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Back when I did defense work, I had a client who wrote it like that -- on his resume! After a couple of long stretches in prison, he moved to California with his mom, and while there he put together a resume that had his job history. It faithfully reported his time in prison, his duties there, as he moved from job to job, invluding the number of people he supervised after a few promotions, and his supervisor's name, all without revealing, to the average Californian, that TDCJ, ID, in Huntsville, Texas, was prison.
I'm not sure why his mom sent me a copy of his resume, once he came back to his home town and picked up a new burglary. It didn't help with his burglary charge. But in California it did make him look like he had a steady employment history (after all, TDCJ, ID, took him back after he "left" the first time), and was a great example of making
lemonade out of lemons.
Only problem -- not enough room on my new plea packs for all those good choices.
If I'm not mistaken, originally the outfit was called the Texas Prison Service.
Not very high tone. No room for imagination. It just bluntly and concisely states what it is. Which, of course, is a problem.
So, if I recall correctly, in the 1940s or 50s, it got a major upgrade: Texas Department of Corrections.
This has the major advantage of being both longer, and vaguer than Texas Prison Service. And "corrections" sounds almost educational. Hey, we're not sending you to prison, we're sending you to a heavy duty school, which will hopefully correct your anti-social ways.
The problem was, every other state called their prison service the "depart. of corrections." And soon, everyone knew what that meant: it was the prison department.
So, in the 1990s, the leg. fixed this major problem by giving it the name it has now: The Texas Dept. of Criminal Justice--Institutional Division.
I don't think even Calif. has come up with such a long, complicated, and ultimately meaningless name! Out-of-state prosecutors and L.E. have no idea what the name means. Most probably figure it's where we send the criminally insane--but who can tell?
Still, it's time for another name revision. We need a name that is even longer, even more pretentious, even more vague and inscrutible than TDCJ-ID. It's going to be tough to top TDCJ-ID, but if we try, I'm sure we can do it. And with the legislature's strong preferance for coming up with urgent, big solutions for non-problems, I imagine if we come up with a name that meets that criteria, there is a good chance they'll pass it.
Any ideas out there?
What did they call the prison system in Zimbabwe?
We could all it the Pre-Reformation Institutional System for Offender Networking.
Then nobody could figure it out.
I prefer "Federal Pound Me in the A** Prison."
Foreigners living in Zimbo when I was there had an expression: When you land at the Salisbury (now Harare) airport, be sure to set your watch back 20 years. Actually, it seems to me it would be a good idea to set you watch back about 60 years. They called their prison service the "Zimbabwe Prison Service."
I think Pre-Reformation Institutional System for Offender Networking has some potential, but it has 2 flaws. First, it has the term "Offender" in it. This is very judgmental, which is a major No No. The name cannot hint at any claim that the inmates are in any way morally inferior to the general population, or that they are in the joint for any anti-social reasons. Some people happen to be mechanics, some happen to be teachers, some happen to be businessmen, some happen to be police or firemen, and some happen to be inmates. We shouldn't suggest there are moral differences between them.
Secondly, it seems to suggest that the main purpose of the prison is to provide "networking" for the criminally inclined. In other words, its a device for creating criminal gangs. Admittedly, the Ruiz prison "reforms" fashioned by Judge Justice have done just that, but the point of a good name is to obscure the real purpose of the place, not succinctly state it.
Yes, Terry, but WHM's name has a nice acronym to it, don't you think?
Texas Department of Guest Services
What about Texas Office of Administrative Detention?
I can just see the judgment now... "Sentence: 10 years TOAD"
Texas Hospitality Commission? (THC!)
Texas Hospitality Commission? Texas Dept. of Guest Services?
Think how that would sound in a news story:
"HUNTSVILLE (AP)--Joseph Smo was put to death yesterday by the Texas Hospitality Commission (or: the Texas Department of Guest Services). Smo was the 98th inmate to be executed so far this year in the country's busiest death chamber."
I'm afraid tourists would be afraid to sleep in a Texas motel room if we changed the name to one of those.
The TOAD has some real potential, altho its not as long as TDCJ-ID, and its not as pretentious. Admittedly, getting a name even longer and clumbsier than TDCJ-ID, and even more pretentious--that is a very high order. It may not be possible.
The Ministry for Eliminating Sympathy for Scumbags.
On second thought, maybe that acronym better describes TYC.
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