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.


  1. Unfortunately Rev, you and I both know, it probably will take a riot or somebody getting seriously hurt before the powers that be decide to give back what they took away. It's not them in harms way day after day, why should they give an expletive deleted?

  2. Or both. They get paid no matter what happens. The Director probably hasn't set foot inside a real prison in years. Not without a squad of goons and yes-men around him, anyway.

  3. Makes me think that the movie "Escape from New York?" wasn't such a bad idea after all. Throw all the bad guys onto an island and "natural selection" take its course.

  4. The first time I saw "Escape From New York" I thought it was a horrible last-ditch idea. Now I'm not so sure. One way in, no way out. It might just work....