Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Sorry “prison poet” people…

It’s not a secret any more. I am addicted to court tv shows. Judge Judy, People’s Court, Judge Joe Brown, Judge Gregg Mathis, Law & Order, COPS, The Shield. Could there have been a better show than Homicide: Life on the Streets? Now I am hooked on this new show called Jail (by the guys who do COPS).

I like rules. I think there is chaos without them. I believe that at the core our justice system does work. For every action there is a reaction. You break the law and you go to jail and get sentenced according to the law. How the laws & sentencing are interpreted is another story… I am fascinated by this show Jail. It works for me on so many levels. It shows society at its worse and in some ways at its best at the same time. It shows how people react to each other under stressful and unpredictable situations. It shows respect, restraint, great psychology at work. It teaches the viewer about how this part of the justice system works. It shows how people can hit rock bottom & what desperation is. You see every type of person on this show. It shows the training & the professionalism of the prison staff.

Some of the drunks, prostitutes etc are very amusing. Some defy, some accept, some are terrified, some cry and some take it all in stride or as “a matter of fact-ly”. I love hearing the comments of the guards about the prison population. What they have seen. The conversations and interactions between staff & inmates are always very interesting. Everything in jail is so unpredictable. Everything can be running smoothly and then the next second the whole place is under lockdown. Everyone in that place has to be able to react in a second’s notice. Stress, stress, stress. A lot happens in this half hour show.

A story that sticks in my head is about this kid – probably 20-21. He was in the holding cell just waiting for his release paperwork. He was there for just a few hours. Something happened. Some one provoked him Next minute blood everywhere. He went off and attacked someone – or he was defending himself – who knows? Now he is being sentenced for a felony and may get 10-15 years. The guard said the kid was probably about 20 minutes from walking out the door and going home. WOW!!

So much of what John describes in his entries and letters is played out right before my eyes. It is amazing. Not that I need a show to remind me where John is. Believe me I know. I know he doesn’t tell us everything that happens and I am sure we don’t really want to know. I used to joke to him about how he is on vacation in there. Living an easy life. I don’t anymore. I call it our social experiment. He is doing the undercover work.


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