|Why did they bring so much soap?|
|By Joe Bouchard|
Sometimes, when notice something out of the ordinary, it sets off a chain of thoughts that delve deeply into the issue. For example, I discovered nearly two dozen hand soaps under the counter in the library. I had to ask, “Why did they bring so much soap?”
It happened on a day like any other day. We were about a quarter of the way through a two hour law library session in General Population. While monitoring this particular session, I sat facing the prisoners in the corner of the room which I normally do not place myself. From there I noticed that packed tightly by the kick board on the outward facing library counter was a white rectangular package.
Of course, I had many options. I did not necessarily have to snag the item immediately. I could have stared intently at it and try to gauge (through peripheral vision) the reactions of those who were watching me. I could have pretended not to have seen it and watched for any activity around the item. In an unorthodox move, I could have addressed the entire group prisoners and ask to whom the package belonged.
Ultimately, with all eyes on , I walked over, picked up the item, and secured it in my office. Then, I wrote about what I found in the logbook. It was an envelope filled with 23 small hand soaps. They were carefully stacked in an envelope that was folded tightly around them. The glue on the envelope flap was moistened to seal the package. It measured approximately 8" x 2" x 1".
So, on the face of it, I had found 23 little bars of soap. I did not see who dropped them. No one claimed them. They were, in effect, abandoned property. No one in the room gave anything away. There's not a clue as to who used the library as a drop and past location. And I was certain that the package was not in place under the counter prior to the start of the library session.
At the risk of over-thinking things, I wondered why there was so much soap. In talking to a few colleagues and thinking about myself, there were a few theories to consider.
Again, I concede that this could be over-thinking something that is essentially simple. However, it behooves us to keep thinking and planning for the sake of safety. This is what keeps our minds flexible and helps ensure our success in on covering contraband plots and taking unauthorized items out of circulation.
Editor's note: Corrections.com author, Joe Bouchard, has been with the Michigan Department of Corrections since 1993 as a Librarian for the Baraga Correctional Facility. He also teaches criminal justice and corrections classes for Gogebic Community College. He is the editor of The Correctional Trainer, the official journal of the International Association of Corrections Training Personnel and MCA Today, the official journal of the Michigan Corrections Association.
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