My son and I are seasoned jail visitors. We’ve been going to see his dad for a couple years already in different facilities. So we know the drill—dress modestly, get there on time, put your stuff in the lockers, wait around, go through the metal detectors, wait around some more, don’t hug too long, and don’t draw attention to yourself.
The last time we went, though, they added getting sniffed by a police dog before going in for the visit. It was awkward. Partially because my son is four so he was excited and confused about a dog coming out. I didn’t really have the time to explain to him why we were standing along a gate so that a dog could smell everyone one by one (front and back) before we went in for the visit.
And it wasn’t just an annoying additional step. It was also kinda humiliating. I’ve been pat down and all that for visits, but, in that moment, I was very conscious about the fact that my entire life was in the hands of these COs who were making up procedures as they went. They could do anything they wanted, and they were.