Tuesday, July 15, 2014

You know you've been in prison a long time when...Part II

Welcome back!  And now, some more ways you know you've been in prison too long:
5.  Everyone with a neck tattoo is automatically a gangster.
Comment:  My Gangster Radar is pretty spot on, because in prison there are a high number of gang members, because they frequently break the law.  (Consequences, and all that....)  This means that part of our job is learning to identify gang members with signs other than style of dress, because in prison everyone is dressed the same.  I highly recommend befriending intel staff because they will not only help you out when you have questions, they also have the best stories.
6. You see your old library clerk doing community service at an event and she tells you that you are not allowed to bring your beer into the event hall, then she realizes who you are and makes a joke about how SHE'S telling YOU what to do now.
Comment:  This actually happened to me last year.  Luckily for me, it was one of my old clerks who was an excellent worker and with whom I had good rapport.  While it was nice to see her doing well and staying out of prison, I am always a little wary when I run into ex-offenders on the street because if they ever come back, now they know more about my personal life than I am comfortable with.  It's also a good reminder to always be polite to everyone in prison because if someone has a leftover grudge against you, what better place to get back at you than on the street where there's not officers within a 30 second response window.
7.  You have memorized all the popular Dewey numbers, with the most popular being 364.1, or True Crime.  
Comment: True Crime and Urban Fiction were the first books I memorized when I was turned loose in the library.  I highly recommend you follow the same route.  Spend a lot of time out in the stacks, rather than behind your computer because you will have more of a presence for security measures, you will be more available to help with patron questions, and you will learn what books you actually have in your library.
8.  You automatically assume everything that comes out of anyone's mouth is a lie.
Comment: "That book was like that when I got it!"  "I know I turned that book in to the book drop!"  "I don't know how all those pages got ripped out of the magazine."  Many times people in prison say things that are not completely truthful.  It is recommended that you always check an offender's story with the staff member who allegedly told them to do something, because oftentimes the staff member told them no such thing.  Instances like that are good security and hold offenders accountable for their actions.  Where you run into trouble is when that skepticism and doubt creep into your real life and you start doubting things that your spouse or friends are saying.  Again, like in the post yesterday, corrections is hard work and the things that are necessary for survival in prison can lead to difficulties in your real life.  Thinking everyone is always lying to you is an extremely tough way to live, and leads to more pain than anything else.  If you see this happening in your life, make sure you take steps to fix it, because no job is worth damaging your relationship with your loved ones and there is help available.
9.  You are very paranoid about losing your keys and have enacted key control at home so you always know where your keys are at all times. 
Comment:  The worst feeling in the world is realizing you've lost your keys in prison.  (I've never lost my keys because I attach them to my belt with a lanyard, but I have misplaced plenty of click pens which causes almost as much drama since offenders are not allowed to have click pens.)  If you ever do lose your keys, or anything else offenders should not have, first, lock down and search your area.  Nobody in or out until a thorough search has been completed.  Then, if the item has not been found, follow your facility's policy which will most likely include locking down the facility and not letting anyone leave until the missing item is located.  Don't be that guy that causes everyone to stay late because you can't control your keys.
Tomorrow, the amazing and riveting conclusion..................

1 comment:

  1. My wife and I enjoyed your blog. I am a Criminal Justice professional and have read a lot of interesting takes on the prison experience, I found yours highly entertaining, and truthful. The piece about the library clerk and seeing her out in public, too funny and too true. Thanks for the entertainment.