Monday, January 9, 2012

War And Peace

The day started out pretty peaceful. For our shift, anyway.

On day shift right after lunch some knucklehead down in the Hive got frisky. They ended up calling a 10-5 (officer needs assistance) and spraying him and having a pretty major use of force.

When you call 10-5 over the radio people come out of the woodwork. And sometimes you end up with more help than you really needed to begin with. But you get help, anyway. That's always good.

At any rate, alot of people got involved and everyone involved had to do paperwork. Replacing those people brought the staffing levels down so the Major closed the yards for the remainder of the afternoon.

So when we came in there were no inmates out playing and only minimal movement.

Since I was the A-yard Sergeant, that didn't hurt my feelings at all. Once the guys got IP done, we had nothing to do until count cleared after 4:30.

As soon as we were done with mainline I was standing out in front of A-dining and Fogey came out and said "I think I'm going to have one of my workers in cuffs here in a minute. He went to med pass and never came back. I'm through messing with him."

I told him "Do what you need to do. Call me if you need me." Then I headed across the yard to get a cup of coffee. No sooner did I reach the shack when he called me on the radio to come back. Sure enough, he had the little numbskull in cuffs.

Fogey had released his workers who took meds to medical. Everyone else came back in less than twenty minutes. This idiot was gone for almost an hour and didn't walk back in the door until chow was over with.

Trying to get out of working. Well, it worked. In a way.

The knucklehead tried crying to me about it saying that medical made him wait up there all that time. It was all their fault.

So I called the medical officer. "He was here, all right. Got his meds and walked out the door. We didn't keep him any longer than anyone else."

Walked back into the office and looked the kid in they eye and told him what the medical officer told me. When he tried to cry again I said "You're beat. You are going to the Hive. Get over it." Then I read him his violation and sent him off to the Hive for refusing to work. That is one quick way to get locked up around here.

About an hour later I get a call to go up to 1 house. Miz Spikes is up in the bubble and she has two small chunks of rock, about an inch long and maybe half an inch on each side. She was doing a cell search and found them in a desk. When she picked them up and asked the inmate about them he got a bit agitated, saying that he was Native American and they were "Ceremonial" stones. He went on to say that she had "tainted" them by touching them and now they would have to be "blessed" again before they would be of any use.

Now, religion is kind of a touchy subject in a prison. As it is outside. You tread on thin ice when you start handling religious things. And certain religious sects are more touchy than others about the handling of their things.

But there are strict rules about "sacred objects" and how they must be identified and packaged. These were just laying open in the desk.

So I took the rocks down to the office and called the offender down there. He was a little upset. I told him that I understood, being part Native American myself. I'm not enough to really count for anything, but it's still there. I told him that if he wanted to keep his sacred rocks free and clear of any molestation that they would have to be sealed into a medicine bag. That way we would know it's his religious objects and it wouldn't get touched or tampered with. And if it was sealed then we would know that it didn't contain any contraband.

He calmed down and said he understood and took his rocks back and said he would get a medicine bag to put them in from the chaplain.

I thought the problem was solved.

About two hours later I got another call to come to 1 house.

JonT had heard the story from Miz Spikes and had gotten curious and looked the offender up on the computer. It said his avowed religion was Christian. And when JonT called the guy down there and asked him about it, whether he was native American or Christian the guy tossed the rocks back down on the desk and said "Actually I'm Southern Baptist!" and stomped out of the office.

Now, according to DOC policy, you are only allowed to claim one religion. You can't be a Catholic Muslim Jewish Wiccan Baptist. Or a Seventh Day Mennonite Odinist Baha'i Pentecostal. It doesn't work like that. You have to be one or the other.

As you can guess, I was getting a little pissed off about this whole situation at this point. Called him back down into the office and between JonT and I we laid it out flat for him. Pick something and stick with it or stop playing games. I said "I don't care about you. I don't care what religion you are. And I don't care about your rocks. If you want to keep them, put them in a medicine bag or the next time your cell gets searched they will be taken as contraband and disposed of. Period."

JonT actually got to play "Good Cop" and told the guy to go talk to the chaplain and maybe get some counseling and decide what he wanted to be. Me, I got up and told him to take his rocks and go away.

And he took his rocks and went away.

I suspect that he was just trying to make a fuss about it and make people less likely to search his cell. They do that alot. And more than once I have found what they didn't want me to find hidden amongst or behind their religious objects. Like the one time I found a tattoo gun in a hollowed out bible.

But either way we shut him down on that approach. I'm sure he'll try it again on someone else.

But at least the officers in 1 house are wise to that one now.

And the remainder of the evening passed in peace.

Tuesday is going to be Peculiar People Day (Oh yeah. Lots of them), National Cut Your Energy Costs Day, League of Nations Day and Bittersweet Chocolate Day.

Let's get there early for the parade!


  1. A vivid account of life in 2012 that deserves to be put in a time capsule for the benefit of archaeologists in 2112, for example, so that students could quote it as an example of how things had improved (or got worse) in a hundred years.

    Or an example of how everyone (including prisoners) does their best to cope with the craziness of the present moment.

    Thanks for the glimpse.

  2. Your job gives you some interesting stories!
    I feel as though "peculiar people" day is MY day! And by the way, my word verification is "mange". hmm.

  3. Vincent- I suspect the people in 2112 with think that the wrong guy is on the outside of the cell door. Like many of them do now.

    But I do thank you for the endorsement.

    Donna- I've got close to 2,000 peculiar people that I have to deal with every day. I could pass on the mange, though. (grin)