Jail Life by Neal Andrews

Essay by nealjandrewsCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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There I was in a concrete room with twenty other guys in a room designed for eight. There was one television that I never could hear clearly in the concrete cage also known as the dayroom. The walls had a dirty yellow tint from years of smoking even though the rulers of these concrete enclosures haven't allowed cigarettes in six years. The tables and stools were made of steel bolted to the floor and painted a dark yellow. There were two phones (calls had to be made collect for a price of $4.25 for 15 minutes) that seemed to work when I didn't need them and didn't when I did. The showers were so covered with calcium deposits and who knows what else that most of the time I felt dirtier when I got out than I did before.

That is not to say I ever felt really clean. There seemed to be a funk in the air that I can only describe as a locker room of football players after a hard-fought game in ninety degree weather.

The funk was added to by the gas the food always seemed to give us all. The food could either be the highlight or lowlight of the day depending on what was served.

If I was lucky I received a visit three times a week there was visitation for ten minutes through a Plexiglas window talking on a phone which stank so much from bad breath that I sometimes wondered if someone hadn't used it in place of toilet paper. I never really knew if anyone was coming to visit or not. I had a girlfriend when I entered but she lived an hour away so she seldom came and when I wasn't given bond after two months she decided to break...