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.
Well, that wasn't how I planned on starting my week.
I felt fine when I left for work.
But after awhile I started feeling a bit headachy and..... heavy. Like I weighted about three hundred pounds.
It felt wonderful to sit down, like I'd slipped apart from gravity.
I remember going in and sitting down at my desk. Then I remember asking Miz Slim to shut the door.
The next thing I knew there were about three hundred people in my office, all asking me if I was okay. Sgt Uncle Buck was in my face asking me what was wrong and Miz Twang was there putting something cool on my forehead and panting like she'd just run the marathon. And somebody was shaking my desk. Weird.
At one point someone said I was incoherent. I disagreed. Coherently. I think, anyway.
I thought "Oh, this isn't good."
Then there was a nurse there taking my blood pressure and my wife walked in the room.
I thought "Oh. This definitely isn't good."
Then Capt Wheelie was there cracking bad jokes and telling the nurse I probably needed an enema. If I could have gotten up I'd have at least flicked the end of his nose for that.
They held up releasing the house until they got me outside. I got to walk past all of the inmates with Miz Slim under one arm and Miz Twang under the other one.
Hey, at least I got a classy escort.
Put me on the cart and drove me out through the sally port and out to the parking lot and right up to the wife's van. And I got to listen to her threaten to take me to the hospital all the way home.
I suspect it's just the flu. Hot and cold running sweats. A 99.9 fever. It's amazing what the bare minimum over a degree will do to you.
And I suspect I won't be going to work tomorrow either.
It seems like it was just the other day that I was talking about working down in the Hive and how I might be missing that just a little bit.
Not all that much. Just a little bit.
And guess where I ended up today?
Oh, you betcha. And on a transfer day, too.
Between the transfers and the knuckleheads misbehaving we got twelve brand new customers in the space of eight hours. Four of them one right after another between 3:30 and 4:00. Then five transfers after count cleared. Then three more spaced out over the rest of the evening.
And each and every one of them had a whine or a moan or a complaint.
None of which I heard nor even paid attention to.
For one thing I was too busy keeping the paperwork and the boards straight so we wouldn't mess up count.
For another thing I just didn't want to hear it. My job, as far as I was concerned, was to keep these idiots secure in their cells and make sure none of them escaped or hurt anybody else.
Making them comfortable and happy is someone else's job, not mine.
Their being there was a result of their own karma, just as me being there was a result of mine.
The self-help guru's all say "If you aren't happy with your life, change it!"
Orrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..........not, as the case may be.
I saw many of the same old names on the boards down there. It was almost like I had never left. Or they hadn't. Or both.
I like to think I've grown and moved on.
But then I find myself right back there again.....
Other than for the paycheck, that is. And I don't mean it in one of those existential ways either.
It just seems like I'm only there in case something does happen. Not like I'm really needed on a day to day basis. I'm kind of like having a large mobile coffee-drinking fire extinguisher.
Maybe it's my management style. Alot of the time when someone comes to me with a question I ask "Well, what do you think you should do about this?" And nine times out of ten (because I generally have a really good crew) we end up doing what they suggested.
So I might be managing myself out of a position here if I'm not careful.
Most of the time the house functions as if I'm not even here. My crew in both houses (my regulars, anyway) are very good and quite professional and tend to handle problems that arise without needing to consult me at all. But I have gotten them used to the ideas of at least telling me what they did afterwards. That way if someone outside our house has a question I don't end up with egg all over my face.
I operate under the old saying "It's easier to ask forgiveness than for permission."
Do what needs to be done to the best of your ability and judgement. Things here happen quickly and you need to react quickly. If you have to call and wait for an answer it might be too late.
Alot of people who work for the department don't want to make any sort of decisions at all. That keeps them from ever taking the blame if things go bad. Then they get to point a finger and shout "He told me to do it!" Those kind of people are why things tend to get out of hand. They get paralyzed by an inability or an unwillingness to do anything without permission in order to keep from making a mistake.
My crew is better than that. They take care of business whether I am there on site or not. I don't have to hover over their shoulders or hold their hands.
But it sure does make for some long boring nights, though.
Sometimes off in my little part of the camp I start to feel a bit isolated and out of touch. 10 house is off in it's own little corner and not many people just "drop by" for anything. Partly because it's so far away from everywhere else and partly because most people just hate 10 house.
And when things are happening on the rest of the camp I can never go and help or do anything because it's so far away.
A real case of "You can't get there from here."
I guess in a way I miss working in the Hive because that was pretty much where the action was. It either started there or if it didn't, it almost always ended there, one way or another.
My friend and partner in crime Sgt Miz P got the bid down in the Hive. I was happy for her. She wanted it and I really didn't. I got so burned out on working down there I really didn't want to go back. But at the same time I miss the action and the constant stupidity.
Not to mention the insane wealth of blog material.
That house got me started writing again. Mostly to keep from screaming, but hey... whatever works, right?
They had some action down there this evening. Some recurring knucklehead got stupid and ended up getting sprayed and slammed. Hopefully none of our folks got hurt.
But when I heard that there was action down there my feet just itched to go down and help. I could hear the excitement in Miz P's voice and I almost started running before I realized how far away I really was.
There's an opening for a Sergeant on A-side that I am considering bidding on. A regular GP housing unit. With Fridays and Saturdays off. If nobody bids against me, I might get it if I try. That would get me back in the middle of the camp again.
But on the other hand, there are perqs to being where I am. Since I'm "just the relief Sergeant" nobody expects me to do too much. I can take my time and hone my skills as a supervisor until I'm ready to move elsewhere.
And I don't think I'm ready to be nailed down into one place permanently just yet.
Not sure what I'm going to do.
But I do miss out on being in the action. I should probably be more careful what I wish for, huh?
Every now and then when I get some time I get on the computer and look up some of my old knuckleheads to see how they are faring. Sometimes I get scared when I discover that someone who was a gold-plated nincompoop has been released back into society.
Sometimes they seem to have settled down and are behaving themselves, which is surprising. Because if I can remember their names, that usually means that they were pretty dang stupid at one time or another.
And sometimes it seems like some people will never learn to behave themselves. But I am always pleased to realize that they are no longer my problem. Not that i wish bad things on anyone else in the department, but I've done me time, if you know what I mean...
Anyway, I looked up this one certain snaphead who was a constant behavioral problem when he was here last. We finally got tired of his nonsense when he tried to escape and sent him off to a high security camp for them to deal with him.
Looking up his violations. They were repeats of his repertoire while he was here: Threats, Creating A Disturbance, Minor Assault, etc.
Then I read this one violation and I cracked up. Not just that he did what they said, but that someone went to the trouble of writing it down so completely.
The violation is a bit on the graphic side and definitely adult themed, so any of you who have small children might have them leave the room before reading further!
Okay, that covers my butt.
The violation reads:
Offender Knucklehead was observed standing on the toilet and sink naked and masturbating in full view of myself while making exotic animal noises (Ooh-Ooh-Ah-Ah-Eee-Eee-Eee).
Except for the name, that is word for word what the official report reads.
I can see him doing that. He had done similar things while he was on our camp.
I'd just never thought it necessary to put the noises in.
It's not often I get left speechless. After all, I've been working in a freaking prison for almost ten years now. And I have seen an awful lot of... pretty awful stuff.
But tonight got to me just a little and I'm not sure if I can even talk about it, let alone should or will.
There are some things that I won't talk about and alot of things I can't and won't say here. Confidentiality issues and keeping my job issues are pretty much numbers one and two on that list. Just not necessarily in that order, you understand.
Deliberately grossing out my readers is another line I don't want to cross too often as well.
Let's see if I can weasel my way around this and at least get some of it out of my head.
There's an inmate who has a certain "medical condition." It makes me uncomfortable to think about and it's even worse seeing it in person. Let's just leave it at that, shall we?
It's just freaking gross, people.
Anyway, one of the nurses came down to inform me that his condition was getting worse and it was possible that it might become life threatening very soon. She just wanted to keep me in the loop in case something happened.
I pondered the info for a few brief seconds and said "I believe I'll just pass that buck along to my zone lieutenant." And about thirty seconds after I said that Lt Pants drove up on the cart.
I smiled widely and said "You are just the man I was looking for." He took one look at that smirk on my mug and said "Aw, hell."
You just can't please everybody, I guess.
I gave him the rundown on what was happening and he went down and talked to the nurse and decided to pass the buck further up the chain and called Captain Strong. The Cap said to call a Code 16 (medical emergency) and have him seen by medical.
Now, when we call a Code 16, we are supposed to include the location and the "nature of the code", whether it's chest pains or bleeding or whatever. I was interested to see how he described the nature of this code.
I said "So... how are you going to word that call?" He replied "I'm not making the call. You are. How are you going to word it?"
I used a few words that I won't write here. Then I grabbed my radio. "T-5 to Raccoon Station. I have a Code 16, 10 house, CTC.............. umm..... hernia?" It was the best I could come up with at the time. And about as accurate as I was willing to get over an open radio channel.
But being left speechless like that is hard and surprising. It doesn't happen too often.
Anyway, medical decided they couldn't do much for him without a doctor. So they made him an appointment for tomorrow and sent him back to the house.
Which we all knew was going to happen.
And if I never have to see that again in my entire life I will be content.
I was cranky when I went in to work today. I'll admit it.
I was about half sick to my stomach and had the beginnings of a killer headache that only managed to get worse before it got any better. And it never did really go away. It's still hanging on in the background even now, pestering me. Like one of those people who will follow you to the parking lot to continue a pointless conversation just so they can hear the sound of their own voice.
If you can't tell, I'm still cranky even as I write this. My internet connection keeps going in and out and it's really pissing me off.
But I made sure when I got to the house that they knew that Sarge was in a bad mood. Good old Meatball went around to spread the word. I knew I could count on him.
And for the most part the little nits were as good as gold.
Well.... I wouldn't go that far. Gold plated turnips, maybe.
There was one young man who was trying to get out of something or another. Someone had been smoking in their room and the whole room got punished. He did ask me politely if he could discuss it with me and I agreed.
Things were going along well until he pulled out his rule book and started waving it in my face. I was just about to the point of wondering how funny he was going to be walking with that rule book shoved up his..... Anyway, one of his cellies jumped up and said "Thank you, Sarge! We get it now. Thanks for your help. Have a good evening, Sir!", sparing that annoying young man an impromptu prostate exam.
I guess I was getting "that look" in my eyes. I don't know.
But they seemed to get the point, as we needed no further discussion on the subject.
Now if I could just get that kind of cooperation without feeling so bad, I'd be happy.
The offenders, those who aren't in the Hive anyway, all have cable teevee in their cells. Paid for by the canteen fund. That is, by the inmates themselves (or their families) and not the taxpayers. It's basically a free babysitter.
Come sit on the yard on Superbowl Sunday. There will be about two offenders out there. Everyone else will be inside plastered to their teevee sets. Anyway.
They have basic cable. No movie channels. No Cinemax or Showtime of HBO. Not even the Playboy channel. The poor mistreated things.
Other than that nobody really monitors what they are watching. It is, after all, an adult institution.
Except for the two treatment houses, anyway. In neither one of those houses are they allowed to watch any of the music channels. No MTV, VH-1, BET or CMT. Too much sex for one house and too much drugs and alcohol for the other.
But that's beside the point.
Tonight I heard that a bunch of offenders in one wing were watching "Lockup-Raw" and I thought to myself "I've watched that show. Hey, I learned things to look for. I wonder what kind of things they might be learning?"
I saw things like how prison made weapons are manufactured and hidden. How staff members were set up and assaulted. How escape attempts were made and why they failed. How contraband stuff like drugs and cell phones were smuggled in and how they were hidden.
Do we really want inmates in our penitentiaries watching these shows? It's just basically like Sesame Street for inmates.
Of course if I tried to complain through channels they would just tell me I'm being paranoid. And that there's nothing can be done about it anyway.
Which is probably true, but it still pisses me off anyway.
We are constantly fighting the cell phone thing here. I'm willing to bet that if we tried hard enough we could find two a week at least. And the problem has become prevalent enough that they are starting to prosecute (or at least recommend for prosecution) any inmate caught with a cell phone.
I'm sure you've heard some of the stories. How they set up drug deals or contract for murders or run their criminal organizations from inside the prison. Or harass their victims or threaten them if they show up for court, etc... Even plan escapes while still inside.
It's a real problem and I don't see any viable solution other than searching, searching searching...
But for once, the cell phone thing worked out well.
A group of hardened murders and rapists in a prison in South Carolina overpowered a corrections officer with prison made weapons and kept him hostage in a closet for five hours.
A couple of other inmates who wanted nothing to do with what was going down managed to call outside with contraband cell phones and alert authorities to where the officer was being held. A SWAT team was sent in and managed to free the officer quickly without him getting hurt any further.
Luckily, he got away with only a few lacerations and bruises after his ordeal.
It was a busy night all over the camp. Nothing really spectacular, just random silliness that seemed to keep everybody hopping pretty steadily.
I was managing to keep my head above water for the most part. Until I got the radio call from CTC.
I've talked about them before. They are the guys that are too mentally disturbed to live out in general population with the other inmates, so they are kept separate. The crazy practically leaks out of that place.
I always hate it when they call me. It's rarely anything good.
Anyway, I go pupping on down there and they tell me this one offender is wanting protective custody, claiming that he's being sexually assaulted.
I thought "Oh snap... Here we go..." I figured the paperwork on this one was going to last me all night. So I sit down to talk to the guy and find out what his deal is.
Well, it turns out that he claims that Louis Farrakhan (head of the Nation of Islam Church) and Bill Cosby (the comedian) were sexually molesting him in his dreams.
Just like Freddy Kruger. Imagine that.
He went on to claim that all of the staff knew about it and we weren't doing anything about it because Louis Farrakhan had him put in prison so we would all have jobs.
If that's true I may have to send old Lou a thank you card or something.
Anyway, I kept the smirk off of my face and said "Let me make a phone call. I'll be right back."
So I called Lt Wyatt and told him the story. But I left out Bill Cosby. He asked me if there was any evidence of sexual assault.
I just stopped and looked at the phone for a second. Then said "No. There's no need. I don't think Louis Farrakhan is actually on this camp. I'm pretty sure he is just coming in the guys dreams."
Wow. Okay. I admit that I had to look him up, too. But I was already pretty sure he wasn't here.
Luckily, the guy wanted to go to the Hive for a few days of R&R. He didn't give us any trouble and went on his merry way.
Whups. Just got a handful of emails from my family saying "When the heck did you get hearing aids?"
That's what happens when I get both busy and lazy. I forget to mention things.
Amazingly enough, I don't communicate all that well. Can you imagine? (grin)
I started noticing about six months ago that I was missing hearing things. Especially stuff at work when it was really noisy. I'd miss radio calls and some of the ones I was hearing was just garbled up moosh.
And in this line of work, that can be potentially hazardous to my health.
Several of my coworkers had shown up wearing hearing aids lately and said they were very pleased with the results. I was afraid they would be horribly expensive.
Plus, I really just didn't want to admit to myself that I was getting old and probably needed them. Vanity is a real beeotch sometimes.
But I bit the bullet and made an appointment. Was quite pleasantly surprised.
Not only was the audiologist very nice and quite easy on the eye bones, our insurance covered the entire cost of not only the test and the office visit but both hearing aids as well.
And I can hear again. Which is kind of cool. Startled the snap out of myself the first time I got back into my truck with them in and realized how loud my stereo was.
Of course they do have their drawbacks, like the deal with the big stupid hat in the rain. But there's always that handy little mute button for those occasions.
And still trying to get used to wearing them.
Going around all day with something poked into my ear holes is kind of a weird feeling.
But being able to hear again when I need to..... Yeah, that's worth it.
I figure you needed a little "stalking" so to that end I have sent you something in the mail. I'm choosing to let you know as it is not just a simple piece of mail. I mailed it on Tuesday and it should take 4-6 days to get to you - so somewhere in the following week.
Anyway...the rest will remain a mystery until it arrives...don't you just love surprises!
Well of course I was mystified. And checking my mailbox every day waiting for it to arrive.
I had no idea what she could be sending me.
A piece of original art?
Her oldest daughter? (grin)
And finally today it came.
Sixteen ounces of Canadian Smoked Salmon. Awesome. I haven't had Pacific salmon in a coon's age. I love it.
I have some awesome friends, eh? (wink)
So thank you, Jenny Lou!
I can have a little taste of British Columbia once again. It's going to be sweet.
Oh lord have biscuits, it was a busy day. Nothing really bad. It was just one stupid little nitpicky thing after another.
I barely got to sit down at my desk at all this evening. Every time I tried to sit the phone would ring and I'd have to scamper off to deal with something else.
Had to keep coming back and putting my dinner back through the microwave three times before I managed to eat it.
I needed to go up to central and check on some files. Gotta get caught up on my kids since I was away for almost a month. While I was up there someone calls and says they are locking up two from my house for fighting.
I was only gone thirty freaking minutes! What the snap?
Turns out Lt Wyatt was down there to talk to Miz Fawkes and these two idiots got in a scuffle over the phone right in front of him. he took care of the whole thing by the time I even managed to get back to the house.
Which didn't bother me a bit, really.
I won't go into all of the distractions. One or two of them were kind of disgusting.
But suffice to say that my old leg bones were squeaking in pain by the time I got home.
I'll be happy when the Tylenol kicks in and I can go to bed.
Well! For a first day back it wasn't too horrible. It started kind fo squirrely, but then it slipped right back into the same old routine, like I had never left.
But first I wanted to share an email with you.
My good friend and sometimes partner in crime Tilt transferred to another camp up north of here last week.
That really sucks for us and especially for me, but it's good for him. Now instead of driving for over an hour to get to work, he has to drive about fifteen minutes. I'm sure that is just like getting a good sized pay raise.
And I'm bummed that I was on vacation when he left.
Anyway, he sent me an email the other day about how he's getting along and I thought I might share it with you.
1st day yard....getting used to surroundings. Had several inmates testing me to try and figure out if I was new or not. They also had 3 OJT's start this week. Anyways....he asked to use my lighter. Told him no. Wanted to push the issue a little bit but not quite stepping over the line. Then he wrapped it up by looking at my ID and calling me by my FIRST name then turning and walking away. Grinned to another officer and gave the guy about a 2 second walk before I called him back and chewed him to shreds. Almost locked him but didn't. The two other guys elsewhere decided to try it out and very loudly so I could hear began asking each other for stuff to trade. The third guy wasn't convinced that I was new and kept warning the others that he didn't think I was. So after I chewed their asses over that I heard the 3rd guy tell the other....."I told you he didn't act like a new co". Was all I could do not to start laughing. And get this....I was one of SIX officers and a sergeant on an entire yard that would fit into A sides yard.
2nd day yard.....This was the day of barely smoked cigarettes. Keeping in mind that you can't just smoke anywhere so I would get one lit and barely started when I would get called for something or interrupted by an inmate. Mainly because the inmate wanted to PC. It seems as though that the end of last week a 500 pound inmate in a wheelchair (who also happens to be a child molester) was beaten up pretty bad by SSG members. So this other inmate had made a comment about "it must take a really tough guy to beat up someone in a wheelchair". So guess what.....after that comment...made to an SSG member.....SSG was after him now. Then about an hour later there is a code 16 called for the base of tower 2. 2 co's and the fire & safety officer were in an explosion while refilling m6 (?) canisters. Very bad! All taken to the hospital and treated, decontaminated and released. One of the co's had a piece of shrapnel in his leg an inch from his femoral artery. They were very lucky. There is still shrapnel embedded in the walls of the tower.
3rd day yard....Things are fairly calm today and I'm wandering around the yard when I hear from behind me...."hey co, wait I need to talk to you". Another inmate wanting to check in because Family Values is after him. Starting to think this may be a daily thing. This I got to do del norte which was especially interesting because it seems as though del norte has been down for about a month due to a lightning strike. Not a big priority for repairs I guess.
4th day 5 House....Lots of down time interrupted by chaos. Ad-seg committee, lunch trays, investigator and caseworkers all at the same time. Things are done very differently from 5 house there. Need to get an inmate out of a 2 man cell? Only cuff the one you want, attach them to a tether and pop the door. Presumably the other one will be nice and not charge the door or begin to beat the crap out of the restrained inmate who you have tied to the door at the moment.
5th day Library.....wanted to blow my brains out just for something to do. BORED all day long..
Can't wait to see what next week brings. LOL
So it sounds like he's having a fun time adjusting to the new camp. And I am sure they are having a fun time adjusting to him as well.
Just wait til he starts talking about his Brady Bunch mania. I'm sure that's going to win him lots of fans there. (grin)
Anyway, there was only one bit of excitement for me today. Right at the start of shift.
Since I'm over both 10 and 30 house on Sunday and Monday, I pay close attention to any radio traffic from either of those houses. Right after I got my radio and went inside I heard a call saying they were sending the biohazard worker to 30 house.
I thought "Uh-oh." But nobody had said anything about a fight, so I thought maybe someone fell down or got sick.
Then I hear a Code 16 call (medical emergency) at 30 house that says "Offender bit by a dog and bleeding profusely."
Oh snap. They take anything to do with those dogs pretty seriously.
So I hustled inside and left my crap in the bubble and trotted over to 30 house.
The first thing I see is a trail of blood going across the walk into the house. Then I step inside and the offender is sitting in a chair and an officer has a pressure bandage clamped around his hand, which was still dripping blood, but into a bucket rather than on the floor.
It seems that two of the dogs got into a fight and this offender tried to reach in and pull them apart and got pretty thoroughly bitten for his trouble. They had to send him out to the hospital for stitches.
And of course we had to enact the Dog Bite Protocol, which involves notifying a whole bunch of people and muzzling the dogs who bit and a whole list of complicated things.
And we had to get all of the blood cleaned up. But we have an inmate for that.
All in all, it was a mess.
Luckily after that my evening slowed way back down again.
Except for the bit when I came back in and found that knucklehead Meatball wearing my hat.
If there had been a peach tree handy I'd have cut a switch.
As it was I just cussed him for getting his cooties all over my hat.