People Love Money, But Have You Ever Worshiped A Dime?

By: Jason Cooper, Contributing Writer My cellmate, Travieso, often stared and scuffled the dirt of the prison's yard looking for a dropped morphine or twist of speed. And while rarely successful, those few finds and their resultant "highs" made the countless hours of bug-eyed shuffling worth it to him. One blistering summer day with sweat dripping down the pentagram tattooed [...]

Bonding In A Native American Sweat Lodge — in Prison!?

By: Mustafa Zulu, Contributing Writer Mustafa, the author (L) and "Looking Back" (R) in front of a prison backdrop. "Looking Back" is the name of my Native American comrade I met when I first arrived to North Dakota state penitentiary a few months ago. He's about 5'8, bronze complexion, with a traditional Indian ponytail-braid hanging down to his [...]

Best Prison Slang Words You (Hopefully Won’t) Need To Know

Can you translate this?   I have the keys for my Car but my Road Dogs are disappearing on me. One was 5150 and Did the Dutch, one left on Back Door Parole, one is a BB Filler on his way out. Two are in The Hole (one for Keistering a cell phone), one is jacked up on Brake Fluid (he's got L Whop), one's a J-Cat sent to the Ding Wing, one is a Dump Truck who caught the Ninja, one was picked up by a Meat Wagon after getting Molly [...]

The Day I Caught A Live Hawk

By: Daniel H. Harris, Contributing Writer Like many others who find themselves locked in a cage with no way out, he too had a breaking point. The day we met, he reached it -- and bloody murder became acceptable. Prison had changed him. The sky was blue and cloudless that cold and frosty morning. It was a beautiful day to [...]

In Prison, Stamps Are The Currency That Binds Everybody

By: Kenneth Foster, Contributing Writer Prison is simply a reflection of the greater society. Whatever is happening on the street block is happening on the cell block. Capitalism is mimicked. There’s upper-class, middle-class and lower-class. Yes. There are prisoners with and there are prisoners without. There are prisoners that have a little something, but not a whole lot. And the stamp [...]

A Prisoner Reveals Secrets About Smuggling Drugs Into Prison

By: Daniel Harris, Contributing Writer Everyone's always shocked to learn that so many drugs are available in prison. But why, I always wonder. It would be more surprising if the lure of easy profits didn't corrupt so many guards to smuggle them in, given how poorly the guards are paid and how easy the money is. In many cases, a prisoner [...]

Party-Boy Has His Best Birthday on Death Row

By: Charles Manou, Contributing Writer I turned forty recently. (Please hold the applause.) Never in a billion years would I have ever envisioned that I would hit the big 4-0 on death row. Courtesy of Charles Mamou When I was free, I was known for having grandiose and extravagant parties to celebrate my birthday. Everything was free, i.e. food [...]

Getting Out of Prison is Overrated

By Antwan Johnson, Contributing Writer Antwan Johnson, Contributing Writer Getting out for some is overrated. During my time in penitentiary “Getting Out” was always about all the money I was going to make, or the many women I was going to mess with. I speak from personal experience. I’m a repeat offender. This is my 4th time in penitentiary. [...]

The Weekend I Forgot I Was In Prison

By: Lucas Morgan, Contributing Writer Have you ever been screaming inside with a story that you just had to get out? I feel like I will burst if I don't tell you about the time I forgot I was locked up in prison. Kind of like when you were in high school and you finally got to kiss the hot girl [...]

Dorothy Maraglino on Prison: Part 2

By: Dorothy Maraglino, Contributing Writer  Don't miss Dorothy's "An Unusual Take on Prison Life: Part 1." ON MEDICAL CARE: Our doctors look like Doogie Howser and approach patients like a short order cook does breakfast. It’s easy to believe we’re part of some unknown experiment. I often have visions of us all being like Jeff Goldblum in “The Fly” -- [...]

Dorothy Maraglino on Prison: Part 1

By: Dorothy Maraglino, Contributing Writer  ON SENTENCING: Although I’ve been here 940 days, I have not had a trial yet. For two years, the D.A and the defense attorneys have been discussing penalty options. It turns out you can’t go to trial before the DA has determined what penalty to ask for, should they actually win the case. For now [...]

I Was Born With Heroin, Meth, LSD and Alcohol In My System

By: Valerie Baker, Contributing Writer If you’re standing up, you might want to take a seat! Because I truly believe my story has the potential to blow your mind!  (J/K LOL.) At least I think it’s that interesting. Anyway, especially if you’re the “average joe” type of person. Both of my parents were heroin addicted “hippies.” On April 11, 1983 [...]

I Was Repeatedly Raped In Prison

By: Thomas Guerra, Contributing Writer The story of my life in prison started in November of 2010.  I came to prison for the first time in my entire life. When I first got to prison I was scared to death that I would never make it out prison alive.  The first two weeks that I was in prison went pretty [...]

Prison Guards Gas Prisoners for Fun

By: Jason Walker, Contributing Writer In Texas Prisons, guards are notorious for beating, killing, and harassing prisoners. They also set up prisoners to be attacked by other prisoners while handcuffed from behind, and they're even known to assist prisoners in committing suicide, even when the prisoner has no intentions of doing such thing. These cruel practices are so common in solitary [...]

Death in Prison: The Top 3 Killers

By: Joseph Dole II, Contributing Writer Due to the media’s distortion of prison life and the people incarcerated there, most of society envisions Illinois “max joints” to be a milieu of nonstop rape and murder. Admittedly, there is a lot of fighting among inmates, but there's little raping or killing between inmates.  That is not to say that death in [...]

Wake Up America, The Facts Are In: Solitary Is Torture!

By: Jason Walker, Contributing Writer After spending over five years in solitary confinement, I have finally come to realize that solitary confinement is known torture -- and the prisoners aren’t the only ones who know this. There have been extensive studies that have shown that lengthy periods of isolation can cause a number of mental and psychological setbacks. In a report [...]

Juveniles Tried As Adults: Becoming A Man In Prison

By: Chris Dankovich, Contributing Writer My first visitor in prison was my dad. Looking back at the picture I have from that day, I realize that I must have smelled just awful. It was my second day in at Thumb Correctional Facility's Youthful Side, Michigan's prison for adults ages 13-18, having just arrived from the state's prison intake and processing facility. [...]

Juvenile Lifer: 17-Year Old Kevin Boyd On Life Without Parole

By: Kevin Boyd, Contributing Writer Today I look out the window of my cell, a little bitter, a little more realistic. As time passes through my life, I rarely see the changes. They blur into blocks made up of years and even decades doing the same things over and over again. The mirror tells me I've aged. The lines, the grey, [...]

Kaleb: Your Father Tracy Lee Kendall Is Looking For You

By: Tracy Lee Kendall, Contributing Writer Editor's Note:  Tracy Lee Kendall gave us permission to print this personal letter to his long-lost son, Kaleb, in hopes he will someday read it.  8-23-15 Dear Kaleb, I hope this finds everyone there doing well. I am your father and I have been writing to you for the last sixteen years with no idea [...]

Why I Let The Guy Go, Instead of Terminating on Sight

By: Jermaine Archer, Contributing Author In 1992, summer in Brooklyn, New York came early. We had “permanent beef” with a West Indian crew, which meant trying to terminate each other on sight. Gunshots sparked so often that Flatbush residents didn’t have to wait for the Fourth of July to see fireworks. One spring day, I strolled down Flatbush Avenue with my [...]

Penile Implants in Prison Cost About $40

By: J.S. Slaymaker, Contributing Writer Over the past twenty-two years I have had both the privilege and the burden to play witness to some righteously weird shit: guys cutting off fingers or breaking bones in order to avoid doing field work; having otherwise healthy teeth pulled for the Vikes [Vicodin pills]; and more recently, dudes keistering entire cell phones rather than [...]

Tips From A Former Porn Star On “Met While Incarcerated” Relationships

By: Heather Swift, Contributing Writer Heather Swift, Contributing Writer The internet is awash with anecdotes (many of them horror stories) of the pitfalls and ups and downs of being in an MWI (Met While Incarcerated) relationship. Having read through poorly-written, sometimes incoherent and often scatterbrained accounts of others’ MWI experiences on the various forums (prisontalk, prison families), I thought [...]

Kids Become Criminals In Juvenile Detention

By: Sheldon Preston Johnson, Contributing Writer I was born in Harlem, New York City, thirty-nine years ago. I can say that I started out as a thrill-seeking, adventurous and curious child. The story of my childhood is  not your usual one, yet, like any other it’s filled with both triumph and tragedy. And like anyone else, there are so many, many [...]

Fighting the Ninja: Sex in Prisons

By: Charles Norman, Contributing Writer Mama Herc was a genuine prison legend, infamous beyond his razor wire boundaries. When I was in the county jail for a couple of years, fighting my case through the courts, recidivists would share chain gang horror stories about what would happen to the scared newcocks [new inmates] upon their arrival in prison. All that was missing [...]

Lyle May is Reading and Writing As Fast As He Can — on Death Row

By: Lyle C. May In early childhood, writing was this scrawling the symbols of English language with little understanding of their purpose. Large, crooked letters staggered like drunks across the page, jockeying for position and uniformity. My letter R was often backward, the vowels never really touched the bottom line and I couldn’t quite get the hang of the lower [...]

A Drug Addict in Prison On His First Day of Sobriety

By: Daniel Harris, Contributing Writer I've decided to stay sober. Such decisions seem to be magnets that attract all sorts of intoxicants, so my sobriety could die before the sun rises. My personal best was 9 years, while in ad-seg [Administrative Segregation, a level of solitary]. Staying on the wagon is easier without so much temptation. You have your “specialist” addicts; [...]

The REAL Stanford Prison Experiment

By: Loen Kelley, Prison Writers Editor The movie, THE STANFORD EXPERIMENT, is a fictionalized account of the notorious study conducted by Stanford Professor Phil Zombardo in 1971. The research team used local newspaper ads to recruit 18 male students. Participants were told they’d be paid $15/hour to participate in a 2-week study about the psychological effects of incarceration. Half of [...]

Incarcerated at 8: Growing Up Behind Bars

By: Marcellus Smith, Contributing Writer Growing up, I never had my mother or father in my life. I never met my father and because my mother was using drugs while she was pregnant with me, I was taken away from her as an infant, never to be returned to her as she was always in and out of prison. I [...]

Suicide Is My Only Way Out, After Waiting 3 Years in Jail For a Trial

By: Dorothy Maraglino, Contributing Writer Dorothy Maraglino Yesterday I was moved to a cell with an observation camera in it. There was a good reason for the move, although the staff was unaware of just how much of a good reason there was. I sometimes secretly refer to myself as the Wylie Coyote of suicides. In the 34 [...]

Transexual: “I Was Raped By a Prison Guard”

By: Chase Burnett, Contributing Writer The alarm went off, signaling that once again the prison was about to be shut down and placed on lock-down because of the major fights going on between rivaling gangs within the prison walls. Which meant once again the inmates NOT involved in such violence were about to be punished right along with the ones [...]

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