Category Crime

1 Building C Side
Courtesy of the Folsom Prison Museum

Is Life Really Life?

Life in prison. The judge hands down the sentence and most people think that’s the end of it. The convicted man (or woman) will spend the balance of their natural life behind bars. Life sentences are reserved for the worst crimes–kidnapping, murder and habitual criminals. well…maybe. I recall, early in my career, going into a […]

Folsom Prison East Gate

Who’s On The Gun?

Little things on the inside If you haven’t worked deep in the bowels of a prison, you might not know there a whole host of things that occur everyday that determine how your shift will unfold–uneventful, a grind, or worse. Some take it for granted, but if you’ve worked there–you know better. Most seasoned prison folks […]

image via la times

In Prison — Seeing Is Believing

What happens in prison usually stays in prison. Kinda like a bad Las Vegas honeymoon. Nobody wants to know the depths of the debauchery that goes on in either place. When I worked as a department of corrections administrator, we were often burnt at the stake when a criminal decided to do a bad thing. […]

An Outrager
image by monkey bob99x via flickr creative commons

Why I Don’t Post About Politics

There are a few topics I try to avoid on social media. Religion, Sex and Politics–the holy trifecta of hot button issues. They are intertwined so deeply that you can’t tug on one, without pulling a thread on the other. But recent events in the political arena (arena as in circus) left me scratching my […]

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5 Things I Learned in Prison

Time in prison is supposed to “teach” you things, right? That’s why it was originally called the penitentiary — as in penance. A place to reflect on one’s life and the path not taken. Some lessons are learned the hard way. The weak, meek and mild won’t survive in prison. Inmates quickly develop survival mechanisms […]

image by thomas hawk via flickr creative commons

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Respect, and I’m not talking about the Aretha Franklin classic, but something just as deadly. Outside of drug deals, there are more stabbings in prison over respect, or more precisely the lack of respect, than nearly any other motivation. This very unscientific finding is based upon years of “picking up the pieces” after a stabbing […]

folsom prison east gate

Where Have All The Convicts Gone?

I grew up in a time of convicts. These days, a convict is hard to find. Convicts lived by a code that governed their conduct on the streets and in prison. Not that convicts weren’t dangerous criminals — they were, and their numbers included notorious murders, robbers and thieves. And they played by the rules. Rules? The […]

image by thomas hawk via flickr creative commons

How Do Drugs Get Into Prison?

Getting prohibited items inside a prison is more than a game, it’s business. Every so often, a naive junior legislator will leave a fundraising lunch long enough to pop their head into a committee hearing and express their handwringing shock and dismay over drugs and other contraband appearing inside prison walls. Contraband is any item prohibited by […]

Folsom Prison East Gate

Prison Lingo

Every culture has a language unto itself, phrases or words that mean something completely different because of where they are spoken. Prison is one of those places. The world on the inside has a culture and language driven by life in confined spaces, honed by decades of control and restricted freedoms. I’ve mentioned before that time […]

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Want to Time Travel? Go To Prison

I’ve been playing with an idea for a new book and it involves – wait for it – time travel. Not like the H. G. Wells, Time Machine kind of time travel. There is not fanciful device to dial up the year and zap you to the exact time and place of your choosing. The story I’m noodling […]