Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday/Monday Again

ACK!!!

It's sunday/monday again. I am soooooo not looking forward to this. I'm just not a monday person, I guess. Drinking massive amounts of coffee and smoking and I've taken my meds and my vitamins. Haven't done my walk on the treadmill yet. Still trying to work up the gumption. But it's still early. I have time.

If I didn't need the time off, I wonder if I would ever take a day off because I might have missed something. Things can change so quickly in the prison sometimes. Even if the days seem always the same. It's hard to explain.

There's always a knucklehead trying something new. And if it's not the offenders, then it's the staff trying to change things. Some captain or other supervisor will come up with some new hair brained scheme about the way they want things run. Especially in the Hive. We seem to be the laboratory for their weird experiments. And it's often hard to tell if it's us or the offenders that are the rats.

But I know for sure that we never seem to get enough cheese.

So when the time comes I'll shower and get dressed and head on in. And I'll walk with tredipation and a little frisson of The Fear to central and then on out to wait for BG to show. He's my litmus test of how the weekend went. Usually, when I ask, he'll shrug his shoulders and say "Mmmmm..... nothing much." But if his reply lasts longer than the walk past medical, then I'll know things went poorly. Or strangely.

And if he talks all the way down to the house, then I'll know what kind of week it's going to be.

I don't know for sure what I'm hoping for. Either way, as long as no staff gets hurt, it's all good.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Concealed Weapons

The state, in it's infinite wisdom, has started selling cd players to the inmates and allowing them to buy cd's from certain catalog vendors.

Nice..... we should just go ahead and give them knives and get it over with.

Have you ever broken a cd? It's difficult to do, but not impossible. And when they break, they are sharp as hell. And believe it or not, if you are careful, you can disguise a broken cd to look like it's just decorated. Since inmates tend to draw on every available surface anyway, a hand decorated cd is nothing to be suspicious of. Unless you are looking for that sort of thing.

I spent a couple of hours yesterday playing with the concept. Made my own prison made cutting tool with a couple of razor blades from a disposable razor taped to the end of a pencil. Set to cutting up a few cd's to see how it would work. If you are careful and score them deep enough, you can snap one in half and leave a hell of a sharp edge. And if you just dull down one side on the concrete where you are going to grip it, it becomes a good slashing tool.

Then I put scotch tape over the break and used a magic marker to make a design over the break. If you don't look too close, it looks like a regular disk in the box. And once I got started on the idea, all sorts of nasty notions popped into my head.

I took pictures of the process, but they didn't come out well. Pfui.

The wife watched what I was doing and after I had disguised my work and showed it to her, she replied "It's a good thing you aren't an inmate."

I'm sure I'm not the first person to think of this. Especially outside of the fence.

The inmates in the Hive aren't allowed their cd players (yet), but for those of you out there in the GP houses, start checking those disks!

"The criminal mind is limited only by his imagination."

I'm not sure who said that first, but it is so true.

Keep your eyes and open and your brains working!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Miracle Cure

It's just gotta be one of the greatest miracles of modern psychiatry in our lifetime. Our new Poop Boy (now named Gumby, thanks to Peggy Sue) is just as sane and rational and coherent as anybody else in the Hive.

Ok, that's not really saying all that much. There's not really all that much sanity running rampant through the house these days. Let's just go with the fact that he's no longer playing with his bodily wastes or putting on any more floor shows.

It's kind of sad, really. He had a good audience response and could have worked it into a long run of the rubber rooms throughout the state. Another fine career cut short by those meddling pshrinks!

Gumby called me over to his cell door and told me all about how his father had passed away and he was having trouble dealing with that. The pshrink apparently told him to remember the good times and focus on those. So he told me all about going camping with his father when he was little and the good times they had. We chatted for a bit about camping gear and the choice between hauling a camp stove as opposed to just building a fire and the difference between gas lanterns and battery lights. Right before I left to get back to work we were discussing the mantles in the gas lanterns and what they were made of.

It left me shaking my head.

So he was calm. He was happy, or as happy as he could be wearing a kevlar smock anyway. He had good line of thought and sentence structure. He was ready to get back out and live his life again. Or so he said.

Me, I'm thinking there must be a loose wire in there somewhere. He has to have some sort of intermittent short that made him act the way he did. I can't wrap my brain around wanting to smear myself with feces and playing solo porn star for the camera as an appropriate response to grief. But then, I tend to internalize things like that.

I just hope nothing shorts him out again and he goes away. We have enough trouble dealing with the dipsnaps and door warriors here without cleaning up any poop. As entertaining as it is, it gets kind of old after awhile.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dinner And A Show

Well, the entree' du jour was nasty state food so I ate my chicken sandwich instead. And I'm pretty glad I wasn't eating while the show was going on.... but still the concept is the same.

Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages! We have a new poop boy in the house! Let's all give him a big hand... isn't he wonderful?

Luckily, he decided to do his interior decorating on midnight shift. So they got the pleasure of dealing with the cleanup. And it spilled over onto day shift so they wouldn't feel left out. Wasn't that thoughtful?

We have a monitor in the office so we can see what is going on in the suicide cells at any given time and the bubble officer can blow up certain cells so we can see better. We just refer to it as "Channel Five".

This new knucklehead is someone I had never seen before. He came down on suicide watch a couple of days ago and has been trying out different acts. I'll have to poll the crew and come up with a name for him.

Last night he laid down on his bunk and started trying to do a headstand. Next thing we knew he had flipped his feet up over his head, grabbed both of his ankles and started doing something we couldn't see very clearly but was implied pretty strongly. I guess the phrase "To thine own self be true" would apply. He seemed to be enjoying it, anyway.

I've never tried it, but I'm fairly certain that I am nowhere near that limber. And the question always arises...... "If you could do that, would you???"

No, I don't think so. Just.............. no.

It's not like we haven't seen that sort of thing before. TNT was pretty skilled in the self pleasuring arts himself. And there have been others. It's old hat by now. And alot of this guy's act seems as if he's trying out different things to shock us.

I got some bad news for him. There just isn't much we haven't seen already on Channel Five. Every imaginable bodily excretion, every act of self destruction or self pleasure. If he came up with something new, I'd be shocked.

Maybe someone should tell him that. Just go up to the cell door and say "Dude. We've seen all of that stuff before. We aren't shocked. We aren't disgusted. We're not even mildly surprised. At best we are somewhat amused. If you are trying to act crazy you're going to have to do much better than that. Give it up, quit wasting my time and get the snap out of my house. I've got better things to do."

Hell, it might work. Maybe he'll give up and lay down for awhile.

I hope so. I'm not in the mood for any gymnastics or silliness today. The bastards made me run last night again. Up-snapping-hill, of course. And I didn't even get to hurt anybody when I got there. I sure wanted to by then, believe me. I'm getting too old for this crap.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Employment Opportunities- Inquire Within

So as of this coming Sunday we will have three vacancies in the Hive staff roster. Vinnie, of course, is still on injured reserve and has gone to the control center anyway. Lord Crom (who was my replacement on my days off) has gone to days and now GM is going to days as well.

All I can say is: you aint gonna like it. I dunno. Maybe you will, but I sure didn't.

Heck even Sergeant Miz P is talking about bidding out! Noooooooooooo..................

And nobody who is halfway reliable wants to work down there. That's the way it was when I first bid into the house. When a job goes up for bid people who want the job have to put down how long they have been in the department, because jobs are (supposedly) awarded by seniority. So whoever has the most time in will get the job they want.

The first time I bid on the Hive spot, out of the hundreds of CO's that work here, only one other person had bid on the spot and I had him beat by about three weeks.

When I got it this time, I think I may have been the only one who wanted it.

And now nobody wants to work down here. For various reasons. There was a time when every young buck who was itching for some "action" wanted to work the Hive. We tried to discourage those from coming down. We get enough action without having to go look for it. And I'm getting too old to be bouncing off the concrete that often.

But I've dunned everyone I can think of that would be good to work with and they all look at me like I was crazy. They are all either too happy where they are at or they don't like someone on the staff or the days off or whatever. And we do have the reputation of being the smelliest house on the camp and that doesn't help much, either.

Hell, we haven't had a good old fashioned poop smearing in months! I can't say that I miss it, but at least it was entertainment.... kind of like watching network teevee.....

So it's looking like we will get stuck with utilities forever or they will stick some newbies with the spots and we will be forced to train them. And if Miz P leaves, I'll have to train another sergeant. Man, I hate that. Just when you get them to where they are doing what you need them to, they up and leave. And we start all over again.....

Pfui.

I really hope we get a few decent folk in those spots. Hopefully someone we won't have to beat with a rolled up newspaper too often. I don't have alot of patience and I'm not a very good teacher. But, aside from BG, I'm the one who has been in the house the longest so far and I'm the one they look to when they need to know something.

Anyway, if you know someone (or are someone) with half a brain and just a smidgen of common sense who needs a job.......

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Slower Than Hell

Don't know what is going on with my internet connection today. Slower than hell and twice as irritating. Must have something to do with the thunderstorms in the area. I can't read the comics and I can't get to half of the blogs I read. Hell, it took several minutes just to load the stupid picture.

If this will post at all, I'll leave it at that for now. If something interesting happens tonight I'll update later. If not, I'll just save myself the aggravation and try again tomorrow.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Stepped Right Into The Snap

Holy snap! Stepped right off into the snit yesterday. As soon as we got in the door. Things were rocking and rolling.

The Hive is completely full again and they won't stop locking them up for stupid things. So we are kicking them back out on the hill five or ten days early. And I would say that a good number of the ones we have kicked out early are going to be back inside of a week. We kicked out five on our shift and I'm guessing at least three of them will be back by next weekend if not sooner.

There was a fight down in the wobblehead house right before shift change and as they were being escorted down to us, one of them pulled away from the escorting officer and spit in his face. He ended up getting sprayed and slammed and a 10-5 was called that nobody but me heard, apparently.

Actually, what I heard was "garble 5 garble central security".

I stopped and said "What was that?"

The control center came on and said "Repeat your last transmission?"

And somebody else said "10-6 the 10-5 behind central security."

To which I replied "Holy snap! We're getting another lockup!"

Turns out we were getting two of them that we didn't know about. Nobody had bothered to call us. Nice.

And half of the ones they locked up on our shift refused to be in a cell with anyone else. And nobody wanted to move out of C-wing. As a matter of fact, day shift wrote several violations for just that very thing. One jagoff check-in was up in C-wing yelling at everybody to refuse to move and several of them went with him. So they wrote him and his pals up for Organized Disobedience, which is the same thing as "Inciting To Riot" and is actually considered a major violation and is potentially prosecutable. They won't prosecute, but it would be nice if they did just for once. Show these fracking clowns we mean business.

But it will never happen. More's the pity.

So we did room moves and kickouts and room moves. Shuffled paperwork and files and updated the computer and tried to keep everything straight. Sarges desk was piled high with files and folders and chickenscratch notes.

And right in the middle of feeding dinner and pulling out laundry, some clown muttered something to me about having suicidal thoughts. I said "What did you say? And he just went and sat down on his bunk. Refused to say any more.

I grabbed the utility officer we had and posted him up in front of the guys door and told him keep eyeballs on the guy. Nipped over and helped Chuck with a lockup that was refusing a cellie and got the knucklehead put on the restraint bench. Then went and told Sarge what was going on and figured out who we could move out of a suicide cell.

We pulled the suicidal thoughts dude out of the cell and had Sarge watch him while we moved a guy out of a suicide cell and put him where the other dude came from. Then got dude and stripped him out and gave him a smock. He seemed surprised and affronted that we were doing that to him. Not long after he began screaming at the door and told the dorm worker his head was bleeding. We looked inside and didn't see anything. When we came up to the door he stated that he wasn't having suicidal thoughts, it was his cellie and the whole thing was a mistake and we needed to get him out of there immediately.

Uhhhhhh.........no.

My guess is he thought he was just going to get a cell by himself and didn't know what having suicidal thoughts entailed. And since this is a long weekend, he's probably going to be in that smock until tomorrow morning, at least.

Poor sap. chuckle chuckle chuckle.....

So, about five more room moves later we finally got everyone situated. Then we got started on doing the computer updates and the files moved and the boards changed... It's just a nacher'l born blue eyed dog boned miracle that count cleared. Either a miracle or the fact that we are really amazing at what we do. Of course, we don't get any credit for doing a good job so it must just be a miracle.

Then afterwards we managed to get a couple rounds of rec out. That just rounded out the evening.

It was a really really long night.

And as how we are still full and it's Memorial Day weekend we will still be full when I get in today and we'll get to start the whole process over again. They'll want to lock up some knucklehead for getting loud in the house and we are going to send them an even louder knucklehead in return.

Wheeeee.............................

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Insomnia

Going through one of those insomniac phases again. Can't get to sleep and when I do I can't stay asleep. Tossing and turning and having weird weird dreams.

Dreams about the prison. Not a recipe for a good nights sleep.

Not scary dreams either. Usually there is just mass stupidity going on. In the dream I had last night someone came and found me to go back to work and take care of a problem. It seemed that the Stork had flushed himself down the toilet in a combination escape/suicide attempt and became lodged in the drain pipe.

Nobody could figure out how to get him out of there so they wanted me back.

I woke up mad several times.

And I had a dream awhile back that I had been kicked out of the Hive and put out in the perimeter patrol vehicle. And while I was out there someone tried to go over the fence and there were two people on the outside trying to help him escape.

I ended up shooting and killing all three of them. That one woke me up all covered in sweat.

I know there isn't much in this world more boring than someone telling you their dreams. I'm sorry about that. It's what's been going on with me lately. Obviously I'm having some unresolved issues.

Either that or I've been doing too much heavy lifting and my shoulders and upper back hurt and that's why I can't get comfortable.

Hopefully it will straighten itself out soon.

Bear with me.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Strange Radio Traffic

I've talked on and off about our radio system and the flaws contained therein. It's a crappy, poorly maintained system, but at least we do have radios. And they do work in a limited way on rare occasions.

I'm glad I didn't work there when all they had were whistles. Snap on that.

The guys that work up in the Comm Room do their level best to keep our stuff up and working. They try to keep the batteries charged and any broken stuff replaced as fast as the budget allows. But there is just enough gear to run a shift with a little bit of excess for the overlap and what we have runs 24/7/365.

That's just hard on the equipment. And add in the stupidity factor and we would be breaking stuff if it was made of titanium and filled with concrete. You can only be so rough on electronic gear before it gives up the ghost.

But if I could figure out which two radios are responsible for some of the odd noises I've heard, I'd break them myself.

There is one radio... I think it is #84.... that sometimes when you key it up to say something it sounds like you just farted into the mic. And not just a quick toot, either. It sounds like the kind of fart you'd need to go check your drawers afterwards. It's not too bad if you are just doing regular routine radio traffic, but if you were trying to call for some kind of help, it wouldn't get out because all anyone would hear was this loud farting noise.

Embarrassing and potentially dangerous.

The other one is the screamer. I don't know which radio this is. I think it's a fairly new development. And it apparently doesn't happen every time the mic is keyed. This one scared the snap out of me twice the other day.

What we heard over the radio twice the other night was about a one second scream. And not just the "Eek! A mouse!" kind of scream, either. It was more like someone had dangled their mic cord into some sort of Lovecraftian hell and picked up the screams of a billion damned souls all at once.

If some actress could learn to scream like that she could become queen of the b-movies. You could give everyone in the movie theater a heart attack with that noise.

Of course, we checked around and everyone was okay and nobody knew exactly where it came from. Unsettling.

Gave me two hot adrenaline dumps that left me worn out afterward. I couldn't take too much of that in one shift.

All we need now is one that screams "10-5!" every time you key up the mic and we'd have a wonderful night. Or one that sounds like whale songs or something.

Maybe the whistles weren't such a bad idea after all...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Tech Support

At the prison, we run on computers. Just like almost any other business, we can not even countenance working without them. We have all of our data and information stored on computers and when the system goes down, things get really interesting.

We could run without them and have on several occasions, but it sucks.

There are three different types of computers here. There are "dumb" terminals ( a very apt name) connected to the AS400 system. These are the computers we do most of our work on. AS400 is probably one of the oldest and most difficult to use programs that exists on the planet at this time. It's completely keyboard driven and uses all of the "F" keys to direct the functions. Rumor has it that it was first devised by an inmate who secretly hated corrections officers. I can believe that. Apparently there is no users manual and there are functions that are passed down from employee to employee like folk tales.

I use it like it was a highly radioactive plastic squirtgun full of acid. Only when I have to.

There are pc's that are on a local network and also connect to AS400. They have a mouse and use windows, but not with AS400. It's still keyboard driven no matter what computer it's being used on.

These computers are for the important people. I'm not important enough to have one so I haven't any real opinion of them.

Then there are the stand-alone pc's. Just slow junky little word processor puters that the state bought used somewhere. They are pretty much only good for writing out reports and printing them. When you can get the puter and the printer both to work at the same time, that is. There's a few of these scattered around.

Which brings me to the real subject of this post.

There's a stand-alone pc in the lieutenants office. Whenever there is a use of force or an assault or any kind of thing that you have to type up a lengthy report on, this is the puter to use. I have a folder in the documents file on this puter with my name on it. It has copies of my use of force packets going back almost five years. All I have to do is copy one and change the information and print that sucker out.

Sometimes that works.

The puter is slow and crappy but it works. I think it might be an old 386.

But the keyboard....... that's another story. Half of the letters are worn off the keys so unless you touch type (I don't) you have to guess at which key you are hitting. I'm wrong alot. And of the keys that still have letters, half of those stick. Either up or down, depending on the weather. You can hit a key and find you have put in two lines of "K's" before you can get the key to pop back up. It gets annoying. But it's still the best puter we have to work with.

I have been trying for the last two months to get someone to give us a new keyboard. I've questioned maybe thirty people. They finally pointed me to the guy who is supposedly our IT guy. He's never in his office, so I had to wait until I ran into him in person. I finally cornered him about a week ago. I told him the problem in depth and the conversation went like this:

"OK, which type of computer is it? A dumb terminal or one of the pc's on the network? Because the keyboards are different and non interchangeable."

"It's neither. It's a stand alone pc. All I need is a dang pc keyboard."

"Oh..... well, I don't support those. You need to talk to the business office."

And off he went.

I'd already talked to the business office and they told me he was the guy to go to. I got the run around. Imagine that.

I decided that if I really want a new keyboard, I'm just going to have to buy one myself and bring it in. And of course, if I want to do that, I have to write a memo to the Major asking permission to bring it inside. If I were the IT guy, I could wheel a cart full of them inside and nobody would raise an eyebrow. But since I'm just a lowly CO I'm considered to be too stupid to pound sand and I have to ask permission before I do anything.

That gets old.

So I may just slip into apathy and frugality and deal with the old keyboard. I don't want to spend my own money and I don't want my name going across the Majors desk for any reason at all. He doesn't seem to like me very much.

What the heck. I don't have to do that many reports anyway.

Right now, that is.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Someone Dropped Their Hammer!

I'm not exactly sure who keeps dropping their hammer, but I wish they would quit dropping it on us. Between day shift and evenings, we did twenty lockups yesterday.

There was one available bed when we left the house last night.

And I hadn't slept at all the previous night. I don't know what that was all about. I spent the night sleeping in five minute increments. I probably should have called out and stayed home. I was barely coherent. Mostly did my job in automatic mode. As long as I was active and thinking and moving, I was okay. Made some good decisions. But if I sat still and tried to look at the computer or something, my eyes started crossing.

And the drive home was a little bit frightening. That wasn't safe at all.

But I survived. Obviously.

We had an interesting and busy night. They were locking offenders up so fast we were just sticking them where they could go as fast as they came in the house. And a few of them were trying to check in from their cellies just as fast as we put them in there.

And a couple of them decided it was a good time to get stupid, as well. Idiots. When we are that busy and that stressed is not a good time to stand up on your hind legs and act the fool. It's a real good way to find out which bits of you are crunchy and which bits just go squish.

Nothing happened, but it was a close call. We had Sergeant Bowstring last night. He used to be on my old crew back when he was just a CO1. He was a real hell raisin fool back then. Seems to have mellowed a bit in his old age but the fire is still there if it's needed. As I was leaving he smiled and said "It was almost like the good old days, huh?"

Back when he and I were working together we had weeks and months when the craziness just didn't stop down in the Hive. We would get into a use of force early in the shift and as soon as we got back from doing the paperwork on that one, we get into another. It wasn't anything we did on purpose, it just happened that way.

For the most part, anyway. Sometimes ya just gotta do what ya gotta do. Every once in awhile there is an inmate with a big red "X" on his forehead that says "Insert pepper spray here." And we'd smile and jump right on it. Those were the days......

And it seems like we might be heading in that direction again. We seem to be getting more and more of the real idiots that just can't or won't learn. The ones that don't realize that they are in prison and not in kindergarten.

I can live with that. Makes life interesting.

But I do hope today is calmer. Even though I got some sleep I'm still pretty tired.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Capital Punishment- For Or Against?

The state gave one the needle yesterday. A multiple murderer who needed it. And he slipped away into sleep and then into death. Nowhere near as easily as his victims died. He beat them to death, so I hear.

I started work at the prison where this happened. The place was brand new and they built a room especially for doing executions. The room was apparently classified top secret because nobody had the keys for it and nobody could let us in to see it and we weren't allowed to see the room anyway.

Idiots.

After I had been there about six months they sent around a memo asking for staff members who might be interested in being on the execution team. Maybe interested wasn't the word. Willing to be on the team. I signed up. I figured it would be worth some overtime now and then.

The memo started a huge debate on camp. And it showed what a bad judge of character I really am. All the hard core hoo-rah types that I thought would be the first ones to sign up were the ones saying loudly that they wanted nothing to do with executions. It was only the quiet ones and the odd ones like me that were saying "What the hell..... I'll do it."

Opened a big can of worms, that did.

But of course, I wasn't one of the "In Crowd" there, so I wasn't even considered. With the Major we had there at the time you had to be one of his boot licking crew to get any kind of special assignment. And I despised the arrogant little sawed off S.O.Beeotch. He was a prick. The kind of person that wouldn't even acknowledge you if you spoke to him.

And I only stayed there eight or nine months before I transferred to where I am now. And they didn't do any executions while I was there. So it wouldn't have mattered if they had put me on the team or not. If they hadn't transferred me I would have quit.

I seem to have wandered off topic.

Lethal injection is supposed to be "humane". Personally, I don't see the point. You just go to sleep and stop breathing. That's no deterrent. Like going to prison at all is no longer a deterrent. Going to prison is like taking a vacation and being executed is going to sleep.

I think at least they should bring back hanging and the electric chair. They are both nasty deaths and would make people afraid to take that step. I agree that the gas chamber was not a good idea. Way too hazardous for staff and bystanders and not good for the environment. But the other two worked pretty well.

As long as you kept the sponge wet.

Maybe we should bring back stoning to death. Make it an audience participation thing. Give the victims families a chance at some satisfaction. I'll bet Nolan Ryans family would be safe forever.

Or better yet, let's make it something truly gruesome and macabre. Something so truly horrific that it would make people really afraid of the death penalty.

Being tied up and sealed alive in a coffin full of beetles and immediately buried.

That would do it. I'd sure behave myself.

I'll be accused of being to harsh. I don't care. I think prison should be a punishment. Not the vacation day care center that it is now. They have it too easy and now they go out too easy. That in itself is a crime. Humanity should be spared for humans. Most of these animals are no longer human and should be treated as such.

I'd heard that our new governor was going to change things for the better. Not better for them, better for us. Haven't seen anything as of yet. I'd love to see a four word telegram from his office stating: "The gloves are off."

Showtime.

The little pricks would learn to behave themselves then, I'm sure.

Monday, May 18, 2009

I'm Going To Feel That In The Morning

Thought I would go ahead and post tonight since I am probably going to be very sore in the morning. I can already feel all of my muscles tightening up.

They made me run tonight.

Not very far, thank the gawds. But I did run as fast as I could.

Sitting out on the rec yard, about 9:15pm. I had about half an hour to go before I went home. Just killing time. The shift was almost over and things were good. We'd had a pretty good day up to that point.

Then I hear the call: "10-5, housing unit 3!"

For those of you who might be new, a 10-5 call is "Officer Needs Assistance". It sounds more professional than calling "Help!" or even "Hey Rube!" over the radio.

A more literal translation is "I need help right freaking now!!!"

So I got up and ran. Out of the rec yard and through C-wing and halfway through the sally port before the Control Center even picked up the call and relayed it. Luckily Miz M up in the bubble got the door open for me so I didn't have to stop and wait. I got just up past the gate out onto the yard before they called and 10-6ed the call.

Again, for those of you who might be new, 10-6 means "Situation Under Control."

I was glad to hear that so I could stop running. I'm getting too old for this crap.

I think the working out on the treadmill is helping, tho. I was nowhere as near to being out of breath as I used to be. But I wish they would give me some warning so I could stretch a little first.

They got the knucklehead down to the house and in a cell and BG and I left. Stopped to talk to Vinnie on the way out for a minute and I could feel all of my muscles starting to tighten up. I took one of my anti inflammatory pills and drove on home. And I'm stiffening up here in my chair right now.

I'm going to feel it in the morning, I'm sure.

At least I know I can still move when I need to. Or when someone else needs me to.

But the aftermath purely sucks.

You Don't Know Me

I've written alot about kites, and how the inmates send these notes back and forth. Sometimes they are for staff and sometimes they are for other inmates. I've had many a good time reading some of these. Especially the ones we aren't supposed to intercept.

And I've written about check-ins. About how they can declared protective custody and get moved to another cell. Sometimes the combination of kites and check ins can be a hilarious recipe.

There's a simple equation for writing a check in note. It has to include the authors name and inmate number, the cell and the inmate name and number of whoever they are declaring protective custody from. And it also has to include some variation of the phrase "I fear for my life."

Otherwise we are just going to chuckle and ignore it.

So last night BG comes in and hands Sarge a note. He says "Some guy wants to move. I don't remember who gave it to me."

Sarge reads the note, snorts and hands it to me.

It reads:
"I think it's time for me and my celly to separate. We are getting along fine but I think we need to be in different cells. I'd like to move to D-2."

And that's all it says.

No name.

No number.

No cell.

So the note goes into the trash. Like so many have gone before it.

I wonder if the guy is still sitting in the cell with his property packed up waiting for us to move him.

It wouldn't surprise me.

As Vinnie so adroitly pointed out, there's no lack of stupid people inside or outside of the wire.

Business is good and my employment is assured.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Are We Winning? No.

"Rascality has limits, stupidity has not." - Napoleon Bonaparte as quoted by Robert Heinlein

I ran across these words today. A quote by a man who is dead, quoted by another man who is dead, in a book about a man who never existed. How's that for screwed up irony?

But it showed me that this is a war that we will never win. For in truth, it is a war we are fighting. A war against stupidity and evil.

And the quote is true. No matter how clever we are..... no matter what techniques we avail ourselves of....... no matter how hard we try, we will never win. Because no matter how many stupid sick bastards we take out of the equation, there will always be more lined up waiting to get in the gates.

And just when I get to the point where I think I've seen it all, there's always some knucklehead that catches me by surprise with something that I never even thought of.

It's kind of a depressing thought. I'll fight this fight until I die or quit or retire or get fired. And we'll win minor skirmishes here and there. But for the most part, we can never ultimately win.

At my last job I made signs. That was a good thing. When we finished a job there was something tangible on a building or up on a pole that we could look at and say "I made that." If I drove down south right now I could drive through town and see hundreds of signs that I made or helped make. And when we finished the sign the job was done and we went on to the next thing. It felt good to get the job finished and move on.

We don't get that kind of closure here. The inmates move on or don't. There are a handful that will be in my house until they get out of prison or transfer or die, whichever comes first. And there's always more waiting. Every time we have empty beds they fill them right back up again. Once in awhile it's a new one that I've never seen before.

But usually it's the same idiots over and over again. They get out, they come back.

They transfer out and transfer back again.

They even get out of prison and come back again. I've seen that alot.

It never ends.

No closure. That just can't be good for the psyche.

I think that's why I get so busy on my weekends. I make things. Or move them around. Take things apart or put them back together. Something that I can look at and say "I did that." Even mowing the lawn (another endless job) is good because I get done. At least for the day.

I won't let it get to me. I hope. I'll keep fighting the good fight every day. I really have no choice if I want to stay employed. And I don't think I could just quit and walk away.

Not just yet, anyway.

I might just win. There's always hope.

Just maybe Napoleon was wrong.

And just a quick question..... Why in gawds name did Florida DOC think a "Bring your kids to work day" was a good idea for prison employees in the first place? Whoever thought that one up should be fired first. Then the taser freaks.

Back To Normal (Such As It Is)

My rec partner, BG, came back from his vacation the other day. I was pretty happy to see him again. After nine days of either no help or inexperienced help, it was good to get someone to work with who knew what was going on.

That whole week was just awful. I'm not putting down the people they sent me. Like I said, it takes someone special to be a good utility officer. A few of them were good. But nobody has worked so closely with me like BG has these last five years. We generally don't have to plan out what we are going to do. We just do what needs to be done. Save the talking for banalities out on the rec yard.

BG is one of those guys who never takes time off unless he is forced to. We can only save up so much vacation time before they take it away from us. And nobody ever wants to give the state anything for free (they don't give us anything, either) so when BG gets too much time built up on the books, he takes off. A week this month..... another in August.

From what I heard, he was just as aggravated when I took my vacation. The day shift guys told me he'd come in and say "Looks like I'm not going to be getting any help today." Funny, I remember saying the same thing myself last week.

Well, even if the house is slipping back into the weird category again, at least me and BG are back to normal again.

Until August, anyway.

We've still got one slot open from when Vinnie left. It's three days on the floor and two days in the bubble.

Nobody with half a brain wants it.

Everyone I've talked to either doesn't want to work with me, or doesn't want to work with GM, or doesn't like the Sarge or doesn't want to work the floor or doesn't want to work the bubble or just flat doesn't like working in the Hive.

There's alot of that going on, it seems. The only person who liked the job was Vinnie.

And he's broken.

Pfui.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Crazy Or What?

First of all, I want to thank my rather eccentric sister for the picture above. She knows my eclectic tastes and even forces herself to read my drivel now and then. And if it wasn't for her I wouldn't have the sound activated monster brain or the angry mob playset. Or those really annoying hand puppets that sing christmas songs. In retaliation for that fine gift, I'm sending her my daughter for two weeks. That'll teach her.

Secondly, there seems to be a new conspiracy going on. One of the offenders (in C-wing, where else?) is writing letters to the local office of the FBI, accusing us and them of denying him his civil rights and plotting to keep him unjustly in prison.

Apparently there are several undercover FBI agents working in the Hive even as we speak, plotting against him and spying on his activities.

I'm suspected of being one of them.

Hell, I might be. I don't know.

It's possible that I'm so deep undercover that even I don't know for sure.

I'm that good at it, apparently.

But I do know that I'm not getting paid by the FBI. I just hope they are holding my checks for me until I get out.

Over the years I have been accused of being FBI, former FBI, a Green Beret, a CIA agent, one of "Them", a communist sleeper and the antichrist.

That's an awful lot of unpaid overtime. Hopefully, there's an account in the Caymans or something. From what I've been told the KGB didn't pay squat and I don't know what the annual salary is for being the antichrist.

It's gotta be better than what I'm making here. Especially if I am one of "Them". They pay top dollar for what They want.

Or so They say, anyway.

Hee hee hee!

I had to listen to the man rant and rave just yesterday. According to him, the murder rate is going to skyrocket when he gets released. And he doesn't care who it is he kills. Just anybody and everybody. He's going to make the rivers and the seas run red with the blood of his victims. I told him: "You better start working out then, dude. Build up your strength." He looked at me and said "Why?" I just smiled. "All that ammo gets heavy. And you're going to need alot of it. Better start doing some pushups."

He nodded gravely and said "Yeah. You're right. I need to get started."

That thought kept him on track long enough to get him back into his cell and the cuffs off.

Some days are easier than others.

I hope They have a good retirement plan.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

"Trust Issues" or" Do You Have My Back Or Not?"

Sit down here, Timmy, and let grampa tell you a story. It's all about who you can trust in this world and who you can't. It's all about second chances and hoping like hell you didn't make the wrong choice.

About two years ago I was out working the floor in the Adseg unit with a brand new officer. We were serving dinner and I didn't know this guy from Adam, but he seemed willing to work and take direction so I went along with it. We can always use another pair of hands, even if they are inexperienced.

This new officer (let's call him "Hoppy") and I were serving dinner in C-wing. Things were going along fine until one of the knuckleheads sticks his arm out of the chuckhole of his cell door and refuses to take it out. I pull my pepper spray and tell him "Take your arm out of my chuckhole right now, or I will spray you." He refuses. I give him the order again and he refuses again so I hosed him down. I tell him again to remove his arm and still he refuses. So I crouch down and readjust my aim and get him full in the face with the spray.

While all of this is going on, I'm assuming that Hoppy is right behind me. That was where he was when it started. So I just assumed.....

After the second spraying, I'm standing there wreathed in a cloud of pepper spray myself and it's starting to get to me a little. I hear this coughing/strangling sound and I look off to my right and Vinnie is standing there, gagging on the spray. Then I look behind me and Hoppy is nowhere to be seen.

I didn't know what had happened, having been focused on the knucklehead at the time. Since said knucklehead was still technically in his cell and not really an iminent danger, I waved Vinnie back out of the cloud. There was not really any point in getting anyone else all stinky.

So knucklehead pulls his arm back in so he can wash his face off and I close the chuckhole and the thing is done.

Or so I thought.

But when I get back out of the wing, MizP (our bubble officer that night) tells me that she watched the whole thing go down and as soon as my pepper spray clear the case, Hoppy turned and ran. All the way out of the house. She sent Vinnie in there in case I needed help.

It took a few minutes for that to sink in. I went into the office to wash my face and hands off and rinse the red fog off of my glasses (man, that stuff stings!).

About the time I got the best of it rinsed off, what MizP said hit my brain and I started to get pissed off. The little s.o.b. burned out on me when I might have needed some serious help. It turned out I didn't, but that's neither here nor there. He ran away before anything even happened!

Then I started to get really pissed.

Fortunately, they had pulled him out of the house and sent him up to central to get his butt chewed on by the captain. I think they did that to keep him away from me, or visa versa. And that was probably a good thing. He didn't come back the rest of the night.

I haven't had to work directly with him since then. Which is good, because I don't trust him at all. It's been almost two years since that night. Maybe he's changed. I don't know. But I still don't trust him.

So last night Chuck calls out sick. I figured he would, because he was feeling pretty poorly the night before. And the next thing I know, Hoppy is coming through the door. They sent him to be Chucks replacement. Snap!

I voiced my displeasure quietly to the Sarge. He understood and told me to do the best I could. Everyone else seemed to be holding their breath waiting to see if I was going to do anything.

Surprisingly, I behaved myself. I never mentioned the past event. I stayed as far away from him as I could and when we had to do some rec together, I kept my mouth in check. I spoke as little as possible and got done as fast as possible.

And I about wore my eyeballs out watching all sides for trouble. Because I knew that if anything went down, I could not count on him to be there. That was kind of nerve wracking.

The rest of my crew.... I know where they stand. BG, Chuck, Vinnie, GM and Big M.... I know they got my back and I have theirs. We've been there and done that. We've smelled the smoke and seen the elephant together. I trust them with my life every day. And they know that I will be there when it starts getting flaky.

But Hoppy..... I just don't know about him. It's murder not being able to trust someone like that. Most of the lieutenants know about our past and tried to never put him and me together. But the one we have now just does thing alphabetically and doesn't use any common sense.

I survived the night and nothing happened. But I was uneasy in my soul all night long.

That makes for a long shift.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Funkyness

I'm sure I've posted about this before, but I'll go ahead and hit on it again, since the subject arose.

The Adseg unit stinks.

It reeks.

The place is like a square half acre sized basketball shoe stuffed under a teenagers bed.

That is the reason I quit breathing through my nose several years ago. If I hadn't, my sinuses would have leapt screaming from inside my head.

The inmates only get to shower every three days. And they can only do laundry once a week. And many of them, for reasons known only to themselves, don't do either one.

They get sent down to my house with three changes of clothes. That should be plenty. But they usually destroy at least one pair of clothes by pulling out threads to make their cadillacs. I took one last night that was made from a whole sheet, torn into strips. Took it because it was out on the walk right in my face. Idiot. Snatched it up and rolled it up and threw it into the trash.

So somebody in A-wing now only has one sheet. I could have investigated and found out who tore up their stuff and wrote them a violation for it. But it was good enough to leave them with only one sheet and leave it at that.

Once thay have destroyed as many pairs of clothes as they need, they are usually left with one set to wear. For a whole week until they can do laundry again. Nasty. And don't get me started about their breath. There are cells that I won't even stop at because it smells like they have been eating carrion in there. I can't take it. At least not without some vicks vapo-rub under my nose.

Alot of these inmates spend most of their time either sleeping or doing pushups in their cells. And as the weather gets warmer, the smell of unwashed bodies is only going to get worse. The constant funk blowing out of the cells is enough to make my eyes water.

I'd almost welcome an outbreak of swine flu or t.b. so I could use that as an excuse to wear a mask.

As another sweltering summer approaches I'm beginning to dream of body armor like the imperial storm troopers wear in Star Wars. Actually, just the helmets. Give me something to cover my nose and I'll be much happier.

If you have ever gone into a locker room after a football game in the summer or a homeless shelter in an urban area you might have a good idea of what I get to experience every day.

There are a few offenders who keep their cells clean daily and wash themselves and rinse out their clothes in the sink. Some of them even use deodorant and toothpaste. I cherish them. But they are few and far between.

There isn't enough bleach in the world to get this place completely clean again. It would just have to be razed and the ground sown with salt. Roped off and buried.

I wonder what the half life of body odor is?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stop Your Damn Crying!

Holy snap. You'd think we had a house full of colicky infants, there was so much crying going on.

When the storms rolled in friday it took out the power to most of the camp. Our phones and computer systems were down as well.

I'm told that south of here looks like a war zone. There are lots of people that lost pretty much everything and there may be a week or two before some people get their power back on.

We got lucky.

Our laundry just got power back yesterday afternoon. So our laundry has been sitting in the baskets in C-wing for two days waiting to go out.

They're crying about that.

Some jerk suggested that I go dig through the 160+ bags for his laundry bag so he could have his towel back so he could take a shower.

Screw that.

Day shift does phone calls on saturday mornings. Every offender that is eligible gets a fifteen minute phone call on saturday mornings. But of course, the phones were out so that didn't happen.

They're crying about that, too. Big time.

And, of course, there was nobody there friday and saturday who knew how to run rec (like they would have done any in the middle of a freaking tornado anyway) so no rec got done those two days. And I got involved in a use of force sunday and spent the day doing paperwork and none got done that day, either.

And they're crying about that.

I snapped on A-wing. After about the fiftieth person cried about their rec. I went into A-wing and someone said the key phrase: "Gimme my motherfuc*ing rec! We haven't had rec in four or five days.." I snapped. Yelled. Shouted. Told them to go fork themselves. Told them if they didn't shut the snap up about rec I was going to get a headache and go home and it would be another day before they got anything.

It shut them up for a few minutes and somebody actually apologized. Shocking.

So we managed to get a few rounds out last night. Not as many as we should have on a normal day, but we got it started. But everybody everybody everybody is still crying about their phone calls. I told them they won't get another chance to make phone calls until next saturday. They are not happy about that. And every single one of them has a sob story about why they absolutely have to make a phone call home. The safety of the free world may depend on it, or so they claim.

Booshwa. Or whatever that word is. Bullcrackers.

They irritated me enough last night that I do believe the top of my hat melted just a bit.

Today I am going in with a bad case of selective deafness. If they have something to say they better either write it down or tell someone else, because I'm not listening. And if it's an emergency, they better be actively on fire or holding up a severed limb. Otherwise it's not important enough to take up my time.

My phrase for today will be "No, or I don't know or I don't care. Whichever is appropriate."

We'll try that on for size.

Monday, May 11, 2009

In The Dark

Went in to work after the storms on friday and the power was still out to a good bunch of the camp. The control center was shut down due to lack of power for most of their systems. They still had the radios and power to control the doors and some of the gates.

You could hear the backup generators running all over the place.

Our computer system was down and about half of the phones were out as well. The inmate phones were out. The admin building was dark as hell. And spooky. The building is over a hundred years old. A huge marble and granite edifice lined with dark wood and just dripping with weird feelings. Not a cool place to be in the dark.

I still question the sanity of taking an abandoned mental hospital and making it a prison. Sounds like the plot of a hackneyed horror movie. Creepy freaking place, I'm telling you.

Thought I was going to spend the day catching up on rec, but two of the wobbleheads down in their house decided to beat the crap out of each other right at count time. They both got sprayed and I got involved when they came down. We had to move a bunch of people around just to accommodate them in C-wing.

And of course, none of the moves could be put into the computer because the system was down. It's going to cause a major headache when it comes back up. There were at least fifteen moves made after the system went down. Ach.

Somebody is going to be very very busy. I hope it isn't me.

And, since I got involved with the use of force, I got to spend a large part of my night in the captains office doing paperwork. This captain we have looks like a country version of Ichabod Crane and is so anal about paperwork you'd almost suspect he was getting kickbacks from Weyerhauser.

Legal Notice: I'm not implying there are any kickbacks being given to the DOC or the aforementioned captain. I was just using that as a metaphor. Be advised that if you sue me, I own nothing that is completely paid for. Not even this computer.

Alot of people were out last night. We ran pretty short. Several people still can't get out of their homes or streets because of storm damage. Lots and lots of trees and power lines down all over the county. I heard a rumor that one of our lieutenants lost his entire roof and everything in his house was pretty much destroyed. I wouldn't wish that on anybody but an inmate.

Hopefully we will have power restored today and the computers and phone lines will be back up. Hopefully more people will be able to come to work. Hopefully I can get some rec done. Hopefully we will have some empty beds in the house when I come in. Hopefully my office will stay dry during the next storm coming in.

Hopefully I'll be able to move out of Tornado Alley some day.

Hopefully.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Slow Children At Play

Well, this should be interesting, if not completely annoying. Those of you who have been paying attention lo these many posts, will remember that I do rec in the Adseg unit. My little wonder dummy knuckleheads get an hour of recreation three times a week. And they are pretty adamant about getting what is coming to them.

The problem is my partner, BG, is on vacation this week. And I just had my two days off. I looked at the list of who was going to be down there for my two days and it looked like nobody who had a clue how to run rec, so I told them to just leave it.

So no rec for two whole days.

I'm sure they will be screaming when I get in.

And I almost can't wait for the first knucklehead who screams "Gimme my motherfuc*ing rec, right fuc*ing now!!!"

It will happen. Probably in just those very words.

And the Rev will grin. And walk up to his door....

And tell him he's beat.

I'm sure it's going to be a fun day.

And I'll bet that after the storms yesterday there will have been at least five cells that got flooded out. And they'll be wanting all of their laundry cleaned. Or replaced, because they threw it all out of the cell because it got wet.

And they'll scream about that, too.

And the Rev will grin....

It's going to be a fun day.

I have no doubt about it.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Let's Play Twister!

Those of you whole live here or anywhere in the MidWet know the kind of weather we had here yesterday. Several hours of a tarantula downpour and there were three funnels sighted on the ground within ten miles of my house.

Just freaking snappy.

That doesn't happen very often in this area. I'm good with that.

Five people were killed by the storms in the state. Lots of people without power or roofs. Trees down here and there.

And my office got flooded out again.

I spent about three hours with the shop-vac sucking up water just as fast as it ran under the wall. I am going to try and fix that problem this afternoon. It may or may not work.

I hope nobody got hurt at work. I'm sure it slowed things up as the yards would surely have been closed for several hours. I'll bet the knuckleheads bitched all day. It's what they do.

I'll get to hear the story tomorrow.

In the meantime, I've got a leak to seal up and a twenty foot long tree limb down in the alley that I have to take care of. Everything in my office except for the desk and puter has been moved out into the shop and I have to finish drying out the carpet so I can put it all back.

Joy.

Going to be a busy busy day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Meet The New Boss... Same As The Old Boss...

It's been a few weeks..... hell, maybe a month or so since the Boss Lady left us and went to the treatment house. I've seen her a few times and she seems to have settled right in over there. I still miss having her at our back. Even when I screwed up she was good to have there.

But the new Boss seems to be doing just as well. I had wondered, since he was coming from the treatment house, that he might be more soft around the edges. Nope. He's pretty much just as loud and outspoken and hard as the last Boss was.

Excellent.....

And, he's somebody you can talk to. He listens. He's involved. He runs a tight ship and isn't overbearing. He actually asks for our input.

I like the hell out of that.

I think in my five years down in the Hive I've gone through about twelve sergeants (maybe more) and I'm on the fifth Boss. There have been some good ones and some bad ones. There have been one or two that would run you over like a steamroller and one or two that it was like they weren't there at all.

The Boss, or FUM (for Functioning Unit Manager), is the non-custody administrator of the housing unit. That's not entirely accurate. They have things to say and decide about both custody and non-custody issues. I would say they are about equal to the Major as far as pull goes. I never want to get in between those two. I'd get trampled to death, I think.

At any rate, the FUM basically decides how the house is going to be run within the policy. They set the tone of the house. If the FUM is soft and malleable, then the house is going to get out of control. If they are hard, then the place runs tight.

The new FUM is hard and loud and the house is running like clockwork, for the most part. That is, as much as a goatrope like the Hive can run. I have been more than pleased with him so far. A good cat to work for, it seems.

Let's just hope he doesn't get burned out by the constant bullcrap of dealing with the Hive. He's doing good by us, so we will do our best to keep him happy and stress free.

I haven't told him about the blog. I wonder if the Boss Lady left him a note?

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I'm Not A Prison Guard

Ok, since the subject has come up, I'll tackle it.

It's merely semantics and important to nobody but us. But we do consider it important.

We are not prison guards. We are corrections officers.

I don't know exactly when the name changed. I'm sure it was some egghead with a PHD in sociology who came up with the idea. And I'm sure it was about the same time they went from using the terms "prisoner" and "convict" and replaced them with "inmate" and "offender".

He probably got a million dollars for the idea. He's a genius.

There are no convicts in our prison.

Well, there's one...... But I don't think he's going to be around too much longer. He's had multiple strokes and can only use one hand and can barely walk or talk anymore.

But he can still raise hell when he wants to. Just very slowly. Used to be a very dangerous man. I know he has at least one escape attempt on his record. Maybe more. And I know he made it over two fences and out into the parking lot of the prison he was in with five bullets in his body before they caught him and took him down. And he still fought them.

Crazy as a loon. Crazy as riding a bicycle upside down under water. Crazy like Daffy Duck in a straightjacket. The man is just crazy to the bone. Has more assaults on both staff and other inmates than most of our other inmates combined.

An old head convict. And he will die in prison. He knows that and doesn't care.

But he's a nice enough guy if you talk to him and get to know him. He likes me. I don't know why, but he does. It's gotten me out of some trouble in the past.

He still calls us "guards". Because that was what there was when he got locked up. That's how you know he's a convict.

I've digressed, apparently.

We don't call ourselves prison guards anymore. (You thought I got lost, didn't you?) They say that a guard stands outside and makes sure nobody comes in. We stand inside and make sure nobody gets out. Ergo: we are corrections officers.

I suppose that the difference is that we are supposedly correcting their behavior so that they may be returned to society at some later date. Rather than just keeping them inside until they die.

I don't really get to see much correcting happening, but I'm on the low end of the stick for that. The inmates I deal with usually are beyond correcting. Most of them are going to be jerks until they stop breathing. And maybe even a few hours after that.

I'm sure there is some correcting going on somewhere. Alot of inmates get out of prison and I don't see them again. Well, a few, anyway. I do see quite a few of them get out and come back. But now and then we get rid of one that makes it.

I guess that's what we're supposed to be doing.

So we are "Corrections Officers". Or just "C.O." for short. We are not "Prison Guards".

I'm not insulted by the other name. I just don't use it.

Just thought I'd clear that up.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Help!

Help!

I need some body!

Help!

I need anybody!

Help!!!

You know I need someone....... Help!

That's the way the Beatles said it. We just call 10-5 over the radio.

It's much easier to say but less musical our way.

But much more alarming.

There I was, just standing out side with the Sarge, smoking and drinking coffee when I heard the call over the radio. Tossed my cigarette and my coffee and ran into the house. Banged my hand on the C-wing door coming around the corner....

And everybody was just standing there.

I thought "WTF???"

Apparently one of our wobbleheads wobbled his way on out the door when it opened for his medication and resisted a bit when they tried to put him back in. Hence, the call.

He got put back in the cell and nobody got hurt, except for me banging my hand and I'm good with that.

It's a judgment thing. I might not have called it. But then I wasn't there to see what happened. I'm sure our bubble officer is going to get some crap over people second-guessing her on that. It always happens.

An error on the side of caution is always forgivable. And I believe that's what she did. After all, he was a pretty big dude and it could have gone bad quickly.

It didn't, but if it had we would have had plenty of help plenty quick.

If you want to know how many people got your back working at the prison, just call for help. People will come out of the woodwork like kicking open a hornets nest.

It's a good feeling.

So even though we didn't really need anybody.......

For all of you who showed up, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Freaking Headache

Ach, what a day. Won't go into all of it. It was just a freaking mess and it left me with a headache that lasted all day.

Even now that I am home and have taken my sleepytime meds, my temples are still pounding.

It was just a cluster freak from the word "go".

There was a fight that morning that turned into a 10-5 (help!!!) on the other side of the camp. One of ours got a face full of pepper spray and went down. They thought he was having a heart attack and he went out to the hospital.

That's bad. But they say he's okay and should be back soon. That's good.

Then one of the inmates had some sort of seizure after he got to the Hive and quit breathing.

That's bad, too.

But they say he's okay now and should be back soon so he can do his time in the hole.

Can't win them all, I guess.

So BG and I came in and pitched in to try and clean up the general mess and straighten things out.

One of the things I do every day is count and account for the kevlar suicide gear. The smocks and blankets. Not only are they quite expensive but they fear that one could be used to get over the razor wire for an escape. So they take that accountability quite seriously.

I set off to count about 2:30 this afternoon. There were a few that weren't where they were supposed to be, but I found them anyway. We are supposed to have eight blankets and eleven smocks.

I found all the blankets.

I could only find ten smocks.

Got BG to come in and double check my work. Same result.

Kept looking. Searched the lockers and the laundry bins and the closet. No joy.

Told the Sarge and kept looking.

By 3:20 my Sarge had gotten here and he and the day shift Sarge and BG and Chuck and I were all searching.

I was getting worried and pissed off. By this time all of the day shift people except for the Sarge had left for the day.

At about 3:35 a voice from one of the cells says "Hey, you might check up in 14 cell. He was on suicide watch last night."

WTF? Why did they put someone on suicide watch all the way up there? Something they did on midnight shift. All the suicide watch inmates are supposed to be on the ground floor, preferably in camera cells. Somebody got lazy and didn't want to do the moves to do it right so they just stuck him up in an empty cell.

Sure enough, they had taken him off suicide watch that morning and given him back his clothes but never took the smock back.

I was relieved and no longer worried but the headache lasted all evening.

All because someone got lazy and then things got hairy the information was never passed on correctly.

This job is hard enough sometimes.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Leaping Into Inaction!!!!

Just another fine example of the quality leadership we have here. He was presented with a situation and he leapt right into doing nothing at all in the hope that either the situation would go away or that it might be taken care of by the next shift.

Either way, he wouldn't have to do anything that might resemble work or making a decision.

We had a problem inmate on full suicide watch. He had pulled some threads either out of his smock or his kevlar blanket and made a cadillac, trying to get extra food into his cell. This is because he is on the Meal Loaf for the fourth or fifth time. For info on the loaf go here.

Obviously a slow learner, this one.

But the problem was the string and the cadillac and the idea that he might harm himself with the string, as he stated that he was going to hang himself. Remember this post about the guy who pulled the thread out of his smock and tried to strangle himself?

Yeah.

So, we went to get the string back and he wouldn't give it up. And he wouldn't cuff up so we could get it and they wouldn't let us go in there and take it.

Called the lieutenant. He said "Barricade his door so he can't get anything in or out and monitor him every fifteen minutes."

And then he ran away to hide and drink coffee and forget that there might be a problem.

Freaking brilliant solution.

He didn't care that there might be a problem that we might need to address with considerable force. He just didn't want to do any paperwork.

Isn't that just awesome leadership?

So we wrote down on paper what he told us to do. So if the knucklehead hangs himself we're covered, anyway.

I think some people have forgotten exactly where it is we work. And that some times you just gotta pull up your girdle and get down to thumping some heads or you'll let these punks run all over us.

Granted, this inmate is a punk and a worthless piece of gutter trash and the world would be better off without him in it. He's too stupid to make it out on the streets and too stupid and scared to be out on the hill with the real criminals.

But if he dies on my watch or as a result of something that we did or didn't do on our watch then it will look bad on us.

And ultimately, it will reflect on us. Because that lazy putz didn't want to get his panties dirty doing what needed to be done when it needed to be done.

I could get pulled out of my post because he didn't do anything.

I could lose my job because he didn't do anything.

Somebody could die because he didn't do anything.

I'm so glad we have competent supervisors to tell us what to do in these uncertain times. Their wealth of knowledge is like having a living encyclopedia at our fingertips.

Yeah, right.

Can you tell I'm a little upset?

Time Vs. Attitude

I've noticed a curious phenomenon. There seems to be a direct correlation between the amount of time that an offender has been sentenced to and their amount of crappy attitude.

When I first started with the DOC I ended up in a GP house that was 90% offenders doing life plus. This had me worried a bit until I went out in the wings and got to know them.

I had always imagined "lifers" as they portray them on teevee. Hard core tatted up iron pumping bad dudes who don't care about anything or anyone.

It turned out to be the exact opposite. They were, for the most part, calm and polite. They just wanted to get through their day with as few hassles as possible and enjoy what creature comforts they had. The lifers were usually the first ones to volunteer to help if something needed to be done and the first ones to step up if there was some sort of trouble. They wanted peace in their world and would do everything they could to keep it.

It was the short timers that I always had trouble with. Anybody doing less than ten years was bound to be a pain in the butt. And five or less was even worse.

Of course, there are always exceptions to that rule. But it holds true for the most part.

And now that I am in the Adseg unit, things are very different. We very rarely get any of the inmates who just want to do their time and go home. It's always the trouble makers. There's the rare occasion when we get someone through the house who is calm and polite and does not leave an impression on me. They usually get locked up "under investigation" for some thing or another.

I guess that's the price of wanting to work Adseg.

But in many ways, the same formula of time and attitude holds true. It's the initial sentence that determines their degree of smack talking and causing trouble. The less time, the more mouth. More time, less trouble.

That just occurred to me this morning. I can be awful slow, at times.

And, of course, there are always exceptions. There's one older guy who is doing about thirty more years who is a mouthy pain in the rear end every chance he gets. He thinks because he is old and is doing alot of time that he should be treated special. He demands things that other inmates don't get just because he is old and has some medical problems. He doesn't get them, but he still makes his demands.

And there is another guy who has been locked up over half of his life already. Sixteen or eighteen years, so far. And nothing but pure punk. Will do anything and everything to cause us trouble and make life difficult.

But the formula still fits him. His initial sentence was only five years. He got out and immediately committed more crimes and violated his parole and got locked back up again. And he acted like such a fool in prison that he was maxed out on his time. I have a feeling we will be dealing with him for a long time to come. He's another bada** that is scared to be out among the real offenders. Punk.

I'd love to see the psycho-social eggheads do a study on this and break it down into some sort of mathematical formula. Hell, if you could lay it out in a "program" of sorts, I'll bet some of the states would pay big bucks to use it. They are impressed by numbers they don't understand and will pay big money to appear to be proactive and on the cutting edge of correctional psychology.

Almost every inmate that I have profiled on this blog have been short timers. Mr. "Check my file, I'm a C-5!"- short time. TNT..... Poop Boy.... all of them. Short sentences and tiny brains. They are the ones I'd hate to see out on the streets again.

Me, I got fourteen more years to go. I'm just doing my time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

While The Cat's Away

Last night Vinnie stopped by the house. He had a weird and savage tale about how he and Chuck went out and terrorized the titty bars in the neighboring state on their night off.

And how they ended up tucking their tails in between their legs and running for their lives at the end.

I'm not going to repeat the whole story. Just a highlight or two. It will give you, my dear readers, an insight into the people I have to work with.

It seems that during the course of the night someone got the mistaken idea that they were undercover DEA agents on some sort of sting operation.

I can see how this would happen.

Vinnie looks like an undercover cop. Or at least a cop in street clothes. He's young and tall and fairly well built and has a neck that is exactly as wide as his head. He's got that nordic good looks thing about him that either says "Cop" or "Marine". Or possibly both. His hair is just long enough to be in style, but bordering on regulation. He can tuck it up under his hat and you can't tell it's long.

Hell, maybe he is an undercover cop. I can't tell. He's that good at it.

Chuck is also young and has that wide-eyed innocence about him. He's got a wide smile that covers his whole face and he has this Iowa corn-fed freshness about him that is completely disarming. His face has this look that just screams "I'm a divorced sailor on leave and I have ten dollars in my pocket. Let's go wild."

He'd be a perfect undercover cop, because you would never suspect him.

Anyway, they were over the border in....... let's call it "Springfield" to narrow it down, skipping from one strip bar to another. They started out in the first place, went to a couple more and went back to the first one.

While they were gone, apparently someone got the idea that they were undercover.

Normally, this is something you would want to play pretty close to your vest.

You'd think, anyway.

But when they got back, the whole place was a-buzz with the news. A guy walked up to Vinnie and muttered something. He didn't hear it clearly, so the guy came back and said "The guy over there in the corner. With the hat. He's got the drugs." He pointed to a crew at one of the corner tables.

At that point, Vinnie grabbed Chuck by the arm and said "Let's go. Now." They tore out of the place with the backs of their necks twitching, expecting a hail of bullets as they left. Hopefully the guy in the hat in the corner was just as nervous and anguished about being busted and facing federal time and maybe he'll never do it again.

But I doubt it.

And maybe Vinnie and Chuck will have learned that those kind of places are not healthy to be in if you are involved in law enforcement.

But I doubt that, too.

If nothing else, it was a milestone for dear Chuck. This was the first time in his entire life that he went into a strip club and didn't get to stay long enough to spend his entire bankroll and get silly enough to be thrown out of the place.

Yay, Chuckie!

Maybe there's hope for you yet.

But I doubt it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

You Better Check My File!!!!

I love it. Knew it was going to happen and for once I was right.

Mouthy little punk. About three feet tall. Thinks he's hardcore and all that. Great big mouth, little tiny brain.

And he's only gay on the inside. Brags about all the "girlfriends" he's had while he's been in prison, but is embarrassed to admit that they have all been men.

But he's one bad little Mo-fo, for sure.

Finally managed to get himself C-5'ed. Was proud of it. Wore his rating like a badge of how bad he was. Every time someone would get on him about something he would shout "Man, I'm a C-5, mother fu**er! I don't give a fu**! You better check my file!!!"

He bragged and bragged about that. Told anybody who would listen that he was a C-5 and what a bada** he was. Of course when you went to check his file and see why he was such a dangerous critter, you'd discover that it was all for creating a disturbance, disobeying an order, insulting behavior, things like that. Petty, stupid crap. No fights, no assaults on staff, no escape attempts. Just running his pie hole.

So when they finally decided to transfer our own little Hannibal Lecter to a C-5 camp, he waited until they came to take him to the bus and he said "If you try to make me get on that bus, I'm going to kill myself." Because he knew that he couldn't transfer on suicide watch status.

He got his wish and got put on suicide watch and didn't transfer. He thinks that it will keep him in our camp for "a very long time." His words.

So for all his blowing about what a bad little dude he is, it turns out he's too scared to stand up for the consequences of his actions. Imagine that.

But I got bad news for the little smurf. If he wants to stay on our camp, he's going to have to do all the rest of his sentence on suicide watch. Because the second they take him off watch he's down the road to the big bad scary C-5 camp that he's too chicken sh*t to go to.

Nothing but a smock to wear. No mattress. No blanket. No mail. No phone calls. No recreation. Nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and cookies to eat. No cup. No soap.

And to make matters even worse, he pulled a bunch of threads out of the smock he was wearing to try and make a cadillac and he got caught. So they are taking $250.00 out of his account to make him pay for a new one.

He said "I'm not paying for that! And you can't make me!"

Bad news again...... yes, he is. One way or another.

I don't know how much time he has left on his sentence. Years, hopefully.

Let's see how long he makes it in there.

Place your bets.... place your bets....