Category prison

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 […]

The Corner Office

I’ve been pretty fortunate over the years to not only maintain gainful employment, but also to do that work in some pretty glamorous settings. As I sit at my desk and figure out which project is going to get my attention today, I think back to other desks, and other times, where I did have […]

The Coffee Apocalypse

For something a little lighter this week–because damn. There is a balance to all things. Light and dark. Good and evil. When one force outweighs the other, the universe shifts to readjust the equilibrium and puts a thumb on the scale like a small town butcher. The forces of karma must be running out of […]

Blurred Lines – the true crime connection

Crime fiction is a strange place. Crime writing takes advantage of a basic human flaw–the willingness to see the victimization of others as a spectator sport. It seems that it’s been part of human nature since we “civilized people” would gather together for a rousing session of Christians Versus Lions–The Ultimate Cage Match. Fast forward […]

Prison and Literature

Lord of the Flies The social aspects of what goes on behind prison walls are really kind of fascinating. For those who worked there, we recognize the yard dynamics are something out of William Golding’s, Lord of the Flies. In the 1954 novel, a group of boys are stranded on an island and quickly devolve into savage […]

Can You Read The Signs?

Where would we be without someone telling us where to go, what to do and how to get there? Thankfully, there are an abundance of signs out there to guide us poor, aimless creatures through life. Without a nudge in the right direction, it seems, we would follow the way of the lemming and fall […]

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 […]

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. […]