Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Jester: Dorm Life vs. Prison Life

I am not rich but I am wealthy in useless knowledge. For example, today I started daydreaming about two Jesters. Beauford H. Jester Center residence dormitory on the U.T. campus in Austin and Jester I, III and IV, Texas Department of Criminal Justice system prison facilities located in Richmond. No connection you say? Interestingly, folklore on campus includes the information that the architect responsible for the dorm also designed prisons.

Let's examine the two. Jester Center has a housing capacity of 2,987 students. Jester I, III and IV can hold a maximum of 2,004 offendors in the prison units, trusty camp and psychiatric treatment facility. I'm guessing that there are more employees for the prison than for the dorm, although I couldn't back that up with facts. Certainly the dorm employees won't be packing heat.

Jester Center has rules and policies, as does Jester prison. The residence handbook states "Failure to comply with the directions of a university official, including a residence hall staff member acting in an official capacity" will result in disciplinary action. Substitute "prison" for "university" and "warden" for "residence hall staff member" and there you have it.
Jester Center trivia notes that 1 million feet of pipe and 50,000 joints were used to install the fire sprinkler system. As Jester I is a substance abuse offender facility, I can safely imagine that many pipes and joints were used by its residents prior to incarceration.

Jester Center is part of a campus of higher learning and is home to the Learning Skills Center. Jester II has English as a Second Language classes as well as Alvin College academic and vocational programs, career and technical programs, substance abuse treatment programs and crisis management and psychiatric care for offenders suffering from chronic and acute mental health issues.

Jester Center is co-ed, while the other Jester has only male prisoners. I'm certain there has been sexual encounters in the dorm...and if the HBO series "Oz" is true to life then we know there are non-celibate inmates in the prison.

Hmmm...prison, school. School, prison. And I thought cubicle life was institutional. Join me next time for a lively discussion of America's death row versus Bolivia's Death Road. I'm sure all you adventure sport cycling fanatics won't want to miss that post!

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