Thursday, May 29, 2008

Tales from the Pen, part 1

noun: an enclosure for confining livestock
noun: a correctional institution for those convicted of major crimes
Take your pick; either is appropriate.

1) This first one is the nuts and bolts of a letter, specifically Life Endangerment Statement. The gist of it is this: the offender, a minister of some strip or another, insisted the prison administration was imperiling his life and disobeying some [fictitious] policy by housing him with get this: Catholics, Muslims, Jehovah's Witnesses, Satanists, any whom attend government-sponsored Pagan ceremonies and those whom are content to live in evil and do not accept Jesus Christ as their lord and savior...just let that one sink in for a spell. He went on to explain in eloquent if stilted prose how his medical records had been altered and he was constantly imperiled by being housed with such wicked men. He repeatedly cited, without ever actually identifying, some medical condition as additional basis for his needing to be housed separately or at least with goodly folk. Additionally he made vague threats and absurd accusations against the prison staff in general and the administration in particular.

Now just for the record, I've looked through all of the policies regarding housing guidelines and I haven't found anything about putting self-righteous, religiously bigoted, backwoods, correspondence course ministers with faith-compatible cellmates.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happy Birthday to Wifey!

She's on day 2 of new new job, and seems to be really liking it. I'm so relieved because she's had unilaterally rotten job experiences since we've moved here, starting with the real estate stuff and running through a smattering of crap science/lab jobs.

Me? I'm on day [quantity undisclosed] of my new, improved and dishwasher-safe job hunt.
My criteria: more cognitive stimulation and pay, less commuting and long shifts.

So anyway, feel free to ring, message, or otherwise bother my wife...after all, it's her birthday!

Oh, and that promised selection of Correctional anecdotes?
I'm going to post those later this evening.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Wifey got herself a new job...or, B's venture into the depressing world of math

Not only a new job, but a good job.
Not only a good job, but a good, sciencey(tm) job.
Not only a good, sciencey(tm) job, but a sciencey(tm) job with a real paycheck.
I could go on, but my readers, all 3 of you, undoubtedly catch my drift.

Now it's my turn.
-It's not that I don't like what I'm doing right now, I actually do...some of the time.
-It's not that I don't like my coworkers...some of them don't come across as deranged circus performers (is there any other kind?) every time they speak.
-It's the commute and the long shifts. TDCJ loves to boast that being a CO (Correctional Officer) is a great job because you get good(decent) pay for working only half the year. Their logic is that 4 days on, 4 days off is working 1 out of 2 days/year, ergo working half the year.
Well...that's certainly true taken at face value.

Let let's break it down a little more, shall we?

Each shift worked as a CO is a 12 hour shift.
You work 4 shifts, then have 4 days off.

By contrast, in most other jobs you work an 8 hour shift.
You work 5 shifts, then have 2 days off.

Now, one 12 hour shift is equal to one and a half 8 hour shifts, so for every 2 days worked as a CO you are effectively putting in 3 days of "normal" work.

Now, on with our show.

For an 8hrs/day, 5days/week job that's 260 work days/year, ignoring holidays...or 2,080 work hours/year.

Now for the CO job I'll round the days/year down to 364, just to be nice.
For the 12hrs/day, 4days on/4days off job thats 182 work days/year, ignoring holidays (which TDCJ does for obvious reasons)...or 2,184 work hours/year.

So that's an extra two and a half weeks of work/year as a CO and we haven't even touch on holidays. Right away we see that "you're only working half the year" line is not so accurate. Or as Buffy would say, "Your logic does not resemble our Earth logic".

Honestly, the holiday, sick and vacation accrual likely comes out to about the same. TDCJ employees often work holidays, but they accrue holiday time so we'll call that one more or less even, especially considering there is no set rule for other (8 hour day/5 day week) jobs.

Oh, and I forgot one more thing!

I spend 4 hours (this includes 30 minute shift turnout) commuting EVERY DAY!

A quick breakdown for those of you (namely me) whom are a little math-challenged.
4 hours X 4 work days = an additional 16 hours per work cycle.
16 hours/day, 182 work days/year...that's 2,912 hours/year going to, at, or leaving from work. states the average daily commute in San Antonio takes 26 minutes one way.
I'll round up to 30 minutes, or 1 hour/day.
1 hour X 5 work days = an additional 5 hours per work cycle.
9 hours/day, 260 work days/year...that's 2,340 hours/year going to, at, or leaving work.
2,912 hours/year going to, at, or leaving from work.
So we've got those extra 104 hours of work per year as a CO, plus an additional 468 hours (that's 2912 minus 2340, minus 104) commuting per year. I could break those 468 hours down by shift, day, or week, but it would just be depressing.

Instead, I'm going to go apply for some jobs!


Monday, May 5, 2008

New date for everyone...July 2nd

Watch the trailer.
Soak up the awesomeness that is Will Smith.
Respect the 'tude.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

So you want to know what it is I do for a living now?

B's take on being a Correctional Officer in the state of Texas

Let's start off with a nice, concise description. Being a Correction Officer at a MaxSec prison in Tx is a sublime blending of being a zoo-keeper in the primate section of a large zoo, and a middle school teacher with a class composed entirely of SED (that's Severely Emotionally Disturbed) adolescents.
At any point in time one of your charges may-
a) throw poop, piss, or food at you
b) hit someone
c) hurt themselves
d) lie to you
e) sulk for half the day
f) stew for half the day, THEN throw a tantrum during which they may engage in behaviors a-d, followed by e.

They make weapons, draw pictures, pass notes, threaten, cajole, beg, plead, and did I mention lie, on a daily basis. They break their toys and blame other people. They stop taking their meds, then complain that they are not being properly cared for. They drag their asses getting ready, then complain bitterly about the lack of notice given. They scrutinize everyone around them for any hint of weakness they might exploit.

Around 15 years ago I ran the in-school suspension program for a middle school. The parallels are legion, and a bit unsettling.

The upsides are many. The Connally unit is a well run prison. I have some extraordinary coworkers with whom I can trust my life (as well as some whom I would not trust to get my order right at Jack in the Box). The administrators seem to be concerned, alert and realistic (a refreshing change from some of my previous experiences with upper management). Oh, and commissary...commissary rocks!

More later (really, I promise)
B out