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The Big House

After Reno, we headed to Crescent City, CA so Tim could do some temporary work at the maximum security, Pelican Bay State Prison which houses some of California's most dangerous inmates.

My best friend from our residency in Tucson, Alene, was recently promoted to Chief of Psychiatry at Pelican Bay. She told me there is such a psychiatrist shortage (as there is all over the country, both in and out of prisons) that the state pays really, really well for temporary assignments. She said, "Doreen, you must come here and work for me!" I replied, "Alene, I don't care if you pay me a million dollars: I will never, ever work at Pelican Bay." Then, she told me what they do pay and I quickly responded, "Tim'll do it."

Tim, aka Project Nerd, Domestic Superhero, had been busy fixing up our house so we could sell it in a couple of years and live full time in the bus. A little extra cash would certainly help. Still, I didn't actually think he'd agree to this (and I'm sure, part of the draw was getting to live in the bus again), but he did and there we went.

Alene said she'd give us a shoe tour.

“Does it have a kitten heel?” I wanted to know. She explained that the SHU – or Secure Housing Unit – is where the most dangerous of the dangerous inmates are housed. The tour was fascinating. We not only got to go into "the hole" or solitary confinment, but even into an inmate's cell when he was in the yard.

The most bizarre part was the group therapy rooms. If you think about it, you certainly wouldn't want these violent offenders loose with each other in a room - or the therapist. Instead, they each stand in their own, individual telephone booth-like contraptions with bars and plexiglass over the front. They're then lined up in a semi-circle and that's how the therapist conducts the group.

Tim's position lasted about five weeks. Although he couldn't tell me too much about the specifics of his work, he did relate the time one of the inmates commented, "I'm really not a bad guy." At the look Tim gave him, the inmate responded, "Well... there was that one night."

Slash-Proof Tim

Comments (2)


Dapper as always, no matter what the outfit!!!

I don't think I'll tell him. Might go to his head.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 10, 2008 4:51 PM.

The previous post in this blog was Grammy Fashion Faux Pas.

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