Going To Prison? READ THIS FIRST!

Courtesy of Brad Simpson "Now Entering the Jungle" By Brad “Lou” Simpson I have only had a few overwhelming experiences in my life. Looking back, I can count them all on one hand. The first time, I was young and I saw my first real pet (a dog) killed, run over by a truck while I was waiting [...]

Chain-Gang Mating Rituals

By: Charles Norman, Contributing Writer Courtesy of Charles Norman Big Willie Taylor came to my cell one evening after supper with a question. I knew it was a question because he never came to my cell unless he had a question that stumped him. If you knew Big Willie, a massive prisoner with a balding,  pumpkin-shaped head, one bloodshot blue [...]

STAND-UP CONVICTS—“THE HIDDEN NOBILITY”: Old Convicts Versus “The New Convict Code”

By: Charles Norman, Contributing Writer Courtesy of Charles Norman Tex McClain had nothing but his word. Old and sick, having outlived anyone in society who might help him, he had to live by his wits to earn coffee and cigarettes. Old Tex’s word was good. If he told you a certain prisoner was a bad credit risk and wouldn’t pay [...]

A Lifer Makes a No-Bake Sweet for Another Lifer’s Birthday

The Number By Edward Ji I am prepared to die: My name is Edward Mike Ji, now age seventeen, newly minted adult duly dubbed and declared so by Collin County Juvenile Court, inmate number 207989, and death cannot come swiftly enough. I lay in this foul cell–lay in vegetative rot, a spiritual-mental-physical malaise–the whitewashed walls a creeping yellow, as if [...]

Inmate Details His First Riot: The Scourge of Tear Gas

Gas By Edward Ji Nice guards don’t last long. Grandmothers here for the health insurance cry at the sight of blood; at the ritual brutalizing of nineteen-year-olds cuffed and parked along the hallway, too stupid to lay down when the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) team came. Guards either get with the culture or quit. Turnover is a big problem. [...]

When a Bump On The Head is Just a Bump

I said everything I could to get the Safe Prisons Sergeant to believe that what had actually happened was the truth, but no one seemed to care.


Daniel H. Harris By: Daniel Harris, Contributing Writer Men who publicly masturbate in prison to add spice to their fantasies used to be a rarity. Twenty-four years later, that is no longer the case. Back in the day, it was predominately black prisoners exposing themselves. White and Hispanic gangs refrained because their gangs enforced discipline with its own [...]

The Wrath of Sling Blade

By: Whitney Smith, Featured Writer Early this morning, just before breakfast, I was jarred awake by the yells of an eerily familiar voice. It was the grainy, guttural bark which will be forever burned into my memory. "Sir... Excuse me, sir! My name is Glutton Nickerson! I need a towel, sir!" Sling Blade was back. It has been a while [...]

I Joined Facebook From Prison!

By: Jeremy Farler, Contributing Writer As I stared at the cell phone screen prompting me to register and start to build my own Facebook page, what was shining back at me was the light of opportunity. I had already done the impossible. Even I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to talk her into bringing in a cellphone. But [...]

An Oral History of My Future

By: Whitney Smith, Featured Writer Not long ago I finished reading "The Story of Joe Gould." The Story of Joe Gould as told by Joseph Mitchell, a columnist and staff writer at The New Yorker magazine from the 1930's until the mid-60's. Mr. Joe Gould was quite the enigma. Sometimes monikered "Professor," sometimes "Professor Sea Gull" due to his self-professed [...]

Gizzardology: The Harsh Realities Of Prison Food

By: Whitney Smith, Featured Writer When I was a kid my parents didn't have any trouble getting me to eat my vegetables. Or any of my food, really. Of course, like every other kid, there were a few exceptions. It was a lost cause putting lima beans on my plate. And any type of stroganoff dish required a little coaxing [...]

Guards Flee Fire in Prison, Leaving Inmates to Die. Enter: Hero Guard.

By: Jerry Metcalf, Contributing Writer "Whaaamp ... whaaamp ... whaaamp ..." boomed the loudspeaker mounted outside my cell door. Above me, thick, oily smoke roiled, clouding my cell. The kind of smoke all the "survival" shows claim is necessary for a successful signal fire; a product of diesel fuel and burnt tires. This smoke, though, hadn't come from tires, it [...]

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 [...]

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 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 [...]

What Happens In Prison Doesn’t Stay In Prison Anymore

We live in a world where a husband could pick up his wife from a dentist appointment on his lunch break...

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Drugs in Prison: How to Hack a Drug Test

By: Eric Santana, Contributing Writer “Eric, let me get some of your piss,” said Flaco, holding a latex glove open as if he was asking for spare change in the subway. Naturally, I laughed at what I thought was one of his usual crude jokes. But he never changed his my-mother-just-died face, and I was horrified when I realized he wasn’t [...]

Here’s One Way to Win Prison Fights: Fight Naked

BY CHRISTINE WHITE Courtesy of Christine White As miserable as prison is, it can also be pretty entertaining at times. I remember one day when two women were about to “throw down.” One was in her late forties and the other was almost sixty. Both women were eccentric, to say the least. Well as the “spit boxing” between [...]

‘Suicide Checks’ From The Government? A Gulf War Vet In Prison Explains

BY KENTON WARNOCK Courtesy of Kenton Warnock I had a cellmate who fought in the Gulf and would tell me about some of the things he had experienced. In many ways I am reminded of Vietnam Vets—as if the government just didn't learn its lesson the first time. As I listened to him speak of those experiences, I knew [...]

How They Overmedicate Kids in Adult Prisons

BY CHRIS DANKOVICH, Contributing Writer We might have been crazy, and they certainly said that about us, though they said that about all the youth. Every child who came to prison was at least regularly seen by the psychiatrists, which really is a good thing. If you're going to throw a boy into a maximum-security adult prison, you should periodically [...]

Trouble in The Prison Visiting Room

BY JERMAINE ARCHER, Contributing Writer Jermaine Archer is M.C. for a TED Talks offshoot event, TEDx at Sing Sing Prison. Photo Credit: Andrew W. Dwyer FWOP! It shocked me even though I saw it as it happened — Snake walked up to the woman, punched her in the face and then roughed up her husband. About a month [...]

A Juvenile In Prison Longs for the Night Stars

BY CHRIS DANKOVICH, Contributing Writer There is a distinctive "ting" when metal snaps: a sharp, high-pitched note reverberates through the air long after the metal stops vibrating. “Shit,” I grumbled under my breath. The small piece of metal had broken in my hand, not cutting me, but pinching a painful blood-blister on my index finger. Anything that makes your adrenaline [...]

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