Hall County mistake leads to unnecessary, unpleasant, embarrassing night in jail
Those fortunate people who have never been to jail have probably wondered what life would be like behind bars, I personally had the underwhelming privilege of serving a night in the less than accommodating Hall County Corrections Facility.
A magnanimous clerical error took me from an afternoon of PS3 with my kids to jailhouse stripes within minutes. So instead of writing some quick anecdotal humor piece sprinkled with the occasional joke, I want to take you on a journey of a very tumultuous 24 hours.
The initial part of this journey started when a sheriff’s deputy arrived at my house around 3 p.m. on Sunday with a warrant for my arrest for failure to appear in court.
See this is where the mayhem begins because I, in fact, was in court on the date in question.
So I am sure you are wondering why in the world I was in court in the first place?
As I politely explained to the deputy, I was in court and there was a mistake.
However, nothing was going to change the fact that I was about to be arrested and hauled off to jail.
As I am escorted out of my home, I am faced with my nosey neighbors as well as the swelling eyes of my children as they watch their dad being handcuffed and put into the deputy’s car.
Fitting into the car was another chore all to itself.
My broad shouldered-frame packed in the space for a 100-pound person wasn’t pleasant in the least.
I ended up having to spread across two-thirds of the back seat in order to fit.
I was whisked quickly through fingerprinting and mug shots, and knowing I had no justifiable reason for being there, I gave the camera the biggest cheesy smile I could muster.
But even before the mug shot, I had to don the old-school black and white striped pants and shirt. By this time, my embarrassment of the situation had reached unbearable proportions.
After processing, I had to wait to be placed in what they called “housing.” The waiting time for this process took several hours, so I had my first jail-bird supper: a cheeseburger, scalloped potatoes, baked beans, and pudding.
At fist glance one would say, “Well , that’s not so bad.“
I have to tell you that it was the worst meal in my life.
That says a lot because I’m a Navy veteran who has traveled the world and now pushes over 250 pounds.
So to say the least, I am no stranger to food.
So when I say it was bad, man it was bad! I can actually say that this was the first meal in my life that I actually pushed away and couldn’t physically stomach eating the rest— and when you’re as much of a chunky butt as I am, that’s saying a lot.
Once I was housed I met my cellmate— who will remain nameless for confidentiality purposes.
He didn’t seem to speak much English at all.
So I had to call upon those Rosetta Stone lessons and hack through finding out his name and why he was there.
Those too will remain confidential. Needless to say he was there for several months for frivolous things.
He was nice enough I guess, but the whole time I was in the cell with him I hadn’t taken a crap all day.
The only way to take care of business in jail? Right in front of this total stranger
. No walls, no curtain, just right out in the open.
Now I am far from the bashful type— but come on, I just couldn’t.
I couldn’t just drop trou right in front of the guy that I met five minutes ago and take a dump.
So I did the next best thing, I waited till he was asleep and pinched the monster loaf.
Sleeping was a complete nightmare in the cell.
The lights don’t ever get turned out completely; they just get dimmer than they were during the day.
There are two metal beds welded to the wall with thin blue mattresses on them with a bit of a raised bump at the top of them where the pillow would be.
Sleep never seemed to come. Instead, constant unknown noises: the locking, unlocking and clanging metal doors, the seemingly endless chatter among inmates, the unforgiving hard mattress.
To make matters worse, due to my time in service I suffer from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) because I have seen things that people only see on TV.
The loud noises and unknown environment caused me to relive all old and bad experiences.
What seemed like years passing was only hours. At 5 a.m. lights in the cells came springing back to life for breakfast.
The nightmare of the insanely hard bed left my already bad back in quite a twist. I asked for a nurse so I could get some pain medicine at 7 a.m.
At 11 a.m., I still hadn’t seen the nurse. After a few more hours of increasingly bad food and sitting on metal chairs at metal tables, I was finally going to be released.
I was ushered back to the intake area and processed my paperwork to leave, which oddly was faster than a drive through at a fast food restaurant.
That was just before 2 p.m., and I had still hadn't seen the nurse.
I was able to get home before the kids got home from school.
When they arrived, I hugged them like never before.
All this has affected my family forever.
It was almost exactly 24 hours later that I received personal apologies directly from the county attorney of Hall County.
The damage is irreparable and permanent. I will never know how in the world anyone would want to be repeat offenders or to ever allow themselves to go back and do any of that crap.
So I will now finally tell you how in the world I found myself in this situation.
One word, “Truancy.” My kids have missed a few too many days of school due to illness and thus the county charged my wife and I with compulsory truancy.
Most people wouldn’t even know it’s a criminal offense, let alone an offense that would land someone in jail.
So, though my wife and I went to court, they had in their records that I had not attended— even though I personally shook the county attorney’s hand.
For some reason, they issued a warrant the very next day
I went to jail for truancy, went to jail for someone else’s lack of attention to detail— In spite of the fact I was there in court on the day in question.
So in the end I see justice is blind.