This Chicago Criminal lawyer spent some time in lockup today. No I wasn’t in trouble I was showing a group of 50 girls exactly what it felt like to be in a holding cell.
Today was the Annual Women Everywhere Courthouse tour event. Over 100 juniors and seniors participated in an all day program at 26th & California. They were excited, thoughtful, and at times down right (and properly so) scared. At first going into lockup was greeted with the amusement most akin to something cool to be able to tell friends and family, but the mood quickly changed once we put about the same number of young people in the cell that would be in there awaiting an appearance before a judge.
Where do people sit? What do they do if they have to go to the bathroom? What do you mean they only get to shower twice a week, heck I shower twice a day.
These were the initial questions as the dread and claustrophobia of the space began to settle. Many in the group bolted pretty quickly out of there. Others were thoughtful, quiet, and uncomfortable but insisted on seeing the even smaller holding area for women inmates and just taking it all in.
Deputy Wright spoke to the group, in the holding cells. He let them know that there was one deputy for every fifty inmates. One person asked if there were fights and he answered truthfully yes. Another then asked the logical question, you break them up right? He responded truthfully, yes, but that doesn’t mean someone doesn’t get hurt prior to the end of the fight.
Then one girl asked me how I handled the stress of going into lockup to see clients. I told her it was always disturbing and unsettling but it was a part of the service to my clients. Sometimes, they can’t make bond or bond hasn’t been set yet so they have a right to counsel and I’m going to see them.