Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Going to Jail - (Germany) Day 454

A view of the jail we visited, located at Coleman Barracks in Mannheim
You can see the guard towers at each corner...and of course
there are fences and barbed wire along each side.
This morning I headed to PT in my ACUs. I just showed up for formation and then headed back home. I'm turning in all my gear this morning, so I brought my wife to work early and headed to CIF (Central Issuing Facility). There are walk-ins from 0800 - 1200, I arrived at 0730 and brought in all my gear…and waited. I knew I was early, but I wanted to be first and get it done with. They opened up a little early and I packed all my crap inside the office. The local national (German dude) working the counter had me give him a copy of my orders and my memo stating I can turn in all my gear early. I am turning everything in as if I'm ETSing (leaving the army). He printed off a list of items that I needed to turn in and I started handing him things one at a time. He would give them a quick look over and then mark it off the list. It all went pretty quick and even though I was missing a grenade pouch, he said he had a few extras and I wouldn't be charged for it. After that he gave me some paperwork showing everything I had turned in. I've heard horror stories about turning stuff into CIF, like if there is a speck of dirt on an item they won't take it. Luckily my guy was pretty easy going.

I headed to my office and did a quick email check, then checked in with the chaplain. I had to head over to Subway and pick up a large order of party trays for today's lunch bible study. Once I brought them back to the conference room, the chaplain told me to take a couple for myself. I took a sandwich and headed to my office where I ate lunch and surfed the web.

We headed out after lunch, I drove the chaplain to the hospital in Landstuhl for his appointment. There were no TMPs available, so he had me drive him in his own car. The appointment at the hospital actually took quite a while. In addition he had to get some paperwork from another office on the other side of the hospital and bring it back to where we were. Before we left he bought me a snack and some coffee.

It was already well after 1500 by the time we headed to the company in Landstuhl. He visited with the soldiers there while I stayed in his car and did some schoolwork. It ended up being after 1700 by the time we left the company, but on a good note I was able to get all my schoolwork done. We then had to head to the prison located in Mannheim. The chaplain received a call from the prison chaplain asking if he could stop by the prison because he would not be able to make it. So we headed to the prison and I headed in with the chaplain as well, just to check it all out.

The outside and inside is pretty much like you see in all the movies. Large fences with barbed wire and guard towers. Inside there were plenty of gates that had to be remotely opened for us. We checked in and left my utility tool and the chaplain's pocket knife. I was able to bring in my phone because I was with the chaplain, but I wasn't allowed to take any photos unfortunately. We were escorted to a part of the prison called the SHU (Special Housing Unit) which was kind of like solitary confinement. The chaplain spoke with each of the 4 guys staying there. It was a pretty depressing place. Three of the four guys had kids and either a wife or girlfriend. I checked out some of the empty cells and let me just say I'm glad I'm not staying there! The cells were tiny with just enough room for a small bed, metal sink and toilet right out in the open.

On our way out we passed by a gym and a common area. The place is no joke and downright depressing. I don't think I would ever want to work in a prison! It was pretty cool to be able to go inside and actually check it out. An experience I probably would not have if I was not helping out the chaplain. We finally made it home a little after 2000…a long day!

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