The truth is better than any story

I’ve shared with you all before that I have been in jail before.  I was there for 2 months. Two long months.  Two months is certainly long enough to know what the routines are, what is expected and to miss the things that you take for granted in the ‘outside world’.  It’s this experience that makes me pissed off when I see people make flippant remarks about how ‘easy’ criminals have it in jail.  It’s certainly easier for a lot of people than being out on the streets, but it’s certainly no walk in the park.
I won’t go into what I did to end up in jail in this post because it’s all in the post I have made before.  For ease of conversation however I will say that my crime is categorised by the law as a violent crime. Even though I had no intention of hurting anyone but myself, the law likes to put everything in nice, neat little boxes.  I was refused bail and spent three days in a watch house.  I went to court once in that time.  So it is with great interest that I watch news programs talk about the ‘injustice’ that celebrities (if you could even call them that) receive when they are taken into custody.
Stripping from head to toe in front of two officers is horrible, you feel disgusting but it’s a necessary part of the custody process. While some officers may take their role a little too seriously, this act is not done with the sole purpose of humiliation, despite what the sensationalised media will tell you.  It’s necessary to protect both yourself and the people you will be sharing a cell with. Yes there is a high chance that you will have to share.
What are they looking for? Contraband.  Once again if you listen to the media then this only stretches to drugs. It’s not. It’s anything that can be used as a weapon, both on yourself or someone else.  It includes things like belts, shoelaces, drawstrings, any belongings on your person as well as the more obvious things such as drugs, alcohol and tobacco.  These things are not taken off you to make your life more difficult on purpose, they are there to protect you.  Everyone goes into the cell with the same thing, stand over tactics are reduced this way.
Another aspect that makes me roll my eyes is the idea that prisoners get 3 hot meals a day.  The meals might be hot when they leave the hour before they are served to the prisoners but they are definitely not hot when they are consumed.  Ever eaten pasta when it’s stone cold? It’s like eating glue.  Far from the five star treatment that the media would like to lead the public to believe.  If you live in the residential area, you must get a job so that you can pay for your own food and cook it.  Before you get scared about the prisoners being out amongst the public, these jobs are things like mowing the prison grounds, working in the kitchen, jobs within the jail. 
For a few of the prisoners that I shared a section with, them being in jail is better than their life outside.  They have somewhere to sleep, food is definitely coming and they don’t have to deal with abusive family members.  It’s easy to be grateful for little when you are used to nothing.  
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT

17 thoughts on “The truth is better than any story

  1. Tash Hughes

    The media does have a ‘tendency’ to paint stories in the light that gets more response – so prison being a holiday camp will anger all the law-abiders and keep them hooked to the media.

    Thanks for sharing your story, Tegan – I for one didn’t know prisoners generally get no-longer-hot meals or have to earn their food via a job. It is interesting to hear about others and have perceptions challenged.

  2. Lisa

    I also find the media tend to beef up how wonderful jail time is for inmates. The prisoners who are due to deliver their babies come to our hospital and their stories don’t exactly warm my heart as jail being a holiday camp. Thanks for sharing x

    1. Tegan Post author

      The stories I heard when I was in jail were horrific, I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to be pregnant while in there.

  3. Ness

    It’s sad to think that some peoples lives are so desperate that even jail is a better option. Thanks for sharing your story and giving us a glimpse of the reality of what that experience is like. xo

    1. Tegan Post author

      One woman was being pimped out by her father. She got out and intended to commit another crime so she could come straight back. It was eye opening.

  4. Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    I can’t imagine what that was like, I have to admit, I often joke about getting three meals a day, not having to clean the house, but it’s in jest, probably not wise though, I never mean offence just a piss take of my life and how at times I am overwhelmed and need a break! Thanks for sharing x

    1. Tegan Post author

      I know that you would never mean any harm Em. I get annoyed more with the blatant lies told by the media, that when people are giving life in prison, that they are headed for some sort of health retreat.

  5. Jodie@FreshHomeCook

    This is a great insight into a part of the world most people (thankfully) will never experience Tegan.
    I can’t put myself in your shoes, but I can comment as a former parole officer & hearing so many tragic stories & circumstances that bring people to jail & sadly, back time & again. I also know the difficulties prisoners face within the walls & how far from a ‘country club’ it is!
    You are a brave woman for getting through it & sharing your story.

  6. Mystery Case

    Well I’m clearly newish to your blog and did not know this. I visited a person in jail once, and was fingerprinted and funnily enough my fingerprints were the best ones they had ever captured…as in perfect (almost like I’ve never done a days work) type prints. lol

    Thanks for sharing your story!

  7. Silly Mummy

    Yes I met a guy once who chose jail time overseas instead of paying child support. He would rather be in jail and not earning money to feed his kids than to actually pay up his earnings.

  8. Ian

    This is interesting Tegan. I have nothing but compassion for you and lots of others who are in jail and shouldn’t be. I know it’s not nice in there and the system fails so many in your situation every single day.

    But here’s my difficulty. For you and many more the system is unreasonably harsh and dehumanising.

    But and it’s a big but. I think it is far nicer than it should be for that few percent of scum that deserve to be locked up and have the key thrown away.

    I don’t know how the hell our system can work at an appropriate and correct way in dealing with so much. I really wish I did but sadly some things just seem to be so full of bureaucracy and red tape that they are always going to be FUBAR

    Glad to see you moving on and trying to put it behind you now.


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