After all the inconveniences during my Saturday visit, I was determined to avoid any issues on Sunday. I didn’t bring a toothbrush. I left my Fitbit in the car (which meant losing so many precious steps), and I wore pants!
On a side note – I showed some friends the dress that caused me trouble on Saturday. One of them said, “Add another inch to that dress and you could be Amish.”
Nonetheless, I wasn’t going to argue with the San Quentin prison guards about my dress length. So I decided to wear a pair of simple Old Navy capris pants to the second visit. They are black with white polka-dots. I’ve worn them to volunteer at the student store for my kid’s middle school. Imagine Audrey Hepburn’s style circa 1962.
Well, it turns out my body type is a little more “all about that bass” than Audrey’s.
It took three guards to confirm that my curves are a security risk (thank you?), and they were seriously not going to let me go in for the visit. I was genuinely surprised and horribly embarrassed.
Often there is a visitors’ assistance group on hand to loan clothing in these situations, but they were not open that Sunday.
One guard asked me if I knew where Target was. I told him I didn’t know where anything was.
You guys know I have a terrible sense of direction.
I started to think about other clothes I had back at the hotel. Since I’d only packed for the weekend, I didn’t have a lot of extra stuff. I knew I had a pair of jeans, but denim is on the no-wear list.
“Do you have any emergency clothes in your car?” asked Target-suggestion guard.
I had to tell him I didn’t.
“It’s pretty common for visitors to keep extra clothes in the car,” he continued. “Why don’t you ask the other women if someone can loan you a skirt or something?”
So I walked back into the main waiting area and made an announcement/request to everyone in the room. A woman near the end of the line held up her hand and said, “Yeah. I think I have something. What size are you?”
“Medium? Like size six?”
She walked me out to her car and dug around in the backseat. Then she tossed me a white skirt (with a built-in slip) and told me to try it on. I put it on over my pants and we went back to the check-in building. In my opinion, a white skirt is more attention grabbing than black pants, but the extra layer of clothing got me approved for the visit.
I asked the woman how I could get the skirt back to her, and she told me to just keep it because her visit was going to end before mine.
I thanked her profusely and made a mental note to keep extra clothes in my car. Maybe one day I can pay it forward and help out another visitor with a wardrobe malfunction.
The woman who rescued me was named Angel. Seriously. How perfect is that?
Angel, if you end up reading this one day; thank you for literally “saving my butt.”
Why The Extra Concern That Weekend?
Daniel broke into laughter as soon as he spied my bizarre ensemble. He was pretty sure he knew why there was so much extra security that weekend when it came to female wardrobes.
Remember that screaming and belligerent inmate who had been dragged past Daniel’s cell early Saturday morning mentioned in my last post? Daniel had heard through the prison grapevine that inmate had been enjoying some oral gratification from his female visitor. Unfortunately for the “trying to be happy” couple, there was a mom with her young child visiting in the next cage, so the amorous activities were reported and halted immediately.
Daniel and I conversed while eating fruit cups and “calorie free” ice cream. He was in a chipper mood.
He introduced me to an inmate in a nearby cage. The two of them talked about another inmate who is a suspected snitch.
The topic of jailhouse informants is still prevalent in Daniel’s life. Even though the Orange County informant scandal didn’t have any specific relevance for his own case, he believes a lot of important information came out during his trial that can help other inmates find justice.
Does Thou Not Protest Enough..?
Daniel regularly explains to me that he doesn’t feel like he’s missing out on having a fulfilling life. He tells me he’s content. There are so many people on this planet without even the basic necessities, whereas Daniel has food, clothing, water and shelter. On top of that there are of the bonuses of watching TV, visiting with friends, reading great books, and generally just being able to enjoy many of the things life has to offer.
Daniel never complains about what he’s lacking.
Which is good, because unlike Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi, Daniel still has a life.
I do sometimes worry about him, though. There’s a part of me that wonders if he just puts on a happy face when I visit or when we talk on the phone. Is his real life actually much more miserable than he ever lets on?
A Dangerous Place Full of Dangerous People
Even though he introduces me to fellow inmates and acts like everybody is chummy, this place is still a maximum-security prison. The people behind those bars are dangerous, or at least they can be dangerous in certain circumstances. And Daniel is one of them.
If a man is already on death row, what does he have to lose? So, no matter how much Daniel tries to convince me that his life is hunky-dory behind bars, I’m always waiting for something bad to happen.
Often Daniel tells me about a stabbing or a shooting that took place in some other part of the prison. I can never find anything on the Internet about it, but I’m not sure what is actually considered newsworthy.
For example, on Sunday I had to sit in my new pretty white skirt and wait 15 minutes for an alarm to be turned off before I was allowed to enter. Shots had been fired somewhere on the prison grounds.
That’s all they told us. This wasn’t newsworthy.
I didn’t spend our entire five-hour visit grilling Daniel about his crimes, but I do ask a lot of questions. Throughout the past two years, I’ve been piecing together Daniel’s version of the murders of Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi. It varies greatly from the story given in court, but Daniel’s account doesn’t make him look any better.
He never claims he’s innocent. In fact, I believe he’s been quite forthcoming with me, despite his worries that I might end our friendship because of the horrible things he’s done.
I won’t, though. Daniel is my friend, but I long ago accepted he deserves to be right where he is. I know that Daniel Wozniak would never hurt me personally; I get locked in a cell with him with no trepidation at all.
Does that mean I can guarantee Daniel is no danger to society? I can’t.
Obviously, there is a side to my friend that can be sent over the edge. His motives help me understand why he did what he did, but they will never make his choices acceptable. I reiterate this to him constantly.
When we talk, I can’t help playing the “what if” game with him. I go crazy thinking about all the opportunities Daniel had to stop the course of events that led the murders of Sam and Julie. I don’t need to point any of this out to him. He’s spent seven years thinking about it.
I still have to say it to him, though. Just for me. It’s so I know he’s continuously regretful about destroying two families.
Even with all of this, Daniel still looks forward to my visits. As do I. We are friends. If there were no blog, we’d still be friends. If there were no book, we’d still be friends.
There is a book though. And I plan to answer all of the questions I’ve gotten on the blog. (Yes, I have much to say about Rachel).
Another “Sexy” Visitor
After the visit was over, I was walking back to my car and ended up in a conversation with another exiting visitor. She was a tall, thin, seventy year old woman (she told me her age), and she was not what you’d describe as curvy. But she was lamenting about how the guards had made her cover up her white blouse with her sweatshirt for her entire visit.
Her: “I wore this exact same blouse a month ago and they didn’t complain about it being see-through then.”
Me: “I think the guards were being super strict this weekend because one of the inmates was caught getting a blowjob yesterday.”
Her: “Oh that explains it. One time I was wearing big thick cable knit sweater, and the guards could still tell I wasn’t wearing a bra underneath it. I had to put on one of the loaner bras that the visitor helper group keeps in stock. The only people in there were me and a little boy getting a trade out for his camouflage T-shirt.”
Me: “They were closed this morning. I had to borrow this skirt from another visitor. I was lucky she had it in her car.”
See guys? I wasn’t the only one with clothing issues.
We headed to our cars and told each other to have a nice day.
Rear View Mirror
When you’re heading west on the 580 freeway, San Quentin is the last exit for Marin County. Driving home from my visit, I could see San Quentin reflected in my passenger side mirror as I crossed the Richmond/San Rafael Bridge. The prison got smaller and smaller and I felt such heartbreak for all the destroyed lives it represents.