If you really want to know

The way it goes

On the inside

Look at the cell searches

When the screws come chasing

The inevitable contraband

It’s not so much the violation of our space

“They treat us like criminals”

But what they find

After demolishing our kitchen

The cupboards and the fridges emptied

The panels unscrewed

The draws broken

They tell us

We found four syringes

Two mobile phones

And a tattoo gun

And we know there’s more

Somehow after all that

The searches and the sniffer dogs

The penalties and the box visits

Half the jail is still high on Suboxone

More often than not

And the fresh tattoos show up

With startling regularity

When the searches are over

The pod cleaned up

And one inmate tipped back to maximum security

We kick back with a smoke

And a coffee

And some of us write a poem

Cell or living area searches are one of the most disheartening aspects of jail. If the screws are in the mood to ruffle feathers they go to town on everything. They pull everything apart, empty out bins, tear posters of the wall and completely trash the place you’re unfortunate enough to call home. More often than not the searches will show up all kinds of contraband and punishments follow. A search day is not a good day…

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