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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Tales from the Backside

Jessica told the story of working in the hospital at San Quentin this week, interviewing a man through the "food port" of the cell door (a padlocked port through which an inmate can put his hands out to be handcuffed before the cell door is opened - food & other things can be passed in as well). Obviously, there is little privacy and everyone can hear your voice (and believe me everyone wants to). A woman's voice in an all male prison draws particular attention. A voice down the hall kept calling, "Nurse!" and Jessica ignored it. Then the voice called, "Nurse, there are worms in my bootie-hole." Medically speaking, it certainly is a possibility, but we're talking about a psych unit. Jessica was then quick to yell out, "I am not the nurse." End of callings.

I was once waiting for a patient at Salinas Valley, when everyone returned from the yard and back to their cells. An officer was quick to place a young man, who was very agitated, into a cage near the entrance door. I heard the CO saying, "Chill out, man. It'll be OK." I recognized the young man's voice as "one of mine," and the CO asked if I would speak to him to and try to calm him down. When I asked him the problem, he told me, "My psychologist accused me of being 'punked' by my cellie, and he said I could be charged with a crime." "Punked" means to be on the receiving end of sex with your cellmate. It was obvious that he was manic psychotic, wildly pacing, squatting, pacing, swinging his arms, and speaking to internal voices. Suddenly, he dropped his pants and yelled at me, "Check my ass! No DNA evidence!" Yikes! The CO's watching were greatly amused.


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