Just about the time I was thinking of giving this blog a rest for awhile...
I've been getting a little burned out and unimpressed with my writing skills of late and the pressure to come up with something five days a week is becoming burdensome...
Then this comes along and I can't resist.
Right after I got to 7 house this evening Captain Rogaine calls me and says "We got a report that an offender in your house has made a six foot bull whip and has been beating other offenders with it."
He says "Find it and let me know."
So we did. And sure enough, he did.
It wasn't six foot. Maybe more like 5'6" and made out of those big poofy mop strings braided together. It might make a pop if you swung it just right but I seriously doubt he could actually "whip" anybody with it.
But the idiot made it and had it in his cell and didn't even really hide it so we locked him up for contraband and confiscated his whip.
And on his way out this evening, Sgt Major stops by the Comm room and says to my wife "Did you hear that your husband locked up Snidely Whiplash?"
In dealing with inmates, we are allowed to use a little bit of leeway sometimes. For some things, we just lock them up without even thinking about it. For others we use extra duty or room restriction as punishment.
Sometimes it just takes a good talking to. And empty threats do tend to work wonders if they don't know they are empty. I often say "I'm not allowed to lie to you." Which is a lie in itself, but many of them are way too dim to realize that.
This evening I got a call to go up to 2 house. It seems that two offenders were seen out in the wing getting in each others faces and "squaring off" like they were going to fight. The Watcher was off tonight, so since I was the yard Sergeant, I got the call.
Once I heard the story I got them into the office one at a time.
"I got no problem locking the both of you up right now." I said.
"I can lock you up PC, or Admin PC or I can have you both put down in the Hive under investigation, which means you will be down there thirty or even ninety days."
"But Sarge!" One guy says "I'm supposed to go to the treatment program in thirty days!"
"If I lock you up under investigation, it might be two or three months before you get to your program. And if I don't and something happens between you two, you can kiss that program and your early out date goodbye."
"Nothin's gonna happen Sarge! I promise! I need my program to get out!"
I let them both go after I had them scared enough. I could have locked them up, but they would have most likely been out in a week. And I couldn't put them under investigation if I had wanted to. That takes a Lieutenant or above to do that.
Just another one of those nights. St Francis, Mr Peepers and I sat in the shack most of the night and did nothing until right before count time.
Then we had a fight in 7 house, a Code 16 (medical emergency) in 30 house and locked one up for interfering with count from 9 house all at the same time. How we managed to get everything done and had count on time, I will never exactly be sure. But we did it.
Fortunately I was next door in 8 house delivering something when they called the fight. I don't really remember turning and running there. I was just suddenly in 7 house breathing heavily as they cuffed both guys up. And I found out later that Mr Peepers and St Francis were both in 6 house when the call came.
St Francis turned going out the door and went to run across the yard and flew head over heels when he tripped on a shrub or something. Mr Peepers said he saw him turning cartwheels and wondered what he was doing.
Luckily, he didn't get hurt. But I'll bet he's going to be sore in the morning.
I only really put in about an hours worth of work tonight, but I earned my keep.
No doubt about that.
Oooooo..... I got pissed off tonight. Like I haven't been in a long time. And believe it or not, I behaved myself and didn't take the top of the fool's head off like I wanted to.
It wasn't an inmate this time. It was staff.
The unwritten but understood rule is that nobody moves fifteen minutes before count time. Nobody nowhere. Unless it is a life or death emergency. That way it lessens the chance of our count getting screwed up over something stupid.
So I'm down in B-dining this afternoon and it's maybe 4:10. Twenty minutes to count. I hear Snowball on the phone telling somebody that he is keeping two offenders until count clears and he hangs up the phone. Two minutes later the phone rings again. It's the little dweeb from visiting complaining that two of the dining workers have a visit and Snowball wouldn't send them.
I said "Look. I'll call the control center and see. But it's probably too late." So I get on the phone to Miz Twang and she says "No! It's 4:15! It's too late. They will have to wait until count clears."
I called visit back and told him it was too late and he said "Well, I called the Lieutenant, so he'll be calling you in a minute." And sure enough, a minute later the Lieutenant called and said "Send those two to visit now."
I distinctly remember at one point slamming the phone down and contemplating throwing it somewhere a long ways away.
So because that self important little snaphole went behind my back and cried to the shift commander that his visitors might be inconvenienced, we had to send two inmates out to visiting at 4:23. Seven minutes before count.
I was so pissed off, I really wanted to go up to the visit room and tell that little jerk that he better never go behind my back like that again. My concern was safety and security and trying to keep count from being messed up. His concern was listening to the visitors complain because they had to wait to see their precious little felon.
But I thought better of it. Chewing him out in front of a room full of visitors would have been bad. So I stewed awhile then went up and ranted to Lt Pants instead. He wasn't the one that made the call, so he just sat and listened and agreed and I felt a little better. Then I apologized for being so crabby.
I know that I'm just a Sergeant and I don't really have a lot of authority. But the authority that I do have I take seriously. And that snaphead just lost whatever cooperation he might be getting from me in the future. I'd jump in a donnybrook to save his life, but if he lost his wallet in the parking lot I might kick it down a storm drain.
I probably wouldn't, but I'd smile a whole bunch thinking about it.
Once again, I blame that basticule Murphy and his stupid laws. Also that other basticule KP for calling out on me on a night like this.
Right after shift change I was up by the yard shack. Boats and Anakin were doing the perimeter check when we all heard a loud "Boom!" somewhere not far away. Maybe right outside the fence. Either something blew up or something going very fast ran into something going nowhere at all. That kind of noise.
Then I get a call from A-dining and I look and see all of the workers and the staff coming out of the building. Just as I'm about to go down there Anakin calls me and says that 1 house doesn't have any power.
Uh-oh. That noise we heard was a transformer blowing up.
I get down to dining and their power is out too and it's dark as heck in there.
So I start making calls. No power in dining or medical. No power in 1,2,3 or 4 house or down in the Hive. None in 6, 7 or 8, either on the other side. This whole half of the camp is in the dark. Just snappy.
They close the yards and the wings early because of the power outage and send all of the inmates to sit in their cells in the dark and the housing unit officers have to go open the cell doors one at a time with the keys while holding flashlights.
On top of that all of the sinks and the toilets in the cells are on a new system that runs off of electricity. So they have no running water and can't flush their toilets. Oh joy.
I'm wondering how I'm going to feed almost eight hundred inmates in a dark chow hall. When the power went three emergency lights came on. By the time they called count two of them had gone out, leaving just one light. It was freaking dark in there and I was getting worried.
And on top of it all, right in the middle of this count isn't clearing.
And it still isn't clearing.
And it still isn't clearing.
We send all of the workers back to their houses all over the camp and clear all of the yards and recheck our perimeters and do the Del Norte check and wait some more for count to clear.
In the meantime it's getting even darker in dining. And I'm getting more worried.
We are still going to be feeding dinner when midnight shift gets here!
After what seemed like an eternity, the power came back on. And count cleared.
There was much rejoicing.
And we went back to normal operations.
Didn't get finished feeding chow until 7:20 on A-side tonight. Two hours later than usual.
And even though I didn't really do much physically, I'm wiped out.
Every once in awhile when I was a COI, Sgt Uncle T would get called up to Central towards the end of the night to be the acting Lieutenant when one of them had to go home early. Manning the phones and taking call-in's from midnight shift and such.
I always thought "Man! I don't ever want to do that! No, thank you!"
And then tonight was my night. Joy. I got to be acting Lieutenant for almost 45 minutes.
It wasn't an Oscar winning performance.
While I was up there 9 house called and said that they might have had a fight. There was one inmate with blood on his head and they got a tip that he'd been in a fight with another one.
Just freaking dandy. St Francis was supervising some inmates helping the plumber fix a drain in B-dining. Uncle Scary was helping count 6 house. And I couldn't leave because I was the only one in Central and somebody has to stay there. Pfui.
Well, count finally cleared and Lt Pants came back up so I scooted down to 9 house to get the skinny on this fight. We looked at the guy with the bleeding head and we all agreed that he'd either been in a fight or had just flat been assaulted. He denied it flatly.
Can you guess what he said happened?
Let's say it all together now....
"Sarge, I fell off of my bunk!"
Ding! Thanks for playing. For a consolation prize we are locking you up, poindexter. There were too many other marks on him other than his head. He'd been thumped.
We checked out the other guy who supposedly did it and there wasn't a mark on him anywhere. Not a bump or a bruise or a scratch. And unless we saw it in person or on video, there wasn't anything we could do, so he got a free ride.
He could have done it. And it's my belief that he probably did. But without an admission or any evidence there was nothing we could do.
And so ended my illustrious career as the acting Lieutenant.
So there was an incident today on day shift. I didn't get all of the details, but it all sounded pretty much like a perfect example of the way things can go really wrong really fast in a prison.
Supposedly there was a rumor that something was going to go down and one inmates name was mentioned as being involved. When the officers tracked him down out on the yard and said "Hey, you!" he took off running.
Where he thought he was going to run to, I have no idea, as he was still inside the freaking prison. But maybe him running away and creating a commotion was what he wanted. A 10-5 (officer needs assistance) was called and people all came running out to help.
He finally gave up and laid down with his hands behind his head. When they took him in and strip searched him, they found a shank in his shoe. Nice.
While all of this was going on and all of the yard officers were tied up, a fight broke out on the other end of the yard. Theoretically it was just one on one, but there were two other inmates involved and the rumor was that one of them had been waiting to get hold of that shank.
We all suspected that the whole deal was a set-up. And that it backfired because we found the weapon before they were ready for us to. I think that somebody might have ended up dead if their plan had come off the way they planned.
So B-yard was shut down for the remainder of the day. Controlled movements only.
And when our shift came on Captain Strong said "They want to play? Okay. Two can play at that game!"
He left B-side shut down and made them feed one house at a time. And clear before the next one came out.
30 house to chow. Fed. Out. Cleared the yard. 8 house to chow. Fed. Out. Cleared the yard.
Then 9 house.
Then 6 house.
Then 7 house.
Where normally we are done between 5:30 and 6:00pm on most nights, they didn't get finished until well after 7pm.
The cooks and the inmate workers were pissed off, of course.
And since they didn't get done until so late, nobody got to go to rec on B-side at all.
You know.... I try really hard not to be a racist against anybody. Not the black and white thing. I don't care about that. But against people who aren't from this country. Those who speak another first language besides English. Or American. Whatever the heck we call this nonsense we speak. If you are here from somewhere else and trying to learn our language I will give you all of the help and patience that I can allow. And even some sympathy now and then.
As long as you aren't a telemarketer or working a tech support desk.
Being a man of mostly words I treat my birth language with awe and respect. I love what this language can do and project.
Plus, it's the only language I know fairly fluently, so I'm hanging onto it. At least for the foreseeable future.
If you have lived in this country all of your life and haven't figured out how to speak recognizable English by now then I have absolutely no respect or patience for you. Especially if you are anywhere near my age.
We have some people who volunteer to come and put in hours in our chapel in the prison. Personally, I wouldn't hang around with these knuckleheads for free, but that's neither here nor there. All they have to do basically is be affiliated with some church and be able to pass a background check in order to be able to come in and preach or whatever it is they do up there.
They get no training, as far as I know. They just issue them some keys and a radio and say "The chapel is up there."
Certainly nobody ever teaches them how to talk on the radio.
There's one volunteer that we get alot who does not have a clue. He makes all of his radio calls to the "tower." And we don't have a tower. Sometimes he gets on there and rambles and repeats himself several times and even when he does that he's hard to understand.
But one of my favorite transmissions is: "VIC to the tower. Can I go ahead and release the mens?"
Mens? Release the mens what?
I don't think I want to know, really.
But ever since I've heard that I have to fight from saying that on the radio myself.
The other night one of the rec officers called and asked if we were ready for rec release. I had to bite my lip to keep from saying "10-4 B-rec! Release the mens!" I had to stop and very slowly say "Make.... your... release..."
Some parts of my job are more difficult than others.
Woof! Today was just as blustery as yesterday but with a seriously cold rain added into the mix. It went from warm and blustery to cold and bliskery in no time flat.
Some of the rain fell straight down but a lot of the time it was blowing sideways. And right before chow the wind shifted another direction and the temp dropped about ten degrees in about five minutes. Yikes!
Finally got to get some use out of those rain pants I bought last year. I didn't stay completely dry, but I ended up considerably less wet that I would have been without them. They helped my feet end up just a little wet rather than soaked like everyone else's. That is a very good thing.
I didn't wear the big hat to work and I almost wish I had. It would have kept some of the rain off of my glasses. That made driving around in the cart pretty hazardous. Rain on my specs. Rain on the windshield. Couldn't see snit.
I'd be cruising down the walk and say "Is anybody in front of us?"
"Am I still on the walk?"
"Good. Lemme know if I'm gonna hit something."
Since the evenings are now all controlled movements, the offenders aren't allowed to run on the sidewalks. But since it was cold and raining there was always at least one who would take off running. I'd wait until they ran a good distance then yell "Hey! Get over here!"
He'd look all bummed out and walk over to where I was, which was usually in the opposite direction of where he was running to.
"Where are you going?"
"To the gym."
"Why are you running on my walk? It's called a walk for a reason!"
"I was getting all wet!" he'd say as he was standing there getting wetter.
"Turn around and walk or go back to your house. Don't let me catch you again."
But by then I'd accomplished my mission. He wasn't the first one to the gym like he'd hoped and now he was all wet.
It was indeed a blustery day here in the hundred acre wood..... I mean Raccoon City. Sunny and warm for the most part, but extremely windy. Gusts up around 30-35 miles per hour.
Of course wind like that makes my hearing aids completely useless. All I hear is the wind. So I haven't worn them for a couple of days.
The gusts kept setting off the fence zones, so the Control Center was calling out zones for the P-car to check every thirty seconds or so. At least it kept them busy. But it did clog up the radio traffic.
At one point while I was crossing the yard in the cart it blew my cigarette right out of my mouth. Just "poof!" gone. I just said "Really? Dang." And went on.
One of the things we tend to notice out on the yard is sudden movement. Anybody or anything moving at faster than a walking pace tends to get our attention immediately. With all of the leaves and trash and stuff blowing around it was giving me a sore neck every time something caught my eye.
"Whoop.... trash bag."
"Hey.... somebody's hat."
"What the.... Ow!" Got hit in the eye with a leaf. Man, those things got pointy edges! Snap!
I had Little J out on the yard and at one point I pictured him flying like Piglet at the end of a string. That gave me the giggles. And I never did tell him what I was laughing about.
99.9% of the time if you find someone in a prison with marks on their face of any kind (bruises, scratches, cuts, etc) then you know that they have been in a fight. It's a given.
I actually had an offender who got popped in the eye by a baseball almost break down crying because he thought they were going to lock him up. I had to escort him to medical and back to his house and explain to them what had happened in front of him so he would quit freaking out.
Of the rest of them with facial injuries, unless they have a staff member witness what happened, they have been in a fight.
One sure way to tell if it was a fight is if they say "I fell out of my bunk." Every single inmate who has been in a fight has said that when confronted.
I think if some inmate came up to me and said "I fell out of my bunk" I would just go ahead and put them in cuffs out of instinct.
"Hey! What happened to you?"
"I fell out of my..."
"Turn around, lunchmeat." Click-click.
You know... Most of us stop falling out of bed when we are about three or so. Yet these guys keep dropping like flies. Maybe we should have a resolution passed and remove all of the bunkbeds and just make them sleep on the floor.
Then they would have to find another lame explanation.
Many thanks to my good friend Tilt. Even though he's gone to another camp, he still keeps in touch and obviously has way too much time on his hands.
The other day he sent me an email with an inmates number and a date and said "Best violation ever!"
I had to look for myself, of course.
He was right.
Just a quick warning: If you are even slightly homophobic then it would be best not to read the following post. And fer gawds sake get those children out of here now!!! (grin)
The body of the violation reads:
"While on the H.U. 5 recreation yard, I looked into the window of cell 5-C-22 and witnessed the following:
I saw offender Juan, Don kneeling upon the floor facing offender Casanova, Giacomo who was seated upon the lower bunk. Offender Juan was reaching up lightly rubbing upon offender Casanova's chest. Offender Juan craned his neck upward, while offender Casanova leaned forward to kiss his cell mate upon the lips. Both then rose to their feet, facing each other as offender Juan then proceeded to reach inside offender Casanova's jumpsuit and gently caress the sides of offender Casanova's midriff, while each gazed into each others eyes. Both then leaned forward to tenderly kiss each other on the lips."
I will have to admit two things right here and now.
1. The names have been changed to protect my job.
2. I couldn't help it. I laughed so hard reading this I almost fell off of my chair.
Oh.... my.... freaking.... gawd.
It's not the act itself. I personally could care less about other peoples sexuality. And frankly, I'm not even all that sure that two inmates kissing each other is even against the rules.
But then I'm strange like that.
That whole violation read like it was written by a budding porn author. Or someone who reads way too many Harlequin Romances. I know in the Academy they tell us to "paint a picture" with our words. They don't tell us to paste up an entire novel and include a centerfold.
"craned his neck upward..."
"gently caress the sides..."
"gazed into each others eyes..."
"tenderly kiss each other..."
What the snap?
When he read this Porgie said "That guy obviously stood there too long watching!"
And Mr Bean said "Could you, as a Sergeant, even read a violation like that with a straight face?"
No. I couldn't. I would lose it completely.
I'd be on the floor laughing, waving the clipboard weakly in the air and saying "Do you want to plead guilty?"
"Here. Gently sign this."
Hee hee hee!
Today is my friend Greenghost' birthday. I couldn't tell you how old he is. I honestly don't have a clue.
Somewhere between twelve and fifty, if I were to be forced to guess.
Ghost and I go way back. He was my running buddy back down in the Hive when we were both still fairly new at the business. We got ourselves in some fixes together back in the day.
Oy! The stories I could tell you...
Our most memorable time was when we ended up wrestling this crazy old man. Crazy as eating baked beans with a pitchfork and strong as a damn ox. It probably took us fifteen solid minutes of fighting with him to get him in the cell and stripped out and the door shut and the cuffs back off of him.
The end result? One crazy old naked man with a broken nose. Ghost went to the ER to get his arm X-rayed and I got a cracked bone in one of my fingers. And all three of us covered with bumps and bruises.
We sat back after the door finally got shut and said "Sum-bitch that was one strong crazy old man!"
Unfortunately Ghost isn't with the department anymore.
I miss having him around.
But, just like working down in the Hive, I don't miss getting all banged up like that. Not a nip.
Today was my first day on my new job assignment. New post. New days off. I'll be off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays now so I'll have one day off a week with the wife. That is cool. We haven't had a day off together in quite some time.
Last week we had a Supervisors meeting on our shift. All of the Sergeants and most of the Lieutenants and the Major were there. Being one of the newest Sergeants in the room was a little bit intimidating. But then I find group situations a little intimidating anyway.
Anyhow, one of the things the Major said was that we should "challenge" our people. He said "Give them 'what if' situations and make them think. Don't let your people get complacent."
I thought that was a pretty good idea. I'm going to try and do that now and then.
The night on the yard had gone much better than the one last week. About the most exciting thing we did was make fun of a Kleenex box. (It's a long and stupid story.) So I decided to open a small debate with one of the Major's 'what if' scenarios.]
KP and Anakin were sitting in the shack. Since they are both as sharp as a pair of ginger snaps I decided to give them something to chew on.
"Pop quiz." I said.
"You are standing on the yard and the yard is open. You are down by A-dining. Everyone else custody-wise is all the way across the yard and you see one offender seemingly punching another one in the back. But when he moves you can see blood so obviously he has a weapon. What is the radio call for that?"
Neither one of them knew what the actual radio call for a stabbing (10-50) was, but KP said "I'd call a 10-49 (fight) or a 10-5 (officer needs assistance) and say he had a weapon."
That was a pretty good answer. Considering in almost ten years I have never heard a 10-50 called and probably 99% of the people would not know what that meant.
"And then what would you do?" I asked.
"I'd stand back and wait for help to arrive. I don't want to get stabbed!"
I said that he earned a little gold star for his forehead.
That opened up a debate and discussion about some of the radio calls we have never heard. If any of those were ever called we would all be scrambling for our radio code cards to figure out what was actually going on. We decided that hopefully if one of those rarely heard situations ever arose, whoever was making the call should be as calm and concise as possible on the radio so there wouldn't be any confusion as to what was going on.
But that probably won't happen. Historically they will yell into the radio and babble some nonsense and we will all be scrambling to find out who what and where. Ah, well.
At least it got us thinking for a few minutes. I'm sure the Major would be proud.
Well, tonight was my last night in 25 house. Tomorrow I start my new bid out on the yards.
Last week Miz Slim and Miz Contrary asked me what I wanted to eat and I decided on pizza. I haven't had a real good pizza in a while. So yesterday Miz Slim brought pizza, Miz Contrary brought donuts and apple fritters (yum... apple fritters....) and I brought the sodas and we had a farewell party.
I ate until I was stuffed. It was a good thing that nothing happened. I wouldn't have been able to run ten feet. But they say a well fed Sergeant is a happy Sergeant. So I guess I was pretty dang happy.
We were short people tonight so I got to go count all of the wings. Chuck and I started in E wing and we counted like every other night. Then we went down to D wing and on the way out Chuck says "Let's hear a little noise in here! It's Sergeant Rev's last night in this house!"
There were a few cheers and whoops and a few "See ya, Sarge!" Just as I was about to walk out someone shouted "Yeah! The Po-lice is gone!" I almost stopped. But I thought better of it and just waved and walked out.
Pretty much the same thing happened in C wing and down in A wing counting with Miz Slim, except she didn't say anything to them while I was there.
But we went down and counted B wing and as I was walking out the whole wing started singing.
"Nah nah nah nah...
Nah nah nah nah...
Hey hey hey...
I just kind of froze in place for a second and my brain was going "What the snap?"
I looked at Miz Slim and she smiled and said "I think that's for you, Sarge." I looked back down the wing and they are still singing.
"Nah nah nah nah...
Nah nah nah nah...
Hey hey hey...
And they are all looking up the hallway at me, smiling and waving and singing. And a big stupid grin broke out on my face. I couldn't help it. Finally I managed to kick start my brain long enough to wave back and give them a thumbs up. On the way out of the wing I pretended to smack Miz Slim with my clipboard and I heard them all laughing down in the wing.
So like I said when I got the bid. I'm not going to miss the houses so much. And definitely won't miss working treatment.
But I had a good crew in both houses and I'll miss working with them like crazy.
We have very limited internet access at work. For a very good reason. One of which is productivity. I'm sure if we had unlimited access nothing would ever get done and people would be fighting over computer time to play Farmville and World Of Warcraft or Eve all night long.
When they gave us internet access someone wisely chose to block 99.9% of the internet from our sensitive and irresponsible eyes and hands. Smart move.
But one of the things we are able to access is Wikipedia. And sometimes this has proved to be an invaluable tool for settling arguments or just satisfying our own curiosity.
I have gotten on there a few times of late looking up prisons and prison reform and things like that. One of the things I had never looked up to this point was corrections officers. It took me to a page titled "Prison Officers" which I though was strange.
Anyway, there was an article about working conditions that I though was right on the mark and I thought I would share it with you.
prison officer's job is often considered dangerous with inmate confrontations
resulting in many injuries a year. A prison officer's working environment can
vary considerably with some prison facilities being modern, well lit,
air-conditioned, and ventilated while others such as San Quentin State Prison are old,
overcrowded, and noisy. Prison officers often work on a rotating shift basis
including weekends and holidays. Since many prison facilities have officer
shortages, prison officers are often required to work additional shifts. Having
to put in extra hours can result in fatigue, low morale, and family-related
problems. Prison officers may also get burned out because their work is
unpredictable, identity-threatening, tragic, incongruous, and stigmatized. Because
a prison, or similar detention facility is a controlled environment, inmates
will often attempt to disrupt it. Various remedies for such disruptions,
including physical and less-than-lethal force, isolation and less-lethal
weaponry are often adopted depending on the type of correctional facility and
its jurisdiction. Due to multiple disruptions and challenging work environments
prison officers often face high levels of stress, burnout, health problems,
high turnover rates, low life expectancy, and decreased quality of life. One
US study gives prison officers a life expectancy
of 59 years, compared to the US
national average of 75 years. The
duties a prison officer carries out will often depend on the type of facility
in which they work. For instance, a prison officer at a minimum security
facility may be responsible for casually supervising inmates as they work or
participate in treatment programs while at a maximum security institution a
prison officer would have duties involving the regular use of restraints,
weapon searches, and tactical response. Prison
officers are also expected to control their emotions, remain impersonal, and
engage in activities that are often conflicting. For example, they are expected
to respect and nurture, yet suspect and discipline inmates and have an
I got a feeling that whoever wrote that wrote it from experience.
I lay all of the blame on that basticule Murphy. It's all his fault. Him and his stupid laws.... Sheesh.
Right as the yards closed at 4:00pm, we got a Code 70 (fire) call in B-dining. I stopped and took stock. Okay, who on the fire brigade is here? Me, Watcher, Archer and Homer.
And we're all on A-side. Snap! Okay, here we go.
Just as I was trotting through Central on my way over to B-side I heard Captain Wheelie asking Lt Pants if anyone from fire brigade was over there. Pants said "Negative." just as I walked past the Captain and said "I'm 10-45, sir!"
Luckily Watcher followed me over there. St Francis grabbed me and said "Something smells funny down here." Sure enough, there was smoke in the room and it smelled like some sort of electrical fire. We spent the next fifteen minutes hunting it down. Maintenance had been in there earlier in the day installing some new steam pipes and doing some welding. We suspected maybe some hot slag had dropped down a pipe hole and set something on fire.
In the meantime, they are holding up count and the transfers in the sallyport trying to decide if we are going to find the fire and put it out or not. And all of the dining workers are standing outside on a closed yard.
Watcher finally finds the source of the smoke. They had installed a new set of valves in a chase under the stairs and they had smeared a ton of plumbers putty on all of the joints and then turned the steam on full blast. All of that putty was sitting on the pipes smoldering away in the heat, creating smoke that was by now setting off three different smoke detectors.
Then Watcher did something I could have kissed him for. And I just might later on. (grin) He said "Rev, since you are the A-yard Sergeant, why don't you go back to your yard? I can take care of this and the paperwork. My house doesn't need me right now."
I burnt out back to my yard like nobody's business. Right about the time I got back on my side when I heard things get a little exciting on the radio. Everybody telling everybody else to 10-10 and whatnot.
It seems that right after I left one of their brand new steam lines burst open. Fortunately, they had the door to that alcove shut at the time and nobody was actually in there when it broke. Watcher told me later you couldn't see your hand in front of your face, the steam was so thick.
The inmate that works on the steam lines came down and said "I don't know why they turned it on all of the way. They aren't supposed to. Especially with new lines. You turn those on gradually. Everybody knows that."
Everybody except for maintenance, I guess.
In the meantime we got the transfers in and the dining workers sent back to their houses and laundry workers sent back to laundry and education released and the yards cleared and our 4:30 count happened around 6:00 pm. After that there was so much confusion going on about when we were going to feed and where I just sat back and waited until someone told me what was going on.
We finally managed to get all of the knuckleheads counted and fed but it took a good long time.
And if any goats ever get loose, I know just where to find the rope.
Sorry. I just couldn't resist that picture when I found it.
Man... there goes my PG rating..... (grin)
Well, I knew it was going to be a long night when I looked at the chrono on the way out the night before. They were running me short an officer so I knew I was going to have to make up the difference myself.
But when I got there they not only had me but another one of my officers scheduled to work in the Moon Room doing strip searches! I said "Hey! I already have one vacancy and one officer in strips and you want to pull me, too? Who are you going to leave in my house? It normally takes five of us to get them to chow and back. Should they try to do it with two?"
Luckily he saw my point and moved the Brute to strips so I could go to the house. And Uncle T heard my dilemma and moved the extra dining officer to strips so I could get my other guy back just in time for count.
Much to credit my infinite luck they also sent me Miss Boggle to work down in D-wing with me. Every five minutes she was down in the wing shouting at some knucklehead for doing something stupid. She wrote two violations and I talked her out of writing two more. I think she finally felt sorry for me. Right in the middle of everything else after the evening classes were over in the house one idiot assaulted another idiot up in E-wing and I had to go deal with that.
Two nights in a row of dealing with her and I don't know who would benefit more from about 10 milligrams of valium, me or her. Either way would work, I'm sure.
None of us saw what happened. One offender said another one hit him. And when I asked the second guy if he did, he admitted it. So I called Captain Strong and he reviewed the tapes from the security cameras. he called back down and said "Yup. He hit him. Plain as day. Lock him up."
So more paperwork for me. And since it was my house I got to write the violation and walk all the way across the camp to the Hive to get it read.
You know, I finally got them used to not pulling an officer out of 10
house on visiting days because we stay so busy running back and forth.
So tonight they pulled me instead. Go figure.
I got put out on A-yard, which I thought wouldn't be too bad. I had KP
and Anakin out there and they're old hands so I thought it would be an
easy night. That thought only lasted about thirty seconds.
KP says to me "You know that you have Strangle and Meany and Boggle up
in 1 House without a Sergeant tonight." Before I could even wipe the
horrified look off of my face he added "You're going to be busy all
freaking night, you know.."
I just kept my fingers crossed and hoped that they would behave themselves.
Well.... That didn't last long.
We hadn't even been on shift an hour. It was ten minutes before count
when Boggle comes over the radio. "41 to 65, 10-10 housing unit 1!" KP
and Anakin both look at me and start laughing. Cripes.
Shows how well my luck runs.
Some idiot inmate got stupid with Boggle over the laundry and they had
him in cuffs. I talked to the guy for a minute and he was just an
idiot. His first time in prison and he didn't have a clue. I think the
whole thing was a clumsy check-in move to get off of the hill. I tried
to blame it all on Meany but this time he was actually innocent.
So I had to leave Anakin there to watch him while they counted and then take him off to the Hive after count cleared.
Later on I got to do some Sergeanty talking-to stuff. I found out that
Miss Boggle had called the Lieutenant when they cuffed the guy up and
neglected to call me first. I had to remind her of the chain of
command. In the absence of a housing unit Sergeant, the yard Sergeant
is in charge of the house. And it makes me look kind of stupid when the
Lt asks me what is going on and I don't have a clue.
Hopefully that doesn't happen again. I don't need anybody else's help looking stupid, thank you!
Luckily, they got whatever it was out of their system and I had a calm night after that.
But I sure thought KP had jinxed me there for a minute...
A lot of what I do as a supervisor is back up other people's decisions. Sometimes they come and ask me first but alot (<--Bryan) of the time they just tell me what they did and I either pat them on the head or tell them how to do it differently the next time.
Sometimes I will have someone come to me and say "This happened and I did this. Is that okay?" Yeah. That works too. I am tickled pink when the people who are capable of making rational decisions go ahead and make them. It just makes my job so much easier.
Like I said the other night, I have some pretty good folks to work with. For the most part. Granted, some of them couldn't be trusted with a dead cockroach and a wet book of matches.
As a matter of fact, I can recall a time when I actually had to take a dead cockroach away from somebody...
Ah, but maybe that's a tale better suited for later.
Anyway, much of my job just seems to be offering moral support to my officers.
Tonight was a good example. Two officers from another house came over to put some property down in the contraband storage room. They'd only done it a couple of times and asked if I would come along in case they had questions. I didn't see why not. It's not a complicated process but it can be confusing if you don't do the steps right.
We went on downstairs to the contraband room and the conversation went like this:
"So, I put this here, right? Fill this out?"
"Then I write this number on the violation?"
"Then I staple this copy to the property and put it on this shelf here, right?"
They knew what they were doing. Neither one of them really needed me.
On the way back upstairs I said "I didn't give you much help. But by Gawd I gave you validity!"
Sometimes I have to justify my own existence. Even if just to myself.
Sorry about the lack of posts last week. I got off on a tangent with the chainmail project and it was taking up all of my time and my limited mental capacity.
Plus, I have to admit, I got into watching an anime series on Netflix and I got hooked on it and wanted to see how it ended. It was called "Trinity Blood." I should have read the comments and I would have discovered that the guy writing it died before he could finish the story.
That left me a bit cranky when it suddenly ended. A good story, though.
Well, I got my new bid for the yard relief spot. I'm pretty stoked about that. Even if it means spending winter and summer outside at least four days a week.
But it also means no FUM's, no caseworkers, no councilors, no therapists getting in my business and often undermining what I'm trying to do. And that's a good thing.
But I'm going to miss my crews in both 10 and 25 house. I couldn't ask for better people to work with. Even if Miz Slim called me "traitor" several times tonight. (grin)
And it's not like I won't ever see them again or anything. I just won't be assigned there anymore.
I have a feeling that once I get entrenched in that spot it's going to take a big hammer and a chisel to get me out again.
Even though I will still be working directly under the Lieutenants and the Captains, there's a certain amount of autonomy being the yard Sergeant. I get to direct when and how the yard moves or whether it even gets to move at all. And it also makes me the de facto housing unit supervisor when there isn't a Sergeant present. It's actually a lot of responsibility and much more work than I have been doing in the past ten months since I got promoted.
Kind of looking forward to that. I've gotten fat and lazy sitting in my office waiting for something to happen.
So not this Sunday but the following Sunday I start my new bid. Like I said, I'm stoked.
I'll have a good crew on both yards to work with. KP and Annikin and ET and St Francis and Uncle Scary. All good guys that I can trust to have my back if the snit hits the fan.
I've talked about that knothead Meatball before in this blog. And it always tickles him when I mention his name. He comes in the next day with his chest all puffed out like a little blue penguin. (grin)
I can always count on him to get the job done. He's always there when I need something and always the first one to volunteer. The house wouldn't be the same nor run as well without our Meatball hard at work.
He's also a great slab of Grade-A Doofus. He's constantly singing to me, which annoys me greatly. Especially when he raps. I despise rap. He knows that and does it just to get a rise out of me.
One night last week or so he got down on one knee and proposed to me. I came real close to punching him in the head. I walked back to my office thinking "What am I going to do with this idiot?"
The only answer I could come up with was "Keep him."
Occasionally, when I have a little time on my hands, I get on the computer at work and look up offenders i have dealt with before to see where they are and what they are doing. Of course after all of those years in the Hive, the only ones I really remember are the worst knuckleheads, so it's rarely good news.
But it is sometimes amusing.
Not this time.
I first met this little idiot in '07 or '08 when he was nineteen or twenty. Constantly in trouble. Acted like he was somewhere between twelve and fourteen, mentally and emotionally. In and out of the Hive all of the time. Sometimes for random acts of douchebaggery and once in awhile on suicide watch for claiming he was going to kill himself. Always doing something remarkably ignorant.
We were always relieved to see him leave and never surprised when he came back.
I remember thinking at the time "Here's one fool we are going to be dealing with for the rest of his life."
Much to my infinite surprise, he got out of prison March of last year.
I hadn't though of him since then.
Tonight I got on the computer and ran his name and it came up again. He landed in the intake side of a prison up north at the beginning of this month. The first time he was incarcerated it was for stealing animals of some sort and stealing a car and setting it on fire. He did three or four years for that.
This time he was in for 1st degree murder. Sentenced to life without parole.
Warning. If you have a soft heart or a weak stomach don't read the next paragraph.
I wish now that I hadn't looked. But when I got home tonight I searched and found what he did. Some fool left him watching her children while she was at work. He took her 4 year old son out by a pond and cut his throat with a pocket knife, then sent her a picture with his cell phone and confessed to the murder.
That left me feeling sick to my stomach. Obviously the system had failed.
I can't place any blame other than the fact that I feel slightly guilty even though I had nothing to do with the decision to let him out. Obviously if he had completed his sentence they had no choice but to release him.
Since I'm a part of the system I feel bad when it fails so catastrophically. But I know that there was nothing I could have done to prevent this.
There were times when I wanted to wring his neck, sure. And if I had done that then maybe that boy would still be alive. But then I'd be in prison instead and that wouldn't have worked out well for me at all.
At least I take the small comfort in the fact that my prediction came through.
We will now be dealing with him for the rest of his life.
When that yard relief job came up I went and dropped a bid on it as soon as I got to work. I figure with winter coming on and all.... And the days off being Tuesday Wednesday maybe I stand a good chance of getting it.
But out of the 45 Sergeants we have, I only have more time than about four of them. Minus me leaves forty. Of those forty three others got promoted at exactly the same time. That leaves thirty seven that can outbid me. Out of those thirty seven I think there's only maybe five that would even consider taking the job.
The odds are improving.
Sergeant Major wants a yard job, but he wants Uncle T's B-yard spot. He called me the other evening and said that he was spreading the rumor that he was bidding on the relief job so other people wouldn't bid on it and maybe I would get it. And apparently he's been spreading it around pretty thick.
A few people have come up to me and asked me if I bid the job and scared to death that Sergeant Major might get it over me. He's not the easiest guy in the world to get along with and if you have a chain handy he will jerk it every chance he gets. I get along with him fine. We understand each other. But some people (especially some of those already out on the yard) don't like him at all.
I've been going along with the gag just for fun. Bumming hard because I know he can outbid me and saying how I really wanted the job and now I won't get it. Watching the reactions has been a bit of a giggle.
With my luck I'll go through all of this and somebody completely unexpected will pop up and get the spot. That happens some times. But I haven't really heard of anybody else who bid on it. I don't know.
Unfortunately, when the inmates are behaving themselves we do tend to turn on each other for entertainment.
The idea of being frightened at work came up the other day in a conversation. I said it was only natural at times, seeing as we worked in a prison, for someone to be frightened now and then. The secret of course, is to only be frightened now and then or at best save it for later when you are walking out in the parking lot. Then you can have a full blown case of the whim-whams and nobody will get hurt because you locked up.
I'll admit that I've been frightened a few times here. But for the most part I've managed to keep it under wraps until later and managed to get the job done.
Heck, I was scared green when I went up to interview for Sergeant. I walked out of there thinking "Well, I was a nervous wreck and I'm sure it showed!"
And then they promoted me. Go figure.
Anyway, the question was asked if there were any inmates I was scared of. To which I replied "Only one. Freestyle. He scares the snap out of me sometimes."
Freestyle is a young man, about six foot four, maybe 260 pounds of mostly solid muscle. And crazy as a water balloon full of porcupines. When he's taking his meds and in control of himself, he is one of the nicest guys. He likes me, since we go way back, and considers me to be "family."
I'm not really sure why he likes me so much but I'll take it where I can get it. That has gotten me out of a few jams with him.
But when he's off his meds and in one of those "manic" stages he's riding a bicycle underwater upside down with a duck in your back pocket crazy. And right now he is right smack in the middle of one of those stages.
I had to go down to the Hive for an hour or so this evening and old Freestyle was having trouble breathing, or so he said. We had to get him out so the nurse could examine him and I talked to him the whole time, trying to keep him focused on the fact that I was there talking to him. I think it helped. It kept him calm, anyway.
He asked to speak to me afterwards and I stood there and listened politely while he spouted a five minute rant that was all one sentence and went something like this:
I skipped some of that conversation. Frankly, it went by me so fast I missed large parts of what he was saying. And my head is still ringing a bit from even being that close to that many words all piled up together.
I was just glad he was back safely behind that big steel door.
Even if he is a nice guy and likes me. He still scares the snap out of me sometimes.
I just have to say, along with millions of other internet geeks who watched it, that Felix Baumgartner is my new hero. Any man who can fly 24 miles up in the air in a balloon and even think about jumping out (parachute or no) has gotta have a set the size of Brooklyn.
I didn't catch the event until about ten minutes before he left the capsule and when he actually jumped I almost screamed. He fell out of sight so fast I just sat there with my mouth hanging open going "Holy freaking snap!!!"
To fall so far and so fast and then to land lightly on his feet like that at the end....
That was truly awesome.
Felix, wherever you are right now.... you are my hero.
The project still continues in my spare time, believe it or not. Keeping the finished panels in this boot box when I am done with them to keep them out of the way. Last night I set the pile on the bathroom scale and I have knitted together ten pounds of chainmail.
This may not look like much, but this is somewhere around nine hundred feet of sixteen gauge wire.
When I look at it up close it does look kind of impressive. Until I realize how many months I have been working at this and how many months more I have to go.
I started out using a little bulletin board and T-pins until the pieces got too heavy and started pulling out the pins. Then I got this board and put some brass nails along the top and sides. At first I was holding it in my lap while I worked. Then I got a better idea.
I built a box to hold the board at an angle that would also serve as a toolbox for all of my gear and make the whole kit portable so I could work on it anywhere. It would have been better if I had made it so it would fold closed, I guess. But if I did that then all of my rings would have gotten mixed up the first time I picked it up so I abandoned that idea and left it this way.
I even lined the inside and the bottom of the box with black felt after I stained everything. That way it can slide around on the table and not mark anything up. Especially important if I decide to do any work at the kitchen table. (grin)
Anyway, I figure I am somewhere around one fifth of the way done with enough panels to make the tunic I am imagining. Another four thousand feet of wire or so and my work here will be through! (rolls his eyes)
I'd been in the market for a department store mannequin, thinking that would be the thing to drape this stuff around and start combining the pieces on and figure out how I am going to secure it. Unfortunately there don't seem to be too many places around here stocking those things. I'd like one with a head so I can also make the coif piece when I get done with the tunic.
Watcher and Miz Twang called me the other night. She had found someone selling those half-torso mannequins locally for a good price and she was going to pick one up for me. They are both so nice to me. Even though it wasn't exactly what I envisioned, that thing will take up much less room and won't be nearly as creepy as having a full sized department store mannequin standing in my office. I could just imagine walking in here half asleep and scaring the heck out of myself with that thing. (grin)
I tend to be a little jumpy first thing in the mornings.
During my conversation with Watcher he said "You know, I never really thought you would start doing this. I just thought it might be a cool idea for stuff we could sell at conventions. Maybe something we could keep in mind as a future project. But you just went ahead and did it!"
Like I told him, I started looking at how it was done and looking for information. Then I started figuring it out and making rings. About that same time we got a Netflix account so I sat down and started watching old teevee shows and knitting chainmail and the rest is history.
In a way it's been therapeutic. For my mind, anyway. It takes just enough of my concentration to keep my mind focused away from whatever might be bothering me at the time, but still allows enough slack that I can watch "Adam-12" and "Emergency" and half a dozen different anime shows to fill my mind with happy noise.
It's been hell on my hands, though. The repetitive motions are strengthening my forearms so I don't have as much trouble with the tendonitis, but I wake up every morning with my hands stiff and sore and covered with tiny cuts and strange callouses. And I have had to dig more than one sliver of metal out of my skin.
Anyway, a while ago Scotty asked how the project was going.
About two years ago (give or take) I was asked to join the Fire Brigade here at Raccoon City Correctional Center. I'd had a little bit of experience with Fire & Safety in the Army so I thought "Why not? Maybe I'll get some fun training out of it or something."
Well, that didn't work out so much. Haven't got a lick of training yet. All I've gotten so far is the headache of running all over and clearing a building with a fire alarm screaming in my ear and the paperwork afterwards.
And out of maybe 20-25 alarms that I have responded to, only once was anything actually on fire and it got extinguished just as I came up on the scene.
I'm just saying that this Fire brigade nonsense hasn't really worked out to my expectations.
Since I've been here I have heard of only three actually "dangerous" cell fires and they have all taken place in the Hive. And I know that three incidents is a small sampling to draw any conclusions from, but I have noticed something rather peculiar.
In two of those fires, chemical fire extinguishers were used. In both of those incidences, the offender inside the cell was still functional and both willing and able to fight, while the staff were all affected by the chemicals used and some of them got injured. Plus the mess afterwards is a pain in the butt to clean up.
In the other fire, a fire hose was used to extinguish the fire and the offender ended up wet and cold and more than willing to cuff up and come out of the cell. Nobody got hurt and there was only water to clean up afterwards.
Yet, the higher ups never want us to use the fire hose. Why is that?
It can't be the cost. I'm sure it cost them at least twenty bucks to recharge a fire extinguisher. I'm sure if we pumped twenty dollars worth of water into a cell it would probably fill it completely.
That would sure put the fire out though, wouldn't it? Heh....
I'm just saying that we need to learn from experience and learn how to deal with these kind of situations. They aren't going to give us any training in what to do so we have to figure it out for ourselves, obviously. And from what I have seen, using the chemical extinguishers when there is a combative offender in the cell just doesn't work. The only thing that is going to do accomplish both goals of putting out the fire and making the offender want to comply is the fire hose.
When someone is cold and wet and miserable they are less likely to want to stay that way. And a fire put out with water smells a whole lot worse than one put out with an extinguisher. They are going to want to get out of that cell and into some place dry and warm and smelling better as soon as possible.
Sometimes walking into the place is just a roll of the dice what you are going to end up with. Even though Raccoon City isn't rocking like it did in the old days, there is still some excitement now and then.
Take last night for example. What did I have? Petty silliness. An ignorant greedy punk trying to hog a couple of music disks. Nothing.
But apparently after I left the snit hit the fan.
When it was hot, we put fans in all of the wings to help circulate the air. But since this cold snap descended, we took them away the other night. When it's 30 degrees outside, they don't need fans blowing on them. Enough said.
Well, apparently the offenders have gotten used to the sound of the fans at night and demanded them back. When the wing officer told them no, a bunch of them got huffy and demanded to see a Lieutenant. Instead they got two pissed off Sergeants and five CO's all standing in the wing after coming there at a run.
They were told in no uncertain terms that not only were they NOT getting the fans back but if another peep was heard there were going to be about a dozen of them trotting off to the Hive in handcuffs. That seemed to quiet them down some, as I didn't hear a thing about the issue this evening.
Not long after that some knucklehead set fire to his cell down in the Hive and then refused to come out. That turned into a big mess with Sgt Drew right in the middle of it, almost drowning in paperwork.
He told me on the way out tonight "I always heard you guys tell those stories and now it happened to me! I get what you're saying now! The place is like a drug!"
It's so true. Running on adrenaline can be quite addicting. But it's hard on your body, let me tell ya! I can show you the scars, pal.
Any of that stuff could have happened on our shift, or in our house or wherever we happened to be at the time.
I gotta give credit where credit is due. Sometimes people at work really are paying attention when things are just a little out of the ordinary. And sometimes it really pays off.
Had pretty much a slow night. Sunday. Nothing happening. Just doing my eight then hit the gate. I can live with nights like that now and then.
About 8:30 Big Muppet calls me from 30 house and asks me to come around back and meet him. I was really hoping it was nothing major, that late at night.
When I get out there he points back up to my house and says "An offender is hiding something up in the ceiling of that room right up there. I couldn't see who he was or what he was hiding, but he was putting something up there."
Cool. A mission.
I trot upstairs and find the room. It's the E-wing library room. Shed my coat and climb up on a stack of chairs and the window sill and start lifting ceiling tiles. The second one I move and out drops a CD case with two CD's in it and a pair of headphones. I poke around a little bit more and don't find anything else.
That kind of makes me mad. It's just selfishness in action.
The offenders in 10 house aren't allowed personal CD players or Walkman tape players or radios in the treatment program. But they can check out a CD player and one CD at a time from the bubble. And whoever this knucklehead was just wanted to make sure that nobody else would get those two CD's to listen to so he swiped them and stuck them up in the ceiling.
What a selfish snaphead.
So I think starting tomorrow that E-wing is going to lose their CD players for about a week. Or longer, if I can pull it off.
Somebody knows who did that. And peer pressure is a wonderful thing. Especially when there are 40 or 50 of them pissed off at you all at the same time.
Heh... heh... heh...
So anyway, kudos to Big Muppet for paying attention and telling somebody about it. Granted it was just a couple of CD's, but it could have been drugs or a cell phone or a weapon. I'll make sure he gets an official thank you in his file.
Despite what Chuck or Miz Slim might say, I didn't jinx us by hoping we would have a calm night. I just want to get that out in the open right out front. It wasn't me.
Things were going along pretty well. No major incidents or accidents. Just life as usual. Well, until the Lieutenant called and pulled my other wing officer, anyway. That sucked. he pulled Miz Boggle because he was short in another house, leaving me with two wing officers and five wings to cover.
That made count time a lot more work than usual.
But that's beside the point.
About 8:30 an inmate from E-wing came down and said he had to go to medical because he thought he had scabies. Sore called and told me and I said "Send him and let me know what they say."
About twenty minutes later medical called and said "Yup. He's got scabies." Moments afterwards two more offenders from E-wing came down and said "We need to go to medical. We think we have scabies, too."
And they did. Oh freaking snap.....
So they sent them back and they bagged up all of their clothes and bedding to go out to laundry and got them cans of RID spray to hose down their mattresses and bunks. Then they had to go up to medical and shower and put on this special cream and bag up the rest of what they were wearing to go to laundry.
In the meantime, two more offenders came down.....
Luckily they decided either it was psychosomatic or they were just in the early stages because they didn't have any signs and they just sent them back to the house. I was beginning to think it was an epidemic.
And why do they always wait until so late at night to tell us this stuff?
On top of that it all gave my laundry guys a case of the screaming fidgets when they came down and saw all of those biohazard bags in the laundry carts. Nobody wanted to touch anything and they all ran off to wash their hands immediately afterwards.
And I, of course, couldn't help but egg it on a little bit. I pointed at one guys arm and said "Look! There's one on your arm!" He jumped and brushed at himself like crazy and then shivered all over.
That was more fun than shooting crickets with the water hose.
If nothing else, it gave us something else to do than do endless wing checks to cover up for our lack of staff.
And if you are wondering what scabies are, just go here: Scabies.
But if you start itching after reading it, don't blame me. I just wanted a calm post.
What I was going to post about the other night before the internet so rudely shut me down, was that I worked in a GP house for a change. That was kind of odd.
The two houses that I usually work in... 10 & 25... are open bay houses. Like dormitories. Anywhere from 30 to 60 inmates in a big open bay with bunkbeds all in a line. Kind of intimidating the first time you have to walk all the way down to the end of the wing amidst all of those offenders by yourself. And nothing between you and them but.... air. And attitude.
And pepper spray, of course. (grin)
But it was what I had gotten used to. Those had been my houses for what? Nine, ten months now?
Suddenly the other night I end up in 3 house. A "General Population" house. Four wings. Fifty or less in a wing. Two men max to a cell. And each and every cell has a heavy steel door which locks shut and doesn't open again until we say so. Very controlled.
Like a different world. Or at least a different prison.
The offenders were pretty much the same, though. As a matter of fact, many of them were the same. They had either passed through or flunked out of the treatment programs in one of the other houses and went back out to GP to finish their sentence. Or get ready to go home, either way.
In some ways it was much nicer than the other places I normally work. In those houses when my officers go out into the wings i have no way of watching over them unless I physically follow them or rush into the bubble and watch them on the cameras. And even then there are places where I cannot see them. Lots of places.
But in a GP unit I can stand up in the bubble and watch everywhere my people are at all times unless they step inside a cell. And even then I know which cell they went into. It was kind of nice and relaxing in a way, even if it was a bit strange.
As a matter of fact, the Sergeant position for that house was open and I was considering bidding on it. But then I got sick and missed the deadline. No big deal, because Sgt Archer bid on it and got it and he would have beat me anyway on time.
And I'm not really all that sure I want to be tied back down to one single place again. I stayed down in the Hive for too long and got burned out to want to go to the same place every single day, I think.
Now that Archer got the 3 house spot I am going to bid on his yard relief spot when it comes open. Two days on A yard, two days on B yard and one day on utility, pretty much like I have now. And with winter coming on, not too many people are going to be wanting to go out on the yard.
Good old meatball is a pretty good kid. Always there and always willing to lend a hand and always a source of a smile or two. I don't know what I would do without him most days.
Tonight he had to leave early and rush home, as Miz Meatball was on her way to the hospital. She is within five or so days of her expected due date for their first little meatball and they though she might be going in to labor.
I was bummed that he had to leave but of course completely understanding.
So here's well wishes to Mr & Miz Meatball and hopefully the first of many little meatballs to come.
I wish I had a rubber stamp with tattoo needles in it. That looked just like the picture above.
I'd use it alot.
There was a story come out of one of the other local prisons the other day that I thought I would share with you all.
A rather foolish young man (as so many of them tend to be) found himself in prison and decided that he should join one of the white supremacist gangs. Whether because he actually believed in the garbage they sell or for his own protection I suppose we will never know. Frankly, I don't really care what his motivations were.
As many of those wanna-be Billy Badaxe types tend to do, he got himself thrown into the Adseg unit. The Hole. For whatever reason. Either his own protection or because he was just an idiot or whatever.
Once again, who cares?
At any rate, he discovered that his cellie was much smaller than him and started picking on him and bullying him and stealing his food. Because he was big and the cellie was small.
Then he found out that his cellie was locked up for tattooing. And he got this marvelous idea. He would get a tat gun smuggled into the Adseg unit and he would have his cellie put the white supremacist gang tattoo on his back for him! What a marvelous idea!
Can you see where this is going?
By the time the guy was done there were two tats on his back. The first one in small cursive letters read "Tied to Texas T" and the date. Now just in case you were wondering, this tat identified this punk as a "baby" in prison slang. Somebody's homosexual play toy.
The second tat in big three inch letters said "I'M A CHOMO"... Which in prison slang identifies him as a child molester.
This fool is now marked for life. Oh sure, he'll find someone kind enough to mark over it some day. On the outside some tatter might take pity on him and cover it up. But I doubt it. I'd hazard a guess and say that 99% of the people he approaches to do the cover up work are going to take one look at that ink on his back and say "Nah. I don't think I want to do any work on you. As a matter of fact, just get the snap out of my place. Now."
I'm sure the lessons learned here are pretty obvious.
1. Don't piss of the guy doing the tattoo work on your back.
And 2. Don't be anything like that other guy at all.