Well, it wasn't really a prison cell, and I wasn't there for very long, but I did go to jail on Friday. I had been driving to a surgery conference on Wednesday with two of my residents when I got caught in a speeding trap. I was apparently clocked going faster than our vehicle can go, but that is a different story. After a long discussion with the policeman going through the various "options" he said I needed to go to court on Friday at 8am.
Friday morning I arrived at court, but the traffic papers from Wednesday had not arrived, so I waited until noon when those arrived. During this time I sat in the court room with about 50 other people whose cases were being tried in front of everyone. It seemed like the guilty people went through the side door while the non-guilty folks went back the way they came. At some point my name was called and I went up to the stand. My charge was read to me and I pleaded guilty (still wondering how our van could go that fast, but unable to return another day for an appeal).
"Any mitigation?" asked the judge.
"Uh, no," I replied (not knowing what mitigation was).
"OK, then you will be fined 1,500/=."
And then I was ushered out the side door. I found myself in a courtyard with 20 or so prisoners, some in handcuffs. I approached the gate and asked the guard what happens next.
"The person who came with you goes to pay your fine, and when they bring the receipt, I let you go."
Hmm, I guess I missed the memo about bringing a friend with you to court.
Fortunately, I had spoken earlier with a guy who knew the system, and he knew that I didn't come with anyone, and so he soon showed up at the gate and offered to pay the fine for me. I handed over the cash, praying that he would indeed come back with the receipt and not enjoy a nice dinner on my gullibility. He came back shortly saying that the cashier had gone to lunch and would not return for another hour.
While he had been gone, a group of the prisoners approached me and were pressing me for money. The guard at the gate decided that it would be OK for me to wait in my car until the cashiers office opened after lunch. So that's what I did.
It was an interesting experience overall, with many occurrences that I am not at liberty to mention in this forum. Suffice it to say, I'm glad it's over, and I pray for justice here in this land and around the world.