First Day in Prison: Part II

Posted: February 18, 2010 in Uncategorized

This is the second part of Jake Martin’s first day in prison.  Click here to read the first part.

After arriving at Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun, WI, we stepped as best we could, considering our feet were chained and the ground was slippery, off the van and through the glass doors.  Once inside, our chains are removed from our hands and feet and the items brought with us are placed on a table for inspection.  Of course, I was the only one who had anything confiscated.  We were only allowed 25 pre-stamped envelopes, and I had brought 37.  I ended up giving the other 12 to another inmate who had none, at the suggestion of the CO.  I wasn’t happy about this to be honest.  Those envelopes cost me money I don’t have.

A group of us were then herded into an area where several shower stalls were located.  Each of us went in a stall.  We were told to strip and place our clothes on the stall door.  I was thinking of a few different things.  One, I have an idea of what’s coming in the way we will be searched which I’m dreading.  Second, it’s the last time I’ll ever wear Waukesha County Jail orange which makes me happy.  Third, I’m having trouble fighting infection due to a low white cell count because of chemotherapy due to cancer and as many as have used this stall before me, I’m sure my chances of getting sick just went up by a factor of 4!

Now came the humiliation.  A CO stands in front of the stall, has me open my mouth and then turn my head.  I’m told to lift my scrotum.  I’m then told to turn around, bend over and pull my butt cheeks apart.  I swear to you the thought that went through my head was that I hoped I had cleaned myself well the last time I had a bowel movement!  I was given a Dixie cup full of de-lice shampoo and the CO watches while I rub it all over my body.  I’m told to wait 10 minutes.  The room is exceptionally cold and those 10 minutes seem to last forever!  Finally, I’m told I can shower for 4 minutes.  The CO has finally walked away after asking my shoe size.  I’m not enjoying this experience and I wondered to myself how much this CO must really not like this job either after doing it day after day!

He wasn’t gone long.  He brought back dark green pants, brown socks, light brown shirt, dark green smock that goes over the brown shirt and dark brown shoes that look like those a factory worker would wear.  He also brought a pair of white, non-brand tennis shoes.  Both pairs of shoes had been used previously.  I put on the uniform.  The CO had done well estimating my sizes.  I’m sure I definitely preferred this green-brown mixture to the Waukesha County Jail orange.  I was then directed to chairs in the hall and fill out a medical questionnaire. 

The Waukesha County Jail Medical Staff had assured me that the Health Services Unit (HSU) at Dodge Correctional knew I was coming and had copies of all relevant records.  I must have verified this with them at least 3 times.  So, when it came to my turn to see the nurse, I didn’t anticipate this being a big deal.  The nurse clearly had a routine she followed but this was interrupted when she saw on the form I had cancer.  Her demeanor and tone stiffened as she peppered me with questions.  It was obvious to me no-one here had had a clue about me prior to my arrival.  The nurse verbalized how annoyed she was with Waukesha County Jail for not sending along paperwork or giving HSU a heads up.  What followed was an hour of listening to phone calls to Waukesha County to get paperwork and calls to her superiors to find out what to do with me.  When my low white cell count was discovered, I was brought a mask and told to put it on.  They decided not to house me in the infirmary, but in with the general population in a single person cell.  (Usually they are double occupancy) Another CO arrived and he escorted me to my new temporary home, a cell located in their reception area, known as Unit 19.

  1. Mike says:

    Believe it or not, except for the chains, this sounds so similar to my bootcamp experience in Great Lakes Illinois. I didn\’t have health problems though. But boy is it embarrasing what medical inspection and prep does. I was suprised that they had size 13 boots.

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