My fellow blogger Midtown Miscreant reminded me the other morning about one of the funniest critters ever to grace the walks of any correctional facility, the Jailhouse Lawyer.
Occasionally (but very rarely), one of these is actually an innocent person trying to prevent a miscarriage of justice. I've yet to actually see that, myself. Usually, they are just trying to find loopholes to wiggle and squirm their way out of prison. And, as MM said, Lawd Gawd don't ever ask them how their case is going. They will bury you in torts and snatches of barely understood latin phrases and this v. that and those v. them and they will use lots of words like "adjudication" and "jurisprudence" in such a way as to make you completely sure that they don't have the slightest idea what they are talking about.
Being in the Adseg unit, we see alot of these faux barristers come through our doors. They will stand up on their hind legs and howl about any real or imagined misjustice and file reams and reams of paperwork with the caseworkers to claim their reparations.
I've had a few complaints filed on me by offenders who basically didn't like me very much. But the problem is, is that I tend to stay pretty much within the letter of policy as much as possible and I don't leave them with a legal leg to stand on. But they file anyway. And when they do file on me, I reply in such a way as to make their case look both bogus and ridiculous but couched in such professional legalese that it just leaves them sputtering and unable to reply.
I love it.
I've been told that I have been filed on more times than I have actually seen. The caseworkers are allowed to respond to the filings (I.R.R.s or "Informal Resolution Requests") without sending them to the officer or staff member named if it is within their scope. And it is usually a short reply as in "You can't have that in here." I saw one of those before it was handed back to the offender. He was mad as hell.
There are a few offenders out on the hill that are fluent in legalese. I usually don't see them in my house as they tend to be smarter than your average knucklehead. But one of their kind is nominated to be the Law Clerk and works out of the law library section. He comes down to the Adseg unit once a week and dispences advice and is allowed to take notes and do research for those who need assistance.
His view on most of their complaints is about the same as ours. I saw one of them walking out of C-wing one day shaking his head. He looked at me and grinned and said: "These guys are idiots!" To which I replied "If they weren't idiots, they wouldn't be here."
He agreed with me.
Some days I feel like I'm in a Monty Python sketch.
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