My federal pretrial officer and I are about as friendly as we could possibly be given the circumstances. Once a month I report to his office for a meeting which only requires a few minutes. But he’s actually an ok guy. So I spend a lot of time with him that I don’t have to.
Just yesterday, I was sitting in the outer office reading OMAROSA’S book (what can I say? I’ve read most of the new non-fiction at the NYPL, so I chose her bull shit) when I heard another defendant say he had to get back to work and then mentioned his pretrial officer’s name – which I noted was the same as mine. So when Robert came out and called on me first, I offered to let the guy with the job jump the line (for which he was extremely appreciative) offering “I’m reading. No problem.”
As I figured, the other defendant was in and out in less than five minutes whereupon Robert came to get me. It was toward the end of the day and nobody was waiting on him. So we talked about all sorts of stuff for about an hour during which time I turned him into my travel agent.
We don’t know what will happen at my sentencing. But I have prepared for the eventuality that I’ll be receiving three squares and a flop courtesy of the federal government. Hence, I pursued a conversation about where I might end up should the judge choose to send me away. My pretrial officer was only too happy to share info about the places he’s visited – describing the grounds, locations and unique features of Fort Dix, Danbury, Otisville, Allenwood and a few others. I described the environment I sought and he answered accordingly almost as if I were booking a vacation. He had effectively morphed into my travel agent. It was strange and surreal for sure. But I got significant information with which my lawyer can request the judge recommend the lockup of my choice if it comes to that.
For example, the Fort Dix prison is located right next to the air force base – and features inmate employment on that base – and expansive ball fields and grounds. Clearly, a good place to go. Danbury is decent, too. He hadn’t been to Allenwood – which looks rural and would appeal to me. But he had seen the federal lockup in Brooklyn – a place I knew I didn’t want to go. Apparently, my intuition was spot on. It’s nasty in there and you never breathe fresh air! We agreed to avoid that at all costs. There’s one federal prison within 500 miles which is privately operated! Any corporation which operates a prison for profit would not be a place I’d want to serve time. Robert concurred.
After several minutes of this and my officer experiencing what it was like to be me, he ended our meeting with “I have to get back into my own world now.” I think what he was saying was “This is starting to make me uncomfortable. I’m calling a halt to the empathy.”
I appreciated that – and him – for being human and reasonable. Does he have a say in my future? To a minor degree. It’s not why I sit and take the time to talk with him. I actually like the guy and have a lot in common with him. So why not hang out for a while? He’s not the enemy.