Saturday, September 13, 2008

Criminally Insane II

There was once a young man in our house. An offender whose name I will not and cannot mention. This young man was seriously disturbed. He was so disturbed that I spent a month on Wikipedia studying nervous disorders and scrawled an entire notebook page of disorders that he displayed. And I didn't write down the symptoms of these disorders, just the names. An entire page. And I don't really write very big. This kid was messed up. He was fairly young, twenty-ish and was in prison for some sort of assault. I could see very clearly how this would happen. If you crowded him in any way, or if he even thought you were thinking about crowding him, he got extremely manic and paranoid and begin to lash out. I tried my best to work with him (as much as I was able to), to keep him from getting in situations where he would get into more trouble. Many times I had to be rather firm with him and even rough once or twice just to keep him from getting out of control. It took a firm grip on his attention and also his arm to keep him from shooting off on a tangent. We sent him off to the "hospital" more than once for whatever esoteric treatment they thought necessary. And sometimes he came back better. More than once he came back out of control. The last time he went and came back he was released back to his regular housing unit and we didn't see him for several months. I don't have alot of time to consider each offender, especially the ones who are not in my immediate care, but I thought about him occasionally and I was frequently glad that he was out of my house and doing okay. Then one day he came back. There was an altercation with another staff member that went rapidly out of control and there he was back in a cell in my housing unit, just as nutty as a fruit bat. Have you ever seen the movie "Sybil"? He didn't quite have as many people living inside of him as she did, but I'm pretty sure there was at least five people in there. Uncontrollable body movements, visual and auditory hallucinations, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, multiple personalities (who apparently didn't like each other very much), and a very thin grasp on any sort of reality. He was so disconnected from this planet that I would not have been suprised to see him actually levitating. If mind power alone could overcome the laws of physics, he could have flown. We kept him for awhile and then sent him off to the "hospital" again.
I just learned the other day that he's been released. I'm not exactly sure where, but he's out there somewhere. That's kind of scary.


  1. I have the distinct pleasure? of knowing the young man about which you speak. A truly fascinating case study. You should try doing a word association game with him! Part of the appeal of working in an AdSeg Unit for me is being able to observe all the various individuals and their interactions with each other and staff (I'm a people watcher). I, too, find working in a "normal" housing unit boring and mundane.

    The characters we come into contact with through the course of a day and the bizarre things they say and do could never be dreamed up by the best fiction writer. What makes a man take his own feces, and draw a face on the wall of his cell, then get into an argument with this face and punch it, breaking his hand? Or another insert various and sundry items into his rectum that require a doctor's removal? And the question I continually ask myself is, you can't really fix that kind of behaviour, can you? So prisons end up as warehouses for those mentally ill who are to violent for a conventional mental health facility and the terminally stupid.

    I like my job, though. I just wish they'd "Show me the money!"

  2. If we were actually paid for what we do, I'd be able to retire in just a few short years. Working an AdSeg unit should be considered "hazard" duty with an appropriate bonus. But if that happened, everyone would want to work there for the money and not because thay can handle it.
    It seems like every conversation I had with that young man was word asociation. If you said something it would lead him to another thing which would lead to another and another... I can't remeber what the clinical word for that was but it was weird and sometimes annoying. Keeping him on track was a chore. I just hope he's somewhere that they can keep a good eye on him and keep him out of trouble. He wasn't "bad" (in my opinion) he's just severely disturbed.