Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Microstory 2162: Don’t Say No to a Warden

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I finished my work hours a little early, so my parole officer could pick me up, and drive me back to jail, but I wasn’t staying there as a guest. I had a meeting with the warden, which was agitating the butterflies in my stomach. I put it like that, because I always keep butterflies in there, they just don’t always move around this much. As it turns out, it wasn’t bad, but I’m not so sure that it was good either. He read my story, as he apparently does every evening, and he thought that I had some good ideas. I hadn’t even realized that I had presented any ideas, but this was in regards to the disharmony that sometimes arises when guests that don’t get along well with each other are forced to live together in an enclosed space. To me, that’s kind of the definition of jail and prison, but he wants to find a way to put an end to it anyway. That sounds like a lovely sentiment, but I’m not sure that it can be done. Perhaps with a sufficiently advanced artificial intelligence, you could figure out how to accurately profile and categorize everyone in need of being housed in the system with as many labels as necessary, and organize them to prevent gang conflicts, or other major disagreements. But here’s the thing, you wouldn’t just want to stop two gangs from going to war with each other, you would want the gang to stop from forming in the first place, or they’ll just translate all that into the outside world once their sentences were up. That’s why you can’t just sit down with everyone’s psych profile, and sort them like you’re simply planning the seating arrangements for a wedding reception.

If you think that I’m being dismissive of how difficult it is to plan a wedding, you’re mistaken. Wedding receptions are hard. This would be virtually impossible. First thoughts, you’re gonna need a team of behavioral psychologists, and sociologists, and who knows what else, maybe a logistician? See, I couldn’t even tell you how to form the team. While it might have kind of been my idea, I can’t be a part of it. But that’s what he wants. He wants me to start a taskforce of sorts to figure out how to schedule the guests at the jail. But you would have to account for people’s job situations, the judges’ particular rulings on each person’s specific sentence. Again, I think you need an AI to do all this for you. Even a team probably wouldn’t be able to figure it out. I didn’t say no to the request, because you don’t say no to a warden, but I’ve not agreed to it either. I would need to discuss it with my lawyers, and my current employer... It would eat into the time I need for my site and socials. It would also seem weird to me if I were both a staff member of the jail, and a guest who had no choice but to be there for 48 hours a week straight. I know that prisons have work programs, but this is not the same thing as shelving books in the library, or renovating the CO break room. Those are references that, fortunately, none of you gets. Anyway, I guess this is more a long-term shift in strategies. The warden says that if this hypothetical pilot program works, they could theoretically institute it at other facilities. I suppose nothing would really start until after I completed my sentence, assuming any of this gets off the ground, and that there’s a place for me in it at all, which sounds ridiculous right now. Until then (or until never) I’ll just go back to doing my thang, and not worry much about it. The stress would not get me anywhere. My butterflies move around enough as it is.

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