Monday, February 8, 2010

Subways Are For...

Greg was a very neat, small man. He was immaculately groomed. I don't know how he managed to iron his clothes but his pants always had a knife crease and his shirt were perfectly pressed. Since there are no such services in jail and residents don't have closets, he was unique.

"I am an expert on the New York subways system. I have always lived for the subways since I was a young child. I read everything that was ever printed about them. I know the history of every line. I can tell you when it was built, how it was built, and why it was built. I can tell you the architect, the engineer, and the company that built the cars. I would rather talk about the subways than anything else in the world. Even when I am home, I would rather read about the subway than make love to my wife. Would you say that I was obsessed by subways?

All I wanted to do when I grew up was to work as a subway conductor. I am an expert. I have even written a book about the subway and it is published. You can buy it in stores. I have the best collection of memorabilia in the country. I spent all my money buying information about the New York subway. There are somethings that are not for sale. Unfortunately, I felt that I had to have them anyway. That is why I am in jail."

Greg is still in jail because the district attorney is trying to make a case for grand larceny. By law there must be a law library in every jail to help residents look for ways to help themselves and their public defenders. I asked Grey if there was any precident for materials stolen from non-circulating libraries. Surely this is not the first incident of stolen books and I wonder how many people had been jailed for eight months without going to trial.

Greg returned the books, refurbished them and has offered to pay restitution. So far, the district attorney had refused and apparently has decided to take the case to trial. I wonder if the expense of keeping Greg in jail for these many months and the cost of the impending trial was a good use of tax payer money.