Case manager Vanessa Streeter hurried to find a parking space. She was thirty minutes early for work but she was still afraid of being late. Fortunately there was an open spot on the third level of the parking ramp. She pulled in, set her car alarm and scurried to the case management department.
She was too late. All of her co-workers were already in their cubicles and were conspicuously buried in their paperwork. None of them looked up as she came in. Her chair was gone.
Lips pursed, she scanned the office for the culprit. Of course, no one would volunteer that they had stolen her chair. She could choose someone to confront or she could go find a chair from some other department. She dropped her purse on her desk and left for the public defenders' office.
Vanessa had been viciously attacked by an inmate and had been out on medical leave for six weeks. The week that she went out, a pipe broke in the case managers' office, soaking one chair with water from the inmate showers. Because she was gone her colleagues appropriated her chair and ordered a new one immediately from state supply. Her fractured jaw was now fully healed and the wires removed, she was back to work, but the chair still had not arrived. Every morning she and her colleagues raced to be the first one in to claim a chair for the day. Today, she had lost.
The public defenders weren't in yet. She grabbed a chair from the nearest desk and rolled it down the hall to her cubicle. She picked up a stack of papers and a rubber stamp to begin work, only to discover her inkpad was gone. Damn public defenders, she thought.
The form at the top of the stack was the classification instrument for inmate #8929302, 66-year-old William Blume. His parole had been revoked but he was given credit for all the time he was out in free society. Once all his days were calculated he had fewer than six months left to serve. A non-violent offender, he was eligible for pre-release. His only black mark: he had schizophrenia. He was on medication. He would need clearance from mental health before his final classification could be approved.
Vanessa slid open the lower right hand drawer of her desk to pull out the folder of pre-release clearance forms. Not surprisingly, it was empty. Like people who put empty milk cartons back in the refrigerator, none of her colleagues wanted to be responsible for replacing anything. Another item for the state supply requisition list, along with inkpads and a wastebasket. Maintenance had commandeered her wastebasket and she hadn't seen it since.