That Sinking Feeling in Book Two: The Fifteenth Year of the Third Millennium of the Common Era

  • Dec. 7, 2015, 10:53 p.m.
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This is why I don’t like doing law library in the afternoons/evening.

I’m trying to force the trainee to a point of confidence by making him make decisions. One of those decisions was that we had all day to do our hours… he got to decide when and what those hours would be. He chose a 1 to 9 shift. That’s fine. I understand. He doesn’t want to wake up early, I won’t hold that against him… my wife is much the same way. However… I am 100% able to trick myself and lie to my own brain. I tend to do morning start times because my brain is just waking up; so it doesn’t have time to think through more than “What to do next.” Thus… by the time my brain wakes up enough, I’m already at work. This way? The afternoon shift way? I get to anticipate how bad the work day might be. So that around Noon I start to get that sinking feeling that today is not going to go well. And that feeling builds until I get to the office and grab some paperwork. Then to the Law Library proper to see (a) if weekend help was present; (2) if my boss did what he was supposed to by handling “The Whining Inmate” (an individual who thinks he deserves special treatment and, because my boss has no spine, usually gets his way if he complains enough); and (3) what the damage is in general over at the Law Library. Not looking forward to it.

Just more reason to hope for good things on the job front. I have now officially sent out 50+ resumes. I’ve reached my goal for the year. A sad thing in many respects. I do have a job interview tomorrow, however, and it is within the “metro area” of my parents and brother. So we’ll see what happens there.
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Grump. Trying to re-work my schedule so that I can get to my interview tomorrow, plus make myself available on Friday evening (as Wife has Friday and Saturday off), plus try to get Trainee the time he needs. Lots to juggle. Especially when Trainee honestly worries me about his PC Competence. I was part of the Gap Generation… he is a Tech Native. Yet why are even the most basic keyboard shortcuts like a different language to him? Cntrl+A is select all. Cntrl+F is find. He has to ask me every time… “How do you do that thing where you look through the document?” I get it. This is typical Nerd/IT issue. Not everyone knows computers like you do. But… seriously… I don’t know computers. I don’t know dick about computers. But I know enough of the basic functions so that, should my job require me to use a computer (as most jobs do) that I can make the computer work in a moderate fashion. I’m nervous.

I want to cut him loose and let him survive on his own for a while. “You do the Law Library to the best of your ability Monday through Wednesday; and I’ll come in and play clean up with you Thursday and Friday.” That is my goal and plan. I was hoping to be able to do that by the end of the week.

Speaking of “Week” though… we’re still (not surprisingly) working through last week’s Mods and paperwork. 15 Mods to do from last week. Despite personally completing 11 Catch Up Mods and 11 Current Mods last week. This is the issue when you don’t let us do overtime and won’t hire more staff. We keep getting further and further behind. Last week, we were able to get through 22 Mods. Yay us (honestly)! Except that means this week, we’re expected to get through 45 Mods. Lets keep doing the math and extrapolating outward. If we can get through, lets be super generous and say we can average 25 Mods a week… that means that next week, we’ll have to do 50 Mods… the week after that 55 Mods… and so on and so forth. I’m trying not to care because it isn’t my issue… but my Boss doesn’t handle the complaints. An inmate writes a formal grievance, Boss asks me what the issue is. I explain for the 80th time that 30 Mods requiring 1.5 hours each or more, plus paperwork, plus my duties in pretrial require considerably more than 40 hours a week. He shrugs his shoulders and responds to the grievance with “Behind schedule, sorry.” and considers the matter handled until the next week. Let us see what happens this week!

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There is no way this week is going to work out. Trainee is so painfully and inexcusably slow at everything. Everything. He has zero sense of urgency in what he is doing. Were I the person to know or use racial slurs, I may say something about him being Mexican and all but… I honestly don’t know what the slur or comment would be. He just has no sense of urgency or immediacy. Which gets even worse when you consider the added bullshit I had today. So… 15 Mods from last week; 30 Mods for this week; all need to get done with only 28 hours available to do it!

And then shit got real. First Mod we called in? The first guy! Just sat there, staring at us. “I got charges. What are you gonna do about ‘em?” Uh… nothing, dude. We aren’t your attorney. He, sarcastic surprise, wasn’t happy that his attorney wasn’t getting him off scott free and wanted us to tell him how to “fix it.” That isn’t how this works. I’m sick of COs telling inmates that the Law Library will actively do anything. We won’t. We exist to allow inmates access to legal research. That is what we do. But the entire first hour with this Mod was simply inmates wanting us to be their attorneys. No. You have an attorney. You think that an attorney’s job is to wave a magic wand and make the court forget you threatened someone with a gun. That doesn’t happen. So many friggin people with the mentality that they should never have to answer for what they do!!! I’m sick of it!! You don’t want to go to jail? Maybe don’t stab your roommate. You’re angry that the cops didn’t read you your Miranda rights? Well, since they didn’t ask you any questions while you were waving your gun around… they don’t have to! Do your time, shut the fuck up, and try not to be such an incredibly shitty person when you get out!

All of that made worse by our Pro Se nightmare. He is an inmate at a jail. He is not a free man. Thus, what he has on his person is a security risk. When he just strolls into his Mod with a DVD… I get a phone call. No, I don’t know how he got it. No, I don’t know why you’re calling me… that inmate hasn’t been to the Law Library in weeks. No, we don’t have any DVDs or DVD players in the Law Library. Are we really having this conversation? Take the DVD from him and send it to records with the rest of his belongings!

Almost immediately after that phone call; another phone call. “Hey, you’ve got a pro se guy demanding to get an hour in the Attorney/Clergy area.” Really? THEN WHY are you calling Law Library… call the CO at Attorney/Clergy for God’s Sake!! And yes, I did ask them a version of that. To which the CO said, “Attorney/Clergy said they’re full and can’t see him tonight. But he wants that hour so I figure you’d do something.” No. No. That isn’t how a jail works. When the system isn’t giving an inmate what he wants when he wants it; we don’t shut everything down to make sure the inmate gets what he wants. Are you people fucking stupid?!

Minutes after THAT phone call… another phone call… about the same guy… about the same issue… SERIOUSLY?! I am not his attorney. I am not his mother. I do not give a shit what he wants or what he’s demanding. And, way more importantly, it is not my job to give a shit.

At this point… I’ve already wasted 2 hours on this asshole today. All because the COs don’t know what the law library is, what we do, or why ONE inmate doesn’t matter more than the other 900 we have to squeeze in every week. So, I e-mail my boss and tell him that a Handbook for the Law Library would be a good idea. By the way, no… there is no handbook for the law library. Nothing telling Law Librarians about the rules, policies, procedures, nothing.... so nothing for the COs or Inmates telling them about the rules, policies, procedures… which is why every CO and every Inmate thinks they can just demand whatever they want from the Law Library. So… yeah… I thoroughly encouraged looking into SOMETHING we can hand to COs and Inmates telling them (a) what the law library is; (b) what the law library isn’t; (c) what the law library can do; (d) what the law library can’t do; and (e) the proper process for requesting a visit or paperwork.

Of course… I fully expect this request to go ignored. As did the request for SOME kind of security camera. As do ALL of my requests to make that place functional, efficient, safe, and manageable. It truly and honestly feels like they want the Law Library to fail so they can push it off on someone else. But the problem is? There’s no one else to push it off on. Everyone else pushed it off and we were the last stop. So… we can either make it work or let it fail. And I hate being a party to failure.

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