WHILE YOU WERE AWAY – A play by the Fall 2015 Documentary Theatre Class (RCHUM 334)
Scene #14: “Job Security” written by Jacky Saldana
When I started working here, I had one goal: to survive. When I started, I didn’t get much training.
You were just cut if you weren’t effective. If you were new and on duty with a shitty guard, well, you
were just out of luck. During a shift, you’re pretty isolated. You’re part of a “team”, but 95% of the jail
is worked alone. Some days you watch 40 inmates and the next 92. [Somber] If one of them gets the
wrong idea, well, it’s not a good day to be you.
County is only a year, but you see these same people so much. It’s its own little subculture. They all
know each other, they come and they go. Some guys leave and come right back. They never
change. Whether it’s on the outside or inside the jail, they’re always trying to play the system. They
know it. They know what to do, how to do it.
The visiting room gets interesting. Honestly, I’m not there often. But when I am, it’s the same faces.
Old inmates visiting current inmates, the same women visiting the same men. It gets to the point
where we know the visitors as well as the inmates. Visiting booths are in the pods. You monitor the
visits, but you can’t hear anything. They’re all recorded, but we don’t listen unless we need to. It’s
usually a lot of arguments and drama, suicidal thoughts, and um, women flashing their boyfriends.
[Flustered] I just don’t bother with it.
We overhear inmates talk. They say it’s hard being on the inside because they can’t be with their
families. I guess it’s hard enough being in jail, but then to have to hear from their families what’s
going on and not be able to do anything.
[Beat] You see, people complain about being in jail, yet they’re here so often. [Deep Breath] If you
ended up in jail, I’d laugh at you. I wouldn’t feel sympathy. Sure, people make mistakes once or
twice. After that, you’re just a pawn in the system. How could you be so selfish? I think of my son. Of
not be being around for him. It would suck! Molly would kill me.
How could you do that to your child repeatedly? Put them through all of that. For what? A pay day?!
An adrenaline rush?! [Beat] But it’s none of my business. Do what you want. I’m just doing my job.
Chances are I’ll see you again soon.