Tag Archives: Hampton Jail

Jail Closed for Winter

By Officer Doppels

There are a lot of things that can be experienced, or things can that just happen, at the Hampton Jail. As any good guard will know, it is the anticipation of not knowing what may occur, which keeps the inmates on their toes and focused. As a guard at the jail, I am committed to making it a good experience for all the inmates. We are awake and ready to go before the inmates are rousted in the morning, and we are there when we switch the lights out for the night and securely slam the steel doors of control.

However, regardless of what may happen in the jail, everyone starts out from the outside with an arrest and properly taken into custody. I was reflecting on a recent arrestee whose wide-eyed expression sticks with me and always brings a smile to my face.

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Handcuff harness made and modeled by boy Blake

Not to be outdone by the likes of James Bondage and Nick, as well as the Hollywood costume designers for the movies “Infamous” and “Capote,” @bondageboyblake made a handcuff harness of his own, which he also models at his home, and on a recent visit to Hampton Jail. Check him out:

Handcuff harness made and modeled by boy Blake

 

See more of boy Blake and his bondage adventures by visiting him on Twitter.

My Trip to Jail

By CellShocked

Hampton Jail in IowaUsually, it’s the decisions that I make quickly and then act upon them that are my best decisions.  This telling will emphasize how a recent weekend (09/10/21 – 9/13/21) will have forever changed my life.

I live in an area that is not completely rural but doesn’t have much going on either.  I live right off of an interstate and can be in Boston in a couple hours, NYC is a 5-hour bus ride away, Manchester airport is an hour and a half away, so I can get to places.  But where would I go?  I absolutely hate going somewhere alone.  Now don’t misunderstand, I can travel alone but it’s the destination.  I need someone to force me to do new things.  I am so passive that I have let the world pass me by for the past 45 years.  I failed to take risks and really take that leap of faith.  The only way I can rationalize it is that anxiety and depression have owned my emotions all of my life.

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Bringing Pig-Dog to Heel

By Officer Doppels

When you are around and about the prisoners, you come to appreciate all the little things that are not that readily apparent on the first meeting. While there is much that you may hear, see and understand, there are also those things that come through smell, and touch, and nuance – both gentle and no so gentle. The prisoners are in your control and under your custody. And while that may seem like a black and white issue, a clear line between being controlled and not, it is a process of slowing making the prisoner fully understand, accept and become resigned to the fact that he is a prisoner, and nothing more.

I recently did a few days of helping out at the Hampton Jail. It was a very satisfying experience. On this visit, with my first encounters of the inmates I eyed one of the prisoners that I wanted to control, to torment and to force him to yield. I gave him a nickname, Pig-Dog. I walked into the cellblock and barked out “Noses and Toeses!” which is the standard command to assume a position eyes away from the officers against the opposite wall with feet flush to the wall, faces to the wall, and hands clasped with fingers interlocked behind their heads. I yelled it out, and it startled a few of the inmates. One of the other inmates I would later learn confided that it was an “Oh Holy Shit” moment for him.

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Follow-up letter from an inmate

The inmate who did time at Hampton Jail in Iowa wrote another letter, and this time he enclosed a picture! See below:

 

Dear Metal,

Well, I got discharged a few days ago. It was a complex experience, and there are some things that you always knew, but become so real in the lockup.

The place is absent of any measure of time. There are no clocks, nothing to mark the passage of time. Sure, there is a clock tower nearby, but the building air conditioning and the sound of other inmates drowns out those reminders. You wonder, is that the morning light that you see through your narrow line of sight, or is it just the nightlight? I was fooled more than once. Natural daylight has a different hue than light from a bulb, but the grayness of the cellblock paint seems to be very effective in taking what warmth from natural light and turning it into something a bit more soulless.

Many of your senses are dulled, but others just seem to be heighted.

When I got home, I could smell it — the lingering odor from the jail uniform. The uniform, made of a heavy cotton almost denim like quality. The smell stays with you. You can smell it on your skin. And with that smell, you carry the marker of a prisoner — an almost DNA-like connection to all the other men who have worn that uniform before you. You might think of it as a brotherhood, but that is not really it. It is more of an ethereal chain gang that connects us all, the smell of the steel doors and the aged paint, the inklings of dust.

Also, you come to understand the power of the cell door, both as an element of confinement as well as symbol of security. The security to keep you where you are, and the security perhaps of where you are supposed to be. The night in the hole — which I spent because of my bad attitude — was jarring. I slept, but I kept being constantly awakened. Each time, I would test the door, to see if it was still locked — somehow thinking by magic it would not be. Oddly, though, it would be a disappointment if it was unlocked.

The jail experience is one of constant redundancy and routine. I stopped counting the number of times my hands were cuffed and uncuffed. I learned to accept the ankle shackles as the way things are going to be. But also, you find that you yearn to be cuffed, as a proxy to just interact. When the jailer leaves, he closes the door behind him. You are there on your own, in a mental solitude that is just a controlling as a physical confinement in solitary. Your mind wanders, and then in time you begin this odd sense of bonding with your jailer. He holds all the keys, all the power, and all the options.

My experience was at times unpleasant, gripping, soul-searching and frustrating. I learned that doing time means that time moves very slowly.

Your actions, your choices, or decisions not to decide are all in front of you. You make your prison. You realize that you think you are own person when you go in, but in the end you understand that you are just something to be counted, controlled. You are just a number.

 

hampton jail iowa

 

Metal would like to thank the inmate for sharing this information and picture!

Third letter from an inmate

Update: I received yet another letter from my acquaintance, this one apparently written when he was actually INSIDE his jail cell! See below.

 

Metal,

Well, here I am. I have decided that orange may actually be my color. I am out of the habit of wearing baggy clothes.

There is not much to say. What you notice is what you take for granted. There are no visible clocks, so the passing of time is a blur. There is a nearby clock tower for the county courthouse that chimes through the day, but the sounds are muffled. And while I can hear some of the time, you never know if your counting of the ‘bongs’ is right or not. I feel my senses are a bit dulled.

The starkest, boldest and most damning of going to the jail is the transformation. You lose your freedom of course, but what you wear, what you do and when you do it. The most striking though was the transformation of the world color. The courtroom is painted in warm hues of a mix of peach skin and gentle terra-cotta. It is well lit with thoughtful lighting and bright. The floor is carpeted and the furniture, while designed to be functional, is comfortable. I did talk back at the judge a bit, and that was not appreciated. I soon learned the message.

The coldness of it all occurs when you leave the courtroom. You leave the courtroom and enter the ‘public’ area of the Jail. The warm tones are left behind and you transition into a blend of law-enforcement shades of green and green-grey. The carpet becomes well-aged linoleum, being clean and well swept. The lighting moves to standard fluorescent lighting. Then finally you go through the heavy double steel door into the Jail itself, the floor is now bare concrete, the colors are all very dark, unyielding blue tinged custodial grey. What few lights bulbs that exist are hidden behind very hard plastic fixtures, and likely at most are 50-watt bulbs. The place is dim. The lighting is not strong enough to even see what you are reading.

There have been long periods of quiet tedium. And waiting. And waiting some more. Waiting for something, a something that seems never to come.

I will keep you posted.

Second letter received

I received another letter in my in-box today from my acquaintance. I think he is in Iowa:

 

Date: Sunday

Metal,

Just a quick note to let you know where I am in my travels. I zipped by the Jail on my way through town a few minutes ago. I wanted to find a gas station first, and get the car filled up. I did not want to find a reason to linger here any longer than I needed to after getting the business done at the jail.

As I drove by, I thought that the Jail building was a bit odd. The exterior from the street is kind of interesting in that classic late 19th century American Italianate style, but it has not painted in a welcoming warm color that would befit its design. Nothing warm and Meditreaning like here, instead, the exterior is painted in this rather institutional and foreboding penal gray color with the exterior plaster garlands over the windows painted black. Not the best curb appeal if you would ever want to attract buyers, but who would want to buy a jail, anyway?

It is rather hot and windy today. Not really that fun to be outside, but it beats rain and snow. I have put gas in the car, and I am parked across the street from the Jail in the parking lot of the local post office. I have kind of a line of sight of the place. I am not certain if I am really stalking it, but yes, I am stalling a bit. I wanted to get some little things done on my phone before I get going again in a bit.

Okay, okay. Time to get this grim task done. I will circle back with you in another message in a day or so.

PS. Gosh, all of the sudden I really need to piss.