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Chapter 4: Constables

Lorie Rubenser and Gloria Priddy University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 4

Constables

Introduction

Constables are one of the many undervalued and understudied positions in American law enforcement. The position exists in various forms across the United States and in several countries. In England, for example, the constable is a position akin to the metropolitan patrol officer in America. Constables in the United States tend to be more specialized in their role and duties.1

As originally conceived, the position of constable was not about law enforcement, but rather it was a servant position in the King’s household. The constable oversaw the stables and kennels, and any other matter relating to the sport of hunting.2 The constable also sat in judgment over many issues such as land ownership, inheritance, chivalry, honor, etc.3

The position evolved over time through military responsibilities4 and tax collection duties5 into domestic peace keeping.6 The constable is now an important part of the law enforcement tradition around the world.

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Chapter 12: Bailiffs

Lorie Rubenser and Gloria Priddy University of North Texas Press ePub

Chapter 12

Bailiffs

Introduction

Under normal circumstances, the general public may never have a reason to encounter a bailiff. Only persons with business in a courthouse will encounter the bailiff, specifically potential jurors and other persons involved in a court case. Even these people, however, may not fully understand the functions of the bailiff or know that the bailiff is a licensed peace officer.

Modern media has done nothing to promote awareness of this important position, with bailiffs playing minor supporting roles in courtroom dramas. Perhaps the most famous television bailiffs were Bull and Roz on the 1980s sitcom Night Court. While entertaining, these two comedic individuals did almost nothing that resembles the real work of the bailiff.

History of the Position

Like the constable, the bailiff has roots in medieval times. In England, the bailiff served either the lord of the manor or the hundred courts and sheriff. The position was supervisory. Those serving on a manor or estate kept accounts, collected rents and fines, and were responsible for all the land and buildings that made up the estate.1

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Introduction

Jorge Antonio Renaud The University of North Texas Press ePub

Introduction

I am going to tell you about Texas prisons. Forget what you’ve seen in the movies. Forget what you’ve read in newspapers, and what you are shown for a few minutes on your local news. The media, which seldom can be rightfully accused of purposely misinforming Texans about their prisons, nevertheless relies on official sources for its news. Newspapers and news stations rarely show you an inmate’s view of prison. What is important to the prison director may not be important to the inmate’s wife, or mother, or son.

I first came to prison in 1977, left for eight months in 1979-80, returned in May of 1980, paroled in 1987, returned in 1991 and will not leave until at least 2006. Despite my criminal history, I am an intelligent, educated man, and for years I have considered how I might address the problems that face convicts and their families. Because, for decades, those who care about inmates have been kept in the dark when it comes to almost every imaginable facet of prison life. They have been forced to rely on officials—who often have treated them with the contempt those officials feel for inmates—or they have been forced to depend on the inmates themselves, many of whom are inarticulate, do not understand the system themselves and thus cannot explain it, or will simply not tell the truth, even to their families.

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Part 5 Honing to a Fine Edge

Rudolph A. Rosen Texas A&M University Press ePub

No verbal abuse was too strong for her to direct at staff or volunteers. The highly placed officer of the nonprofit organization didn’t really care who was offended. This officer even boasted of her lack of tact. A small corps of people seemed to gain personal benefit in the organization under her shadow, but others were demonized.

Staff or volunteers who did anything the officer didn’t like became the subject of attack. In any conversation she was all knowing. Anyone with real knowledge quickly learned to shut up. She knew just enough to sound like she knew what she was talking about, until you listened long enough to realize she really didn’t.

None of that may have mattered if it wasn’t that this officer also drove away volunteers, donors, and staff. How much her inappropriate actions cost the organization in lost volunteers and investment in staff is hard to say. It’s hard to believe some organizations tolerate such toxic influences, but they do. This is not a story about one person. In my time serving nonprofit organizations, I have met several of these venomous people. They have been shes and hes, officers, spouses of officers, and members of the board. Such people persist in influencing nonprofit organizations because the leadership of nonprofits often function much like a family, with members establishing close, long-term relationships with each other. Families tolerate, forgive, and often turn a blind eye to their dysfunctional members. Many nonprofit organizations do, too, large, small, and in between.

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Chapter 4 – Clothing

Jorge Antonio Renaud The University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER FOUR

clothing

Think about what your taste in clothes says about you. Your wardrobe reflects your personality. Your grasp of fashion, your sense of color and texture, your hairstyle—all say something about your individuality.

The state prison does not want inmates to be individuals. It pursues policies that result in depersonalization, in a loss of personal identity, and it then justifies these policies in the name of security. There are various reasons for this. The first is that inmates who look like inmates dressed similarly, and all unlike the general population–are easy to recognize if they escape. An inmate who walked out the front gate wearing jeans, a designer shirt, and a pair of brand-name tennis shoes would easily merge with everyone else. Depersonalization is also for the guards’ benefit. If they do not see us as people, but as a mass of interchangeable inmates, they will not readily form associations with us. They will not have sympathy for us, show us leniency, or worse, bring us drugs and guns. Lastly, inmates who lose their sense of self are less likely to rebel. Texas inmates feel invisible. They feel that nothing they do is recognized. It is but one step from that to agreeing, subconsciously but sincerely, that if the others who dress like them, look like them, and act like them, are guilty and worthy of punishment, so are they.

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