Monday, October 7, 2013

I had an interesting afternoon at work. Actually, I had a fun day. I laughed at inmates all day long. I have an inmate who comes to my library who is blind. He comes to use the braille typewriter. Today he asked me how good my eyes were. I told him, "Well, I can see you and you're all different colors." He said, "Really, and here I thought I was only black." (He's actually American Indian.) Of course, we all laughed. He then asked me if I could help him with something. So I went over and he showed me something in Braille. I said, "It looks like a piece of paper with a bunch of dots." He was having trouble "reading" one particular area where the dots weren't raised as well. I tried to describe how the dots looked to me. It was difficult because I was using my hands, outlining the dots when really he couldn't even see them. So I asked one of my clerks for a pencil or a pen, and I went from the back of the page to poke the dots up higher. The inmate asked me what I was doing. I explained to him what I was doing and he said, "Can you see from the back?" I said, "Yes, it's like counted cross-stitch." He said, "What's that?" I told him it was a type of embroidery. He didn't understand. I told him to trust me. After I was done, I gave it back to him, and he felt the dots and he said, "Oh, they're zeros." (They were both the same.) I said, "I guess!" He said, "Are they backwards L's? I said, "Yes, exactly!" Yay, we were on the same page! He offered to give me a sheet with all the Braille letters and numbers, and I accepted the offer. Another learning experience for me!!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Wow, it's been a while since I posted anything!!  I need to start blogging again.  It's only a few years until I retire, and I could use this as my memoirs. 

A couple weeks ago we had a strip search on the yard. I saw a guy all tatted up except his butt. It was strange looking. If I knew who he was, I'd send him a note telling him he should get his butt tatted so it didn't stick out like a sore thumb. . . or a white butt!

Then yesterday. . . 

Before I'd even locked the door after my session was escorted over, an inmate said, "There will be no torturing of inmates today." I looked at him, and said, "Excuse me!" He laughed and said, "I just thought I'd get the first word in." I said, "You forgot who made the rules in here!!" We all laughed!!! Later I said, "You all know I'm scared of inmates." This same inmate said, "Yeah right, you probably have a torture chamber in your basement." I replied, "I don't have a basement." He laughed and said, "You notice how she said, "I don't have a basement, but didn't deny having a torture chamber." We had a fun session!!! My job can be so entertaining sometimes!!!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Naked Men!!!

I was only working half a day that Thursday morning.  I had a doctor appointment that afternoon, and then we were headed for a weekend of fun in Vacaville.

I had a session from the Reception Center.  (These were inmates directly from the county jails who had not been classified yet.)  They had to be escorted over by correctional officers,  and when they were finished in the library I called to have the officers return and escort them back to their building.

When the officers returned for the inmates, I noticed that instead of the usual two officers, there were at least four.  I opened the door, and the first officer said, "We need to strip search these inmates so you'll need to step out, mam."  I stepped outside in the blazing sun and wondered what the heck was going on.  Shortly afterwards, my three inmate clerks were escorted out of the library, in handcuffs, down to the program office.  I was confused and concerned.  One of the officers told me he would explain it all when they were finished.

After the completion of the strip search, the reception center inmates were returned to their building.  One of the officers, who is a friend, came over and asked me, "Do the inmates just come over here to do legal research?"  I told him, "No, they come to check out recreational reading books."  He said, "Oh, okay.  We were wondering why one of the inmates who has only 40 days to the house (which means he's going home) wanted to come to the library.  There has been a problem in that building with tobacco and we thought maybe there was tobacco being passed in the library."  Fortunately, no tobacco was found on any of the inmates, including my clerks.  I shudder to think if there had been because then I probably would have been under suspicion.

That being cleared up I then had another concern.  I had the awful image of nasty, naked men in my library.  Granted I didn't see them but I knew they were there.

When my inmate clerks returned, they were angry about the incident as they had been strip searched down in the program office.  I let them grump about it for a few minutes.  Then I told them, "Okay, I understand and I'm sorry that it happened.  However, I am dealing with the images in my mind of nasty naked men in the library."  One of my clerks, knowing my love of actor Mark Harmon, said, "What if it were Mark Harmon naked in the library?"  I replied, "Well, that's a different story."  He then asked, "If they told you to step out so they could strip search Mark Harmon, would you go?"  I said, "Heck no, I'd make them go."

We all had a good laugh, and I think we all felt better. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Princess and the Alarm

For the last couple months my personal alarm has been somewhat of an enemy to me.  Three times I've accidentally set it off with costly consequences.  The unwritten rule is that anyone accidentally setting off their alarm must buy donuts for the cops responding.  I don't mind doing this, but the frequency of late has alarmed me (pun intended).

Yesterday I had a trouble-making inmate and the consequence for him was my purposely setting off my personal alarm.   Approximately 20-30 custody staff responded and there was one less inmate in my library.  Because the group I had in the library was a "special" group, I had no clerks.  Of course, when my clerks reported to work they wanted to know why I had pushed my alarm.  I gave them the bare facts.

Later in the day, one of my clerks pulled a book off the shelf about Queen Noor.  She was an American who married the King of Hussein.  He asked me if anyone had actually read the book.  I told him that I had once assigned the book to an inmate who wanted a job.  I told said inmate that if he read the book and did a book report, I would "consider" hiring him.  He took the book, but I never got a report.

I then told my clerks that I thought it was sad that my husband had married a princess but there was no book written nor even a movie produced about our lives.  One of my clerks then asked me, "Does your husband know that the princess sets off alarms?"  LOL! 

The moral of this story . . . I really don't know!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Corner???

I have a new rule.  If the "F Bomb" is dropped in my library, it's ten pushups for the first offense, with increases of five for each additional offense.  Today I had an inmate doing pushups and, while he was doing them, another inmate told me, "I wouldn't be able to do pushups."
"Why?" I asked.
He replied, "I have bad wrists." 
"I'll find something else for you to do."
He quickly replied that he couldn't do squats either.
I told him, "That's okay, you can stand in the corner for 10 minutes."
My words must have had a magical healing effect because he then stated, "It's alright, I can do pushups."
I wanted to point out to him that his not dropping the "F Bomb" would be a preventative measure for his doing pushups, but I didn't.  Let him figure that out on his own.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Lesson in "NO"

The other day I had a session with several inmates still housed in the Reception Center.  Some of them are very new to prison; others are "frequent flyers."  One particular inmate asked for a copy from the Penal Code.  I usually do not copy pages but direct them to a pen/pencil and a sheet of paper.  This inmate indicated that he had learning disabilities and needed to have his cellie help him understand.  So I copied the page.  After I called for the officer(s) to come escort the inmates back to the building, I had a couple inmates say they wanted to get some paper.  I told them it was too late to process their Trust Account Withdrawals as custody was on their way.  The "learning-disabled" inmate said he needed it to practice his letters.  Haha!  I told him he was welcome to take a few sheets of scratch paper (recycled).  He said, "But there's words on one side."  I replied, "Turn it over to the blank side."  He then said, "But the words will show through and I'll be confused.  Remember, I have learning disabilities."  I knew he was trying to "manipulate" me into selling or giving him blank paper.  I went up to the counter and said, "Okay.  You say you have learning disabilities.  Let me start with teaching you the meaning of the word NO!"  He laughed and said, "Good one!"  He then gave up the battle and went and sat down.  LOL!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

That 115 Look

Our libraries are set up with a bank of windows along the hallway going to the education classrooms.  The drinking fountain is just outside the library door.  When inmates are on break they migrate to the drinking fountain.  Though there are signs on the window stating that they could receive a "115" (a Rules Violation Report) for attempting to communicate with library attendees, we must remember that inmates are not in prison for following rules.  Today there was a young man in the library who looked very familiar.  I observed him for a bit and then asked him, "Are you the young man I always notice in the hallway during school?"  He looked a little sheepish and said, "Ummmm, yeah."  I then remembered that this was one of several inmates who attempted to communicate with library inmates until I caught them, at which point they run back to their class.   I then asked this particular inmate, "Why do you always run when I look at you?"  He replied, "Because you have that 115 look on your face."  I laughed, as did my inmate clerks as well as other inmates in the library.  I'm so glad I can scare those inmates with just a look!