Thursday, March 19, 2009

Family Passing


In our prison system we get blast emails. Dinah recently has listened to me rant about how much I hate random blast emails from the many organizations I belong to. I get blast email from my professional organizations (two of them), the local symphony, my car dealership, two academic institutions and any company I've ever done business with. I spend more time deleting email than I do reading and responding to email I really want.

But anyway, I get blast email from prison. The majority of it are press releases about various and sundry governer or secretary initiatives, but for some reason they also send out emails about deaths in the system. Not prisoner deaths, not anything work related, but the deaths of anybody who works in the system or is related to a DOC employee. These are called "family passing" notices, after the subject heading of the email.

Today I got three "family passing" blast emails. I don't know any of the people who died and all of them were relatives of DOC employees, and I didn't know the employees. They work in institutions on the opposite end of the state from where I am and it's unlikely I'll ever meet them.

I'm not sure why DOC officials decided I needed to know about these deaths. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with this information. I don't understand how they think it will help morale to know that people are dropping like flies right and left. I wonder if they realize that for most people this just reinforces the idea that when you die the majority of people will have no clue that you ever even existed.

I have my email rules set up now to automatically delete any message with "Family Passing" in the subject heading. I suppose I could send in a request to be taken off the notification list but in the bureaucratic world I live in, I know that would only last until the next employee comes in and takes over the death notification job. I'm sure I'll get a blast email to let me know when that happens.