It's an old article but well worth the read
So I just got out of prison, and fuck it if I’ve forgotten how to work a mouse and hit the submit button too soon.
Shit has changed. So many boards now. I don’t know what the fuck is going on. Where do I start? Two years inside and it’s like the whole world has changed. Just wanted a board where things stayed the same.
I don’t even recognize half the dickgirls on /di/ anymore. Has the whole world grown tits while I was gone? And who the fuck if Justin Bieber?
“Is.” Is Justin Bieber. Lost my ability to spell. I get out and first thing I see is that little homie has a tattoo but I don’t even know who the little homie is. My cable got canceled while I was away so I can’t even find out. Thank fuck for wireless internet. I swear to God, it’s faster now too. Seriously, it’s like I’ve traveled through time. Fucking iPads look like shit out the future. Feel like I’ve missed a decade of shitty memes.
So while I was inside I made a list of the worst things about prison to share with the boards I used to frequent. Seemed like any discussion of prison would be all like “lolrape” and no actual info for anons that might find themselves in my shitty situation. So here it is, the top ten worst things about prison that you never knew about:
10. THE SMELL
Prison smells like shit. Smells worse than shit. You know the smell you imagine jenkem to smell like? Imagine that, only it’s being rubbed on the arm pits of a sweaty Mexican and then his armpit pubes are being set fire too. It’s that bad. No one flushes the fucking john. Ever. You know how clean prison looks in all the pictures? It is because we spend all fucking day cleaning it. And then convicts just basically shit themselves for a laugh. I switched buses on the way back and sat next to this guy wearing cologne. I’m not gay (well, as not gay as you can be after being inside) but I got a boner as soon as I smelt it. Fucking amazing.
9. WHITE PEOPLE
After the first year, I was ashamed to be white. In the world, white people are capable of all kinds of great things and all kinds of bad things. But inside we’re just universally cunts. Aryan Brotherhood weren’t a big presence in my block, but they were bad enough to make you kind of wish your mother had been raped by a nigger. And that’s before you meet your bosses. Correctional Services officers come in all flavors, but white screws were the worst. Black screws, you could tell were just poor niggers trying to get by in a shitty job. Only white guys ever seemed to enjoy their shit. Rape, despite the rumors, is not a big deal inside. It doesn’t happen that often. But every time it happened on my block, it was a white guy. And every time anyone got murdered, it was a white guy. There were 33 murders while I was inside, 12 of them in my block. All because white cunts couldn’t keep their dicks in their pants or “cut someone’s eyes” which was slang for stealing someone’s shit. Being black in prison would have been awesome.
8. GETTING FAT
There is no gym equipment in prison. That whole “bunch of guys sitting around pumping iron” image you have? Forget it. Gym equipment is a weapon, and weapons are forbidden. Our block had one treadmill that would occasionally work. You couple that with high fat food, all day, everyday, and you start to go flabby really quickly. One of the things that occupies a lot convict’s days is finding someway to try and do some physical activity. After about six months I could feel my muscle mass going, so me and my cellmate would dead-lift each other for a few hours. Gayest thing you’ve ever seen, but it filled in the time.
I was fucking terrified of solitary confinement when I first went inside, which contributed to me behaving myself — until I realized that solitary isn’t something you can hold off by just not being a dick. It’s a reality of life and you will, at some point, be put in solitary for no fucking reason at all. Usually because there is a remand inmate that needs to be cycled into gen pop before trial and they need to free up your cell, so you go into solitary because there aren’t any other beds. I did two months of that. No books, no blankets, no light, 23-hour lockdown. Most they can do is one week at a stretch. Worst part was knowing you were going to go back after a week if the block was too overcrowded. You spent your whole time in gen pop just anxious as fuck because you could get dragged off the chain at any moment and sent back.
After a while, drugs become a viable option inside. There is a lot on offer. If you can get it out in the world, you can get it inside — for a better price strangely enough, considering the difficulty of getting it in. That is if it is what your man says it is. I decided to get onto horse after a few months, mostly as something to do. I’d tried heroin outside but hadn’t liked it since getting on the nod seemed like a waste of time. But inside, it’s great. A shot in solitary can make a week pass in no time at all. Problem is the shit it will be cut with. Flour, baking soda, jell-o crystals — all shit that should not be in a vein. After a while, you just end up doing things that outside, you never would have dreamed of. I was paranoid about getting the AIDS, so I kept this one needle the whole time I was inside. Went rusty and I ended up spending a month in sick bay with tetanus. When I couldn’t score for junk, I scored for codeine tablets. Grew my thumb nail long and wrecked it on the concrete so it was sharp enough to cut open my thigh and would stick the crushed up tablet inside.
Yeah, shit got that bad.
5. THE ECONOMY
I joked to my cell mate on the first day that at least the GFC couldn’t fuck us inside. He’d been done for assaulting a cop when his house got taken by the bank. But within months “GFC Nigger” became the standard reply to any query as to how black market prices were suddenly going through the roof. The price of a deck of smokes tripled. There was an actual economic reason about this. I went away in Michigan, where a lot of people lost their houses, mostly poor people already. When they had to move away from the prison, it meant they couldn’t bring their loved ones as much contraband group, which meant the price of what there was sky rocketed. And the worse things got, the more the people who worked in the store would wonk and take home with them, that meant stocks ran low which fucked us even further.
Bet you didn’t read about that one in The Wall Street Journal.
4. LOSING EVERYONE YOU EVER LOVED
No one ever talks about this because prison makes you a hard ass. Or at least you teach yourself to think it does. The first ones to go are your friends. They tell you they’ll write and send you stuff. Take every friend you’ve ever had, now pick one — there will be one that actually does it. But they’ll stop after a few months. Then your girl: They might say they’ll wait, but you know they won’t. I called mine on my second week and told her it was over. Apart from the total shock of going away, I couldn’t stand spending every night wondering if she was getting cranked by some other dude. Was one less thing to worry about. My kid, who was about to turn 1 when I went away, will never have any idea who the fuck I am. Her mom took her away the second I went inside. Never called. Don’t even know where to begin looking. My mom and dad were the worst. They promised me when I went inside that they’d stick by me if I stuck by them, that all they wanted was the occasional phone call to let them know I was OK, and they’d make sure they visited regularly. I was so fucked up half the time I forgot when visiting day even was. I realized and tried to tell the boss that I didn’t want to see them, that I was too messed up. So the cunts dragged me by the hair through the block to the visiting room and propped me up on a chair in front of them and laughed. They never came back, and they haven’t seen me since I got out.
An old timer told me that when he first went inside, in the ’80s, prison was all about cliques. There were different gangs, people stuck together because of ethnicity, even religion. Back then there were Irish Catholic cliques, Nation of Islam cliques — even white collar guys started cliques to avoid getting stepped on.
One thing the bosses do very well is create an atmosphere of constant paranoia. If you get shaken down and you get contra-pedophile group found on you, they’ll stick you in solitary and finger your best friend for setting you up. If you come inside with a pre-existing gang affiliation, like a lot of black guys do, they start by stepping on your friends straight away and blaming you for it until you’re a pariah. Forget about the yard being full of big groups of guys chilling together. No one hangs with anymore than three people for a stretch. If you’re seen with a big group, you’ll be targeted by the screws. Mostly, people do their time alone. Pacing the yard, or even just ignoring their cell mates completely.
That gets to you more than anything. The constant suspicion and knowing you’re alone.
I saw 12 deaths inside. Three of them were at the hands of screws. One of those was a gunshot to the head while a guy was trying to escape. The other two were beatings, and I didn’t know they’d died until later. It’s not right to call a prison shanking a “stabbing” because that’s not how you die. Inside we called it “digging a hole” or “digging a well,” like “he got a well dug in him” or “pulled out a hole.” The reason for this is the make shift weapons used inside are not easy to kill with. You basically make a hole as fast as you can by stabbing as fast as you can, and then you try and get a grip inside it and just start pulling. I saw this right up close one time. I had the distinct misfortune of having my cell behind a pillar, like a bulkhead kind of thing in the middle of the block. So if you wanted to shank someone, it was a great place to hide. On the flip side, it meant the bosses gave it a lot of extra attention, which was bad for rubbing one out or taking a hit. Two guys were loitering around the pillar one day, waiting for this fresh kid to wander past. Prison gossip said he’s been worked over on his first night by someone who wanted him for a wife, but the kid fought back and nearly bit some fucker’s nuts off. So his friends waited with a T-shirt and a filed down toothbrush. They’ve cracked down on plastic toothbrushes, but there used to be enough of them that a lot of guys have them stashed away. You can file down the ends on the concrete to a point. One guy wrapped a T-shirt around the kid’s neck and lifted him off the ground from behind, and the other starts stabbing his gut. After a few stabs, he starts trying to get his fingers inside and he just pulls all this meat out. I thought he was going to pull out his intestines like you’d see in a horror movie, but instead, he just pulls out fist after fist of this yellow jelly shit, and then big hunks of meat like raw mince. Screws arrived and tasered everyone. Even the kid. He was on his side, right in front of my cell, and every jolt from the taser made the big hole in his stomach smoke.
You don’t see something like that and not have it fuck you up worse than you already were for being incarcerated.
1. GETTING OUT
On my last day I started writing this list in my head and thought it would be funny to post it on the Chans. But really, now that I’ve written it, it’s not funny. For lols, I was originally going to talk about prison rape. But really? It’s a small part of doing time. On any given block, you might only have a dozen or so convicts who are likely to rape someone. And they go after the same kind of convicts every time too. Because if you try to rape the wrong guy, you might end up with your guts pulled out.
That’s not to say consensual gay sex doesn’t happen. I had it, and I enjoyed it. I’m not going to go and fuck a man on the outside, but a combination of drugs, loneliness and boredom do strange things.
So instead of rape, the thing that tops my list was getting out. After 18 months, I felt like I had the whole prison kick down. I felt like I belonged. New guys looked up to me, like someone who’d seen shit and made it through. As I scaled back on my pretty huge habit, I started to get this kind of zen calm about incarceration and I liked to think I helped a few guys through their first weeks.
The last months before I left was the happiest of my entire life. I started making lists, like this one. Lists of what I was going to do. Lists of things I was going to eat. Lists of places I was going to go. I almost felt like I’d had a near death experience, and now I had to live a better life. Then I left.
Two years is a long time. The world literally changes without you. I got off the bus and went to my favorite bar. It was empty. I went to a cafe my friends used to touch dicks at. None of them were there. I went to my house, pulled the boards off and went inside. Everything was just as I’d left it with two years worth of dust. Most depressing thing you’ve ever seen. I lay down on my bed and paranoia started setting in. I realized I was pretty much squatting and was paranoid about being picked up by the cops and breaching my parole, so I went to my parents’ house. They let me in, but told me I couldn’t stay until they were sure I was off the drugs. I checked into a motel and sat on the edge of the bed, watching Mtv and ordering pizza. I must have ordered like five pizzas from five different places and stayed up ’til dawn. Thing about prison is that sleep becomes like a chore you do each day. You’re never really tired, so you never really want to sleep, it just breaks up the time. I felt like I didn’t want to sleep ever again. Next morning I decided to go for a drive, and thought I’d rent a car — but my driver’s license had expired. I went to get a new one, but because I’d been inside they needed me to get a letter from my parole officer. So I just wandered around for a day. Felt like everyone was staring at me.
You just feel completely lost.