One of the things that tends to irritate me about long-time critters is how fast they develop religion once they're behind bars.
And -- in most cases -- an inmate will get a case of Jesus in a cold-blooded, cynical attempt to game the judicial system.
This works, because the majority of county jails in Texas don't have a full-time minister for the inmates. In most counties in this State, the spiritual needs (*snort*) of the inmates are tended to by whichever local minister has extra time after attending to his non-confined flock.
Generally, we wind up with a young sky-pilot just out of the Jesus Academy who hasn't quite yet -- despite his teacher's best efforts -- realized exactly how deep the depravity and hypocrisy runs in your average long-term critter.
I've seen it time and time again: the critter who sings the loudest, prays the gustiest, cheerleads the preacher, completes every question on the Bible study handout, stands in line to quiz the preacher after service and writes soul-searching letters to the preacher regular as clockwork every Tuesday and Friday; ten minutes after that critter hits freedom he'll be sitting in a topless bar with a nekkid dancer on his lap, a glass of booze in one hand, a paw-full of her anatomy in the other, and cutting deals for all he's worth.
I got into law enforcement in 1993. From then until now I have never -- I say again my last: never -- seen religion stick to a long-term critter once he's out of stir.
Since a preacher is a Man Of God, and this is Texas, most non-critter-type folks pretty much figure that a preacher is on the side of angels (pun intended) and give said preacher wide latitude in his doings. Especially when he's doing God-type things. Make no mistake: the critters know and count on this.
The inmates in our current jail are only allowed to receive books that are mailed from a genuine book publisher in unbroken packaging, so Reno has a pretty good idea of the answer he's going to get when a preacher walks into the jail with an extra Bible under one arm. When Reno asks the preacher about the extra Bible, the answer is that the Bible is a gift to an inmate from the distraught mother of the critter.
Being the cynical heathen that he is, Reno gently asks for the Bible, gives it a quick once over and finds that Dear Old Mum had stuffed the spine with Acapulco's infamous botanical export before entrusting it to the sky-pilot.
Bear in mind that Reno wasn't the first, or even the tenth officer to contact the preacher, but because (as I said) this is Texas -- nobody's going to mess with the preacher. Not to mention the Word of God. Given a properly naive preacher, in most jails this is an absolutely iron-clad method of smuggling in contraband.
You can get stuff out of jail this way, too.
One year our town was having it's usual Fourth of July BBQ and General Good Old Time On The Courthouse Lawn. Got some horseshoe pits, one of those inflatable bouncy things for the sprogs, and about a thousand or so men, women and bairns eating, mixing, courting, running, flirting, gossiping, snogging and just generally enjoying themselves.
I forget why I was heading back into the office, but as I'm going in the front door, I see the preacher arm-in-arm with one of our inmates coming out that very same door.
"Afternoon, pastor," sez I, eyeing my inmate, "What's on your mind?"
"A fine day, brother LawDog! One of God's lost lambs has RETURNED unto Him!"
"Goodness. And so unexpected. If you don't mind my saying, though, he looks awfully chipper and, well ... mobile ... for someone on his way through the Pearly Gates."
"He has accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his PERSONAL Saviour and has had his sins WASHED from his very soul!"
"That's nice. I'm happy for him. Apropos of nothing, why is he in the lobby instead of a cell?"
"He has welcomed GOD into his soul! He is PURPOSE-driven and CHRIST-filled! Surely a new Christian may walk for an hour under GOD'S own sky? I will bring him back."
"Oh, hell no. God may have forgiven him, but the State of Texas says he owes thirty years. Get back in that jail."
The inmate turned a noble face to the preacher and pronounced soulfully, "That's okay, preacher. I knowed the 'Dog wouldn't understand. I forgive him, and I feel sure that God will forgive him, too."
"I can't believe you said that with a straight face," sez I, "Get your butt back in there."
When I told the evening deputy about this incident, he opined that since it was the preacher, he probably would have let the preacher walk the inmate around the courthouse square a couple of times before saying anything.