Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Listening In

Sometimes just sitting around listening is the best fun I can have at work. These guys will come off with the oddest stuff when they think you're not listening. Hell, I even overheard someone confess to a murder once. I made notes and turned them over to the investigator who supposedly turned it over to the police.

I keep a notebook in my pocket and will usually burn through a whole one in a month writing notes to myself. Here's a small sampling of the odd junk in my notebook from just the last couple of weeks:

"I just flicked ashes in your stuff..."

OK, I know that's not all that odd, but I wondered what "stuff" he had out that got ashes in it?

"I'm not a big fan of dick, thank you..."

That's funny, I had heard he was...

"He tattooed 'Game Over' on his eyelids and two days later he shot himself in the head."

Hmmm.... This is your brain on drugs..... any questions?

"I wasn't about to tell them the damn truth! I'm a criminal!!!"

And a rather pathetic one, at that.

"Just because I play games with the babies out on the yard doesn't mean I'm gay."

Yes, it does.

And this one was the best one of all. They guy who said this was in a cell all by himself. Suddenly he launched out with a whole string of profanity that lasted for several minutes and then he screamed:

"You know me..... You know I'm God....... So why in hell did I have to be circumsized?"

Oh, snap! I hope he doesn't try to fix that little problem himself. That could sting a bit.

Monday, March 30, 2009

No Hannibal Lecters Here

All of my life I have been a serial killer fan. OK, maybe "fan" isn't the right word. I don't espouse or condone what they have done. I don't promote murder.

But I have always been fascinated by them. When I was a kid I read about Jack The Ripper and Belle Gunness and Harvey Glatman and the Sawney Bean clan. The Zodiac killings were happening during my childhood. The Texas Tower shootings and the Manson Family murders were going on roughly the same time. So perhaps I am a product of the media during my formative years.

I have always wanted to know what was going on in their heads that would have made them so wrong. I read and watched with morbid fascination and wondered what drive them.

Maybe I should have been a pshrink.

And when I signed on with the DOC I wondered if this might be my golden oppurtunity to actually see inside the head of one or more of these horribly twisted people. Maybe even meet a real criminal genius.

Boy, was I wrong.

The Criminal Genius is a myth. There are no Hannibal Lecters, no James Moriartys, no Lex Luthors or Fu ManChus. Hell, there's not even a decent Alfred Packer in the bunch.

These guys are all idiots.

Granted, there are a few in here who have a sembelence of brains. But I rarely ever get to meet any of them in the Adseg unit. They stay clear of me and my house for the most part. But in all outward appearance, those guys are just regular people. There are no criminal masterminds roaming our yard, plotting escape or revenge on society or general mayhem.

I have met murderers. Multiple murderers. Generally, they are very calm and occasionally even polite. Of course, I've also met young gangbangers who drove by and sprayed someones house and killed grandma sitting in front of her teevee as she watched "As The World Turns" by accident, thinking they were putting a "hit" on some rival gang.

They are mostly just a**holes.

They think they're big and bad because they killed someone.

Even if it was by accident.

So, another cherished childhood dream down the tubes.

If there are no evil geniuses, that means there are no superheroes.


All those years I spent on the lookout for radioactive spiders down the tubes.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Messages From Beyond

When an offender has written a note to send to a staff member or another inmate, it's called a "kite".

I have no idea why.

We see lots of these every day. They send them on cadillacs to each other. The inmate workers pass them back and forth, even though they are not supposed to. They'll get written up or even locked up if they are caught, but they do it anyway when they think we're not looking.

Some of the kites get lost in transit and end up just laying on the wing floor for anyone to pick up. I always pick them up when I see them. I've seen some amazingly funny/ ridiculous/ disgusting/ incriminating stuff written down. The love notes are the best. They give me the willies, sometimes.

And I get handed some of the most ridiculous incomprehensible hogwash sometimes. I know that some of them are illiterate. I don't mock them for that. I don't like it and I don't understand it, but that's because my world revolves around words and their use. I don't make fun of the illiterate. I pity them because their world must seem so confusing.

But for those who can read and write, they hand out some of the most confusing garbage I have ever seen in my life. I've had notes with fifty words in which I could read three or four. The note above for example:

1. Pickled eggs made (something)
2. Hold out we can make christmas(?)
3. (something) an (something) (something) got me back my (something).
4. (something) are farted(?) (something) (something)

It goes on like that a bit. Both sides. There's one line that seems to say "Fil (feel?) like I'm the navy." Huh? OK, I'll have to admit, I've never felt like I'm the navy. Too many chances for crude jokes there. And there's another line on the other side that seems to read: "cake shake quakes sakes make". Well..... who doesn't? About eleven, I think.

And of course the big question is, who was this note going to, what does it mean, who could possibly understand it and why in gawds name did it end up in my hands?

As much as I enjoy the strangeness that goes on here, I fear one of these days one of these notes is going to give me a brain aneurism. I'll try to hard to get my brain wrapped around it and something deep inside is going to go "pop" and that will be all she wrote for the Revster.

Not the way I had planned on going out. I have always hoped it would be piled up in the sack with half a dozen japanese chicks, not on the concrete floor of a cell block. Ah, well.

I'll try to keep that from being my demise. But I'll still pick the damn things up off the floor and read them. Think I'll just try not so hard to understand.

And like Vinnie says: "Don't let 'em get you!"

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Here Comes The Rain Again

I'm sure we're not going to have the problems that the folks up in North Dakota are having with the flooding and all, but it's going to get messy, I'm sure.

When it rains hard it floods into the house. There's one good leak in our foundation over in the corner in B-wing that makes B-7 fill up with water and flood out into the nearby cells. And a leak in the roof over in C-wing that drips down into C-23 and down into C-11, right below it.

I'm sure by now they are kicking on the doors and crying for a mop. Like that's going to help. Failing that, they'll be demanding to be moved. And that isn't going to happen, either.

And when it rains really hard, it runs in underneath the fire doors in all four wings and usually floods out the nearest cells. That's what we get for being at the bottom of the hill.

And the dipsticks will stuff all of their clothes underneath the door trying to keep the water out and then scream when all of their clothes are wet and nasty.

I tell them "You shouldn't have done that, stupid."

For some strange reason, they are not comforted by my concern.

The National Weather Service says we might get thunderstorms and maybe snow tonight.

Don't you just love spring?

Friday, March 27, 2009

Is There Anybody Out There?

When we hear someone say "10-9?" on the radio the person is asking "What did you just say?"

We get an awful lot of that. Garbled transmissions. Static. Dropped calls. No verizon network backing up our communications. The little smiling "Can you hear me now?" dude and his mob would run for cover if they saw the state of our network. Or lick their chops and be pre-totaling their commission checks.

For a place that runs on radios, you'd think we would have better ones. Hell, we're lucky to have radios at all.

The guys that run the comm room always laugh and say that the radio is guaranteed to work until you walk away from their door. Then you are on your own.

That's pretty much the deal.

Bad batteries. Bad chargers. Crummy antennas. Broken mike cords. Weather interference. Sunspots. Whatever.


Worn out.


And someone's life may be dangling on the end of that garbage.

Granted, we are hard on the equipment. That's part of why most of it is broken. The average Corrections Officer doesn't seem to be smart enough to operate a pencil, let alone something electronic. They mumble and mutter. They put the mike too close or too far away from their mouth. Or worse, they sound wayyyyyy too excited when making mundane radio calls. There's someone (I think she's a cook) who sounds like there is a fight going on every time she gets on the radio. In the first two seconds of her every radio transmission my heart races and I go into "fight or flight" mode before I realize what's going on.

But even on a good day with a good radio, the damn things don't work very good. There was one day when I was outside and saw a fight going on on the other side of the yard. I would have had to run through the house, through at least three doors and one gate to get there myself so I just called a 10-49 (fight) on the radio.


Moved a little further away from the house and called it again.


Moved a little further away from the house and called it again.

They finally heard me that time. By then they guys were getting tired and starting to wind down. The average fight on the yard only lasts about ten seconds and it was a full minute from the time they started until officers arrived to break them up.


There's two radio calls that we really don't want to hear. The first is (of course) a 10-49. That means a fight in progress. And if you go rushing in to break up a fight you never know what you are getting into. Might just be fists. But it might be something more. One or more of them might be swinging a lock in a sock or a rock in a sock (no Dr. Suess references, please) or a razor blade or some sort of shank. There may be blood everywhere and you can't tell by looking at them who has got what in the way of infectious diseases. There's an awful lot of HIV and heapatitis loose in our camp.

The second call you never want to hear is a 10-5. Officer Needs Assistance. Right Freaking Now. That means someone is in serious trouble and every swinging richard with a badge on the camp best be heading in that direction, because some bad snap is happening.

But what if you don't hear it?

Or even worse.... what if you call it and nobody hears you?

It happens. And people get hurt. Officers get hurt. Real people.

But of course it would cost money to get our radio system up to even minimal standards. And, of course, there's no money to be had.

But hey......

What if we had taken the money we just spent on the fire alarm system that doesn't work properly and goes off with false alarms four or five times a day and spent it on new radios and a new repeater base station instead? We might actually have something that works, then.

That would have been nice.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

That Sinking Feeling

Yesterday was weird. I had this feeling of impending disaster all day long. Luckily for me, I was dead wrong and nothing really happened.

I really need to start ignoring these fake psychic flashes of mine. I'm always wrong. But it does make me wonder if it's a sort of Schroedingers Cat thing. Maybe by being aware that something is wrong, I have altered the thing slightly enough to prevent it from happening.

But that's just crazy talk. Too quantum mechanistic for my brain to get wrapped around.

Changes are coming. That's already a sure thing. The day shift sergeant is gone and we don't know who will be his replacement. The Boss Lady is leaving to move to another house. That just sucks. She speaks highly of her replacement, which is good. But it won't be the same. Having her as the boss was like having Rambo at your back in a firefight. She always carried the big guns and knew when to fight and when to get the hell out of Dodge.

Crap. I'm really going to miss her.

And people are talking about bidding out of the house again. When enough people start talking, then at least one or two usually make it. So we are going to end up with a shakeup of the crews again. Sometimes it's a good thing. Sometimes not.

It's like sticking your hand in a bag full of diamonds and scorpions. Even if you pull out a diamond and get rich, you'll probably get stung in the process.

Me, I guess I'm going to stay right where I'm at for the time being. Hell, I'm stuck anyway.

I just hope I'm near a life preserver when we start taking on water.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tis The Season

Yup! Yowza yowza yowza! It's skunk season again!!! Yayyyyyyy!

Pretty soon we'll be hip deep in the little fragrant darlings and it will be more hazardous to walk the yard when there's no inmates on it.

I suppose it's the fact that we have large areas of ground where nobody goes between the fences and the fact that the garbage is left out in bags overnight that attracts them by the hundreds.

That's probably the main reason we're over-run with cats and squirrels, too. And cats and skunks don't make a good mix. They are both territorial critters and tend to fight for what they think is theirs.


And since our housing units all run on negative air pressure, any time a skunk sprays it gets sucked right into the house.


At least we don't have an electric fence here. I work briefly at another prison down the road that does have an electric fence. They told me that there is some sort of thing that is supposed to keep critters from getting fried. I don't know how it's supposed to work. Apparently it doesn't. One evening a poor skunk got flash-fried right behind a house over on the other side of the camp, about a hundred yards away from the house I was working.

The air system sucked it right into the house.

You could hear all the inmates screaming even with all the doors and windows shut.


That's just one small reason I'm glad I don't work there anymore.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Getting A Little Crowded

Things are getting just a little crowded. When I first started with the department, they had just opened a brand new prison a few miles down the road and there were maybe a hundred offenders there. Now the place is packed and getting worse all the time.

In our Adseg unit, a few years ago, we decided we needed to repaint the place and do some routine maintenance. We cleared out an entire walk and opened up twelve cells at a time for them to work on.

Now it's time to repaint again. We have three cells down at a time to paint and it is hurting us having those empty. We have to kick people out to the hill early because we are too full.

In an ideal world, Adseg would be "segregation" and each cell would only hold one offender. That's kind of the whole idea of it. Too bad it doesn't work that way.

Now we have to hold on to knuckleheads who can't behave themselves for several months before they can go to the C-5 camps because there is no room in them either.

Things here in Raccoon City are getting kind of desperate. Pretty soon prison sentences are going to be measured in months rather than years and a stay in the Adseg unit will become hours rather than days. We might as well set up chairs in the corners of the housing units and make them take a five minute "time out".

It's getting to the point that a scenario like "Escape From New York" is looking like it might be a possibility. Just throw up a wall around the whole city and let them fend for themselves.

Just make sure my house is outside that wall, thank you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Changing Of The Guard

Those of you who work there know what happened. Those of you who don't probably won't care all that much. But things have changed. For good or ill is still to be seen.

The day shift sergeant (my sarge for the eight months I suffered through day shift) has been removed from the house permanently. For a stupid screwup. I know.. I know... he did it to himself and we all knew it was coming sooner or later, but still... he was a pretty nice guy and did try hard. He just didn't always listen to his staff when he should have. Bullheaded and stubborn at the wrong times.

That whole crew needed breaking up, anyway. None of them liked the sarge and he didn't like most of them, much. Being both one of the crew and somewhat of an outsider, I got to hear both sides of the stories. Sometimes more than two sides. It got aggravating after awhile.

I did a post awhile back about the very subject. Don't remember what it was called, but the pic was of the Hindenburg going up in flames. Just watching that whole crew self destruct was hurtful and somewhat alarming in the fact that I still depended on them to watch my back and they were busy tearing each other apart.

So he made a stupid mistake and now he's pulled out of the house. I think it's for the best, but I don't like the way it happened. And it almost got more people pulled as well. That would not have been pretty for anybody. And there's no telling who they will get for a new sergeant. There's a short list and some of them will be just as difficult to work with as the last one.

Be careful what you wish for......

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Nothing Up My Sleeve

You've heard me kvetch a bazillion times about how they keep taking things away from us and giving more things to the inmates.

Well, if you are tired of hearing about it, then ya better just go onto the next blog because I'm still at it.

When we get hired on with the DOC we go to the academy and take classes and they give us tools. Things to use to keep us safe and within the letter of the law. Things to use to get compliance from the offenders with or without the use of physical force. Compliance is the key word. When we get compliance then things run smoothly.

But when an offender refuses to comply with our directives, then things get dicey. Sometimes you can just talk them into doing whatever it is that needs to be done. Most of the time, actually. We get pretty good at that. But when they still refuse, then we need to pull out our bag of magic tricks and force them to do what we want. And we used to have all kinds of neat tricks for that sort of situation.

We still all carry our small cans of pepper spray. But they have taken the big foggers away from us. We used to have a shock shield. But for some reason they have taken that away from us again. We still have the restraint benches in place in the house (the last time I was there, anyway), but now for some unknown reason we are not allowed to use them anymore.

What gives?

The world isn't becoming any safer out there. As far as I can see, it's getting more dangerous. The number of violent crimes doesn't seem to be getting any smaller and, as a matter of fact, there has been a recent upswing in mass shootings that is becoming a bit alarming.

And it surely isn't getting any safer to work in a prison. There have been quite a few rather violent assaults lately. Mostly on other inmates, thank the gods, and not on staff, but still. It's just a matter of time with this sort of thing. Someone is going to walk in at the wrong time when someone is getting thumped and then a staff member is going to get seriously hurt.

It's trending in that direction. Things are coming to a head. And they only tend to get worse before they get better.

So what will they take away from us next? I hate to even speculate, it might give them ideas.

I'm afraid of the direction that this is taking. Very soon we will have no way of gaining compliance from the offenders and it will reach a flash point and we might have a full scale riot or worse. If they think, even for a moment, that we are not in control, all hell will break loose.

Give us back our tools! Give us back the things that make them stop and think before they act the fool. The foggers and the shock shield and the restraint benches are deterrents to idiocy. It's like owning nuclear weapons. It's often and historically enough to have one and be able to use it. Nobody wants to get nuked. Nobody wants to get pepper sprayed. Nobody wants to come up against the shock shield. Nobody wants to sit for hours on that stupid steel bench. Well, mostly nobody, anyway. There's always a few nuts.

Give us back the tools so that we can do our job safely with non-lethal weapons before someone is forced to come in and do it for us with lethal ones. I don't ever want to be here when somebody has to bring a lethal weapon inside the fence.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Rating System

It's getting to be time for my annual rating.

Rating, not ranting. Ranting I do daily. Sometimes just quietly to myself so as not to wake other people.

So, once a year we get a nice little report on how our supervisor thinks we did. It has comments on how many times we were absent, whether or not we know our duties and are able to carry them out, professionalism, etc. Blah blah blah.

I've had three different supervisors in the last year. Actually six. We always get two sergeants. One for the week and a different one for the weekend. So I had two sergeants one evening shift when I left it. Then two more for eight months on day shift. And now that I'm back on evenings I have two different sergeants.

So, how did I do? And who is going to rate me? The sergeants I had the month before I went to day shift? The ones I had for eight months on day shift? Or the ones I've had for three months on evenings? I actually know who it is. It's the "weekday" sarge on evenings. He's a guy I've known the whole time I've been in the department. When he was just a lowly COI like me, we were pretty good friends. Now that he's my supervisor, things haven't changed all that much. I still give him crap all the time about his annoying little habits and he rides me about mine.

I've never really been very subtle in my social interactions. Either I will internalize something or I will blow it right into someones face. I get on peoples nerves. It's who I am and it probably won't ever change.

So what will my rating be? Personally, I don't care very much. No matter what it is, I will sign it and throw my copy away. A good rating won't get me any more money and a bad one won't get me fired or cost me any money. For the most part, the rating system is an exercise in annoyance for the supervisors and a waste of paper.

The system used to be fairly simple. A form that they filled out that said whether or not you showed up and did your job. A space to put in whether you had any problems that needed addressed. Now it's not so easy. Some long haired professor type sold the state a program for a bazillion dollars. It's ten times as complicated, takes ten times as long to do and produces exactly the same results. And it wastes more paper. Freaking brilliant. Your tax dollars at work.

And just on a personal note, why does the rating system only go in one direction? Who knows more about how the supervisors do their jobs than the people that work for them? If a sergeant or lieutenant or captain is a jackass to his underlings but a suckup to his bosses why should he get a good rating? You would think that, as important as our job is and how critical it is that it runs seamlessly, this kind of thing would be examined from all sides. I propose to implement a new system titled SRS or "Supervisory Rating System" that will include comment forms to be filled out on your chain of command from sergeant all the way up to the warden. And these forms, instead of passing up the chain here for editing, would bypass the institutional chain altogether and go straight to the directors office at the capitol.

Yeah, like that's gonna happen.

Dang, there goes my good rating for the year......

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mixed Messages

Ah, here we go again. Changing the rules without telling anybody and getting testy when nobody knows.

That's what we're all about.

The Scenario: An offender is getting locked up in the adseg unit and refuses to go into the cell he has been assigned to.

The Response: Established SOP states that the offender will be placed on the restraint bench until he decides to go into his assigned cell.

Variable: The Captain (in his infinite wisdom) has decreed that we will not use the restraint benches under any circumstances. And of course, he never told us that.

Say what?

So this numbnuts sits on the restraint bench and states to the entire wing that he is going to sit there until (and I quote directly) "They agree to my demands." He will only agree to go into a cell with a certain other offender (who already has a cellie) and is going to hold the restraint bench hostage until his demands are met.

We get chewed out for following Policy and Procedure in dealing with the inmate. The Lieutenant comes down and doesn't want to take any action on his own so he calls the Captain who comes down to take care of the mess himself.

Since we are so freaking incompetent.

The offender is removed from the bench and taken to an empty cell (not the one he wants) and on the way there he walks slowly and drags his feet and mouths the whole time that we will give him what he wants because he's been down a long time and knows how to work the system. When he gets into the cell he backs up against the sink and refuses to move or be strip searched or have the cuffs removed. So they just shut the door until the Captain arrives.

If I had been in there, I would have handled it completely wrong, apparently. I wasn't in there, because I saw the whole thing was going bad from the moment the Lieutenant stepped into the house. I figured they were going to end up giving the guy what he wanted and I didn't want any part of it. I was standing by in case I was needed, but I have seen them cut our nuts off too many times and didn't want to be involved.

I'm not even going to say how I would have handled it. It would have been wrong, apparently.

So anyway, the Captain finally shows up. They open the cell door and when the offender refuses to comply with orders, the Captain pepper sprays him thoroughly. He complies at that point and is stripped out and the cuffs are removed. The door is closed again.

Then there are more mutterings about how we mishandled the whole affair.

What the snap ever.

We have restraint benches and utilize them correctly following Policy and Procedure and SOP.

But we're not allowed to use them.

I have the distinct feeling that no matter what we would have done at that point would have been wrong. It gets like that sometimes. We live with it.

But if we would have done it my way it would have been over alot quicker.

So now when I get back to work I'm sure there will be new rules that nobody else has heard of and it will be all our fault.

All because we are so freaking incompetent.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Too Many Goats, Not Enough Rope

It happens once in awhile. A major goat rope. A cluster f*ck of epic proportions. One of those days when you run around holding both of your butt cheeks in your hands and yelling "Oh snap!"

Almost had one last night. T'was bloody close. But cooler heads (and one head who lost his cool for a moment) prevailed and we endured.

The house is still staying largely, alarmingly full. We have so few beds that when they decide to lock up more than one person at a time it gets dicey as to where we can put people. And they did it to us last night in the worst possible way.

There's a house I haven't discussed much. For some reason it's an adjunct of one of the "treatment" houses. It should be connected to the wobblehead house, instead. The guys that are in this unit are the super-mega-turbo wobbleheads. Regular mental health scores out on the hill run from 1 to 3. Down in wobbleland they run from 3 to 4. Down in this other unit, they are generally mental health 5's. Extremely crazy. Lifelong crazy. All the way to their toenails crazy. Crazy enough that they aren't allowed to mix with the regular offenders in any way. They get fed seperately, go to rec seperately, and are not allowed any contact with the regular inmates.

And two of them got into a fight last night and got locked up.

Oh, snap.

So we needed two single cells to put them in and we didn't have them. We had to move four people to open up cells to put them in and it almost didn't go well. And two of them didn't want to move. There was a single guy in a cell in D wing and a single guy in a cell in A wing. We decided to move the guy from D wing to A wing and open up a whole cell. The guy from D wing refused to pack up and move so we moved the guy from A wing in with him instead. Pissed them both off.

We were going to move two offenders from C wing into the empty cell together. One of them packed up and went right away. The other one didn't want to move and started to get loud about it. I started to walk away and get my dander up and Vinnie stepped up, pulled his pepper spray, slapped the window with it and shouted "Pack your stuff now! You're moving! Now!!!"

He packed up and moved.

Vinnie is my hero. Not necessarily a role model, but a hero nonetheless.

So disaster was averted. It could have been bad, but a little ingenuity and just a burst of anger got us through it unscathed.

We get lucky, sometimes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I've been Served

I got my first work-related subpoena the other day. I feel so proud.

Actually, it scared the crap out of me until I figured out what was going on.

Came in just like any other day. Got my radio and my cuff keys and headed on in. When I got to central to sign in, someone said "Go back out front. There's an officer out there with a subpoena for you."

Oh snap!!!

A million things started rushing through my mind. None of them were the right thing. Had not a clue. When I finally tracked down the deputy sheriff with the papers and saw what it was I said "Phew! Is that all?" I haven't done anything illegal or otherwise that I should get called into court for, so my mind was doing all that track and field work for nothing. I think my brain is trying to kill me.

There was an incident back when I was on day shift. They brought this knucklehead out to see the nurse and allegedly he got stupid and ended up getting put on the ground in the sallyport. I didn't see the whole thing, I only got there after he was already on the ground. Of the three officers involved, two of them got hurt and had to take several days off. One back injury and one sprained ankle.

So the state is prosecuting said knucklehead. Because, after all, he is directly responsible for those two officers getting injured. And I get to go to court. Joy.

I have to iron a uniform and wear a freaking TIE then go sit around in the courthouse for probably a whole day for nothing.

But I still get paid for it. I've been told that as time goes on and I keep working down in the Hive that that sort of thing will only get worse. I know I have at least one and maybe two other cases pending in the courts that may or may not go to trial. One Lieutenant told me "Hell, one year I practically lived at the courthouse!"

Nifty. I really needed to hear that.

I'm so freaking lucky.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Walking Into Something

I've mentioned and skirted around some of the things that amuse us at work.

Some of the things have been pretty scary.

We're kind of a twisted bunch, if you can't tell.

And there have been things that, taken out of context, have made even me want to go home and duck back under the covers.

And that takes some doing.

I've walked into a few conversations that made me just stand there with my jaw flapping and at a total loss for words. And for those of you who know me, you know that that kind of thing just doesn't happen to me very often. I've usually got something to say about everything. Like Mrs. Peacock and my friend Vinnie I tend to have Pressure of Speech. Other people just call me a motor-mouth. A friend of mine once told me I have Groucho-itis. Meaning I always had to have the punch line. But sometimes I am left with nothing to work with. Usually I can take a line and burn out like Walter Payton running for the goal line.

Sometimes I just have to turn around and go back to try again later.

Here's a few odd examples:

When I woke up, it was all blue and just hanging to one side like a deflated balloon.

And he said "Why is there bacon in the soap???"

If it wasn't for that damn horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college!

You know... if you gave me one, then we'd both have one and we'd both be happy!

My mother never told me anything about that, so the first time I just looked stupid.

Next time, don't take her into the bathroom first. Wait until the game is over.

And she asked me "Does it always wiggle around like that?"

Like the man said: "You gotta know when to hold 'em and know when to fold 'em." And I just say "Wow" and run the other way in defeat.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Identity Crisis

I'm sure that some of you will think this is a dumb post. But it's something that does need to get said here.

I don't use real names here. I don't say where I work or even what state I live in.

For obvious reasons.

The Department of Corrections tends to be a highly paranoid institution when it comes to it's image. We have such a bad reputation that they will stomp hard on anyone slinging mud, real or imagined.

And I do tend to sling a little mud, now and then.

They cannot "officially" make me stop blogging. Hell, they can't even prove it's me without a federal court order. But they can and will make things difficult for me at work if they think I have become an embarrassment to the department. And some or most of the higher-ups wouldn't look kindly on some of the things I have said here.

Again, for obvious reasons.

I have decided, for simplicity's sake, to combine two of my favorite things, my blog and "Resident Evil" and create a cosmology that we can live in.

If you think that's dumb, get over it. I've gotten some funny looks, lately.

So from now on, if you would, please refer to the state/city/institution only as "Raccoon City" and the house where I/we work only as either the Adseg Unit or "The Hive". It will simplify things a bit and keep me out of difficulty.

It's a difficult enough job without adding more. Those of you who know me know that I don't walk away from a fracas, but there are some battles that my arms are way too short to fight.

And some days just walking into the place feels like working my way through a city full of murderous zombies.


But none of my coworkers look anything like Milla Jovovich. Even with clothes on.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

It Gets On You, Sometimes

Get Fuzzy

Since this blog is somewhat about pepper spray and the uses thereof, I was pretty happy to see this "Get Fuzzy" toon by Darby Conley. The "Darb" gets things that alot of us don't. He's like the Spider Robinson of comic strip artists.

I remember being somewhat curious about the effects of pepper spray when I first joined the department. I guess it's a good thing I didn't decide to become a cop. I can't imagine being curious about the effects of a 9mm bullet.

My first time was many years ago, not long after I had been assigned to the Adseg unit. I looked in from the rec yard and saw that a problem was developing in C-wing about four steps away from where I was standing. I got about three steps in when one of the officers sprayed the offender right in the face. And I, of course, being only two feet away, got the full brunt of the overspray directly into my face.

Man, I'm glad I wear glasses. They have saved my sight in alot of situations where other people were blinded and unable to act.

We managed to get the offender back into his cell and the door shut and everyone ran off to wash. Since I didn't get it directly into my eyes, I just rinsed off my glasses and face and went on with my night.

That was somewhat of a mistake, you see.

When you get excited (especially if you are already warm) your pores open up and the little granules of oleoresin capiscum burrow down inside your skin and set to burning. And washing with cold water at that point just closes the pores back up again, sealing the stuff inside. No one had ever told me to use lukewarm water to wash my skin after being sprayed.

So I sat the rest of the night up in Central doing paperwork and smouldering like a cigarette butt and listening to the lieutenants bitch about the smell. I was ready to spray them myself by the time it was all over.

Then I went home and threw my uniform in the washing machine and threw myself in the shower.

Another life lesson on it's way at a high rate of speed. Can you see it coming? I sure didn't.

There was pepper spray all over my hair and when I got into the shower it washed out of my hair and proceeded to run the length of my body, down across and into all of those freshly opened pores.





Get it? I sure did.

And I had to stuff a washcloth in my mouth because my wife was asleep in the next room.

The wife and kids have learned that if they wake up in the morning and there's "that smell" in the air and Dad has a freshly laundered uniform hanging by the washing machine, that Dad had a bad night and it's best to let him sleep as long as possible.

I learned to rinse that crap out of my hair before I even leave work.

And that pepper spray is a dandy deterrent. All of the offenders who say they've been sprayed and it's not so bad are liars. If you pull the can out and they flinch........ they've been sprayed and don't really want to again. They'll usually comply at that point. If they don't back down, then it's time for a lesson.

It beats a ruler across the knuckles.

Hands down, as it were.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Day Off

Taking the morning off to celebrate. It's National Potato Chip Day! So grab a sack and let it all hang out! Woo Hoo!

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Calm After The Storm

After the last couple of days we have had, last night was kind of nice. Almost peaceful. Only had to raise my voice a couple of times.

Well, except for our brand new fire alarm system that kept going off. That was annoying. They just got the system completely online yesterday and just as soon as day shift left, it went off.

What the heck?

Ran into the wing. Chased the food service workers out. Did a quick check of the cells and storage rooms. No fire. Went to the next wing, etc. Nothing. Sarge called up front and reported it. They managed to get it reset up there after about five minutes or so.

A mystery.

Happened again about an hour or so later. Same results. I hope they get it fixed today. That sucker is loud and very annoying. It's what you get when you have to buy from the lowest bidder. I never really understood that concept.

And for once, med pass was started and actually completed on time. And both of the nurses that were the cause of this latest mess were there yesterday. One of them is extremely lazy and has a crappy attitude and the other is a ditz who can turn around and get lost in the sallyport.

Our med room is pretty much fully stocked with anything from otc medications to basic first aid stuff and almost all of the meds that the offenders need to take on a daily basis. But if the lazy nurse is on duty and an offender needs a breathing treatment, or a dressing change or even a simpe scrape or cut cleaned up and bandaged, she insists they have to be sent up to medical to be treated. And she comes down at the last minute for med pass, then tries to get ready and then has to go out and smoke before she starts. So when med pass doesn't get done on time and they jump on her she tells them we weren't ready and that's why she's late.

The other nurse is such a dingbat it takes her twice as long to pull the meds and get ready and she always forgets two or three of them and has to go back. And we have to watch her because she will get the names mixed up and the cell numbers mixed up. One of these days she's going to give somebody the wrong meds and we are going to have some real problems.

But surprisingly, both of them showed up on time and ready and actually got done. Maybe they are getting the same pressure on the from their end.

I sure hope so. I'm tired of getting my butt chewed for the med pass. And I don't even do med pass most days.

So we had a calm night. It was so cold outside we even got done with rec early and just hung around shooting the cheese. I went and hung out in the bubble with that Vinnie kid and we made each other laugh and told bad jokes.

Really bad jokes.

Jokes that I would not even dare to repeat here.

But that's what we do.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Under Investigation

No, not me. Ummmmm... not that I know of, anyway. Hell, I could be.

But these are the two words that any offender getting locked up in the adseg unit hates to hear. It means that they won't be getting out any time soon.

Let's say that you have heard through the grapevine that two offenders have had a fight out on the yard. One of them has a black eye and the other one has skinned up knuckles. Since you didn't actually witness them fighting, you can't write them up for fighting and let them do their twenty days in the hole and get it over with. If they won't admit to the fight, they get locked up "Under Investigation" (or UNIV, to use adsegspeak) until you get the matter cleared up.

Simple enough, eh?

And you can keep someone locked up UNIV for 90 days without any kind of justification while you investigate things. Or just because you want to take your time because they pissed you off for not admitting to the fight.

Usually, after about 15 or 20 days one of them will "take his weight" and admit to the fight. Then they will both get a violation and then their time will start running and they have a chance of getting out of the hole.

All well and good. When it goes like that. Sometimes it don't, tho.

Say there's three or four "gang' members out on the yard and they are causing trouble. Threatening people. Trying to strongarm the weaker ones for "protection". Happens all the time. You allow these punks to form into a group of three or more and they think they're invulnerable. One at a time, they're just punks. But if they have their crew at their backs, then they can be ten feet tall.

Anyway, you know they are up to no good and they are starting to annoy people. You can't just write them up for strongarming. You don't have any proof. And there's not really a violation that covers that sort of thing. Threats, maybe. If you can prove it. Most of the time you can't prove anything because the punks won't admit it and the victims won't talk. So what you do is lock them up UNIV for "possible gang activity". They go down to the adseg unit and get put in seperate wings and sit there for 90 days or so. Then you submit a report that says yes, they are in a gang, and you request that they all be transferred to different camps. Reports are filled out and filed and requests for transfer are put in and in another 30 to 90 days they get sent to three different camps so they won't be together anymore.

Then they get to the next camp and join another gang and start all over again. And they get locked up UNIV........ and the next thing you know we have them back again.

Snappy little system we have here.

Keeps the little jagoffs circulating around so everybody can enjoy them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Turf Battles Again

Here we go again. More battles with the medical staff. What a bunch of crap.

And we lost this one even as it began.

Medical has demanded that medication pass be completed at the time they have decreed so that their nurses won't be forced to work late and thus accrue overtime. And they don't care if it holds up whatever we are doing or not.

And the bigwigs caved and agreed.

So, no matter what, we will get med pass done on time. If we have ten inmates waiting to get locked up, they get sat on the restraint benches until med pass is done. If all the dinner trays are ready to be passed out and sitting on the carts getting cold, they will sit there until med pass gets done. And if one or two of us are having trouble with a recalcitrant offender or even having a use of force, we will get no assistance until med pass is done.

And if it is not begun on time or completed on time, the we will have to explain to the shift commander why we are so incompetent. That's pretty much how it was explained to me.

Yesterday was a major cluster. Started out not too bad when Chuck and I got there but quickly degenerated into a madhouse. And, of course, day shift left on time. Some people don't get the difference between "being done" and "time to leave". Vinnie did a good post about the very subject.

Sarge was out reading violations for some bigwig or another and I was left manning the desk and trying to make our numbers come out right. And the goddam phones. Everyone else had hit the ground running and were busy putting offenders in their cells, including two mentally challenged fighters who had to be kept separated. In the meantime I get two phone calls, about ten minutes apart, from a Lieutenant who proceeds to chew my butt about med pass not getting started on time.

Let's see..... at least two mutually exclusive things going on here. Maybe more.

We have four officers on the floor on our shift.
It takes two officers to do med pass.
It takes two officers to do a lockup.
One officer is supposed to be in the wing with the food service workers.
It's supposed to take two officers to count.
The office is never supposed to be unmanned at any time.

That's eight. So far.

And we aren't supposed to use the restraint benches for "casual" reasons, like being too busy to put them in their cells. They took them away from us the first time for doing just that. So I imagine we are going to be losing our benches again real soon.

It will be all our fault. For doing what we are told to.

So we are to get med pass done at a certain time no matter what. Or it will be our butts in a sling if we don't.

We'll do it the way we are told. We have no choice. It has been decreed from on high. So when the inmates all complain when their food is cold and when their mail is late, we'll just point a finger and say nothing. And when they call for count and we don't have any numbers for them, we'll just point a finger and say nothing.

And when somebody gets hurt, we'll point the same finger.

But we'll have something to say then.

Count on that.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I Survived

I survived the day. And so did all of the inmates. A certain Lieutenant almost didn't make it, but hey, you can't have everything. The Major Pissing Contest is flaring up again between us and medical.

I'll go into detail about that at another time.

I was in such a crappy mood that it showed all over my face and not many people even spoke to me much today. That was probably a good thing. For everybody.

I came real close to snapping the phone in half a few times, though. Getting my butt chewed for something I knew nothing about and had no control over in the first place really got on my nerves. Especially the second time in ten minutes.

Almost lost my cool. And maybe even my job.

Don't want that.

I'm better now, though. I'm home and in warm dry clothes and I've taken my sleepy meds and I'm going to crawl into bed and try to forget that this day happened.

Let's be careful out there.

In A Mood

I had a pretty stressful evening and an even worse night when I got home. Couldn't unwind and get to sleep and when I did, every little noise and movement in the house woke me up.

Please try to ignore anything I say or do today.

Believe me, it's the best thing to do.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Chickens Are Restless

I almost used the Gary Larsen cartoon of the same name, but I didn't want to get sued. But the chickens sure were restless tonight.

Don't know for sure what it was. The change in the weather or the full moon or something. But all of the offenders decided to a man to be the biggest pricks they could be all night long. My partner BG and I came real close to slamming or spraying a few maybe four times during the evening. And FM and Chuck were having about the same luck working the floor. It was just ][ that close all night long. If we did reports for uses of force we avoided during the night we'd all be doing paperwork even now.

When BG and I left at 10:00, there were several of them unhappy about something and kicking on their doors over in A-wing. For the most part we were ignoring them and that just made them madder. If the captain would have authorized the use of a couple of CS grenades, we would have had some peace and quiet. Except for the crying, that is. But we can't use those.

What ever.

We managed to get through the evening without having to slam or spray anyone, but it was a real close thing. And I hope FM and Chuck have the same luck before they get to leave.

Nights like that are kind of aggravating. I was getting to the point of just wanting to go ahead and slam one and get it out of my system. Good thing I left when I did, I guess. I pride myself on avoiding more uses of force than I have. But maybe if we would have sprayed a few of them the rest would have laid down for the night.

P.S. Thank FM for the title of this post. He a master of the understatement, sometimes.


So young TNT spent a couple of days in the rubber room and now he's back. It seems to have mellowed him out some. He's lucky they didn't thump him.

Yesterday when I came in one of the others started in on it again. Not exactly cutting himself, but scratching his arms deep enough to reopen his wounds and make them bleed a little bit. He keeps claiming he wants to kill himself, but does nothing but minor injury.

The little jagoff.

He tried the poop smearing thing and that didn't work. He tried the flooding his cell thing and that didn't work. He got nine days of the meal loaf and learned to eat it. Now he's doing this cutting himself with paint chips thing.

While they had him on the restraint bench trying to figure out what to do I really wanted to go down there and get in his face and ask "Why are you wasting my time? If you're going to do it, then do it. But quit playing at it, boy. You are pissing me off."

But that's just what he wants, apparently. I think he's under the same impression that Ol' Poop Boy was. If he acts up enough, we'll kick him out of prison just to get rid of him.

Not gonna happen. Nope.

So they finally decided to send him to the rubber room for a few days. The escort officer came down and got him in a coverall and shackled up waiting for his ride.

And he asked the perfect question: "Is this going to be like an infirmary?"

He thinks he's going to spend a few days in a real bed watching teevee with nurses watching over him and feeding him and tending to his wounds.

The fool.

He's going to spend a few days in a six by nine room with soft rubber walls wearing nothing but a paper gown. Being watched by officers who will spray him if he does anything stupid.

I hope it's an eye opener. We'll see, I guess.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

If You Wanna Talk The Talk....

I remember looking back at the pictures of the gangsters from the 30's and 40's and thinking "Wow. Those guys looked cool." They were always impeccably dressed. Back then a man wouldn't leave home without a hat and tie on and his shoes well shined. Look at Al Capone and Legs Diamond and John Dillinger and Pretty Boy Floyd and Bugs Moran. They spent alot of their money (OK, ill-gotten money, I admit) on their clothes and looking good.

I look at the "gangsters" now and think "What a bunch of slobs." In my eyes they just look pathetic. And watching someone trying to dress "gangsta" in prison greys is just stupid and even more pathetic.

On Midtown Miscreant's blog today there was a post about trying to enforce a dress code for certain areas of downtown K.C. Specifically, excluding those who dressed like they are gang members. Personally, I think that's a fine idea. If you want to look like a gang member, then go hang out on your own turf. This is my turf. You wanna intrude on my territory, I will shoot you. End of story. There are people in my neighborhood who dress in that style. I don't begrudge them looking like that if it's what they really want. They probably think the same thing about me and my tiger stripe camo and black t-shirt. I won't go to their house and they better stay away from mine.

But I won't drive by and sling a hundred rounds and try to hit something. It will be just one. Short, sweet and simple.

At work, we are always vigilant for gang activity. For some reason the state has declared that there is no gang activity in our prisons.

Say what?

We have more prisons than most states and you can walk out on the yard on any given day in any prison in the state and see crips, bloods, and gd's just by looking at their colors. Get a little closer and you can recognize mexican mafia, family values, mst's and a bazillion white nazi groups all clustered together in little groups.

I would estimate that the gang members in our camp alone outnumber the non gang members by two to one.

In my house, if you are "representing" then I'm gonna be all up in your business. If your butt is hanging out of your pants, then you are either going to pull up your pants or I am going to find you a cellie interested in what you got hanging out there. And I can and will do just that. At minimum, you are going to get written up so you can spend more time in my lovely house.

This is my house and my turf. On the streets you keep to your own territory. This is mine. You don't like it? Then quite being an idiot and stay away from my house. Punk.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

I'm A Stat Whore

I just can't help it. I love going to my Statcounter page and seeing how many hits I have gotten on the blog and where they come from. It's part of my morning routine now.

I figured this thing might get popular with the local crowd and maybe my family in Oregon and Washington. It tickles me no end to see where my readers are. On a recommendation from Donna, I got a hit from London, England. That has apparently spread a bit and now I am getting ten or twelve hits from there a day. Thank, Donna! The other day I got a hit from Lima, Peru and one from Moscow, Russia and this morning there was a fresh one for the very first time from inside China! I get the occasional tickle from France, Indonesia and the Phillipines, even now and then from Sweden and Finland and once from Poland.

I just hope they can read mangled english.

The usual crowd is still coming in, of course. Guy and g and Loopy and Auntie (of course) and the Midtown Miscreant and my Dad (whose hyperlink doesn't seem to be working, humph) and BA and all the crew at work. And I seem to have a new hardcore group up in Ohio and a new group in California along with the gang up in Michigan and over in Wisconsin.

If I've missed anybody, I'm sorry. It's not laziness, just running out of time. Been having some intermittent power problems the last couple of days that keeps shutting me down and I'm losing things. Going to go buy me a battery backup today.

Anyway, I just wanted to say thanks. You guys keep me at this. You make my day.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Bad Connection

I was on my way through C-wing last night when one of the offenders called me over to his cell door. What he had to say sounded fairly urgent so I stopped and listened to him for a few minutes. Here's the gist of the conversation:

"C.O.! C.O.! Can you come here a minute? I want to give you some evidence. I found it here in my cell. It's a fingernail. I want to get it swabbed for evidence of DNA. It's proof of attempted murder on my mother. There was a black hair, kind of curly, on the floor right next to it. There were two other hairs and some sweltering of some kind on the styrofoam cup. Yeah, they said I flushed away my last chance but I just looked down and there it was. I want that DNA checked against (some name) and (some name). Anyway, I need to get that checked for DNA and maybe that can get me out of here finally. You know, when I turned the water on there was some loose hydrogen in the cell and it had me kind of worried.... you know what they say about free water... So, can you get that to the people so it can be checked? It's kind of important.."

I opened the chuckhole and he handed me out a small peice of what looked like silicone sealant that they used to seal the cracks in the floor. I promised I would get it to the investigator as soon as possible and have them run it through the whole CODUS system.

He seemed satisfied with that.

I seem to get alot of those type of conversations. They often do bad things to my head.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

They Call It Food

I've talked alot about the meal loaf here, but I don't think I've ever really gone into depth about the regular food they serve here.

The picture on the left here is somewhat representative, but doesn't do it any real justice.

Our meals, for example, are all placed on one tray, without any separate little bowls to keep things cold or hot. And we never get anything even closely resembling fresh fruit or vegetables.

Everything that does not come in huge packages, like the salads, or in 55 gallon drums, like the fruit, is made at a facility at another prison in something called the "Cook/Chill". There they prepare and pre-cook everything coming to us, pour it into large plastic bags and freeze it before it gets shipped to us. In our kitchen they fill large vats with boiling water and dump the plastic bags in and let them get warm again. Kind of like those "Boilin' Bag Meals" that got popular a few years ago.

Once the stuff is nominally hot, then it gets divvied up and sent to the two regular chow halls, with a smaller portion of it coming down to the Adseg unit.

Some things are actually made on site. Occasionally we will get fresh (fresh???) brownies or some sort of cake made by our own cooks. But that's not the norm. Alot of times the dessert is pre-packaged cookies made in Honduras.

I won't eat those. I've been to Honduras.


For a meat entree, we get alot of chicken patties. These are delightful. Little brownish pucks about three inches across with the consistancy of cardboard but without that wonderful cardboard flavor. If they were a little saltier, I would suspect they were made of Play-Doh. As it is, I suspect a large percentage of recycled paper.

And the wonderful Dinner Sausages. Ah, yes. Fat dense hot dogs. Remember the post on "Recycling"? 'Nuff said!

On the rare evening we are treated to chicken quarters. Those are a rare treat. A leg and thigh burnt black on the outside but still nice and red on the inside. Just the way chicken should be served, am I right?

And of course, beans. Lots and lots of beans. Black beans, red beans, lima beans.......

No wonder the place smells so bad all the time.

I'm glad I take the time to pack a lunch.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cutting Remarks

After TNT did his stupid little cutting thing the other day with the piece of concrete, we have since had two more incidents. Copycats.

One was this other idiot, who is not as loud as TNT but just about as stupid, got hold of a staple and gashed his arm pretty good. And then another one last night on our shift. Took the metal tip out of his pen and gouged himself a little just because he was pissed off and wanted to talk to the pshrink.

He wasn't getting along with his cellie, who is almost three times his age and a quarter of his weight and tried to "check in" saying he was in fear for his life in there. When they gave him a hard time about it, he said "If you don't get me out of here, I'm going to kick his head off!" SO they moved him and wrote him a violation for threats.

The idiot.

If he would have just gone to sleep where he was, he would have gotten out today. But instead he got a violation for threats and then another one from me for self-harm and now he's not getting out.

And the other punk, I'm not really sure what his trip is. I've been told he's facing assault charges from another camp that might get him more time. So I think he's trying to play the crazy card (like Poop Boy) to get out of it.

I don't think anybody has told him it's not going to work. By his own admission, he's just doing it because he's an a**hole and wants to get back at us.

How's that work again?

I can spend eight hours running around doing rec and feeding and medpass and working on the files and going up and down the stairs and all the things we have to do during the day.....

Or I can spend most of my shift sitting down writing reports because he cut himself.

Hmmmm......... decisions decisions......

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Signs Of Stupidity

I'd love to hand out these shirts at work. Make them in bright day-glo pink and make every offender in the Adseg unit wear one. And a few of them need it tattooed on their chests.

Speaking of which....

Young TNT earned himself another award in the Stupid Hall O' Fame yesterday. He'd gotten pissed because he got moved back into C-wing and was acting the fool. Things progressed while I was off for my weekend and he managed to get himself placed back on suicide watch. They had given him a smock and a blanket and a foam mattress. But he had torn the mattress into little bits so they took it away from him and he was left sleeping on the concrete. The jackass.

So sometime yesterday morning he managed to get a chip of concrete loose from one of the walls and began cutting himself with it. Not deep or anything, just enough to draw blood and look dramatic. All up and down his arms and stomach. And then..... just because, I guess.....

He carved the name of one of our female officers into his chest in six inch letters.

He's lucky she didn't come in there and beat the crap out of him for that.

So he got bundled up into a car and taken to the rubber room in one of the level five camps. I guess it was the only one available. I've heard that they don't play around there. If they don't send him back right away I'm sure he'll be too tired and sore to want to act up for awhile.

It pains me somewhat to have to get someone else to deal with our problems. No one ever wants to take the initiative to do something decisive when the moment comes. And it all boils down to laziness and the fear of doing something wrong. But there will always be someone who says "You did that wrong. You should have done this instead." But that always comes from the people who weren't there. The same people who are never there when something is happening.

But listen to me go on, will ya?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Other Peoples Children

I've never really been what you would call a "people person". I tend to be rude and very sarcastic and usually not afraid to speak my mind when I see or hear something that I deem is below the average intelligence quotient. Like Gallagher used to say "When I see stupid, I gotta say something."

I have a short fuse and a hot temper. I will get right in someones face and cuss them out for phenomenal stupidity and I tend to throw things.

Yet for some strange reason, I always end up raising or helping to raise, other peoples kids. It's bizarre.

I've never seen myself as a father figure. All of my life, I just couldn't see it happening. I looked at myself and thought "Ye gads. I don't want to see a kid growing up with me as an example. Earth itself would be doomed."

Yet it keeps happening. And the older I get, it seems to be happening more and more.

And now I'm in a house with 175 children. Some of whom are older than I am. A few of them are almost the same age as my daughter. Let's not think about her, the poor thing.

I remember thinking when I first got hired on that I'd spend my time patrolling a fence with a shotgun, or walking the yard and searching for weapons or breaking up fights.

I obviously had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into.

Now I find myself again as a surrogate father. Telling them to behave or they'll get no rec. Telling them to stop doing whatever it was they were doing or I'd put them on time out. Reminding them to call their mother. Making them clean up their rooms. Telling them not to hang out with "those" kids because it will just get them into trouble....

And occasionally doing the same thing for other staff. Many of whom are half my age. Seems like I'm stuck raising some of them, too. They don't listen much better than the inmates do, most days.

Theodore Geissel (the late great Dr. Suess, who had no children of his own) once said "Other people have children. I just entertain them." An admirable statement, I think. Myself, I would say "Other people have children and screw them up. I'm here to thump them when they get stupid."

I'm still under the impression that the world would be a much calmer place if I was kept as far away from it as possible.

I may be wrong, tho.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

And It Begins Anew

Sunday morning. For some, a day of reflection and relaxation. A day for some to go to church or to read the sunday funnies or (for those of you in the warmer climes) to mow the lawn and maybe get that last load of laundry in.

For me, it's a monday.

I'm not sure why, but for some strange reason the new round of rec in the Adseg unit begins on sunday and runs through saturday. It probably stems from the guy who had this job before me who was so retentive about running it his way.

No big deal.

I guess one of the good things about starting my week on sunday is that there is minimal staff and almost nothing else going on when I get there.

Unless something has "happened", of course. Then all bets are off.

If anything has happened or does happen, I'll let you know upon my return this evening.

Let's be careful out there.