She was in her mid-twenties and gorgeous. She walked in the midst of her class of new correctional officers. The six young male recruits surrounded her as they toured the institution, clamoring for her attention. She was enjoying every minute of it, smiling at them and flirting. Here was a woman who would never have to buy her own drinks or dinner. I bet she never got a speeding ticket either. As I watched, two thoughts jumped into my mind: Why would she want to work here? And, there’s going to be trouble. I wasn’t wrong about the trouble, but it came in a form that I didn’t expect.
I’ve seen it dozens of times. A good looking woman comes to work and the group of skirt chasing officers we have working here hound her until she relents. Then she is dropped, passed around, used and abused until she’s left bitter, lonely, and craving attention. Then the inmates take over, who are more than willing to give her the love and attention she desires. She falls in love with an inmate. The affair is made public and she is history. Another one bites the dust. I could see all this coming as I looked at that young woman. Not that we don’t have some great women officers here because we do. I’ve just seen the above scenario too many times. I’m jaded, I know. I would never let any woman I cared about work here.
As it happened, I was dead wrong about her demise. I was right about some things, though. She made the rounds through some of the male officers. She was treated about like I expected, but she didn’t turn to an inmate. She turned to a woman officer. She hooked up with one of the several lesbian officers that have come to work here in the last few years and they moved in together. We had so many lesbian officers come to work here at one time that I thought the administration must be sending out recruiters to all the gay bars. Not that there’s anything wrong with it. If I were a woman, I’m pretty sure that I would be a lesbian, too. Sadly, the young woman’s relationship with the female officer didn’t last either. She got her own place and adopted a cat that belonged to Mike, one of the inmates who work for me.
The Protective Custody Unit is housed on the third and fourth floors of Echo Block. In general, PC inmates are comprised of child molesters, wife beaters, inmates deep in debt on the yard, and rats; lots of rats of the two-legged variety. The unit officer on a PC floor is one of the worst posts to work. PCs whine more, file more grievances and lawsuits, and smell worse than any other inmate population. When you walk into the PC unit your nose is assaulted by fifty years of stale, roll-your-own, cigarette smoke and body odor; not just B.O. but mutant, make you gag and your eyes water until you get used to it B.O. PCs are only on the yard two hours a day, five days a week. That's their only time to shower. It's a shame more PCs don't take advantage of it.
Administration will never admit this, but the only officers who get assigned to a PC walk are either being punished, or are suspected of being dirty officers. After a few months, the young woman in question got assigned to third floor, Echo block.One of the hardest rules for officers to follow is "Don't talk about your home life at work." Don't talk about it to inmates. Don't talk about it to other officers, because they will talk about it in front of inmates. It happens every day. The young woman apparently had some problems, not the least of which was a severe cash flow problem. She was from Chicago and had no family or support system here. Her searching for love was really a searching for someone to support her, financially. She found no takers.
I don't know if she talked too much to the inmates or other officers did it for her, but it wasn't long before two of the third floor PCs approached her with a deal; a money-making opportunity guaranteed to solve her financial woes. She agreed.
The two PCs set her up with a contact on the streets. An appointment was made for her to meet the contact. She was to be given $1800 by the contact. Then she was to buy a quarter pound of weed, worth between $500 and $750 on the street, depending on the quality; worth between $3000 and $4000 behind the walls. She would get to keep the rest.
The rendezvous was set up for last Saturday. She met with the street contact. He gave her $1800.
At about the same time, two PC inmates from the third floor were escorted to internal affairs.
She drove off, intending to keep the entire $1800. Her plan was to buy a train ticket back to Chicago, leaving the Penitentiary in the dust.
The PCs were locked up in the segreagation unit.
She drove about a mile down the road before she was surrounded by four state troopers. One of which was her street "contact." She was arrested. Because she didn't buy the drugs and she didn't attempt to smuggle them into the institution, the only charge against her that I know of is "Bribery of a State Official." She is being held in a local county jail. Her bond is $10,000. She doesn't have the money. I don't know what penalty the sentence carries if she is convicted.
The only unknown I have yet to figure out is what the two PC inmates got out of the deal. They approached her. They set her up. They informed on her. The only thing I can think of that they could get out of it is some lost good time restored. Worse things have been done for less.
The young woman's former lover went by her house and took possession of Mike's former cat, Dawson. The cat is making the adjustment.