Friday, October 30, 2009

Stuck, Stupid!

I don't really have anything new to write about. I lost my notes and I can't remember what was next on the list. So I'll just relate a short anecdote about something that happened the other day.

When inmates from the Hive go out to have a visit, they go out in a full set of restraints. Leg irons, cuffs in front hooked to a belly chain. As a matter of fact, until they are released from our house, anytime they leave the house except for recreation, that is how they go out. They get to walk all the way across the camp with maybe eighteen inches of chain between their feet and their hands cuffed in front.

Not very comfortable but, hey, it's their choice mostly. They didn't have to act stupid and get locked up.

So anyway, one of the yard dogs was bringing one back from visit the other day and they stopped in front of the sally port door and waited for it to open. Swabby up in the bubble popped the door and the yard dog opened it and the guy just stood there. We looked at him and I was thinking "Uh-oh... is this going to be a problem?"

I saw the guy trying to move his feet but he couldn't step in the door. He turned and gave me a look like "What the hell are you doing to me?"

I was several steps away and not doing anything at all to him.

Then I looked and saw what the problem was and laughed. When he stopped at the door the chain from his leg restraints had slipped down in the crack in the sidewalk and got wedged. If he had tried hard enough to move he would have fallen flat on his face. We got him unstuck and into the house he went.

And he thought I was standing on his chain.

Do I seem like the kind of person who would do a thing like that?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hypochondriacs Wanted!

Of course, the crisis du jour is the H1N1 virus. Everybody is panicked by it and somebody is seemingly deathly afraid that our whole prison population is going to be wiped out by it and put us all out of a job.

Don't worry there are still lots of stupid people out there. We'll never run out. Apparently stupidity in this state is like marijuana in California: we have enough for the whole country.

But some egghead somewhere decided that if there is any inmate who we suspect of being positive for the H1N1, then they need to be isolated from the general population.

So they decided to open up one of our empty buildings and use it for an isolation ward.

Nothing wrong with that, eh?

Well, it seems that any inmate with a sniffle, or a cough, or a fever, or a sore throat (right here as the fall rains and cold and flu season get into full swing) is being sent to the isolation ward. They started out with four inmates the first day. That grew to nineteen (I believe) by the time that first night was over. There's no telling how many they have now.

As far as I know, there is not one confirmed case of H1N1 on this camp. And would they tell us if there was? No.

So they have eighteen guys with the sniffles and they send in one guy with H1N1. And they lock them all together in one room.

It's not an isolation ward, it's a petri dish!

And what happens when they lock one up from there? We found out about that. Some genius decided that A-wing will be our isolation ward in the Hive. Flipped a coin or something, I dunno.

But they never told us what to do with the other 48 non-H1N1 suspected inmates still in A-wing. So we just made a bigger petri dish.

When we cleared out two cells and brought in two inmates wearing surgical masks and we were wearing surgical masks while dealing with them..... Well, let's just say that it didn't go over well. The whole wing went ballistic, demanding to be moved out to another wing. They were all wearing towels over their faces and demanding to see the captain or the major asap!

Half of them were saying they were going to file paperwork on us (like we care) and the other half were screaming they were going to call their "people" (like we care) and have our jobs.

Dude, you can have my job! And when nobody shows up to feed you I'll be at home drawing unemployment.

SO after all the hassles and all the room moves and all of the bitching and whining and complaining (and the inmates were even worse) we went back into the office and had a good laugh about the stupidity of this place. Sometimes that is all you can do.

And if somebody really does get sick we're probably screwed.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Off In A Wreck!

I think the next time someone tries to tell me something about another staff member, I am going to shove my fingers in my ears and shout "La la la! I can't hear you!"

Hokey smokes.

I just couldn't let something like that go, tho. It was too bad and it could have gotten some people seriously hurt. I just couldn't not say something.

And of course who was shift commander tonight? None other than our very own Captain "Paperwork will make you free" Crane.

Aw snap.

He wanted to know names and dates and places and who exactly witnessed what...... hell, I didn't know any of that! So he said "I want paperwork from you telling me what you do know and who you heard it from. I'll handle it from there."

And he's going to take it to the Major first thing tomorrow so guess where I am going to be when I get in tomorrow? More than likely.

It's not so much my mouth I need to keep shut. It's my ears!

Moral dilemmas are the stickiest damn things......

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Something Doesn't Belong Here

OK, I'm having a major issue. It's almost enough to make the old adage "Ignorance Is Bliss" seem true.

I wrote the other night about the Cockroach and how much I detest him. And I wrote that the reason they locked him up was that he came up behind one of the cooks and rubbed his crotch on her. And he was bragging about it in the wing later when they thought we couldn't hear.

Well I found out tonight that not only was that not the first time he had done that very same thing to her, but she didn't even want him locked up for it this time! They had to force her to go and write a violation.

Clearly, this woman does not need to be working inside a male prison.

KP told me that she is just very meek and mild and doesn't want to make any waves of cause anybody any trouble. She will tell them to get to work and they will tell her to f*ck off and she doesn't do anything at all about it.

And she let that little slime sack hump her backside more than once and she was almost in tears when they locked him up and they made her write a violation.

And what if the next time he got a little bolder and actually tried to rape her? Would she have just pulled her clothes back on and gone about her work?

I repeat: Clearly, this woman does not need to be working inside a male prison.

I have nothing against women working here. Some of our female staff are much tougher than I am and some of them are just some mean bee-otches from the word "go".

I know, I'm married to one of them.

But this woman has no business working here at all. Things like that will get out of hand quickly and somebody will get seriously hurt.

It has to stop and she has to go.

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm Not Homophobic

Which is probably a good thing, working where I do. I've always said, I don't care what someones sexual preference is as long as it doesn't involve children or animals.

I guess I should quantify that even further. I don't care what two (or more) consenting adults do as long as it doesn't involve anything illegal. But don't involve me in it. I don't want to see it, I don't want to hear about it, I don't want to talk about it, don't let me catch you doing it and do not get into my face about it or we will have problems.

I guess it's kind of like the now-obsolete "Don't ask- don't tell" policy. When it comes to inmates, keep your nasty pie hole shut about what you like to do to whom.

But so much of the conversation in the Hive revolves around sex that it's hard to get away from it and even harder not to hear it for eight hours a day.

And right now we have several "flamers" in our house. And BG and I ended up taking them out to rec tonight. One guy came out of his cell with his hair all up and shiny and his pants as tight as he could get them and his t-shirt tied in a little knot off to the side. He came out of the cell in cuffs with his hips just a-switchin' back and forth and strutted back and forth in front of the wing while we got the rest of them out.

And for some strange reason, a bunch of those who had refused to come out to rec suddenly wanted to go out now.

That one called everybody "honey" and flirted shamelessly for the whole hour.

That wasn't too bad.

The next round we took out this homely little troll out of A-25 that looks for all the world like Richard Simmons and Kathy Bates love child. He spent the whole hour talking about his "husband" over on B-side of the camp and getting in everybody's face about how he was and talking about how many men were after him over there.

The first one I just ignored because he was fairly quiet but that second twit got on my nerves rather quickly and I desperately wanted to find something to write him up for so I wouldn't have to take him out for rec anymore. It's either that or I am going to say something not nice and not at all professional.

Be proud of who you are. That's fine.

But don' do it out on my rec yard.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Have you ever met someone who gave you an instant case of the "creeps"?

Someone whose very existence upset the balance of nature itself and the very sight of them or the mention of their name made you bare your teeth and snarl?

The Cockroach does that to me. And he's back in my house again. Uuuuurgh!

He apparently ran up behind one of the female cooks and started rubbing his crotch on her backside. If that had been me, they would have carried him down to the Hive in several little baskets.

I can't put my finger on any one thing about him that really bugs me other than his continued existence. He's nothing more than a slimy little creep. The kind of person that if you saw him walking down your street you would lock up your wives, daughters, pets, livestock and yourself. Ack!!! I'm giving myself the willies even now just thinking about him. Yuck.

I'm not sure what he is in prison for. I don't want to know. I know too much about him already.

Last time he was in my house it was for masturbating in the hallway up in medical. And we were stuck with him for months and months. Creepy little bastard.

I really hate forcing my troubles on somebody else. But this time I am going to do just that just as fast as I can get it done. I am going to sit on the caseworkers doorstep until they get him his C-5 classification and get him rolled out of here.

Then he can go play his slimy little peek a boo games with the big boys. Let him wag his willy at a place where they will spray the crap out of him every time he does it. I imagine a few applications of pepper spray on Little Johnson and he won't be playing with it too much anymore.

I know I shouldn't let him get to me, but he does. Not very professional of me, I know.

I'll shut up now. Thanks for listening.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Lucked Out

It seems like every time I find a product that I like they stop making it or it becomes extremely rare. Why is that? Am I just slow to find these things or is it a vast conspiracy to drive me nuts?

About two years ago I needed new boots for work. I figured "No problem, I'll just run down to Walmart and grab me a another pair."


Ten stores and two months later I ended up driving almost all of the way out of the state to find a pair of boots in my size.

There are three prisons within twenty miles of my house. You would think some bright boy would be stocking up on inexpensive black work boots around here. But noooooooo........

Walmart only carries them in sizes 6,7 and 8-1/2. The two shoe stores in this area don't have anything. And the local uniform shop carries lots of boots if you want to pay 80-100 dollars a pair for the premium stuff.

I don't make that kind of money! I work for the DOC!

I buy Herman Survivors. They are fairly rugged and lightweight and they will last me two years if I stretch it and they only cost about forty bucks. They are almost as light as tennis shoes and when you spend eight hours a day on your feet on concrete and metal that is a big factor.

But man! They are hard to find!

I needed new boots bad. I discovered a couple of weeks ago when we got the first big rain of the season that I had a serious blowout in my left heel and a hole in the right sole. Spent the whole day with wet socks. That sucked.

I was planning on taking my daughter driving and letting her drive me to Walmart to see if, just on the off chance, they had my boots. But I decided to go myself this evening instead.

I lucked out.

Once I found the shoe department (they have moved everything around yet again), there they were..... a 6, a 7, an 8-1/2... and a pair of 11's! Sweet! I snatched them down and tried them on. Perfect fit! Actually they felt a little funny because I have been so used to walking around with that blown out left heel. I didn't realize how much that affected my walking.

So this rainy season I should be good. I'm sure next year they will have disappeared completely and I'll be forced to drive to Utah or Pennsylvania to find a pair of boots that fit.


Good thing I got plenty of socks....

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Speaking In Tongues

The preacher is back from the hospital again and in fine voice. I'm not sure if I blogged about us almost losing him or not. They tool him out to the hospital a couple of weeks ago, pretty close to dead.

But he's back now and I suspect he is even crazier than he was when he left. If that is even possible. From the waist down he is swollen up like a summer tick and he stands at his door and screams nonsense that I couldn't even begin to try and put into words. He sounds alot like the Crazy Cat Lady from the Simpsons.

Two doors up from the Preacher we have JJ who sings at the top of his lungs all day and night and swears he has a letter from the VA that proves he shouldn't be in prison anymore and is demanding to be let out. When we refuse to let him out he just laughs and starts singing again.

And right across the wing we have the Prophet. Yes, he's back and producing more letters. According to some of his latest notes, he and 24,999 of his hand picked personal Islamic Defense Force militants are going to march on the White House on October 29th of this year. Provided, of course, that we give them transportation there.

He insists on that.

I keep telling Sarge that we should report this up the chain. I mean if those 24,999 militants come and bust him out of prison and march on the White House and we didn't do anything to prevent it, we are going to end up looking pretty silly.

On the other hand, one of his notes this evening stated "Asteroids is my god now."

So we may be alright after all.

Sometimes I just have to stop and check to make sure my brain isn't bleeding.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Heads Or Tails? I Don't Know...... Maybe....

We got this idiot in today. An inmate, of course. He'd gotten thumped pretty good down in the Silly house and they sent him from medical down to us. Had a pretty good shiner. Young kid. Maybe 25 or so. Taller than me. He was acting kinda squirrely but that's nothing new down in Hiveland. As I escorted him to his cell the conversation went like this:

Inmate: "Do you have a cell where I can be by myself? I really want to be by myself."
Me: "Nope. We don't have any empty cells. You're going in here."
Inmate: "I just don't want to be in a cell with anyone."
Me: "Sorry, chief. You aint booked into the Hyatt Regency here. We don't have any empty cells to put you into. You're going in here."
Inmate: "Well, okay, I guess."

Got him into the cell and shut the door. I figured he wasn't going to last too long in there, but I had to work with what I had. And this aint the Hyatt or even the Ritz. I don't shuffle inmates around so he can do his Greta Garbo act.

Not twenty minutes later as I'm passing trays he hands me a note that says "I can't be in a cell with anyone. I want a cell by myself."

I read it and tossed the note in the trash.

Four or five notes later Sarge gets pissed and says we'll move his cellie out and he can be in there until we get someone else in that we have to put in there. We tell the cellie to pack up and the knucklehead comes to the door and we have this conversation:

Inmate: "I don't want to make him move. Don't you have a cell where I can be by myself?"
Me: "No. We have been over this. We don't have any empty cells."
Inmate: "What about a suicide cell?"
Me: "Those are all full."
Inmate: "But what if I go on suicide watch?"
Me: "Then we will move some people and put you on suicide watch. Are you telling me you are going to hurt yourself?"
Inmate: "Well, no, but....."
Me: "Then we are moving your cellie. And you stay in here."
Inmate: "If I go to a suicide cell, will I have to go on suicide watch?"
Me: "Yes. We will put you on full suicide watch until psych can see you in the morning."
Inmate: "And when will they come and see me?"
Me: (getting very frustrated) "In the morning!"
Inmate: "Okay, I guess."
Me: "Okay what? Are you saying you are going to hurt yourself?"
Inmate: "Yeah, I guess I'm going to hurt myself."

Well, snap.

Get him pulled out of the cell and get him parked on the bench with someone watching him.

Now the game begins. Who to move? That always sucks. C-wing is chock full of idiots who either shouldn't or won't move. We narrowed it down to two choices. Moved the guy from C-11 over to D-wing. Moved the Prophet out of the camera cell in C-5 and moved him to C-11. Then got this dipsnap stripped out and smocked in 5 cell.

Then, the paperwork began. Doing the Suicide Intervention report. Changing the numbers and the boards. Changing the files and moving them around.

And they wonder why I have such a crappy attitude when I come to work.

Ah well, I brought it on myself. I elected to stay in the Hive and I have to pay the price.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Switching Hats

My day started out exactly the way I didn't want it to. It was okay by the end, but the beginning really really sucked.

I had just gotten there, walking from the Admin building over to the control center to check out my keys and radio. Something caught my eye and I looked through the fence out into A-yard and I see alot of officers running. And I think "Oh snap, this can't be good."

Actually I think I said that out loud.

And I hear someone running up behind me and I hear their radio say "10-6 the 10-5 on A-yard."

I just shake my head and go on to get my gear. I can tell what kind of day this is going to be already.

For those of you who aren't down on the radio lingo, a 10-5 is "officer needs assistance right now" and 10-6 means "situation under control". In other words, they just had to wrestle or fight with an offender but it was over with now. A 10-5 call is bad news for everybody.

I get into central and I find out the inmate they had to fight with had just gotten out of the Hive maybe an hour prior to that. Nice. The Lieutenant says to me "You and Chuck got here early and we have all of the A-yard officers tied up in this and doing paperwork. You guys go ahead and start early and go on out to the yard." So we go on out there.

Now, I haven't worked the yard at all in close to a year. I don't know everything they do out there. I usually just go where the Sarge tells me to. But we had no Sarge for awhile so Chuck and I just prowled around and tried to look like we knew what we were doing. We probably walked ten laps around the yard. That's more walking than I usually do in a day. I really need to get back to my workouts in the mornings.

It worked, I guess. We pulled off the bluff, anyway.

We worked they yard until our shift crew came on and relieved us and then we trucked on down to the Hive and got our day going late. Mere moments later we got five transfers into the house and another PC lockup from another house. And then some inmate knucklehead going on suicide watch. Then another lockup. The two floor officers we got were two guys that were pretty good, but didn't know how to work the Hive. I felt like kind of an ass because every time they stepped foot into the office I was sending them off to do something else.

And in the meantime my desk was getting piled higher and higher with paperwork and files needing to be dealt with. And count was coming up quick and I hadn't the slightest clue what our numbers should look like. I wasn't sure count was going to clear at all.

Luckily, I got my head out and managed to get the numbers right and Chuck fed the whole house and the other two put the inmates into the right cells and count cleared. Hooray!

Whew! That was a close one.

Got all the files put away and the room moves done and logged all the meals and even managed to get a few rounds of rec done. Next thing I knew, it was ten minutes past the time for me to go home! Ran into the office, grabbed my Chucky and burned out.

At least I didn't leave a big mess for them to clean up.

I think I'm going to sleep good tonight.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Warning Signs

The Hive is occasionally referred to as "Wobblehead South" since we have so many of the wobble house inmates down there at any given time. BG refers to them as the "Sillys". Sounds better than wobblehead. I guess I'll use it. Easier to type, too.

But lately we have been getting more and more of them. And tonight we had another fight down there and one of them ended up going to the hospital. They thought that his skull might have been fractured but it turns out it was pretty much just his nose got mashed.

The one who did the beating is one of our frequent fliers. A pretty big boy and just as crazy as a box of leaky doughnut holes. And spattered in blood from head to toe.

Something is definitely wrong down there.

They have a special program in the Silly house. Something flowery and technical sounding with an acronym. I never understood exactly what it meant. But it supposedly is to help them get along in the general population and outside if they ever get released.

It doesn't seem to be working.

As a matter of fact, it doesn't seem to be working at a rather alarming rate.

Two major fights in a week. At least a couple of shanks have been found down there and we have I think five offenders from there who are refusing to go back to the house or the program.

Are we the only ones who are seeing that there may be a major problem with their little program?

I haven't been down there lately but I will bet the squirrels are getting fat and severely dependent on all of the lithium and thorazine those guys are spitting out in the grass.

So they aren't taking their medications, half of the are in the Hive refusing to go back and the other half are actively trying to kill each other.

Isn't that a pretty blaring sign?

I thought it was. But what do I know?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Isn't "Wild Kingdom"

This afternoon when BG and I came in we managed to get out a round of rec. The bottom walk of A-wing. The biggest and the loudest "killas" and "I'm a C-5 you better check my file" types in the house. I just knew I was going to have a headache before we got these knuckleheads back inside.

Right before we went out a squirrel managed to get inside and was running around C-wing. BA was there with a broom trying to shoo it out when we came through. I saw it climbing on the restraint bench by the door and just breezed on through. The offenders didn't see it until they were all the way in the wing. I'm all the way down by the rec door when I hear all these cries of "What the hell is that?" and I look and all the inmates are way over on the other side of the wing trying to get as far away from the squirrel as they could.

Yeah, some real bad a** mother truckers there. Almost wet their pants over a squirrel.

And I noticed when they came back through C-wing they were all looking around first making sure the coast was clear.

I wonder.

I know someone back in Oregon that has a mountain lion for a pet. I wonder if they would let me borrow her for a couple of days, just to roam the wings?

I'll bet they would never want those doors opened ever again.

I may have to make a few calls.

If nothing else I'll get some of those dope fiend squirrels from down by the wobblehead house and let them loose in there. All hyped up on thorazine and lithium and foaming at the mouth looking for more.

I'll bet you could hear the screams for miles.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


If you remember my post about the dragon puzzle that my sister sent me a few months ago then you'll love this one.

She sent me this sailing ship puzzle today. It was supposed to look more or less like the picture above. Somewhere in the neighborhood of a hundred pieces and no real instructions. And we all know how challenged I am even when I have instructions to follow.

About five hours later I ended up with this:
Not quite like the picture. You can't tell from the package picture, but all of those wooden sails are tied on with one continuous string about eighty five miles long.

And, once again, no real clear directions.

I made a hash out of the rigging and ran out of string before I got to the end. And wouldn't you know I couldn't find any white string in this house anywhere? Ah well, it's a good thing I'm a corrections officer and not a sailor. I'll round up some string and finish the last two sails on the top when I can.

My dad and stepmom sent me a very cool dragon picture and a bacon wallet (no assembly necessary) and a wee motorized insect that is currently chasing my dogs all over the house.

But I suspect strongly that my sister is trying to drive me crazy. She used to drive me about losing my hair before it actually started falling out. Back then it bothered me. Now that it is falling out and I don't care, she's trying to make me pull the rest out manually.

Payback is a beeyotch, apparently.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Miss Dorothy Has Left The Building

Miss Dorothy has left us and gone on to another job outside of the DOC. Tonight was her last night.

That just sucks. I know it's good for her. Hell, she got away from this snaphole of a place so it's got to be good. I know she was having to commute a long way to get here and it was hard on her.

But dammit, she was one of the good ones! She was one of the people you could count on to be there and do the things that needed to be done. We don't get alot of those.

And now she's gone.... snif........ pfui.

Miss Dorothy, we will miss you, dear. Come back to the blog at least now and then to reminisce, okay? Let us know how you are doing and what life outside the wire is really like. The rest of us have been here too long to remember things like that.

On the other hand, I hear that we will soon be losing Mr. Nose Hair.

I won't shed a single sniffle over him.

I'm sorry, but he's too young, too immature and too insecure to be working in this place and even though we will be down another officer, I think in the long run we will be a little safer without him here.

I just hope he doesn't get anybody else killed where he's going.

So, we lose one good one and one bad one. That's the way it goes.

And we'll just keep truckin' along...... doing life in prison on the installment plan.


Bye, Miss Dorothy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

ASAP Calls

I just hate the ASAP calls. They mean that something bad has happened or something bad is about to happen or somebody found something bad that needs to be handled right away.

It's like when you are in a hospital and they call for something "Stat". They always mean "right freaking now, not ten minutes from now or even tens seconds from now, but right freaking now or somebody is probably going to die."

So we're up in D-wing finishing closing the windows since it didn't get done on day shift. Nothing against them, they were busy. And we hear a call for the B-yard sarge to come down to the wobblehead house ASAP.

Oh snap. That is not a good place for an ASAP call.

A few minutes later we hear a garbled call from there and we all freeze. The Control Center asked them to repeat and we hear "Code 16! (medical emergency) We got a guy down here with his head all busted open!"

Oh snap again.

All of us.. Me, Chuck, KP and the New Guy (haven't figured out a name for him yet) all cross our fingers and silently pray "Please let it be an accident! Maybe he just slipped and fell!"

No such luck. Not long after that here comes a lockup. No blood on him, so I'm assuming he's not the one who got beat up. It's B&C (for Big and Crazy), who manages to assault someone every time he gets let out of the house, it seems.

I ask him "Did you get in a fight again?"

He just nods and says "Yup. I did." So we lock him in a cell.

And the great part about that was we never even got a call that they were locking him up. He just showed up in cuffs with another C.O. Heck, we didn't even know why he was getting locked up until I asked him. I just love the flow of information.

I get intel from other staff who have seen the guy and the nurse when she finally comes down. The dude had a cut on his forehead all up into his scalp and came very close to losing his ear. So it looks like B&C will be facing some new charges again.

And the thing is, he's one of the quietest and calmest inmates from the wobblehead house we ever get. It's always "Yes, Sir" and "No Sir" and "Please" and "Thank you" when we are dealing with him down in the hive.

But at least we managed to get the D-wing windows closed. Something went right.

And tomorrow is my friday. Yayyyyyyyyyyy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Closing The Windows

It's that time of year again. We have to close and secure all of the cell windows. Unlike in a regular house where they can open and close them at will, we have to remove a heavy steel screen and close each window ourselves by hand.

It also means that we have to cuff both offenders, open the door, take them out and wrestle this heavy frame out, close the window, put the frame back and relock it. What a pain in the butt.

I have tried for years to get them to put the latches on the outside of the windows. That way one guy with a ladder could open or close the whole house in about an hour with no reason to take the inmates out of the cells at all.

I guess that makes too much sense. When you start making sense here, people get suspicious and think you are up to something. Like trying to get out of work.

I'm just thinking.... one hundred cells we have to enter one at a time. We only have one window key and one tool for pulling the frames out so we can only do one cell at a time. We have on an average one hundred and fifty inmates in the house. And every single one of them has to come out of the cell to close the window. Plus the fact that the chances of getting hurt wrestling that heavy frame.... that is almost a certainty. KP dropped one of them on his finger tonight. I've done that and it doesn't feel good. Almost every year some staff member gets hurt by the window frames.

If we did it my way we could just weld those frames shut and never have to mess with them again.

It'll never happen.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Discordant Notes

No, this isn't one of them, but it's eerily similar. This inmate up in C-wing has been passing these notes out under his cell door for the past couple of days. Each one is stranger than the next. His notes are like reading the labels on Dr. Bronner's soap.

The first note I read was addressed to our governor. Well, sort of. It had the governors name on it but it was addressed to "Our Government". It was begging the governor not to take away his program or mental health. I'm assuming he was referring to the mental health staff and not his actual mental health.

But you never know.

At the top of each note is the word "History" and they are all signed "The Prophet."

Hoo boy.

I shuffled through the notes as quickly as possible to keep from having a severe brain hemorrhage. They were a bit difficult to decipher on some of his points. But one thing he made sure to add in each one was these facts: "I have an IQ of 36 and I'm 44 years old. I'm smart."

Wow. With a fine brain like that I'm surprised he isn't working for us.

He sent out a couple more notes today demanding money for various charitable causes. Millions of dollars for cancer and stem cell research and sick children and the like. I didn't know quite what to make of them. It almost sounded like he was holding himself hostage in there until they cough up the dough.

Like I said, you just never know. He might be.

Right before we left BG went upstairs in C-wing to do something and came down to tell me "He's stuck out a few more notes! Do you want them?" I just shook my head and said "No no! Let someone else pick them up this time...... My brain already hurts."

Sunday, October 11, 2009


I don't know what it is about our maintenance department. But they just love digging holes and leaving them.

Working in a prison, doesn't that seem a little counterproductive to you?

You watch any prison escape movie and they almost always get out by using a tunnel. Sure, sometimes they use disguises or crash the gates or go over the wall..... but when you think of someone escaping from prison, you think of someone tunneling out.

And here these guys are digging holes all over the camp. And it's not even really the maintenance staff that is actually digging! It's their inmate workers!

They will have a plumbing problem or something, so they will dig a hole where they think the problem might be. Then rather than fix the problem and fill the hole back in, they will just string some yellow caution tape around the big a** pile of dirt and the hole and leave it for a month or two.

Does this seem like a good idea to you?

Maybe it's just me. Apparently I have issues.

Maybe the maintenance guys are taking bets on whose hole will turn into a starter kit for an escape tunnel. It wouldn't surprise me at all.

And boy, won't that make us look like freaking geniuses when it hits the papers.

Ohhhhh yeah.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

No I Won't Make You One, Sorry

OK, just in case anybody was laboring under the impression that I was some kind of genius (he says as he rooooollls his eyes) here's the proof that I might just possibly be one step up from a totally brain dead idiot.

I posted while I was on vacation about Guy and his swell blog (grin) and how he got me on the idea of making an adirondack chair. And I wrote about how I sweated and ciphered and cut and sawed and split wood and cussed and finally made one and how proud I was. It turned out okay. So much okay in fact, that I have had people asking me how much I would sell them for, if I was so inclined to make more of them.

I'm not quite sure I want to go there just yet. As long as I am making them for fun, it's all fun. But if I start making them to sell, it might seem like work and I might not enjoy making them anymore. I don't know.

At any rate, I had this brilliant idea that I would make a smaller version. Mostly due to the fact that I didn't have enough wood on hand to make another full-sized one. So I sat down and sweated and ciphered some more and figured I would make a chair half the size of the first one.

It seems there was an error in my ciphering somewhere. Maybe I should have gone for three-quarter size instead. The sucker turned out only sixteen inches wide and only about nineteen inches tall! Ack!!!!!

Big enough, maybe, for a two year old. Or somebody really short whose butt is no more than about seven inches wide. That sure lets me out.

I don't think I'm mentally set up for making itty-bitty things like that. Even though it was cold in the shop I was sweating bullets like I was performing brain surgery when I tried to put the damn thing together.

I'm just glad that the demon possessed thing is done. I'll take it back down to the shop and throw a coat of stain and sealer on it and call it good. Then I'll stick it up in the storage and never look at it again.

And no, before you ask, I will not make you one.

Forget it.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sometimes It Just Hits You

In C.O. language, we call it a "Train Wreck", or sometimes just a "Wreck". If you see or hear about a staff member doing something stupid someone is sure to say "Looks like they are going to get off in a wreck."

I hate to see it happen, but it does. There are very few people employed in my profession who can claim to be a genius. And I'm pretty sure none of us have ever even been considered for the Nobel prize.

Not on this camp, anyway.

But we saw this wreck coming a mile off and managed to dodge most of it. I only ended up getting slightly screwed in the deal. I consider that a plus.

Anyway, here's the skinny: we have had a couple of staff transfer in from another camp. I met one guy and he seems like an alright cat, even if he does look too young to smoke. But he's self assured and confident and asks the right questions and listens to the answers. I think he'll be just fine.

I met the other one tonight when they stuck her in our bubble. After watching her up there for a few minutes helplessly stabbing at the control panel trying to open a door I thought to myself: "Oh snap! We are so screwed....."

I volunteered to help and I went up there (after waiting and waiting for her to open the door with KP at the chuckhole coaching her) to try and give her the ten cent tour of the control panel. They are touch screen panels and pretty much self-explanatory.

Or so I thought.

Apparently I suck at teaching. I tried and tried and showed her over and over what to do.

After awhile I went downstairs to smoke and breathe and Sgt LB came up to give her the benefit of his wisdom.

Apparently he sucks as bad at teaching as I do. Or maybe.... the problem wasn't really with us?

The first plan was that I would go up there and "assist" while med pass was going on. Then it turned into "Would you mind running the bubble for awhile? She can go down and do rec with BG."

Poor BG. They always stick him with the idiots.

Hey..........! Wait just one darn minute here!

So I get to watch while she goes down to work the floor. I'm not real happy about this, but I'm more than willing to take one for the team to keep the house running and keep someone from getting hurt. I watch while she is trying to take an offender out for rec.

The process is simple:
1. Open the chuck hole.
2. Cuff both offenders.
3. Signal for the door to be opened.
4. Let one out and shut the door.
5. Remove the cuffs from the offender in the cell.
6. Shut the chuck hole and lock it.

Total elapsed time: approximately 30 seconds. For me and BG anyway.

3-1/2 minutes later she finally signals for the door to be opened. Two more minutes to get the cuffs off the other inmate and a whole minute to shut the chuck hole and put on the padlock. In the mean time, BG has gotten the other seven offenders out and they are all waiting for her.

Now, we do this all the time. It's what we do. I can understand when people are new and/or not used to working with the cuffs all the time like we do. It happens.

But from what I hear, this woman has been with the department almost as long as I have! WTF? Don't know how to work a pair of handcuffs? Can't work a padlock, fer criminy sakes?

I'm sorry, but no. This aint happening. Not in my house.

They pull her out and move her somewhere else. By now BG has given up on the idea of getting any rec done. He tosses the rec cuffs back up to me and says "It's all I can stand!" and stalks away to do his paperwork.

And Lieutenant Strong calls me and says "I need you to do a memo to the Captain about why you thought she shouldn't be down there." Snap! After all that tap dancing to keep us out of the wreck I ended up doing paperwork anyway. Snap again!

Ah well. We survived. Nobody escaped and nobody got hurt.

I consider that a good night.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Oh, Yes We Do!

Somebody (I don't know who) hung a sign remarkably like this up in the office the other day. I couldn't find a pic of the exact one so I made my own and edited it a little.

It is so very true. Especially of those of us who have made Adseg our home. We must all be mentally or psychologically scarred in some hideous way or another to continue to work in this nasty environment.

And we, in our own twisted little ways, always find an avenue to make it funny.

Throughout the years, many many signs have come and gone from the walls in the office. This one may be destined for greatness, tho. It's just so apropos.

The other day we had a few minutes just to sit and unwind and collect what little wits we have before going on to the next crisis. Chuck, with his wide smile and devious ways, sat down and started drawing something. Then he pulled out his bandage scissors and started cutting and he wouldn't show anybody what he was doing until he was done. Next thing we know he is climbing up on the desk (not an uncommon occurrence down in the Hive) and he is taping a large black tophat to Dr Phils head.

And today he alternately sported a propeller beanie, a set of red horns, something that looked like a cross between a cowboy hat and a medium-pimpin' fedora, and mickey mouse ears.

Of course we found all of this extremely funny.

So poor Dr Phil, with his serious message about our mental health, has become nothing more than a comic relief paper doll for us to play with.

I suspect that if someone were to place a picture of Mother Theresa on the wall she would soon be sporting Dolly Parton cleavage and a set of Groucho Marx glasses.

I would hate to see what would happen if they made us hang a picture of the Governor on the wall in there. Gives me chills just thinking about it.

It's all in good fun, tho. And it keeps the monsters away.

P.S. I removed the ads. I kept seeing ads for places to send money and phone minutes to inmates. I can't condone that sort of thing. Pfui.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Feeling A Little Burned Out

I guess it's getting to be that time of year again. I'm starting to get burned out working down in that snap hole and I think about going somewhere else for awhile.

I always think about it, but I never do go anywhere.

All we get down there is crap and abuse. From both sides. They hate us down in the Hive. Everybody does. The inmates hate us because we don't let them have their way and won't give into their little temper tantrums. The higher up staff hate us because every time something "happens" down there (and something is always "happening" in the Hive) it make them do paperwork.

The place is always either too hot or too cold. It's noisy, nasty, hectic and usually bio hazardous. It's your best chance for getting assaulted if you're looking for one. Working the Hive is hard on your feet, your knees, your back, your ears, your brain and your hands.

This last couple of weeks I have been feeling pretty burned out with the whole deal. I actually looked at the new job bids posted to see if there was anything I wanted. There was actually one down in the wobblehead house with the same days off I have now.

I thought about it, but didn't bid it. I'm not exactly sure why.

And tonight when I was feeling especially off and ready to move on, that bastard KP had to come back from vacation and make me laugh so hard my ribs hurt. He has that way about him.

I feel better now. I guess I may be good for another year.

I'm still not sure if I should thank him for that or not.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Paying My Dues

Apparently my selective hearing only works to protect my sanity, not my hearing. I'm now seemingly paying my dues for working in such a noisy environment.

You know that raspy buzzy noise that a blown speaker makes? Well, now when I hear a loud noise like an inmate screaming to a friend in another wing or a big steel door slamming shut, my right ear is making that noise. It's disconcerting and distracting. And it makes me feel a little ill when it happens.

Small noise, like a conversational tone of voice, doesn't bother me. And I keep my radio on my left shoulder so it doesn't bother me there either.

So I think tomorrow morning I will make an appointment to see my doctor as soon as possible. It's time for my cholesterol check again anyway. I'll have him take a peek inside my head and see if there's anything at all in there. (half grin) You know when you have engine trouble and the mechanic pops your hood and whistles and says "Hoo boy......" I really hope my doctor doesn't do that when he looks in my ear.

In the meantime I think I will wear one earplug or maybe a cotton ball in that ear. Something to muffle the noise and stop that awful rattling in my head.

Snap! Getting old sucks. Why didn't I start doing this when I was younger? But then, I was much nicer when I was young. I wouldn't have been anywhere near as good at it back then.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Search For Spork

No... no... no..... Not Spock!!! Jeez...... Hang on a second..... Ah, here we go then.....

Spork. An online dictionary describes a spork as: a plastic eating utensil having a spoonlike bowl and tines.

All of the sudden, they have decided to send us sporks with our meals. Sporks made of a soft plastic that you can bend with one finger. I guess they started it at lunch today. And when the lunch utensils were sent back to the kitchen, they counted them (I'm sure I don't know why) and discovered that we were ten sporks short of a full load.

I could have told them that without all the hoopla.

After decades of send us nothing but spoons, they decide to send us sporks and then they throw a fit when some of them end up missing. Go figure. They leave the yards closed and they send all of the yard dawgs down to search the Hive for ten sporks.

When BG and I got there they had finished searching A and B wings. They had only found six at that point. Luckily, by the time we got to D-wing someone figured out what they were looking for and we found the other four mysteriously laying out on the walk.

Let's see: six officers and one sergeant and ten and fifteen cents an hour (before taxes) for two hours, that's a dollar-fifty. To find ten sporks that maybe cost the state a dime apiece.

They could have saved the state fifty cents if they would have just let the idiots have them.

What a place. That was how our day started.

It ended when we walked away from the place. Some wobblehead in C-1 had started screaming at the top of his lungs right after dinner and hadn't stopped as we left. We all piled into the wing when it was time to give him his meds and he had thrown what we hoped was water all over the place and was still screaming. Sgt Miz P shook her head and said "That door isn't coming open tonight."

Thank the gawds for her. That probably would have went bad quick.

Happy monday. May the spork be with you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Which Way Would You Go?

Hypothetical situation: A fight breaks out on the yard and escalates into a riot. There are inmates running everywhere beating each other up and throwing things and breaking windows and setting fire to what they can. What do you do?

No, I take that back. I should have said what would you do? Would you join your fellow staff attempting to get them under control or would you bolt and lock yourself in somewhere and wait for it to blow over?

I know what everybody says they would do, which is to be brave and fight. But I have seen people crumble under much less dire situations and run for cover. And some of them are still employed there.

So far I have managed to be proud of myself. Every time there has been a fracas I have looked for an opening and dived in to help. There have been a couple of times where I have frozen up for a split second of indecision, but it was always on deciding what to do, rather than whether or not to run away. That option just doesn't occur to me when something goes down.

I know that there is always that little voice in the back of my head screaming "Oh snap! This is going to hurt tomorrow!" right before we hit the concrete.

The sad truth is that you don't have a clue what you would do until you are in the situation. You just don't have a clue. I may run into a situation some day that makes me freeze up with fear. I can't conceive of such a scenario at this time, but if that day ever comes I'll look for another job. I couldn't work there anymore if I was afraid to act.

I'm not trying to blow my own horn and say I'm all brave and macho. Anybody who knows me knows better than that. I don't think I have a macho bone in my body. Well...... one. But I'm not going into that here. The truth about me is that I am more likely to go charging in without thinking first and try to get logical and clean up the mess afterwards.

And it's not something you can think about. It's not something you can plan and prepare for. Not really. You can learn all of the Dirty Tricks they teach you in the academy and you can practice them until you are blue in the face. Or once a year, like we do. But until you step down into the mud and find yourself face to face with the elephant, you don't know how you are going to react.

I just hope, that when the snit hits the fan you'll be there with me. There will need to be somebody there to carry my dumb butt out when it's all over.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

This Aint The Holiday Inn

Apparently, from what I heard it was a fairly....... calm day (don't want to use the "Q" word. No.. no.. no. Not even here.), at least until BG and I got to work. Then all hell broke loose. They started locking them up left and right. We had two offenders check in from their cellies (ie- declare them enemies, state they feared for their lives) in ten minutes.

We put one on the C-wing bench and one on the B-wing bench and try to deal with the lockups as they were coming in. And we get this kid in off the bus. Nineteen years old and has five months of prison under his belt. Think he has the system beat. He says he gets bad claustrophobia and he can't be in a cell with anybody. I said "You should have figured that out before you came to prison, kid." Sat him down on the A-wing bench and said "Hope you got alot of padding in your butt, because you are going to be there for awhile."

Of course, that didn't work out as I had planned. Sarge eventually made us move somebody and put him in a cell by himself after about an hour and a half. But I made him sit there as long as I could. But I figure we are going to be dealing with young Mr. Claustrophobia for a good long time. He's going to have to grow up and learn where he is at one of these days.

Well, I'll deal with that when the time comes. In my own way.

This aint the Holiday Inn, kid. And it aint your mommas house, either. This is prison. This is the bigs. This is the Hive and this is my house.

Maybe BG is right. Maybe I do have a few anger management issues I need to address.