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Day 43

Friday, March 17, 2000

3:30 AM, breakfast. They seem to serve us our trays earlier here in the hole; before they feed the general population. French toast, grits and bologna. Well, the French toast was good, anyway.

We were still awake when the food came. We had been up talking all night about various subjects, from the perils of women to the perils of crack. Both can take away your better judgement, and both can screw you up if you're not careful. You can also fall in love with both. We continued talking until it was after six in the morning. Then, one by one, we fell asleep.

At about 8:00 AM it was time for us to see our case manager. Stacy went first. He came back smiling, confident that his lawyer would get him out. Jim went next, requesting another pack of soap, shampoo, and toothpaste. He's been using ours for some time. Then it was my turn. First thing I did was ask to call my wife. She handed me the phone. On the first two attempts I dialed the wrong number. Then I noticed it was written on a notepad in front of me, next to my wife's name. Curious.

One of my wife's co-workers answered the phone, then put her on. She was surprised to hear that I was able to call her, and she had excitement in her voice. She told me of all the people she had spoken with in the past week trying to get me out of here. Since my attorney's office seems to be filled with a staff of incompitants, she did all the work herself. After my lawyer's staff treated her rudely, she called various employees, case managers, and work release officials trying to get my work release back.

I could have told her that it was a futile effort, and contrary to my expectations, she had given up on the idea of hiring another lawyer. He probably couldn't do anything for me and we need to save money now more than ever. She's tried SO hard though, and she was glad to hear my voice. I can't say how much I appreciate all her dilligent efforts at trying to help me. I really am lucky to have someone like her.

For about ten minutes we talked about her trip to my hometown, that my mom was worried sick, and that my dad had gone house looking with her. She said she found a few she liked, but knowing we were short on time we skipped the details. Turns out that my wife and daughters arre all fine, which is the most important thing I heard all day, although definately not the ONLY thing. I got off the phone and asked the case manager about my appeal. I reminded her of our conversation from last Friday when she told me to write my appeal and give it to a guard. I told her I watched the guard drop it in the case manager box. She hadn't seen it. She checked with the other case manager. She hadn't seen it either (sigh). She told me to rewrite it and give it to the officer on duty to give it to her ASAP. Since I had another copy in my cell, it didn't take long. She copied it and gave me the original.

Back in the cell, we discussed the status of Stacy's case. He is so mild manered he hasn't argued with them for keeping him two extra days. Last night he showed me the Judge's order for his immediate unconditional release, and his order to pay off what he owes in child support by paying $31.00 a week. His first payment was due Friday, March 17. If he didn't get out and get that paid by today, they could sign a warrant for his arrest for missing a payment before he even gets out of jail.

After midnight last night, they let us out for recreation, after I showed them a direct order from their superiors ordering them to do so. The duty officer is a strict lady, very by-the-book, and when she saw the letter from her superior she showed it to her leutenant, and let us out. It was a small victory, but was received with great enthusiasm. Once outside, I wasted no time in working on Stacy's case. I showed the Judge's orders to her, and she called someone to see what she could do. She realized that if this paper was correct, Stacy Young had been here two days too long already.

Being after midnight, nobody wanted to make a decision on an inmate's release. I can't really blame them. They said Stacy would have to wait until morning. This set the stage for what would happen today.

The duty officer today came back and let us know that as soon as they received a fax from the court stating Stacy's release, he would begin being processed out. The call confirming his release had already come in. For a few minutes we all cheered on Stacy's behalf. We all felt proud that we had done our part to help him get out. It wouldn't be long now. We had lunch and we all had a nap.

Some time later, we awoke with a clank of the door. It was our beloved duty officer, who is clearly a cut above the norm. He stuck his head in our darkened room and called my name. I replied with a quick "Yes Sir". He quietly asked me to come to the door so he didn't have to yell. I thought this was suspisciously polite of him, not wanting to wake my cellmates. Little did I know they were all awake and straining to hear as the guard semi-whispered to me. "Uh, do you want to talk to News Channel Five about losing your work release?" the officer asked.

Wiping the sleep out of my eyes, I responded with a qualified, "Huh?"

"Well, News Channel Five is requesting to interview you about how and why you lost your work release. You don't have to talk to them if you don't want to."

News Channel Five is the CBS afilliate station here in this town. One of my cellmates back at the CWC (where I was before the hole) said he had some relation to someone who worked there. Perhaps he passed word of me and this journal to them. Otherwise I really have no idea what they want to ask me, but it HAS to concern this journal.

I told the guard that I did, in fact, want to talk to them. He had me sign a form concenting to be interviewed. I gathered every bit of paperwork I had collected so far, along with my appeal, and put on my orange jumpsuit getting ready for my first television appearance. Cynically, I thought to myself, "Well, here goes my fifteen minutes of fame, and all I have to wear is this orange jumpsuit."

After the officer left with my signed form, my other four cellmates burst to life with excitement. They were all talking about me being on the news, and about the attention my journal must be getting now. They filled the air with phrases like "Let the truth be heard", and "Justice for the Jailbirds". Granted, they may have acted a bit overzealous, but I shared their excitement, albeit through a shroud of nervousness. Finally, fifteen or so minutes later, our officer returned with Chief. It was time for outside rec.

At first I was giong outside alone, but one by one they all came with me. Jim told Chief about the TV news interview. He responded that maybe SOMEBODY should speak up. We talked to the other "hole" inmates, and explained what I had done to get us recreation time last night. They appreciated it, although it surely took them by surprise. About twenty minutes into recreation time, a call came over Chief's radio. It was time to release Stacy.

Stacy went around giving smiles and handshakes to us. He shook my hand long and hard as he thanked me for my help. With a nod of the head and a smile, Stacy walked through the gate and into the building to change clothes and walk out the other side a free man.

The deck officer surprised us by letting us use the phones. I called my mom to tell her not to worry and to tell her about the news interview. She said she would call my wife to tell her for me.

After we got back inside, Stacy's bunk was cleaned out. We took another nap as I waited for my interview. Dinner trays came and with them the stomach ache that goes along with deep fried beef patties, boxed mashed potatoes and gravy. After dinner I slept until nearly eleven o'clock in the evening. I heard that my college's basketball team won their game so they advance one notch into the playoffs.

Still no interview. I'm not really sure what to make of that, but they're not coming in the middle of the night, so I guess I'll call it a day. A long, productive day.

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