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A southern sheriff's jail: Epilogue

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by maumann, Jul 31, 2019.

  1. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    So what did I learn from this experience? I'm still not as patient I should be and I still can't reconcile my inability to deal with events outside of my control.

    Both my roommate -- during my incarceration -- and my therapist afterward came to the same conclusion.

    On the other hand, with some notable exceptions, I was able to maintain my focus of keeping my thoughts on what was happening inside that cell and common room. Because every time I began to think of what was happening outside of the jail, I'd go into panic mode. And given the circumstances, I couldn't allow that to happen. You couldn't afford to get too low or too high.

    The entire ordeal felt like we'd get close to resolution, only to have the finish line moved.

    Remember that the DA, the judge and my attorney agreed on 50 percent time to serve? Well, my internal clock is counting down 30 days. And on Day 28, Gwen calls the inmate services rep to find out when to pick me up, only to hear that I still have eight more days. Huh? She calls my lawyer, who calls the sheriff. Sheriff says, "my jail, my rules. Nobody gets out until 60 percent. No exceptions."

    That was a huge gut punch. Now I've got to reset, knowing I've got four more lockdowns to survive, even though I had pretty much expended all of my mental energy getting to this point.

    So the target is now 3 p.m. on a Thursday. We're locked down and I'm just trying to keep from clock-watching, thinking good thoughts in my head and taking relaxing, deep breaths. It's going to be over at 2:15, because it takes about 45 minutes to get processed.

    But 2:15 comes. And goes without a call on the intercom. Patience. Gotta stay patient. Then it's 3 and we're out in the common room and everybody's wondering why I'm still there, including me. And then it's 4 and finally I run out of patience. I buzz the guard and tell them I was supposed to be released this afternoon.

    "You're not on the computer printout for today. You need to talk with inmate services. But she's busy with mail and commissary."

    Now I'm struggling to keep the waves of panic from overwhelming me. I'm never getting out of this place.

    Another hour passes and the guard calls my name. Inmate services put the wrong date in the computer. Pick up your stuff and wait by the door. Holy crap! Finally!

    But you knew it wouldn't be that easy. I carry the stuff to the holding area but I can't check out until they process an incoming wave of transfers (and they're in the middle of guard shift change). Suddenly, I'm placed in a 4x8 windowless holding cell. And I'm almost at the breaking point now.

    The finish line had been moved. Again.

    I sat in there for almost two hours before someone finally opened the door. I wasn't actually certain at this point I was ever going to leave. It wasn't until I got my own clothes on and saw Gwen when they opened the door to the waiting room that I could let myself feel relief.

    All this time, she had been out there -- four-plus hours -- and nobody had said a word to her about what was happening to me. Just unbelievable.

    That's about the closest I've ever come to complete and utter despair. I probably won't ever be able to rid myself of that feeling.

    And yes, the bed at home felt like I was sleeping on a cloud. The skies are bluer, the trees are greener, the sun is brighter.

    So what's the takeaway? If there's another plane of existence after this, I hope to say I accepted the consequences of my actions, even if they seemed extreme. I hope to be better for the experience, but I know I'm more wary and guarded and fearful. I continue to work on patience and letting life happen, although I still fail to do so when tested. I don't sweat the big stuff and try not to care about the small stuff.

    Stuff doesn't matter. The world rotates without or without you. So enjoy your time on it.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2019
  2. MTM

    MTM Well-Known Member

    This was interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

    Do you live in the same place where you were a reporter? And/or was it reported in local media? If so, what has the reaction been when you encounter people who know you or your situation? Do people look at you differently? Is your wife treated differently?

    How was she treated when you were doing your time? It had to be hard on her too.
    Donny in his element likes this.
  3. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    Since everyone had agreed on 50 percent, did you call your lawyer to see if he could get the judge to tell the sheriff to pound sand and order your release? It sounds like something a judge should be able to do.
    maumann likes this.
  4. Sam Mills 51

    Sam Mills 51 Well-Known Member

    This sheriff sounds a lot like one in North Carolina some years back (if Tarheel316 sees this, he'll know EXACTLY whom I'm referring to). Not surprisingly, people quickly discovered that his hubris covered up a lot of crap.
    maumann likes this.
  5. WriteThinking

    WriteThinking Well-Known Member

    I'm wondering about the taking away/non-approval of medications you were taking. Were they substituted with something else?

    If not, and if you're any indication, the jails are loaded with a lot of people who not only are bored, frustrated, angry and confined in a small space, but also, no longer have access to medications they may need, whether for physical health or as coping mechanisms. I can understand that inmates probably/certainly would be divested of plenty of contraband hard drugs or other things that are illegal and that they'd be better off without for their own and others' well-being and safety, particularly in in the long run, anyway. But how is the taking away of anxiety medications, and presumably, some other legitimate prescriptions/medications justified and allowed? And is anything done to counter-balance that loss.

    Granted, I don't suffer from anxiety, but I have difficulty understanding panic attacks. Reacting to your situation would seem to me to be a perfectly legitimate, and even logical, response to the environment/conditions in which you found yourself. So, what made it actual "anxiety" or a panic attack? What triggered them for you, both in the jail environment and in everyday life? Do medications treat the physical signs of them, or do they target the mind/psychological aspects of the condition?

    (If too private/personal, feel free not to respond. But I'd like to understand such conditions and their manifestations).
    maumann likes this.
  6. qtlaw

    qtlaw Well-Known Member

    Sorry the judge is not going to be worried about that "discrepancy"; not worth it.
    OscarMadison and maumann like this.
  7. cjericho

    cjericho Well-Known Member

    Yes, but he can sue, they violated his rights. Also probably should sue the old bitch and her drunk husband.
    maumann likes this.
  8. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    I still find it extremely odd that you can "disappear" for six weeks and not really arouse suspicion. And there's this large sub-set of people who exist without the rest of us paying much attention.

    The whole ordeal sort of proved the theory that people see or look for what they want to see. Most people assumed I was either traveling for work or perhaps in the hospital. If you don't look or act like a criminal, that's not the logical conclusion most people make.

    We moved up here in 2007 from suburban Atlanta. The neighborhood of about 150 3-acre lots is about 33 percent full-timers, 33 percent Atlanta weekenders and 33 percent Florida summer residents (and 1 percent bat-shit crazy). So even though the old people have been here longer, I found out later (to my distress), their reputation precedes them. "Why the hell didn't something tell me before I went up there?" Not much they say is taken with a pinch of salt, although Gwen says some people think I'm the "neighborhood tough guy," to my amusement.

    People at church and neighbors knew I did "something" for Turner, but few ever saw my byline. And because I wasn't reporting on local events (NASCAR and PGA of America), I had little to no contact with people in either of the two small towns.

    As far as the local weekly, the original incident wasn't even interesting enough to make the police blotter page. However, my name was listed twice under the arrests section and once in the grand jury indictment. In fact, I found out the mention of my incarceration was just my name and "time to serve." Because she plays the mountain dulcimer in several local groups, Gwen's name makes the paper way more often than mine does!

    Only one person at church -- our deacon and a former Florida civil lawyer -- made the connection. I also told the pastor and the church secretary. And my name was listed in the church bulletin under "concerns" but Gwen deflected any inquiries, saying "it was personal but please keep us in your prayers."

    And yeah, Gwen had a tough time. School had just started, so she wouldn't get home in time to catch me before the 3 p.m. tier change every other day. Plus one of the rabbits we had at the time had a major abscess that was going to require delicate surgery, with less than a 50-50 chance of survival. Amazingly, it had begun to heal on its own when the vet did the pre-surgery biopsy. Gwen was awesome at acting as if everything was normal, which kept most people from asking dumb questions.

    The biggest thing was trying to keep her calm on the phone and trying to be supportive of her struggles with working and keeping up with things here while I was trying to stay in the moment inside the slammer. I found out later she never paid any of the bills, so I had a bunch of late charges to deal with.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  9. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    My paroxentine was considered an anti-depressant and on their banned list. I was, however, allowed my minimal dose of clonazepam. That usually takes just enough of an edge off my heightened senses to allow me to ward off feelings of being trapped.

    But as my bunkie correctly pointed out to me: "What works for you in the normal world is useless in here."

    And yeah, I've always had issues with confined spaces, like low ceilings, crowded elevators and small planes. I've had it happen in sub-compact cars and even movie theaters if I'm stuck in the middle of a row of seats. It's also temperature-sensitive, particularly if I can't direct cooler airflow to my face.

    The reaction is almost like a heart attack: rapid heartbeat; shallow breathing; clammy, sweaty palms; nausea; a spike in blood pressure. It becomes a fight-or-flight issue. Logically, I KNOW I'm not in danger. But I can't tell my senses to ignore the symptoms. I haven't been on a plane since 2012 because by the time my NASCAR traveling was ending, I'd begin to panic just standing in the TSA line.

    With the motorhome, I can pull over and walk around until the attacks subside. I can't ask the pilot to do the same when I'm in a big aluminum tube with 200 close acquaintances.
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2019
  10. maumann

    maumann Well-Known Member

    Yep. The sheriff in most rural counties is literally "the law." He has more power than anybody, including the board of commissioners, the superior court judge and the DA, to run his facility the way he likes. And even if we wasted more money to fight it, the judge probably wouldn't have considered it worthy enough to hear before the additional six days were up.

    Sucks. But I'll be contributing financially to his opponent in the next election, if he decides to run again. He's nearing 70.
  11. Tarheel316

    Tarheel316 Well-Known Member

    I certainly do know who you’re referring to. Thank goodness his career is long over.
  12. franticscribe

    franticscribe Well-Known Member

    If it's who I think y'all are talking about, he tried to run for office again in 2018 after getting his corruption convictions expunged.
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