BCCBIC (Baltimore City Central Booking and Intake Center):Part 2

The officer walks me into an open area. To my right is a window with a CO behind it and a chair in front of it. Imediatley past that is a very small room followed by a row of pay phones. Across from the phones is the nurses center. Then on both sides of the walls are cells marked single cell until you get to the end of the hall. In front of where I am standing is a double doorway that leads to an area similar to the set up that I have just described, only it is about three times as big. It is the men’s side. There is a room connecting the men’s and women’s sides, it is the fingerprinting area.
The cop hands me off to a CO and says, “Watch her. She’s pregnant and ill.” She shakes her head as a sign that she understands and leads me into the room next to the window. There she somewhat strip searches me (although of any jail I have been to, this was the laziest, most half-assed stip search that I have ever been apart of). Next, she leads me back to a bench in front of where I just entered where I sit for about an hour, until I am called to have my fingerprints taken. Now, I go to the window where they do my property intake.mi am given a piece of paper to sign that lists what items they have taken from me, and that I am theoretically going to get back upon my release. There is a time printed on the paper. This time marks when my 24 hours start. This time, six hours AFTER my arrest. I was lucky too. I was able to be walked right into bookings. Often times, weekends, concerts, the Grand Prix, etc. there is a line to even get in the door. I know of many people who waited for anywhere from 2-8 hours to get in the door. Add this to the probably two or three hours they spent at the district police station, and the few hours that it takes once you are inside before your time starts.
Next, I see the nurse. After a 30 second physical. I am allowed to make my call. I call my mother. She isn’t exactly happy, but tells me that she will bail me out if I am not PR’d (released on personal recognizance). A guard yells at me to get off the phone, that my 30 seconds are up, and takes me to a cell. I walk into a cell that is marked that it is for single occupancy. There is probably 20-25 women in there. It is so tight that you literally can not shift positions without making everyone shift.
The next 20 or so hours tick by at a snails pace. Talking to the other women helps pass the time, but I am so sick that it is unbearable. One girl in the sell has ready, but no lighter. A girl in the cell across from ours has a lighter, but nothing to light. The chick with the ready tries to get the inmate who is mopping the floors to get the lighter from her, but he is too scared to do it.
The only other white girl in the cell is a girl about my age (21 at the time). She is in there for prostitution. She said that she is in there almost every week. Usually it is a walk through, meaning that you are arrested for something petty like trespassing or failure to obey police orders and are held for a day and then released without a charge. She was hoping that was what this was, but wasn’t sure as none of us are told our charges until we see the commissioner. She knew that if it was a solicitation charge there would be a bail attached and probably a high one. The city had started a crack down of hookers due to the fact that we had (possibly still have) the highest AIDS rate in the country. The mayor (Martin O’Malley) felt that the hookers were to blame for this. At one point she got into it with another woman because she didn’t want to sit on the floor. “It’s dirty. It’s gross!”, she exclaimed. “How clean theses dicks be that you suck all day?”, the other woman asked. “Well theses dicks get me ready. If this floor goons give me ready, then I ain’t got no problem with it.” You cannot make this shit up people.
At some point in the day, I guess lunch, we are brought food. There are no windows or clocks in booking, and they keep the ultra bright fluorescent lights on 24/7 to throw off any sense of time that you may have. Even if I weren’t puking every 10 minutes, I couldn’t have ate that lunch. Mystery meat all the way. I did drink the juice, so that I didn’t get too dehydrated. I traded my sand which for the apple. I figured that I should try to get something down, if for no other purpose but to throw up something instead of stomach lining.
Eventually, after about 20 hours, my name is called. I am going to the commissioner. So I think. I mean, I am, but first I am taken to another set of holding cells. These are for people about to see one of the commissioners. I think that they had 13 or 15 commissioners on duty at that time. I sit for about an hour and then am lead to a tiny, tiny room. My left wrist is handcuffed to the counter, and the door is locked behind me. The commissioner, a young black guy with long dreads, sits in an office on the other side of bullet proof glass. I can see my booking photo up on the screen (and what a lovely head shot that was too), along with a statement of charges that I have not yet seen. He slides me a copy of my paper work through a slit in the glass. I am being charged with possession of a CDS (not marijuana), which carries up to four years and is a misdemeanor. He reads me what the police said happen, most of which was lies. They said that the witnessed the event which was impossible because they were coming from the Edmonson Village Center, we were in an alley further past where they had stopped us. They hadn’t even gotten to where we copped yet. Also you cannot see into the alley from Edmonson as it is an L shaped alley. Also they said that I handed the dude the money, and that he then handed Aaron the pills. That doesn’t happen. The dealer always gives the drugs to the person who gives them the money. Often there will be four or five people in the car. The person who hands the money,mis probably the person who put up most of the money. You could just be giving. Ride to a stranger to cop, and here the dealer gives this person all your shit. No. If they did that and then the person in your car didn’t want to give you all your shit, you would not want to go back to that dealer. Also, they made no mention of the fact that my husband claimed all responsibility for the drugs. I told the man about these lies. He looked at me and dead panned, “You mean to tell me that the Baltimore City police lied in a charging document?” Ok, good point. He proceeded to ask me a few questions. Had I ever been arrested before? Yes. Did I have any open charges? Yes Was I on probation? Yes. Did I have any convictions? Yes any felonies? No. Any FTAs? No (although I raked up quite a few in the year that followed). How long had I lived at my present address? All of my life. He then told me that he was going to grant me a PR. I was ecstatic to say the least. I asked him if he was going to decide my husband’s fate. He told me that he was. I asked him if he knew what he was going to do, he told me that he didn’t know. I told him that I would greatly appreciate it if he would PR Aaron as well, because I didn’t know this side of town, and my car was impounded. He laughed and said that he would keep it in mind. Just to note, he did PR my husband. He then pushed a button to let a CO know that he was done with me. I am taken back to the cell that I was just in while waiting to have my bail set. After another two hours I, along with anyone else who has been PR’d, am taken to another row of cells on the ground level. This is where you sit for another hour or six while they run your name one last time for warrants and retrieve your property. I have known of a few people who have made it this far, to only then have their warrants discovered. If you were assigned a bail, youa are taken back downstairs to the cells that you were in before they took you to the commissioner cells. Only this time you are on the last cells in the line. Theses are the people waiting to go upstairs to get put with general population while you either wait to be bailed out or sit until trial or your release date.
Anyway, the wait while in the property cells in particularly long and excruciating. You can see the street. You have been told that you are to be release, yet here you stand. Finally, after what seems like an eternity, they call seven women, and one man (Aaron). We are let through a set of double doors after we sign for our property. Aaron and I are both sick as fuck, but happy to see each other. We hug and kiss and hold hands as we walk out the door. The sunlight blinds me, and even though I have only been locked up for about 30 hours total, it feels like it has been a week. We turn on my phone, and call my mom to come get us. I have made through hell and back.

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