My Time in San Quentin

July 18, 2008 - Friday 

Scott Peterson has a blog.....from his entin jail cell.  When I read that, it reminded me of my time at San Quentin.  The date was October 3, 1996.

That was the day the verdict came back....I'll never forget the words, "We the jury find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty."

Where were you that day? 

A friend was a prison guard at San Quentin.  My niece and I had remarked that it would be interesting to be inside... not realizing it would be possible.  He got it approved rather quickly and suggested our attire should not be provocative........that sounded easy enough!

After we signed our lives away....literally.......if we are held hostage...absolutely no negotiations, no exchanges, no bargaining.....and.....something about...if the SWAT team is called, we are automatically considered a prisoner and are treated as such........that should have been enough for reasonable ladies to change their minds.....

For me, angst entered my body and mind as we were led through the huge iron creaking know that door we've seen so often in movies.....when that door shut, my legs began to wobble and the sick feeling I had at that moment I can recall the thought..  Now, I was old enough to know niece may not have been. 

We saw the huge library (mostly law books), met the librarian and saw some inmates.  We chatted with the chaplain in the chapel.  He invited us to return on a day there was a service as he praised the talent of some inmates.  I fully intended to return...We passed the cafeteria (the deadliest area of the prison)...I found that out years later from LockUp on MSNBC ...a show about prisons.

We were taken to the floor where the inmates lived and the floor where our friend was a guard.  A few rules....not many....."don't ask what they're in for and for how long".....sounded reasonable.  I don't know where my niece was but I was being shown around a tiny cell with 4 beds by 3 inmates...don't know where the guard was either.  They couldn't tell me fast enough why they were there, what they were accused of, and that they were 'lifers'.  I did ask them about rape issues in prisons......they assured me it didn't happen on their floor and they sounded truthful.....they also told me they didn't kill their ladies...just convicted of the crime....and that sounded truthful......I am not gullible!

The television was blarring, an announcement was made that the jury was returning with a verdict.  My new friends were very interested.  I was as well. 

Some were standing, some sitting on the bed glarring at the TV......and then...... "We the jury find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty." .....

To say jubilance filled the room would be understated.....and you'd better believe I was expressing a bit of joy myself!  I would not debate these men today! 

I hadn't missed a word of the entire trial and wasn't surprised at the verdict.  The prosecution did not prove its opinion.  So the verdict did not strike me with wonder and astonishment.

On the way out we were treated to beautiful murals that adorned the walls painted by the inmates...heard and saw a pack of the prisoners coming in from work or play?.....It seemed like 100 men and 1 guard.  My perception only....I didn't inquire as to the ratio.  Viewed cases of weapons conviscated from cells....what ingenious and creative prisoners!

On the outside, I remember being shown the top floor....that floor that housed some pretty famous people waiting to die.  As some of the names were mentioned, I felt relief to be leaving.....the stalker, the hillside murderer, the CRIP co-founder, the Polly there is.........

Scott Peterson...the wife killer...oh sorry....he says he's innocent!  Some people are looking for the real killers....meanwhile Scott can get in some great blogging he waits....

Then there is OJ on the outside looking for the murderers and in his own prison.....

Where were you that day? 

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