El Pasoans Used To Stand Outside County Jail Gesturing To Inmates
Once upon a time, inmate's families and friends used to stand across the street from the county jail, motioning and gesturing messages of love and support to inmates, until it all finally came to an end.
It's been a while, but there was a time when El Pasoans would hang out across the street from the county jail on Overland, gesturing and continually waving crazily to inmates.
For decades, family members and friends stood across the street from the county jail in downtown El Paso waving their arms in the air sending particular messages to incarcerated loved ones.
At the height of this custom, anyone could spot loved ones any day of the week spelling out letters (think the YMCA song) in hopes that the inmates would spot them from the confines of the county jail in downtown El Paso.
People would stand out there, repeatedly motioning with their arms and hands, some even carrying signs and waving bandanas, shirts, or towels, hoping that the inmates across the street would see them.
I always wondered if the inmates ever get to see their loved ones from the street below, but it turns out, it all depended on whether the inmate and their loved ones arranged their unconventional meetings via phone or during in-person visits before they stood out there.
Even then, it was a hit or miss, and that is why loved ones would hang out for a good while for a chance at a glimpse.
While it wasn’t illegal to stand in front of the jail and wave over and over at a building, it was somewhat distracting, so police would clear the group only to have them return the next day.
Over the years, several remodels were made to the jail's interior, and in the early to mid-2000s, the view to the street below was blocked off completely, thus putting an end to the sidewalk theatrics and the old school custom.
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