My daughter-in-law Joy demanded that I write up this story for the blog. My granddaughter Miriana also says this one is her favorite. So here goes.
This incident occurred when the west side of Huron Valley was being converted from a men's to a women's prison. Of course, the women had been there for a year already and they were finally getting around to the unit where this prisoner lived. Prisoners were being moved out of the unit to numerous other locations in the prison while the renovations were taking place. So whatever friendships the prisoners had formed with each other were being disrupted.
Prisoner G, a young Hispanic woman doing time for drug related charges, came into my hearing room in segregation for a charge of Possession of Dangerous Contraband. I saw her on previous occasions. She was always polite and soft-spoken. The misconduct report stated that when the reporting officer did a routine shakedown of her cell, the officer found a piece of cardboard hidden in a box of Tampons. The cardboard was shaped like a pistol, and had been colored black using a black marker. Any item made to resemble a weapon is defined as Dangerous Contraband.
The prisoner explained that she and some of the other "girls" decided to have a little party, with treats and such from the prisoner store. They also came up with a little play. The fake gun was a prop for the play. She was saving it as a souvenir. She claimed the unit staff were fully aware of what was going on. Well, this story was so bizarre I was having trouble not believing it.
Well, I decided I had a "teachable moment" in front of me. I found her not guilty of the major charge, but I lectured her about why such items were considered dangerous contraband. I pontificated about what would happen if she were out in the street and started waving around an object like this. She could be mistakenly shot by someone else with a real gun, like a policeman. While I talked, I glanced at the officer present and she would nod her agreement. I stopped talking and looked at prisoner G, waiting for a response. She looked back,
Finally after about ten long seconds, she said, "Can I have my tampons back?"
I was floored at this response to the wisdom I had tried to impart to her. I stared back, then looked at CO Franklin. Then we both burst out laughing. The prisoner just looked at both of us and said, "What? They're expensive!"
I gave them back.