Monday, November 4, 2013

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".