Confinement. My least favorite place to visit in the prison. It’s unanimous within my body, mind, and spirit. I walk in and every window on the tiers becomes darkened by the looming figures that stare out at me. They are usually shirtless. I was advised never to look directly in the windows. Then I will see something I don’t want to see. Gross. I swear they can smell me coming. Ugggghhhh. How I dread this place.
My first experience in there I was so afraid I was shaking. “Put your game face on, get it together.” I kept repeating over and over in my head. Off we went. I followed the 2 officers into the sea of tiers. I looked straight ahead at the iron staircase and attempted to look as calm as possible, while the inmates whoop and yelp in excitement. I wanted to look like I had done this a million times before. I stared straight ahead, careful never to turn my head. I didn’t want to catch a glimpse into those tiny cell windows.
We ascend the stairs. “Breathe!” I am reminding myself. We finally reach the first cell. The officers are yelling “GET OFF THE DOORS!” as the inmates buzz heatedly around their door windows. Females! Fresh meat! Penises in hand. “What the hell am I doing here?” I ask myself for the millionth time that minute.
I take a deep breath and attempt to communicate with my student through the locked steel door…all the while looking straight ahead, trying to talk myself out of a heart attack. I have to yell to be heard over all the noise. The officer advises me to move back. If I stand too close to the food tray slot, they can reach through the door and grab me. It happens all the time. Crap.
It looks just like we see in the movies. But the smell I cannot quite describe. It is a combination of filth, guilt, deception, and anger in my opinion. Men caged like animals in the truest sense. It is chaotic. It is uncomfortable. It is a glimpse of hell on earth. I pray you never have to go there.