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My husband has a nephew in Telfair State Prison. He’s nineteen years old, and is convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping, possession of a fire arm, and other lesser crimes.
He’s been in and out of jail for several years, and every time he’s in there, he calls me collect, and I accept. I can’t help it. I know better, but he’s still just a kid and I thought I could help him.
He had a rocky life—haven’t we all? His mother is a mini celebrity. The state took her baby away and then lost it. I won’t say anymore, but she was on talk shows making the rounds until they paid her a nice lump of money to shut her up.
None of this helped Sorry. Nothing could have, I don’t think.
When Sorry calls, he talks about all kinds of things. Mostly it’s that he shouldn’t be there. Let him tell it, he didn’t do anything—surprise, surprise—and that those “cops, man, set me up.” He claims that even the judge knew it, and so he only sentenced him to seven years instead of twenty. Lucky man.
He calls here about twice a month or so. He tells me about the fights he’s gotten into in there (it seems that there pretty bad people in those prisons), and most recently started taking classes and he will have his GED soon, and start working on a vocation.
I told him that was good, and that I hoped he stuck to it. He said he would.
Frequently he asks me to call his sister three-way so that he can tell her to send him money. Now anyone who has ever received a collect call from jail knows that the first thing the recorded message tells you is that “if you attempt to make a three-way call, or call forwarding it will automatically hang up and you will still be billed for this call.”
Have you heard that message? Oh, come on, I can’t be the only person with family behind bars. OK, I thought so.
But don’t you fret. There is a way around this. As I told you once; if there’s a will, a con will find a way.
It’s strange, but seems that the prison and jailhouse phone listen out for a dial tone, or something making them aware that you have just clicked over. I’m not sure how this works, but I can tell you that I have done it several times.
Once he gives me the number to call, he begins either hitting the receiver rapidly on the wall, or more often (believe it or not) “blowing” into the phone. Hard, as if he’s putting his mouth right up to the holes and trying to blow my ear out right through the phone. Then I click over, and make the call.
It always works. I don’t know why. I don’t know how, but it does. We can continue the phone conversation with the other person, or I can hang up if they’re not at home, and finish talking to him.
The operator, if I remember correctly, also tells you that the “call may be monitored.” I don’t know if this is true, but if it is, then why do they allow it to continue going on. I assume that there is a reason that the phone companies and the state have set it up this way, so I can’t figure out why they don’t do something about it. I mean, word spreads fast in jail: it spreads faster than…shit, I don’t know what, but it spreads pretty fast, I’d guess. So every con in the world must know about this by now. And if the guards have monitored one call where it’s happened, then they must know it too.
I don’t know, maybe they figure that there are other things bigger and more important in a prison than a couple of cons calling their mothers and their girlfriends at the same time. I guess I would too.
By the way, I received a call the other night. It was from Idiot, calling collect—from JAIL. I didn’t accept.