Day 2. I don’t meet my first roommate until the next day because he is gone on a writ. He’s exactly my age, fairly down to earth, and in for 5 years on a DUI. We talk. We get along. My first big hurdle. He gives me the rundown on how things work in E House, the intake unit.
Basically, imagine prison. And then don’t change anything. That’s what you can expect for your first 30 days. (That goes for every male in the State of Minnesota. Everybody goes to E House in St. Cloud for classification and orientation.)
Locked in my cell for the entire day except for 3 15-minute meals (3,300 calories per day), and maybe a “flag” period of no more than 50 minutes where we scramble to use the phone, shower, and try to communicate with the Corrections Officers. The C.O.s have a tough job, that’s why they’re assholes.
The only other times we get out are for passes, i.e. going to the infirmary, dentist, case worker.
He teaches me to make dominoes, dice, and chess pieces, all from toilet paper. They’re actually quite functional. He has been stuck in E House for 45 miserable days when he’s finally called to move. Lucky bastard.
When I tell my therapist that Vince is in his cell 23 hours a day, she says, “But, on TV they show prisoners sitting around in a big common area, watching TV and hatching their schemes.” I have always avoided watching TV shows about prisons and drug dealers. “I think a TV show about a guy sitting in a cell 23 hours a day would make for pretty poor drama,” was my analysis.