Day 28

Thursday, March 2, 2000

It seems I'm back at the beginning. I am now at a point where I have as much ahead as I have behind, except the best is behind me. The guards and administration of this facility found out about my journal. The searched my property at my bunk finding my notepad with Monday's entry still written in pen. I had not yet started on Tuesday's. This was about 9:00 PM Tuesday night. They confiscated the notepad as evidence.

They raided my locker in the work release area and found in my bag a hard copy of the entire Jailbird Journal website, printed and bound in a cheap green folder. This, too, was taken as evidence. I was told to go to my bunk and stay there. The Leutenant would be back to speak with me soon.

My heart beat heavily inside my chest. Adrenaline pumped throughout my body as my hands began to shake. The fact that they were doing all this somewhat puzzled me, but nonetheless scared me. What could they do to me? What WOULD they do to me? Minutes turned to hours. The Leutenant never came and I dozed off.

Wednesday morning started like any other, save for my lack of sleep. I had shaken and sweated all night in a fit of nerves. Several of my fellow inmates were asking about what was on the internet that was so bad. I explained it was an online journal, lik a diary but not as secretive, laid out for anyone who cared to read. Some understood; some didn't.

At 6:20 AM I went to the front like always. I dressed in my street clothes, noticing that my journal had been taken. When I went to sign out, the guard noticed the word 'HOLD' stamped on my paper in big red letters. This puzzled the guard. He asked the other guard who shrugged his shoulders. The guard then signed and dated the paper and handed it to me. I signed it and asked what the 'HOLD' was for. He told me it was probably a mistake. I was released.

At work, I deleted the journal. I replaced the index page with the same simple message as the alert box that pops up upon entry. It stated that the journal had been removed from the interned due to some people not liking it, and a pending investigation. It may or may not return. I also added a thanks for reading. I left the counters too. I still want to see how many people stopped by. I spoke to my co-workers about what had happened so far. They couldn't believe it. Many started spouting about First Amendment Rights and how they couldn't do this to me. I tend to agree, yet they ARE doing it to me, as I was about to find out.

At about 11:00 AM, my boss told me to go to the front. That someone from the jail was here to get me. I walked up front and was taken back into custody. No cuffs, just a ride in the back seat. I was taken back to the jail where I waited a couple of hours in the front room. Then I was taken back to my cell dorm where the facility administrator came in to speak with me.

He said he had red my entire journal. He said it was well written. He said he found my descriptions of some of his guards, one in particular, to be "interesting". He said he found my "milkdud" anecdote to be creative. He said he appreciated the insights on what it was like inside his facility.
The kindness stopped there.
He said I was luck they were unable to bring me up on federal charges of Defamation of Character and Slander. He said I would be taken off of work release and would be moved to a different dorm. He said my chances at DRC for early release were no longer a possibility. He said he hoped I would enjoy working in the jail kitchen for the duration of my stay.

He smiled an evil grin and told me I should have thought about this before I decided to play games. I went back to my bunk to soak this all in. After a while, the other inmates started coming back from work. I found myself explaining my situation over and over with each wave of inmates that came back. Still, I had no urge to write about it.

Dave told me deleting the site was the LAST thing I should've done, that now I've finally got something to write about. That was the last piece of advice Dave would give me. Shortly thereafter I was brought up on formal charges and moved across the hall to a dorm whose inmates were awaiting trial, or who were awaiting classification. I changed out of my green scrubs and into the orange jump suit. All my stuff was searched. They brought me a pink slip, which was a reciept for my property that had been removed from my locker and put back into a property bag in storage.

I was given a chance to call my wife. I could hear a mix of emotions in her voice. Anger, sadness, fear, confusion, stress, and most of all, disappointment. That hurt. The LAST thing I wanted to do was make things worse, yet that's exactly what I've done. I explained what happened and what was said. She sat silent most of the time. I felt so bad, knowing that not having work release may very well cost me my job. Either way, not working, not getting a paycheck, will hurt three of the most important women in my life, my wife and two daughters. I felt a shudder in my voice as I told my wife, "I'm sorry".

"I'm beginning to get used to it." Her response tore a gash in my heart. Nothing so far had made me feel as bad as I do right now. Every time I think about it it hurts. What have I done and how did I end up hurting my family?

I honestly don't feel that I did anything to cause this. My journal is my thoughts, feelings, experiences and opinions. Whether written in a fancy little book with a lock on the side, or posted on the internet, my journal should be protected under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The Right to Freedom of Speech. Freedom of Expression. How I can be punished for that is beyond me at the moment.

I can sort of see their point, but regardless, this is MY journal, full of the real opinions of other inmates, and the real activities that go on inside the jail. If the administration doesn't like the way this jail is reflected, they should fix the source.If you look at the mirror and see something you don't like, don't get pissed at the mirror.

Maybe I wouldn't say bad things about the guards if the guards didn't give me bad things to talk about. Not all the inmates are good friends. I like Dave, I don't like Ox. These are true feelings and are expressed as such.

They wrote me up for gambling because of my entry about a bet on the Daytona 500. They wouldn't have known about it if they hadn't siezed my journal and used its content against me. They brought two charges against me for going to Waffle House. "Out of Place" and "Work Release Rule Vilation." Waffle House is where I catch my ride to work. It is also directly along my path to work. I don't know how they can blame me for being there.

Since they siezed my notepad, I only have a few small sheets left to write on in this 6"x9" notepad. Four to be exact. Then I'll have to start writing on toilet paper. Or my t-shirt. Something.

I had to kickstart myself after 38 hours of sleepless stress. After being called out to excercise, I was still in a bunk. It was a beautiful sunny day, but still rather chilly at 9:00 AM. I walked a couple of laps. Walking gave way to running. Expelling the poisons left from the day and a half of adrenaline, lack of sleep, upset stomach, sweating, lack of hunger, and stress. Faster and faster, I ran, around and around the basketball courts. The words began to echo in my head. "I'm sorry."

"I'm beginning to get used to it."

"I'm beginning to get used to it"

When they let us back in, I went straight for my notepad. In what I've written so far I've used half of the remaining pages.

I spoke with my lawyer. He kept saying "Wow" and "interesting". He's never heard of anything like this before. I really am breaking new ground here. He's going to see what he can do and call my wife. I'll call her tonight and see what he says. Until then, I wait.

Well, as would be typical, I never got to talk to my wife. The phones in this place have a problem whenever alot of inmates are using them. It first takes forever to get an outside line, and once you do, it will dial your party and hang up after one ring, giving you the message "No ring back signal was detected - please try again later". Finally I gave up when they shut off the phones at 10:00 PM. (sigh)

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