Getting Arrested and Spending Two Nights in Jail for Having Weed and One Pill of Adderall in Your Dorm Room: An Oral History

I recently read Svetlana Alexievich’s Nobel-prize-winning, socks-knocking-off Voices From Chernobyl, an oral history of the Chernobyl disaster. And I thought maybe I could write something like that. Then my little sister got arrested and went to jail. So here we are.

I can’t believe I got arrested. It was the most bizarre experience of my life. I saw some fucked up stuff. The American criminal justice system is fucked up. I already knew that, but wow, I was treated pretty badly in there. I can’t believe I went to jail for two nights. I had to wear an orange jumpsuit. I feel like I’ve brought shame to our family. I feel really Asian about this. I’m the first kid to get arrested. I think I’m the first grandkid to get arrested.

Dad’s not mad at me. Right now he just wants to help me get out of this situation. He might get mad later though.

But Mom was so upset, oh my god. She was crying so much, and the first thing she said to me was, “You looked so ugly in your mugshot!”

I was like, “Why would that be the first thing you say to me?! I just got arrested!” And she told me not to come back to Japan if I’m ever gonna smoke weed again. That’s fair. [My sister is Japanese-American and this is her first time living in the US over the age of four.]

So what happened was I was tanning before class by the pool at our school, and I get this phone call that’s like, “We’re the university police. We found something in your room. Please come after class to the student dorms because we need to conduct an interview.”

Apparently our RA had smelled weed from our room and contacted the Area Director, who’s the head of the dorms. I never smoked in my room or anything. I just had some weed in there. My RA told them the weed was so strong she could smell it from the hallway, which I don’t think is true. But since she said that they were allowed to go in and search my room.

Your RA is such a fucking narc.

I know! She hates me. She hates stoners. I don’t know why.

Anyway, while they were searching, my roommate came back but she wasn’t allowed to go in the room. And the Area Director found “paraphernalia”: my bong and a grinder.

Then the Area Director called the police, but they’re not allowed to enter our rooms, so they stood in the hallway. They started asking my roommate a bunch of questions. They specifically told her I wasn’t gonna get arrested, because at our school we have this “diversion program”. They said I would just have to take some classes at school.

The officer said, “Be honest with me, do you know who these drugs belong to?”

She said, “I don’t know.”

And the police said, “‘I don’t know’ isn’t an answer. It has to be ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”

So she said, “Okay, fine. Yes.” Then they made her write a statement confirming what she said.

After all that, the Area Director found one Adderall pill. I forgot I had that Adderall. They must’ve searched really thoroughly because I don’t even remember where I put it. None of them knew what it was, so they had to google it.

After I finish class I go to the dorm, where the police are waiting for me. He asks me a bunch of questions. My roommate had already told me, “Don’t worry. Be honest with them because you’re not gonna get arrested.” So I said the weed was mine and I got it from a friend. I had about an ounce. [28 grams] He asked me why I had the Adderall, and I said a friend gave it to me during the last exam season, but I’m so smart I didn’t need to use it. I got all my studying done without it.

But he did not give two shits. This police officer was so ignorant that after the interview, he was like, “Wait a minute, this Adderall drug. I don’t know what the regulations are about it.”

He calls his boss and asks if possession of Adderall is a crime. His boss says, “It’s a controlled substance. Whoever has possession of it needs to be arrested.”

So he hangs up and he’s basically like, “Just kidding, you’re under arrest.” Then he puts me in handcuffs.

I’m freaking out because I just told this guy everything. Then he read me my Miranda Rights! Then he asked me the same questions again, and I should’ve refused to answer, but I had already told him everything! There were other people in the room and he was writing it down! So I just told him everything again.

Then he told me I needed a change of clothes because I was still in my bathing suit underneath, with little shorts. He was like, “You need to change because there’s creepy men at jail.” That was the first time I realized I was going to jail.

I’m on my period too. I just started it like an hour before. So I’m freaking out and thinking, “Oh my god, do they have pads in jail?”

Then one of the dorm people went up to my room and grabbed sweat pants and a t-shirt. The officer told me to leave everything in my room because it might get stolen or lost. I should’ve stopped listening to this officer’s advice the moment I found out he didn’t even know what Adderall was.

Then I was taken to the police car from my dorm, and I asked them, “Could you maybe take off my handcuffs and put them back on in the car so the kids don’t see me being arrested?”

They said, “We can’t do that.” So I’m walking down the halls of the school, in handcuffs, making awkward eye contact with people I kinda know, and I’m trying to put on my best “I don’t give a fuck” face. Trying not to cry, trying not to look embarrassed, trying to own it.

Then I get in the police car, and the police start bitching about how their heads hurt because the smell of weed is making them nauseous. They’re literally complaining like, “Your weed is so potent that our heads hurt right now. We’re having difficulty doing our job.”

I’m trying hard not to say, “Well if it’s making your head hurt, give it back and let me go. I’ll smoke it.”

They take me to this small, other jail. There were two officers: a man, the main one, and a woman who was apparently new. The man was like, “Okay, I’m gonna impound the stuff and you write the police report.”

All of a sudden, she’s like, “I’m sick. I have to go home. The smell of weed is making me sick.” So she leaves. She just dips out.

The guy is like, “Great, now this process is gonna take another three hours because I have to write the report myself.” So he’s impounding the stuff, then he comes back and he’s like, “Hey, you have more than twenty grams of marijuana and I just found out that’s also a felony. So we’re charging you with another felony.”

I truly believe these are stories we’re gonna tell our grandkids.

I know! They’re gonna be like, “You went to jail for weed? That’s so stupid!”

The things we did during marijuana prohibition.

So I’m still debating whether or not to tell this guy I’m on my period, and I’m running out of time. I asked if we could stop at CVS and he said, “We’re not stopping anywhere.”

I said, “Well I’m on my period, so if we don’t stop at CVS, I’m gonna bleed all over your seat.” Then we went to CVS and he bought me tampons. I was thinking, “Alright, you bought me tampons. Good, let’s get personal.” He did, because that’s when he first mentioned his wife. Cause, I don’t know — “tampons”, “wife”, whatever.

We drive to the nearest jail with open space. The jails were so crowded that weekend because it was Ultra Music Festival and St. Patrick’s Day. He takes me there and makes me sit in the back of the car for three hours while he types up the report in the front. I don’t think it’s normal for a felon to watch their police report being written.

I was straight up reading the report to learn what’s going on. He keeps calling his boss to ask questions about how to complete the report. He couldn’t even figure out how to turn on his computer at first. He’s complaining to his boss about how his assistant was so incompetent.

Then I started saying stuff like, “Wow, I feel like I’m having an educational moment right now. I didn’t realize how much paperwork police officers had to do. I thought you guys just did field work.”

Then he started getting really comfortable because he started talking about his damn family. He’s like, “Yeah, it’s a lot of work. People don’t understand if you don’t go to college and get a degree, you still have to work really hard. I come home to my wife at ten and I have to leave again at eight. I have a child on the way.”

I was like, “I totally understand. My dad comes home late also, so I know what your daughter’s gonna go through.” Then he let me use his phone, because he told me I would only get to make one call in jail and they don’t do international calls. I use his phone to call my roommate. The officer said he thought my bail would be around 600 to 1,000 dollars. I thought that would be manageable if a bunch of my friends put their money together and I paid them back. He said if no one bailed me out, I might be there for weeks.

He takes me in the jail and right before he drops me off, he says, “Look, a pretty girl like you don’t belong here. Make sure you never come back here again.”

I was like, “Okay… Thanks, Sir.”

I go in the waiting room and they take off my handcuffs and put me in zip ties. So far there’s no separation of males and females. I start talking to the least sketchiest-looking three boys there. They’re young and they’re wearing Ultra Festival gear.

All three of them got arrested for public urination. They got arrested by an undercover cop. I felt so bad for them. They had three-day VIP tickets to Ultra. They were from Mexico. They flew all the way from Mexico City and they got arrested for peeing within their first thirty minutes of the festival. But their charge wasn’t public urination. Their charge was public display of… genitals or something. So they were charged as sex offenders. I mean, I dunno, these boys honestly seemed like goofballs, so they could’ve been peeing in an obnoxious manner. Like waving their dicks around while peeing for all I know. But I read their report and their charge was like, public display of… their dicks.

Eventually they got called up and taken inside, so I’m like, “Great. The three most normal-looking guys disappeared and now I’m stuck with a bunch of guys with face tattoos.”

Then I talked to the most sketchiest-looking guy in there. He’s sitting next to me crouched like this [Gets up to crouch on her seat], with his hands in his shirt, just staring at me. I think he’d been arrested before, because he seemed like he was tired of being there.

I was like, “What did you get arrested for?”

He said, “Failure to pay a speeding ticket. What did you get arrested for?”

I said, “Having one ounce of marijuana and one Adderall pill.”

We just looked at each other like, “Shit, my charge is more serious than his and I’m the most innocent-looking person here.” He could’ve been lying, I don’t know. But I was trying not to laugh because I thought he was gonna say “murder” or something.

The police officers were going around pointing and saying, “Suicidal, not suicidal, suicidal, not suicidal.” They point in people’s faces! It’s so embarrassing! There was this really drunk, old, old, old man who was really confused and they were like, “Yep, suicidal.”

They said “suicidal” for this other girl and she was like, “What? I’m not suicidal! I’m a cutter but I’m not suicidal!”

They’re like, “Yes, you are.”

That was the first really bizarre thing that made me realize they don’t treat people with respect whatsoever. They just announced in front of everyone they were suicidal! They could’ve been discreet about it! They didn’t have to point in their faces.

The suicidal ones get through first and they put them in these horrible things. If I was suicidal and someone put me in one of those things, I would just want to kill myself even more. It looks like you’re wrapped in a futon, basically.

A few hours later, after they took my blood pressure and gave me a little wristband with a barcode on it, they moved me to the booking room.

The booking room is like a processing room before they take you to your cell. They give you your clothes, take away your stuff, they take your mugshot. If you’re a woman they take your pee sample to test if you’re pregnant. They do a basic health evaluation where they ask you, “Do you have any health conditions?” and you say, “No.”

That process took — I shit you not — another five or six hours. I was taken to jail at 10 pm, I was in the waiting room until 12, then I was in the booking room until 6 am.

In booking, everyone gets thrown in this one room. The women go to the women’s cells and the men go to the men’s cells. The suicidal people get sent to the psych ward and they get doped up. One girl I met told me she had been arrested before, but declared suicidal and sent to the psych ward. She told me they put her on so much dope, that even after she got home she was dysfunctional. She couldn’t eat soup because she couldn’t maneuver the spoon into her mouth.

I think the moment it hit me that I was in jail was when I had to take off my clothes, bend over, spread my butt and cough three times. So I did that, then when I went back to the booking room, I talked to the girl who was a cutter.

Mind you, it’s freezing in this room. At least I had pants and a shirt, but the futon things are sleeveless. For girls, if they’re not sitting properly, you can see their boobs from the side. That’s how much this is not real clothes. They can move their arms but it’s just nothing on the sides.

It’s so they can’t strangle themselves with the clothes. Apparently you can rip up an orange jumpsuit and strangle yourself with it.

This girl was so defeated that she didn’t even care. She was sitting there and I could see her nipples. We were in a room full of men and women and she’s huddled up like this [Huddles], just shaking, in this piece of thing that’s not even real clothes.

I asked her what she was arrested for and it was roaches, which are the little ends after you finish a joint. They found them on her porch. She tried to eat them when the police came, but she didn’t eat them fast enough, so she got arrested for that. That was the first time she got arrested, then she got arrested again because she didn’t show up to court. Then the police determined she was suicidal because of her cuts.

Why were the police snooping around her porch?

I have no idea.

And I found out she was from Kenya. She spent half her childhood in Kenya, which I thought was really interesting. I was like, “It must be beautiful.”

She was like, “Yeah, the nature is amazing. I can’t wait to go back. I can’t do shit in America.”

Then this girl came in crying. She sits next to me and starts calling her mom. Oh, there were phones in the booking room. That police officer was wrong. You can make as many phone calls as you want, as long as the other girls don’t yell at you and say they want the phone.

I asked what she got arrested for, and she said, “Molly, but I don’t do drugs.” She explained she was at Ultra. She said, “I don’t even take drugs. But my boyfriend’s friend, out of nowhere, put something in my hand. I didn’t know what it was until I was being put in handcuffs, arrested for possession of molly.” It was an undercover cop wearing a marijuana t-shirt who watched the guy hand her the pill. The same cop who arrested the Mexican boys. They all saw each other get arrested.

She was crying. She was telling everyone, “I’m trying to go to law school.” She kept saying to the officers, “Take my blood! Take my piss! I’m innocent!”

And while she was in the cop car, they told her if she didn’t stop crying, they would take her to the psych ward. In booking and all the time I was with her in the cells, every time she started crying, the corrections officers or the other girls would be like, “Stop crying. You need to shut up or they’ll take you to the psych ward.”

I talked to another lady, a really fat, white lady. I asked why she got arrested and she said, “I hit my mom in the head. She ran me over with her wheelchair. My mom called the cops on me. Shit, I have three daughters. They’re about your age.” She kept telling me I reminded her of her daughter.

Towards the end, ten or so of these really pretty girls came in. They were wearing dresses and high heels. I thought maybe they were high class prostitutes because one girl straight up looked like their pimp.

I asked two of the pretty girls why they got arrested and apparently they got in a fight with each other at a pool party. And I didn’t see it, but I heard one of the pretty girls in the other room while she was doing the bend-over-and-cough thing. They made her cough like twenty-five times. I think she couldn’t speak English well. She was Latina. They kept saying, “You’re not coughing hard enough. You’re not coughing hard enough.” But she was! I got away with coughing like [Three tiny coughs]. Everybody in the booking room could hear they were making her do that. They were women officers, but still.

Eventually the girls who got arrested for fighting were laughing with each other. They were friends again.

Suddenly this guy starts having a seizure. They’re like, “Medical emergency! Medical emergency!”

This guy is straight up falling out of his chair, dying, shaking, foaming at the mouth. The corrections officers pull him onto a stretcher and by the time they get him on there, he’s fine. So he was like, “Peace out, guys.” As they roll him out of there, he literally smiles and does this [Peace sign].

One of the girls was like, “Damn! He got hooked up!”

Then they rounded up all the women and moved us to this even more freezing cold room, cause there were too many men in there. It was so cold and we’re trying to yell at the officers that it was too cold.

There’s a toilet in the corner and the fat lady who hit her mom just sits down on it and starts taking a shit in front of all of us. There were fifteen or so people in the room. I’m pretty sure if she had asked to use the toilet in the booking room, they would’ve let her, but she just gave zero fucks. I’m thinking, “Okay, I remind this lady of her daughter.”

At this point, we were so tired and we already saw some guy have a seizure. We’d seen so much weird shit that we didn’t even question this lady and just let her poop in peace. We’re all watching her. This other girl was sitting in a ball in the corner right next to this lady taking a shit. I don’t think she realized until she peaked her head out of her shirt, then she just put her head back inside.

This is the same room where we get our first meal: the most sketchiest-looking sandwiches I’ve ever seen in my life. The bread was gray. It was on the verge of molding. There was a slice of American cheese and a slice of baloney, but there were black dots in the meat. I wish I could’ve taken a picture of it.

Finally, they call my name and the name of the girl arrested for molly. They give us little towels, like an onsen-sized towel, and a sheet and take us to our cells. Then they made us watch this video about what to do if we’re raped in jail. I thought, “Okay, great. Can we go to sleep now? It’s 7:40 in the morning.”

They put me in a cell with another girl. She was sleeping. On my bed there was no blanket, no sheet, just this towel. I finally fell asleep, then got woken up and taken to court. That’s where they decide your bail, and if you can be let out on pre-trial.

If you get let out on pre-trial services, you don’t have to pay bond. I didn’t know these words before, like “bond” and “bail”. The pre-trial services are for people who can’t pay bail. They get let out on the condition that every week, they report to a pre-trial officer and fill out a form. I got let out on pre-trial services, so I didn’t have to pay bail. My bail was 11,000 dollars, not 600 dollars as the police officer said it would be.

They said I could still pay bail, and if did, I wouldn’t have to report to the pre-trial officer. They said I could go to a bonds dealership and be let out for 10% of my bond. I don’t know what a bonds dealership really does, but there’s some business involved in this, you know? People are making money off this, because it’s some company that fronts your bond. If I had called the bonds dealership, my bail would’ve been 1,000 dollars, but that’s still a lot, so I said I’d take pre-trial.

The second night I asked them for a case for my contacts. I asked like three of the corrections officers and they all said, “We don’t provide those.”

I was like, “I can get an eye infection from this.” They didn’t care. That would never happen in Japan.

This building is two floors, like an atrium. There’s a common room in the middle we can come into everyday for three hours to talk to each other, use the telephone, play board games if you’re lucky enough to have a board game, whatever. The rest of the time you have to be in your cell. It’s miserable. The only person you can talk to is your cellmate, if you have one.

There was apparently a library in the common room, but it was just a box. My cellmate said she went there, but the only books they had were the Bible and an Alcoholics Anonymous handbook. I was like, “Well, I’m not reading either of those.”

This jail even had a commissary. Your family can put money on your commissary card and you can buy cereal, cup ramen, cards, whatever. But you have to have been in jail for three days. So I just had the sandwiches.

I spent my time talking to my cellmate. She was there for punching her boyfriend. She was cool. I have her on Instagram now. She’s my age and she’s studying international relations. She and her boyfriend have been dating for four years. She’s like, “We’re like brother and sister at this point. We get in play fights. It’s hard for other people to tell if we’re having sex or fighting. We get bored and we have to get aggressive sometimes.”

Apparently she punched him and the neighbors got involved, so she called the cops on the neighbors. They showed up and arrested her.

The boyfriend had visible scratches on his arms. The cops are like, “Who did that to you?”

He said, “My girlfriend, but I don’t care. We do this all the time.”

She was sitting there like, “I called you guys! I called the cops!”

Her boyfriend was like, “No, she didn’t hurt me.” They said it wasn’t his decision and they arrested her.

Well that seems a bit silly but it’s possible it makes sense.

I know. Because he could’ve felt scared like he had to say that.

But in the common room I talked to three other girls arrested for some kind of battery like that. One girl said she didn’t even touch her boyfriend. She said they were arguing loudly in the middle of the street, but she got arrested for battery.

Another girl I met hit her boyfriend, but same thing, she said it wasn’t serious and it’s just that kind of relationship. The neighbors called the cops and now they have restraining orders to stay away from each other. She and her boyfriend both went to jail. They were completely, madly in love. But because they were arrested for fighting, they weren’t allowed to stand within 100 feet of each other or something. She was like, “The first thing we’re gonna do when I get out of jail is he’s gonna give me a ride home. Fuck this restraining order thing.” And he was her ride home from jail! They didn’t care!

I talked to so many people in jail. I asked everyone what their stories were. Violation of probation was pretty common. Failure to appear in court. Driving without a license, or driving with a suspended license were two of the most common reasons. Battery was pretty common. I think that’s a uniquely Florida thing, or maybe it’s an America thing. There seemed to be a lot of instances of girls getting in physical fights with their boyfriends.

The youngest girl I talked to was seventeen, still in high school. She was arrested for petty theft. She stole 3,000 dollars worth of clothes from the store where she worked.

In the common room you only get thirty minutes to use the phone a day. The molly girl used her entire thirty minutes trying to get the phone to work because it was broken. She was like, “The phone didn’t work. I couldn’t call my parents, so I’m stuck here for another whatever days.”

They were like, “Oh, that sucks. You used up your phone time.”

I let her use some of my time because I only used ten minutes. The corrections officers were like, “You can’t do that.” Thankfully they didn’t notice until after she got in touch with her parents. If I didn’t let her use the phone, she would’ve had to wait an entire nother day to contact her parents.

For a lot of people, it was their second or third time being arrested. They knew the system and they knew what was up. Maybe 40% of the women I talked to were parents.

The biggest thing I realized was that you can get arrested once, for something stupid like a traffic violation. This is the system that keeps people trapped. You get arrested for something stupid because they think you look like a criminal, or you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time, and if you’re poor you can’t pay bail. Then you opt for pre-trial, which is what I did. You don’t pay bail but every once a week, you have to report to a corrections officer. But the instructions are ambiguous, and it’s not always clear where the location of the pre-trial meeting is. If you don’t go, you can get arrested again. They can get a warrant. You have to report somewhere, do all this stuff, go to drug court, show up at some place at some time, get a lawyer. There’s a huge process you have to go through after jail. If you mess up in that process because you’re confused, or you don’t have money, or you don’t have a good lawyer, they’re gonna arrest you again. If you don’t have a car and can’t travel, if you don’t have a phone, if you don’t have money to take an Uber or whatever, you’re not gonna be able to go to pre-trial, or go to court, or hire a lawyer. So you’re gonna get arrested again for the same, original stupid reason.

I’m really lucky I have a lawyer who’s telling me, “Today at 7 pm, you have to be here.” A lot of people don’t have that. They get out of jail and they don’t know what to do. They go about their normal lives, then they realize there’s all these meetings and courts they were supposed to report to, and they get arrested again.

A lot of people I met were like, “I’m here because of failure to show up to court.” “I’m here for violation of probation.” They were supposed to go somewhere, but they didn’t have a car or money to go.

They were all just normal people. They were just poor or born in the wrong areas, I guess. Aside from the girl who was crying, everyone was pretty casual about it. They were like, “Yeah, this is my third time being arrested. I have kids. This is such a pain in the ass.”

A lot of them were like, “My parents have been arrested too.” They feel normal about it. My cellmate — that was her second time being arrested. The first time she went to juvi because she was still in high school. She had drugs. She had drugs in high school.

For my English class I made a website about jail. [Opens website] Something crazy I found out is that we have a 70% recidivism rate, which means that an estimated two-thirds of people who leave jail get arrested again within three years. It’s usually for the same things, like “Failure to go to court” or “Failure to show up to pre-trial” — things related to why you got arrested in the first place.

I guess the most eye-opening part of this experience was that when I first got to jail, I was terrified. I was like, “Everyone here is supposed to be rapists, murderers, scums of the Earth. I don’t belong here.” But when I talked to them, they had all been arrested for stuff way less intense than me. Like speeding, or violation of probation, or battery but it wasn’t serious battery, you know?

They were all just kind of defeated. They weren’t like, “This isn’t fair! I was just arrested for a ticket! I shouldn’t be here!” They were like, “This is how it is. Life sucks. This is life.”

It was so much easier for me because I knew in the back of my head, “I’ll get a lawyer. I have parents. I’ll get out of this.” I mean, the whole situation was horrible for me and I speak English and come from a wealthy family. Imagine what it’s like for poor people who can’t speak English. I could tell that in a lot of people, they had no idea what was gonna come of this.

After the second night, I got let out. I was with a group of five girls. One girl was holding something. I think it was her prison outfit. An officer was like, “Give that to me!” She didn’t speak English, so she was just staring blankly. He started screaming at her.

Me and this other girl were like, “She doesn’t understand you. Yelling at her isn’t gonna make this process faster.”

The officer was like, “I’m not talking to you!”

They didn’t have any official translators. If someone couldn’t get their point across, usually one of the other inmates would help.

They also made a new rule that if you’re a female, you can’t leave unless you have a ride home. Apparently they let out a girl and she got raped, so they said if you’re a girl someone has to come get you.

The stupid part was that we didn’t have our cell phones back. How were we supposed to contact our friends to get us? But I used the phone there and called my roommate, and it was a miracle she was awake and had money on her phone to pick up. She sent this guy Jake to come get me.

I got my clothes back. Then I remembered that officer who told me to leave all my stuff at home. Everyone else had their stuff impounded, so when they got out, they could call someone and get a ride. I was the only one who got bad advice! I was like, “Shit, had Jake not saved me, I would’ve been let out with no money, no phone, no way of getting home.” Nothing. That’s why that girl got raped! I could’ve been that girl because that stupid police officer told me to leave my phone and money at home!

I was finally free at 2 am. Jake just had a big smile on his face. Jake is always happy. He’s a DJ, so this isn’t the first time a friend of his has been in trouble with the law.

Oh, and a few hours before I left they gave me this “Inmate Handbook”, which I’m going to keep forever. And it has all these rules in it they weren’t following! [Opens Inmate Handbook]

The first thing it says is, “Each inmate must be treated with respect and they have the right to ask questions.” I don’t think people were treated with respect. And I didn’t feel like I had the right to ask questions, because every time I did, they would shine a flashlight in my face.

“B: You have the right to be informed of the rules, procedures and schedules about the operation.” This is important because a lot of people didn’t understand the rules, procedures and schedules, especially the ones who didn’t speak English. It says you have the right to be informed, but if you ask questions they just say “I don’t know” or “Shut up” or “Sit down”.

It says stuff like, “Each inmate must be provided with a pillow and blanket.” I didn’t have a blanket or a pillow. If you’re there for three days you can buy a pillow.

“These basic services are provided to you: healthcare, meals, personal hygiene items, water, laundry, mattress, pillow, the opportunity to shower regularly, proper ventilation and time to exercise.” Apparently you’re only allowed to go outside three hours a week. Aside from three hours a week, you’re indoors and mostly likely you’re in your room. You’re not allowed to be in the common area except for meal times.

You should look into public defenders. John Oliver did one about public defenders, and how they have like three new cases every day or something.

I have other papers. [Gets another paper] Okay, so this is an example of what’s really stupid.

Every week, I have to go to this pre-trial office. They gave me this paper that said the office was moving on the 14th of this month to this completely different location. So last week, I went to this new location because it was the 17th. When I got there, there was this paper taped to the door that said, “Just kidding. We haven’t moved the location yet, so go back to the old location.”

At that point, it was too late for me to go back and sign in. It was 4 pm and the office closes at 5. I called my officer and I was like, “I don’t have time for this bullshit. You guys told me you were moving, so I went to the new location.” I got in a fight with this lady.

This story makes me really grateful I was never arrested in Japan. I don’t think they’re required to provide you with an interpreter either. [I’m far from fluent in Japanese.]

I know. I went and visited one of my friends who got arrested in Japan, and we weren’t allowed to speak English in the visiting room. Because he might be scheming something, you know? The police officers don’t speak English. This friend is American. He doesn’t speak Japanese at all.

I tried to get information on when he was getting out, if he had a lawyer, blah blah blah. I tried my best to like… katakana Japanese to him, you know? And sign language but it didn’t go anywhere. And when I spoke in katakana, the police officers were like, “Hey, we know what you’re doing. You can’t just speak English in a Japanese accent.”

One of the police officers taught him how to say, “You’re really pretty” in Japanese. That was one of the only things he could tell me.

He got a lawyer. His brother kind of fixed everything. His brother is super rich. It was just funny when I visited him because we couldn’t talk, so there was no point.

He was there for like two months. What happened was he got in a fight with some guy at some sketchy club. They get you fucked up and give you all these drinks and tell you it’s free, then they give you a two thousand dollar bill. They refused to pay it, and the other guys called the cops and planted a bag of coke on them.

That’s what they said. I believe them, because as much as these guys would do cocaine, they wouldn’t do it in Japan. They were only there a week and they know how illegal that shit is in Japan, and how pointless it is to do stuff like that in Japan.

I think he was the only white guy in the jail. I’m guessing there weren’t that many people for him to interact with. However they provided him with paper and a pencil, so he just wrote a book, basically. It was called “My Japan Jail Book.”

I saw a little bit of it. It was like, “Today I ate a bowl of rice. It tasted like rice. I’m losing a lot of weight. I’m tired of rice.” Towards the end it’s like, “If I see another fucking bowl of rice, I’m gonna cry.” It’s really not interesting. It was like, “Today they gave me a new pair of flip flops.” “My lawyer visited me today but we couldn’t speak to each other.”

The officers kinda liked him because he’s such a funny, goofy kid. He’s just this American dude covered in tattoos, but he’s really scrawny and like a 12-year-old boy inside. Apparently all the Japanese corrections officers were having a ball getting him to say funny things in Japanese. They taught him to say “Let’s get fucked up” and “Let’s drink”. They taught him “kampai” and shit like that.

Let’s get back to you. How did the other kids react when you got back to school from jail?

Well I thought everyone was gonna be like, “Oh my god, she’s such a degenerate. She was arrested.” But no. Apparently getting arrested at my university is like, “Hi. Welcome.”

A lot of students got arrested at Ultra. So many kids at this school are really rich drugheads who get arrested but can get away with it because their parents can afford lawyers or whatever. I would say the kids at this school who’ve been arrested have been arrested for more serious stuff than the criminal-looking people in jail.

The pretty white kids at my university who get off with a clean record are being arrested for stuff like molly, dealing drugs. That was the most shocking realization for me. I get away with a clean slate. I probably won’t get arrested again in my life. I’m probably not gonna have a felony on my record.

So many kids here are like, “I got arrested for selling cocaine” or “I got arrested for 500 bars of Xanax, 50 tabs of acid and I was drunk and I punched a police officer all at once.” They get off after two days in jail, clean record. It’s like nothing happened. Meanwhile, for the people in jail who look sketchy, it’s like, “Speeding ticket.” “Failure to show up in court because I didn’t know the dates.”

Now that I think about it, that was also shocking. I thought everyone was gonna look at me like I was insane. Like, [Deep voice] “That girl was in jail.”

But suddenly everyone’s like, “Oh yeah, I was in jail too.” “Yeah, freshmen year. I went to jail too.” The guy I was just hanging out with, he was arrested freshmen year. Everyone at my school has been arrested for serious shit.

It’s really disorganized and set up so you’re fucked if you don’t have money. Being arrested for dealing cocaine as a privileged, wealthy student, you’re gonna have a much better outcome than if you’re arrested for driving with a suspended license, but coming from a poor family. If you’re poor, you’re gonna be in jail for longer, you’re probably gonna be arrested again, and it’s gonna stay on your record, so it’s gonna be harder for you to get a job, which means your kids are probably gonna end up in the same situation as you.

The system is really fucked up.

Epilogue:

She’s fine. She has to do a lot of community service. She’s not traumatized from jail.

Here’s her website she made about jail: http://eng106finalproject.weebly.com/

She’s fine because we could afford a lawyer for her. I’m sure her appearance helped.

I can’t say it better than her: The system is fucked up.

http://www.drugwarfacts.org