I knew it was going to be a bad night when I was driving to work that evening. As I came around a corner, a fluffy bunny ran out into the road. I swerved to avoid it, but it swerved too. Next thing I knew, I felt a little bump and saw a cloud of fur fly out from under my tires.
A bad omen.
I get to work and it is count time. Another officer and I begin counting in his unit. We finish and head over to mine. We both notice the overwhelming odor of homemade intoxicants.
We start counting. We make it all the way around the bottom tier with no trouble. We get started upstairs. Just a few cells in we run into the first problem of the night.
The inmates are required to have their lights on and be standing up for this count. I had been in this unit for several months so they knew my deal. Which is why when I got to this cell and found it dark, I was surprised. I could see the inmate in there.
I wasn't sure if he was asleep or hurt or just had his headphones on loud or what.
So I banged on the door.
I kicked it and banged on it.
My partner, who was a big guy, pounded and kicked.
So we made the decision to open the door.
I unlock it and we go in. My partner gives the inmate a shout and he jumps up.
And falls over.
The inmate smells strongly of alcohol and can not stand up. He is insisting he is fine and had not been drinking.
We lock up that cell and finish our count.
After we finish the count, my partner and I are deciding how to handle this situation. Th inmate in question is a guy who usually is quiet and causes very little trouble. And he didn't seem violent. Just drunk. Probably sleeping it off would fix him. But I did what I was supposed to do and called a lieutenant.
Usually drunk inmates are sent to the Special Housing Unit. But it had apparently been quite the day and the Special Housing Unit was a bit full. Since that inmate was alone in the cell, we decided to just leave him there and check on him frequently.
My partner and I decided to go have a chat with the head of the drunk inmate's gang. We just wanted to let him know what was going on so he wouldn't think something else that started another thing and in prison.... Every little thing could lead to something bad.
We go to that cell and open it. The inmate is sitting on the bed and stands up as we open the door.
Then he falls over.
Oh good. He's drunk too.
So I laugh and tell him I am locking him and his buddy in for the night and shut the door. He is good with that.
As I start to unlock the other inmates, I check each inmate for drunkenness.
I find two more white guys. (The first two were white guys.) I find two black guys. I find three Hispanic guys. All drunk.
I call the lieutenant back. I let him know. All drunk inmates are to remain locked up. Incident reports are written. They will be going to Special Housing Unit as soon as there is a space.
I decided to call the SIS. (Special Investigations) and let them know of my situation. I find out all the drunk inmates are gang leaders. The SIS guy is a little disturbed by this. So they decide to lock down my whole unit to investigate.
I knew it was going to be a bad night. I just knew it.