Beware the Chowchilla Women's Prison, for they shall take your pants.
My friend Bob* is a writer. Or he would call himself that if only he could get something published. In the meantime, he writes. Bob is also a lawyer, but that is not his day job either. It does, however, come in handy when writing the story of a young woman in prison for life for killing her boyfriend. Lawyers are provided more access to prisoners than regular visitors. They are also allowed to bring more accessories, like tape recorders and writing tools.
But not pants. At least, not blue pants that resemble those of the inmates.
I can only guess this is to prevent a visitor from trading places with an inmate, thus facilitating a daring escape. But it is a women's prison and Bob is, as you may have guess by his name, not a woman. He is not a big, hairy biker, either, but I do not see how even the most unobservant of guards could mistake him for a woman.
Bob wears navy blue Dockers along with a dress shirt, jacket, and tie for his 6-hour interview visit. He swears he has worn blue pants before but apparently this pair resembles California State-issued inmate blue denim pants and is verboten. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is nothing if not prepared. There is a handy little store nearby where you can trade your prohibited attire for something acceptable via a complicated sign in/sign out process that does not include getting to choose what you end up with.
Bob returns to the prison in his dress shirt, jacket, tie, and...sweatpants, then proceeds to tell everyone he makes eye contact with that they are not his pants. Like they care. This actually happens after a second trip to the Pants Exchange, required when he realizes the sweatpants have no pockets and he needs pockets to transport all his stuff. (Hey! Doesn't the jacket have pockets? I was laughing so hard at this point I forgot to ask.)
There is additional tomfoolery surrounding a tape recorder and a longer-than-usual waiting line due to Volunteer Day, but it all comes down to this: STAY AWAY FROM PRISON.
Good luck with the book, Bob.
- More women are incarcerated in the small Central Valley town of Chowchilla - where the largest women's prison in the country is across the street from the second largest - than any other place in America. The two adjacent state prisons are the Central California Women's Facility with around 3,500 inmates, and the Valley State Prison for Women, with another 3,400 (both facilities were designed to house 2,000 inmates each). (via)
- Inmate Visiting Guide. Check out prohibited attire and items, like no gum. (!!)
*Bob is the universal name for any person you wish to remain anonymous. Did you know?
Tags: women's prison