Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Sometimes given names aren't the worst. Parents can saddle their children with some hideous burdens for names, but occasionally the names we give ourselves are the worst. Almost everybody on the prison grounds has a "yard name". It's either something they've thought up themselves or sometimes it's something they've gotten stuck with unintentionally. We see alot of the gang-related hip-hop sort of handles like D-Boy and J-Dawg (everybody wants to be named something-dawg for some stupid reason) and E-Cat. And regional names like Eastside and Detroit and Los Angeles. There was a kid once who called himself Russia, trying to sound exotic. I know a couple of words in russian and they are insults and he didn't understand either one of them. Turned out he was from Ohio. And of course, there's a thousand guys named Slim. And we gots a bazillion Big this and Little that.
Occasionally someone will try to make up a name for themselves and it comes out sounding completely stupid. We had a couple of guys several years ago who called themselves Sandman and White Knight. Sounded like CB handles. They slung those names around like they were somebody and everyone should know who they were. We did. They were two of the most pathetic losers I had ever come across.
Some of the names are self-explanatory. When you meet a man named Miss Anne, or Kiki or Precious or Lucy then you know exactly who you are talking to. If you run across some buzzed out freak with no teeth calling himself Meth Head you can just say "Yup" and move on.
But some of the names are repulsive to say the least and would be insulting under any circumstances. If you walked up to someone out on the streets and called them Fat Bastard or Donkey Mouth or Creep they'd probably smack you right in the beezer. But inside the fence it's just fine. I've been called some nasty names, but none of them ever stuck.
In the old days nicknames weren't quite so harsh. Of course there was Creepy Carpis and Fat Tony (who could forget Fat Tony?) but we also had Pretty Boy Floyd and Machine Gun Kelly and Legs Diamond and Lucky Luciano and Bugs Moran. Just don't call him Bugs to his face.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
It turns out that I really don't like watching other people work. It drives me crackers. Not that was doing a bad job or anything. He was doing fine. But he wasn't doing things in the order that I would have done them and in the time I would have done them. I kept seeing things not done and running in and doing them for him. And I had forgotten that he'd only done the desk two or three times and didn't know everything. I'd run in and say "Where's the (insert thing here)?" And he'd say "I didn't know we did that!" That happened several times during the day.
I'm not a very good teacher, either. I don't have the patience. I'd rather just do it myself than teach someone how and I shouldn't be like that. Alot of that stems from having so many staff there who don't give a rats a** and are more than happy for you to do it if you know how. BH is trying to learn the job and I should have more patience. Unfortunately, patience is not something I have an overabundance of at this time.
I really should do something about that. I think I need to relax.
Yeah. I'll write that on my "to do" list.
We got through the day okay and nothing got screwed up. Well, not more than usual, anyway. I think BH will work out fine. But I purely do hate watching someone else work.
Man! I'm glad it's my friday......
Monday, December 29, 2008
I need to start keeping notes and occasionally writing a few entries ahead for these dry days when nothing much happens.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Pretty much a nothing day. I needed one of those.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Tomorrow I get to go back to being a professional jerk. Today I got to play with models and figure out puzzles and get beat at wii bowling by my daughter. Snap, she even beat me at wii golf! Me! I may never live it down.......
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Hope you all have a very merry christmas, hanukkah, kwanzaa, or whatever it is you celebrate.
I'm looking forward to a silent night.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The head pshrink lady came down and saw all the offenders on suicide watch and close obs. She released three of them completely off watch, since their actions were mostly behavioral rather than actual mental issues, and left the one guy with real mental issues on close obs. This included PB, who got all of his clothes and his property back. We thought maybe he had learned his lesson and was going to behave himself and lay down and do his time.
As soon as she was done we started the AdSeg committee. Whew. Twenty four inmates to pull out and interview. Only one of them got stupid and had to be "escorted" back into his cell. I kept waiting to hear a "thump"...... but he went back fairly peacefully despite the fact that his pie hole flapped open the whole way back. Some people never learn not to bite that hand the "literally" feeds them.
I was on the desk, btw. The whole boards and breakdowns and computers and number juggling thing. Snap. I've still got eraser spoogles under my fingernails.
As soon as they are done they bring me the list of those offenders being released from the house. Seventeen of them. Yikes!
Oh, and while all this was going on, the phone kept ringing and they were steadily locking people up. I believe ten lockups while I was there with two more on the way as I was leaving. It was a real juggling act going on out in the sallyport and another involving numbers and files and paperwork in the office. My numbers changed so many times I almost erased through the paper and I have a crick in my neck from writing and holding the phone to my ear at the same time.
And during all of this PB gets the idea first that he's going to be released, since he's no longer on suicide watch. He demands to go to a regular house. When we explain that he's racked up enough violations to be with us until march, he's not real happy. Then he says there are other people in the cell with him (there aren't and he knows it) and he demands to be moved to another cell with a real cellie. This kid has just not figured out that making demands isn't going to work for him. That doesn't work either. So he smears food (just peanut butter this time) on his cell camera. It's my guess he'll be back on suicide watch before I come back on friday.
I could have kissed the third shift guys when they came in. If I didn't think they'd like it and get the wrong idea, I might have. (grin)
Thus ended tuesday/friday. Me, I'm gonna hibernate for the next two days.
Monday, December 22, 2008
About nine thirty I noticed there was water dripping from the ceiling right above my door. I climbed up above the bathroom and stuck my head up through the ceiling tiles and could see a valve that was leaking pretty fast. I called and let the Sarge know and he called maintenance. They show up about 11:45, right when we're in the middle of feeding lunch and doing med pass, of course. They shut off all the water in the house (which they had to do, there being insufficient cut-off valves anywhere) and drain down the lines. Well, it's a big building and it takes awhile for the lines to drain down. Eventually one guy says "It should be okay, go ahead and cut it." The dude up top cuts the line and water proceeds to spew everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It floods out the bathroom and maybe a quarter of the bubble where I'm standing. And of course the bubble is full of all kinds of electrical equipment, including the main breaker panels for the whole house. Oh snap! I'm looking down at the little rubber mat I'm standing on and hope it will protect me.
Well the water finally quits and the whole bubble is steamy and of course, nothing stopped in the house while I was dealing with that. I didn't really expect it to, but it would have made my life a whole lot easier. My windows were foggy and I couldn't hear above the noise of the water and the stupid inmates were all screaming "Turn our water back on, a**hole!"
I was so pleased.
Took them a couple of hours, but they finally got it fixed and the water turned back on and they left to go deal with some frozen pipes. I got a mop from our dorm worker and started trying to clean up the mess. I mopped and wrung and mopped and wrung and swept water and bits of soggy ceiling tile and insulation out the door until the next shift came on. And of course, people were still running in and out like it was all I had to do was open the freaking doors for them. Finally I got BA to come up and run the bubble while I cleaned. (your secret's out btw, dude) With his help I managed to get most of the carnage swept away.
Tomorrow I get to go do it all over again. Yay!
Saturday, December 20, 2008
It's funny. I think in the long run I worked harder and more constantly on evenings. And I had alot more "hands on" contact with the offenders (and thus more uses of force) than I have right now on day shift. On an average day we took out four rounds of eight offenders out to the rec yard. That's thirty two times putting the cuffs on and taking them off. Add a medication pass or sometimes two and you might double that. One real busy day I counted that I applied and removed seventy sets of handcuffs.
But I'm alot more stressed on day shift. Too many eyes watching to see if all the i's are crossed and the t's are dotted, I guess. On evenings if we didn't screw up, we never saw anybody else all shift some nights. A lieutenant might wander down every now and then if the weather's nice to see how things are going. But for the most part, they left us to do our job because they knew we knew how to do it. There's only a couple people left out of my old crew down there now. If I get the job, I'll have to see how they work and how I can work myself back in with them. And I'd have to change my sleeping habits all over again. Gonna be a cranky Rev.
I hope I get the job. It will probably be at least a week before I know if I got it or not and another two weeks after that before I start.
It's going to be a long week. Or possibly three.
And, if the lesson gets forgotten in the next thirty days, we can go right back to the loaf again with no problems. Hopefully we won't have to. Most days I can do without the extra drama. Having to raise 175 of someone else's children for eight hours a day is often enough drama for me.
Friday, December 19, 2008
The little snit was at it again this morning. Right after the Pshrink came down to see him and he went back into the cell. I looked up at the camera, and there he was painting again. And on my monday, too. The little creep. We called the lieutenant who said "We'll get it cleaned up... eventually." Let him sit in the stink for awhile and then about the time we were going to get him out for a shower and cleaning, he covered the window of his cell door with his smock and blanket. Nobody really wanted to rush in on him, since he was covered in poop, so they did the next best thing: They opened the chuckhole in the door and pulled the smock and blanket out and left him in there wearing nothing but poop.
Plus, he got himself on the meal loaf. I'll bet that was a new experience for him. Don't know if I've mentioned the loaf before. Here's the recipe:
Take EVERYTHING that goes in the meal, ie: entree, salad, soup, starch, dessert and drink.
Put it ALL in a blender set on "puree" and whizzz it into a soupy glop.
Pour the resulting gunk into a loaf pan and bake until golden brown.
Place into the freezer until almost frozen.
Works every time. It's hideous. Worse than Borscht, which if you don't know is a cold beet soup. Vile stuff. Hardly anybody can eat it and not gag. Maybe russians or hardcore Scots. I imagine anyone who could eat haggis could eat the loaf. But not me. Tried a bite once. Phew! Nassy.
Anyway, as it turns out we had a hard time locating the biohazard worker and it took a couple of hours before we could get him there to clean up the mess. And poor PB was in there with nothing but his birthday suit and chocolate frosting to keep him warm. It was so pitiful it was like watching christmas shows on Lifetime Channel. I nearly had to smile, I felt so bad.
Lunch today would have been his last meal on the loaf, but his little trick this morning earned him another eighteen meals of it! Oh, the humanity! (grin)
And the little snit better behave tomorrow because I'm going to be down there dealing with him myself. Not in the mood for poop, thank you....
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Everyone who has been reading this. You guys have really kept me going. This thing first started out as just a rant and relief to let me blow off steam. Now thanks to you guys it's become something a little more.
The picture above is from my Statcounter account. My "recent visitors" map. It shows me who has been visiting and where they are from. I check it from time to time and it always makes me smile. I'm getting to where I can recognize some of my regular readers, like Bad Actor and Auntie and Donna and Loopy and g and Guy by their isp. And I see alot of repeat readers who are there regularly, even if I don't know who they are.
It seems I have some hardcore readers up in Michigan. I've seen many repeat visits from Talor, Detroit (Go Motor City!), Eastpointe, Flint and Lapeer. Yeah! Hope you guys aint frozen in up there.
And in the Great Pacific Northwet I've got regular readers in Washington from Kennewick, Arlington, Everett, Mukilteo, Kent, Elma, Onalaska (Onalaska?), PeEll (?), and Winlock. And down in Oregon I've got my regulars all the way from Warrenton (warntn), Astoria (of course) and all the way down to Brownsville.
And of course, I've got my regulars here in the Midwest Lead Bible Belt. Kansas and Missouri and Arkansas and Kentucky and Illinois. Even a few more here and there from Toronto and Gatineau Canada and all the way down to Houston, Texas, Spring Hill and Hobe Sound, Florida and Torrance and Sunnyvale, California.
I just want to say you guys rock and thanks for letting me vent. I couldn't have done it without you.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I may have come off a little heavy-handed on that last post. Reading back and it looks like all I want to do is beat up inmates. That's not me at all. If you ask anyone I work with, I'm usually the last one to resort to violence. I spend wayyy more time avoiding that kind of thing than I do condoning it. I consider that to be the very last resort. There's a thing called the "Use of Force Continuum" and it outlines the steps that should be taken in dealing with an offender. The steps are:
Psychological (when just being there is enough)
Verbal (saying "Stop!" and making it work)
Soft Empty Hand (taking them by the arm and pulling them away without resistance)
Hard Empty Hand (grabbing, bending, putting on the ground, etc)
Pepper Spray (making them cry)
Intermediate (hard blows, kicks and "environmental" weapons)
Deadly (self-explanatory. Really hope I never have to use that one)
In all my time I've never gotten past Pepper Spray. Hope to never need to. But I'm always prepared, just in case. You just never know how some of these knuckleheads are going to react. A few of my felloow staff have been hurt severely because they weren't prepared to react. Not like I'm always "on guard" because sometimes I get caught off base and don't react in time, at least in retrospect. That last little fracas, for example. The one where I hurt my finger with the cuffs. If I would have contained him a little sooner, it wouldn't have happened. A couple of people who watched the video remarked on that and I agreed. But hindsight is always 20/20.
The point of it is, I don't go inside every day looking to kick a** and take names. I go in looking to go home in eight hours with all of my skin still intact. But I also go in with an eye towards making things easier for both myself and other staff and if that includes making one of those little knuckleheads cry and maybe even bleed, then so be it. They make their choices and we have to make ours. I'm not going to go in and beat up an inmate just because he pisses me off. But if he makes a choice that endangers myself, other staff or even state property and chooses to escalate or refuses to de-escalate the situation, then I'm going to do my damndest to make sure that he pays the consequences for his actions.
I just wanted to clear that up. I'm not a violent person. But even a pacifist will come out swinging if you back him into a corner.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Got really really pissed off today. Really mad. Managed not to break anything or anyone. Just went outside and smoked and paced and froze and paced and smoked until I was too cold to be mad anymore and went back inside.
Young knucklehead from the other day started playing his games again. The Head Pshrink came down to see him this morning and recommended that he be given a mattress so he can lay down and be more comfortable, but told him that his behavior would determine whether or not he got to keep it. So he had a suicide smock, a suicide blanket and a plain foam mattress in the cell and nothing else. But it was more than he had the night before. About an hour later we notice that his cell camera was covered with something. An officer went into the wing and came back to report he'd smeared the camera and his cell with his own brand of tempura paint. To be more precise, he used sh*t.
Sarge and I and another officer went in and he stated "If you touch me, I'll throw sh*t on you." I was ready to go in and show him that wasn't a real good idea, but cooler heads prevailed and we got him out and put on the restraint bench to get his cell cleaned. The decision was made to put him back in the cell once it was cleaned without the mattress. Well, just like the other day he refused to go back into the cell and started making demands. He wanted a shower, and a mattress and a new blanket and a cup to drink out of and something besides tap water to drink.
There's a big sign in the main control center that states "WE DO NOT NEGOTIATE IN HOSTAGE SITUATIONS". I've taken that to heart. When an inmate backs into a corner and starts making demands, I've always cut them off and said "No. You give me what I want and you won't get hurt. End of discussion." It's always worked up to this point.
So here was this little knucklehead basically taking my restraint bench hostage and making demands. Me, I was ready for almost any scenario from leaving him there til his legs froze off to picking him up and planting him firmly back in the cell. But I wasn't in charge. Another Pshrink was coming down to talk to him so they left it in his hands.
This other Pshrink finally comes wandering in and talks to the kid for half an hour or so and the upscut of it is, he's promised this punk everything he wanted! When I heard him say that I wanted to....... do something not good for my career in the department.
So they gave him a shower and his mattress back and a new blanket. The Captain called down and said "Do not give him a cup under any circumstances. If he's threatening to throw feces on staff, then he doesn't get a container to do it with." One of the very few times in my life I ever wanted to kiss a captain. The kid goes back into his cell and lays down for a nap. He got most of what he wanted, he's happy for the moment. Me, I'm not happy.
If I'm not mistaken, I hired into the Department of CORRECTIONS. Not the Department of ENABLERS. We're supposed to CORRECT their socially deviant behavior, not teach them it's OKAY to play in their feces and threaten to thrown them on people. We just gave that kid carte blanche to throw a temper tantrum so he'll get his way. I think we were slowly making him a believer before that. I think it was sinking in that he was in prison and that he could do hard time or he could just do time. There's a big difference. But that all just got blown out the f***ing window. That pshrink just created a monster and it's going to take more than an angry mob with torches and pitchforks to chase it away. Now somebody will probably get hurt before we can re-defuse that ticking time bomb. And of course, the pshrink probably won't be there when it happens and it won't be his fault in any way.
GRRRRAAAARRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!! Snap! I'm making myself mad all over again. Stupid. I'm going to go play some video games and eat some dinner. I'm off for two days. To heck with that place.
Monday, December 15, 2008
In the C.O. circles, it's called a "pissing contest" and I believe the outcome is to see who is the studliest. When cats do it they puff up and yowl and screech and whoever scares the other one away is the winner. All creatures seem to do it. They try to make themselves bigger than their opponent to frighten them away.
I think only humans do it on purpose. And here at the prison, they do it so often and for so little reason you'd think the walls would all be yellow.
OK, kind of icky visuals going on here, I know. Sorry. But for some reason this place seems to be worse than others. If you say the slightest thing to someone about how they do their job, they will puff up and sputter and demand their rights and make a big scene over practically nothing at all. And most of the time, if they don't win the contest (this is my favorite part) they'll get "sick" and have to go home.
OK, yeah. You just showed me. What a studmuffin you are.
I don't know, maybe I'm just weird. When I've screwed up and someone tells me about it, I'll say "OK, I screwed up. Won't do that again. Let's move on." And I've screwed up a few times, believe me. And if someone says I screwed up and I didn't, I'll tell them that, too. That's one of the things working in a prison has taught me. The ability to tell someone to go jump in a lake. There are times when someone just needs to vent and I happen to be there. I can take that, too. And when they wind down I'll ask "Are you done? Good. Now go dork yourself and quit yelling at me." It works out well, most of the time.
But even if I'm pissed off about some injustice or stupidity or another, I'm not just going to go off and leave my work for someone else to take care of. Jeeze. If I've said it once, I've said it a bazillion times: The job is hard enough. Why are you making it harder?
Grow up, take your weight and move on. There's always going to be someone who can pee farther than you and the further up the food chain you move, the liklier that is going to be. It's a fact of life.
Get over yourself.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
The end result? I'm a bit more relaxed. A bit banged up and a little sore, but not too bad. It was worth it, in my book. And for some of us, me especially, a bit more relaxed is a good thing.
I get uptight sometimes.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Thursday, December 11, 2008
A few minutes before that we were practicing escape from the full nelson, which requires you to basically fall backwards on your attacker. I went backwards, as the attacker, and went down and as he went down, he turned a hip and managed to plant the corner of said hip right atop Mr. Happy and the twins. All I'm going to say is purple is not a good color for me. Not around the face, anyway. Wow.
So, I came home, took a hot shower, painted myself with Ben Gay, took some drugs and went to bed. As Loopy said, I should have taken a hot bath instead but apparently our bathtubs were installed when human beings were much shorter than they are now. Only people under five feet tall can take a bath in my house. What I need is one of those huge japanese tubs you can get in up to your chin.
So today we covered Glock basics. And it didn't piss me off anywhere near as bad as it did last year. Holding out hope for going out to the range tomorrow.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Monday, December 8, 2008
A nifty addition and another fun thing to play with and it's free! Might give it a try.
Now the Rev is off to nite-nite land....
Saturday, December 6, 2008
I just don't get it.
Isn't this job hard enough? Wouldn't it be nice to have things go smoothly without any drama?
But that just aint gonna happen with this group. The lieutenant stopped in today and asked me what went wrong. I told him the truth. This crew never came together as a cohesive unit and it's been actively falling apart since day one. Too many clashing personalities. He agreed and we both figure it will get much worse before it gets any better.
I remember when I first came on day shift and got a good look at the crew. I said to myself "This will never work. Too many Disturbers in one place."
Turns out I was right.
Doesn't feel as good as being right should.
Oh well. I made it out in one piece. That counts for something.
Friday, December 5, 2008
Thursday, December 4, 2008
I understand why we have to go. For the most part, it's a good thing. But some of the topics they choose for us to learn..... I just don't know. They've dropped the interesting classes, like "Controversial Groups" which is about gangs. But the state has chosen the stance that there are no gangs in our prison system. That's about the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I could go through my house alone (just one house out of twelve) and come up with at least seventy five offenders with prominent gang tattoos and almost every cell has got gang graffiti on the walls. Instead they have chosen we learn "Pathways To Change"... about teaching offenders positive skills they will use when they get out of prison. I don't really want to say anything negative about that. The last guy who did ended up getting chewed out by the Major. I get enough of that without help.
They even dropped Suicide Intervention. Why? Doesn't that seem like something we all need to know?
The state, it seems, like trees and butterflies, blows hither and yon with the wind.
I can't wait.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
But not today. Hoo boy....... not today.
Got this knucklehead who was over in b-wing. We put him over there in a cell with a guy who isn't there and isn't likely to come back any time soon. It's called an "outcount" for you the correctionally impaired. The inmate actually belongs to our camp, but he's somewhere else. We have to account for actually "having" him, even if he's not there. It's stupid, I know. But it keeps the books straight. And the guy we had in that cell isn't even in this state at the moment. He's in another state in court for another offense that happened in that state.
Anyway, we got this knucklehead....(you thought I got lost, didn't you?) who's a wee bit on the crazy side. He gets lonely and crazy when he's in a cell by himself... and frightened and crazy when he's in a cell with someone else. We end up having to move him alot because either he's afraid for his life from his cellie (no matter if his cellie is half his size and as big around as a pencil) or his cellie is in fear for his life from him. So we stuck him in b wing in a cell by himself but not in c wing in hopes he'd feel less lonely and crazy over there.
That didn't work. Nope. Not a bit.
He started in screaming out the door this morning first thing that he wanted a C.O. in there. I told him we were busy and to keep his pants on and we'd get to him. I actually tried being nice the first couple of times. After the second hour of him screaming he wanted to move I'm afraid I wasn't so nice anymore. I finally told him there was nowhere for him to go (which was true) and he wasn't going to get moved so shut the hell up because I'm BUSY!
He didn't seem to like that too much.
About an hour after that he started screaming Code 16, which is our code for a medical emergency. I could see him standing at the door and see him moving around so I could tell he wasn't dead on the floor from a heart attack or having seizures. I also knew that one of his things was that if he didn't get immediate satisfaction from whatever it was he was upset about, he'd scream code 16 just to get someone to come in there and listen to him cry. We've got quite a few who do that and it really pisses me off. It's like a baby in a crib who, when mommy doesn't come running at the first little whimper, will scream like it's being swallowed alive by a wildebeest just to get mommys' attention. It's a learned habit.
As the rest of the staff was actually busy with other things, I let them know about him screaming again when they had a chance to look in on him. It turns out he got mad because we wouldn't move him so he banged his forehead on the side of the metal bunk or something until it started bleeding and then spattered the blood all over his cell. You know how forehead wounds bleed. He even inscribed a nice holiday greeting on the cell mirror in his own blood.
Wasn't that thoughtful.
So, instead of getting moved to another cell with a cellie like he wanted he got moved to c-wing and stripped down and put in a kevlar smock and put on suicide watch with a sore forehead.
I just wanted to go down there and ask him...... "So, how's that working out for ya?"
Criminal thinking.......................... Pfui.
If they thought at all, I'd be out of a job.
Friday, November 28, 2008
And I just got word today that we have our annual recertification training the second week in december. Joy. Get to sit in too warm classrooms for four days then I get to go out on the range in the sleet and snow and freeze my butt off for a day. ANd it's not even worth getting to shoot the guns. Those new glock pistols are like loaded tinkertoys and you can't get them out of those stupid retention holsters half the time and most of our shotguns jam or break after the second or third person uses them. I think I've broken at least two shotguns. Well, they broke.. I didn't actually do it.
Always remember: The thing you depend on the most will have been made by the lowest bidder. Our weapons, our radios, our gear, our vehicles.... especially our uniforms. Hell, those are made by inmates. I'd almost forgotten our creed in the Army:
We, the unwilling,
Led by the unknowing.....
Doing the impossible
For the ungrateful.
I've done so much with so little
For so long....
I'm now qualified to do anything
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Sarge grabbed me a soon as I walked in to sign in and said "Let's go to the office and get started."
Never even made it to the house. First shift got relieved late. That sucks. If nothing else, I pride myself on being good relief.
Part of the problem was that there were too many people involved. Let alone the fact that there was five of us dogpiled on a hundred sixty pound inmate (and my legs), there were so many people there that nobody could remember or agree on what we all were doing. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad everybody showed up. It could have gone wrong and somebody might have gotten seriously hurt. But there's a fine line between having enough people to handle the situation and a clusterf**k. When it happened, it was enough people plus a few to stand by. On paper, it was a cluster.
I spent an hour and a half yesterday and close to three hours today dealing with an incident that was over in five minutes.
We should just make a copy of the wing video and say "Here. This is what happened." And that should be the end of it.
Yeah, in a perfect world........
Monday, November 24, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Monday, November 17, 2008
It would probably drive me nuts.
This afternoon one of our knuckleheads on suicide watch decided he wasn't getting what he wanted so he covered his camera and barricaded his door with a foam mattress and put wet toilet paper over his cell window so we couldn't see in. Then when everybody got up to the door, he wouldn't respond so they waved and I opened the door. He tried to swing on one of the officers so they put him to the ground and cuffed him up. Then he proceeded to spit and try to bite until they put him on the restraint bench. He stayed there for close to an hour before the nurse brought him two shots, which I'm sure was the reason for the whole performance. He wanted to get high or buzzed or whatever you get from haldol and atavan. They put him back in the cell and took away his mattress and his blanket and left him nothing but a smock.
A couple of hours later he decided the shots weren't good enough so he started screaming and banging his head on a corner of the wall, making himself bleed again. They had to pull him back out and put him back on the bench and as the next shift came in and we were relieved, they were trying to find a rubber room to put him in somewhere. Hell, maybe that's what he wanted. Doesn't sound like fun to me.
When something like putting an inmate on the ground happens we call it a "use of force" and aside from the fact you actually have to wrestle an inmate and possibly get hurt, you also inherit about four hours worth of paperwork to go along with it. It's supposedly so we can cover our bases in case it goes to court and the state doesn't get sued. But they have gotten so anal about these reports that they take many times longer than necessary. It should just be one short paragraph stating: "Offender Joe Schmuck got stupid and I sprayed him and put him on the ground and Officer Lunchbox and I put cuffs on him." Instead what they want from us is this: "At approximately 7:14 am on 11-17-2008 Offender Schmuck, Joseph #5554123 in Housing Unit 5, cell A-13 stepped towards me and swung his right fist towards my upper torso. I blocked the offenders strike with my left forearm while issuing the offender a verbal directive to stop. The offender did not comply to my verbal directive so at approximately 7:15am I applied one one-half second burst of O/C pepper spray to the offenders facial area. At this time COI Lunchbox, Melvin entered the cell and we placed the offender on the floor of the cell. I controlled the offenders left upper arm with my left hand and his left forearm with my right hand while COI Lunchbox controlled the offenders right arm and we placed him face down on the floor of the cell. I placed mechanical wrist restraints on the offender and the Sergeant was called to the cell. At 7:20 am the offender was assessed by LPN Barbie Bandaid and at 7:25 am the offender was placed in the A-wing shower........." Blah blah blah ad infinitum. It goes on for hours. And everyone involved has to write the same report. And you can't just write one report and then change the names around for everybody else. OH Noooo.... That wouldn't be right. They all have to say EXACTLY THE SAME THING but they all HAVE TO BE DIFFERENT.
Sometimes I think we're morons to keep doing this.
Then I look at the inmates and I know why I keep doing it. And I look at my family and I know why I keep doing it. And I look at myself and know why I keep doing it.
But some days are harder than others.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
We ended up adopting two teenagers and taking legal guardianship on a third. In the mean time, the state was constantly moving kids in and out of our house. The two we adopted lasted about a year and they both decided that us being their parents wasn't really what they wanted out of life and they left and moved back in with their birth parents. SInce the oldest was eighteen, there wasn't much we could do about it. Her younger brother has since ended up back in foster care somewhere else.
That was pretty much the final straw for me, and we had them drop our foster license. We now have one teenage girl in our home who is doing pretty good. She's kind of a flibbertigibbet but if we can keep her out of the fire for two more years we're home free. She's a pretty good kid most of the time. But, like any teenager, she likes to test our boundaries.
Other than that, my life revolves around work, the internet, my wife, our two dogs and our massive library. We are all voracious readers and there are books all over the house. A few years ago I got really bored and counted them. At the time there were about fourteen hundred scattered here and there. Most likely there's a few hundred more now.
There... I've bared my soul to you. (grin) Now I'm going back to work for some peace and quiet......
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
They are a hospital. They have doctors and nurses and orderlies and comfortable beds and daylight and maybe even a yard to walk around in(But I don't know that). We are an AdSeg unit for knuckleheads who can't behave themselves.
Being assigned to the AdSeg unit is supposed to be punishment. We keep them confined and we give them the minimum the state requires us to.
We are not a hospital.
We haven't been trained to care for people like this.
And when we complain about the situation we get stonewalled.
He hasn't done anything "wrong" other than refuse to leave the house. I sure don't think he's going to rob any more banks.
What do we do when nobody wants him?
Friday, November 7, 2008
Well.... we are, but it comes with the territory.
There's an inmate (you know by now I don't name names) who is very disturbed and spends alot of time in our housing unit. He got placed on suicide watch by the head Pshrink lady today because he was in the cell laughing to himself and muttering strange dark things. We tried to tell her he does this all the time, but she wanted it done, so.... He gets stripped out and put in a camera cell with a kevlar smock and blanket.
Now, this guy has some serious issues, anyway. And the meds they are giving him seem to exacerbate some of those issues a little. The clinical term for it is "Hypersexuality". We tend to call him "Sir Whacksalot". Need I explain? I thought not.
So right after he gets put on watch they call down and say they want him taken to medical for a forced medication injection. Probably haldol or something of the like. I'm not sure. Usually calms them down for a day or two. I happen to glance up at the camera and there he is.... pulling one for the home team. Going to town. Shifting into overdrive. Oiling up the old baseball glove. Shaking hands with Mr. Happy. You get the picture. So did we.
The average "normal" person would go "Jeez!" and find something else to do. Not us. Oh Lord, not us. For some reason, this seemed to be the funniest thing we have all seen in several days and we had more fun adding commentary and bizarre sound effects. It was like a really twisted version of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" without the robots.
We're some really sick people here, sometimes. It's a good thing the Pshrinks don't come down to talk to us. I liken it to battle fatigue or shell shock. After awhile, even the most bizarre things don't seem to affect us the way it would normal people.
I told you once the things that amuse me at work were strange. You didn't believe me, did you?
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
We are all on the same side. Just because we work on different shifts doesn't mean we can't work together. "Just leave it for the next shift" is pissing me off so bad I can't hardly stand it. It's so much B.S. Let alone that the next shift used to be me and my crew. And it's not just second shift that does it, either. First shift does it to second; second does it to third and third shift leaves crap for first shift......... ad infinitum. If you leave the mess long enough, it comes right back to you again.
But it also works the other way. If you come in and there's a mess to clean up, Help clean it up! Sitting back on your haunches and refusing to do anything until the mess is cleaned up doesn't help anything. If there's a mess or a catastrophe or a goat rope or cluster fu*k and you leave it for someone else to deal with, then the inmates win and we lose. "Causing hate and discontent" is our watchphrase, not theirs. And you know, if you ask politely for help, you just might get it. I can't think of how many times I've either started early or stayed late to help clean up loose ends. And I can't think of how many times I've asked the oncoming shift for a hand because we just had the mother of all days and there's crap piled to the ceiling. And for the most part, they've always been more than happy to help.
You know how rapidly things can get out of hand in an adseg unit. And alot of times when you least expect it and almost always when it's the most inconvenient. So keeping the chaos to a minimum at all times is not only easier on your nerves, it might just save your life!
We're all doing the same job. It's us against them. If you don't want to work, then just go home. If you're going to be an a**hole, I'd rather just do it myself.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Friday, October 31, 2008
Always the pragmatist, my wife is. I'd have been eaten by moles years ago if it wasn't for her.
Anyway, I stopped in to get my check stub and there sat my boss, right next to the lady with the checks, and she asks me "Are you going to the Christmas party?" To which I reply "No, I don't like C.O's" And she just smiles and says "Okay, you can hang out with me then. It's five dollars for you and the wife."
What could I do? It's the boss. And she's kept me out of trouble a few times already. So...
I fish in my wallet and give her my last five bucks for a ticket to a party neither the wife and I really want to go to. Sometimes I'm too nice.
What the heck. I might enjoy it. They say the food is going to be good and a few of the people I really like are going to be there. And I'll blow out the door before people start getting hammered. I don't drink anymore and it annoys me being around people who do. To excess, anyway. Anything more than a mild buzz and you are really going to get on my nerves, mister.
Sometimes it's more than just eight hours in the day. We donate food to the foods drives. I buy raffle tickets to support this or that. I donate blood when the red cross comes around. They like me, I'm a universal donor. They ask for stuff for needy families at christmas and we usually donate some stuff. I gave two leaf bags full of old clothes to their thrift store thing. I sign get well cards and retirement cards and birthday cards for people I don't even know. I've eaten more store-bought birthday cake in the last five years than I ever have before in my life. And I still lost twenty pounds in the last three years!
So the next time you see a corrections officer on teevee and he's one of them no-neck beetle-browed cro-magnon lookin bruisers they always seem to cast in our role, imagine him going to Wal-Mart to buy a teddy bear for a kid he doesn't even know. Or even better, stopping at the store in uniform on the way home to buy feminine hygiene products (Tampons! There, I said it! Tampons!) for his daughter. If nothing else, you'll get a giggle out of it.
P.S. Got two hits from Canada on the blog today! One from Moncton, New Brunswick and one from Whitchurch-stouffville, Ontario. And the Great Pacific Northwet is still leading the pack with hits from Seattle to Salem! This is so cool.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Things have been the usual hectic craziness. Nothing extraordinary, just the usual. There's been a few close calls and a few tense moments, but nothing ever came of them and for that I'm glad. We've got another handful of newbies fresh out of the academy in the last week and I can see a couple of them that have that fire in their eyes like they can't wait to mix it up with these knuckleheads and show 'em who's top dog. They worry me a little bit. I know that look. I've seen it in the eyes of quite a few new officers. And in the eyes of a few that have been here a long time and should know better. I'll admit that look has been in my eyes before. When I've reached my limit and some knucklehead just needs a good thumping and you know that it's going to happen no matter what you do, then it's time to do it. But only as a last resort. That's what they don't get yet. And some of them never will. When you go looking for it, somebody always gets hurt. And it's not always the bad guys.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I pride myself in being a hard worker. I didn't always have that ethic. My brain is wired funny and some of the most obvious things only come to me after taking the long way 'round.
I think I'll try to take the bubble again this weekend. Sometimes that's more work and worry than being on the floor, but it doesn't "feel" like work. It's not the same old thing. And it gives me time to be alone in my head. All I do is tune out the noise and listen for the danger sounds. I've gotten good at that. I think I'd be a good bubble officer but I get physically bored up there and tend to eat too much.
Hmmm..... not a very interesting post. I'll try to do better.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Finally we look at what I call in my own head the KOI score. For what Kind Of Inmate do we have here? That designation is purely personal and everyone deals with that one in their own way. It's kind of like the sliding block puzzle post a while back. You can't put the flaming homosexual in with the nazi homophobe. You can't put the old head white biker dude in with the young black urban street gang banger. Technically, legally, we aren't allowed to look at things this way but for our own safety and for the inmates safety, we must. You just can't put the bible-thumping christain fundementalist in with the satanist. You can't put the white power survivalist in with the black muslim. It just won't work and somebody will end up getting hurt.
Then we have the boards. Four each, about three foot square with lines running across for each cell with the inmates names and their vital stats Name, Inmate number, AICS, Custody, Sentence, Violent or Non, Age, Weight, Medical Score, Mental Health Score, What House they are from, Why they are locked up in my house, When they got here and When they are supposed to get out. One board for each with with totals at the bottom. All this stuff written in grease pencil and sometimes changed several times a day. Even the colors of the grease pencils mean different things. Black is for regular GP or "General Population". Red is for Suicide Watch and Close Observation. Blue is for the fellows coming over from the Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center. And green is used for special cases like "sleepers" who are just visiting from other prisoms but are back in our county for court or one reason or another.
Then we have the Breakdown Sheet. Just a piece of paper with more lines and columns representing the wing boards without all that information, just the numbers. And the numbers have to match precisely with who we have in the house at the time. The numbers have to add up not only across, but down as well and they have to match precisely with the same numbers the main control center has up front or somebody is in trouble. If you drop a number somewhere and can't find your error really fast, they will lock the camp down and count every single person by name and number until we find out where the problem lies. Because if you are off by one, then that one may have slipped over the fence somewhere and we don't want that happening. The numbers are important.
And finally, we have The Files. We have a file in drawers in our office on every single offender in our house. And it contains all the information on the boards and spaces to put down whether or not he ate, showered, went to rec, had a phone call, turned in laundry or had a haircut, among other things. And spaces to write down that he saw the pshrink and got crazy or was observed peeing under his door or threatening to eat the nurse. And spaces to put down what property he brought with him, such as sheets, blankets, magazines, etc. And all of these files have to be maintained in the correct order and be noted in several times a day. I would say that one eighth of our day in each shift in our house is taken up with maintaining The Files. When we get a new offender in the house, i start with a blank file and fill in all the necessary info on the offender. Then whoever puts him into the cell fills out the rest. One place has to be signed by the offender and two officers. Two other places by the offender and one officer. And it all has to be filled out correctly and then put into the correct place in the cabinet.
All in all, it wasn't a bad monday. Glad it's over, tho. Tomorrow it's someone else's turn on the desk.