I was released from the United States Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas at 4:30 AM on June 16, 2009. The stone-faced guard handed me $26 dollars in cash, my expired credit cards, my expired Illinois driver’s license, and a worn-out yet familiar leather wallet. In return, the guard took my federal inmate ID card. I felt a sense of renewal making the exchange. I was starting to feel like a civilian again. Then the guard decided to deprive me of my dignity one last time.
“I’m gonna have…ta strip search ya,” the guard said from behind the bars, standing above the counter top where I was gathering up the credit cards, license, and money, and putting them into my wallet.
Why the hell does he need to strip search me? I thought, so excited to be free but also trying to control my anger. What does he think I could possibly want to smuggle OUT of the prison?
“Step on over here, inside this door,” the guard gestured with his thumb.
You fucking sick motherfucker. I’ve got a duffle bag with all my books, letters and other personal belongings out in the prison van, and you want to strip search me? You should be searching the duffle bag, but go right ahead you dumbass inbred hillbilly. I was so close to freedom but wanted to punch his fucking lights out. No, I thought, I’m a better man than you.