Wednesday, November 27, 2013


So one day I went to segregation to see a prisoner for a hearing on an Assault or Threatening Behavior misconduct report.  The prisoner was very verbal, very animated, very irritated.  He spoke in a very agitated manner.  I conducted the hearing, listened to him, reviewed all the evidence presented, and found him guilty of the charge.  He exploded.  He started threatening me, and telling me he was going to get me, that we were inextricably bound together now, that he would never leave me a long, he would beat me down, slit my throat, on and on.  Finally, he said "I'm going to tattoo Chicago on your asshole, 'cause that's my nickname, Chicago!"   Hearing officers don't normally write misconduct reports, unless they involve assaults or threats like these.  So I had to write him up.  Sgt. K had to review the report with the prisoner and asked me to stand by as he read to himself.  When he got to the part about the tattoo, he started laughing.  Then he read it out loud to everyone around him and me.  They started laughing.  My hearing investigator, Chris, brings up "Chicago" to this day.  It was truly the most colorful comment any prisoner ever made to me.

Sunday, November 24, 2013


As my knees got worse, I started using  a walker to get myself and my lap top and brief case around.  I had to go to the segregation unit almost every day at the Huron Valley Women's Facility.  It was a short  walk up to that unit.  One night I was walking back up to the control center at the end of the day, ready to go home.  There were two women who were assigned to work as porters in control center in the afternoon.  I was pretty slow at this point.  One of the porters was on her way in to work.  So she pulled the door open and waited for me.  I was still fifteen or twenty feet out.  I called out to her, "I'm going as fast as fast as
I can!"  She responded, "Don't worry about it.  I've got seven more years to do!"
Thanks for reminding me of this one Wanda.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Chris Brown revisited

So the latest thing I heard on Chris Brown is that he left his anger management rehab early.  Then a few days later, I heard that he was kicked out of the program because he threw a rock at his mother's car and broke her window.  He got mad because she agreed with the treatment program that he should not leave treatment yet.  Hmm.  I think he just proved mom's point.  The guy is just a first class jerk.  I still say he's really going to hurt someone some day during one of his temper tantrums.

RU a Yooper?

My last few posts have been kind of dark.  Don't know what's going on there.  So I made an effort to think of something lighter.
I did a hearing on a guy charged with sexual misconduct one time.  The officer said he approached her right at the count taken right before the units closed down for the night.  He said he had to talk to her about something serious.  So she instructed him to wait in the day room and told him she would talk to him when she completed her count.  The officer did her rounds, confirmed her count, then went into the day room.  She asked the prisoner what the problem was.  He then stood up, and she noticed his fly was unzipped and his genitals were exposed.  If I recall correctly, she said he had an erection.  At this point, she ordered him to zip it and go to his cell immediately.  He tried to talk her out of writing him up, but she was having none of it.  So he came in for the hearing and pleaded not guilty.  He explained, with a straight face, that the officer mistakenly perceived what had happened.  He said that he is from the U.P., and up there it is a common practice for men to put their fingers into the waistband of their pants, with their thumbs hanging out.  That, he claimed, is what he was doing when the officer came in to talk to him.  Oh boy.  I found him guilty, he became indignant and I sent him on his way.
Then I looked at the officer and said, "Gives a whole new meaning to the term "Thumbs up!".

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Watching Major League Baseball channel today.  Darryl Strawberry answering interview questions about his current work.  Darryl Strawberry had a serious cocaine problem for quite a while.  It damaged his career a lot.  I saw him several years ago on Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.  I know, I know, trash TV.  I thought this show was going to be really cheesy and melodramatic.  Actually, I found it compelling.  Those people for the most part really struggled with their addictions.  Anyway, Darryl said he is doing well now, engaged in a lot of productive activity with baseball and preaching.
I thought about some of folks I saw in prison who were caught up in drug addiction.  One woman had been "turned out" to work as a prostitute when she was twelve, because of her mother's addiction.  This woman developed her own hard core heroin addiction at a very young age.  She was in corrections center.  When her parole hearing did not go well, she decided she was leaving anyway.  She got up into the ceiling and got out of the center undetected, but one of the agents chased her down and brought her back.  She was quite a little firecracker, arguing with staff and the parole board member at her parole hearing.  She was very upfront about her addiction and what she needed to do, but she was still working on controlling her impulses.
Another young woman I saw at the women's facility had a serious addiction.  When I looked her up on Offender Tracking, under description, it said she had scars, track marks, all over her body.  She was actually a pretty young woman who had no intent or desire to cure her addiction.  One day she came for a hearing along with another young woman who had just barely come through the prison door.  She was definitely a "fish".  They were the last hearings of the day.  They sat out in the hall waiting for me.  I asked who wanted to go first.  Prisoner S, the drug addict, told the other girl to go first.  The new kid said she was really scared and nervous.  So I said, "Yeah, I'm a really scary person!"  Prisoner S started laughing, saying, "Oh, Ms. Falkenstein, you are not scary!"  Then she told the new prisoner, "She's really nice."  I was a little disappointed,  A little while later, I came to work one day and learned that Prisoner S had committed suicide by hanging herself when she was taken to segregation.
Another prisoner, a man, often worked his grounds maintenance assignment up around the administration building where my hearing room was located.  He really worked at it and all the plants he took care of were amazing.  I talked to him a little from time to time when I went outside for a breath of air.  He told me he worked in landscaping/gardening on the outside, but he blew it because he had a cocaine problem.  I thought about what a shame it was that the world was being deprived of this guy's talent for creating beauty. One year, I planted dahlias in my yard, but moles ate all of their roots  and they died, so I decided to ask this guy about it since he seemed to be a really good gardener.  He told me to find something that contained coyote piss and spread it on the flower beds to keep critters away.  I liked that suggestion, although I admit I never got around to trying it.
Drugs are the scourge of this society.  Just recently there was a long article in the Monroe Evening News about heroin flooding that community.  There are two ways to attack the problem, 1. Reduce supply.  2. Reduce demand.  The War on Drugs addressed supply, with little success.  We need to put a lot more resources into reducing demand, treating addiction.  We have to reduce demand AND supply in order to have any impact.  OK, that's it for today.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mercy, Mercy

I read an article posted on Facebook about a woman who got a clemency release four years before she was eligible for release through regular parole procedures.  She killed a pregnant woman thirty five or forty years ago, and was now in her sixties.  The victim's family objected strenuously, of course.
The story got me thinking about a  couple hearings I did at the women's prison.  The first hearing involved a woman who was a "frequent flyer" who engaged in temper tantrums when she didn't get her way.  She would simply go into a "no" mentality and would not do anything she was supposed to do, or that the officers told her to do.  Like a two year old. I'm going to call her Baby.  Baby came in on a ticket for Disobeying a Direct Order or something like that.  She had some physical disabilities, so another prisoner was assigned to push her wheel chair and be her general aide.We'll call her Mom. Mom aide clearly inspired Baby's total trust.  Mom was very attentive, and very authoritative but gentle with Baby.  Baby responded well to Mom and followed her instructions without question.  I was very impressed with Mom.  I thought about how lucky an elderly person would be to have an aide like Mom taking care of her.  I talked to the hearing investigator, Miss C, about this prisoner.  She told me that Mom was in prison for first degree murder.  I looked the woman up on Offender Tracking Information System and learned that her victim had been a Good Samaritan.  Mom had approached the victim and asked for her help, a ride someplace.  Mom was only sixteen years old at the time, and looked younger.  The victim's husband was an editor at the Ann Arbor News, and I recalled reading about it when it happened. Her defense at trial said she had been influenced, persuaded, coerced into the killing by her boyfriend, who was in his twenties or thirties.  He was also convicted of the crime.  They robbed the victim, took her money and car.   Miss C told me that Mom had a clear record in prison, and had completed school for GED, performed her work details well, and engaged in generally productive activities offered by the prison.  Miss C said there were various organizations trying to petition for clemency for Mom. These organizations were trying to assist women who had been in abusive relationships, who had killed their abusers or committed other crimes like Mom did, under the influence of men.  Based on what I had seen, which was admittedly brief exposure, I thought maybe Mom was a candidate for clemency.
I saw Mom a few months later.  Mom had recently been assigned to work as a porter in the medical clinic. She got written up for assisting a staff member with providing psychotropic medications to prisoners. The prisoners did not have prescriptions for such meds, or they were getting more than prescribed.  Mom admitted what she had done.  She explained that the staff person, who supervised her work detail in the clinic, asked her to tell some story which exonerated the staff member.  Mom went along.  I was struck by how similar this statement sounded to the statements she made at her murder trial.  It occurred to me that Mom was not ready to be released into the world despite all of the positive things she had done while incarcerated.  She still could stand up for herself to people who wanted to use her to do wrong.  It saddened me deeply to realize this, but the conclusion was inescapable.  I did grieve for a while over it for a while.  When you work in Corrections, you hope to make a positive difference in people's lives.  This case chipped away at that hope a little more.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Guns and ...Tampons?

My daughter-in-law Joy demanded that I write up this story for the blog.  My granddaughter Miriana also says this one is her favorite.  So here goes.
This incident occurred when the west side of Huron Valley was being converted from a men's to a women's prison.  Of course, the women had been there for a year already and they were finally getting around to the unit where this prisoner lived.  Prisoners were being moved out of the unit to numerous other locations in the prison while the renovations were taking place.  So whatever friendships the prisoners had formed with each other were being disrupted.
Prisoner G, a young Hispanic woman doing time for drug related charges, came into my hearing room in segregation for a charge of Possession of Dangerous Contraband.  I saw her on previous occasions.  She was always polite and soft-spoken.  The misconduct report stated that when the reporting officer did a routine shakedown of her cell, the officer found a piece of cardboard hidden in a box of Tampons.  The cardboard was shaped like a pistol, and had been colored black using a black marker.  Any item made to resemble a weapon is defined as Dangerous Contraband.
The prisoner explained that she and some of the other "girls" decided to have a little party, with treats and such from the prisoner store.  They also came up with a little play.  The fake gun was a prop for the play.  She was saving it as a souvenir.  She claimed the unit staff were fully aware of what was going on.  Well, this story was so bizarre I was having trouble not believing it.
Well, I decided I had a "teachable moment" in front of me.  I found her not guilty of the major charge, but I lectured her about why such items were considered dangerous contraband.  I pontificated about what would happen if she were out in the street and started waving around an object like this.  She could be mistakenly shot by someone else with a real gun, like a policeman.  While I talked, I glanced at the officer present and she would nod her agreement.  I stopped talking and looked at prisoner G, waiting for a response.  She looked back,

and waited.....

and waited...

 and waited....

Finally after about ten long seconds, she said, "Can I have my tampons back?"

I was floored at this response to the wisdom I had tried to impart to her.  I stared back, then looked at CO Franklin.  Then we both burst out laughing.  The prisoner just looked at both of us and said, "What?  They're expensive!"
I gave them back.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Agree to disagree

One of my Facebook friends recently posted that one of her Facebook friends, a Tea Party follower, unfriended her.  Susan is very liberal, even more liberal than me.
I have several Facebook friends who espouse Libertarian, Tea Party, and Republican opinions.  I espouse Democratic, liberal, and sometimes (gasp!) Libertarian opinions.  I have never had any of my Facebook friends un-friend me, nor have I un-friended anyone over political opinions.  One of things I love about Facebook is the diversity of opinion my friends express on a variety of issues.
Generally, I think we all have a lot more in common than we have differences.  Most of us want what is best for our country and our citizens.  We disagree on how to get there.
A good example is my massage therapist, Cathy.  She is a born-again, Evangelical Christian.  You would think that a political liberal like me would have no common ground with her on an issue like abortion.  It's true that I am not ready to go back to the days when abortion was illegal, and she would like to see it outlawed today.  Some of my liberal friends think that clinics discouraging abortion are just political fronts for misogynistic male Republican politicians.  I disagree.  My friend Cathy volunteers at a clinic that counsels young girls against abortion.  But they also provide emotion and financial support to the girls that choose to put their babies up for adoption, or keep them and raise them.  These people are truly Christian in my opinion.  We have common ground on this issue.  I agree with Bill Clinton when he said that abortion should be safe, legal and rare.  I think babies should not be viewed as a punishment for girls who engage in sexual relations.  Cathy agrees with me.  Babies should be loved and valued, regardless of the circumstances of their conception.
So let's think about it people.  Let's try to find things we can agree on and work on together, and put aside our disagreements while we do so.

Friday, November 15, 2013

So my friend Pat commented on my Health post that she had been threatened by an officer who tried to smuggle drugs into a facility.
I had a hearing at Huron Valley one time on a prisoner who managed to get out of his locked cell and stroll up and down the "rock" at will briefly.  It turns out the officers who wrote him up were not the first ones to observe his behavior.  He had done the same thing a few other times within the last few weeks prior the incident leading to the hearing.  I asked questions about why these reporting officers had been unaware of the prior incidents.  My hearing investigator informed me that first and second shift were "beefing" over some work issues.  I was floored.  This prisoner had a history of officer assaults.  I could not believe that some staff would expose other staff to risk of serious physical injury just because of some argument over work stuff.  I had not been at Huron Valley that long, but I had worked at Gus Harrison/Parr Highway in Adrian for 16 years and had never heard of anything like this.  I am happy to say I never felt that I was personally at risk.   Although a few prisoners acted out in the hearing room, the officers addressed the situation efficiently.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Blogging about the prisoner who liked to belly bump made me think of another prisoner who did that.  He was also a tiny short guy.  He thought of himself as a white supremacist.  Actually he was an idiot.  He decided one day he had to prove he was a superior white man, so started harassing and bullying a black prisoner.  He refused to leave the guy alone.  He got up in the black prisoner's face and belly bumped him, which finally provoked the black prisoner into pushing him away.  The officer saw what happened and went into the day room and told both of them to just go to their cells.  Well, dumb ass white supremacist couldn't leave it alone.  When the unit went to chow, he complained to Sgt. K that the black guy had assaulted him.  He said the unit officer refused to write the black guy up.  The officer kind of did violated policy.  The disciplinary policy says that if any staff person witnesses a non-bond charge (anything that requires to prisoner to be locked up in segregation pending hearing, fights, assaults, possession of weapons, etc.), a misconduct report MUST be written.  Technically what the officer witnessed did fit the definition of fighting under department policy.  So Sgt. K. talks to the unit officer and orders him to write fighting misconduct reports on both prisoners.  I had to find both of them guilty, since there is no provocation defense for fighting.  But if Mr. Brilliant white guy had just kept his mouth shut, everyone would have been better off.  The unit officer knew that.

Health issues 1

So I haven't been feeling so great the last few days.  Fatigue, weakness in my legs, stiffness, some pain, not excruciating.  I'm thinking about calling my neurologist to ask for some 'roids.  I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992, two and a half years after the Department of Corrections hired me.  The diagnosis frightened me a bit, but I felt extreme gratitude for my health insurance.  Six months later, during one of the state's periodic political shake-ups, I got laid off.  The lay-off lasted for a year, then I got called back.  That frightened me even more, although I still had good health insurance through my husband.
After my diagnosis in 1992, I experienced a few exacerbations  over the years.  Once my right leg stopped working,  I could stand up on it, but I couldn't walk.  No coordination at all in that leg.  I didn't panic.  I finished my work day, but I had to hang on someone's arm to limp from one place to another.  Sometimes it was an officer, which caused me some concern over appearances.  The physical contact with the officer might give the appearance of too much closeness.  Prisoners are astute at picking up any hint of bias on the part of hearing officers. Then I decided it wasn't than different from asking for an escort for my personal safety.
Another time, I lost coordination in my left hand.  It became obvious when my sentences came out looking like they were written in Polish, you know, one vowel to every twelve consonants.  I had one other flare-up in my other leg.  I think that was it.  My other "medical vacations"  were for non-MS injuries.  Slipping in the bathtub resulting in a broken ankle; I was disabled longer with that than any MS thing.  A trick finger, I think that's what it was called.  It would not unbend when bent, it would not bend when straight.  Since it was my right hand, I couldn't do type my hearing reports.  I had t have surgery but I had to be off work for a couple of weeks for it to heal.  So I decided I would heal much faster in Macon, Georgia where my sister and brother-in-law lived at the time.  It worked!
I always felt safe in the prison, no matter my physical infirmities.   The vigilantly guarded my safety.  I am eternally greatful for that.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

I have been thinking more about the Clockwork Orange story.  There was a prisoner at Huron Valley who made me think about it a lot.  He was a very small Hispanic guy, very young.  He constantly got up in everybody's face, staff and prisoners.  He liked to belly bump people. So he caught a lot of misconduct reports.  He was in the mental health program, much to the chagrin of the mental health staff'who found him very difficult to handle.  They vacillated between letting him go and facing the consequences, and medicating him to the point they could control him.  He usually came into the hearing room all bouncy and energetic.  He always admitted what he did.  He tried to explain it, he tried to understand it, but he just didn't have the off switch he needed to stay out of trouble.  Everyone worried that someday he would face off with the wrong person and get seriously hurt.  I kind of liked him, he had a spark of life that had not been extinguished in prison.  He just couldn't control it.  One time he wanted to get out of his cell.  He got impatient ( a common state for him ) and tried to crawl out the food slot.  He got stuck.  The staff took a picture of him before they helped get him unstuck.  It was posted in the sergeant's office.   
One day he came into the hearing room completely changed.  He barely talked, he could barely stand up or sit up.  He kind of weaved in his chair.  His eyes appeared glazed over.  His personality was completely gone.  He would no longer be troublesome, he would no longer be anything.  It hurt to see the loss of a human being.  How far should we go to alter a person's behavior?  That was the question posed by A Clockwork Orange, a profoundly disturbing book.

Other prisoners  exhibited radical changes in behavior that surprised me.  One of my "frequent flyers" was always polite and soft spoken to me in hearing.  One day I saw him in segregation where officer had to be present for the hearing.  I was reading the misconduct report and all of the sudden he hissed at the officer, "What are you laughing at?"  He spoke very aggressively, jerked himself around to stare down the officer.  The officer's only offense was smiling slightly.  This behavior startled me a lot.  I talked to him for a minute and got him calmed down, but I always saw him differently after that.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Met up with a couple of my former co-workers today for breakfast.  We talked mostly about work, even though Cheryl is a retired parole agent and I am also retired.  Cheryl had commented once before that people who work in corrections become so saturated with this environment that you never leave it all behind.  It is the prism through which we observe the world.  I remarked today that it is like a stain you just can't get out.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Bell Ringing

Well, I did my first shift bell ringing for the Salvation Army last night, from 7-9 pm at Kroger.  As usual it was entertaining.  One family gave their little boy, about five years old, money to put in the kettle.  As he approached, he had his tongue out the side of his mouth.  He was concentrating on getting the money in the kettle.  It was pretty full since it had been there since nine o'clock.  But I was thinking, "Geez, he's only five and he's imitating Miley Cyrus?"
Then another boy, about ten, came up and put money in.  We always give the kids a piece of candy.  So I offered him an Almond Joy.  He said, "I don't like that kind."  So I put it back in my pocket and offered him a Reese's Peanut Butter cup.  He said, "I don't like those either."  Back in the pocket.  Before I offered him anything else, I asked if he liked Hershey's Kisses.  He said yeah.  So I gave him a couple of those.  But dang, he's a candy gourmet at age ten?
The kettle was set up right next to boxes of Halloween candy that was marked down 75%.  Some young people came out of the store with one of the girls who works there.  They were pawing through the candy.  One of the guys said, "It's nice they put it out here where it's easy to steal."  I was eavesdropping of course.  So I said, "Actually, this bell-ringing gig is just a ruse.  I'm the candy guard, and if you take any, you will be in big trouble.  Unless, of course, you give me money.  Then you can take all you want."  Another guy asked how much a bag was going for.  Then they went into the store and paid for the candy, gave me the change on the way out.
Great start to my bell ringing for this year!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Blogging about the guy who tried to relieve his sexual frustration with a plastic bottle got me thinking about inflation.  My car has been sending me a message for a few days now that my tire pressure is low.  I always ask my wonderful grandson Michael to take care of things like this for me.  I think the change in weather causes this message to show up, you know.  When things get cold they tend to contract.  Air included.  So the tires have less pressure.  Then I started thinking, maybe if I put ice packs on my butt it would contract.  Probably not.  I'd probably just end up with freezer burn on my butt.  Then I started thinking that girls with tiny boobies could blow hot air on them with a hair drier and the tiny boobies would expand.  Probably not.  They would probably just end up with wind-burned tiny boobies.  Not attractive.
This post doesn't have anything to do with prison, or grandchildren.  It's just an example of what happens to a normal person's mind when you work in corrections for too long.  
Getting ready to go vote.

Monday, November 4, 2013

So one of my Facebook friends just posted a thing saying she was going to be the one who caused trouble in nursing homes.
One time I had a hearing on a young male prisoner in segregation.  He was still young and full of piss and vinegar.  He had gotten into with a corrections officer and ended up locked up.  I did the hearing on him.  The officer assigned to monitor the hearing was a cute young female officer.  So as the hearing went on, the prisoner did not like my findings.  He said something to the effect that he and his crew were going to come find me when he got out.  I was curiously not intimidated by this statement.  I asked him how much longer he he had to serve.  He said like, twenty years.  I responded, greatly amused, "Twenty years!  I'll be in a nursing home by then!"  He said, "No you won't.  You'll be sitting right there at that typewriter, locking guys up!"   I said, "Yeah, I'll be locking up old people in their rooms."  Then I started laughing, the officer started laughing, and neither one of us could stop.  Finally the prisoner started laughing too.  Then he got into it.  He said he would trick out my wheel chair with gold rims.  We got so loud the unit manager came and looked into the room to see what was going on.
Friday night due to a paucity of choice, we watched Hawaii 50.  The plot involved some quack doctor injecting a virus into people's brains to stop or alter criminal activity.  I remember reading Clockwork Orange years ago.  It frightened me.  I never saw the movie because I could not imagine watching those things on the screen.  Later on, working in the mental health units in corrections, I sometimes thought of Clockwork Orange.  Our attempts to alter behavior seem so pathetic sometimes.
Some of my hearings with the mentally ill prisoners demonstrated the law of unintended consequences.  I saw one older prisoner several times in a short period of time.  He had been in minor court ( minor court is run by the unit managers for less serious rule violations ).  He got a sanction restricting him to his room.  He kept violating the sanction by coming out of his room for seemingly frivolous reasons.  Violation of any sanction is a major misconduct violation so he ended up in front of me.  The third time I saw the prisoner I realized his defenses to the charges were not really making sense.  They weren't quite addressing the officers' allegations  in the misconduct reports.  It sounded like he was quoting what someone else ( probably other prisoners ) told him to say.  I decided I needed to check out this oddity.  I called the housing unit and spoke with a couple of the officers.  This was on day shift, when the officers with the most seniority worked.  These experienced unit officers knew the prisoners in their units.  So I asked CO M. about this prisoner, if he was on any mental health case load that they knew of.  CO M wasn't sure.  I asked about the prisoner's behavior. CO M told me that this guy would often wander out of his cell.  He and CO H would just tell him to go back in his cell, he's on sanction.  Prisoner would obey with no problem.  They never wrote him up for it.  I checked the misconduct report.  It was written by a young officer on second shift.  He was not a regular in the prisoner's unit.  I was starting to get the picture.  I asked CO M if this prisoner was exhibiting other odd behavior.  CO M. said the prisoner was prone to pacing.  He would walk a steady path back and forth in the day room until it was time to lock up or go to chow or whatever.  Sometimes he would start to get a little agitated and one of the other prisoners would give him a cigarette and he would calm down. The other prisoners just stayed out of his way, let him pace.  On the yard, this prisoner would sit on a bench and rock, back and forth, back and forth.  At this point, I decided that a call to outpatient psychology was in order.  The psych told me the prisoner had been under treatment, but had been discharged.  I described everything CO M had told me.  The psych got really concerned and thanked me for calling.  She assured me that she would call the prisoner out and get him back into treatment.  A couple of months later, this prisoner came in again for a misconduct like Disobeying a Direct Order or something like that.  He was cranky, surly, and rude, but his comments were to the point and made sense.  I asked how his treatment was going and he uttered an expletive of some sort.  I thought to myself, "I think I liked you better when you were sick".

Friday, November 1, 2013

Yesterday, I wrote about dumb things prisoners have said to me.  Which made me think of my own dumb sayings over the years.  Before I started working in the corrections department, I worked for UAW-Ford Legal Services.  One of my a clients wanted her husband to adopt her child.  I explained that the biological father needed to be notified of this petition.  She kind of stammered and said she was not sure who the biological father was.  I blurted out, "Well, I assume there's a limited number of possibilities!"  Oops. Before I retired, I didn't watched Maury that often.  (Still don't)  Up until that time, having no clue who the bio dad of your child is was a completely foreign concept to me.
I often chatted with staff when I had the time. At the women's facility, there was a really cute young female officer who was talking about her son.  I asked how old her son was.  She said 16.  I exclaimed, "Wow!  You must have been like 12 when you had him!"  She said she was 14.  Oh, heck.  I said, "OK, I'm gonna go into my office and begin foot-from-mouth extraction operations".  She was pretty good-natured about it.  When I worked at Huron Valley Men's Facility, they had a large mental health population.  There was one prisoner who was nicknamed Baby Hughie, for obvious reasons.  I saw him occasionally for hearings for stuff that was basically kind of dumb.  He had to be handcuffed at this particular hearing, because he must have threatened someone or something like that.  Anyway, due to his size, the quartermaster had a hard time finding prison blues that fit him.  On this date, they were too big.  He held them up with his hands when he came in.  After the hearing, I started to write up my report.  He must have forgot to hold onto his pants, because when he stood up, I heard CO W., in his gravelly voice, bark out, "Hughes, pull your pants up!".  They had fallen to his ankles.  All the officers and other prisoners called this guy Baby Hughie.  One day I accidentally called him Mr. Hughie instead of Hughes.  It was really embarrassing.
Another time, I went up at Jackson, filling in for another hearing officer.   A prisoner came in for a hearing, very attractive, blond, feminine.  I thought she was a female.  Well she was a female, she just had not completed the transformation yet.  It never even occurred to me that this prisoner was man.  So I called him Miss, until the corrections officer gently corrected me, saying that the Department still classified the prisoner as a man.  Which should have been obvious since it was a men's facility.  I can only plead extreme mental fatigue as a defense.