Locked Up... Part 2: Reality Sets In
Once my bond was set I was sent to another side for intake. I sat there in disbelief. I’m going to JAIL! Why? How did I end up here? That voice that told me to go home was now yelling in my head "I TOLD YOU SO!" What I didn’t know then was that voice was my intuition! That voice had popped up in my mind so many times before that point. Guaranteed any time I ignore that voice, I would ALWAYS end up in harms way. But I will save those stories for my book! ;)
When called up, I was still in tears. To the person behind the desk, I was just another inmate. I heard very little of what she said because I hadn't heard anything since seeing the commissioner. It was if I had gone deaf and everything around me sounded muffled. I just sat there in a daze. The next thing I remember was sitting down somewhere else to take a TB test. They had to test you for tuberculosis prior to putting you in general population. You would be quarantined for 2–3 days until the results were determined to be negative. As all of this was being explained to me, the tears started running down my face again. I don't remember the person who did the TB test, I only remember the kindness she showed in trying to comfort me. I was then given the infamous orange jumpsuit to change into and I won’t even go through the humiliation of that ordeal. My clothing was bagged and put away... and I was placed in a cell to be taken upstairs.
I couldn't stop the tears from falling no matter how hard I tried. But I couldn't let the other inmates see me like this. They would take advantage of me, is what I told myself. I then started picturing all the horrible prison movies and tv shows I've seen over the years. Every horrible thing that could possibly happen to me ran through my mind as I sat there, cold and afraid of everything I was building up in my head.
Finally, the two other females and myself were taken upstairs. The hallways were long, white and cold! We walked in a single line down one hallway after the other for what seemed like eternity. We passed other inmates, mostly males and each time I would hold my head down in shame. We finally reached our cell, a small room filled with beds inside of the actual unit where we would be housed. At this point I was finally able to use the phone again. That's when the glimmer of hope I spoke of in part 1 returned.
Unknown to me, everyone is granted a bond review the very next day after being detained. The bond review is done by the judge and you're allowed to have a lawyer there to represent you. Joyce, my best friend at the time, had been in touch with my older brother who planned on having his attorney there to represent me. WHEWWWWWWWWWWW!!!! I'll be out of here tomorrow! Thank God!!! Suddenly, I looked around the room and all the strange faces no longer looked so intimidating. I sat and talked with the other two ladies and we all did our best to reassure each other that we will all be going home tomorrow. Or... so we thought!
I didn't sleep well that night. Who would? The room was cold, the bed was hard and I didn't have a pillow. Anyone who knows me, knows that I can not sleep without a pillow. Weird... I know! Needless to say I couldn’t sleep! So when our names were called to go to court, it didn't take me long to get ready. As we walked those same hallways, I rehearsed the speech that I would give to the judge. I will look her in her eyes and give her the same speech I gave the commissioner. She will let me go once she sees I have no criminal record. She will see I was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Suddenly, we came to a stop. As the door opened, I see a room filled with court room benches, an officer and a television screen. I was confused. I thought we were going to see the judge in an actual courtroom! As we sat there for some reason I couldn't come to terms with what was really happening. I was seriously confused. Then, as I heard the judge’s voice over the television screen it finally hit me. I wasn't going to see the judge in person. This was it!
For some reason... my name was called FIRST! Wait... I wasn’t ready! I didn't have time to give myself that pep talk I had given myself for the past 24 hours. As I stood there listening to my list of charges being read out loud, I heard a faint "DAMN" come from one of the male inmates also waiting to see the judge. I stood there in a daze as I heard other voices but couldn't tell who they were. “Maybe it's your lawyer” I told myself. As I looked at the screen I could see the judge and just like the commissioner, her eyes were fixated on the paper infront of her. I heard her request for the pre-trial recommendation and more talking, but couldn’t fully make out what was being said. As I waited for my chance to speak I heard the words "BOND REVOKED!! Next case!" Huh?
I stood there.... CONFUSED. What just happened? What does she mean REVOKED? Revoked as in gone??? But I didn't get a chance to speak yet. I didn’t get a chance to tell my side of the story! I stood there in a daze and finally the officer had to tell me have a seat. I was lost... devastated... heart broken. I could hear Leah [her name has been changed for this story], one of the other females arrested in the house, sobbing quietly beside me. It was if my fate immediately told her hers. I couldn't cry. I couldn't speak. My brain froze! When Leah's bond was also revoked that's when it hit me. I wasn’t getting out and would be in there for the next 6 weeks until my preliminary hearing. The tears now returned with a steady stream as I sat there feeling as if my world just came to a crashing end.
We were taken back upstairs... back through the hallways that would now be my home. When we arrived back to the unit, the corrections officer instructed that Leah and I be held back while the others were returned to their cells. Immediately I told myself YES... they made a mistake!! They're sending us back downstairs to our bond review, I thought. Again... I was WRONG! When we asked why we were being held back, the CO told us they received a call that Leah and I were very upset and to hold us back to make sure we were ok. WHAT? We both immediately asked to be taken into our cell. I went right to the top bunk and cried myself to sleep... in the middle of the afternoon!
I woke up later that evening when it was time to eat. I wasn't hungry but it was mandatory that you collect the garbage that they feed you. I walked out, got my brown tray, kept the milk, gave one of the other inmates my tray and went right back to sleep. Hours later I ventured out of the cell. We were still quarantined so you had some females who had already been in there for a few days. I've never considered myself homophobic but one of my fears being in there was being attacked/rape. But the openly gay, dominate females were actually the ones who tried to make us feel better about being in there. As I sat and listened to one animated story after the other of one of those individuals and the reality of where I was got lost in her jokes and laughter... even if it was only for a short time. Leah and I immediately clung to each other. We didn't know each other until we ended up in handcuffs. Hadn’t seen her a day in my life and I didn't even know she was in the house. But circumstances now made us each other's life line.
Once we were able to use the phone, I found out my bond was revoked because I had no legal representation. Those who had an attorney present for their bond reviews, their bonds all remained the same. Of the group from the house, only Leah and I had our bonds revoked and were placed on a no bond status. Not a million dollars or even 20 million. We had no bond what so ever. I thought those kind of penalties were reserved for killers and child molesters. How was this my fate?
Joyce, who had by that time started staying at my apartment to take care of my son, did her best to reassure me that everything would be ok. See... I had a dance coming up that very weekend. We got locked up on a Monday and my All White was that Saturday in Philly. So we came up with a plan. My party would go on with the help of my friends and the money made would be used to pay a lawyer who would request another bond hearing. I was told there was a good chance my bond could be much lower this time because of my no bond status. So mentally I had to prepare myself to be in there until after my party. Little did I know.... there was nothing that could prepare me for the next two weeks!!
To be continued....