Description of Expectations of the Experience
Next week I will be visiting the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Facility, a forty bed corrections and rehabilitation center that houses both boys and girls ages eight to eighteen. I expect it to be very structured, and a very rigid schedule, and little privacy for the delinquents. I’m thinking that there will be guards, in uniforms, but no guns, Tasers, or batons. When I arrive on the detention complex grounds, there is going to be a fence with barbed wire at the top, and I will have to check in through a gate with a photo ID, and my bag will be searched, and I be expected to go through a metal detector. I will then be escorted into a lobby, with Plexiglas windows and big steel doors, and many, many cameras. From there I will meet Lily Marx, the superintendent of the facility, with who I have arranged my tour, and a short interview. From there we will tour the detention center, and see the cells and classrooms. Each cell will have two beds, a toilet, and a sink, and maybe a window. I also expect the prison to be very bare, with little to no decoration, and gray walls with a pale blue floor, and harsh fluorescent lights shining all the time and giving their hum as you walk by. I expect it to be dull, gloomy and have a miserable cloud hanging over it.
Description of the Agency or Court
On Monday, the 28th of October I had an appointment at 10:00 with Lily Marx, the superintendent of the Ottawa County Juvenile Detention Facility. The facility is located off of Fillmore Street, near the intersection of 120th and Fillmore streets in West Olive Michigan. The building also contains the Ottawa County Probate Court, training facilities and Ottawa County Jail. The facility is clearly marked, with a large sign reading; “Ottawa County Detention Facilities”. I turned into the drive, and another sign said; “Juvenile services” and pointed to a smaller building and an adjacent parking lot. I entered the facility, and Ms. Marx came into the lobby and introduced herself to me. We talked in her office, and she told me her background, and a few other facts about herself and the detention center. The ages of the juveniles at the center are from eight to seventeen, and occasionally a person eighteen or nineteen. They handle all crimes committed by juveniles, including statuary offences. Most offenders are in the center because of domestic violence, drug charges, sexual misconduct and theft.
Description of the Experience
I was told to enter the smaller door on the left, which is what I did, and I entered a small room, and I had to push a button and introduce myself and expressed my business. I said, “my name is John Zekany, and I have an appointment with Lily Marx for an observation and interview”. I waited a few seconds, presumably so they could confirm my story. Then a loud snap and the CLICK! The door was unlocked and I went into the very bare lobby, a voice from another speaker said to wait in the lobby, and someone...