Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What it's like in jail - for those wondering

What it's like in jail - for those wondering:

Written by Josh, Thu, 13 Jul 2006

The security guard and I had a long talk as we waited for the police to arrive at Meadows Mall. He told me of being in war, and that he believed in the LORD. As people walked by us I would hand out gospel tracts. The security officer said he would not physically try and stop me, but would only verbally tell me to stop. It was a humorous moment, but I could also see frustration on his face as I continued to share the good news in his presence.

I remember the police feeling they had much better things to do than fool with me when they arrived on the scene. I told them I felt I was doing nothing wrong, and that they did not have to arrest me. It was their choice. After they explained to me the mall policies, I remained firm, and told them to arrest me if they must, but that I didn't believe I was doing anything wrong. In anger and frustration, one officer began to cuff me and go through my belongings as if I was a drug dealer. The Christian man who worked in the mall, Gabriel, waved and watched me being led away in handcuffs, and I wondered what must have been going through his mind, knowing I was only passing out gospel tracts in Meadows Mall.

One officer tried to blame me once outside the mall in the parking lot, saying, "GOD would not be proud of you right now". I asked him if he thought GOD would be proud of him for arresting me, GOD's servant. After treating me a little more abusively, the angry police officer put me in the [police] car. The angry officer said, "Now you have to get in the hot police car." I told him it would be much hotter in hell. After some time, I began to pray for the police, and for satan to be bound. I began to praise GOD in the back of the police car, and felt GOD working a great deal on my heart. I began to weep, and prayed GOD would save the souls of the police, and prayed many other prayers as well. I was eventually moved out of the angry officers car, and into the kinder officers car, who played jazz music and opened the rear windows for me to get some cool air. This helped me relax, and before leaving the Mall I let both officers and a security guard know I wished no evil on them, and that I would pray for them. I told them it was a blessing to meet them, and truly it was. I could see in thier hearts a desire to do what was right, but frustration at me, who seemed to be causing conflict within their spirit. They could see I was harming no one, yet were compelled to arrest me ( most likely in order to keep their job.)

By the time we separated, I felt a great peace among us, each of us doing what we believed our job was without any more arguing. Much respect was given me eventually by the officers (they even put me in the shade while doing their paper work), and the officers let me know they hoped the best for me. The security guard said he would put in a word that I was pleasant and not difficult also. Other than this conflict of my preaching, I believe we would have gotten along quite well. (Personally I believe the LORD would probably go into one of these Babylonian malls and start turning over tables of money changers, but I don't have that level of faith. I do pray GOD would help me gain more of HIS mind.)

I saw many in jail who I knew, some in for repeat offenses, others still waiting to be released from the last time I'd been with them in jail (for sleeping outside). As I was led into the first holding cell with my "JESUS saves from Hell" shirt on, I praised GOD that the police did not force me to take this shirt off so I could witness with it to police and prisoners also. One officer who remembered me from before asked why I was back. I told him I had been witnessing for JESUS at meadows mall. He said with a smile, "Las Vegas doesn't want to get saved". I sure hope this is not always the case. Another Asian officer kindly smiled when he saw me, and then read my shirt. I praised GOD for this chance to witness to him! In the holding cell I counted about 30 people all in a room that was the size of about two bathrooms put together. Before going to the holding cell I was seated on a bench right inside the door with some others who were arrested.

One man came in with a breathing tube in his neck, and seemed to be fighting the officer who was trying to control him. Others came in who seemed like they were just driving home from work, and were caught for having a suspended license or some other small offense. Some came in high on some drug, without shirts, stumbling and confused. There were two toilets in the holding cell I was brought into, and some were sleeping under benches on the dirty floor in the room. After hours of being in this room (probably the worst place of all in the jail), we were finger printed, given a TB test and brief medical exam (the doctor said I had the heart of a 20 year old- praise GOD!) given our orange jail jump suits and sandals, and taken to our cells.

One man in jail suggested a boycott of Meadows Mall when I told him what happened. Others could not believe I would be in jail for something like passing out gospel tracts encouraging people to stay away from alcohol, and follow JESUS. In the cell I went to where there were 4 other me (Unit 5,cell 422), I met a man named Eduardo who struggled with alcohol (he nearly died in a drunk driving accident), and was a Christian. We prayed together, and if you can, please pray GOD gives him great help to overcome alcohol. Please pray his sister/family is freed from drugs also, and given new life in CHRIST. The hours seemed to drag on as I waited to be released after seeing Judge Brown on June 12th (TV court), who released me once he saw I never missed a court date, and I had no real criminal background. Judge Brown seemed much better than Judge Assad, and normally deals with those who are deemed mentally weak (some call it "crazy court"). The court Physchologist moved me from this court to department one, so I will be seeing Judge Toy Gregory on August 18th. (It's interesting to me that the same court Physchologist had first said I was capable to stand trial in one case, then incompetent in another, and now believes I am capable to stand trial again in this case! What is this Physchologist using to determine sanity?)

Please pray Toy dismisses this case, and pray I am a good witness to him also. I know many of you wonder what it's like in jail, never having been there, so I decided to go into more detail regarding this place. It is very trying for those who enjoy peace and quiet (like me), since some inmates (especially the young ones) can be very loud and rude sometimes - especially when you get a large group of them together! It takes a great deal of patience with others in order to not lash out at them (Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do), and I praise GOD so far I have been strong enough to keep from getting into any type of physical altercation. I must admit I have often gotten very angry when other inmates curse and do/say rude things, and I will often go into a sermon right then and there. Usually the inmates listen, but I have had those who seem to act even more wickedly after I try and correct them (unfortunately). More often then not, I would say most inmates are open to discussion about GOD since they have little hope anywhere else, and know what it's like to be broken. Many have families, and are hurting deeply inside. The jail is not just filled with tough guys, but with people who are weak, and have addictions. The same people you will see outside of jail, you will find inside jail, including business owners, students, Mothers, Fathers, etc. Many are just like you and me. I want you to know there are many Christians in jail also, which is why we should remember Hebrews 13:3, and pray GOD sets the captives free.

There are few books worth reading in Las Vegas city jail, and few officers that truly seem concerned about the treatment of people in jail (please pray this changes). Please pray the inmates become peaceful also. Please pray those running these jails will educate people on how to stay free from addiction, and give them many more resources and help while in jail to gain strength and peace in CHRIST. If these officers/judges were put in jail themselves for a day or two, I'm sure their attitudes would change, and they would be much more merciful. If you have other questions regarding jail, this experience or others I've had, please feel free to ask, and I hope to hear from you soon!

Your coworker in CHRIST JESUS,

Roussan Joshua Collins (when I am weak, then I am strong)

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