Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine. A police officer, working in the small town that he lives in, focusing on family and shooting and coffee, and occasionally putting some people in jail.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


ERnursery posted on the unwashed that she sees in the E.R.

Some of y'all may know that I worked in a jail for a little under 2 years. I had thought that I would be put to work utilizing my cop skills, but for 22 months, I did a lot of head counts, feedings, and patdowns. I also did a lot of strip searches.

Okay, in a jail, you NEVER are away from a sink and soap, even in holding. Within 72 hours of being admitted, you are required to have access to shower facilities, by state law. In most modern jails, inmates have access to the shower about 16 hours a day, as many times as they wish. They get the soap for free. They are given towels. Their uniforms are laundered on alternate days from their underwear. The laundry is done while they sleep, and all they have to do is put it into the mesh bag hanging on the end of their bunk, and in the morning when they awaken, it's clean.

They. Won't. Wash.

I got into some rather tense moments over making inmates wash clothes that I KNEW hadn't been washed for a couple of weeks.

We would take their blankets once a months for about 3 hours to launder them. I had constant battles with them about that, as they would try anything to keep their blankets to keep them from getting laundered. Same with mattress covers, once a week. Understand me, here-- they had only to put their bedclothes into a basket to comply.

Nicotine-stained fingers. They would roll the pouch tobacco all day into rolling papers that they got from commissary. It never occured to them to scrub the brown tar off.

Breath that would knock down a house. We gave them toothpaste and toothbrushes, but some wouldn't brush. They seemed to think of a lot of other uses for the toothpaste, though. Toothbrushes, too, come to think of it.

There were neat and clean ones. These were the guys who used their commissary money to buy shampoo, and body lotions (wait-- even the nasty ones bought that. Ewwwww!) and the big bath-sized bars of soap. Some of 'em even made it into a point of pride to press their jail uniforms under their mattresses, and I'll admit that there were days when some of those guys had creases that were at least as good as my own. Interestingly, a lot of the super-neat ones had been to prison before, and many were gang-related.

The worst in smelly were the dirty trustees. Trustees were given manual labor around the jail. The largest work party was sent out 3 times a day to the kitchen, to prepare and serve the meals. They wore tall rubber boots, because they hosed down the kitchen floor every shift. They worked pretty hard, in a humid, hot environment, and then had to be strip searched before returning to their pods. The strip search room was basically a closet, about 10 feet by 8 feet, holding 10 guys at a time, plus two officers, as they disrobed their sweaty, rubber-booted selves. The ventilation in there could have been improved.


I came out of the strip room one day, and sent the inmates into their pod. I looked over at one of the other officers, standing in the hall, and shook my head. My nose was still involuntarily pinched shut. I breathed through my mouth for another half hour. "Hey, B., you ever seen the state of Inmate Mitchell's underwear?"

He laughed. "Yeah. Looks like somebody hit a deer."

_ _ _ _ _

The first time I worked on patrol, I stopped a nasty-looking truck pulling out of our local mobile home park. Not a regular-- I'd remember. I made the stop on the highway for numerous administrative and equipment violations, and met a 20-something skinny white chick with dreadlocks. She had a pasty complexion, and gave off an... air. I ran her, and found that she had warrants. I asked her whose the truck was, and she gave his name. I ran that name, and found that he had warrants, too. I arrested her, and asked if she wanted to give him a chance to come get his truck. She did, and called him. I arrested him, too.

En route to the jail, they jeered me, making fun of my podunk job. (They were homeless, and long since out of work, living with his cousin in a travel trailer. Nice.) I suddenly noticed a horrible, HORRIBLE stench. Think rotting potatoes. Oh. To this day, I remember it. The drive to the jail was lonnnnng.

The next day, I saw them hiking along the highway. No truck, and only a backpack on each of them. I was in my personal vehicle. I stopped about 70 yards ahead of them, and hollered to them, asking if they wanted a ride to town. They came running. When they got to 20 yards, I laughed, and said "Haw-hawwww!" and got back into my car and drove off. Like I'd let that stench into my personal car!


Labels: ,


At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 9:51:00 AM, Blogger ERnursey said...

Once again I stand in awe at the stupidity of criminals.

"hey honey, I'm being arrested, come and get the truck"

And despite multiple warrants along he comes. Duh.

BTW, thanks for the mention. I just found your blog (Thanks Lawdog)and it's quite funny. You have obviously met quite a few of the people we see in the ER.

At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 4:18:00 PM, Blogger Barbara said...

I don't know about the county jails, but in the state prison system here, not showering is not an option. If they don't shower - or shave - for a couple of days, well....then the nurse gets to do a UOF exam...

At Wednesday, June 13, 2007 5:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mentholatum is your friend.

When I was in clinicals at the 'big state hospital' in the woods, there was plenty of that going around. O'course, I saw the same folks panhandling around downtown Dallas later when I worked down there. I recognised the smell before I turned the corners.

Buy them books, and buy them books, but all they do is chew the covers. Pity they took away the high pressure hoses sometimes.


At Thursday, June 14, 2007 11:00:00 AM, Blogger William the Coroner said...

Personally, I use a cigar. I'm allergic to the smoke, and it swamps the smell of decomp--anything. I just have to remember to keep blowing out

At Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:39:00 PM, Blogger phlegmfatale said...

"Yeah. Looks like somebody hit a deer."

I 'bout dropped my transmission laughing at that one. Nice!

I always rather imagined prisoners would try to cultivate a stink to ward off amorous overtures? Yes? No?

At Wednesday, June 20, 2007 12:47:00 AM, Blogger Matt G said...


The guys into prison love really don't care.

And, in jail settings in decent jails, the inmate rape is actually pretty rare, to my mild but pleasant surprise.


Post a Comment

<< Home

Add to Technorati Favorites