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New Year’s Eve at the Correctional Facility

Theoretically, there are probably better ways to spend a new year’s eve, but for twenty years or so I’ve spent them at our facility.  We don’t let any of our clients go out on passes on New Year’s Eve.  There is a cultural imperative in this country that presumes that getting drunk on this night is nearly a requirement.  This is not something that most of our clients have the will or the presence of mind to resist.  In fact, our policy of not letting clients go out on New Year’s Eve was first instituted after one of our clients got so drunk at a party at his place of employment he thought it would be a good idea to bring back a couple of bottles of champagne to share with the staff.

So, because we have a building full of clients who are wound up and haven’t got a whole lot to do, we usually bring in pizza and pop and let them stay up till after midnight.  I usually open up the courtyard so that they can mingle and smoke with less restrictions than usual.  That means that I also spend the evening out in the courtyard with them so that the rest of the staff can concentrate on the rest of the building.  Usually it is kind of enjoyable.  I get a chance to talk with a lot of clients and being able to hang out in the courtyard takes some of the pressure off the other staff.

Tonight was a bit less enjoyable than usual.  I spent 3 hours hanging out with the clients.  Unfortunately it is about 30 degrees and the wind is about 20 mph tonight.  I’ve got my fingers warmed up enough to type, but my toes are still not thawed out.

This was a night of firsts for me.  In the last 20 years, I’ve never had a group of male clients stand around in the courtyard singing a capella before.  I’ve also never been asked by a client if I was there to “ring in the new year with an old queer.”

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