Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tom's First Night

If everything went as scheduled, Tom Anderson checked into Sheridan yesterday about noon and spent his first night in prison last night. And is today doing what prisoners do. Something to think about as you go about your day. (No, I'm not feeling sorry for him, just trying to give some perspective.)

To get a better sense of Tom's experience here's what Bill Bailey blogged about his arriving at prison last April:

The cabbie knew exactly where to go, having delivered 5 or 6 other inmates over the last year who were either returning from furlough or transferring from another prison. Twenty minutes and $30 later I arrived.

The time to enter the rabbit hole had arrived.

After checking my driver's license, the guard directed me to the control center.

Just inside the entrance of the main building hangs a sign: "Through these portals walk some of the finest correctional officers in the world." The clock read 11:58a.

A man sat behind the reception window. I introduced myself and he instructed me to take a seat and announced over the loudspeaker: "New commit self-reporting at the control center."

I knew my life was about to change but I was having a hard time getting worked up over it. The place was totally non-threatening. I felt like a freshman registering for college or perhaps entering a military prep school.

As I write this it is Sunday afternoon, April 1. I have actually written over 20 pages of notes on a variety of subjects and am going back over them to write the final drafts before mailing them to my wife.

I have had 48 hours to assimilate what is going on around me (and to me). It would take forever to recap it in one long narrative. Instead, I will simply recount different experiences as separate posts.

For more of Bailey's first days in federal prison you can go to Bailey's April posts.


  1. Why does my throat constrict when I read The Rabbit Hole? It's like driving at night for me on bad roads. Panic on some level sets in and I am reacting before I know I am reacting. It goes to my heart and then my stomach. I cross myself and go forward with reading. Bill keeps us safe and doesn't reveal too much but I find myself wanting to do something even though his problem has passed.

    My daughter bought me a wooden bead bracelet. I've come into the habit of dedicating certain beads to a certain prayer or person. He is your friend and now I read your blog more than I call my best friend-- he is my friend, too. I take it off several times a day to play with it and absent-mindedly think and pray for people. I'm not even religious! (If Tom could mentally transport himself here to help me with my Russian declensions I would REALLY appreciate it!) Let him know, OK? (Both that I'm praying for him and think of him several times a day and that I need some help with my Russian!)

    Can we have a coming home party for him when he comes back? I am bringing tea sandwiches and stuffed grape leaves!

  2. Smiling here. Tom can't help you with your Russian, I guarantee you that. Even if he were here.

    But I know he'll appreciate that you are thinking good things his way.

    Now turn off the computer and call your best friend.

  3. Alas, you are available more often than she is-- I can leave notes! She is an elected official and I'm up mostly at sporadic hours when she isn't!

    One of my friends who'd been at Sherridan said that Tom will be under 23 hour lock down to put him into the mentality then they will let him out and have the mindset for five years. I don't know how that helps them come back to normal life.


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