Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blast From The Past II

Since it's my day off and I don't know what's going on in my house, I'll recount a little story that happened a few years ago. Just sit here, Timmy, and let Grampa tell you a story.

We had this young knucklehead. Imagine that, why don't you. He was doing four years for small time burglary or some such. His judge sentenced him to a 120 day "shock" program. If he could do his four months in the program, then he would be released on probation. We see this happen all the time. Usually with the younger offenders. I've rarely seen it work. But then, I only see it when it doesn't work.

So anyway, this young punk gets locked up inside of his first week of the program. They give him more than one chance, but this young idiot is determined that he's not going to behave himself no matter what. He gets...I don't know... two or three conduct violations a week. Assault on staff, flooding his cell, threats, etc. Everything but murder and escape. Not for lack of trying, tho.

Then one night, we were short staff in the house. Someone had to go home early and there wasn't anyone to replace him. The yard was sending someone, but it would be later. I told the Sarge I would stay until the next shift came on but he said "No, go on home. We got this." It left him and one other officer and the bubble guy. He said the yard dog was coming down in a few minutes. So me and BG burned out. Just as we were getting to the steps of Central to sign out and go home, there's a radio call. Code 70! A fire! In MY house! Snap!

I turned around and looked at BG and he at me and just then the Lieutenant came out the door and said "Turn around, gentlemen." Soooo........

back to the house we went.

Got back there to find C-wing full of smoke. The Sarge is on the phone and the other officer, young Superman, is unreeling the firehose from the cabinet and stringing it into the wing. Turns out this young asshat got hold of a lighter, pulled the (mostly) cotton stuffing from his mattress and set it on fire. What a jackass. If we hadn't responded as quickly as we had, he would have died from smoke inhalation in that cell. I would do it again, but I often regret responding so quickly.

So I run up and pop the chuck hole on numbnuts cell and run back to turn the water on to the hose. Young Superman braces himself with the nozzle and I let her fly. Water goes shooting into the cell and steam starts adding to the smoke. All the other offenders are screaming and kicking on their doors, demanding to be taken out of the wing.

Right, like that's going to happen.

Superman is blasting the crap out of the whole cell with the hose and the smoke is really awful. I grab a bypass key and run back to open the rec door to get some more air into the place. It helps, but slowly. BG is helping Superman wrestle the hose and they are valiantly hosing down the fire, the walls, the inmate and anything that happens to be in front of the hose nozzle.

They finally get the fire down to a small smoulder and the lieutenants come rushing in to save the day. The water is turned off and they manage to get the inmate cuffed up. They bring him out of the cell cuffed in front!!! and put him in another cell and shut the door. One of the lieutenants rushes to the bubble and gets the fire extinguisher and comes back into the wing. I start saying "Wait! That's a chemical extinguisher! Don't use that!!!"

But it's too late. He either doesn't hear or ignores me and lets fly with the chemical powder onto the smouldering mattress.

So the wing is immediately filled with this yellow chemical powder that is nearly as bad as the smoke. The other knuckleheads begin anew kicking and screaming to be taken from the wing. The floor was stained for six months with that stuff.

Then we find out two thing in rapid succession:
1. The knucklehead still has his cuffs and won't give them up, and
2. He's still got his lighter and he's not giving that up. either.

So we're still stuck there while they assemble a movement team (that they wouldn't let me be on) and they go in and get both the cuffs and the lighter. The only high point was when one of our more gung-ho Sargeants decided the team was taking too long and went in to assist. Since the knucklehead was young and fairly strong, they were having some difficulty. Ol' GW trotted in there and planted his full 300 pounds on top of that kid and all the fight went out of him just like that. Left him laying face down on the floor and mewling like a kitten.

Not long after that he was transferred to another facility more able to handle "problem" offenders. Or so they claim.

So instead of doing four months and going home, our knucklehead is doing his full four plus (so far) another eight for arson and assault on staff. And I beieve he has gotten another half dozen or so assaults on staff since then.

And you know what? He isn't the first one I've seen do that. Nor, apparently, will he be the last. I suspect that our old friend Poop Boy is heading down the same road.

How sane is that?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Still Covered In Ice

Even though the walks and entries have been cleared, the rec yard is still covered with a thick sheet of ice, now about four inches thick. I guess I should have tried to get the snow removal crews to come down and clean it off, but they were running full tilt just to keep the sidewalks open and if they weren't busy, then I was.

So it didn't get done. My heart was in the right place, but the opportunity never occurred.

We went out last night and tried to make a path and get a head start on the melting process. We spent maybe two hours out there with these huge steel coal shovels trying to break the crap up. Well, I say "we" but I started to do it and got four or five feet down the path and my back started twinging again and Sarge made me quit. So I had to sit out and man the phones while everyone else worked. Pfui.

It should be fairly warm today and maybe BG can get some rec done this afternoon. If his help shows up, that is. There's been a problem with that, lately. Some people have been riding this "inclement weather" thing into the ground. We still had people claiming they couldn't get to work yesterday. Yet another buddy of mine said he'd been out prowling the roads all over the county and said even the gravel roads were clear. I dunno. I guess I'm just a fool for a paycheck. I don't think I've ever not made it in because of the weather. I've been late a few times, but that's it. I can understand some of the folk who live way out in the rural areas. A few of them I wouldn't want to get to in good weather. I drove out to someones house one day and thought I may need a conestoga pulled by oxen and I seriously considered setting up a base camp about halfway and continuing on the next day. And his driveway was like a dirt roller coaster.

So hopefully the little angels will get some of their rec time this week. Then they'll have to find something else to cry about.

I'm sure they will.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Bad Rep

I've gone on and on before about the bad rep we have with the general public. They don't see us as "Corrections Officers", they see us as "Prison Guards". And as a general rule we are:

1. Stupid

2. Cruel

3. Corrupt

I get that. It's the way the mainstream media has us branded.

If I were stupid and cruel and I wouldn't have all this stress and angst and I would be having alot more fun. I'd stomp about and bust heads and make things make crunchy noises and have the best fun. And if I was corrupt I'd be making a hell of a lot more money than I am, for sure.

I don't have a college degree in anything. But if you gave me two weeks with the books I could teach a class in anything except for some of the "hard" sciences like higher math or chemistry or engineering. I've taught classes in English Lit and Philosophy and Anthropology and Creative Writing. If I could afford it, I think I could spend the rest of my life in college and never get tired of it or finished.

I think I have a pretty good grasp of the english language and I can understand some german, french, yiddish, russian and smatterings of japanese and latin.

I've written screenplays and a couple of short stories and am slowly working on a novel. I've written reams of poetry and even a few songs, but I don't know how to write music.

I can build things with my hands and even though I tend to overengineer things, they usually work for what I built them for. I built all the beds my kids slept in and they survived the abuse that teenagers gave them.

I'm not just blowing my own horn here. There's a point to this.

I heard that one of own staff stated to another "I'm surprised. I thought people who worked here would be of a lower level of intelligence."

One of ours said that.

That just frosts the crap out of me.

I'm glad I never liked him from the start. Jerk.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Ok, so it sleeted for like eighteen hours straight and then snowed for eight hours after that. We got six good inches of sleet and then another four or five inches of snow on top of the sleet. And the first thing those twits in the cells ask me when I come in is "Are we gonna get rec tonight?"


I'm not going out there to shovel out a path to the rec cages and inside the cages so they can go out for five minutes and start crying because they're cold. And my porters were all busy doing other things and we didn't have time to get to cleaning out the rec yard. Because the knuckleheads out on the yard were too busy getting into fights and checking in from each other.

And I had already hurt my back shoveling out the driveway just so I could get out and get to work. I spent most of the night standing up because it hurt to sit down and hurt even worse to stand up again. Even now I'm having a hard time sitting here long enough to type this. I have to keep getting up and stretching out so I can sit down and type some more. It sucks.

Man, I hate getting old.

I may not make it in tomorrow. I may spend the day flat on my back pumped full of muscle relaxers and slathered with Icy Hot.

Getting old sucks.

I just wanted to make myself clear on that.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


It's been sleeting now since about seven o'clock monday night. Steadily. The drive home last night was a little tense. So it was going in and back home today. I'm not that worried about me. I lived in Alaska for four years and I have a pretty good handle on driving on icy roads. It's the other people I'm worried about. They tend to do stupid and unexpected things.

But I made it there and back again, obviously. Not a whole lot happening, as most things were shut down. Can't do any rec because the yard is covered in about four inches of sleet. Can't take the little darlin's out in that. All they have to wear on their feet in Adseg is shower shoes. Their little piggies would freeze. Most likely one of the little nits would fall down and hurt himself. So no rec, and not much else to do. A calm night, for a change.

I'm not used to having nothing to do.

Went out and searched a few cells, just for fun. Got grumbled at. No big deal.

But it was on the way out something kind of nice happened. It was weird and cool.

Me and Chuck were walking out. There was some sort of argument going on in the lieutenants office so we skirted through and burned out quick.

Got up to the main gate and I heard this sweet noise.

Tinkling...... ringing like tiny sleighbells off in the distance.

I held up my hand and we just stopped and listened for a second. It was cool.

Sleet falling through the razor wire on top of the fence.

It was the neatest sound I had ever heard inside the prison.

It made my night.

Selective Hearing

The noise in our house is often incredible. There's on an average 160 people all talking screaming yelling beating/kicking on the doors all at the same time. It's usually very loud. And for the most part, I hear all of it. I listen for tones of voice. Especially on the radio. I listen for plans and I listen for names. They sometimes come in handy.

But there are things that sometimes I don't hear. Some of the offenders purposefully try to rile me up and it really pisses them off if I don't seem to hear. And it pisses them off even worse if they want something and I don't hear that either. If they need a new cup or their laundry or a roll of toilet paper and I sail on by like they never even spoke it just makes them mad as hell. And if I ignore them and they see me do something for someone who has asked politely, they just get all sorts of pissed off. And for some reason they think if they insult me and yell louder I might manage to hear them.

And they are amazed when it doesn't work.

There are a few offenders in my house that I have never spoken to. They stand behind the door and scream obscenities and occasionally I'll stop by their door and smile and walk on.

Boy, that makes them mad.

And for some reason the refrain from Peter, Paul & Mary's "How Many Roads" keeps drifting through my mind:
"When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"

Monday, January 26, 2009

When I Grow Up....

"Daddy, when I grow up, I want to work in a prison, just like you!"

I've never heard that.

And hopefully I never will.

I wonder if anyone has ever heard that phrase.

Gawd, I hope not.

I think I'd lose my cool.

My only child still living at home wants to be a forensic scientist. I think it comes from us watching too much "CSI". But she's fascinated with the idea and is planning her college years towards that aim. And we've taught her some side skills that will hopefully suit her until she can get a full-time job doing what she wants. I'm pretty proud of her so far, and I don't think that will change anytime soon.

So along with "What makes a good C.O.?" is "What made you do this in the first place?"

Very few people would answer "It's the family business."

For the most part, I think it's the fact that it's steady work. One of my favorite saying is "We'll never run out of stupid people" and that is so true. Unless the place falls down, they are never going to close a prison without building a new one first. And right here we have three prisons within thirty miles of each other, so it's kind of a local industry. It's the reason we moved here. We used to live in a tourist town and were laid off every winter when the place shut down and we had to draw unemployment for three months out of the year. And even though there was big money rolling through the town, very little of it ever filtered down far enough to reach us. It made things kind of tough. Then one year the wifes' nephew called and said "They are building a new prison and hiring people like crazy. You should come up here and apply."

So we did. That's why we're here. I'm not so sure about everyone else. But it's probably much the same. This used to be a big mining community. That's how this little cluster of towns came to be. If it weren't for the stuff in the ground, I'm sure this would still all just be farmland.

Now that the mines are all played out they had to do something for all these people living here.

So they built prisons. And we came and worked them.

So for the most part, that's why we do what we do. Now that it's an established thing, people come for different reasons. We still get the ones who think it would be "cool" to work in a prison. They come in wanting to kick ass and take names. They don't last too long, usually. I've seen them come and go and I can usually pick them out of the groups of newbies coming in.

A friend of mine sent me this in an email the other day:
I often found myself an outcast in school, which resulted in a want for people to like me.
Or a want to know why they didn't like me.
Eventually, I got a job in Corrections as a CO-I, not to encourage this want, or to find people that would like me, but to fight this feeling.
It didn't take long for me to realize, these aren't the kind of people I care about liking me.
Hooray, the baby-raping sado-masochistic, bank robbing, meth user with an eye patch and a club foot likes me.
Who cares.
In some ways, being a CO has helped me some.
Now there are times I think, I don't give two grape sh*ts about what you think of me, my time is more valuable than your opinion of me.

I knew him when he was brand new here and wondered about him. And worried a little. But he's turned into a fine professional officer. Someone I know is going to do the right thing and be there when things go bad. I think he came here for the right reasons.

Why are you doing what you do?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Fine Fine Day

A fine day for doing some rec, anyway. Or so I thought. The thermometer at the auto body place said it was 18 degrees when I went to work. I thought we'd go in, ask a few, get alot of refusals and not have much to do.

Or so I thought.

We had three beds in the house when I came in and three lockups on the way down. They were going to fill us up. Then before all three of those made it down, there was a fight somewhere. Whups! Two more coming! So we kick out two and lock those two up. The they lock up two more. So we kick out two more and lock those two up. And the rest of our lockups arrive and we're done and it's time to feed and then get some rec done.

Or so I thought.

For a place that runs off radios we have some strange phenomena. One of them is called an "Open Mike". It usually happens when someone is sitting down with their feet up and they don't realize they are pressing a button on their radio. Sometimes you get to hear some pretty funny stuff. I over heard a guy talking to his girlfriend on the phone one time..... It was pretty good.

At any rate, I heard an open mike going with a couple of voices in the background. Then one of the voices was starting to sound kind of insistent and maybe a little panicky. I couldn't make out what was being said, but the tone was there that made the hackles on my neck rise up. I kept waiting for a "help" call but it never came. Then here they come in with some guy shouting and cussing the officers and they set him on the restraint bench and lock him down. I know this guy. He just got released maybe two days ago! And hey! Here we go kicking someone out so we can lock him up! And of course, he's refusing to go into a cell with anyone so we have to move somebody out so we can put him in C-wing. I go down to see if I can calm him down and look into his eyes and say to myself "This dude is fried!!!" He was buzzing like a 220 volt alarm clock. Wow.

So I talk to him a little and get him calmed down some and in a little while he gets put up in the cell with no problem. I kept an eye out, just in case. Normally he didn't act like that. In my opinion, he got hold of something that he shouldn't have. And it didn't agree with his brain, whatever it was. And you never know how someone like that is going to react. You just don't. But the officers that put him up were competent and professional and I knew they could handle the situation.

But I kept an eye out, anyway.

Just in case.

So we finally got to do some rec. A little late, but we got some done. Got alot of refusals, as I predicted. And they all wanted to come in early.

It would have been a good day to do alot of rec.

Or so I thought.

P.S. And, as we were getting ready to leave, the dreaded phone rang. We were getting another lockup! And he was going on suicide watch! Oh, snap! So we had to kick someone else out and move someone else out of C-wing........ All because the guy wanted to check in and was told the hole was full so he said he was going to kill himself......


Saturday, January 24, 2009

What Makes A Good Officer?

That's a good question. There are people on our camp that I would trust without hesitation. The ones that I know are "good" at what they do and wouldn't get me off in a wreck.

There are some that if they asked me to get them a soda from the machine I would question their motives. Yet they are also, in their way and in their element, "good" at what they do.

I guess it's all on what your job is and where you work. The academy taught us to be Fair, Firm And Consistent. But that wouldn't work if you went from house to house. The things I do and say in the Adseg unit wouldn't work well over in the treatment house. Or over in the R&O house where the newbies are. The officers that are good in the treatment house probably wouldn't last long in Adseg. I'm not putting them down. They are fine at what they do. It's all context.

I think I do okay. I haven't heard too many complaints. And I've worked other houses. I didn't like them much, but I did okay. And there are people who wouldn't want to work with me. I'm sure they think I'm a loose cannon or something. I always hear the remarks about breaking windows with inmates. Man! You do something one time and you're labeled for life....

It's funny, but some of the biggest screwballs on the camp have been officers for years. I can think of a few that make me cringe. And they've been doing this at least twice as long as I have. It's a mystery.

There have been a few that came in fresh from the academy and I thought to myself "This joker will never make it. He/She is going to get someone hurt." And most of them are still here. And a couple of them have actually turned out to be really good officers. You just never know.

There are jobs on this camp you couldn't force me to do. I would suck at them so bad I'd be banned from the institution inside of a week. Like working the front desk and dealing with the visitors. Or working up at Central for the Major and all the Captains and Lieutenants. I'd be fired for sure. And some of those people would do as poorly amongst my wayward children.

We should have the same MOS system as the military. You could be classified suitable for one job or another through testing. Some people would be classified high in all fields. They would be our "utilities" that just go where they are needed.

And some of us would never be allowed to roam free. For the safety and security of the institution.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Casting Call

Believe it or not, people have been actually bugging me to write "Adseg- The Musical". So I figured "What the heck!" I think it would be a good story to tell about Poop Boy and his grand plan to avoid prison. I've been churning a few ideas and thoughts through my brain but not getting much of anywhere yet. Any of you out there with any literary/musical talent please feel free to chime in. I'm looking for suggestions. And if anyone knows how to get in touch with Andrew Lloyd Weber or Tim Burton or Danny Elfman, please send them my way.

What rhymes with Adseg?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Knee Deep In Idiots

I don't know if it was the warm weather or what. But the Idiots were in full bloom and voice today. This is an actual conversation I overheard while the nurse and two other officers were doing med pass...

Inmate: Nurse! Come down here and talk to me in cell three!
Nurse: What do you want?
Inmate: I'll tell you when you get your ass down here!
Nurse: If it's not a medical emergency, I'm not coming down there. I'm doing med pass, not sick call!
Inmate: I said get your ass down here, bi*ch! I'll call a medical emergency at three in the morning so you have to bring your fat ass down here and then you'll see me, you fat stupid down syndrome ass looking bi*ch!

Now how stupid is that? Would you accept or even expect medical care from someone that you just talked to like that? If I had talked to someone like that I wouldn't accept an aspirin in a sealed package from them.

Maybe I'm just tired. What with the shift change and all I had to work seven days straight. My feet hurt and I'm tired. And I got cussed out by some of the stupidest people on the planet today.

They better hope I'm in a better mood come sunday when I go back to work.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Return Of Buck


After a triumphant tour of the prison hospital ward down the road, Buck is back on the camp. We're still carrying him on our numbers, but they decided to keep him up in our medical infirmary again.

But you could almost hear the puckering occur when the control center called and said he was back. And us with nowhere to put him. Oh sure, we have a "bed" for him. In a cell with a regular General Population inmate. We wouldn't have even gotten the door open. He would have said "I'm not going in there!" and the other guy would have said "He's not coming in here!" and it would have been a real mess. Our house was completely full when I left it tonight. We had to put a guy who wanted protective custody in a suicide cell. He wasn't too happy about it but there was nowhere else for him to go. I keep asking for a "No Vacancy" sign but they won't authorize us one.

Luckily for us someone with some sense was up in medical tonight. They knew we couldn't keep him and made the decision. I don't know why he came back. I'm not high enough on the food chain to get that kind of info on a regular basis. My guess is, they got tired of him and just decided to send him back when nobody was looking.

What do you want to bet when I get in tomorrow that he's either in the house or there will be a grand fight going on because they are trying to send him to us?
Started working with a new partner last night. I had the post doing rec for over four years and had worked with alot of different people. One guy, my regular partner "BG", I worked with the whole time and it was almost like I had never left. Except for a few flubs on my part, we just got it done. BG is off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays so yesterday was my first time to work with the other guy "Chuck".

Chuck has been working with BG the whole time I was on day shift and he knows what he's doing. He's got the rec thing down. He runs it a little different than I do but it works so I have no complaints. But we kept running into each other all night long. It'll take some time before we get the dance down right.

With BG I know that when he does this then I go do that and things flow smoothly and we don't get in each others way and we have ech other covered. It's like a dance. When I'm working with BG he leads and I follow. We both prefer it that way and it works out well. But with Chuck I think we were both trying to follow and we just kept getting in each others way. We'll get it figured out. It was only our first night.

Went to the boss lady yesterday and tried to get them to move the restraint benches. Not gonna happen. I realized after the debacle with the spitter last week that the benches are way too close to the wing doors. And the windows. I wanted to move them about four feet further into the wing so they were farther away from everything and we had plenty of room to maneuver around them. But unfortunately since the whole thing got screwed up the restraint benches are a sore subject and if we try to have them moved, they'll take them away from us.


We fought and fought to get the damn things in the first place. Then they gave them to us and then took them away again. Then they gave them back and are now threatening to take them away. Cripes!

Every time we get a tool that works they take it away from us. Usually because someone else (not us) has screwed up. Pretty soon they'll take away our pepper spray and our radios and our badges so we'll seem less "threatening" and we won't "intimidate" the poor dears.

This place is amazing, some times.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stemming The Tide

We were talking last night about how they finally spent some good money and did something.... almost right. The state spent a bazillion dollars last year putting in a new system for the sinks and toilets that limits the water and limits how many times the toilets can be flushed in a given time period. Supposedly it will pay for itself in about ten years. Of course, the hardware won't last ten years, but hey....

You can only flush the toilet once every five minutes or twice in the space of an hour. Something like that. It cuts down on the water they use. If the place is still standing in ten years it will save the state a few bucks a month. The problem was is that the only house that really needed a system like that was ours. We used to have a real problem with flooding. It seemed like it was their favorite thing to do. Some knucklehead would shove a t-shirt or a pair of pants or their mattress stuffing down the toilet and flush and flush and flush until water ran everywhere. This would happen six to ten times a week.

And we would have to stop whatever it was we were doing and get inmate porters to clean up the mess, which sometimes involved getting everybody out of their cells one at a time to clean them out, there being no drains in the cells. And if it happened during a meal, they would all cry because they would be standing in water to get their trays and complain because the food was getting cold and complain because it was toilet water but what could we do? Nothing. Take it or leave it. I don't care and there's nothing I can do about it. You got complaints? Talk to the a**hole that flooded the wing, not me!

I have to admit we used to get some pretty spectacular floods. Sometimes they would stuff something under the door to retain as much water in the cell as they could before letting it go. I've seen floods that went from one wing to another. Those were crazy. And sometimes we wouldn't catch on they were flooding until the inmates in the next wing started throwing a fit.

Good times. Good times. I almost miss it.

But not that much.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Almost, But Not Quite

It wasn't that bad of a day. Compared to yesterday, it was great. Got some rec done. No silliness or stupidity. It was almost eerie.

Then we got to C-wing. It almost happened.

Took out this one offender for rec. He was eligible and wasn't being belligerent or uncooperative, so we had to ask him. He said he wanted to go and cuffed up and went. But I was keeping an eye on him.

Some of you know who I'm talking about. He looks alot like Billy Bob Thorntons' character in "Slingblade". But he doesn't have as much on the ball. Personally I don't know how he was declared competent to stand trial. His mind moves so slow if you bang on the door it takes him thirty seconds to look up and say "What?"

So we took him out and he stood out on the rec yard and talked to the fence for awhile. When it was time to come back in he cuffed up and went in and stood in front of his open cell door and said "I'm not going in there. That's not my cell." I was patient and explained it was his cell and pointed at the door card and said "See? It has your name on it!" At which point he stepped away from the door and looked away from me.

My spider sense began tingling at this point.

I took him gently but firmly by the arm and guided him into the cell, just waiting for him to buck. Got the cell door closed and told him to come up to the door and I'd take his cuffs off. He just stood there and looked at me. I told him three times and even told him step by step to put his hands in the chuck hole and I would take the cuffs off and he just stood there.

At that point I said "Frack it." and closed the chuck hole and walked away. There were other offenders waiting to go back to their cells and I figured he'd get uncomfortable pretty soon and want them off. So I went.

After everyone else was back in I figured I'd go ahead and try one more time. At this point he was standing at the door facing it and I told him to let me have my cuffs back. He said "I want to go to sleep." I said "Fine. Let me take those cuffs off and you can go to sleep." To which he replied "How can I sleep with these cuffs on?"

I honestly didn't know how to respond to that. I couldn't think of a damn thing to say.

After a few seconds I recovered my dignity and tried again to just get the nincompoop to turn around and give me my cuffs. I thought mightily about just reaching through the chuck hole and turning him around but I thought better of it. I'm not reaching in there for a crazy person if I don't have to. Finally I gave up. Surrendered in defeat, said "Frack it" (or something like that) again and walked away. Went down to the sargeants office and told them. It took them about ten minutes of dorking around with him to get him turned at least part of the way around and they mangaed to get my cuffs back.

They're my heroes.

I'm not sure how to score that one in my record book. We won in the end but I think I was kicked out of the game on a technical. I dunno.

Incredible Nincompoops

There's something that just occurred to me a few minutes ago. I'm surprised that I didn't notice it before. Like all of the incredibly stupid super villains in the comic books, these idiots will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by monologuing. Instead of taking a small victory and moving on from there they will stand and scream about how pitiful we are and how inevitable our defeat is and just as soon as their lawyers get hold of the video tapes (or the reports or their case files or the incoherent scribblings in their cell) we will all be out of work and the prison will be closed down forever.

They have yet to realize that while one of us is standing there listening, everyone else is regrouping and forming a new plan. Plus, they also don't realize that listening to all that blather really irritates us. And considering that we are literally "the hand that feeds them", it's not all that good to irritate us.

I just thought I'd bring that up.

Monologuing is so silly.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

What A Warm Welcome!

Hoo. What a day it was. My first day back on evening shift and I barely made it in the front door of the place before it started. On of the guys on day shift in the control center called me over and said "You're walking into a sh*tstorm down there! They had a movement team on one guy and a use of force on another and the second guy is still sitting on the restraint bench and spitting on people!"

Then he laughed and said "Here ya go!"

Then on the way through Central I look in and there's the whole crew in one office doing paperwork and the movement team guys in the other office doing the same thing. About twelve people trying to do the same paperwork at two computers. What lunacy.

It seems the one guy went nuts and said he was going to kill himself and then refused to come out or cuff up so they had to go in on him with the team. Then after that was done and the team left they pulled this other guy out to see the nurse and he started going nuts and ended up slamming him on the ground. And when they went to put him on the bench he kicked one guy and head butted another and started spitting. I knew this one was going to happen sooner or later. The guy just kept getting nuttier and nuttier. And the jerk had less than a year to go on his sentence but now has maybe added another ten to that. What a fool.

And because of the placement of the restraint bench, if you opened C-wing door you were within spitting distance. I'm going to see if we can get something done about that.

So anyway I come in and the guy's on the bench and screaming and foaming at the mouth and spitting and threatening to kill anyone who comes near him. I figured I didn't have anything to lose by trying so I started talking to the guy. I worked up a bit of repoire with him but it didn't last long. Pretty soon he was spitting at me too and saying they were going to have to kill him if they tried to put him in a suicide cell.

Oh yeah, and he had a twenty million dollar lawsuit against us and as soon as the FBI got there we were all going to be fired.

Anyway, he was going to fight everything. He wasn't going to take a shot and he wasn't going to get off the bench and he wasn't going into a suicide cell. They'd have to kill him first.

And they dicked around and screwed around and hem-hawed and waited until third shift came on and let them deal with it. And by the time the team got down there we were trying to feed the house dinner. Had to stop right in the middle and wait til they were done. The team was there and they were pumped up and ready to go and they wanted to be careful because supposedly this guy had something you didn't want to bring home and what him spitting and all, and they were out in the sallyport and lined up ready to go bring this knucklehead down and carry him all the way to medical for his forced medications...... and he decided that he'd go ahead and walk up there and be okay.

And he did. The sucker. Just walked up there and gave them no trouble and walked back down a few hours later and went into the suicide cell and layed down by the heater and went to sleep.

I'll never believe another word that man says in his entire life.

Screwed my whole day up for nothing.

And all day people kept smiling at me and saying "Welcome back!"

Saturday, January 17, 2009

On Thin Ice

I don't know what it was about today. I thought at first it was just because this was my last time on day shift and I was just a little on edge. But it wasn't just me, apparently. The whole day was like we were right on the edge of having something happen, even though it never did. We even joked about it saying "Hey! It's your last day! Maybe you'll get to be on a movement team today!"

Ha ha ha.......... It damn near happened.

It started out pretty early during phone calls. We do phone calls on saturday mornings. So if you get a call from an inmate early saturday morning, you know he got locked up for something. If I get a call from an inmate early any morning he's going to be locked up for something!

Anyway, this one knucklehead was being loud and stupid. And since he obviously wasn't in control of himself, he got no phone call. Well, he just couldn't understand why he wasn't getting his phone call.... I mean after all, he used all the words he knows and said them loud and clear so his meaning should have been understood! But it wasn't. He got no phone call and it made him mad! He got so mad he kicked on his door!


And when that didn't work, he shoved all of his clothes out from under the door!

And do you think he got his phone call?

Then he covered up his cell window and said "Open the door and come on in here! I want to fight!"

And then do you think he got his phone call?

No. And he's still mad!

And probably a little cold, too.

It seemed his mood was catching. Seemingly every inmate in the house was doing his very own impression of a walking rectum with distemper. I was worried every time a door opened, because I was just waiting for something to happen. It never did, and I'm glad.

But it was strange.

I just want to say a few words about leaving day shift. And I'm just talking about the Adseg folks here. Even though as a whole we really really sucked at being a crew, individually, you are some pretty good folks. And I was glad and proud to have (most) of you at my back andI at yours. Even though it was maddening enough at times I wanted to pull my hair out, I enjoyed alot of it and I'm glad I got to work with you. The dynamic of the crew was just awful. I think it was way too many A-type personalities. Something. I wouldn't be the day shift sargeant for anything. That poor man. And I'm sure working with me wasn't the easiest thing in the world, either.

But I tried to make it fun and kept you out of trouble when I could.

And I'll miss you guys.

And I'll see you all tomorrow at shift change!

Friday, January 16, 2009


Ok, I admit it. I snapped. Just a little. But I did lose my cool there and had to walk out of the office. And of course, I had to let everyone know that I was pissed off. Sometimes you gotta. I started to open my mouth and I knew if I did, it wouldn't be good. So I slammed the drawer shut where I was working and walked (stormed, slammed, raged) wordlessly out of the office. I went and stood in front of the sallyport door and let the cold breeze coming through the cracks blow on my face. The Bubble Guy came over and looked and decided I'd say something if I wanted out and left me there. That was good. It was freaking cold outside.

A moment or two later everyone in the office dispersed and I could go in and finish what I was doing. And the stupidity subsided.

I know... I know. I'm always singing the same tunes.......

1) The job is difficult enough, why make it any harder? and
2)If we don't work together, the inmates win.

They didn't win today, but it was a close game. A photo finish, I believe.

It didn't start out too bad, at first. Just a normal friday. We were packed full, but we were going to kick out a few so we'd have some beds for the three day weekend. Then there was a 10-5 (officer needs assistance RIGHT NOW) call all the way across the camp. I was in the process of putting cuffs on an inmate to open the door and give him his meds when it was called. I almost tore his hands off getting them back. I had to go back and apologize later. Then we had to do three room moves to make room in C-wing for whoever was getting locked up from that one. They always go in C-wing after something like that so we can monitor their behavior. So we got that done and waited for the miscreant to be brought to the house. Some little old crazy dude who looks like he could have played an extra in "Deliverance". It didn't suprise me too much. I've been watching him and he just keeps getting more and more squirrely.

Anyway, that happened. Then Poop Boy was up to his old tricks again. Acting a fool and being a Richard. (I don't know him well enough to just call him "Dick") And more lockups and someone over in A-wing turned up with some awful contagious skin critters and his cellie probably had them too and they both had to go to medical and take a shower with some patented Critter-Kill'r soap and everything in their cell had to be bagged up and hauled off and if that wasn't bad enough, everyone had to keep arguing arguing arguing arguing arguing about every little thing and cutting each other off and not really listening to what was being said and just freaking arguing for the freaks sake of it and I finally had enough and had to walk out and cool off for awhile.

But I'm feeling much better now. Even if third shift was late getting in and I had to do med pass all the way til 3:30.

I feel better.

One more day on day shift. I can do this.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Oy! A Day Off?

What a day off. Just to be non-correctional for a change. Went to an estate auction. It was blue cold out side (somewhere between 0 and 10) so I figured not many people would show.


The place was packed. And the place was packed before the people got into it. The hall was only rated for 175 people and I'll bet there was 200 if there was one. Hokey smokes!

The auction was the estate of some woman who apparently had a bad case of OCD and her main hobby was watching QVC and buying things. They said it was a two bedroom apartment and was packed floor to ceiling with stuff. And she bought multiples of things and most of the stuff never even made it out of the packaging. They told me there were just paths from one room to another.

We went there at 9:30 in the morning, half an hour before it was to start and we were number 72 in the bidding. And there were alot more people without numbers. And we went there because they had a treadmill that my wife wanted.

And guess....... just guess, which item out of the thousands there was the VERY LAST FREAKING THING they auctioned off?

Need a hint? I didn't think so.

We managed to get home about 6pm. So a good eight and a half hours milling around in that crush of rude people. Had me a bit on edge, to say the least. In the mean time we bought several cartons of books, a leather box with some old pictures in it, a small box with some silver coins, about 50 various kitchen utensils and more books. There were so many boxes of books the guy got tired of doing them one at a time and said "This whole table full of boxes here.... whaddalya gimme?" The wife bid $17.00 and bought the lot. So when I came trudging back from dumping the last load she pointed to the table and said "I bought all those, too." I almost cried. I need to buy stock in Advil.

It took some clever stacking to leave a space fort our daughter to ride. And we had to go home and unload the books and go back for the treadmill. Oy!

I ended up getting six really good really big books and a whole set of Time-Life "Lost Civilizations" books. And about $20.00 in old silver coins. And some old pictures for a friend of mine at work who's into that sort of thing. And a treadmill for the wife.

It was worth it, I guess.

But I'm gonna be sore tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Good News - Bad News

We're losing an important member of our crew to another job outside the house. It's one of those good news/bad news things. He's getting a promotion and making more money, but he won't be there at our back anymore.

I'm talking about Super D, our house nurse.

I know... I know... I was just kvetching about the nursing staff in my last post. D wasn't like that. He is an ex-military medic who's been in combat and been in the trenches and worked other correctional facilities all over and knows what life is like inside. He's no "Hug-a-thug". He knows how these guys tick and worked with us to keep them in line. But he was also more than willing to help an offender who had a legitimate medical complaint.

He's the consummate professional.

He'd probably blush and threaten to kick my butt if he saw that.

But it's true.

Because D was so good at what he did, our house ran smoother and safer. He reduced the number of offenders being taken out of their cells for spurious reasons. Before, we would have to take them out and down to the nurses office for anything, including the dispensing of OTC medications. Mostly because the nurses were too lazy to take them to the doors. D would handle 99% of their complaints at their cell doors quickly and efficiently.

And he wasn't afraid of the offenders, either. He could handle himself in a tight situation.

I wish he was a C.O. In this place, I can't think of higher praise.

But he's gotten a job offer in another post with more money and we'll only see him a couple of times a month, if that. And the Director of Nursing (mistress prickly-heat) has decided we're to have a rotating staff of nurses, so nobody has to work Adseg all the time. So we never know who we're going to get. But I'll bet the ones who don't like us are going to be coming down more often than not.

So long, Super D. We'll miss you, dude. Be careful out there.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Turf Battles And Sour Grapes And Poop Boy Strikes Again!

Here we go again.....

Remember my post about "Buck"? And how I thought it had gotten resolved? Well, apparently there was and is more to the story than I knew.

See, this is what happens when I miss a day. Things happen when I'm not there.

Anyway, I was under the impression that he had just been sent back up to our infirmary to spend whatever time he had remaining in his too too mortal coil. Apparently I was mistaken. Our infirmary said that they didn't have room and they couldn't keep him. Since we were not going to take him back in the Adseg unit, they got him shipped off to the infirmary in another prison a few miles down the road, their infirmary being larger than ours and all.

Well, it seems that he started doing the same thing there as he was here, ie: laying in bed naked and cussing and spitting at the nurses, throwing food, etc. And the end result of that after only a few days was that they don't want him either. They tried to send him back and our infirmary wouldn't take him. And a rumor reached my ears that the other prison had a car in their sally port warmed up and waiting to whisk him back to us for two full days before they gave up hope. Now the medical staff at that prison are furious with the medical staff from our prison and rather than take it out on each other, they've decided it's all our fault for not taking him in Adseg and letting him die on us.

We're to blame.

The medical staff here (as well as the pshrinks and some of the couselors) are not state employees. They work for outside companies who bid for the state contracts. So they aren't really "us". Well, some of them are. There's a few of the nurses and some of the pshrinky-types that are getting to be like one of us. But for the most part, they are just contractors. I'm not dissing contractors at all. I'm just saying they aren't on the same treadmill as we are and things here don't affect them like they do us. Like I said, some of them seem to be on our side and understand what it's like "inside". They're the good folk. They tell us things.

Take for example the tidbit that the head of our medical staff (who doesn't seem to like CO's at all and Adseg even less) is blaming the whole Buck situation on us and is now out to "get" us for throwing a monkey wrench into her plans. So she's sending nurses down to our house who don't like us and don't even try to get along with us and who will use anything to report us for not doing our jobs.

Real nice woman. Temperament like a wolverine with prickly heat. And about half as attractive.

Whoo, that was unprofessional, wasn't it?

So she sent down a nurse on Adseg Committee day to try and run sick call, which consists of having us pull the offenders out of their cells and down to her office so she can see and/or treat them for their various ailments. Most of which seem to be getting out of their cell to see a real woman up close, btw. We told her "Nope! Aint gonna happen! Not on tuesdays, and everybody knows that!" So she called her boss and reported that. She's been around long enough to know that. She was just doing it to give her something to report. The wench!

And when Ol' Poop Boy started his shenanigans again, which ended up with him getting moved twice, two conduct violations and being placed back on full suicide watch, she threw a fit about that too, apparently. Filing reports and making phone calls and complaining about how we were mistreating that poor lad. And him being so infirm and all.

See, he's still on the trail of his MASTER PLAN. Trying to fake being mentally ill didn't get him kicked out of prison (LOL!!!) so now he's faking medical problems. He's filed numerous forms to be seen by this doctor and that one claiming this infirmity and that and the house nurse we had at the time (that's another post) was seeing him and shooting him down because none of them were real. It's pissing him off that we don't just get tired of dealing with him and send him home. Apparently that had always worked for him before. Today it just got him moved to C-wing where he peed out the door and covered his camera and held his food tray hostage. That got him the two violations. And when they said they were going to bring in a team with the shock shield, he said he was going to kill himself. So they went in and stripped him out and left him in a smock again.

Poop poor Poop Boy. He's just misunderstood.

It was an interesting day, all in all.

And it turns out the phone line wasn't working when I tried to call in the other morning, so I probably won't get in trouble for calling in late. The Boss Lady told me "If they try to write you up, have them talk to me first!"

She's awesome.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sick Day 1

Called in sick this morning. Woke up feeling like crablegs with all the meat sucked out of them. I really bad wanted to go back to sleep, but I couldn't. I got up at 5am and tried to call in but nobody was answering the phone. Strange. Anyway, I kept trying to call and call and it would ring and ring....


I kept calling and the more nobody answered the more nervous I got. I thought there must be something seriously wrong or the phone lines were down.

Finally, at about 7:05 (about the time I usually get down to the house) somebody answered the phone. Talked to the captain and told him I wasn't coming in. We're supposed to call in an hour before shift. I explained that I had been trying since five. He was mystified. My guess is, I'll get written up for calling in late.

No big deal.

Anywho, I think I'll go take a nap. I should have saved myself the aggravation and gone to work. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


"You didn't post anything on the blog yesterday. What's up with that?"

That was the first question I got asked this morning.

"I've gotten used to reading it every night. Reading it is therapy for the rest of us."

That made me feel kind of good.

I'm glad it helps other people sort some of the crazy out of their heads. It's a real wonder that more of us don't go postal. Hell, if we acted outside that way we are treated inside the term might be called "going correctional" instead.

Maybe by being surrounded by so much crazy every day and having to act crazy or worse, act sanely, keeps us from going over the edge. There have been times when crazy would have been so easy. Someone would be acting monumentally stupid and my gut reaction would be to pull him through the chuck hole like a pipe cleaner, tie him into a squeaking ball of little bone grinding against bone noises and kick him down the stairs. But then I'd stop and think and say "And what are the caseworkers going to tell your grandmother next week when she calls and asks how you are doing? You think she's going to be happy with you?"

That works, now and then. You always gotta be thinking.

Think I'll turn my brain off now and go lay on the couch. Got a touch of the flu or something and my head feels like it's full of broken watch springs. Be safe out there.....

Friday, January 9, 2009

A Real Sumbitch Of A Day

Normally fridays are a pretty relaxed day. The end of the week.. Nobody wants to do anything... Hah!

Not today.

Today everybody in the world wanted to come to the Adseg house for some reason or another and camp out forever.

They came down to team seven major violations and took forever on each one. The investigator came down and talked to everyone in D-Wing. Three..... no, four! Pshrinks. Seven lockups with number eight coming down the walk as I was leaving. And some knucklehead who got locked up and said "I'm not going into any cell except the one with my friend in it. And you can't make me." He was still sitting in C-wing on the restraint bench as I left.

I think Sarge read five or six violations, maybe more. That plus lunch, two counts and two med passes and two room moves.

And to top it all off, the freakin' Warden come wandering up into the bubble while I'm running back and forth opening and shutting doors like a man possessed. He starts talking about our new camera system and how nice the picture is, and playing with the remote control..... Just about drove me to distraction.

After he hangs out for about half an hour, he takes out a piece of paper and makes some notes and asks me "Any complaints?"

I successfully bit back the obvious retorts and thought for a sec. I said "We gots no freakin' paper towels! And they say we are going to run out of latex gloves! That aint good!" I think we may score some supplies out of the deal, if nothing else.

I was glad when he left. Nice enough guy, but he picks the wrong times to come hang out sometimes.

Was real happy to see third shift come in.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I'm going back to evening shift! Yahooooooo! Had to take my daughter to get her permit (cringe) and swung by to check my mailbox. The job orders were out! Back to my old job doing rec in the Adseg unit.

It's funny. I did rec for four years and by the time the wife and kids talked me into going to day shift I was ready for a change of pace. Was sick of rec. Was sick of the unit. Was sick and tired of the knuckleheads who were ten feet tall and bullet proof until you opened the door. Then I got talked into bidding on the day shift job in the same house. Then I got sick of day shift and was ready for a change of pace again. And everybody practically begged me to bid on the rec job again and come back to evenings. So I did. And I got it and I'm happy about it. I just keep going back and forth but never getting anywhere. Some day I'm sure I'll finally get completely fed up with working Adseg and go somewhere else.

Apparently this isn't that day.

I'm funny like that.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Crunch Hits Home

The "downturn" in the economy has come home to roost in the Adseg unit. We've always had a budget and needed to stick to it. I don't know how much money we have to spend and I don't really care. It's not my job to watch the nickels and dimes. It's my job to watch the inmates.

But we have been running out of supplies at an alarming rate. It started out as little things. Now it's getting really inconvenient.

Being an Adseg unit and having some of the nasty loose in our house as we tend to, we are usually a little more hygiene conscious than most places. I wash my hands about ten times a day and use that hand sanitizer stuff in between and I go through maybe a dozen pair of latex gloves a day. It's necessary. The incidence of HIV and hepatitis and other potentially irritating diseases is alot higher in our house than anywhere else on camp.

We have been out of paper towels for over two weeks now. Not just us, the whole camp. There are a few places that have a carefully hoarded supply, but not many. My boss has paper towels in her bathroom. But her supply is running low, too. The Major has paper towels. The Warden has paper towels. They may be running out too. I don't know. I don't talk to those people unless I can't avoid it. We've been reduced to using old state issue t-shirts left over from the inmate laundry to dry our hands. And that's hardly sanitary. Our supply of liquid soap and hand sanitizer is running low as well. Soon we'll be forced to use the state issue soap which is about as useful as washing your hands with used linoleum.

And to top it all off, we heard the other day that our supply or latex gloves was rapidly running out. This is not good. Not good at all. What the hell are these people thinking? I'd like to stand up on my hind legs and make the state comptroller or whoever it is that controls the budget come down and see how many inmates he'll put his hands on with his bare skin. "You got any cuts or open sores or even torn cuticles on your hands? Any openings for infection? Well, this guy has got full-blown HIV and possibly scabies. And you have to strip search him and go through every piece of his clothing and property with your bare hands. Sucks to be you, buddy."

Between work and home, I tend to do alot of things with my hands and end up with alot of cuts and scrapes. I work alot with wood and metal and sharp objects and always have little cuts and nicks and dings on my hands. I try very hard not to catch anything. I even keep a bucket and some bleach handy for my boots when I come home. When we had babies in our house the little ones loved to play with daddys work boots. I made sure they were clean. And more than once I've come home and stripped off and thrown my uniform straight into the wash with extra soap and a touch of bleach when things got messy. I'm not bringing a case of the awful never get overs home.

If we run out of enough stuff then things are going to come to a sudden halt. This is not a threat or work stoppage, or anything. This is a statement of facts. And if they start running out of food they better spend some money on ammunition because things are going to get ugly.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not My Job!

I'll admit that there have been occasions when I have wished violence to some of my charges. There have been times when it was a real good thing (for everyone involved) that there was a closed heavy steel door between us.

But I am neither an executioner nor a hospice worker. I am also not a nurse, nor a doctor, nor a licensed gerontologist. Yet it feels like I am being forced into one or more of those roles and I don't like it one bit.

There's this inmate. Let's call him "Buck". Buck is an older guy, but not all that much older. Mid-sixties, maybe. Down for the long count for some serious armed robbery type stuff. I'm pretty sure i posted about him before. He's fading fast with senile dementia and Alzheimer's. He's not all there any more. Doesn't know where he is half the time and doesn't care the other half. We sent him up to the "Hospital" some months ago and they said "Yep! He's got dementia and alzheimer's! Good luck, here ya go!" and sent him back. It seems they're not "set up" to take care of that kind of patient/inmate. WTF????

Well, it seems there was also something wrong with him physically so they sent him up to a regular hospital and rumor has it that they diagnosed him with terminal lung cancer. And they aren't "set up" to take care of alzheimer's patients either, so THEY sent him back. Huhhh??

A decision was made and he was to be kept up in our medical ward at the prison and they said we wouldn't be getting him back.

Today we got him back.

It seems medical is tired of dealing with him, since he both won't listen and can't hear and he lays around naked all the time and it embarrasses the nurses. Let me rephrase that. It embarrasses the nursing supervisors. The nurses themselves (most of them, anyway) are professionals and don't get rattled by something small like a naked man. They know he's a loony as a duffel bag full of caterpillars and they just do their jobs.

They knew that our assigned house nurse (who is a great guy and knows what we go through and stands up for us) and our boss were both going to be gone so they made the decision to send Buck back down to the Adseg unit.

Where we will probably get to watch him die live on camera.

I'm not happy about this.

Medical claims that the pshrinks say he's sane enough to return to general population. The pshrinks are all saying it's medical calling the shots and they wanted him to stay in medical. Sarge and I raised a stink higher up but nobody will make a decision either way. And neither our nurse or the boss are around to back us up.



This is just B.S. and it's pissing me off all over again just trying to put it down into words. But I think it will help a little now that I've let it out.

Thanks for listening.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Watching The Detectives

Ok, there's "something going on" on our side of the camp. I mean, there's always something going on, it's a prison after all, but this is a little more serious than the usual goings-on. Some sort of gang related thing. Another realignment of the local power base. Happens all the time. Sometimes it's just a little push and shove and sometimes people start getting hurt. Fortunately for us, it's just been inmates getting hurt so far.

But some of our staff take an opportunity like this to try and break up the gangs and stop the violence before it gets started. It's a good thing, most of the time. If they don't get carried away. And it's occasionally fun to watch. A bunch of them will start snooping around like Junior G-Men speaking in codes and using their Marvel Detective spyglasses and searching everywhere for evidence of the gang activity.

I'm not putting them down. I'm not! Ok, I may be poking a bit of fun at them. And if I was out on the yard I might be doing the same thing. I've been known to ferret out the odd clue or two. And I'm pretty good at finding hiding places. We used to have a gung-ho captain at our camp that at the first gleam of gang activity he would swoop down on a yard with six or seven officers in tow and lock up fifteen or twenty people "under investigation" until one of them cracked and told him what he wanted to know. I kind of miss him. But he made life in the AdSeg hell on days he decided to do that. We'd never had enough beds to lock all of those inmates up at one time so we'd have to kick some out early.

Even though he's retired and gone, it still goes on. Luckily on a smaller scale. Just one or two at a time. There's enough going on that in the next two weeks I'll wager a good half of our house will be locked up "under investigation" for gang activity. They'll identify the ring leaders and transfer them to other camps and we'll get other gang memebers in trade from those other camps and it will start all over again....... ad nauseum.

Alot of the staff look at it like something to break up the routine and keep things interesting. But there are a few who take this sort of thing waaaaaayyyyy too seriously. Good gawd, you'd think they were IRS agents or those guards out front of Buckingham Palace that aren't allowed to smile or blink. Humourless lot. Me, if I can't find a joke in it somewhere, I'm not having a good time. I guess I'll just keep watching my little knuckleheads and leave the detective work to the professionals.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

A Walk Down memory Lane

Nothing much happened today, so I thought I might relate a story that took place a few years ago. It's somewhat amusing in that sort of "Eeew! Get that thing away from me!" way.

We got an inmate locked up from the 120 day drug treatment program. Not a rare occurrence. We get these guys sometimes. The judge will tell them if they can get through 120 days of this program, they can get out on probation and not have to do however many years of prison they are sentenced to. Sometimes it works............ sometimes not. Sometimes these guys come in from county and they are still detoxing off of whatever it was they were high on. They don't tend to last long in the "program". This was one such gentleman. They locked him up for "creating a disturbance" or some such thing. We tend to call it "Being stupid in a No-Stupid zone."

When they sent the guy down to us, we could see he was a But he wasn't out of control or anything, so we put him in a regular cell with another inmate. No sooner had I got back into the office from this little errand than the phone rings. It's another C.O. from over at the treatment house. He says "Hey, you know that inmate we just locked up? Well, it turns out he's not completely housebroken. We just went to pack up his property and found out he's been shi**ing in his footlocker!" And then he says "He's all yours! Good luck!" and hangs up the phone.


Not many minutes after that there is a kind of desperate kicking at a door over in D-wing. It's the other inmate we put that guy in with. He says "Man! You gotta get this guy out of here! he's crazy!!!" I look in and the guys sitting on the other inmates bunk with his pants down around his ankles with one hand down inside his boxers......... just busy as hell.

Sooooooooooo............ we get him up and get him redressed and cuffed up and take him over to C-wing to be in a cell by himself. That turned out to be a good thing and a bad thing. Being by himself, he couldn't hurt anybody else. But I think being by himself helped make him a little more full-goose bozo. He degenerated rapidly. He refused to take his meds. He'd throw his food on the floor and roll on it like a dog with a dead squirrel. He'd splash all the water out of his toilet onto the floor and swim around for hours. He was a regular Michael Phelps in 1/16th of an inch of water.

But the worst was the hollering. He would holler words and phrases over and over for hours and hours on end. He was so crazy it was driving the crazy people crazy. His two favorite things were water and meds.

And occasionally he'd throw in the odd
And then back to
And once in awhile
For freaking hours and hours on end.

For days.

He rarely slept. And neither did anyone else in the wing, I'm told. Even our craziest wobblyheadest knuckleheads that we were thinking of naming C-wing cells after were begging me to get out of the wing. "Please, C.O., please! Move me out of here and I'll become a priest and I'll dedicate my life to the poor and I'll never do anything wrong again! Just get me out of this freaking wing away from that nutcase!"

Some parts of it were kind of funny at the time. I know the man had some serious mental problems but Gawd! If we could have harnessed that it would have been the greatest reform tool ever invented for the penal system.

I hear he's doing much better now. He walks around the yard down in wobblehead land talking into his invisible cell phone by the hour. He cuts big money deals with all of the power brokers and spends alot of time on the phone with the white house. But he's behaving so we don't see him anymore.

To this day, tho, every time I hear someone say "chicken sandwich" I get the giggles.

Hee hee hee.......

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Always A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride

There was another movement team today, with the new shock shield.

Trouble was..... it was in another house. That sucked. Didn't even get to see anything.

We always know when they are putting a team together. They always call the same people. Sometimes it's just nonsense, but if we hear someone called to relieve certain people from their posts, then we know it's a team happening. You can almost feel it in the air.

But usually, the team is coming to our house. I can't remember the last time there was a movement team somewhere else. I was all confused. kept looking around in all the wings for a problem that didn't exist. Not in our house, at any rate.

Turns out it was way over on the other side of the camp in the house where some of our emotionally challenged offenders are kept. I say some because alot of them live in my house a good part of every year. I know almost all of them by name. And they all know me. Occasionally I have to run down by there for something and they always get nervous seeing me loose on the yard. I get alot of "What the hell are you doing down here???"

Oh, and I say emotionally challenged because I got seriously frowned at by the head Pshrink lady for saying the forbidden word "wobbleheads". She frowns at me alot. I think the woman may have some unresolved issues.

So anyway this aforementioned knucklehead went totally crackers and started running around threatening everybody in his wing saying he had a knife and he'd kill anyone who came near him. They managed to get everyone else locked down in their cells and had him contained in the wing until the team could get there. Turns out he didn't really have a knife, he was threatening people with an ink pen. But it's hard to tell sometimes. And he put up a hell of a fight, from what I'm told. Assaulted two of the team members who came in to get him and was still struggling after getting hit with the stun shield twice. That's either real strong, or real crazy. Or possibly both.

We missed seeing all of that, tho. We were just waiting with bated breath for the team to show up with our latest contestant. But by the time they got him all the way across the camp to our house there was no fight left in him. At least they loaded him on a cart and drove rather than carry him the whole way. Everybody would have been worn out by then, I'm sure. But they just carried him in and put him in the cell and stripped him out and shut the door. Pretty much an anticlimax after all that buildup. As one of our officers said "Sometimes the foreplay is better than the act itself." That was pretty much it.

I remember about three years ago when they started offering classes in movement teams again and I got picked to go. I was so excited. The class was fun. I knew being on a team wasn't going to be fun but I looked forward to the opportunity to be on one. But it turns out that since I'm already assigned to the Adseg unit they won't put me on a team unless they have no choice. They seem to believe that since I will be dealing with the offender after the team, that I may either A: Harbor a grudge against the offender and try to "get back" at him or B: He may harbor a grudge against me for being on the team and use anything I do in the Adseg unit as "retribution" and file a lawsuit against me and/or the state. Whatever. Do you really think that anything that happens on a movement team is going to be worse than the things I have already gone through just being in that house? Pfagh! I say again Whatever!

What the hey. I'd actually rather just watch, anyway. Don't have to do any paperwork that way. They got two computers up in the office and there's usually at least seven people trying to do the paperwork at them. They should let me bring in my laptop. I'll do my report down at the house and just send it up on a floppy and they can print it out up there. They'll be writing and rewriting those reports for a week.

Didn't wanna be on their old movement team anyway!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Self Harm?

An interesting topic came up in conversation today. We were wondering about the psychological effect of working around so many disturbed people for such a long period of time. I wonder if they had taken a psychological profile of me five years ago what would be different now.

I know I'm a bit more outspoken. I used to be rather introverted except around close friends. Now I'm more likely to tell a total stranger to go blow it out his smoke hole if he's bothering me. I've done it a few times and it's always startled me.

I'm more likely to invade someones personal space to gain an advantage. I was never really very "touchy-feely" with other people before. I'm not all that now. But I know now it sometimes knocks people a step back when you invade their space and it can give you just enough edge to sometime defuse a situation.

I never really was a violent person before. Sure, I've been in my share of scraps, but only if I couldn't avoid them. Now I'll dive into a fray without thinking much about it and grab body parts and twist them around until somebody squeaks. I'll think about it afterward and say to myself "What were you thinking?" My thoughts before were always "Somebody might get hurt." And now it's "Better him than me."

I've noticed my speech patterns have changed. I used to swear alot. I still do sometimes. But nowhere near as much as I used to. Especially at home and out in public. Out here I just say "snap" alot. People make fun of me for saying that. I guess it's from hearing so much profanity at work I don't feel the need to use it so much myself.

I can no longer stand to be crowded. People walking behind me make me skittish. Going into Walmart when it's busy can be a trying time. I'll usually just leave and come back later.

Are we doing ourselves harm by working down there for so long? I still feel like the same person. But if I was wearing a tinfoil hat and hiding baloney in my socks I probably wouldn't feel any different inside my head. I still think I'm a fairly nice guy, all in all.

But coming up behind me suddenly for any reason is not a good idea. If I know who and where you are, I'm okay with it. But if you catch me off guard, things might get messy.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Daughter and I stayed up to watch the ball drop and then toddled off to bed. That was the latest I had stayed up in a long time. Intentionally, anyway. There have been a few sleepless nights when I was technically awake and not happy about it. Good damn thing I didn't have to get up and work this morning. That would have been bad news for someone, I'm sure.

I guess my mental state shows on my face too well. When I'm having a really bad day, ninety nine percent of the offenders suddenly get real quiet and polite. That last one percent usually end up having a worse day than I am. I try really hard not to let my personal and professional life cross over each other but I'm only human. Or at least from humanoid stock. Sometimes I can't help it. It would make me schizo to try and keep the two completely separate. Or more schizo that I already am, anyway. I think you gotta be a little crazy to do this. And actually, we discovered a new catch phrase: "You don't have to be crazy to work here. We'll train you!"

So Happy New Year to all and to all a good morning. I'm off to do the honey do's that I do so well. (grin)