A Prisoner Writes: Schizophrenic Religiosity

By: TY EVANS, Contributing Writer Courtesy Ty Evans Jeffery Hofstedter was our prime example of schizophrenia augmented by religiosity. White, late thirties, anorexically thin, he balanced a supersize pair of bifocal chominators to laboriously read his Bible aloud, one disconnected word at a time. He had been booted out of pre-GED class enough times that they didn't want [...]

A Drug Dealer’s Simple Solution to Ending Our Nation’s Drug Epidemic

Users use whatever is available, and all price does is move them from one drug to another. “White people are starting to figure that out,” added Edgar Lee. “When they can’t get their Oxycontin they move to heroin.

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 [...]

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 [...]

Slave Work In the Fields: Digging a Trench Through Shit Creek

Fields By Edward Ji They call fields. You wake up. Comfort yourself. Cuddle your sheet and pretend it's a cat. Your cellie rushes to smoke a K2 stick (spice joint), to less feel the pain. Shit if you can. Sit. Get ready. You go outside, for the first time in months. It's not that they don't let you, but after [...]

A Prison Theater Program Changed My Life

Finding Family: Volunteer Programs Bring About Lasting Rehabilitation in Prison BY Adam Roberts Courtesy Adam Roberts Phoenix Players Theatre Group (PPTG) is a small, selective theater group that operates quietly amidst the 1,600 residents of the maximum-security prison in New York, meeting on Friday nights in a classroom in the prison’s school building. But this isn’t about the [...]

Remember Amy Preasmyer? She Writes Us From Solitary

By: Amy Preasmyer, Contributing Writer I am once again faced with the abusive conditions in which Ad-Seg [Administrative Segregation, a form of solitary] has a legacy. It’s a place where protocols are swept under the rug and CDCR’s [California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation] performances are clearly inhumane and ineffective, evidenced by the increase in serious rule violation reports (115s). Don’t get [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

My Rehabilitation: The Pen Beats The Sword

As we know, I am currently in prison, which I have learned does one of two significant things to its occupants: brings the best out of them, or the worst...

How One Huge Mistake Sent Me To Prison For Life

By: Troy David, Contributing Writer On October 31, 1984, Halloween Night at 7:00 pm, gunshots rained on the streets of the middle-class neighborhood of Mount Airy in Philadelphia, PA. I was just 17 years old at the time. My mom worked as an Executive Secretary and my dad drove a truck. I had recently taken pictures for my high school graduation [...]

#1 Ingredient in Prison Food? Water.

By Paul Gardner, Contributing Writer BY PAUL GARDNER, Contributing Writer Something smells fishy in the prison kitchen– and it isn’t dinner. The Arizona Department of Corrections uses an outsourced personnel provider to run their kitchens. Here is how it works: Aside from the obvious fact that water is needed throughout the day to hydrate the body, it has [...]

Just Read This. Okay?

By Gilbert Paliotta, Contributing Writer Just read this, okay? What does whatever I, or any other prisoner, have to say matter? We’ve “committed the crime, now do the time.” Yes, I mean that’s what I may be thinking too, if our situations were reversed. That said, I would be absolutely petrified to have you, an ex-felon, probably a [...]

How The State Of Indiana Killed Michael Daniels

BY TY EVANS On September 14, 1979, Michael William Daniels’ sentencing order directed that he be executed “in a manner prescribed by law, before sunrise on March 28, 1980.” Within an hour he was triple-shackled and in a van on his way to death row at Michigan City, Indiana. He was 21 years old. He had 196 days left to [...]

How I Earned A “White Flower” in Prison

BY PAUL GARDNER Courtesy, Paul Gardner Here I was, months into a jail sentence that was going to be the beginning of my prison sentence. I had no idea how many years I was going to get in the slammer this time. The fact that I was still in jail after so many months is testimony to the [...]

Help Us Help Ourselves Reduce Recidivism

BY TY EVANS Did George Costanza Design the Prison System? After 25 years’ experience as a prisoner, I blame George Costanza, or someone like him, for the state of America’s prison system. George, Jerry’s ne’er-do- well sidekick on Seinfeld, had a knack for always getting it wrong. Our prison system couldn’t get it more wrong, which is why I suspect [...]

The Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons Is Killing Us

By: Benny Hernandez III, Contributing Writer Prisoners look upon the summer months in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) with dread and trepidation. For one is acutely aware that one may not survive another summer. Many do not. It is not uncommon for the temperature to reach as high as 140° Fahrenheit in the inmate living/housing areas during the [...]

Dorothy Maraglino Had a Baby in Jail. Three Years Later, Still No Trial.

By: Dorothy Maraglino, Contributing Writer I was seven months pregnant when I was picked up for suspicion and noncooperation. Having never been arrested in my 36 years, my faith in the system was absolute. This is the 21st century and I know those involved in the crime will do the right thing. I would only need to be patient and [...]

What “Life” Is About on Death Row

By: Paul Anthony Brown, Contributing Writer I arrived to death row on August 28, 2000. I did not think I’d still be alive 14 years later, but here I am. Surely, we will all experience death. However, I suppose true death cannot be hastened, or put off; we will die when it’s our time to go. Living in this environment is [...]

Breaking Bad: Meth-Selling Prison Guard Now A Prisoner Himself

By: Jonathan Benson, Contributing Writer This is a look at prison life from both sides of the glass. I am a former corrections officer, now serving a 7-year sentence. I used to be employed by a private corrections provider. I worked for 3 years as an officer. I can say from personal experience that things on the “other side” are a [...]

A Medical Check-up in Prison

Today I had to go to the clinic to get a medical check-up. My ducat was for 7:30 a.m. I arrived at the medical wing at about 10 minutes passed 7 (trying to anticipate an overcrowded waiting room). The guard at the entrance checked me in and told me to take a sit in the waiting area, which consist of [...]

A 2-Year Old Boy Lights Up This Lifer’s Life

BY LEONARD SCOVENS Courtesy of Leonard Scovens   I see our ancestors jamming, praying, singing in his eyes. We’re separated by a piece of Plexiglass crisscrossed with steel wire designed to cage me in this prison that has striven to become my home; but my two-year old nephew Ja ‘Shua is irrepressible. The reinforced steel, tough-talking guards, the [...]

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