We departed the elevator only to be ordered into another much smaller holding cell. I was able to find a seat in the rush for limited bench space. Others next to me scooted closer to me as they made room for those that were attempting to sit down in these cramped confines. There was probably only room for between ten and twelve where we numbered nearly thirty. There was only one toilet and one sink. These too became makeshift seats. The holding cell next to ours held at least as many as this one, they too were on their way to Shelton, Washington States Reception Center.
Any inmates sentenced to more than one year in prison will be processed through Shelton.
Some ill-prepared individiual manuevered his way through the crowd back to the toilet where he intended to use the bathroom. It was only through threats and ridicule by numerous people that it would be best to wait for the room to empty out before he did this. It was too crowded. He took their advice.
The holding cell began to empty out as two at a time people were called out to an open area where there were prison guards giving dirctions to undress. Then came the standard “Strip Search”. I stood up and stretched as the room began to air out. I was in no rush to get on the bus. When I did step out for my “Strip” I followed the routine. I moved faster than the orders to “raise hands above your head, front, back, open your mouth, ‘dentures or partials’, turning my head so they could inspect the inside of my ears, ensuring that I had nothing concealed there. “Lift and separate” meaning lift your scrotum and separate your penis from your sack. Then I turn around, “Left”, I lift my left foot and wiggle my toes, “Right”, again I lift and wiggle, then “Squat, spread ’em and cough”. I do this too.
All of these measures are to ensure that we do not introduce “Contraband”.
But it is also a way to take away the last vestiges of freedom. What else do you have after they “Look down your throat, and up your ass”?