04 May 06
Final Special Visit
8:05am “Dog 11, stand-by for special visit.”
8:15am Two guards arrived.
“I’m ready,” I said.
“Hold up. We’re gonna hafta strip you out.”
That’s odd, being strip-searched going out, I thought. It must be an additional security measure.
8:25am I was escorted into the visitation room.
“He can’t come in here. This is my command post,” a sergeant yelled.
Oh no, they’re going to cancel the visit.
Officer Rossini appeared and said, “I’m going to escort you to a different room, a conference room. And the visit has only been approved for three hours.”
Only three hours instead of six and a half. But at least it’s not completely cancelled.
8:30am The conference table in the room caused flashbacks to my stockbroking days. Pitching stocks to clients. The view of Camelback Mountain from our high-rise. Power sales meetings. Rowdy New York Italian co-workers. Receiving awards for high commissions.. Worshipping Wall Street and Mammon.
8:35am Dad and sister arrived.
“I thought I wasn’t going to get to see you two again any time soon.”
“I noticed,” Dad said. “You should have seen your face yesterday. You turned as white as a ghost, and if you’d had hair, it would have stood on end.”
“We’ve only got three hours,” I said.
“It’s better than nothing,” Karen said.
9:00am The DW passed by and we thanked her.
11:30am The visit ended.
“This might be the last time I see you in a while. They may not allow your final visit,” I said.
“I’ll call the prison on Saturday, and we’ll see if they’ll let us in,” Dad said.
“Thanks for coming. It’s been great seeing you.”
“Goodbye Jon,” Karen whispered, tears running down her cheeks. “Love you.”
“Love you,” I said.
“See you, Jon,” Dad said. “Love you.”
11:45am I was told to wait in the outdoor visitation area until a guard could be found to conduct a strip-search. In the main visitation area, dozens of guards were eating pizzas.
12:15pm I was suddenly surrounded by staff members. C03 Dunn, wearing a yellow shirt and a Stetson, asked how my visits had been. Some guards discussed how they had considered resigning during the hostage situation. Everyone laughed when Officer Stewart – who looks more like a model than a guard – tried to respond to a radio call with a mouth full of pizza. A C03 said sixty pizzas had been ordered. Warden Mann, the boss of Tucson prison, arrived.
12:45pm I was summoned to be strip-searched.
“How’d yer visits go?”
“Great. I was lucky to have them under the circumstances.”
“When’s yer next visit?”
“This weekend. But I don’t think we’ll be off lockdown by then, so its not looking good. I don’t think they’ll allow a special visit on a regular visitation day if we’re still locked down. People would complain if I got special treatment.
“Did you ask the DW about that?”
“Yes. But we’re just grateful for what we’ve been allowed so far.”
“We do have searches and an investigation going on. Prisoners are getting upset, because they don’t want to miss their weekend visits, but they hafta realise there’s security procedures we hafta go through.”
“It was good the hostage didn’t get hurt.”
“She was all shook up though.”
“I’ll bet she was. Do you think we’ll spend the weekend on lockdown?”
“It depends on prisoner attitudes. If people stay calm and ride it out, things will get back to normal. The problem is some people have made things worse. Like a group of prisoners yelling at a female C03, ‘Come and sit on my face.’ When the DW hears stuff like that it’s not gonna help you guys get off lockdown. Another prisoner who was getting stripped out threw his T-shirt at a guard."
The regular Saturday weekend visitation was cancelled, and the prisoners were still on lockdown when Derick and Karen flew back to the UK on Monday 8th May.
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Copyright © 2005-2006 Shaun P. Attwood