An Inspector Calls

The Department of Corrections sent an agent to inspect my condo and interview me.  Her title on her card is “CIP/ISR Agent.”  She is one of four agents monitoring 80 boot camp participants across five or six counties.

The agent (I’ll call her Holly) was one of those tall, corn-fed, blond Minnesotans with ruddy cheeks.  She was late because she’d come from visiting another mom whose son had been in for murder since he was 15—that was 22 years ago, which makes him the same age as Vince now.

“So she had a lot of questions,” she said.  Yeah, no kidding.  I had a lot too.  Holly walked through the condo but didn’t open the fridge or closets as I’d been told she has the right to do.  If I told you where I had stashed my beer and wine during her visit, I’d have to kill you.  (I will honor with the “no alcohol/drugs/firearms” policy once Vince is here, but he’s not here for over a month.)

She seemed awed by the condo.  “This isn’t like the typical house we see,” she said.  “Most of them are pretty run down.”

She explained that they would come to the house three times a week at random times.  It could be 5am or 3pm or 3am.  They can search the premises without a warrant at any time.  I guess I hadn’t realized that Vince will technically still be a prisoner, just one who is serving out his term in the family home.

She said Vince can’t leave town, have any other ex offenders over (whew!), or possess booze, drugs, or guns.  He won’t be released with an ankle bracelet but they will slap one on him if he makes a misstep.  During their three weekly visits they will do urinalysis tests and if they aren’t clean Vince will go straight back inside.

Holly told me I would need to get a land line but she backed off from me having to install a doorbell, which was a relief.  “We’ll just rap on the front window,” was her solution.

Vince will be allowed to search for work from 10am to 2pm weekdays.  He can to a workforce center or do it from home.  I went to a workforce center when I was unemployed a few years ago and they are great resources but they are depressing because they are full of unemployed people.

I asked if they would help Vince find a job, or give him leads.  She said they do pass along information, like the fact that Target refuses to hire ex offenders so he shouldn’t bother with them.

I told her that I was planning to let Vince use my car to look for work and she reminded me that he would have to be added to my insurance.  So we’ll put that plan on ice until I find out how much it will cost, and until Vince has a job and can pay for it.

I asked if Vince would have health insurance and she said he could apply for Medical Assistance.

I asked if it was a problem if I traveled, especially outside of the country, and she said no.

I asked her advice—should I set a time limit on how long he should live with me and if so how long?  She said they don’t give advice; that it’s up to Vince and me to set ground rules.

At the end of the visit we talked about his graduation ceremony and actual release and I fessed up that I had been banned and wasn’t sure if I’d be allowed in.  She was shocked and said she’d never heard of such a situation.  “The ceremony is really cool, so I hope you’ll get to see it,” were her parting words.

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