Category inmate

The Vampire of Sacramento — Richard Trenton Chase

It somehow seems appropriate to talk about a character named the Vampire of Sacramento as we approach Halloween. This vampire didn’t go from home to home looking for full-sized Snickers or KitKat bars. The Vampire of Sacramento went from door to door in search of victims… Richard Trenton Chase is an example of the failings […]

Private Prisons in Crime Fiction

Build it and they shall come… Private prisons have been a popular recurring theme in crime fiction and television drama. Most of the stories I’ve come across involve some smoky backroom deal between a corrupt judge and a private prison operator. Newly sentenced offenders, often kids, are portrayed as victims who wouldn’t have come to […]

All The Justice You Can Buy

I had a bit of a “Get Off My Lawn” moment this week. When we last circled around the campfire, we talked about the tale of convicted drug trafficker, Alice Johnson and a push for clemency on her behalf by the Queen of the Selfie, Kim Kardashian. There’s the link, if you want to check […]

Prison Facts: A Lethal First

Recently, at the Left Coast Crime convention in Reno, I held a round of Nevada-centered prison trivia. Prison lore and operation play a role in my books, particularly in the most recent, Bury The Past. Folks seem to enjoy finding out if they have what it takes to survive behind the walls. One of the […]

Spiraling Prison Costs

It’s no great state secret that maintaining a prison system is expensive. Since California has the largest prison system in the nation, it should also be no surprise that it is the most costly. The official state budget for the operation of the California prison system is teetering on $12 Billion annually–nearly $2 Billion more […]

Prison Break–Doin’ Life in Assisted Living

I had a flashback to my old prison days this week. For a moment, it seemed like I was on the yard and I spotted a convict passing a knife for another con to use. Something was about to go down. But this flashback was actually in a memory care unit for seniors. Okay, let […]

Bedrock – The Violence Control Unit

From the outside, the goings on in prison are invisible. If you live close enough to one, you might catch a glimpse of concrete walls and high mast yard lighting. If the wind is just right, you could hear the shrill buzz of an alarm in the distance. For most people, that’s the only thought–a […]

Getting Your Hands Dirty–Prison Reform

You hear the expression all the time–“Getting your hands dirty.” A yuppie call to get in the trenches and act like you’re doing the work, just like the common folk. It’s a trite little phrase used frequently by the likes of Martha Stewart, political figures, and CEO’s who haven’t looked at an assembly line since […]

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 […]

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 […]