25 June 2008

Another Day Like This and I'll...

Full stop day. Be ready for anything. I think it will be usual and then it isn’t. Which part was out of the ordinary?

When I came through Minor Control, both superintendent and associate superintendent were standing talking. Great. Nice to be noticed when you’re coming in later than usual.

Make a run through the infirmary. Anyone in the hospital? Anyone on a suicide watch? Everything is looking normal. So far.

Into the office. Lights out. Nobody home. Okay. Now it’s close to 10. Paperwork. Mail.

Worker from TOP arrives at 10 with several dozen envelopes. Can we find where all these people are and get the envelopes into the mailbox before 10:30? Of course we can.

Track down addresses of a couple of county jails. Check on people out to court. 11am. Building closed.

5 after. Phone call. Doctoral student in Colorado calling to do an interview. “Should a person not worry about feeling safe in a prison?” HA! Where would you get that idea? Chaplains sometimes have a golden halo around them. Mess with them, you’re messing with God, but that doesn’t keep you safe. Have to be on notice, all the time.

Difference here: receiving prison. Everything is very well regulated, walkways with fences, but never let down your guard.

After 12. Still doing paperwork, sorting mail. Phone call. “There’s a chaplain here to see you.” “Send him in.” “Can’t. The door’s locked.”

Door’s locked? It’s almost 12:30 and the place should be buzzing. What’s going on? Let Fr. Joe in the front door.

He tells me that the place is locked down; they’re looking for a screwdriver. Okay. That explains the lack of movement.We chat in the office. Ten minutes later, a couple of people from HQ show up. A few minutes after that, another volunteer. Still no offenders.

Finally, well after one, offenders start trickling in. Call the units. Cancel that group. Find the inmate volunteers. Wouldn’t it be helpful if someone would send out a general email and say, “The place is locked down. If you’re expecting anyone, he’ll be late”?

Chapel fills, presentations and interviews start. Officer at my door with offender who needs to see me about a death in the family. Fr. Joe leaves to hear confessions. Native American Offender and I talk for 45 minutes about his grandfather and the stories he told and the rituals around grieving. He leaves.

Another one takes his place. Another grandfather dead. Wants to talk to his mother but she isn’t home. Fewer stories. He wants to go to the funeral. Send a note to his counselor to start the paperwork.

Set the timer for 10 minutes. Write this. Another day like this one and I’ll have a book in no time.

****special thanks to http://www.10minutewriter.com/ and http://www.conversiondiary.com/ for the inspiration to get some writing done today... Plus I have something to read at writers' group tonight!