Monday, November 17, 2008

A Real Bee Of A Day

Got stuck up in the bubble again today. I gripe about doing that alot, but I don't mind it as much as it sounds. It's a real pain in the butt, but it's a change from being down there on the floor. And there's one real perk to being up there. All the intercom switches have an "off" position. If there's nothing going on out in the wings and all the others are down in the office, I can switch the speakers off, even just for a few seconds, and all the noise just disappears. It's almost like I've gone deaf. It's very peaceful. And you can't get that when you're down on the floor. There's always someone talking or making noise or the radio's chattering in your ear. Even though I know the radio is my lifeline, there are days when I could do without it. I'd like to go work in a library some day. A great big one with stacks in the basement where the patrons aren't allowed to go. I'd work down there. Just me and thousands of books and peace and quiet......

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.


  1. But where would us timid law abiding citizens be without you?
    I am not being sarcastic.......I feel you have a right to let off steam. My lady friend, her hubby works shifts at the local county jail, and she never allows him to talk about his work. My hubby went from being a detroit cop to a journeyman lineman, and i encourage him to talk about his job. Just sayin'

  2. I think life would be easier for all involved if they let those on suicide watch actually commit suicide. It would lessen the population of problem prisoners.

  3. Inmates is soooooo stoopid..... Come to think of it, so are our supervisors, the lawyers, bureaucrats, politicians and assorted hand holders involved in the corrections these days. Who'd I leave out? Paperwork? I got your paperwork right here, pal. Oh, for the good 'ole days, when inmates had to march single file everywhere, weren't allowed to speak or even look at the guards, and infractions were dealt with on the spot by the, umm, judicious use of a nightstick. No, no CDV's and room restrictions, no extra duty, no hearing officers. Maybe recidivism wouldn't be as high if the concept of swift and certain punishment was really applied at all levels. Prison is just too much fun these days. Its getting to be a new (although distorted) social club.

  4. LoopyM: I do it for the paycheck and the benefits, around here this is as good as it gets. I do it for me, because I know I'm good at it. And I do it so some other moron who might get somebody hurt if I wasn't here won't have to. Sometimes I just do it because it's my job. Sometimes I do it out of a rather twisted sense of "justice". And sometimes I do it because sometimes I get to hurt somebody back. I know that's kind of sick, but it's true.

    Guy: Those guys we get on watch never really want to commit suicide. They want attention and they only know one way to get it. The ones who really want to commit suicide do so. And the ensuing paperwork is a freakin' nightmare.

    BA: I follow ya man. I'm glad you got my back. You are one of the islands of sanity in this maelstrom of madness.

  5. So you end up giving them the attention they seek. They win...