind and body. But in that moment in time I cried, I wanted to go home but I was here. Making the situation worse is she is there looking at me like; this kid is a Senior in College, WHAT THE FUCK IS HE DOING HERE. And I had no answers, none at all, felt like everything was fading away. I dried my eyes and went back to the holding area. Sitting there I tried to keep on the fa├žade that I had just recently acquired. A little time later I was being called again, I wasn’t sure what it was about this time, I was hoping it was for bail, but the hour for that was getting late so I wasn’t positive it was that. As I walked to this office I had to remain against the wall with my hands to my side. I was in fact being called to the Warden’s office I was getting bail, FINALLY, I thought. As he explained it, all I could do was cry again tears of joy. Again I was asked WHAT THE HELL I WAS DOING THERE, HE EVEN TOLD ME NOT TO COME BACK! We couldn’t shake hands, but I thanked him, dried my eyes again and headed back to the holding area until everything was processed. I sat there laughing and listening to the jokes, but in my mind I just wanted to go. When they called me to leave; I was ecstatic, relieved, and feeling blessed. I was close to kissing the ground once I left the gate, but instead just thanked God and embraced my father.

So it's with still having a great respect and love for law and government, that I say I understand their sentiment of the free my homie mantra. But I will say this as a positive aspect, I have learned much from the experience, my outlook on "the system" hasn't really changed. we should never allow ourselves to be put in a position where we may be locked up or jailed. Life and the freedom that comes of it is a blessing. Live Life, Freely Enjoy the moments, and don't take them for granted.
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