Prison Diary: Shakedown Holiday

Not a whole lot for the diary today. The study didn't happen this week because of the "semi-annual shakedown."

Two times a year the prison goes on lockdown for a shakedown. During the shakedown the inmates are confided to their cells. The guards then go from cell to cell to perform a shakedown. A shakedown is a search for contraband. The guards tear the cell apart, looking through everything the inmate owns. Flipping through the pages of every book. Inspecting every container. After the shakedown the inmates pick up the mess and put their cell back together again.

Because surprise is important for the searches, the shakedown is never announced ahead of time. We get no notice. So twice a year we drive out the prison only to be told that the semi-annual shakedown has started. We turn around and go home.

The shakedown takes a few weeks to complete. It's a miserable time for the inmates. Sitting confined in your cell for weeks. Having your cell torn up.

But the shakedown does give us two holidays a year. It's a hard on the inmates, but it's nice to have a few weeks off twice a year to re-charge your batteries and spend a few Mondays in row at home with the family.

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