A closer look behind the bars and cell walls

When you hear people say, “I hate cops,” or one of a myriad of other variations, several of which contain expletives, it is usually deemed that it is because they (the cop haters) are criminals, have been arrested, or have served prison time. However, these men and women are never asked the most important question– “why do you hate them?” So often the public portrays men and women that have gone through these ordeals as scum and police officers as patron saints that are ridding the streets of filth.

What I would like to do is share my thoughts on why some people, that have been arrested, have such a disdain by telling you a little about the process that countless men and women have had to suffer through as they are transported from outlying sheriff offices to Harris County jail located in Houston, TX. The first reason why there is such a dislike for cops is actually something they cannot change; they are human.

When you are arrested outside of Houston, in one of its many satellite cities, you are first taken to a sheriff’s office where initially you are housed in a cold room with bright lights. They take away anything they believe you will harm yourself with while they write up their reports.

Depending on the case, this can take thirty minutes to over an hour, but after that you are relocated to another part of the building where they take your fingerprints and any photos, including mug shots and photos of scars, tattoos, etc. After everything is done you are placed in a cell, possibly alone, for several hours until they transport downtown to either Big Baker or Little Baker, as they are commonly called.

After several hours, eventually you are transported downtown with several others to begin the inmate initiation process.

While be transported you are handcuffed to several other prisoners and placed in the back of a van with a bench, metal walls and no windows except for a small opening at the rear of the vehicle.

In essence, this vehicle is similar to what animal control uses so it is not suitable for most people that are five foot five, let alone taller people.

Everyone knows that Houston is notorious for its horrible roads which are filled with potholes and bumps; you would think the men driving the van would be considerate when driving since the detainees are in a metal box and the ceiling is about two inches above everyone’s head, they are not.

Fast forward a bit through where you are sitting on a concrete bench waiting for your turn to see what your bail is set at, then you go through a series of several cells until you have your first real contact with a human being.

Eventually you will be placed in a room with around fifty or so others and they will call you and talk to you about several things. This is the final time you are treated like a human.

After this cell, phone calls are no longer free, you cannot call cell phones and you are taken to a probable cause judge, where you are not allowed to speak, but rather stand while a man describes a distorted version of events in an attempt to justify why you are in jail.

Upon leaving this room you are escorted to a cell where you are issued orange jumpsuits and you hand over your civilian clothes.

They then take x-rays to check for pneumonia. It is finally during this cell visit that you receive your first meal, a single piece of bologna on white bread and an oatmeal cream pie for dessert.

After everyone’s x-rays are finished, you are transported to several more cells before you are given a wristband that tells you where you are housed.

While you are housed in these cells, there is a way for prisoners and officers to communicate, however most officers ignore the pleas of prisoners because it is frequently abused. Therefore, your only way of talking to an officer is during one of the roll calls which happens every eight hours.

One question begs to be answered. How can people treat others as sub-humans and expect them to respect you, whether it is inside or outside of the prison walls?

It is not the fact they were arrested, but rather the fact for days, months and sometimes years they were stripped of every basic human right and treated like cattle, many times to the glee of manipulative guards who only care about the paycheck that comes every two weeks.


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