Prison Life magazine, November-December 1995 | Prison Legal News Skip navigation

Prison Life magazine, November-December 1995

Download original document:
Brief thumbnail
This text is machine-read, and may contain errors. Check the original document to verify accuracy.
11

0

7 4470 8660 1

5

November-December 1995

FEATURES
23 Hollywood Goes to Prison
What happens when a Hollywood film director and a
prison-educated poet team up to make a movie inside
San Quentin? Prison Life interviews Taylor Hackford,
director of Blood In, Blood Out, based on the epic vision
of Jimmy Santiago Boca.

29 A Short, Brutal Life

-

Terry Fitzsimmons entered the Canadian prison system a
confused 18-year-old kid . Ten years later a deranged
killer emerged to seek revenge on society.

32 A CURE for Crime
Report from the Capital : Prison Life attends the Fifth
National CURE Convention . N ews on America' s grassroots movement to reform the criminal justice system.

36 FICTION
Animal Factory
In the first installment of Edward Bunker' s classic prison
novel, a veteran convict becomes mentor to a fresh fish
and teaches him to survive in the penitentiary.
l'ri'Ou l.ih- ISS:"# !Ofi!t-()709 :'\' t•H'IIIbc.·r · lkc:cmhc.•J, NumlH..'I (). 1'1 i<r.«m l.i fl· nl,,g;\/inc·~ j,. publi'ihcd lmnunt hl\' h\ Joint Venture M ed ia. 4200 Westheimc r. S uil e 160. H ou.•- iton. TX 77027-4426.
Pr i"'"' I ik nug:t.1iuc j,. priutcd iu thc..·L'S.A .u\d :111 ri~hts .uc.· rl'"CI"\Ccl. 0 l ~~•:--• h\Juiut \'~:uturt..• Medi.l, l ue. ='u p.m oft hi' boolm:wbc lt·proc.lu(l'Cl 01 tr;ul'\miucd in ;ul\' lcn m mIn ,1m llll',lll"
withulll \\I im·n penni .. -.iou of tht• puhli,hc•r,. U n ,oliciiCdmauu i\Crlpt lli ami photO);Iolphs ;u t• tht· n,• ,pon ..iblht) nf the 'c•uclcr"'. All lcrtcr' ~ nt to Pr i\.tm l .ift· m:tg:v iuc will ht• u·t.·.ttt·d as ttttfOil·
tliliOtt:tlh· ·"~i~ttt."•l fot• lht..' puhli( .tliiiU or l~t ocl ntt c. :utd :u·· 'ittltic( I II) "' i-.4111 l.ifc m:t~aLittl'·., IIIII"('''' it ted I i).thl lt.l t.•dit :tud ('( 1111111 ('1 11. S itt gk c.vpic' itt tltc u.s. s:t95. S tthsct iptttlll r.tll'' CUIC
\t'M i n U.S. $2:\.70 for fi i" llt''; 111 C.ttt.ul.t, $3!': .ut ;uldi1ional Sl:! ,.,,t.'\\ hCit': .Ill p.l\~thlc in U.S. fnnc.h tml). Plt·.t~ m:til all 'itth~riptiou o rder' ;uul ch:ut.:cli to Priw u L.ifl· m:agovim·. Suh~· r i1r
lion D t.·p.utmt·ut. •1200 \\',·,thcittU' t , Suitt· lliO. l lou'lton. TX 770 :l7·•H:!(j, P OSTl\L\STER: Pk.t!iiC fon\,ud ndtlt t'" chaugt·s tu l't·i,ott L ife· ~l:l~.llinc.·, 420() Wt•st ln·imer. Suill' H)(), l louslon, TX
770~7-+ l:!(i. J\pptm";.tlllt tuail ill ~ncl CJa,., po~ t:tgc.· rate is pt•tuliu).: at llou,lwt, TX :mel :t<l<lil ionalllt:tilittg ullin• .

4

PRISON LIFE

COVER STORY
44 Back on the Chain Gang
Publicity stunt or just punishment? Nonviolent
parole violators are forced to work shackled at the
ankles like slaves so that politicians and prisoncrats
can appear tough on crime. An inside look at
Alabama's chain gangs.

57 Gettin' Out & Goin' For the
Green-Legally!
Ex-con? Can't find a job in the freeworld? Prison
Life business correspondent Michael Chavaux

gives you three ideas for starting your own
business for under $300.
Cover Photo by Michael Corsentino

DEPARTMENTS
Voice of the Convict

6

Just in Case

71

Contributors' Column

8

Family Matters

75

Word

9

Mail-Order-Mall

77

Guest Editorial:
Con to Freeworlder: "Get Over It!"
Mail Call

10

Classifieds

80

In-Cell Cooking

82

Pen Pals

83

Block Beat

15

Resources

84

Insider Outlook

18

Callouts

20

Ask Bubba

61

Cellmate of the Month

63

Post-Release

64

12

The Low-Down on Post Release Benefits

Iron Pile

68

Fat A ttack- Aerobic Style

Tattoo of the Month

70
PRISON LIFE

5

AMERICAN OWNED
by Richard Stratt on
Editor & Publisher
t had been anoth e r marath on day.
I was up a t 2:30a.m., wrote from
three to fi ve, and by six I was on my
way into the city. A fu ll day of meetings
wou nd d o wn aro und seve n in the
evening. Afte r consulting with Professo r Afg h ani, a n Ame ri can e ntre preneur if eve r there was one, by nine that
night I was o n the road again . Traffi c
o n th e He nry Hudso n Pa rkway a nd
ove r t h e George Washin gton Bridge
was mod e rate. I surfed th e radio a irwaves loo king fo r j ust th e rig ht tun es
to carry me in to the heartland.
T h e n I heard a voice, th e voice of
the vo ice less. I r ecog ni zed Mum ia
Abu-J a m a l a nd reali ze d once aga in
that this was August 17, th e day Mumia
had bee n sch edu led to be execute d .
Cries of ouu·age and suppo rt for J amal
from a rou nd tl1 e world had resulted in
a n indefinite tay; I believe they feared
riots in the stree ts. A re p o rte r from
WBAJ in ew York and a Germa n journalist h ad m a naged to breach me dia
blac ko ut lines a nd ta lk with J a ma l
while he was be ing held at a county jail
in Philade lphia during several days of
hearings be fore the notorio us ha nging
judge Albe rt Sabo. Mu mi a's modula te d to nes a nd radical, egoless thoughts
(''The re a re ma ny Mumi a Abu:Jamals
o n d ea th rows a ll ac ross Am e rica .")
were just what I nee ded to pre pa re me
for th is j o urney.
Headi ng west o n Inte rstate 80, I
saw th e sig n "We lcome to Pe nn sylvan ia: Ame ri ca Begi n s He re" that my
wife had wri tten o f in h e r Prison Life
piece on J a m a l. Aro un d midni gh t, I
stop pe d for gas a n d food at a truc k
sto p that ha d tin y pay TV sets be fo re
th e stools a t th e cou n te r an d in th e
boo th s. Flan ked by team sters ea t ing
app le pic a Ia m od e and pum p in g
quarte rs into th e ir mini-tubes, I really
fe lt as tho ug h I ha d e nte re d a nothe r
Ame ri ca, a twi s1ed land o f supe r h ighways, ubi qu ito us TV , ba d food a nd
ho rrendous a rchi tec ture. By th e time

I

6

PRISON LIFE

l c hecked into the mo te l my frie nd 's
wife recomm e nded in Lewisbu rg, PA,
I had put in a 24-hou r day.
"Whi ch o n e?" the wom an a t th e
from d esk answered tl1e nex t mo rning
whe n I as ked h e r how to ge t to the
p1·ison. I knew tl1e area, reme mbered it
from the days whe n I came through on
the Bureau of Prisons bus. Then tl1e re
were just three federal j oints: ilie penitentia ry: Lewisb urg, with its sa te ll ite
camp; a nd Alle nwood, one o f th e first

Richard Stratton, family and fliends a/the
fedemljJrison in Danbuty, CT.

of the so-called "counu-y club·' prisons.
That was ten yea rs ago. Now I ha d
crossed in to Priso n America, a vi rtual
state of siege, a nd I needed directi ons
to tl1c new fed eral prison complex.
I wante d to get there early to beat
th e c rowd s. When I drove in to th e
co mpl ex, I was swnn e d . 'vVhi ch one,
indeed . I pulle d to th e side of th e
road a t th e top of a ro lli ng hi ll fo r a
panoramic view. I was surround e d by
prisons. Fe n ces a nd wa lls festooned
with g lea min g ribbo n s of co ncertin a

wire stre tche d in a ll direc tions. It was
as tl10ugh l had su·ayed into some vast
Pr isonland tl1 e me park: he re a prison,
th ere a p1·iso n , eveqrwh e rc a pri ·onpriso n. T he a rc hiteclllre was a n o min o us Taco Be ll style. I was struck by
how c losely pri so ns h ave co me to
rese mbl e the new fue l-and-fast-food
complexes sprou ting along the America n hig hway. Squat, brooding g untowe rs and sil ver ro lls of razo r wire
have replaced the Colde n Arches. Get
in o n the latest ho t fran chise; be th e
first in yo ur community to ope n a new
MacPrison .
Th e r oad wo un d th ro ugh th e
Fede ra l Pri so n Co mp le x a t White
Dee r. Th e r e was n o mista kin g th e
m ax imum sec urity j o int. A se n se or
doom ema n a te d from its m ass ive
walls. Th e first prison I tried wa · n ot
th e rig h t o ne. There we re gradations
in sec urity I cou ld n ' t fathom: a few
Ies su·ands or razor wire; no g un towe rs. Still , no one was going to get out.
And even if o ne d id , the esca pe was
further into Pri so nl and.
\<\'hen I fou nd the rig h t institlllio n
and e n tered , I was rem inded of a comm e nt a fri e nd h ad m a d e wh e n h e
came to visit me a t th e fe d e ra l prison
in O tisville in th e micl-'80s. ··o n e
thing these people know how to do is
run pri so n s." Am e ri ca n in ge nuity,
Ame ri can e ffi cie ncy: if yo u want to see
it h a ppe n , m a ke it a busin ess. Th e
joint was clean , antiseptic. But wh en I
wen t to the fron t de k to fi ll o ut th e
visiting form s, th ey told me the co mpute r was down . Panic in cyberspace,
an e lectronic riot tha t meam the cops
had to call my friend ' Unit Team and
c h ec k lO sec if m y n a me was on hi s
approve d vis ito rs li l. Para noia took
ho ld . Eig ht yea rs in priso n had o nly
serve d to stre ngthe n my conviction to
qu esti o n a uth ority. Are th ey wiring
th e visitin g roo m ? If t h ey let m e in,
will they le t me out?
It was just after e ig ht in the morn-

in g, a lready a num be r of the fa ith ful
had g ath e red and we r e wa iting
patie ntly to e n ter th e priso n. I
watch ed two Muslim wom e n in trad itiona l d a rk ro bes as t h ey stru gg le d
with thre e yo un g c hil dre n , o n e of
wh o m was a surpri sin g ly h a ppy a n d
active li ttle boy with a badly deforme d
spine . T h ey worried ove r the biza rre
questionnaire: Are you bringin g an y
ex plosives? Wea p o n s? Dope? T wo
teen age Ita li an boys a nd a man I
guessed was th e ir g randfather; an o ld,
Eas te rn Europ ea n cou pl e; a you n g,
skinn y blo nde; a Latin o man in his
ea rly thirti es: incom ple te couples and
fam ilies wa ited for a brief reu ni o n
with the ir imprisoned othe rs.
Gradually we were admitted , first
through the me tal de tector tha t always
goes o ff on accoum of m y b ion ic hip.
I h ad to ta ke o ff my sh oes a nd be lt
be fore some young Penn sylvania farmboy dressed up as a corrections officer
stamped my wrist with special ink tha t
sh ows up und e r ultra viole t li g ht.
The n we passed th ro ug h a se ries o f
e le c tronically co ntrolled d oors, u p a
ramp into the parched , den uded compound. Som e people say th ese n ew
prisons look like college ca mpuses; if
so , this place was Harvard fro m he ll.
The id ea see ms to be to e rad ica te a ll

traces o f n a ture, replace grass, tre es
and plants with cinde r block, co ncrete,
metal a nd plastic foliage.
It was eerie going back in a fte r five
years o n th e o ttts ide. I have visited
othe r priso ns; the previous week I had
been to see a fri e n d a t the fe d e ra l
prison in Danbury, Connec ti cu t. But
that is a n older joint, all wo me n now,
a nd more like a real prison than some
huge indusu·ial pa rk and regional corporate headquarte rs. T his was th e first
tim e I had been inside o n e of th e
mode rn mega-p riso n s, my first excursio n to B.O.P. Priso nland , In c. Th e
place had a ll the te no r a n d a unosphere of a fu turisti c factory where th e
product is ke pt hidd e n. Wh at un se ttl ed me was how norma l it seemed to
evet)'One but me.
No ne o f th e priso ne rs was in th e
la rge visiti ng room whe n we e nte re d.
The furniture, UN ICO R modular, was
arranged in neat rows. The cops ma nning the visiting room , a clean-cut pai r
who could j ust as easily have bee n runn in g a con veni e n ce store, were a ll
b usin ess. Wh ole fami lies, the re to
sp e n d a clay with cla d or broth e r o r
son , sta ked out tables and c hairs. The
kids nocked ar o und vending machin es
where they boug ht arm loa ds o f packaged food they spre ad on tables picnic-

style. A con crete-walle d o utdoor area
furn ish e d with UN ICOR pa tio se tsta b les a nd be nch es with umbre llasm a d e m e th ink o f poolside at th e
tvlotel Cali forn ia, where th e re is n o
pool a nd you can' t check out.
In one's a nd two's, khaki-clad prisoners e nte re d fro m th e shake-down
roo m. I re cog ni ze d a blac k co nvict
with who m I h ad been lo c ked up a t
MCC New Yo rk a decade be fore . He
d idn ' t look as th o ug h he ha d aged a
clay, bu t h is m oth er was in a wh eelc hair. As prisone rs a nd visito rs fi lle d
the roo m , I re me mbe red th e b itte rswee t feelings a visit stirr e d in me
while I was a prisone r. I watched
mo me ntarily as whole fam ilies experienced the j o y and heartache of being
re un ited wi th a loved o ne, who would
soon have to return to his cell.
FOT" nearly three hours, my friend
rega le d m e with his intelligence. I
th ought abo ut th e waste of imprisoning a man like this, a no nviole nt, firstLim e m a rijuan a offende r . It cost
taxpayers upward s o f thirty grand a
year to keep him he re in Prisonland
like so me capti ve specim e n from
o u te r Ame ri ca. H e should b e o u t
workin g and ra ising his fami ly. I met a
few of his friends, other drug prison-

( continued on f}(tge 74)

PRISON LIFE

7

PRisoNLin:
November-December 1995
EDITOR & PUBUSHER
Richard Stratton
EXECUTIVE EDITOR & ART DIRECTOR
Chris Cozzone
EDITOR-AT-LARGE
Kim Wozencraft
MANAGING EDITOR
Jennifer Wynn

J im Ballar d , loc ked up in Orofino,
Idah o, con tribmed the piece on postr e lease bene fits. "I' m in my tenth
su·aight year of doing time," Jim writes.
"Thanks fo r g iving m e the ch a nce to
wri te for you r mag." Look fo r m ore of
Jim 's work in upco ming issu es.

CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: FREEWORLD
Steve Gressak

Ex-con Edward Bunker, author of such
hard-bo iled classics as No Beast So Fierce
and AnimalFactmy (excerp ted in th is
issu e), lives in Hollywood, CA, wh ere
h e writes n ove ls a nd sc re e np lays.
Bunker, wh o was th e cover s tory of
PL's Sept./ Oct. issu e ("Am e ri ca's
Greatest Living Con vict Write r"), has
been he ralded as o ne o f the few American writers who h ave created au thenti c literature o ut of th eir experien ces
as crimin als.

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS
Michael Corsentino, Tony Hardman,
Elizabeth Heimlich, Alan Pogue
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS:
BEHIND BARS
Jim Ballard, Mike Chevaux,
Alex Friedmann, Karl Johnson, David Wood

Mich ael Chavau x , PL's May Cell y of
th e Month and busi ness edito r , wrote
"Gettin ' Out & C oin ' for th e GreenLegally." From Michi ga n 's Adrian
T e mporary Facil ity, h e r u n s a ma il
order service for forrune h unte r·s an d
wrote a book on buying used cars.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: FREEWORLD
Oriana Conti, Tricia Hedin,
Peter Schmidt, Michael Steinberg
PRISON UFE EDITORIAL OFFICE
175 5th Ave, Suite 2205
New York, NY 10010
Tel: (212)229-1169
Fax: (212)229-1334

Michael Corsentino, the photographer
and writer of this issue's cover story, visited Alabama shortly after he heard that

DESIGN & LAYOUT
Bobo Willkie w/ Mike Feldman
OFFICE MANAGER
Darrell Vesper
CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS: BEHIND BARS
Joseph Hernandez, Henry Herz,
B.D. Hill, Enrique Ortiz

chain gangs were being resurrected. "I
kn ew the re was a story th ere," h e says.
Corsentino took a break from his job as
a graphic d esigner in NYC to spend an
en tire week on the chai n gang.
Alex Friedmann, ou r resource ed itor,
has spen t two years compiling data o n
agencies and resources fo r prisoners, excons a nd their fam ilies. He con tinues
his research at S.C.C. C. in Clifton, TN.
Steve Gressak illustra ted this issu e ' s
guest edito rial. He works as a free lance
illusu·aror· in New York.
J oseph Hernandez, illustrator of
"Wh o's Got th e Money," is a graff-iti
artist and illustrator locked up at Green
Haven Correctional iri New York.
Even though he's stuck in the Hole in
Texas, Henry Herz is able to supply PL
with top-no tc h illustrations and
comics, shown th roughout the issue.
B.D. H ill, illustrato r of th e excer·pt
from An ima l Factory, is serving a 30year bid in Hun tsvi ll e, TX.
Peter Schmidt, forme rl y a corporate
lawyer, wr ites th e 'Ju st in Case" column , a synops is o f r e leva nt fede r al
rulings.

CANADIAN SALES OFFICE
Robert Rowbotham,
Canadian Managing Director
Ken Bean, Assistant
253 College St., Suite 444
Toronto, ONT M5Tl R5
Tel: (905) 773-1746
Fax: (905) 773-8088

JOINT VENTURE

MEDIA, INC. of TEXAS
PRESIDENT & CIRCULATION MANAGER
MaryMizwa
ADVERTISING DIRECTOR
A. Richard de Antoni
OPERATIONS ASSISTANT
Janette Sherlock
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION
& INQUIRIES
4200 Westheimer, Suite 160
Houston, TX 77027-4426
CALL: 1-800-207-2659
INTERNET ADDRESS
HTIP:/ magazine@concom.com/ pi mag
Address inquiries online to
Stan Dickens (sdickens@daystan.com)

PRINTED IN U.S.A.

s PRISON LIFE

Money Back
Satisfaction
Guaranteed!

Optical, Inc.
P.O. Box 680030, Dept PL53
North Miami, FL 33168

Prism Optical has been selling prescription eyeglasses to inmates across the
nation for over 34 years. You may select from a full line of eyeglass frames for
men and women, including designer styles, metal frames, and sports g lasses,
discounted 30-50%. You can have your prescription lenses ground by Prism
Optical, and choose from a number of lens options, including photochromic
lenses, ultra-thin lenses, fashion tinting, and UV-filtering and scratch-resistant
coating. Single vision, bifocals, trifocals and invisible bifocals are available.
Prism guarantees that the glasses will fit correctly, and the catalog provides
guides to gauging the correct size of the temple and bridge.

FAR FROM HOME?
NEED YOUR LOVED ONES?

by Chris Cozzone, Ex ecutive Editor

X

t's a rare occasion whe n correct ions d epartm e nts or th e
B.O. P. give th e media an y so n
of a ccess to a pri so n . No rmall y, yo u
have tO submit a stack o f pa pe rwork
and go thro ugh a lot of ve rbal bullsh it
in order to sec a sing le priso n e r.
Alth o 11g h t h ey cann o t legall y d e n y a
priso n e r a ccess to th e med ia , t h e
whi te shirts in charge of mecl i« re latio ns can (an d do ) sta ll yo u past your
deadl in e by g ivin g yo u th e "lack of
staff at this poi nt" exc use or "Mr. Soa nd-So is in the H o le rig ht n ow and
not a ll owed media visits."
Things ch a nge when the priso nc rats want th e publicity.
Freelance photographer Michael
Co rsentino was a b le to sh oo t the
Alaba ma c hain gan g f'ealUred in thi s
issue fo r e ight days. He ll, th e AJabam«
O.O. C. in vite d him in . "C' m on o n
dow n and g it al l th e pic tures yo u
wan t," th ey told him, knowing tha t th e
public eats this ·hit up.
O f co urse, I' m sure the go od o l'
boys clown 1here had no idea Cor·sentino 's expose wo ul d n o t on ly portray
th e atroci ties or life o n the chain ga ng
but wo uld en d up in th e evil Prison
Life magazine.
T he Ala ba ma p ri so n crats wan t
everyone to kn ow. Those re dne c ks
want the wo rld to sec what they' r e
d oi ng, how they're straigh te n ing o ut
socie ty's ·'scu m '' and gc u ing thei r
highway clcanccl fo r free.
"Yessa h massa h boss, yo u sure
kn ow h ow to wo rk 11s crimin a ls to
d eath ... 1 ossi r, wou ldn ' t dare commit anutha c rim e now ... '·
Read o n: Yo 11 'll sec how fuckedu p
the who le th ing is.
And you wond er why this coum ry is
plag ued with slamecl j o urn alism? Why
th e public is so un sy mpa th e ti c to th e
hum an rig hts vio la ti ons of American
prisoners? Easy-because evcty thi ng is
controlled by access a nd coope ration
by th e g uys in c harge. Once peo p le
sta n seeing real images of Ame rican
priso n life, th ere's ho pe that th in gs
migh t c hange. Look at America's reaclion to Vieu1 am. Look at Bosnia. South
Africa. Even the bombing in Okla ho ma
City. What if the re had been no images
o•· fi lm clips of those horror stories? Do
you thi nk 1he)' would have gotten the
auen Lio n th ey d id if we had to me re ly
visualize the scenes? Doubt it.
Priso n cra ts kn ow wh a t th ey a re

doing when th ey lim it j o urn a lists.
T hey arc protecting the mselves from
be in g ex posed, from losing co n tro l
and from facing the truth th at prisons
a re n o thin g but m o n ste r factories.
C h ai n ga n gs, co ntro l units, g u ard
bru wli ty and wretche d cond itio ns are
n o t go in g to pro du ce a nythin g for
socie ty bu t anima ls.
Case in po int: T c n y Fitzsi mm ons,
a dark p rod u ct o f' the Canad ia n co rreclion syste m. Fitzsimmons started his
criminal ca reer as a confused , IS-yearold conve nience store thief. He e nded
it te n years late r by injecti ng himself'
with th e HI V-infec ted blood of hi s
fo urth m u rder vic tim a n d LUrning
himself in to the pol ice. Shortly before
his d eath , Fi tzsimmons spem time with
Prison Life's Ca nadian corresp o nd e m
O ri a na Co n ti and expla ined how the
le th al co m bina tio n o r yea rs in th e
Hole, inadequa te w unscling and zero
re ha bilita ti on turned a troubled man
into a raving mani ac.
Th e sa m e th e me is ex p lo re d in
thi s iss u e's fi c ti o n supp le m e nt, a n
excerpt from Edward Bunke r's prison
classic, Animal Farlnty. Bunke r, wh ose
ug ly m ug g ra ced o ur Sept e mbe r
cove r, te lls th e stOry o f a yo u ng, San
Quemin con whose spi ri t is d estroyed
by the crim inal justice srstcm.
It 's peo p le like C h a r lie a nd
Paulin e Sulliva n , f'reeworld fo unde rs
of an o rga nization called CU RE (Citize ns Re un ited for th e Re h a bilita ti o n
of Erra n ts) who arc d o ing real work in
t h e fi e ld o f' co rrectio ns. Prison Life
atte nded th e ir fift h na ti o n a l con ventio n in D.C. and met similar-min ded
people co mmiued 10 priso n refo rm .
For those o f you gc11in ' o ut soon ,
readj im Ba lla rd 's low-down o n postre lease be ne fits. And o ur business e dito r Mic h ae l C h avaux is back wi th
three id e as for legal businesses yo u
can start for under $300.
Th e on ly thin g th a t 's missi ng is
Bubba. He's bee n pu t in th e Ho le for
runn ing a busi ness, i.e. writing h is column fo r Prison Lifr. Actua lly, we were
ho p ing th ey' d transfer h im to Lime stone a n d stick hi s sor ry ass o n th e
chain gang, butl hey co uldn ' t fi nd a
pai t· of' shackl es wide e no ugh 10 fit his
fat an kl es.
For all you eludes missin ' your loved
o nes ove r th e ho lid ays, ha ng in the re
<mdtry to ma ke 1he most o f it. We hope
this issue will make tl1 e ti me easie r.

If you a re far fro m home, the Law
Offices of Benninghoff & Ramirez can
ass is t yo u in mov ing yo u closer to
your loved ones. We ha ve been able
to accomplish th is both in the fede ral
system and in va ri ous states.
We have fou nd tha t the cha nce for
rehabi litatio n is g reatly imp roved
w hen there is p roximity to family and
loved ones.
If yo u find you rself fa r from your
fami ly and loved ones, p lease wri te to
us. We will employ all of our yea rs of
experience to help you. Our ra tes a re
reasonable a nd we w ill provide a
very prom pt response.

INTERNATIONAL PRISONERS
Go HoME!
Not only do we have yea rs of experience moving prisoners closer to
their fa mili es, bu t we're a lso ab le to
assist p risoners in re turning to the ir
homela nds to comp lete the ir sentences. We have been successful with
priso ners from th e follow ing co untri es: Austri a, Belg ium, Canada,
Cyprus, Denm ark, France, Germany,
Greece, Icela nd , Ireland, Ita ly, Luxe mbo urg, Mnlta, Ne the rl ands, Norway, Por tu ga l, Spain, Swed en ,
Switzerlnnd a nd the United Kingdom.

LIBERTAD TEMPRANA
PARA PRESOS HISPANOS
Los prisoneros Hispanos, especialmente en el sistema federal, pueden
se r trans feridos hacia Mexico,
Espana, Bolivia, Peru y Panama para
recibir libe rtad temprana, y vivir
cerca de sus seres queridos atraves
de los servicios del Bufete de Benninghoff & Ramirez. Atraves de
nuestras oficinas hemos proveido Ia
transfere ncia a muchisimos prisoneros Hispanos.
Los prisoneros transferidos
podran recibir Jibe rtad immediata
bajo fianza, libertad temprana para
trabajar, y tiempo libre por buena
cond ucta. Tambie n, h emos tenido
mucho exito con prisoneros a los
cuales se les ha negado Ia transferenda anteriormente.
Favor de escribir a Ia siguiente
direccion pa ra que reciba un folleto
descriptivo prparado especialmente
para prisoneros Hispanos.
W rite to (Escriba a):
& RAMIREZ

BENNINGHOFF

P.O. Box 1355
SAN JUAN CA PISTRANO, CA

92675

PRISON LIFE

9

PRISONER TO FREEWORLDER:
11

GET OVER ITII
by Karl C. Johnson

M

y (i rsl eve r dea th threat came in th e mo rning's
mai l. lL was a ve no mo us respo nse from a frecworlde r to a n o p-ed piece I wrote in the Oregoninn exp ressing va lid con cerns a bout co nvicted crim ina ls.
On be ha lf o f America's incarce ra te d , I feel com pel led to
issue a rcbuua l. He re arc a few exce rp ts fro m th e freeworlder's le u er:
These crimiunls thinh thf)• have an opinion because a rag-ass
Uf'WS/)(1/Jer lihe the Oregonian gives them one. Till')' thinh someonP
brlieves their sony stOI)' about doing hard time. Even on a good
dny, the motlu•r of an imnate has to admit that her son is nothing
betler tlwn a lying idiot.

Sorry, but we priso n ers do form o ur own ideas a nd we
ce rtain ly have o pinio n s, especially about impriso nm e nt.
And Mom said sh e n o t o nly be lieve d my h a rd-tim e story,
she doesn ' tthink I' m a n id io t e it he r . I did n ' t press h e r
o n th e lyin g pan-it 's an occupatio na l n ecessity for any
c rimina l. O th e rs wh o un dersta nd o ur "sorry story about
do in g tim e" in c lud e th e
Natio n a l Pri so n Project of
the Ame ri can Civil Libe rties
Un ion , Amn es ty Inte rnatio n al, th e Huma n Rig hts
Wa tc h , Prison Fe llowship
a nd th e Fo rtun e Soc ie ty.
Me mbe rs of the e o rga ni zati o ns h ave sp e nt ti m e in
pri o n , e ither as convicts or
as vo luntee rs. They sp ea k
with in tim a te kn owledge o f
th e d iffi c ulti es an)' hum a n
races do in g time. 1a t io nwide, thousa nds o f local re lig io us vo lun t ee rs and te n s o f tho u sa nd s o f pri son e rs'
famil y m e mb e rs ha ve see n the des tru c tive resu lts o r
priso n firsth a nd.

o r least resista nce and th e lifestyle they know is beuer tha n
o ne they don ' t kn ow.
Priso n ra p e is a proble m t h a t has as mu ch to do wit h
ho mosex ua lity as street ra pe has to d o with hetero ·exuality-no thing at all. Bull ies will a lways try to ex ploit others
through sheer physical stre ngth . Rape is one o f th e ir tools.
It proves a ma n 's brutality, granting him power ove r those
who can ' t figh t him. The truth o f th e matter is the re a re
many more victims th an rapists. A "con ·enti ng homosexua l'' is in no way rela ted to a turned-o ut boy-toy raped imo
submissio n, fo rced to provide any service to avoid anoth er
vicio us showe r session.
So wh y do so ma ny people rewrn to priso n? In very few
ca es, it's beca use the per on's tru ly a n an imal, belo nging
n ow he re e lse . More o ften , priso n beco mes ho m e. Man y
priso ne rs were mandate d by the state to spend their chi ldhoods in foste r homes, bouncing from one state-regimem c cl instituti o n to an oth er before winding up in th e sta le
pe n: re fo rm sc hools to state hospita ls to juvc n ile justice
ce nte rs. To the m , p rison is the only place th ey b e long
because it 's the o nly place they know.

People still snivelling
about ruined lives rather
than grabbing hold and
rebuiiCiing, are doing so
because they like the
victim role.

T hey tltinh someone else is
to blamr. Their lifr in prison
is not theirfault. The;• blame
the "s)'Stem," their mother or
fathe1·, th e prison nurse or
even Dear Abb)•for their jJroblems. TIU')' do not /mow how
to accept any rt'S/Jonsibility.

They thin/1 th f')' don 't lihe life in prison, when in fact the;• love
it.' ThP)' love to brag to a ll thPi1" criminal friends about their
jwthetic crimes. The;· love to /ram new criminal shills and llwy
love being with other men IH•cnusP their homose;nw llust is not
only f ulfilled in jJrison but tllf')' can also justify it.
If thf')' don't love it, wh)' do the;· heejJ going bach? The reason is
bmJUsr it 's their homt•, its the only piare where they truly brlong.

Listing factors conu·ibuting to crime is not sh ifting
b lam e. Psyc h o logis ts and
sociologists a re n 't providing exc uses wh e n th ey
po int o u t cu ltu ral, socia l a nd e nvironm en ta l fac to rs leadin g to c rime. C rimin a ls are n 't shirking respo nsib ili ty by
acknowle dging evem s in thei r lives tha t led the m to commit a crime. It's part of th e self-discovery process. I wen t to
priso n beca use I broke the law. I kn ew I co u ld be p u nished , but felt the po te n tial gain outweighed the poten tia l
loss. I broke the law because I wan ted to.
1ow I don ' t want to. I wan t norma lcy. To get tha t, I must
explo re what le d me to become a crimina l. I' m no t blaming society o r my fami ly or even Dear Abby. I' m not U)'ing
to assign blame. I'm trying to fix the problem.

Al l too often this is u·u e. I recen tly heard a man brag incessantly about th e e ig lnball o f coke he 'd sco re a nd the new
'Ven e h e' d steal his fi rst day ou t. Fo1· each such bragga n ,
however, I can fin d two me n striving to change the ir lives.
Unfo nunatel )•, many sin ce re o nes will re wr n beca use
li ke most people, th ey' re steering thei r lives down the path

They think th£')' deserve to be treated as lunnans while the;' are
doing time. fn fact, the way tlu'Y hour roblml, raped, assaulted,
sold drugs and !om ufJ respectable comnwnities, j1roves the;• are
not lmman and not worthy of being consideml pm·t of society. A
good altemative to "doing time" fJlaying cm·ds and watchi ng TV
would be to worlr these useless animals to death. Another cost effec-

10 PRISON LIFE

live measure would be lo shoot habitual ojfmders and drug dPalers Tight in the com·t TOom and uol waste money in tmnsjJor/ation and warehousing.
Increased crime is a sympto m, no t a cause of ou r socia l
ills. So, too, is th e treatme nt o f crimi nals. Perha p s we
d o n ' t d ese rve hu man trea tm en t. P erhaps we sh ould
ap peal to th e ASPCA ra th e r than th e ACLU when we ' re
mistreate d. But we are human. We are the pan of socie ty
that refl ects Ame rica's da rkest side.
But we refuse to be d ehuma ni ze d. T hat is our most
huma n u·ait. Should slave labor, concentration ca mps an d
summa ry execu ti on become th e norm, we' ll be have as
hum a ns always behave wh e n face d with g ross tyranny.
Some of us will sell out to our warders, so me of us will die
re fusing to coope rate, but most of us will muddle tJwough,
trying to make o ur lives a nd ou r friends' lives be tter.
As fo r work-we'll work, bu t as men, not d raft ani mals.
G ive us som e in centive and we' ll li ne u p for it. Wh y do
convicts spe nd the sum mer figh ting fires for a pro m ised
$1.25 an hou r tl1a t they sometimes never even receive? A
coup le o f mo nths watching MacGyver and T he Equa lize r
and we'd vol unteer fo r road crews a nd chain gangs, anything to move the time a long and se nd us to bed tired.
Treat us like huma ns, a ll ow us some hope, let us be productive. The n the money spe n t in kee ping us won't be
waste d.

They thinll lhal once their lime is done they are fo,given. No
rnaller whatllind of lime they serve it is nol enough to make them
jJay for the scars they havP left on their victims and ou1· communities. The;• may walh away after a few )'Pars ofeaJ)' ti111e, bullhe
vir/ims have lo live with lite shit Ihallhese jJUnhs have spread on
their lives. No lime can erase litefeelings ojjfm~ hatred and generalmistrusl generated by the criminal sub-culture.
You know, I don 't really g ive a damn if I'm forgiYen .
Th at's no t my problem. People still parad ing victimization after a year or so, people still snivell ing a bout ru ined
lives rath e r than grabb ing h o ld a n d rebu ildi ng, a re
doing so because th ey li ke th e victim ro le.
It's true, no amoun t of ti me l do can h eal my vic tims'
wo unds. T ha t's because doing time is not consu·uctivenot fo r my victims, fo r me or for socie ty. My five-year sente n ce se rve d n o rea l purpose. l received some
counseling; I d oubt if my victims rece ived a ny.
Whil e I was d own , I sh o uld h ave bee n invo lved in
counseling with my vic tims. Counseli ng I paid for. Cou nseling a imed at teaching me the damage I did. Cou nseling a imed a t teach ing my vic tim s to le t go of the ir rage,
to learn to fo rgive-not for my sake, but fo r the ir own.
T he freewo rlder's fina l words: johnson, I would bet that
this isn 'I )'Olt.rfirsl prison experience, and I bet that once )'Ott get
out you '1·e jJlanning to re-ojfend. I can only hojJP that you do it
iu my neighborhood so f rnn l1ill you . Until then, I can onl)' continue lo arm myself and dream about seiVing tnw justice.
This was my fi rst, a nd I ho pe, o nly priso n ex perie nce.
I'm n ot plan ning to reoffend bu t I can ' t p ro mise I won't.
After a ll, th e fact that I did it o nce proves that I'm capable
of doing it aga in . NevertJ1eless, I U)' to recognize and correct my real th inking errors. But th e re a re so many, the
cycle is so ingraine d, I may no t make it.
One of my coun seli ng ha ndbooks poin ts ou t tha t success in recove1y is not based on how well I do in life or by
how good I fee l a bout myse lf. Success is measured by
having no more victi ms. Be ing successful is how I d rea m
about erving true justice.
PRISON LIFE

11

BONKERS FOR BUNKER
T ha nk you , Richard Strauon , for
introducing us to Edward Bunke r in
yo ur Se pte mbe r/ O c tobe r '9 5 issue .
Edward Bunke r is a g reat write r period. The wo rds "convict write r" are too
limitin g. Like al l g re a t writers, he
draws his tal e nt fro m th e d e pths of
his soul and experie nces. He is willing
to sh a re a ll that with h is readers,
while o pe ning up his heart and soul.
Bravo ! To a g rea t write r a nd a g reat
man !
Ri chard Su·auon needs to be cong ra wl a ted fo r writin g a sup e rb biog ra p h ical essay o n Buhke r. I t is
obvio u s fro m Stra tto n 's writin g style
th at h e, too, is a n exce ll e nt write r,
reporte r and editor. P1ison Life and its
readers a re fo rtuna te to have hi m.
Wh e re can we o rd e r all of
Edward Bunke r 's boo ks?
Samuel j. Smolen, Jr.
Darmeuwm, N. Y.

Unforltwately, Edward Bunker's
books a.re out of print in the United States.
You cm1, ho wrom~ order some titles, su ch
as No Beast So Fie rce, fmm the Priso n
Life boolistorr-Books on the Block. See
the ad on pagr 78 for o1'flm·ing infon nalion. Bunlter's San Qumtin novel, Anima l Fac to ry, is exrPI1Jled in this issue of
Prison Life .
- Editors

COMPTON: YOU'RE COOL
I h ave just finish ed reading Virginia Compton 's anicle, "No Place for
a Wo ma n ," in th e Septe mbe r/ Oc to b e r iss u e. The a rticle was co m-

12 PRISON

LIFE

pe lli n g a nd ins ig luful , a first-ra te
piece o f j ou rn alism that courageously
addressed the distin ct crisis that incarce rated wome n face eve ry d ay. I am
gra teful tha t you reca nted your d ecision to d ecline being an "inside" correspo nde nt fo r P1ison Lifr and instead,
o pted to o n ce again d isplay th e
prove rbial "ope n fo r business" sign .
Yo ur un iqu e pe rspective, inte ll ige nt a n d frank writing is ve ry much
appreciated and insta lls a who le n ew
dim e nsio n of resp ectabili ty to Prison
Life magazine.
j osejJh R. Pulliam
Reprrsa, CA

PRAISE FOR BACA
Just fini sh ed readin g C h ris Cozzon c's story o n J immy Santiago Baca
in th e july-A ug ust issu e. It's ni ce to
read a su ccess sto ry a bout a co nvict!
Main strea m medi a rarely pri n t a nything abo ut a con re wrning to so cie ty
and d o in g th e ri g ht th in gs. As for
Baca, and ma ny o th e r convicts o ut in
the re al wo rld o r about to return ,
th ey must be stron g e n o ugh with in
th e sou l to le t priso n go . Wa ke up
fro m the nighu11are a nd the next step
wi ll be peaceful drea ms in stead o f
ha ume cl screams.
Baca sa id whe n h e was re leased
from th e pits of he ll tha t he wa nted to
re turn . Either h e's a sad ist or prison
almost got th e best of him- as it does
to too many. Instead , Baca turned the
table of to rme nt into a picnic of positive ac hi eve m e nt. Bravo fo r Baca!
H e's a perfect ro le mo de l fo r convicts
wh o a re trying to ge t so me thing o ut
of the ir lives.

The re are many ta le nted write1·s,
artists a nd c ritics withi n p riso n walls.
Speaking fro m firstha nd ex perie n ce,
with II years clown, a few o f the m in
so li ta ry, I kn o w that solitude can
broaden a pri so ne r's pe rspec tive a nd
increase the sen ses. Or it ca n turn a
huma n imo a savage.
Yes, Baca has bitte n with his fa ngs
into the swee t pie of li fe instead of the
poiso n of priso n. Mo re powe r to him .
Un Vato Loco ,
Georgie Fields
Menanl Carrectionallnstilution, IL

GET THE WORD OUT
I ' m writin g in resp o n se t o th e
article in the July-August issue by Jon
Marc Taylo r regardin g th e Reader's
Digest article po rtraying our na ti o n 's
priso ns as resorts. I' m h ip to the article 's d e libe ra te a tte mpt to "smoke
scr ee n " soci e ty and was ge nuin e ly
appalled at th e Re(ufpr 's Digest auth or 's
ign o ra n ce so braze nl y d isplayed by
his inabili ty to speak the truth .
The three accounts o f real truth
be hin d priso n conditio n s we re relayed as po ig na ntly and acc mate ly as
a ny I've ever read. I applaud those fellow cons fo r their galla ntry.
But this n eed s furth e r ex p lo itation . How man y wh o n eed to h ea r
these Lrue-life acco unts actua lly subscribe to Prison Lijr? These a rticl es
n eed to ma ke th e b ig time pe ri o dicals-th e n ewspape r s a ro und the
country via th e Assoc ia ted Press a nd
magazine read by the ge ne ral public:
Reader 's Digest, Lif r, Time, McCall 's,
Good HottSelleejJing, e tc. What a shame
for th e ta le n ts o f th ese me n to go
unno ticed . P1ison Life is a wo nderful
magazine, but we can ' tjust let it

sto p th e re. We n eed to educate th e
public about th e show j ob the med ia
is sending.
Wh atever happens, le t's get this
articl e out to th e world. vVe co ns
already know the truth. It's our job to
see that everyone else docs too.
Thanks for making a di ffe re nce.
81)'011 Nfildmhall
Central Utah C.F., UT

RATHER BE HOMELESS
THAN HERE
I'm locked down h ere a t SCIGree n , a max secu rity prison in PA,
a nd I think you r mag is the real deal.
I' m glad you talked abou t the people
who think we have it so good in
prison. I don 't see where I have it so
good. I'm from Phill y so I can 't see
most of my family because they're too
far away. I' m in th e H o le so on ly
immediate fami ly can come see mebeh ind a glass. My mom and g randmom passed away this year so that's
th e end o f my visits.
Oh yea h , th ey were g iving o u t
lun c h a co up le d ays ago a nd a bou t
five o r six of us had spit o n o u r trays.
Som ebody took t im e o u t to spit o n
ou r trays. Yeah, we got it real good.
I'd rather be h omeless with nothing tha n he re.
j emwine TlwmjJson
SCI-Green, PA

CONVICT CODE: KEY-RYEST!
Just fi nish ed r ead ing yo ur Jul yAugust issue, a nd it's tim e for me to
speak out, whi ch I usually do for a ll
the hardcore mofo's in this hell-hole.
As we all share the PL mag here at the
Special Manage melll Unit (SMU), we
read a story in your last issue of some
wan n a-tel l-everyone-he's-a-ha rei core

m o t he r fuc ker who says h e's
earned hi patch, b la h b lah blah, a nd
th a t everyone else is a chump ("Revising th e Convic t Code," by J orge
Re na ud). He te lls it all th e way from
pro tective segregation . (Guess h e clidn ' t brag about th a t. ) Revisions in the
Convict Code from broke-down motherfuckers who can 't hang no more?
O n a nother note- listen up folks
and liste n good, 'cause there are hundreds o f Greg Waleski 's (" Ho n or is
Everythin g," sa m e iss u e) co min ' in
and goi ng ou t. I may not know him
pe rsona ll y, but I kn ow the attit ud e
and it soun ds damn su·aightto mel
Wh at? If th e sys tem changes,
we're supposed to change and coopera te? O h , gee, I don' tlike th e a ttitude o r th e n ew g uys so I' ll take IT!}'
sorry broken clmvn ass to lockup forever a nd g ive speech es o n how li fe just
isn 't th e sa m e a n ym ore? Key-Ryes!!
Can we ge t so me motherfu c kers to
just stud up and ride the swrm?
I've been to death row, did th a t
gig. ow I' m doin' the life thing. Sure
hated to leave m y bro Mike be hind
(nothin g ea ts a t my sou l more). I' ve
b ee n o n the yard , didn 't h ave to ac t
li ke a fool, just stood my ground. They
e nj oy locki ng up fun fo lks like mestanding up fo r yo ur rights is my job
and it's o ne I do we ll. I pay the p rice
with thei r bogus investigative lockups,
too. They'll actually wri te you up whe n
you appeal th e lockup status a nd th en
tell you, "we encourage you to cooperate." I shit yo u n o t. I te ll 'e m , "Why
don 't th ey suck a little cooperatio n out
of th e head of my d ic k?" (Fe male
admin isu<ttors preferred.)
HAl T h at's the scoo p right now.
Man y of us white boys are locked up
fo r hom icide. First th ey drop the innue ndos and make false allegations, tl1en
they te ll yo u h ow yo u ' re gon n a ride

th e beef. T h ey
go through this speech with 30
inmates or so before they ask you to
coopera te. The words "blow me" come
to mind awful fast the n .
I'll stand up and fight for the man
next to me as mu ch as I do myse lf. I
may be doing life, but my case is back
before tJ1e Court by my hard work and
determi nation. Do I shake and quiver
becau e tl1ey wam to drop bogus homicide a llega tions o n me? Even th o ug h
tha t wo uld exti ng uish the light at the
e nd of the tunne l? 'ope. Because it's
not m e re ly a code, it's a bout h o no r
a nd d igni ty, it's a bo ut tellin g these
sorry-ass wannabe cop motJ1 e rfucke rs
to go back h ome and try th e ir luck
intimidating their fag lovers and dustyass kids. Because, in a nutshell, homey
don 't play all tJ1at and never will.
o, can ' t say I suppo rt your ca mp aig n to m odi fy th e cod e. The next
thing yo u know, you ' ll be h a nging
o ut at the White H ouse wan tin g to
change tJ1e Constitutio n with tJ1 e girls
on Capitol H ill.
Try not to take it perso n al,
troops. I've been in th is h ell h o le for
ten years a nel l do n ' t care if it's ano tJ1e r 50. I've seen th e change in the a nitude, too. But I' ll b e dam n ed if it' ll
c h ange m e, and yo u sh o uld b e
d a mn ed if yo u le t a n o th e r c h a n ge
you o r take from you what you fought
to make rig h t.
Lany P1in ce
A1izona Slate Prison

MOM PRAISES PLM
I'm the mothe r ofajust-LUrned-18yea r-olcl ma le. Wh e n my son was 15,
he was a rres ted fo r a felo n y. Things
were looking very d im. I lived in terror
t h a t h e wou ld o n e clay e nd up in
prison . God, being the mysterious e ntity tha t He is, worked a bit o f magic in
m y life. Th e G r ea t One a rra nged

(continued on page 60)
PRISON LIFE 13

At last , detainees and t heir friends
and fam ily can get the books they want
without a major hassle!
Books Beyond Ba1'S offers aunique service
that allows you to order thousands of tides
in hard cover, paper back, and magazine
formats.
From educational and legal texts to
erotica and adult entertainment ... if it's in
print, Books Beyond Bars can get it for you!
For information on ordering or specific
tides, write or send your requests by author
and/or tide co:
Books Beyo11d Bars, Publisi:Jers
P.O. Box 4865 • Hialeab, FL 33014
ot· calL· (305) 444-0120 (No collect calls please.)
Do11't waste your time! Write today.
/Jooks /Jey cmd Bars Is r1 subsidiw)' ofCapt/tV! .llar('<'lill,~. /II C.

•

lfe do IIUtmail bate o•· racistliterli/IIIY!. libros

In cy[emorium

En Espano l.

P osT-CoNVICTION
RELIEF
ATIORNEY

MICHAEL]. O'KANE
(305)285-3434
• FORFEITURES
• FEDERAL CIUMINIU APPEAJ.S

• Au. PRISON TRANSFERS
1401 PONCE D E lEON U~vD. Surrn 200
CORAL GAIIIIoS,

Willi a m Kun s tl e r
1919
1995
}l friend, a counse{or

and an inspiration.

I'L 33134

APPEALS
KENNETH A. WEBB
Attorney at Law
30 Years' Experience in
Criminal Appeals
A complete list of published criminal appeals
in which Kenneth A. Webb represented the
appellant, together with the disposition mode
by the court in each appeal, is available for
your review by writing to Kenneth A. Webb
at the address below.

3155 W. BIG BEAVER ROAD, SUITE 206
TROY, MICHIGAN 48084

14

PRISON LIFE

"All the News
You Can't
Confine"

BLOCK BEAT

America's National Prison Newspaper

November-Decenlber1995

HBO/Prison Life Drug Documentary in the Can
Prisoners of the War on Dmgs, the first in ica sec who these people really arc.,.
in her life and is now doing 24 year in a
a series o f docume nta ry lilms pro duced
T he biggest logistical proble m Levin federal pcniten tia1y, again on a marUuaby I-lBO and Prison Life, is in the can and and his crew faced in making th e film na growing charge."
set to be aired in j anuary 1996. The pow- was gaining access to the inne r sanc tums
Evenwally. Levin 'vas able to fi nd a
e rful, g ritty lilm , shot e ntirely in maxi- of prison life. "In most places tl1ey would- few wardens who were not on ly willing LO
mum a nd m edium securi ty pens, exam- n' t let us film anywhe re but in the visit- let him inside th eir prisons with his crew
in es the impact of the drug war on ing room."
but who also agreed to go on camera and
America's burgeoning prison population.
But Levi n-and HBO- wanted the talk about how the drug war has aiTccted
Director Marc Levin , a ew York- film to have t11c same inside r quality as ilieirjobs. "I was surprised by p1;son offibased documentaq• a nd feature film- the magazine. He conti nued visiting drug cials-officers, wardens, adm in istrators,
maker, won an ACE Award for Docu- prisoners in diffc1·ent pens looking for the front line troops in our war against
mentary Special in 1993 and was recently tl1e right combination of story and access. crime-who constantly chall enged ilie
no minated fo r an E mprevalent and popumy for Best Specia l
lar mood of ' lock
Docu me n tal)' for his
'em up and throw
away the key.'"
last HBO film , Gang
War: Bangin' in Lillie
Levin said he
Roc/1, about street
learn ed a lo t wh ile
gangs in Clinton 's
making the docubackyard . Levin workmen tary a nd he
ed clo ely with the edhopes the film will
itors of Prison Life to
cause other Amerigive the film the same
cans lO question tl1e
savvy authenticity as
government' tactics
the magazi ne. HBO's
in th e drug war. "I
Exccu Live Prod ucc r
never realized how
for the America Unilic drug trade dedercover series, Sheila
fines the convict
Nevi ns, plans to co neconomy and shapes
tinue th e series and
the hi erarchy beLevin is already at
hind bar just as it
work developing a secdocs o n the street.
ond special.
' What is happen ing
in our prisons is the
Prisoners
of
the
War
Al
T - ··
d
''
1
r/,
B
.
.
jil
.
.
n
v
I fid
l
d
L.l:l//11 an camemman Jv. a 1 f!IIJOIII/11 1 mmg pnsoner r at 1 aung a title e era
. f:
on Dntgs rs a ast-pacc , .
.
_
ultimate metaphor for
Jmson m Danlnuy, CT. Photo ify Tony Hardmo11.
I1o ur- Iong Iook· at I10w
th e madness of o ur
the drug war has over-populated U.S. pris"Traveling to prisons around tl1c current approach. You can bui ld a wall
ons with dope dealers and addicts whose coun try, I met a lo t of people r really around them , put them in cages, hire
lifestyles continue unabated behind bars. liked and adm ired, " Levin sa id when g uards to mon itor them nig ht and clay
Wardens, cops and prisoners in the docu- asked wha t it was that im pressed him and yo u still can't stop them from doing
mentaJ)' readily agree that the drug war is most about th e convicts he came in to drugs.
a costly, dcsu·uctive mistake.
con tact with. "What frightened me was
''What scares me most is where this all
'The first visit I made was to a wom- no t the prisoners b ut the fact that so lead s. The social welfare sta te is dead
en' prison." Marc Levin said in a recent man y of them were like acqua intances and we're replacing it with the jailhouse
in terview at his Manhattan wdio. "v\le and friends of mine. I would return to state. The crimin al industrial complex is
wen t to a federa l pr iso n in Dublin, Cali- tl1e hotel thin kin g how wi th a simple re placing the mi litaq• industrial comfornia where I met Amy Pofill, a pre tty twist of fa te it could have been me locked plex. Drugs have brought the war home,
blond cover-girl from Dallas who's doing behind those bars fo1· years and years. I and the way we are fighting it now is lay27 years for MDA conspiracy. l couldn ' t met fath ers and sons like Donnie and ing tJ1c foundatio n for Gulag America.~
believe that people like Amy were being Duane Clark who are do ing time togetl1Prison Life wi ll publish a compan ion
locked up fo r what is essentially tl1e rest er-thc father is doing life for growi ng editio n to the I lBO documental)', the
of th eir lives, and I was moved by her pot. 1 met a man named Raymo nd Pope J an uary 1996 issue, due ou t in early Despirit and her determination to keep up who is also do ing life without paro le in cem ber. The edito rs arc already a t work
the fig h t. Amy suggested I put together a Oklahoma fo r a few pounds o r marijua- compiling more sLOrics from inside
phoLO mo n tagc of the faces of pri one rs na. And I met Pat Young, a motJ1cr and a America's w ug hcst joints fo r fmure TV
of the war on drugs; let th e rest of Amcr- g randmother who was n ever in trouble specials.
PRISON LIFE

15

PRISONER ACQUIITED OF MURDER CHARGES
Corpus Christi, TX-Marcos Cruz-Estrada, a Mexican
National serving a 15-month sentence for illegal reentry
after deportation, was found not guilty in federal court
here on charges of premeditated murder in the stabbing
death of a fellow prisoner. The fatal shanking took place
in a cell at the medium security federal prison in Three
Rivers, Texas. Cruz-Estrada had 26 days left before release
at the time of the murder. Cruz-Estrada took the stand and
admitted killing the other convict, Cedric Ross, but maintained he did it in self-defense. The jury agreed, finding
Cruz-Estrada not guilty on the murder charge but guilty of
possessing a shank. He got an additional four months.
Federal Public Defender Jose Gonzalez-Falla, who represented Cruz-Estrada, called two expert witnesses to testify for the defense. Rod Englert of Forensic Consultants,
Inc., a crime scene reconstruction expert, testified that
blood splatters in Ross's cell where the killing took place
were consistent with Cruz-Estrada's assertion that he was
attacked by a shank-wielding Ross when he entered the
cell. Richard Stratton, the editor and publisher of Prison
Life magazine, appeared as an expert on. prison culture
and told the jury that the role of honor in the convict
code calls for personal bravery and a refusal to go to the
guards for help when threatened.
Cruz-Estrada was a classic "short-timer" due to be
released and the brunt of teasing by jealous cons. Cedric
Ross, a petty criminal with a long arrest record, was serving 292 months with no parole for possession of a weapon

STOP THE
PRESSES?!
Lansing, MI-Michigan prison
officials have revised their opinion
of prison newspapers. And they've
decided that they are no place for
opinions.
Editorials and letters of opinion
would be banned from the in-house
publications under proposed guidelines issued recently by the Michigan Department of Corrections.
No more criticism of the Legislature, the warden or the food. The
department seeks to stick to objective "news and information for the
prisoner publication."
Department spokesman Warren
Williams said the proposed change
is part of an evolution in philosophy about prison management that
has been under way for several
years. He added that many top
department officials think the newspapers should be banned outright.
Newspapers and newsletters are
published off and on at about half
of the state's 30 prisons.
"A lot of the long-standing prac-

16 PBISOII

by a felon under the armed career criminal act. According to testimony, Ross began baiting Cruz-Estrada mercilessly as the day of his release came closer. During a game
of pool, Ross called Cruz-Estrada a "bitch." Cruz-Estrada
smacked Ross, and the two convicts went to the TV room
to duke it out with Cruz-Estrada getting the upper hand.
Ross later called down to the flats where Cruz-Estrada
bunked. He displayed a shank and told Cruz-Estrada to
"get something" and meet him in Ross's cell. Cruz-Estrada
testified that "get something" meant arm himself. He got
a shank, went to Ross's cell, and entered.
Cruz-Estrada said Ross attacked him as soon as he
walked in the cell. He fought Ross off with one hand and
stabbed him a number of times with a shank he held in
the ·other hand. Both convicts were cut. When Cruz-Estrada left the cell, Ross lay bleeding to death.
Richard Stratton testified that, in adherence with the
rigid unwritten convict code, Cruz-Estrada reacted in the
only way he could to maintain his honor. Cruz-Estrada was
described as a quiet but tough man who showed respect
and expected the same from his fellow convicts. He and
Ross had been friendly prior to events leading up to the
fight. But as the baiting and insults got worse, Cruz-Estrada was faced with either backing down and being known
as a punk, going to the cops and being known as a snitch,
or defending his honor. There is, said Stratton, even in
the case of a short-timer like Cruz-Estrada, no middle
ground. "He did what he had to do."

tices here have been reviewed and
seem to be out of step with current
thinking on crime and punishment," Williams said. "We decided
if we were going to be publishing
newspapers, we wanted them to be
more like newsletters. Some of the
editorial commentary that has
appeared has been contrary to the
mission and goals of the department," he said.
Not surprisingly, prisoner journalists have a different view.
"From this side of the fence, it
appears that the mission, goals and
objectives of the Michigan Department of Corrections are to keep
everyone currently imprisoned
locked up forever. One could not
make that statement in our prisoner
newspaper if this policy goes into
effect," said Andrew L. Jeffries, editor of Muskegon Facility's prisoner
publication, The Fq,ctor. "Letters of
opinion, generally printed as letters
to the editor by prisoners or freeworld citizens, would be prohibited.
Most insulting, the Prisoner Benefit
Fund of this facility, which pays for
the production of the newspaper,
would foot the bill for the use of

prisoner newspaper space for
Departmental notices," Jeffries
added. ''The silencing of the penal
presses of this country only further
allow our keepers to commit the
inexcusable atrocities not seen since
the days of the Third Reich. An
overly strong analogy? I think nod"

"Bad Bob" Delgado
Out on Parole
Former gang member Robert
"Malo" Delgado, featured in in PL's
gang issue, has been released on
parole. Delgado is currently working
as a paralegal at a major Houston law
firm.
Although Delgado had quit the
Texas Syndicate several years ago, the
Texas department of correction has
refused him parole for the last two
years, claiming he was still the "number two" man for the Syndicate.
Not long after the May-:June '95
issue of Prison Life hit the stands, the
parole board reopened Delgado's
file. His parole was approved and he
was released August 23.

LIFE
............

Female Prisoners Abused
On th e night of Apri l 26, 1994, six
fe male prisoners were asleep in the ad
seg unit in Kingston, Ontario's Prison
for Women. They had been placed in
ad seg because they were suspected of
drinkin g seve ral days ea rlie r. Arou nd
10:30 p.m ., the Emergency Response
Team , consisting of ten men a nd two
wome n in full riot gear, entered their
locked cel ls, dragge d th e m ou t of
bed, cut off their clo thes, forced the m
to kn ee l while b e ing c h aine d a nd
shackled, th e n paraded th e m n a ked
to the showe rs.
On May 6, 1994, fi ve o f th ese
wome n were moved to Kingston Penitentiary to awai t u·ial o n the drinking
c harges. Kin gston Penite ntiary is an
all-male institution reserved fo r violent
sexual offenders. T he women, most of
whom had been sexually assau lted earlier in their lives, were within view a nd
ea rsh o t of th e male popu lation .
According to Kim Pa te of the Elizab e th Fry Society, a fe ma le prisoner
advocacy g ro up, this greatly inte nsified their discomfon. Several months
la te r , they were sti ll in segregati o n,
d espite th e Correctio n Services' rule
that 30 to 45 d ays is th e max imum
tim e for holding a prisoner in solitary.
Com plaints about the ERT's raid on
the slee ping wome n a nd the fact that
they were sti ll being held in ad seg produ ced n o action from a review committee. But th e mood c hanged whe n
Chip O'Connor and Dan Scully, Kingston a rea lawyers represe n ti ng th e
women , fought for a nd fin a lly
obtained the two-ho ur vid eota pe made
by the ERT of their April 26 activities.
Immedia tely afte r th e tape was shown
in court, the women we re moved back
to ad seg in the wome n 's prison.
ex t, a CBC radio show, As Jt HapfJens, featu red an inte1view with on e of
th e rece ntly released prisone rs who
detai led the indi gn iti es th e women
had suffe red. This was fo llowed by a

J a nua ry 3, 1995 Tomnlo Star edito rial
asking wh y th e wome n we re still in
so lita ry. T h e sto ry was b egi nnin g to
leak, but th e public had still not seen
th e video, so it was the priso ne rs' word
against the officials'.
Monday, Februaty 20 was not a good
d ay for th e Correctional Services of
Canada. Th e Office of Correctional
Investigatio ns' long-awaited incide nt
report was ta bled in Pa rlia me nt that
mornin g, whic h effectively made the
info rmatio n public. The con ten ts of the
re po rt fo rced Solicitor-General H e rb
Gray to create a Commissio n oflnquiry
to inde pe ndently investigaw the even ts.
That even ing, the hit hit the fan
when CBC T elevision's The Fifth
Estate a ired segm e nts of t he ERT
video. Raw footage of life in the Canadian priso n system n eve r before see n
was aired to the e ntire country. The
public went ballistic.
On Aug ust 9, 1995, Phase 1 of the
inquiry took p lace. It didn ' t ht:lp that
the officials a t the time o f the raid no
longe r he ld th e same positions. The
deputy commissione r o f corrections
h ad been pro mo ted to sen io r deputy
of co mmissio ns and the warde n had
re tired.
The investigation is still in its early
stages, but so me surprising revelations
have come to light: Kingston's Prison
for Women, the o nly a ll-wo me n 's
p rison in Canada, h ouses min imum to
max im um o ffe nders. The pri so n e rs
are all categorized as "h ig h needs" yet
the staff are alarmingly inexpe1ienced.
Th e re is also the mystery of the missing seg rega tion logs for th e th ree
mo n ths precedin g th e ra id plus th e
lost observa tion re cord s o f the segregation unit's officers, a fact whi c h is
just now bei n g a nn o un ced , so me 16
months after tl1 e event.
The inquiq• resumes as this iss u e
goes to press. Updates will fo llo w in
Block Beat. - Oriana Conti

CON-TV
BACK ON
THE AIR
H e-e-e-e-re's Rosie!
Contacl, a controversial, hugely-po pular cab le TV progra m ru n
by convicts in Kingston, Ontario,
re turns to t h e air on Monday
n ig hts with a n ew h os t-forme•·
drug kin g pin Robe rt (Ros ie)
Rowbo tham. Rowbotham, 44, is
also ~anad ian managing d irector
of Prison Life magazine .
The sh ow, which dre w a ttention for its h a rd-edge look a t
prisoners' issue from inside, was
ya nke d last j une when host Ri c
Atkinson a nd produce r Bria n
J udge ran into difficu lties with a
fu nd-raising campa ign geared at
satellite disuibution. The show's
producers a re curre ntly preparing a pitc h to the Roge rs cable
gia nt in h o pes it will eve ntu all y
lead to a national broadcast out
ofToronto. Until then, Kingston
will re main as headqua rte rs.
Rowboth a m , 44, wh o is serving a 17-year se nte n ce at th e
Pittsb u rgh fa rm fac ility in
Kingston for maste r-minding a
mu lti-m illion-dolla r m arijuan a
importing caper, will re p lace
Atkinson as host on the hit show.
Once known as the "chairman of
t h e board " for ru nn ing th e $54
mi ll io n hashish a nd marijuan a
impo rting conspiracy, Rowbotham is famous for r eceiving the
longest sente n ce eve r me ted out
in Ca n ad a over so-ca lled '·soft"
drugs.

PRISON LIFE

17

~l[tit.IYJLUtUa••_IUIL:llUtJ_
_

t~•

~lUL-lt~:~~l".--.-yi--Jill:Jf~

O n AugustS, 199LI, my 23-year-old son, Randy Payne,
while serving time a t the Terrell Unit in Texas, was severely bcmen by 30 inmates because he would not meet their
d ema nds for protec ti o n o r h ave sex with th e m. Ra nd y
died seven days late r.
My son was the on ly wh ite boy on that pod. The beating that ki lled him lasted for two hours. In addition to the
30 men who beat m y son, th ere we re another 50 who
watched. I cann ot believe the guards would no t sec or hea r
that many inmates-8 1- i'n one place. I wan t to know why
the guards d id nothing to stop the brutal beating.
Internal Affai rs has to ld me se,·eral stories about th e
g uards. vVh c n I do not be lieve a Story, they cha nge it.
They've changed their story three times now in t he six
months I hm·c been figh ting them to get the incident reporL
Today, I got the repo rt in th e mail. It read: "3 Hispa nicsjumped I 'vVhitc." End of Story.
There have been thre e oth er inm a tes killed at th e
Terrel l Unit and th e re are p ro babl y mo re d eaths than
th at unreported. All fou r deaths have occurred on th e
sa m e shift. One of the inma tes was ki lled by the guard s;
the othe rs, by inmates. They all tell of being beaten by the
guards o r by oth e r inmmes whi le guards are watchi ng . I
know tha t th e ·e me n arc in prison for a reason but when

18 PRISON

LIFE

they all say the same thi ng you would believe that at least
pan of it is true.
There is too much vio lence in our justice department. I' m going to do everythi ng I ca n to put a stop to it.
I have written to seve ral government and sta te officials.
The on ly pe rso n willing to h elp is sta te se n a tor T eel
Bivens. Our wonderfu l governo r Bush sa id he ca n d o
noth ing to he lp us. I received a call from a mothe r in Fort
Worth whose so n is also in a Texas prison. He has bee n
beate n by the guards a nd also by the inmates. She's worried that he'll be ki lled.
I'm hoping t hat enough atte nti on will pressure the
TCJD to cha nge the way they operate.
Vina Payne

Texas
'~'-l.lt.JJ~L,_I~t-"'•JIIII--.llt-l~fSl•lW•
I'm a prisoner in Michigan se rvi ng I to 7 years for
drunk driving. I'm a second-offense, no nviolent offender.
A few months back I got a visit from my sister. She told
m e th at our youngest brothe r had committed suicide the
night before. After the heartbreaking news, I went to the
prison o fficials to find out what had to be done in order
for me to a u e nd th e fune ral. After th ree days of be ing lied
to, they finall y explain ed all the d iiTe re nt p rocedures that
need ed to be followed. In th e end, I was to ld I could go
an d th a t I was to be in the co n tro l ce nte r th e fo llowing
morni ng, dressed in state-issued cloth ing.
That mo rn ing, once they pu t me in belly chains a nd
leg shac kles, I was on my way to share and grieve the loss
of my brother with my famil y.
We a rrived early. The C.O.'s, info rm ing me that we
had o me Lime to kill, took me on a short tour of my home
town. We stopped at a little party store and they bo ught
me a cu p o f coiTee, which I thought was decent of th em.
The n we arrived at the funeral home. I noticed there
wasn ' t anyone else the re. I figured we were still early and
tha t my famil y would oon be arrivin g. O n ce in side, I
asked the funera l hom e director wh at time my fami ly
wou ld be getting there. Both the escorting officers and the
di rector told me th at my family was not goi ng to be there.
In fact, my fam ily h ad bee n told th at if a nyone was seen in
th e pa rking lot upon our arrival, l was to be immediately
returned to the prison. I cou ld pay respects to my brother,
but not with my family and no t during the service.
"vVhy?" I asked. "Who o rdered this?"
'Warden's o rders," I was told. 'We don 't know why."
I was crying a nd I had snot running down my face. I
begged th e m to allow me to see my fami ly b ut was told
Oat-out," 1o ." Due to th e bell y chains, I couldn't even
wi pe my eyes o r blow my nose. I was forced to stand there
and pay my last respects to my brother alone and in complete humiliation.
Wh e n we returned to the prison, I was taken into a little room and su·ipped of my clothes a nd checked for contraband. When I inquired as to wh y I h ad bee n o
inhumane ly treated, I was told to go through th e grievan ce procedure if I had any complain ts.
After d o in g j ust th at, I was call ed o u t to be inte rviewed by the warden. At this ti me, I asked why it was costing me $350 fo r less th an two-and-a-ha lf hours time a nd

the 25-mile trip to my hom e town from th e priso n. I was
to ld un conditionally that I was not getting m y mo ney
back fro m my trust accoun t. vVh e n I asked why I h ad been
kept from seeing my fam ily, the warde n said his offi ce was
no t aware of any such o rde r.
Wh e n I a nd my fa mi ly aske d for receip ts a lon g with
an ite m ized statemen t for the clay, we were refused. Is th is
their idea of punishme nt?
Not o nly was l pu nished, bu t my fam ily was, as we ll. 1t
is som e th ing my fami ly will neve r forge t. T h e warden viola te d a ll admin istrative r ules and p o licies concerning
funeral furlo ugh s.
I am classifie d a Level 1 property risk, a Leve l 1 management risk- th e lowest sec urity risk possible. But due to
the lack of space in th e Mic higan system, I had bee n te mporarily housed in a Level 2 p rison. Is it my fault that bed
space is li m ited ? I sh ould have bee n treated like the Level
I prison e r 1 am a nd my fam ily should h ave bee n a ble to
sha re their sorrow wi th me. All the administratio n accomp lished was to cause me and m)' fa mi ly further pain a nd
sufferi ng.
Ray j ewell
1\.R.F. , Kincheloe, Ml

,~,.a~•-••J~•••.a.
It was busin ess a s u sua l in th e supe rmarket. I was
ho ld ing th e customers spe llbound with the working e nd
of my 12-gauge sawed-off shotgu n . My crime partner was
clean ing out the cash registers and the safe. A move me nt
caught my eye.
A chi ld , a li ttle gi rl maybe seve n years old , was struggling to break loose from th e iro n grip her mother had on
he r arm. She wiggled free and as she came ru n ni ng up to
me, I e leva ted the sh o tgu n ba rre l to wh e re it was a imed
over her head. The kid was excited, jumping u p a nd down.
] do n ' t exac dy come across as the e pitome of frie nd liness whe n I'm working, but the kid's face was glowing. She
loo ked me righ t in th e eyes an d grinned . "Are we on TV?"
My respo nse was blun t:" 1o !"
He r blue eyes wide ned . "Is this an honest-to-God robbe ry?"
I like kids as mu ch as a nyon e. But I do n 't like anybody
1vhe n I'm working. I spoke ha rshly. "It's a robbe ry."
"Yo u a in ' t gonna shoot me," she told me.
I a lm os t smi led. T h e kid had hea r t. l lowe r e d my
voice so only sh e cou ld hea r me. "That's right. But if th e
rest o f these nerds find that o u t, I' ll starve to d eath."
It made pe rfect sense to h e r. She whi spe red back, "I
ain ' t gonn a tell 'e m , then. "
"Good, we' ll keep it our little secret, o kay?"
My c rime partn e r was g ivin g me worrie d lo o ks. I
motioned for him to proceed with the robbery. l looked at
the kid 's moth er. She was as wh ite as a sheet, ready to pass
out.
"Do you do th is every day?" the kid continued.
"No," I said. "Only whe n I'm hungt)'- Now you better
ac t back to yo ur Mom. She's about ready to fa int."
~> The little girl smiled a nd went skipping back to h e r
mom. As my crime partn e r a nd I le ft t he sce n e o f our
crime, the li ttle g irl waved good-bye. H e ll , I' m human; 1
waved back.
T he nex t day, upo n seeing the from page of the local
newspaper, I groaned. Printed was ou r conversation, word
fo r word, along with a picture o f her smiling face.
A g uy can o n ly stand so muc h . l left town.
R. i\lleengs

,_:,(l)_~l!tl;J.W:tJ~····

I'm o n e of 2,000 ward s he re at the Youth T ra ini ng
School in Ch ino, Califo r nia. Everyone h e re is 18 to 25
years old so I guess you could call this a junior pen.
Th e re a son I ' m wri ting is th at o n Apr il 2, ab o ut 6
p.m. , our wate r was turned off. Ou r toilets wouldn ' t Hush.
Th is pl ace has o ld pipes so it was noth ing new. We we re
told that the wate r would be back on at seve n the next
morning . The water came on but the cops said th e system
was still b e ing worked on. T hey a lso said that the wa ter
was safe to drink.
But th at day, all the un its in this joint got two b ig gallons o f bottle d wate r. H ere's the thin g, though: The bottled wate r was for co ps on ly.
We asked for a little a nd they said no . It was for staff
only.
So, if the wate r is O .K., the n why were p r isone rs
forced to drink it a nd not them? Are the y saying we are
less than human com pa red to the cops?
It's now April 4, 1 1 p .m . Thi s is the second day we
have to take "cowboy showers" in our sinks because the
showers arc still o u t of comm issio n . Some of the people
he re a re saying tha t Ll1e water is bad and compla in abou t
stomach proble ms, including me a nd my bunkie .
.
I unde rstand th at we put ourse lves h e re beca use o f
o ur own ac tions. But a ren't we, at least, supposed to be
treate d as hum ans? The p ipes a re still to rn back a n d it
see ms to me that the)"re no t even u1'ing to fi x it as fast as
th ey should be. \1\lh y cou ldn' t th ey just say, "Don't fu ck
with the wate r," a nd g ive us so me of the ir wate r?
Fmnl< Villarreal
}'. T.S. Chino, Gil

PRISON LIFE

19

1996
Catalog
Discover the latest
in leathercraft!
Send for Tandy
Leather's FREE
152-page catalog,
packed with over
220 NEW products!
You'll see garment,
tooling and exotic
leathers, hard-tofind tools, patterns,
books and videos,
craft supplies, jewelry findings, glues, d~es and finishes, how-to s, leather kits
and much more. Contact
your local Tandy Leather
store manager for special
inmate prices!
For FREE catalog sond $3.00
pstg.Jhdlg. (rotundod on first order)
to: Tondy Loothor Company, Dop1.
Pl1195, P.O. Box 791, Fort Wor1h,
TX 76101.

FOR A MORE HUMANE AND PROGRESSIVE CRIME
POLICY: Th e a ti o n a l Ce n ter o n In ti tuti o n s a nd Alte rn ative s
recen tly started an advocacy project named Ci tize ns fo r a Safe Am eri ca
(CSA). Its goa ls fo r 1995 are to do uble good conduct credi t fo r nonvio lent, first-time offe nde rs in the fede ral syste m; to discourage the use
of mandato ry minimum sentences for first-time no nviole nt offe nde rs;
to deve lo p a n effective p rog ram fo r ex pung ing c ri mi na l reco rds; to
in crease th e use o f halfway ho uses, ho me d ete ntio n, mandate d d rug
treatmem , educational o ppo rtunities, pareming tra ining, fam ily visitati o n , wee ke nd furlo ug hs and vo ters ' rig h ts.
Citizen · fo r a Safe America is trying to o rgan ize ofTe nders, ex-offenders,
the ir friends and fa milies in to a grassroots netwo rk in support of a more
huma ne and p rogressive crime policy. Me mbe rs an d d o no rs receive a
quarterly newsle uer, special repor ts and legislative ale rts, making it easy
to com ac t e lected offi cials. "We want lO involve th is constituency m ore
ac tively in th e process o f shaping public policy o n crime and punishment," ·ays proj ect directo r Ke ith Stro up, Esq. T o join, end a mem bership fee of 25 to Citizens fo r a Safe Amer ica a t 635 Slate rs La ne, Suite
C- 100, Alexandria, VA 223 14 (703) 684-0373. Fo r those who can 't afford
to j oin , says Stro up, free informatio n is available .

AS A RESULT OF A FELONY OR CERTAIN MISDEMEANOR CONVICTIONS, you may have lost you r rig ht lO hold
vario us types of lice nses or jobs, such as cashier, real estate salesperson ,
taxi d r ive r, nurse , ph a rma cist, n o tary public, etc. T o r esto re your
rig hts, you need to o btain: a Certificate of Relief From Disabilities, fo r
whi ch yo u a re e lig ib le if yo u have been con victed o r o n ly misd em eano rs and no t mo re tha n o n e fe lo ny; an d a Certificate o f Good
Conduct, fo r which you are eligible if yo u have been convicted of mo re
tha n o ne fe lo ny.
Certificates a re offi cial r ecognitio n th a t you have been re ha bilitated .
Th ey have the po we r o f removing any legal bar o r d isabili ty imposed
o n you as a result o f having bee n convicted of th e crimes specified on
th e certificate. If yo u have a certificate, no t o nly are most o f your lost
rig hts resto red, but yo ur criminal record cann o t be held aga inst yo u in
applying fo r wo r k, un less it is specifically j o b-re la ted. Th e burde n o f
proof is now o n th e e mployer to d emo nsu·ate tha t hiring yo u wo uld be
a risk to peo ple o r prope rty, o r tha t yo ur convictio n is direcLl y related
to the j o b fo r which you are app lying. Re me mber that m any employers
ar e fo rbidd e n by law to hire yo u unless yo u have o ne o f these certificates. Yo u can apply for a Cenificate of Re lief Fro m Disabilities im mediate ly afte r yo u r co nvic tion. T o a pp ly fo r a Certifi ca te of Good
Co nduct, yo u may have lO wait on e, three o r five years. To request an
applicatio n fo rm fo r e ither certificate, write to your state paro le board.
- Michf'le Quid1

PRISON ARTIST SECURES SHOWING. Priso n e r a rtist
Anth o ny Papa secure d a b owing o f his wo rk at th e Hudso n River
Gall ery in Ossin ing, :-.IY. Pa pa learned to pain t in pr ison a nd last year
h a d a p iece ex hi bited at th e prestigio us \1\'hitn ey Mu eu m in 1 ew
Yo rk City. He is also a co mribu ting writer for Prison Life. T he sho w can
be seen at th e Hudson Ri ve r Galle ry, 2 17 Main St., beginning ovember 17.
20 PRISON

LIFE

RAPE DEFENSE HANDBOOK FOR
WOMEN . New York prison er and martial arts
expert Sebastian Ventimiglia wrote The Rape Defense
Handbooh jo1· Women, based on information gathered
inside prison from rapists. Popular for several years in
America, the book will soon be published overseas.
The Rape Defense H andbook describes types of rape ;
offe nde rs' motives and patterns; safety tips; wh en to
fight back; keys to self-defense and where to get help.
Jack H e n ry Abo tt writes in th e Introductio n : "The
boo k aims at teac h ing women wh at every male, in
one way or another, takes for granted: street fighting
and street viole nce. Ventimiglia wants women to be
sha rp, to be ready a nd able to respond forcefully to
viole nt aggressio n. The book is a realistic, refreshing
and timely approach to the problem." To order, write
to Jaz Publications, 32 Garnet Lane, Plainview, New
York 11 803.

A NEW FORUM FOR PIDSONER
AUTHORS, W1ilingjmm Prison , seeks fictional
acco unts, o pinion pieces, short reflective essays
and diary excerpts. Future issues of the newslette r
will focus o n th e mes of addiction a nd recovery,
women in prison, creativity beh ind bars and viole nce in prison. Send material and subscr iption
inquiries to: W1·iting hom Prison, P.O. Box 38,
Buckingha m, PA 18912.

THE PIDSON LIFE FOUNDATION is back
on track. After several months of reorganization and
re d ta p e, th e Priso n Life Foundation has been
accorded status as a not-fo r-profit organization and is
ready to begin its stated purpose of helping prisoners
obtain an ed ucatio n while incarcerate d. All those
who h ave written to the foundation will rece ive a
newslette r with mo re info rmation about the programs a nd proj ec ts the foundation is undertaking.
Anyone interested in learning more about the Prison
Life Fo undation should write to: Prison Life Foundati o n , 200 Varick Street, Suite 901 , New York, New
York 100 14.

DON'T GET OUT
MUCH ANYMORE?
VISIT THE
MAIL·ORDER·MALL
P.77
PRISON LIFE

21

[11];®&[1 'D!J/JjU~
&[?[3 [?W@[U]

SUBSCRIBE TO PRISON LIFE AND GET:
•
•
•

•
•
•
•
•
•
•

Legal advice that just might get you out of jail-free.
Medical and health tips that could save your life.
The voice of the convict-the only national magazine by
and for prisoners, fighting for prisoners' rights and striving to give convicts
and ex-cons the dignity all people deserve.
The best fiction, poetry and courageous journalism from
writers who've been there and know what they're talking about.
Head from Bubba.
Inquiries from sex-starved pen pals who want to write
you erotic letters.
Profiles of fascinating convicts whose outstanding achievements have made
them Prison Life Cellmates of the Month.
The most complete listing of resources for cons and ex-cons.
Insiders ' prison survival tips, hardcore work-out routines and delectable
in-cell recipes to make your bid more palatable.
And last but not least, escape the drab reality of prison life through
Prison Life's vivid photos and jailhouse art.

0

Check or Money Order

Card #

0

Visa

0

For 1 year6 hardcore
Exp. _ _ __ issues
MasterCard

Name_ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
Number_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _
Institution _ __ _ __ __ _ _ _ _ _ __

O Enclosed
is $19.95

(Canada
$28.75)

Address_ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __
City_ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ __
0995

State_ _ _ _ _ _ _Zip Code._ _ __ _ __
Please allow 6·8 weeks for delivery.
Make check or money order payable to Prison Life Magazine (U.S. S only).
Send to: Pri son Life, 4200 Westheimer, Suite 160, Houston, TX 77027.
In Canada, send to 253 College St., Suite 444, Toronto, ONT M5T1 AS (Canadian$.)

THE
BLOOD
OFA
POET

-

II

' ll

n r

u

APrison Life
Interview with
Taylor Hackford
by Richard Stratton
T rt)'lor 1/adiford (cente~1 with m"'o members and f11isorlt'rs 011 the weight pi!t• at San Qul'lllin.

n the July-August 1995 issue of Prison
Life we ran a piece by Chris Cozzone
on the penitentiary-educated poet,
Jimmy Santiago Baca. One of the finest
poets wri ting today , Baca did it all from
prison, and he hasn't forgotten or tried to
deny the experience. He turned it into art.
Baca and filmmaker Taylor Hackford
teamed up to bring the poet's vision to the
screen in an intense saga of life in and out
of the joint for three vatos locos from East
L.A., Blood In, Blood Out (Hollywood Pictures 1993.) The fi lm is based on true
events that took place in the California
prison system beginning in the late '60sthe rise of the powerful prison gang , the
Mexican Mafia.
The story follows Miklo Velka, played by
Damian Chapa, a blue-eyed hall-breed
who returns to East L.A. in search of family, both blood relatives and the larger family of man. He reunites with his cousins,

I

Paco (Benjamin Bratt) and Cruz (Jessie
Borrego), and gets caught up in on-going
macho clashes that lead inevitably to gang
war, prison and death. In a gripping
sequence , Cruz, who is a talented painter,
has his spine broken by members of a
rival gang; Paco goes on a rampage seeking revenge ; but it is Miklo who winds up
with a murder beef. By the end of act one,
Cruz is a cripple, Paco joins the Marines,
and Miklo is headed to San Quentin.
From here the story becomes an epic of
prison life. Young and pretty when he
shuffles onto the yard at Quentin, Miklo is
scared to death. He has two alternatives:
find protection within one of the cliques
that rul e the yard , or be preyed upon by
roving bands of psychopaths and lone
maniacs. Hackford and Baca throw us into
the unmitigated world of a maxi mum
security pen that becomes a grotesquery
of the masculine.

As a half-caste, Miklo is severely tested. "Blood in, blood out" means that to be
accepted as one of La Onda, as the Chicano gang is called in the movie, Miklo
must first kill an enemy. He learns how to
survive and ultimately thrive in prison by
cunning , by showing courage and by
wielding power and suppressing all emotion except hatred. By the end of the film,
the sweet, lonely kid who goes home in
search of love and identity has been
forged into an alienated, ruthless convict.
When I heard Taylor Hackford was in
New York recutting a documentary about
Muhammad Ali made by a friend of mine,
Leon Gast, I immediately asked for an
interview. Hackford was working 12-hour
days on the Ali film in an editing room on
Lower Broadway. The director's latest film,
Dolores Claiborne, was about to be
released in Europe and Hackford was due
to be there for the premiere. I agreed to
PRISON LIFE 23

meet him at the editi ng room to keep the
interruption as brief as possible.
T hroughout the interview, Hackford kept
trying to give all the credit for Blood in, Blood
Out to Baca. But the director's considerable
contribution to the artistry of the film is evident
in every frame. A couple of weeks after the
interview, I watched Dolores Claiborne and
Hackford's 1982 hit, An Officer and A Gentleman, starring Richard Gere and Debra
Winger. These are Hollywood movies at their
best-character driven, moody and intelligent,
but nevertheless predictable. You wait for the
plot points. Cinematically, Hackford gives us
sweeping, wide-angled transitional shots, then
he gets in close and lets his actors be intimate
with each other and the audience. He gets
real performances. Jennifer Jason Leigh and
Kathy Bates are brilliant in Dolores Claiborne.
Blood In, Blood Out, though a very different
kind of picture, has a lot of the same visual
and emotional effects. It is to Hackford's credit that in making Blood In, Blood Out he
stayed true to Baca's epic vision and made a
difficult, heartfelt film.
Hackford and I ducked out of the editing
room for an hour during dinner break. We
conducted the interview leaning against
the wall in a hallway that could have been
a tier on a cellblock. There was the same
hurried intensity of a conversation during
a controlled move in the joint. I started by
asking H ackford about hi s background
and how he came to be a filmmaker.

grew up working class, got a schola rship to go to college, was into politics in the '60 . I was going to be a
lawyer of all things. But I went into the
Peace Corps first. I started reading
about fi lm and thinking about the
poli tica l context, th e powe r of film.
Wh e n I got back from the Peace
Corps I went to law sc hool for about
two weeks and realized that was not a
pro fessio n I wanted any part of. I
walked out, lost my tuition.
I d idn't knmv anybody in th e fi lm
business, but I we nt into KCET, a public television station in lA , and asked
them for a job. They gave me a job in
the m a il room , a nd I just kind of
worked my way up. Tha t was my fi lm
school. Someone said, "Can you shoot
film?" a nd I said, "Yes." I got a book
on fi lmmaking an d r ead it. I didn't
screw it up too badly.
After that I did music sh ows, political reporting, investigative reporti ng. I
did a law reform docume ntary. I just
kept at it until I found that what I really wanted to do was dra matic work. I
made a short fi lm for high schools on
sex educa tion called T eenage Fathers,
whic h is to ld from a boy 's point of
view and is about teenage pregnancy.
I wrote it, directed it, pro duced it. It

I

24 PRISON

LIFE

was e nte red in the Acade my Awards
a nd it won the Oscar for best short. I
was 29 when I made the film a nd that
was my ticket.
I got my first feature, wh ic h was 77u
Jdolmake1; and then I did An Officer and
A Gentleman and that was very successful. I just we nt on from the re.
What drew you to the material of Blood

In, Blood Out?

I've always been interested in Latino
issues. I grew up in California, a lo t of
my frie n ds were Chicano
and I love the Latino c ulture. I went to South America in th e Peace Corps; I
learned Spanish while living in Bolivia, a nd later
wh e n I was a reporter in
Los Ange les I d id on-camera news and investigative
re porting on th e who le
Latino scene. The early '70s
was my time as a re porte r in
LA, a nd there was this
immig ration
explosio n
go ing on. Whateve r t h e
official figures we re about
immigration and illegal
aliens, you could multiply it
three to five times. That was
th e reality. If you spoke
Spa nish , you realized that
city ran on Latino labo r

guages represe nted. That's in H o llywood . Tha t's my city.
But this film is about more than Latino
cu lture. It is also about the much more
insular and esoteric culture of the penitentiary. What made you want to do a prison
movie?

1 kn ew th e sc ript, it had been
around for a long tim e. The n I
became fri e nds with Jimmy Baca
thro ug h Lui s Valdez, a wonde rful
playwright wh o runs T eatro CamjJesino

''/ got a job in the mailroom,
anC/1 just kind of worked my
way up. That was my film
school. Someone said.t.
'Can rou shoot a film?'
said, 'Yes.'''
and most of it was illegal.
It was the same situation as in New
York in the la te 1800s: you have immigrants who are kept out o f the mainstream of society, you have young men
growing to maturity in that culture, and
they're going to lash out, they' re going
to h ave a certain a nger because they
can't get a job. They want a piece of the
pie and they're being denied it, so they
turn to crime.
Jump a head 70 years and you 've got
contemporary California. California is
th e melting pot. Yo u've got Asians,
Koreans, Latinos-it's pheno menal.
In one te n-b lock area the re were 147
diffe rent na tions with 70 differe nt Ian-

in Sanjuan Ba utista, Califo rnia. Luis
wrote a nd direc ted L a Bamba, a nd I
produced it. But La Bamba is like the
Jimm y Cag n ey movie, Yanftee Doodle
Dandy. It's mak ing it in America;
everyone can do it; reach for the brass
r ing a nd g ra b it. Peop le loved La
Bamba and tha t's sweet, because they
could say we're li ke a big wonderfu l
me lting po t a nd everyon e's th e same.
Everyo n e loved m e for doing La
Bamba and for givi ng Luis a chance.
But there's an other side. We aren 'I the
same. I ope n ed myself up for a lot o f
sh it whe n I did Blood In, Blood Out, for
portraying th e realities of La tino life,
the whole dark side of it. You' re show-

ing a se nsitive sid e o f a cu lture. And
J immy Baca was the man who made me
open up lO that a nd appreciate it
He re's a man who litera lly ra n wild in
the streets in hi s tee nage years, d idn ' t
speak a ny English , was viole nt, frusu·a ted a nd e nded u p in t.he j o im-he d id
e ig h t-a nd-a h a lf years. Whe n h e we nt
in , he was a fun ctio n a l ill ite rate. He
taught himself lO read and write in the
joint a nd subsequentl y h e's won the
ational Book Award. He's a phenomenal poe t. This is a man who's inspit·ing .
Bu t a t the same time, th e th ing that is

TaJIOr l/adiford (ltjl)
in the editing room at
worll on a dorumeutary
about M ulwmmed Ali.

(/Mow)Cmumrmbers
fnt>parr the rellblorll for
a shot at Sou Qunrtiu
during thr filming of
Blood ln. Blood Out.

in c ,~tabl y,

it leads to the joint."
An d jimmy wa sn ' t so mebod y who
researc h e d it , he lived it. H e li ve d it
and he really knew it. He gave me the
co u rage to make th is movie . I sa id to
hi m, "Look, I'm Ang lo a nd I' m makin g a fi lm abo u t Chi can os. T h a t 's
number o ne. umbe r two, I' m ma king it about the dark side o f life. An d
number three, I' m mak ing it about
th e join t, wh ic h is a whole o th e r cultu re. I need you r he lp."
Th is fi lm had fou r di ffe re nt la nguages. It had English , it had Span ish, it
had Chulo , or Spanglish , and it had that
emirc ly d i!Te rcnt prison lang uage-the
adaptive language of thc jo in l.
Tha t was e xc iti n g to m e. I was
a mazed th a t I was ab le to co nvince a
majo r stud io to finan ce it. A sc r ipt
ex isted, o ne that two or th ree o t he r
write rs h ad worked o n. But .Ji mm y
Ba ca came in and in fused it with reality, with a voice that was to ta lly Chi cano
a nd flue n t in all th ese lo ur lang uages.
That's what mad e th e piece work.
I wante d to make it rea l, a nd it's
to ugh to have to g uess, "We ll , co uld
this h ave h a p pe n e d in th e j o im ?

pl ay-acting the c ha rac te rs, and yo u
mig ht look at the m and say, "Oh, th is
g uy loo ks real, h e loo ks tough ." But
th e n you go in to a real join t. Yo u look
into the eyes o f these people; wh o
th ey arc comes o ut o f th e ir bod ies,
th e ir eyes, and th e ir mo u t hs. Th ese
p eo ple a rc so rea l that yo u know if
yo u try to f~1ke it yo u ' ll wind up with
some thin g that lacks in tegrity.
At the sam e time, Eddi e Olmos was
d oing Amnimu MP. It's too bad we had
to co m pe te . There we re two e q u ally
va lid poin ts o f view he re, a nd we bo th
wan ted to go in to San Quentin to fil m.
The warden o f Sa n Quentin at the time
was Chi can o . O lmos and I bo th
approac he d him , but Eddie went to
him a nd said, "I' m Eddie O lmos, th e
number o ne Chicano actor in America,
and I want you to let us shoot he re ."
The wa rd e n said, "Le t me re ad th e
script. " Edd ie wouldn ' t le t h im sec h is
script. T he warden, Danny Vasquez, is a
vcty smart, to ugh man. Like o ne or the
chart~ctcrs in the film , he was in a u·ect
gang a nd went th e oth er way, j o ined
the police Io ree, went inw corrections.
I walked in and said to him, ''I'm An glo.
I' m h e re to make a Ch icano movie.
Yo u ' re Ch ica no . I wan t this to be true
to the reality o r the join t. I have a writer
wh o did e ig h t-and-a-half yea rs. These
a rc n o t Ill)' words on the page, they' re
his. What ! want to do is te ll a real SlOt)'.
He re's the script. " He took it, read it,
called back and said he wam cd us to do
the fi lm. The warden, the harshest critic, pro nounced the script real, and that
was because o f.J imm y 13aca. Acwally,
the wa rden in the fi lm is the rea l warden , Dan ny Vasq uez.
What was it like trying to shoot a movie
in a working prison?

g reat a bout jimmy is tha t he sa id , "I
do n ' t want to deny my past. I can circulate in New Y01·k with 1 orman Mai le r
o r G race Paley o r th e li te ra ti he re, o r
with Chicano docto rs or lawyers o r people of tha t ilk. " He said , "That's fi ne, I
wan t people to have ed ucation, bu t th e
fac t is, th e re ' a ll th ose rhavalilos o ut
th e re, the re's a ll th ose li u lc g uys who
arc the same people that I was. If you
say that they' re hopeless, then who am
I? T h e fact is, yo u 've got to ta lk abou t
that culture, shine the ligh t o n that cuiLUre a nd talk about th e h uman ity of it,
the frustra ti o n of it. And tha t,

Maybe th is is just folde ro l." Bu t .Jimmy
was the re-and he re's a ma n wh o was
a n eyewitness-so I can no w as a fi lmmake r know that I' m no t pulling an y
bu llshit into th is fil m .
So I go t t h e sc rip t a nd we n t in to
p itc h it with real passio n for the sto ry.
.J eff Katzc nbc rg at Disn ey sa id h e
wamcd me to ma ke this movie. Disney
is not a n easy p lace to ma ke a fi lm. I
to ld him I wante d to make a rea listi c
film- ) d idn ' t wa nt to go in to a shutd o wn p r iso n . I wa n ted to go in to a
j o int th a t was real a nd fu n c tio n in g
an d had real faces. Acto rs ca n come in

Ge tting permissio n fro m th e warden at San Que nti n was o n ly t h e
beginni n g o f o u r proble ms. Disn ey
was co nce r ned I would have no cont ro l over sc h edu ling a t San Q u e n t in
a nd wou ld n ot be abl e to bring th e
film in o n tim e a nd u nd er budget.
T he studi o a id no go. Wh e n I insiste d
I wou ldn ' t m a ke the fi lm unless I
could shoot it in San Que ntin, Disney
rele nted a nd gave me the g ree n lig ht.
We we n t fo rward in to this expe rimc n l. I took e ig ht or ni ne actors o n ly.
Eve ryone else in the film is a real con.
We shot d a ily on a live basis for six
weeks. Eig hteen ho urs a clay. It was crazy.
Whe n )' Ott go into a priso n , yo u 're
go ing into a diffe rent socie ty. It's no t
Am e r ica. It 's n o t th e socie ty o n th e
s tree t with any of the in alie na b le
rig h ts th at we have. It's th e ward en's
PRISON LIFE

25

priso n a nd they have ce rtai n r ules o r The press ure o n t h ese a c tors was
laws yo u have to li ve unde r , a nd so inte nse. The people a ll aro und the m
th ey break everybody wh o co mes in. we re rea l co ns, r eal priso n e rs. orr
They b roke me in th e lirst two d ays. ca mera, th ey had to walk imo the yard
Beca use I've got a hu ge a mount o f and the cons we re saying, "Yo u ' re full
pressure fro m Disney sayin g, "O kay, o f shit, pu nk," o r "Hey, man , th at waswe 'll le t you go in the re but you've got n ' t bad ." That's th e kind ora ni rm ato co m e ou t in the rig ht amou n t o f tio n th a t a d irectOr can g ive the m , bu t
time." Butthe j oim worked on ce rtain wh e n they got it fro m those g u ys, it
strucwres: four times a day eveqr day was a fanta tic expe ri e nce for the m .
they cou m every prisoner in the p lace.
We've heard from Jimmy Baca about
Eveqrthing stop d uring the count. We
kn ew th a t was go ing to h ap pen. T h e th e anguish he went through going back
proble m is that wh e n the cou nt is o n , inside. Tell us how Baca handled it.
e vet)'thing stops un til evet)' priso ne r is
That was fasc in a t ing to m e, h ow
accou nted for.
\Ve were trave lin g with betwee n Ji mmy dealt with be ing in the re. As we
three a nd four hundred priso ners as go t clo ·er a nd closer to e nte ring, h e
extras every day. First d ay, we' re in the st.-·u ted to get really nerYou . I didn't
ya rd, we h ave ou r extras with u s. It ge t it a t fi rst, and th e n I reali zed that
co mes time for the co unt. We co unt this man wa in for eight-a nd-a-hal f,
o u r extras a nd the prison co unts the he is now go ing to have to go bac/1 in
rest of th e prisoners. They' re m issing for a long period o f tim e. He's truly in
three prisone rs. In o ur g ro up , th e re th e minds of th ese g uys; h e's tru ly
were three exu·a priso ners. Yo u kn ow, go in g into a h o use fill e d with th o ua n ds of p eop le h e unders ta nds; h e
th ree guys, wh e n they were called in
fo r co unt, said th e he ll with th a t a nd knows th e imeri or o f th eir brains a nd
th ey joined our ran ks. T h e who le j oim it's vet)' painfu l a nd ve t)' dange rous.
shu t down . Fo r four-a nd-a-ha lf ho ur
T h e fi rst d ay o f shoo tin g h e freaks
we sat the re una ble to work. T he first out. Comes up lO me and says he 's got
two d ays it h a ppe ned twice. Th e sec- to ge t out of the re, just can ' t do it. And
ond time th ey said th at if I didn ' t p lay I sa id , ·:Jimmy, I need you man . I' ve
by the ir rules, if I didn 'L do my counts establishe d you o n cam e ra , you 're one
a nd make sure it was ri g ht, th ey' d of the chantcters." And he said, "I don ' t
give a ruck about that, I can ' t stay here.
make su re I d idn ' t work.
At first, the priso n ers th ough t this
would be a cool thin g, becau se as an
extra yo u go t fed twice a day. In San
Quentin they only se tve real mea t twice
a year. So we ' re se rvin g m ea t twice a
day: stea k fo r d inn er, c hi c ke n fo r
lu nch . After the first day, th e guys didn' t show up. I found o ut they were sick
lO their stomachs, in their cells throwing up because the food was so rich.
I took my nine actors in th e re playin g priso n e rs, and maybe o n e was
playing a g ua t·d. For th e re t, we had
real guards, real prison e rs. The h ead
of the Arya n Broth e rh ood a nd th e
seco nd-in-comma nd we re actors. The If I tay h e re, it's over. " We looked a t
h ead of the Blac k Gue rrill a Family each o the r and I said , "I h ave to h ave
a nd his seco nd-in -co mm a nd were }' O U here beca use I want to d o so m eac to rs. Fou r or live C h ica n os we re thin g real, a nd you ' re th e o nl y o ne I
actor a nd the re t o f the peo ple, the u·u ly u·ust. How do we work this out?"
gang , were all prisone rs.
"Wh en you need me o n the set, ca ll
I wanted to ge t the rea lity o f th e me. Find me a place-! d o n ' t ca re
joint, a nd by taking Ho llywood acto rs what it is, a closet, a nywhere-whe re I
in to a wo rk ing priso n , th e re was n o ca n put my typewrite r . Wh e n yo u ' re
proble m ge ttin g au th e nti city. Instead no t using me, I' m going lO go in th a t
of hav in g a whole bun c h of Ho ll y- roo m and shut myse lf o ff and I'm
wood people posing and ll)'ing to act going to write. Tha t's the o nly way I'm
like they we re in the j o im, here these gonna keep my sanity."
g uys were walki ng in a nd th e priso nSo whe n we were sh oo ti n g a nd I
ers we re sa}·ing, "So you' re supposed nee d ed him , I could find him in his
to be one of us? You ' re su pposed to ·'cell," writing.
But he d id it, and we made th e film
be o ne of the h eaviest guys aro und?"

a uth e ntic. The peo ple are bo n a fide.
You can see th eir intelligence. Yo u seldom lind p eo p le o n t h e o utside as
articula te as people in the j o int, and if
an ac tor is go ing to foc us o n th e ir
li ves, it's a g reat labo ratory, beca use
it's all right the re and it's scary. De lroy
Lindo, a great black acto r who played
th e h ead of t h e BCA, was p lay in g a
vet)' smart ma n. Kiki [Enrique] Castillo p layed Mo nta n a, th e lege n dary
founde r of the Me xican Mafia, anothe r g reat m a n . T h ese a r e m e n who
cam e imo priso n , looked a t why th ey
ca me to priso n , looked at th e ir siwation , a nd bega n to und e rsta nd th e
co ntext o f minorities in America and
wh a t the pri on syste m has clo ne and
is doing to their people.
The lead of th e movie, Miklo , is a
ha lf-b reed , some body who 's man , not
an ime llectual. But he fiercely wan ts to
be lo ng. He wants d espera te ly to be a
part of th e broth e rho o d h e linds in
prison . So Miklo fo llows Moma na, he
kills o n e of th e white g uys wh o is
explo iting eve ryon e, a n d u ltim a te ly
Miklo is acce pted as o n e o f La Onda,
whi c h becomes his fa mil y. \1\lh e n he
m akes pa ro le a nd goes o ut to the
stree ts wh e re h e has to d ea l with th e
reali ty of Lt)'ing to earn a living a nd ge t
back in lO socie ty, again he's rej ec te d .
By this tim e his cou sin , Paco, h as
become a cop. And Cruz, Paco's broth-

11The pressure on the actors
was intense. All around them
were real cons. Off 1cameral
the
1
cons were saying
11 You re full
1
of shit1 punli.1 or
Hey1 man~
1
tnat wasn t bad.~~~

26 PRISON

LIFE

e r, who is a tale nted ari.ist, is a junkie.
Miklo can ' t sta nd the frustratio n a nd
rejectio n, so he turn s to crime. Wh e n
he meets h is cousin Paco du.-ing a rolr
beqr, he gets his leg shot o fT a nd goes
back to the joint.
Some thing has died inside of him .
When the guys from the Arya n Bro the rhood knock him down and ta ke his
artilic ial leg, m ake him crawl o n th e
gmund for it, th e re's no way this guy
is going to turn th e other cheek.
From th at mome nt on, he c ha nges.
He takes the point of view of an eye fo r
an eye, believes he must have an iron fist
in order to rule over the organization.

and said if there 's eve n
a c h a n ce of vio le n ce,
we're not going to show
thi s m ovie. Th en the y
kind o f wimped o ut,
they c h anged t h e t itle
from Blood In, Blood Out
to Bound b)' Honor. We
h ad a ve r y li mited
re lease and that was it.
How did the experience
of making a movie in a
working prison like San
Quentin change your perceptions of crime and
punishment in America?

T o me the experie nce
was re ally bi za r re . San
Quent.i n is ou tside of San
Fra nc isco, whi ch is th e
e pito me of yupp ieclo m
in th e US: ex u·emely
expensive, people living
the good life. You look
ou t a t th e bay, a t th e
boats, you see people sipp ing Cappuccino, and
yo u say, "Jesus C hrist,
whe re am I?" Th e re is
o ne world in prison and
Cmo mrm/m:1· .11'/liug ufi equifmwut in lit'rs at Srm QuPuliu.
rig h t o u tside is a no the r
How were you able to sell Di sney on
world and that d icho to my
is vet)' much present in America.
the length and structure of a film that goes
against everything studio executives strive
O ne thing p eople vo te fo r over and
for in making a movie marketable?
over again is new prisons. If th ey spe nt
a po rtio n o f the mo ney they' re spe ndI wanted lO make it lo nge r ! I had a ing o n priso n s on ed u ca tion , th e re
whole oth e r stOI")' about whe n Miklo would be less need fo r prisons. Jimmy
comes o ut to th e street 20 years later. A Baca is a n e loq u ent s p ea ke r on th e
sto•y about what the Mexican ~ I afia can subj ec t o f educatio n . I was with him
do and has clone. I would love to have once when he poke to the Californ ia
completed it.
Associatio n o f Educators, a ll these
T he film as it ex ists is te rrib ly ambi- h ig h sch ool princ ipals, and he re's a
tious. T o d o a H o ll ywood fil m bi lin- man who did n 't g rad u ate fro m
g uall y, to make a visceral and very school, d id n ' t go to sc hool, and th ey
to ugh m ovie wit h a lo t go ing on is jumpe d up and gave h im a sta n din g
n ex t to impossib le . T h ey d id let me ova tio n beca use h e ta lked abo u t the
mak e a three-ho ur movie, but th ey exc ite ment of learn ing.
we re rea ll y fr ig h te n e d o f it. T o g ive
Bu t instead o f sc h ools, th e poli tiMi chae l Eisner h is due , he looked a t cian s say ICl's bui ld mo re p risons a nd
th e m ovie and said, "I've go t a three just lock 'em up so we' re safe. Law a nd
billio n dollar corpora ti on here a nd I order is impo rta nt, but ultimately it's
ca n ' t afford to put thi s m ovie o ut in not go ing to c ure a n ythin g . Ronald
th ea te rs a n d take the c h a n ce that Reaga n d id more to desu·oy th is counyoun g Ch icanos a rc goi ng to come see try than ten p r es id c n ts. Reaga n pu t
it and kill eac h other." I could under- throug h th e in de te rmi nate sente nce.
stand th is to a degree. l mad e this fi lm If you look at th e ind e te rm inate se nfor t h ose people in LA-that·s wh o tence in Califo rnia-which 1 do in th e
J immy wanted to communicate wi th.
film- it brought a ll these people who
Disney d id some test screenings. \l\1e were lo w-level drug o ffe nders into an
had a really big response. But in Las "in stilUtion o r h ig h e r lea rni ng" fo r
Vegas, so me ri va l C h icano ga ngs got crim e. Peo ple caug ht with marij ua na
togeth er, and somebody had to th row o r so m e littl e b it of d o pe a re g ive n
a pun c h . The ne xt ni g ht, a bunc h o f longe r te r ms tha n a r me d robbers. It's
people sh owed up. Disney got ne i\'OUS n u ts. Ro na ld Reaga n sold voters a bill

of goods that we'll a ll be tryin g to
recover fro m forever.
Society feels ab h orrence towa rd
prisons and pri so ners. But look
around an d yo u ' ll appreciate th e
incred ible impact and inOue nce that
prison c ulture has now- i n dress, in
style, in la n g uage, in mu sic. T h e
who le gangsta ra p thi ng had its b irth
in p rison. In te rms o f th e way people
d ress, the way th ey g room themselves,
sh o rte r ha ir, the tattoo ex plosion. a ll
come outol" the j oint.
·w hat I was interes ted in doing in
Blooclln, Blood Ont was havi ng peo ple
on th e ou tside look at what goes o n in
prison. Some people ma)' th ink it's
too intricate a stmy, too invo lved, but
the Byzantin e nature o f th e join t
demand s a ce rta in broad foc u s. T o
the o utsider, priso n li fe is a lie n , th e
language is hard to understand,
the re's co mpli cation th e r e, there's
such in te nsity. Every m o men t is survival. Every momen t is awareness. You
d on't have that kind of awareness in
the street. Peo p le wa lk thro ugh New
York and thin k tha t they're aware, but
it's like nurse ry sc hool co mpa re d to
the j oin t. I was ho ping the a ud ie nce
would loo k at the process of incarceration a n d say, "H ey, th e peo p le in
th ere are not an imals. Many are there
because o r bad silL!atio ns."
For examp le, th e re's Paco. In th e
beginni ng, h e's a rea l bad ass. He 's
th e g uy who's about to kill somebody.
Instead, his close fri e nd, Miklo, grabs
th e g un, shoots th e g uy to protec t
Paco, and winds up go ing befo re the
jud ge, charged wi th the killin g. There
are a num ber o f judges in East LA
who g ive you a choice-go to the military or go to joint. But not if you're
fac in g a murd er r a p . So Pa co goes
into the Marines, gets turned around,
co mes back o ut and e nters the pol ice
departme nt. It 's an age-o ld process.
One goe to the Marines a nd becomes
a co p , o ne goes to p r iso n and becomes a ga ng leader. It is all a matte r
of circumstance.
Socie ty is now thoroughly in{ilu·ated
wit h people wh o h ave gotten th e ir
g raduate d egree in crime in p rison,
a nd yo u 're neve r go in g c han ge the
cycle until yo u fill the educa ti ona l
vo id. 'ow, when peop le co m e bac k
from the jo in t, they arc emulated.
Wh en the e hardened m e n co m e
back to the b lack and Ch ica n o communities from prison, they' re powerful entities a nd role mod e ls. But the
real q uestion is, wha t kind o r man do
you want com ing back into society: a
p oe t like j immy Baca or a killer like
Miklo Ve lka?

lii1

PRISON LIFE 27

June '94
Herby Sperling : A Legend In His
Own Time: Reputed mobster and
convicted drug kingpin on doing
life without parole at USP Lewisburg ; Ki m Wozencrafl on The
Mark of the Convict; Fiction: The
Great Escape by Richard Stratton;

COLLEC,.OR's ITEMS-PRISON LIFE BACK
ISSUES ARE sa.LJNG 007 FAST!

Bubba's Debut! ... and more!

~'Em

October '94
Former DEA Agent Michael Levine
Debunks the " Phony " War on
Drugs; Snitch 'n' Bitch: Confessions of a Government Rat; 3
Strikes, You ' re In-For Life! ;
Prison Fiction : Lee 's Time by
Susan Rosenberg.

January '95
PLM's First Cover Woman, Karen
White-One woman·s triumph over
18 years in hell; Ground-breaking
journalism exposes the scam on
UNICOR: The Economics of Imprisonment; Julie Stewart, founder of
FAMM.

March '95
Art Behind Bars-Winners of
PLM's 1st annual Art and Writing
contest; Exc lusive Interview with
Controversial Filmmaker Oliver
Stone; First Amendment Rights
of Prisoners by William Kunstler &
Ron Kuby; From the 'Hoods to the
Pen: Gangbangers Speak Out.

May-June '95
Gangland USA: Part II of PLM's Inside Look at Prison Gangs. Learn
the shady history of Texas prison
gangs from an O.G.; John Gotli's
Lawyer Bruce Cutler Tells Why
the Feds Want Him In Jail; Contract On America by Richard Stratton; Liberating Prisoners With Kindness: Jennifer Wynn on Bo Lozoff.

Up

andlhrow

thek~
rrrst six issues of Prison Life are
out. But you can still score our lat~st iss es. Packed with prison surviv
strat gres and hard-hitting stories from
the inside, these issues are going fast.
Own a omplete set of America's
hottest magazine. Only ten smacks a
shot while they last, and that includes
postage & handling.

stnacks a
ot-w
last

July-August '95
Novelist Kim Wozencraft on the
Controversial Case Of Mumia
Abu-Jamai-Convicted of killing a
cop. this outspoken journalist may
have been framed; Revising the
Convict Code; Prison Life Reveals
the Truth About So-Called " Resort" Prisons ; Prize-Winning ExCon Poet J immy Santiago Baca.

September-October '95
America's Greatest Living Convict Writer Eddie Bunker, by
Richard Stratton ; Real Peop le on
Death Row; The first look into the
Alcatraz of the Rockies; Inside the
Capital's Cage; plus fiction by Dannie Martin.

0 MasterCard

- -- - - - - ---City _ _ _ _ _ _
___ Zip _ __

to: Prison Life, 4200 Westheimcr, Suite 160, Houston, TX 77027.

Or call 1-800-207-2659.

Canada's correction
system has nothing to do
with correcting and
everything to do with
manufacturing the very
people society fears.
Terry Fitzsimmons, a
1.2-year career criminal,
is a case in point.

In 1984, T e rry Fitzs immo ns, a confused 18-ycaro ld, began his crim inal career as a co nveni e nce-sto re
th ief. In .July, 1993, he e nded it by injecting himse lf
with the H IV-infectecl blood of his fourth murd er victim and lllrning h imself in to the police. For 577 clays,
he wai ted t0 die fro m AIDS. Fi n a ll y, h e got tire d o f
waiting and hanged himself in hi s cell at Kingsto n Pe nite nLia l) ' in Ontario, Canada.
In a mann er the co urts and priso n co uld not, Mr.
Fitzsimmons instituted his own brand o f ca pital pu nishm e nt, a t least in part beca use he und e rstood that
Canada 's co rrecti o ns sys te m has no th in g to do with
correcti ng th e crime proble m- that, in fac t, it manufactures the very people society fea rs.
And Ten) ' Fitzsimmons was a star exam ple of what
the system can p roduce. Sad ly, th e mould th at fo r med
h im wasn ' t bro ke n with his death . The le tha l combination of repressive hi g h-secu rity fac ilitie s a nd inadeq u ate co u n se lin g and re h abi li tatio n m e an m ore
convic ts li ke him will mutate in o ur prison s.
I first spoke wit h tvl r. Fitzs immo ns in Fe brua r y
1995 as part of my resea rch fo r a book aboutjoh n H ill,
a priso n-righ L5 lawye r, and abou t his law cle rk, Howa rd

Massicoue, a fo rmer a rm e d robbe r. O ver th e wee ks
le adin g up to Te rry' s d ea th , we spe nt abo ut seven
ho urs toge ther on the telephone. The in itial hype an d
braggadocio abou t d e libe rate ly in fecting h imse lf with
the HIV virus soon gave way to so meth in g mo re interesti ng: a clark tour of pen itentia ry logic.
In our last conversatio n, fi ve clays before h is dea th
o n Ma rc h 28 , 1995 , h e said that th oug h t h e re was
no thing he could do abou t his own situa tio n, he wou ld
like the world to kn ow just what a c reatu re of the syste m he had beco me: "I got noth ing to gai n by it, like I
could sit back in my cell and di e, but I wa nt th e m to
know tha t, h ey, I ca me o n t his p lanet o ne thin g a nd
I' m leaving th is planet a to tally different thin g, a nd
how the he ll did I go fro m one ex tre me to th e other.
Not tha t a nybody's at fault, but let's sec where maybe
we cou ld have preve n ted it."
I n co ntrast to hi s me d ia bil ling as a deran ged
mo nste r, the re was an engaging vita li ty abou t him. He
was a pitiless realist who con from ecl fac ts head o n . In
sho n , I fo und him tO be a luc id vo ice fro m the other
side o f the law, unresistanl to quesli ons, honest in his
answers-and only o ccasionally tru ly frigh ten ing.

PRISON LIFE

29

T

e rre n ce Fitzsimmon s was bo rn in to an uppe r-midd le class fa mil y in Lo nd o n , Onta rio, th e th ird o f
four brothe rs. His chi ld hood e nded at age ni ne, by
wh ich time he had developed a d rug prob le m. His e ducation e nd ed a t age 15 whe n he grad uated to the su·eets o f To ronto. He held a
se ries of res ta ura n t jobs, t h o ug h h e
n eve r ke p t a j o b fo r lo ng er th a n six
mo n ths.
A 198 1 convic tio n fo r obstructi ng
a peace o fficer bega t a 1982 conviction
for ca rrying a co nceale d weapon , fo llowe d by fo u r ro bbe ll ' cha rges a nd a
th ree-yea r se n te nce in 1984. In 1986,
he killed a fe llow inma te. He was se ntenced to n ine years and served six. He
was re le ased in Dece mbe r, 1992, but
wasn ' t o n t h e trec t fo r lo ng. At th e
e nd ofjuly, he mu rd ered three people
over the course o f fo ur d ays.
Be twee n hi first convicti on a t age
18 and h i death at age 3 1, he was o u t
of jail fo r j ust cigh t months.
Was h e a n a wra l b o rn ki ll e r?
Probably no t. In desc ri bing his in itiati on to life a t t h e me di u m-sec u ri ty
j oyceville Pe ni te ntia ry in Kingston , he told me : "Whe n I
first ca me in I was aro u nd 5-fee t-5. I was 18, 98 po un ds,
blond ha ir, g ree n eyes. j ust a li u le cutie a t a party wh ich
I had n ' t be e n invited to ." He was raped du ring his first
wee k.
Slowly, he lea rne d the ro pes: "You ge t to learn abo u t
a ll th e diffe re nt aspec ts o f crime a nd all th e auiLU cles o f
vio lence t h a t pe rtain to p ri so n subc ulw res a nd li fe. If
yo u h a ve a n a lte rc a t io n , yo u h ave to use wh at yo u
lea rn e d- killi n g so meo ne e lse, having a fi g h t , ta king
h ostag es, a u e mp tin g escapes fro m p riso n . Yo u usc th e
kn owledge you've learne d. An d you lose th e h u ma nity o f
j ust be ing a nice pe rso n. "
On e clay, h e witn essed t h e fa ta l stabbing o r a close
frie nd by a n o the r inma te. Because th e Crown wish ed to
call h im as a witn ess, he was u·ansferred fo r his pro tectio n
to Kingston Pc ni te nti <lll', a maximu m-security facility.
Sh o rtl y afte r h e a rrive d t h e re a t th e age o f 22, h e
found himself in the path of ra pist-mu rd e re r Mark Sha nn on, wh o mad e hi m a sex ua l do-or-d ie offe r. "The threat.~
starte d abo ut 6 p .m . the n ig h t be fo re," recalle d Fi tzs immo ns. By mo rning, he decide d he ha d "no c ho ice." By 10
a.m., lr. Shan non was d ead.
Mr. Fitzsimmons spen t a year in soli taq•, waiting to be
t ri e d fo r m a nsla ug hte r- fo r whi c h he go t ni n e ye ars
a dd e d to his ta b . H e wa th en t ra nsferre d to th e
Saska tch ewa n Pe ni te n tiaq· in Prin ce Albe n , an ultra-maximum secu rity priso n wi th o n e of Ca nad a's two pccial
Han dl ing Un its (S H ) .
Thi ""as the crucible for the final tagc o f .t\ lr. Fi tJ_~im­
mo n ' d evelopme n t. Howard .t\lassicou e calls SH Us "the
Sibe ri a of prisons." As most prisone r know, solita ry co nfine ment i desig ned to max imize sensory dcp•·ivation. T he
u nits arc complete I)' automated , a li ttle more than tll rcc-bythree ya rds in . izc, line d with steel. Th e windows o r each
cell are covered with steel sl at.~; th e solid tccl doors have a
small pee pho le.
Priso n e rs arc locke d up 23 ho u rs a clay; o u tside th e

ce ll, th e priso ner is ha n d cuffe d to wa ist re tra in ts a nd
ho bble -c h a ine d a nkle -to-a n kle . On ly o n e priso n e r is
a llowed out a t a time. Te levisio n , ra dio and reading mater ia l a re privileges for good behavior.
Mr. Fitzsim m o ns to ld m e, "I was
fo rgo tte n fo r th ree yea rs wh e n th ey
le ft me in the SH U. l d id n ' t realize it
was d oing a ny da mage, to be pe rfectly
ho nes t. Yo u co me to e njo y the isolati on . I was nu m b, confused . I became
used to screa ming into th e speake r in
the SH U. Wh e n yo u ' re ta lking to a n
inanima te obj ect, you don 't give it too
much respect. "
D r . Stuart G rassia n , o f th e H arva rd Sch ool o f Me di cine a nd a u th o r
of Psychop atho logical Effects o f Solitary Confi neme nt, co n su lted o n th e
Fitzsimm o n s case: "These ki n d s of
u ni ts [S H Us] a re like facto ri e , a nd
tl1e product they create is rage. Ma ny
p eople wh o've bee n in sol ita ry
become mo re rageful , more irritable,
m o re e x p losive . T h e kind o f t h in g
Terq• described is certa in ly co nsistent
witl1 what I've seen."
Mr. Fi tzsimmon s was 26 whe n he emerged , a nd soon
afte r was re turned to the ge neral populatio n a t Ki ngston .
O n o n e occas io n , h e b eca m e d isru ptive a fte r b ei ng
refused shower privileges fo r fo ur clays. On h is way to solita ry co n fin e m e n t, h e smas he d h is fi st in to a steel wa ll,
shatte ring h is hand.
"On the way to the hol e, I sta rte d freaking o u t, like
with in myself, not p hysically. I said, 'You ' re going to loc k
me up fo r breaking my hand? Obvio usly yo u just wa n t a
piece of me,' so [ ende d up biting a chu nk o ut of my ann.
It took 24 stitc hes inside a nd 12 stitch es outside 'cause I
started pull ing a t it as we ll, rip ping it witl1 my teeth ."
T he n ew pe rsonality had e me rged.
T he a utl1o ri ties fe lt h is be havior warra nted exte nded
tim e in Ki ngston 's solita•l' a nd Prince Al be n 's SH U, with
th e resul t th a t Mr. Fitzs imm o n s spen t fewe r th a n two
yea rs in th e ge ne•·al popula tio n before two-thirds o f h is
se n te nce was com ple te d and h e was e lig ible fo r release.
And so it was th at in j an uaq•, 1993, witho u t a structured and gradua l re in troductio n to life beyon d the pe nitc ntia•l'· he was d ischarged d irectly to the stree t to serve
the fi na l o n e-th ird on sta tu tory release, whi ch mean s he
had to re port regularly to his parole officer.
"T h C)' d id n ' t 'ga te ' [refuse parole to] me because 1
did a lot o f groups [in anger con trol, p roblem solving, life
skills] and they cou ld n' t j ustify it. I wasn ' t a re peal offendcr. The fi rst Lime anybody mentioned 'cascading' [gradua l
introd uctio n imo socie ty] was afte r a paro le b•·cach . I
turne d myself back in a nd th e parole people in Mi llhayen
[Pe n i te mia ry] tho ug ht I h ad been o n a pre re lease progra m, tl1at l ha d seen tl1e street p1ior to getting out."
Lawye r J o h n H ill , a lo ng-tim e ad ve rsa ry o f solita ry
confinem e nt, says Correctio n Services was at fa u lt. "T hey
sh o u ld have realized h e was a d anger to himself a nd to
socie ty." Mr. Massicotte adds tl1at, "if a policy change has
to co me in to e ffec t, it sh o u ld be tha t eveq • pe rson who
has spe nt time in an SH U who is close to statuto•l ' re lease
sh oul d be n agged a uto matically fo r [co n tinued] d e te n-

Shortly after
he arrived,
he found
himself in
the path of a
rapist-murderer,
who made him
a sexual do-ordie offer.

30 PRISON

LIFE

ti o n . That might seem a negative thin g coming from a
"I believe strongly that I'm more a product of the syste m t h an of my own family upbri ng ing. Maybe th ey
defe nse lawyer, but p risoners need il."
should sta rt looking at tryi ng to correct th e ir m istakes
Rega rdl e of po licy or respo nsibi lity, Mr. Fi tzsimbefore more people like me ge t out."
m o n s was now o n t h e streets of Kingston. Six m o nth s
Mr. Fi tzsimmons died by his own hand on March 28,
before h is re lease, he had married Tammy Lyn n
McG ui re , the sister o f an inmate. The un io n lasted I 0
1995. A memorial service was he ld fo r him at Kingston
Penitentia t)' on April 13th . ·Tm hoping my fam ily will a t
days into his freedom. He t h e n moved in with beau tyleast claim my body," he said during one of our final consalon owner Sheryl Blackadder, a relation hip that lasted
versatio ns. "If no t, the n it's Sl 35 for cre ma ti o n a n d it'll
unli l July, when he stole J 0,000 of he r jewelry a nd disapbe o n the taxpayers' back. It doesn't matter to me."
peared into Toron to's gay communi ty.
It is a tradi tion in Kingston Pe nite ntiary to wait a fu ll
He soo n met up with Do n He bert, a n HIV-p ositi vc
travel age nt who was infatuated with him. The two fo und
24 hours afte r a suicide befo re moving a n ew priso n e r
into a n e mpty ce ll. l n th is case, a prisone r was p laced
they had a common inte rest in cocaine. To ge t money for
drugs, Mr. Fi tzsimmo ns robbed a m idtown Can ada Trust;
th e re sh o rtly afte r the body had bee n re moved. That
n igh t, o th e r priso n ers reported that th e new resident
a few days later, this time acco mpa ni ed by Mr. He bert
spe nt mu ch of th e nig h t sc ream in g. Mr. Fitzsimm o ns'
(w h o h ad fanc ied them as "th e first gay Bonn ie and
Clyde"), he held up the branch again.
u·oubled spirit had apparently returned.
There is som e debate as to whether Terry FitzsimBack at their a pa rtme nt, they were j oined by a retired
mon 's d eath was t11e final chapter in a nighunarish story
Toron to dentist named 'orman Iusky, who had a crack
problem an d had moved in wit11 the m th e clay before. Dr.
o r the begin ning of a trend. Mr. Massicotte is pessimistic.
·'We' re predicting we'll see a lo t more of this coming out
Rasky, 62, figu red o u t that th ey had robbed a bank to buy
o n the street. The SH U o nl y o p ened u p 15 years ago.
cocaine and th rea te n ed to call the police. Mr. FitzsimThey' re ge tting ou t now."
m ons, h ig h o n d rugs, b ludgeoned and re p ea ted ly
Co nve r sely, Mr. J ohn Oddie, assis tant warden of
stabbed Rasky wh ile Mr. Hebert looked on. He says it was
Kingsto n Penitentiary, does not believe Fitzsimmo ns' case
th e n th at Mr. He be rt asked him to kill him so he co uld
is a p ortent of th e futu re. "Our programm ing hasn't
escape th e torme nts o f d ea th by AIDS. Mr. Fitzsim mo ns
c hanged no r d o we see a req uire ment to change it. For
agreed, a nd said he wished to d ie, too. It was like ly th e n
inma tes re turnin g fro m SH U, the p rocess has been the
tha t h e injected himself with some of Mr. He be rt's blood.
sam e as with Mr. Fitzsimmon s. They are seen by the case
Mr. H ebert an d Mr. Fitzsimmons fl ed to Montreal by
manageme nt offi cer and th ey wo rk ou t a treatm e n t pla n
train , leaving be hind the beate n and stabbed body of Dr.
to mee t their requ ire me n ts."
Rasky in the base ment of the ir apartme nt building. O n
Alth oug h h e re peatedly ex pressed a n absence of
August 1, th eir mo ney gone, th ey robbed and ki lled ca b
fear, T e rry Fitzsimm o n s fully und e rstood th e imp licadriver Fern and Talbot.
The next da)', they wen t to Ottawa. They decided th at
ti ons of dying a lone. The in terviews that led to t his article wer e con du cte d by te lep h o n e
th is was the d ay Mr. Hebert wou ld die.
because I, along with oth e r me mbers
In a secluded spot in a Red Barn
of th e media, we re not a llowed in to
restau ra nt, Mr. Fitzs immons c ho ked
see him. In a n effort to atte nd h is
Mr. H ebe rt into sem i-conscio usness,
"I'm more a
then plunged a kni fe in to his chest.
me m o ri al se rvice, I m ade ren ewed
product of the
H e wen t to an Ottawa police staattempts to get clearance, but prison
autho ri ties did not respond to any of
tion and turn ed himself in. "It's go t to
system than of
sto p ," h e to ld them. "I' m tired of
my requests. Afterwards, it was reported that atten d ance for th e service was
ki lli ng people."
my own family
closed to ou tsiders.
Whe n I first spoke with him , Mr.
upbringing.
Fitzsimmo n s had had time to re fl ect
Father Hail, the prison ch aplain,
said he had bumped in to T e rry th e
o n the four murd ers and his decisio n
They should start
weeke nd before h is suicide. "H is pain
to e n d his life by g iving himself AIDS.
correcting their
was showin g . H e looked ve ry tired,
"I wish non e of th e murders had hapvery pale." This repo rt contrasts with
pened, but wis hi ng isn't go ing to
mistakes before
the voice I heard jus t 48 h ours
c hange it. They' re ve ry deep expe riences, vet)' vio lent experie nces a nd I
befo re . Th e m a n I'd sp oke n to was
more people
don't think one i easie r than th e
filled with determination, a n absol u te
get out."
oth er to li ve with. I h ave diffe re nt
resolution to have his story heard, to
ch a nge th e syste m for the better n o t
emotions for each person. Ha tred for
Ma rk Sha nnon. Ras ky? Pity. The cab
for himself but for the next prison e r
d ri ver? I wished it never happened.
who might u·ead th e same path. Te rt)'
Fitzsimmons may have given up h o pe with his his fin al
Don , the best friend I eve r had? I m iss him but I' m ha ppy
act, but he managed to override the prison's media ban
fo r him because he's where he wanted to be.
an d gra nt his story a secur·ed place in the public eye. I
"I believed in ou r fri e ndshi p. I believed that if he was
firm ly believe he understood tl1is when he mad e his deciwi lli ng to die by my hands then I should be willing to die
sion to leave tl1is world.
by his b lood. I' m giving socie ty exactly wh a t th e)' want.
I'm go ing to give them capital punishme nt. Instead of it
Reprinted from the Canadian Globe & Mail.
being a five-minute thing, they' ll see it for five o r 10 yea rs
and watch it cat away at a pe rson.
PRISON LIFE

31

A CURE FOR CRIME
PRISON LIFE AT THE 5TH NATIONAL CURE
CONVENTION IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

by Richard Stratton &Jennifer Wynn

C

rime, poli ticians tell us and
mainstream media duly report,
is the co untry's number one
domestic problem. If we are to believe
o ur e lected lead e rs, the answer to the
crime crisis lies in administe ring more
of the sa m e sho rt-sighted re medies
that have thus far fa iled to staun ch the
now o f blood in our streets.
Mo re laws and longe r prison sente n ces. More co ps a nd more federal
agents with broader pol ice powers.
More priso n s a nd a return to inhum a n e cond iti ons of con fin e ment.
:Vlo re capital crim es and more executi ons. Tho ug h these sna ke o il c urati ves on ly appear to have made t h e
condition worse, we are assured that
larger a nd la rge r doses of deadly medicine will eventually h eal the nation.
All we need to do is give up more of
our civil rig h ts and let the police have
their way and Ame ri ca will be safe.
Both conservatives who purport to
oppose big government and liberals
who cry fo r mo re gover nm e nt over32 PRISON

LIFE

sight favor g iving greater power to
police agencies, to th e courts a nd to
prison officials to wage war on crime.
Whe n he was Gove rn or of Arkansas,
Bill Clinton ordered a me mally retarded man to be executed so as to appear
to ug h on crime and to deflect bad
publicity on his ph ilandering. Spea ker
Newt Gi ngrich recent.ly called for mass
executions of drug smugglers. The
level of vio le nce and brutali ty in our
society plagues many Ameri cans and
ye t to question official hard-li ne policies on crime is to commit political suicide. Look what happen ed to J ocelyn
Elders when she so much as suggested
it might be t ime to o pen di a log o n
decriminalizing drugs. \>\'hat we need ,
our trusted o fficials see m to be saying,
is a Mark Fuhrman on every su·eet corne r a nd we will a ll sleep be tte r.
Some Ame ricans are beginning to
questi o n the government's wisdom
and motivation in dealing with the
impac t of c rime on o ur society. In
muc h t h e sa me way as the a n ti-Viet-

nam war movement started 30 years
ago, th ere is a growing constintency of
the citizenry wh o now disn·ust and outt-ight o ppose Washington's solutions to
the crime question. The imperative to
wage war in th ej un gles of Southeast
Asia in order to protect Ame rica from
Communism proved to be a lie; in the
real world in hab ited by ordinary Americans, "lock 'em up a nd throw away the
key" as a means of del ivering us from
crime is equally bogus.
It took the fam ilies of sol diers
kill ed in Vietn am, a nd the veterans
th e mselves, to co n vince the rest of
middle-America that th e war was a
mistake. ow a grass roots organizati o n made u p large ly of priso ners'
loved-ones, family members a nd e xprisoners who have expe rie nced the
crim inal justice system first-hand has
brought the war o n crime home to the
hallowed halls of Congress wh ere insular law-make rs jostle fo r p ower at the
expense of t.l1e coun try's well-be ing.
CU RE, Citizens U nited for Reba-

Pauline & Charlie
Sullivan founded
CURE 23 fears
ago. They have
dedicated their
lives to reforming
the criminal justice
system and helping
improve the lives
of individuals
behind bars.

b ili ta tio n o f Er ra nts, is a n ati o n al o rga n izatio n d evo ted to
reducing crime through refo rm o f the c riminal justice syste m
(es pecia lly pri so n refo rm ) . With c hapte rs in 36 sta tes a n d a
n a ti onal offi ce in Wash ing to n , D.C., CU RE is t h e n ati o n 's
fo re mos t coa li tio n o f' crimi nal justice advocacy gro ups. T his
yea r CURE held its Fifth Na tio nal Co nve ntio n in the Capital
on J un e 17 throug h 20. The edi tors o f Prison Life atte nded th e
co nfe re n ce and were welco med h ea rtil y bo th by o the r conve nti o n ee rs a nd by th e o rga n ize rs. It see ms we a re saying
much th e sa me thi ngs.
fn the fo ur clays o f the co nvention, hundreds o f me n and
wome n fro m all over the co unuy gathe red at T rin ity College
in \IVash ingto n to ex press concern lo r th e bruta l and wasteful
tactics e mbraced by o ur governme nt in th e wa r o n crime, a nd
to di sc uss alte rn a tive m e th o d s a nd strategies fo r red u cing
crime throug h reform of the crim inal j ustice syste m.
But the CU RE cause does no t e nd with talk. CU RE is also
a lo bb}' g rou p , and as Ch arlie Sullivan, Na tio nal CU RE '~ executive d irecto r, pointed o ut to conve ntio n participa nts in his
we lcoming lcue r, "The most impo rta nt eve nts of the conventio n are th e Congressio n al visits o n Tuesd ay." Conve ntio nee rs were urged to con tact th e ir Re prese ntatives a nd make a n
a ppo intment to visit. CU RE p rovided each o f the a u e ndees
with a le u e r fo r th eir Re prese ntatives ra ting th e 103rd Co ngress and urging Co ngress m e mbe rs to beco m e Public Official Sponsors of CL'RE.
Saturday, tJ1e first d ay of th e conve n tio n, was given over to
registra ti o n and, in th e eve nin g, self in trod uc ti o ns a t a getacquainted social he ld in o ne of' the voluminous o ld ha lls at
th e baroq ue Catho lic university. Re prese nta tives fro m diffe re m state CU RE chapte rs a nd affilia te groups stood and ide nti fied themselves. Man y to ld of having had no idea j ust how
sick our crim inal j ustice syste m i · until a loved one or family
me m ber we n t to p ri so n. It was extraord ina ry to be in th e
sa me room with so ma ny like-m inded p eo ple o n a ra nge o f
tOpic· th at have divided America ns into two o pposing camps:
th ose who believe the way to de te r crim inal be h avior is with
mo re vio lence a n d abuse, a nd th ose who ad voca te tha t the
so lu tio n lies in und er ta n din g th e ca uses o f c rime, a nd in
edu cating an d re h abili tati ng those who break the law.
Beginning a t ni ne a. m. Sun day a nd runn ing umi l Mo nday evening, over 50 panels were he ld on a fascina ting varie ty
o f cr imin al justi ce top ics: !.:.Jft'rtive Substance Abuse Treatment
an d Unrlenlanrling Inmate Phone Systems: !'our Rights and Remedit'S lO Tht' National Camj){[ign to StojJ Control Unit Tortu1·e a nd
Doing Ti111e Today: Dl'bttnlling the Myth that Prisoners Have it
Made. Pe rusing the sc he du le , it was frustra tin g to h ave to
choose be tween pa ne ls on so ma ny issues vital to read ers o f
Prison Lift'.
We a n e nded a pane l on capital punish me nt, Update on the
DNtth Penalty: Fil:1·1 Degrf'e Murder by the Stale, and we re moved by
pa nel ists who told of having a mentally distu rbed son o n deatll
row in Texas. A young stude m from De Mo ines, lowa recalled
h ow she became frie nd ly with co nd e mn ed poe t Will ie Otay,
a nd h ow sh e e ndured hi s execution. In a gro up di sc ussio n
afte r the pane lists spoke, it was agreed tha t th e on ly legitimate
way to resist the death penalty is on mo ral gro unds. Thou shalt
not kill goes fo r the sta te, too.
Next we sat in o n a pan e l c h a ired by Juli e Stewart o f
FAMM (Fa mil ies Aga inst Ma ndato ry Minimums) a nd h eard
fro m .J ul ie 's bro the r, .Jeff' Stewart, a form e r ma rUuana prisone r wh o was re leased fro m prison this year and n ow wo rks with
his siste r lo bbying Co ngress to end ma ndatory minimum sente ncing . Rece ntly FAM.M won a m;Uor victo ry o n a se nte ncing
issue th e g ro u p h as bee n ad voca ting fo r ove r two yea rs. An
am e ndm e nt to th e sen te ncing g uidelin es now se ts th e sta nd a rd we ig h t of' a ma rij ua n a p la nt at 100 gra ms p e r plan t
PRISON LIFE 33

What is CURE?
A national organization to reduce crime through the
reform of the criminal justice system.
When and Where Did CURE Start?
CURE began in San Antonio, TX in 1972, when a
dozen citizens (families of prisoners and concerned
individuals) went to the legislature in Austin to work
against the death penalty. In 1975, CURE formally
organized with an annual convention and a constitution.
In 1985, CURE expanded to a national organization.
CURE's Goals
Are Making Sure that:
• Prisons are used only for those who
absolutely must be incarcerated.

• Prisoners have all the resources they
need to turn their lives around.
CURE's Outreach Activities
• Providing errants and their families with
information about rehabilitative programs.
• Promoting the creation of more
rehabilitative programs.
• Convincing errants that change can be brought
about more effectively through the exercise of their
constitutional rights.
Who Supports CURE?
CURE has a mailing list of over 5,000. This includes
prisoners and freeworlders. Five percent of the
membership of Congress representing both political
parties are Public Official Sponsors of CURE.
Where is CURE Active?
CURE has an organized presence in most states.
This is either through state chapters, contact chapters
(the first step toward becoming a chapter) or organizations with similar goals that affiliate with CURE.
What CURE is Working on
• Stopping the expansion of the death penalty.

• Removing racism from the application of the death
penalty.

e Renewing the Targeted Jobs Tax Credit (which
pays for a portion of the starting salary of a newlyemployed ex-felon through government subsidies).
• Voting in federal elections by all probationers and
ex-prisoners.
• Improvement of the availability of veterans' benefits and services to incarcerated veterans.
• Encouraging prison-based businesses.
• Increasing awareness of the special needs of
women prisoners.
• Stronger enforcement of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Person Acts (CRIPA).
• Establishing a waiting period before the purchase
of a handgun.
• Supporting professional accreditation for all correctional entities.
• Allowing prisoners to be transferred to the state
where their loved ones live.
• Offering effective drug treatment on request in the
community and in prison (CURE is a member of a
network that monitors the government's war on
drugs).
• Eliminating discrimination in employment for a
felon if nature of job does not relate to his or her
crime.
• Passing a constitutional amendment that fundamentally changes the criminal justice system.
34 PBIIDJI

LIFE

in stead o r at th e fo rm er I ki l o pe r plan t. Th e am endm en t,
effective retroactively, wi ll red uce o ff ense scal es by 0-lO levels
an d effects close to I ,000 federal priso ners who will receive substa n tia l sente n ce r ed uc ti o ns and i n a n u mber o f cases b e
released. T his is good news no t only for the prisoners bu t for all
th ose en gaged in sente n ci ng refo rm. I t is great to ee r eal
p r ogress bei n g made. FA MM is to be co n g ratu lated fo r its
effo n s.
Later that aftern oon we j oined a panel discussing progress in
Prison Ref orm Utigalion and were most impressed by an impassioned address by Kwasi Seitu, a former prisoner who spoke eloq uently on how priso n r eform li tigatio n has had wha t l imi ted
successes it can claim largely because of wo rk d one by jailho use
lawyers. Sei tu was adamant in insisti ng that the state o r pr iso n
refo rm litigatio n is in reu·ograde . Lawyers o n the panel spoke of
wor k being clon e by prisoners' Legal Services attorneys. We were
re m i n ded th at the l an d m ark Suprem e Cou n case U. S. v.
$405,098. 23 was initiated by j ailhouse lawye r Michael Mon talvo.
SeiLLt was correct in stre · ing the work of incarcerated, scl f:taught
lawyers in ligh tin g injusLice. vVho knows better than pr isoners
the abuses of the system?
Finally th at aftern oon we j o ined a grou p discussing ways
and mean s o f Communicating Criminal justirP Reform T hrough
Publications in a Punishment Em. T hi is a subject abo ut wh ich
Prison Life' editor sh ou ld kn ow a thi n g or two . Pa n elists
incl ud ed ed itors o f Th P Tum ing Point, th e exce llenL newsletter
o f M issouri CU RE and Grate1jriends, publ ished by volunteers
and prison ers at Grater fo r d , PA . We also met th e man aging
ed ito r of Amerira n j ail Association magazi n e and we r e
i mpressed to see that th e Sheri ff' s o rganization has co m e o u t
against the wh olesale ware housing philosoph )' of co r rec tion s
sweep ing the natio n . Prison LifP, th e only freewo rl d-baseclmagazine clone b)' co nvicts an d ex-con s, was a welco me presence at
the panel.

O

ther noteworthy pan el we au ended later in the morn ing
d eal t with sto pping co ntr o l unit to rtu r e an d selling
prison reform po liLically, which was led by the charismatic Rozier .. Roach ·· Brown, chairman of the Ex-Offender CoaliLion
and staff assistant to D.C. M ayor Mar ion S. Barry. Roach was t.he
per fect candidate to eli cu the concept o f selling prison refo rm .
H e h i m self is an ex-co n wh o d id a two-decade bid for murder.
A fter h is re l ease, he wen t to wo r k fo r th e M ayor , also an exoffender . M ayor Barry ervecl six mo nths i n a federal p rison o n a
mi demeano r d rug co nvictio n and then miraculously managed
lO regain voter confidence and wi n the 1994 Democratic mayoral
p rimary. Mayor Bar ry did th is, Roach explained, wi th the help of
a liul e-known I 976 D.C. law th at u nlocked a vo ti ng b lo c of exco nvicts, wh o were over whelmingly suppo rtive o f Barry's ca mpaign . Mayo r Barry hired Roach Brown to head up his Coali tio n
of Ex-Offenders, and together they canvassed th e city's alleys and
shelters to spread the word that ex-felo ns co uld vote, which got
many of them to the polls. T h e organ izatio n was responsible for
bri nging in th o usand s o f new vo ters p redisposed to elect th e
man they could idenlif)• wi th , an ex-convict li ke themselves.
On M o nday eveni ng, the CU RE chap te r fo r ex-o ffenders,
CU RE-Et 0 GH ( Ex-O ffenders Need O p po rtuni ties, U nderstanding, Guidance and H elp) met to discuss ways ex-offend ers
and tJ1eir lm·ecl ones can work together to change law re tricLing
fu ll participatio n in ociety b)' former prisoners. Chairper on Bob
Vieweg raised the example o f an cx-ofTcnder from Virginia who
had served ti me o n a d rug o ffense o nly to be denied a license to
operate a used car lot upon release. Given the unreasonableness
o f such penal ties, Vi eweg suggested the grou p begin to wo rk
po li Lically and legally to overturn unreasonable decisions.
Roach Brown agreed to serve as th e new co-ch air of CU REENOUGH and mentio ned o rganizing a natio nal ex-offen d er
cl ay in D.C. to be held in the fall of 1996.

The charismatic Rozier
Brown, chairman of Mayor
Barry's Ex-Offender
Coalition, led a panel
on selling prison reform.

Mayor Marion Barry plans
to appoint "a qualified
person who happens to be
an ex-offender" to the next
parole board vacancy.

After hours, we met with Steph en Do naldso n, h ead o f
Stop Priso ne r Rape, who is lobbying Congress to ensure th at
male ra p e in pri so n receives the same atten tion as female
rape o n th e streets. We also had a lo ng con versat io n with
J o hn Woods, a Vietnam veteran and ex-offe nder who is p reside nt of Vietnam Veterans of Ame rica. Woods has spent the
lastlO yea rs runn ing prison-base d programs an d su p p o rt
g ro ups for in ca rce rated Vets an d h e lping to expedite th e
release ofVete ran offenders.
Th e fo ur-day seminar culmin ate d with a brea kfast on
Capitol Hill in the Dirksen Senate Office Building . The highlight was an appearan ce by D.C. Mayor Mario n S. Barry, who,
despite a work strike at the D.C. prison that began the second
day of the conven tion, a ttended the Capitol Hill meeting and
de livered a rousing 30-min u te speech.
"Through the grace of God a nd a lot of in ternal fo rtitude
and th e help of frie n ds and fam ily, " Barry to ld th e CURE
audien ce, "I managed to come back stro nger an d wiser an d
be tter than ever."
He spoke of his strong advocacy of priso n reform a nd his
su pport of ex-offe nde rs. "I h ave ex-offenders working in o ur
office now, a nd at the next vacancy on th e pa ro le board, I
in tend to appoin t a qua lifi ed pe rso n who happens to be an
ex-offe nde r. Wh y sh o ul dn' t those who are affected by the
d ecisions be part of the decision making process?"
Mayor Ba rry told the group he is fighting for more money
for drug treatme nt a nd believes in "treating chemical dependency medically, not criminally." He is also working to re instate co njugal visits for D.C. p r isone rs and setting up
community education cente rs in poor D.C. neighborhoods "to
tackle proble ms before incarceration. " Barry's final message,
which brought him standing applause, was di rected to everyone invo lved in the fig ht for priso n reform- prisoners a nd
freewo rlders alike. H e urged th e group to d raw inspi ratio n
from his struggle to regain h is mayoral position afte r he was
virtua lly banished from th e pol itica l scene as the resu lt of a
nationally televised bust for smoking crac k. "Never g ive in ,
never give ou t, never give up. Whe n you' re going through a
storm, hold your head up h igh ," Barry exhorted th e audience.
A prayer from the Kora n was read fo r priso n reforme rs
who had died in th e last two years; fam ily membe rs o f me n
and women o n death row spo ke briefly and poignantly abou t
th e ir loved o nes be hin d bars. Presenta tions we re made to
Congressman Lane Evans fo r his leadersh ip in helping incarcerated veterans; to Congressman Robert Scott for his leadership in prison reform , especially for requ iring tha t a ll deaths
in custody be reported to the U.S. De partment ofJustice; and
to Senator Pau l Simo n for his wo r k on the Famil y Un ity
Demonstratio n Project.
Apprecia tion was extended to Alvi n Bronstein , the executive director o f the National Prison Project, wh o is retiring
this year, and to Leigh Di nge rson, executive director of the
National Coalition to Abo lish the Death Pe nalty, \Vho is also
leaving he r positio n.
The final sp eech was d elivered by the e n lighten ed O klah oma warden, j ack Cowley, who spo ke candid ly a bo u t how
Co n ections a nd CURE ca n a nd must work toge th e r if we
ho pe to see a reduction in crim e, a nd how th e growing prison
indusu-y in America is doing nothi ng to help make our streets
safer. Before this issue we n t to press, it was learned that Cowley had been re moved from his positio n as warden and re legated to a regional desk j ob.
Afte r the con fe re n ce, CU RE arranged for me mbers from
each state cha pte r to meet with the ir Sen ato rs and ed ucate
th em on pressing p rison reform issues. Our only regre t a t the
end of the day was that we couldn 't be in fifty different places
at o nce.
[I]]
PRISON LIFE 35

Ron Decker, a young,
white middle class dope
dealer, has been given an indeterminate sentence and
sent to prison for two years
by ajudge who wants to see
signs of Decker's rehabilitation before he'll consider reducing the sentence. Decker
has gone from ahigh-rise in
West Hollywood and a
Porsche Carrera to the L.A.
City Jail and a prison bus
that deposited him in the animal factory of San Quentin.
Now he must learn to survive or fall victim to the psychopaths who prey on fresh
fish like Decker.
Earl Copen is aveteran of
the California prison system
serving his third term in San
Quentin when he and Decker meet. Reluctantly at first,
Copen takes the "youngster" under his wing and
teaches him how to stay
alive and do time in the penitentiary.

Illustrations by
B.D. Hill
36 PRISON

LIFE

BY EDWARD BUNKER
orne Decem b er d ays in the San Francisco Bay area exh ale pur e
spring, and this was o n e of the m , a Monday between Christmas
and the New Year. The sun had burned off the freezing morning
fog, and although the lower r ecrea tion yard was still crisp, it was dazzling bright. Earl sat shirtless on the worn b leachers along th e third
base line, finishin g a joint in the n ear est thing to solitude the prison
allowed . A red bandanna was ti e d around his forehead to kee p the
sweat from his eyes, though it h ad dried ten minutes after he left the
h andball court. A still soaked glove lay limp b esid e him, and his legs
ached from the hard hour of exercise. H e p layed poorly but loved the
game. He couldn ' t bring h imself to jog or do calisthenics, b ecau se h e
quit the mome nt h e began breathing hard, but when there was competition h e kept going until his body scream e d in pro test and h e h ad to
b end a t the waist to draw a good breath . Winte r closed th e handball
courts for months at a time, so h e played whenever they were open for
a few hours. He su cked on the joint, uttering "d yn amite shit" in anely,
and the aches wen t away. H e was relu ctant to make the lo ng trek to the
big yard , a nd then five tiers to his cell to get a towel to showe r with.
"Too b eautiful a d ay to be locked up ," h e muttered, liking th e bittersweet ach e of longing for freedom . It told him that h e was still human,
still yearned for something more than b eing a convict. H e still hoped.
PRISON LIFE

37

ing towa rd him at a n a ngle . On e was
e'd decided to follow See ma n '
T ony Bo rk, a c hunky young co n wh o
advice a nd avo id tro ub le b y was the Ea t ce llhouse plumber, no t a
avo id ing th e siLUatio ns. H e \,·as to ugh guy but personable and kn own
keeping to his ce ll durin g the d ay, as a "stand-up d ude." He had in tow a
reading a lot, and when so mething sle nd e r youth in the stiff, unwash ed
h appened , it was ove r befo re he h ea rd d e n im o f a n e wcom e r. Eve n with o ut
about it. On e of th e Brothe rhood had the clo thes, Ea rl knew the youth hadkilled a man in the East cell house, and n ' t b ee n long in San Que ntin , fo r
th e n e xt clay d u ring t h e lun c h hou r alth o ugh he o ften saw faces for the
two Chicanos had ambushed a third first tim e afte r they'd been a round for
and c ut him up pre tty b ad. If h e' d m o nths, t hi s o n e he wou ld h ave
di ed , it wou ld have tied the record of r e m e mb e r ed. He was too st riking ly
36 m urde rs a year; th e record for stab- good lookin g an d yo u ng loo ki ng,
b ings, I 07, had already bee n broke n . es pecia lly be ca use o f a clear, pale
T J. and Bad Eye worked in th e gym , comp lex io n se t off by cla rk blue eyes
a nd h e saw th e m on ly a t th e nig ht th a t were se rious but in ex pressive .
m ovie wh e n th e Bro th e rh ood fi ll ed The re was no thing effe m in ate abo ut
two ro ws of rese rved b e n ch es. Ea rl him, but there was an extre me boyishwo uld have co me o ut during the day if ness tha t by prison standards wo uld be
heroin was on the yard, but the prison co n sid e red pre uy. Pre tty was a bad
had bee n dry sin ce h e' d gotten an th ing to be in San Que ntin.
"Hey now, big duke of Earl ," Tony
ounce three wee ks ea rli e r. Po t, acid
a nd mini-be nni es were abu nd a nt- said . "I n eed a favor. R.:'lther, m y fri end
throu gh th e H e ll's Angels-but Earl here docs. A show pass." To ny glanced
was no t inte rested. In a paran oia-laden at th e yo uth. "Ro n Dec ke r , Ea rl
a tm os ph e re, he co uldn ' t r isk be in g Co p e n ." A noel of ac knowledg me nt
did the work of the usual ha nd ha ke.
spaced out.
"Arc th ey runn ing the show lines
Ea rl did n o t kn ow a bo ut a strike
that was to ha ppe n the following morn- ye t?" Ea rl asked.
'They we re getting ready to when
ing, but it was kn ow n by eve ryo n e,
incl ud ing th e wa rde n . Someon e had we came down."
Ea rl picked up his sweatshirt and
ill egally used a mimeog raph mac hine
to ru n ofT th ousands of copies of a bul- ha ndball g loves and started clown the
letin ca ll ing o n a ll con vic ts to either bleac h e rs. Bork a n d Dec ke r fe ll in
stay in th eir cells in the morning or not besid e him. As they walked , he strugleave the big yard at wo rk call. The first gled into th e swea tshirt.
"You haven ' t been he re vet)' lo ng,
d e ma nd, an e nd or a m odifi ca tion of
th e inde te rminate sentence-a term a ny- have you?" Ea rl asked.
Ro n shook hi s he ad. "T hree
whe re be tween a year and e te rnity until
th e parole board decided-was some- wee ks. T Oll}' tells me yo u ' re good a t
thing Earl fie rcely agreed with. fl was law."
"I used to fuck with it. r o more. I
the cruelest to rture never to know how
long imprisonment wo uld last. And the d o n ' t be lie \·e in it. Smith and We son
de ma nd tha t prison indusu·y wages be beats clue process."
"Wh at do you mean?"
raised a bove the prese m m<Lx imum of
"Besides being funn y"-Ea rl
12 cents a n o ur was also reaso na ble .
But th e n th e wr ite r h ad wrn ed irra- smilecl-"lmean that law is bullshi t.
tiona l, d e mandin g th a t all "Third .Jud ges do n ' t h ave an y in tegrity.
Worl d " peo p le a nd "poli ti cal priso n- Th ey' ll spri n g so m e b ig shot o n a
e rs" be released to the various People's p o in t o f law, but wh e n so m e poor
Republics. This absurd ity wou ld aLU"act H oosie r in h e re h as th e sam e po int,
wha teve r cove rage the press gave th e th ey shoot it down. "
strike a nd bl u nt a ny con side ration
"Bu t whe n Smith a n d Wesso n
th o ug htful p eo ple mi g ht give to th e wo n 't d o a nything, th e law mig ht be
d em a nd -n o t tha t ma n y cared a bo ut a ll th e re is. I d o n ' t want to imp ose,
wh a t we n t o n in p rison. A trike was but I'd like you to loo k at my case. I'll
futil e, ye t a t leas t it showed that th e pay you."
men had no t surrend e red . It wo u ld
"Whe n I ge t some Lime," Earl said ,
bring a lockdown of evet)'One while the not n o ticing tha t his br ush-off mad e
lead e rs we re ro unded up, clubbed , and Ro n blush .
"Wh a t fuck in ' movie a re th ey
segregated . "And I 'd be tte r go ge t
some cigare ttes, coffee and food to last s h owi n g tod ay?" Earl asked. "It 's a
unti l th e unlock. Four salami a ndwich- lVIo nclay.
es a clay wo n ' t ma ke it."
"Blood-donor's movie," T ony said.
As he stood up o n th e to p row o f ''I'm on the list but Ron isn ' t. "
Earl glan ced a t Ron from the corbleache rs, he saw two con victs climb-

H

38 PRISON LIFE

n e r of his eye a nd fe lt bad that he'd
sta lled him so co ldl y. "Wh a t kind o f
thin g did you wa nt to kn o w a bo ut
yo u r ca ·e?"
'The m ain thing i th e judge said
h e'd call m e back a nd modi fy m y se nt e n ce in a year or two . Som e g uy in
t h e bus sai d th e judge loses j uri sdiction and can ' t do it. "
"He used to lo se j u risd icti o n , bu t
si x mo nths ago a cou rt of a ppe al s
ruled th a t if h e se nte nced you unde r
1168 h e can call fo r re p o rts a nd
review h is sentence."
"Tha t's what h e se nte n ced me
unde r."
"What kind of beef? "
"Pos ession of na rco tics fo r sale
with a weed prior."
Ea rl m ad e a silent wh istle a nd
lo o ked a t Ro n m o re close ly. 'T e n
yea rs to fu ck in ' life , with six to th e
pa ro le boa rd. Yo u 'd be tter h o pe h e
mod ifies. "
"Do n ' t 1 know it."
As t h ey reac h ed th e to p o f th e
stai rs, th e sound o f counl!)' and weste rn music fro m th e lo udsp eake rs
p o u red ove r t h em . Th e last li n e of
co nvicts was going imo the mess ha ll,
an d the guard ch ecking passes wasn ' t
one Ea r l co u ld inllue nce. "C' mo n to
th e yard office. We'll ge t a pass fro m
that big sissy." Whe n they n eared the
yard office d oo r, Earl too k Ro n 's I. D.
ca rd to ge t his numbe r. He left the m
outside . Witho ut saying a nythi ng to
Big Ra nd, wh o was d a n gling a string
before a cuffi ng, scrawny kitten (on e
o f hundred s in t h e prison ), Ea rl sat
down and typed a pass; th e n dropped
it o n Ra nd 's d esk for a sig nature. The
big ma n igno red it, co ntinued playing
with the kitten.
" H ey, you want m e to throw that
cat in th e Bay?" Ea rl said, k n owin g
Ra nd just wanted atte ntion.
Rand p icked u p th e p ass . "Two
weeks ago-Gibbs, rem e mbe r?"
"Ohman , that wasn ' t noth ing."
"Nothing ha ppened , bu t a wh o le
bunch of sh it could 've happe ned. "
"Whadclya th ink-1 was go nn a
snitch o n you? Sign the mothe rfucke r."
"Who is th is asshole?"' Rand leaned
in his chair so h e could loo k o u t over
th e Dutch d oor , clu bio u ly eyed Ron
an d Tony. H e knew Tony Bork a nd h is
was n ' t t h e n a m e o n t h e pass. Ra nd
curled a fo re £inge r a nd Earl lea n ed
for ward . "Yo u ' r e t rying to fu c k th a t
kid, a re n 't you?" Ra nd accused.
"You got a dirti e r mi nd th an these
convicts, Ra nd. Yo u really d o."
"We ll, wh o is he?"'
"A good white bro th e r. Ar e yo u
gonna sign? I've got business. I wan n a

get to the cantee n to stock up in case
there's a lockdown over that strike."
"We'll get you out if-"
Earl c u t hi m off with an upra ised
h a nd.'· h-huh. I' m a co nvict. If the
joint' slamm ed, I'm slam med."
"I' ll make sure you ge t so meth ing
to eat. "
Earl didn ' t pro test, though fo r a
mom e nt he was surprised. Rand (Seema n, too) cou ld be savage to convicts
he disliked , specia lly blacks. He wore a
swastika med allio n unde r his shirt.
Ra nd signe d th e pass slowly, ma king a de libera te c hi ldish scra wl, and
th en han de d it to Earl with a grin.
"I sho uld have sign ed it myse lf,"
Earl said, bur he took it and wen t o ut,
g iving it to Ron. "I' ll wa lk with yo u.
I've go ua get some food an d dirty
m agaz in es in ca e th ey have t h at
strike. We"ll be loc ke d d own with
nothing to d o but use o u rselves, and
I've fo rgouen wha t broads look like."
Ro n la ughed , showing good wh ite
teeth.

Wh e n th ey reach e d th e big ya rd ,
Earl paused long e nou g h to make
sure th e pass wasn ' t questi one d; the n
h e went toward the heavy crowd o utside th e ca ntee n . Other · were a lso
stocking up.

H

a lf a n h our be fo re th e m a in
co unt locku p , Earl e nte re d th e
b ig ya rd. Ha lf a dozen of th e
Bro t h e rh ood, including Pa u l, T J.,
Bird, a nd Baby Boy, were gath e red in
th e afte rn oon sun n ea r th e East cellho use wa ll. When Earl wa lked up, T.J.
reach ed o ut and b r ush e d th e slic kshaved skull .
"Wh e re's Bad Eye?" Ea rl asked.
"On a visit. You kn ow his fo lks
love the it· baby boy." The conversati on
was about the strike . tobody th ough t
it wo uld acco mplish a n ythin g, a n d
Baby Boy was angry because h e like to
wor k and was go ing to th e paro le
board in two weeks. Yet th e re was no
questi o n of th e m breaking a str ike,

eve n o ne they disagreed with. '\ Vh a .
. . wh at we ough ta do," said Bird, a
small, tight-muscled man with a big
nose a nd a c h ole r ic d isposition, "is
burn the mo th e rfucke r down . I'd go
a lo ng with th e ni gge rs o n a riot
where we get in some licks. T hey j ust
talk revolutio n ... "
"Yea h ," Baby Boy sa id, "th ey
wa nna go bac k to Africa or whe reve r,
sen d the fuckers."
"The m p eo p le over there don't
wa nt 'em eit h e r ," T.J. said. "[ was
readin '- "
"Fool!" someone said. "Q uit lyin'.
You know you ca n't read. "
Earl sca nned the ya rd. I t was
beco min g c rowded with co n victs
be in g he rded fr om t h e lowe r ya rd
before lockup. ear the edge of the
she d he saw Ron Decker talki ng to a
Puerto Rican whose name Earl didn 't
kn ow-b u t who he did know for a
g lue-sni ffer an d loudmouth troubl emaker. A cou ple of t h e P uerto
Rica n 's cl ique were hovering nearby.
Th e co nversation was h ea ted, with
Ro n gesticu lati n g, a n d the Puerto
Rican suddenly jabbing a finger at his
chest. The good-looki ng you th spun
on his heel a nd walked away. Ea rl saw
Tony waiting some d istance away.
The whistl e blew an d th e swarming convicts began to form lines. Earl
h ead e d against the tide toward the
yard gate. A closed-door conference
took place duri ng co un t, and Ea rl
locked th e wash room d oo r and liste ned. The warde n had gotten word
from th e stool p igeons (probably in
exchange fo r a transfer, Earl thought)
th a t severa l d oze n in m a tes, m ost ly
black, planne d to crowd aro und the
big yard gate just b efo re it opened,
knowing that even convicts willing to
work wo uldn ' t cross such a line. The
lieutenants we re being bri efed by
Ston eface Bradl ey, the p oc kmarked
associate warden. Ex tra p erso nn e l
would be o n duty. T hose trained fo r
the tactical squad would be held in th e
p laza 11ntil n eed ed , and the h ig hway
patrol would le nd a dozen sharpshoote rs to beef up firepower o n the wall.
But they would try to break the strike
befo re it began by ope ning the ya rd
ga te an hou r ea rly a n d r u nn ing th e
co n s d irectly fro m the mess h a lls to
work , o r to th e fa r side of th e ya rd
away from the gate so th ey co uldn ' t
gather and create a bottleneck.
As soon as the coum cleare d, Earl
we n t to th e ya rd, watched the lin es
come from the cellhouses to the mess
hall un til he saw a wi llowy young black
with a ca fe a u lait comp lexio n who
be lo nged to th e Black Panthe rs. lt was
PRISON LIFE 39

a cenainty th at he was involved in the
stri ke plans. or a t least knew who was.
Ea rl also knew the man wa n ' t a racia l
fa natic. When h e came o ut. Ea rl
waved a nd walked over a nd w id hi m
what h e'd overh ea rd. '· For whate\·er
it's wo rth ," he finis h ed. T h e black
thanked him.
As h e turned away, h e sa w T o n y
Bo rk ge ui ng a ciga rc u e lit by anoth e r
convic t nearby. Earl gave a brie f wave
and starl c d to le ave, b ut T o n y bec ko n e d him. The yard was clark exce pt
for th e nood lights. a nd convicts were
streaming by th e m en rou te to the
cell hottses.
Wh e n Earl step ped over, lowering
hi s head sligh tly because he was tall e r
than T o n y, th e plumber put a hand
o n his sh o uld e r. "tvly fri e nd ," T o ny
said. "th e one I in troduced yo u to
today, he's got pro ble ms- "
"] guess so," Earl said , sn ortin g.
"so me cocksuckc r in Sa c ram ento
should get a foo t in his ass for sending
40 PRISON LIFE

him here ... a mong the anim als."
"Somebody cut him in to Psych o
Mike-"
"The Pue rto?" Earl inte rrup ted.
Ton y nodded. 'The g lue-s n iffe r.
yea h . And he 's schemin g o n the g uy.
d id h im a few favors, banaroo clothes,
c t ce te ra , be fore Ro n knew the score.
The yo u n gste r wok e up to wh a t 's
going o n , and he's trying to back o fT,
b ut Psyc ho's o n the m uscle now a nd
he's go t that li ttle clique."
"Is that kid Ron a b road?"
To n y sh oo k h is h ead . '·No, ma n ,
but you know how that goe . He d oesn ' t h ave an y hench me n o r-"
"Wh a t abo ut yo u ? Yo u tryin g to
turn hi m o ut?''
"You know I don ' t play th a t shit. I
like hi m a nd I' m g iving h im m ora l
suppon ... bu t like I go to th e board
real oon and I've got a good sho t at a
parole. Besides, I'm no to ug h g uy...
"So yo u wa n t tO c ut m e into th e
a ction , is th at it?"

"Somebody's go nn a ge t him ,
o r d ri ve him into pro tective custo dy. o r make him kil l so me bod y.
Why don' t yo u pull him ?"
''I need a kid like I need a bad
h ea rt. A pre u y kid is a tic ke t to
tro uble ... and I' m too o ld to ask fo r
t hat. Shit. I have n't eve n boo ked
T o m my th e Face in two years. I' m
turning into a jack-off idiot. "
"He 's te n times smarte r a nd
classie r than the shi tbums around
here. I was thi nkin g abou t that
b lo nd yo u ngste1· t h at Psyc h o
Mike 's bo ys g rabb e d off th e bu s
last year-ra n a gang ba ng, made
h im plu ck his e}•ebrow , a nd th e n
sold him to th at o ld p e rve rt. T h e
kid wo und up in the psych ward."
''Fuck it. It 's n o n e o f my business. If a sucker is weak, he 's got to
fall around h ere. I came whe n I
was 18 and nobody turne d me o ut.
I didn't eve n smi le fo r two years. "
'Things were d iffe re nt Lh en ... a
dud e co uld rep re e nt h im self by
himse lf. There we ren' t n o ga ngs
then . He's not a killer, blll he's no t
a cowa rd."
Ea rl shoo k hi s h ead a n d
refused to liste n furthe r, but whe n
h e t urned away h e rou nd hi s j aw
muscles tig h te n as he re membered
what Ton v h ad described . Ra ised
in reform. sc h ools, used to places
without women, Earl li ke everyo ne
e lse wi th s u c h a bac kg ro u nd was
n ot agai nst queens a n d preny
boys. Afte r se,·e ral years without a
wo man , a surrogate co uld arouse
just as in t e n se ly. Bu t Ear l was
against force, a nd even more th an
th at, he loath ed the practi ce of buying
a nd selli ng young boys, a phe n o m en o n of rece nt years. For a mo men t he
th o ug h t or ask ing Pon c h ie (wh om
he 'd known all his life), o r Grumpy o r
Bogu s Pete, a ll of the po we rfu l C h ica n o Bro th e rhood, to j e rk up Psyc ho
Mike. Not that it wou ld do a ny good;
with like gone (tha t was easy), oth ers
would move in.
"Wh at th e fu c k do I ca re?" h e
mu u e rc d , see ing Paul's fig ure working with a broo m o n a n o p e n g uner
across the shadowlan d ya rd. He went
to sec if Paul ha d wo rd o f a ny n a rco t ics. It wo ul d b e easie r to go
thro ug h tomo r row if he was tra nqu ilized o n he roin.

L

a te in th e eve n in g, whil e th e
clack, clac k, clac k o f cell d oors
being
loc ked
reve rbera ted
thro ug h th e cellh o use, Ro n Dec ke r
stre tched o n the top bunk of his cell.

An elbow propped up his torso as he He swiveled on the bunk so he could
lay on his side, while spread in front of put the letter on the bars for the last
him, as if for reference, were Pamela's mail pickup. Then he jumped down.
letters, her Christmas card, a battered Jan the Actress, so called because he'd
collegiate dictionary, and a photo of lived as a woman for ten years long
her against a background of a field of ago, was cross-legged on the bottom
pinkish wildflowers. The last letter, on bunk, fingers flying and yarn trailing
pale yellow stationery with a hint of as he worked on an afghan that would
perfume, he studied while he wrote. sell for $90 in the visitor's handicraft
He adored her letters, for she had a store or 5 hits of acid, 20 joints, or 2
flair for mood and nuance and some- papers of heroin on the yard.
times included a page of evocative
Ron stepped to the back of the
poetry. Sometimes the letters made cell and got his toothbrush, his eye
him imagine an entirely different per- catching his reflection in the mirror.
son than he remembered, and he It was odd to see his hair so short and
blotted out memory to respond to the combed straight back-but without a
letter writer. Ron was uneasy with the part; someone had told him that some
written word. He was well enough would think a part was sissified. He'd
educated, but lacked experience in laughed at the ignorance but followed
transmitting thoughts with the pen. the advice.
He'd written more since his arrest
Jan the Actress pulled a cardboard
than in all the previous years of his box from beneath the bunk and
life. He wanted to make his letters a began depositing the knitting gear.
journal, and the one he was working "How's the problem with that Psycho
on tried to convey what he was seeing Mike coming?"
and experiencing. He described San
Ron spat out the toothpaste foam.
Quentin's hideous look, but he could "Tense. He wanted to know why I was
not tell her of the wholesale violence shying him on ... and something about
and paranoia, or of the expected owing him."
strike. A letter with upsetting informa"I could've told you he was bad
tion would be returned by the cen- news."
sors. He did tell her that the
"He was friendly at first ... and I
classification committee had assigned didn't know anybody. I should've
him to the furniture factory, and he known."
was to report in the morning. He was
''What happens now?"
unhappy with the idea of sanding var"I'm going to stay away from him."
nish from chairs all day, but there was
"What if that doesn't work? He's
nothing he could do about it for a got some friends and it could get
while. He told her that he had a per- rough."
sonable cell partner, without amplifyRon shook his head. He wasn't
ing that it was a 45-year-old queen. He afraid of Psycho Mike, not really-and
told her that he was disillusioned by yet in a way he was. And it was
the personalities he had found, that demeaning to be worried about somehe'd expected at least some who were one so stupid. That he would go along
intelligent, but here were the under- with what Mike wanted (he stopped
world's stunted failures, muggers, gut- short of fully imagining it) was
ter junkies, gas station robbers, and unthinkable. He already knew what he
those who committed moronic rapes would suffer if he went into protective
and murders. Master criminals didn't custody, and rejected that idea. He
seem to exist. He wanted to tell her was willing to fight if necessary, but
about the young men raised in reform could imagine what little chance he
schools that so deformed their psy- had against a clique. If he used a
ches that institutions and institution knife-Tony had offered him one-it
values were their whole life and whose would be resolved, but he balked at
status was built on violence. He want- that choice for two reasons: it would at
ed to tell her about racism that went least mean a denial of modification by
beyond racism into obsession-on the judge, and even if he got away
both sides-and how it was affecting with it, the vision of running steel into
him to be the object of murderous human flesh was revolting. When he
hate just because he was white. It finished his ablutions, Jan was waiting
aroused fear, and a kernel of hatred to use the sink. The cell was less than
in response.
five feet wide, and the space beside
None of these things could be the bunks was so narrow that they
written, so he finally signed the letter. were chest to chest as they passed.
He was putting it in the envelope Jan's fingers brushed at his crotch and
when the public address speaker he reflexively shot his ass back.
blared: "Lights out in ten minutes!" "Damnit!"

"Try it, you 'lllike it," the queen
said, the time-worn parody of a woman's face screwed up with a smile and
desire.
Ron quickly jumped onto the top
bunk, his legs dangling over the side.
"This is supposed to be a place of
tough guys. Everybody is some kind of
pervert. Wow!"
Jan had turned to the mirror, trying to make thin hair cover loss of
pate. "No, they're not. More the pity."
"It sure seems that way."
':Just because you're young, tender sweetmeat."
Ron blushed furiously. When the
lights were out (though it was not really dark because lights outside the cell
threw a bar-waffled glow inside), Ron
could see the blackness of the Bay
beyond the cellhouse, and beyond the
blackness twinkled the lights of the
Richmond hills. It was an insult to put
the ugliness of a prison in such a setting. It increased the torment to be
walking dead amid so much life. He
had another thought and stuck his
head over the edge of the bunk where
he could see the featureless paleness
of Jan's face. "Say, I was thinking
about having some guy look at my
case today ... some older dude with a
shaved·head, Earl Copen. Know anything about him?"
Jan's giggle was quick. "Do I know
Earl Copen? Honey, he was my cell
partner years and years ago when I
came here. For a few weeks. He
ripped me off."
"Ripped you off. Him, too. Yuk."
"Oh, he's another convict. He
waited until the lights were out and-"
"Spare me the details."
"You're not interested in my love
life?"
"Not especially."
"Earl was just a kid then. He was
one step ahead of the wolves himself,
but he was a wild sonofabitch. Stoneface, the A.W., was a lieutenant then,
and I remember Earl turned his desk
over on him and spent a year in the
hole. And I remember some wolf eyeing him with that look-"
"I know the look."
"Earl asked him what he was looking at ... and the guy told him, 'I
wanna fuck you.' Earl told him that if
he kicked his ass he'd let him. The
guy was a light-heavyweight prizefighter and Earl was skinny as you. They
were supposed to meet in the back of
the block after breakfast. When the
guy came in, Earl was on the fifth tier
with a big water bucket, the kind the
tier tender uses to fill up gallon cans.
It weighs about 70 pounds when it's
PRISON LIFE

41

su·ike, wonde ring if a "fog line'' would
be ca ll e d , closin g th e lowe r ya rd to
eve1) 10 n e.
Th e mess hall was ab n o rmall y
quiet, the customa ry roarin g vo i ces~~
low hum , exaggerating th e claue r of
ute nsi Is against steel trays. It see med
as if fewe r men than u su a l we re eatin g. Ro n 's tie r was among the last to
sit down .
Ron gu lp ed his food , dumped his
tray, a nd ste ppe d into th e co ld g ray
morning ligh t. A row o f gua rds waited
just o ut ide the mess hall doo r, nig h tsti c ks in h and. Pe rc h e d o n th e gu n
rai l above the yard ga te stood a guard
and a highway pa tro lma n , o ne with a
r io t gu n , the o th e r with a tear-gas
g re nade la un che r. Ro n stoppe d , surp rised. "Industri es worke rs clown the
stairs, .. a ta ll sergeam said , moving his
h e ad to indi cate th e o pe n ga te.
"Eve rybo dy e lse ac ross th e yard."
In less than fi ve h eartbea ts Ro n 's
e}'CS panne d acros th e yard to where
n early two tho usa nd convicts waited.
The crowd broke in a n L shape whe re
th e Ea t a nd North cellhouses joined.
Th e blac ks we re, as u ua l, a lo ng th e
North cc llh ouse wall. Ro n didn 't
know if he sho uld go through the gate
or j o in th e thro ng . One m ig ht m a ke
him a stri ke breake r, bring re ta lia tion
fro m oth e r convicts; th e o th e r co uld
ge t h im in tro ubl e with the oflicia ls.
"Get movin g,'' a gua rd sa id to
him-and at that m o ment th ree co nvic ts ste pped fro m th e m ess h a ll
be hind him a nd turn e d with o ut hesitati on to go o ut th e gate. Th e ir exit
b ro ug h t n o j eers or catca lls fro m the
crowd , so he lowered his head and fo llowed the m.
The fog m e t him o n th e sta irs.
The figures a head turn e d into vague
outl ine a nd disappea red a ltoge th e r.
He cou ldn ' t see the prison wa lls. He
he n tJ1 e mo rn ing bell wake ned fo llowed th e road aro und th e lower
Ron, the la nd outside th e cell- yard; th e indu stri a l are a gate was a
h o use windows was cove red quarte r o f a mil e away. 1 o g uard s
wi th fog . T h e e d ge of th e sh o re, 20 we re in sig ht; even o n brig ht d ays
ya rd s away, was to ta ll y in visible. The wh e n th e re was n o tro ub le, t h e gate
fog wo ul d n ' t go over t h e cell ho uses had several.
Now he LUrned and fo llowed the
imo the big yard, but the lower recreatio n ya rd wo uld be bla n kete d. The road a lo n g the base o f th e wall , feelfactory area was beyond the wall o r th e ing ·trange in tJ1 e b linding la nd 'Cape.
lowe r recrea ti o n yard ; it had its o wn Two co nvic ts ap pea red, trudg ing
towa rd him , ca p s pu lle d over t h e ir
wall.
Ron d ressed a nd was he d qui e tly, cars, hand sjammecl in th e ir pockets.
''H ey \\•hite bro t he r," one sa id as
for J a n neve r go t up until th e 8:30
lockup , arri,·ing a t wo rk ha lf a n ho ur th ey reach ed him , ">'OU m ig ht as well
late. lie was cle rk to th e supervisor of go back. Th e ni gge rs b locked thi s
e du ca ti o n , who ca m e in at 9:00, so gate."
The o th er one laugh ed, th e caw
n o thin g wa ever said . e it h e r did
Tony Bo rk go to bre akfas t, so Ron of a crow, showing gaps wh e re tee th
sLOocl by th e bars and wa ite d to c at shou ld have bee n . 'The fuckin ' bulls
alon e, wond e ring abo ut the rumore d go t slic k and o p e n e d th e yard gate

fu ll of wate r. I d on't kn ow if it was.
Ea rl droppe d it, a nd it wo uld 've p ut
th e guy's head down aro und hi. asshole if it'd lande d, b ut it ba rely missed
a nd sha u e re d his a n kle. Earl ca me
running down th e sta irs with a claw
ham me r to fin ish him , but th at rucker
managed to ge t o ut, broke n a nkle and
a ll. He was sca red to come o ut o f the
ho pita!. Ea rl could have fucked him
by th e n .''
" He didn ' t strike m e tha t waycrazy a nd all. "
··oh, he's be autiful people. I talk
to him. l-Ie's inte lligen t and see ms
burn e d oul. Wh e n yo u reac h yo ur
mid-thini es, yo u tend to slow clown.
That's old for a co nvic t. He's tired of
do ing tim e."
'·I saw h im with som e yo ungste rs
up against th e wa ll. Is that his gang?"
·'Probably pa rt of the White Brotherhood . That's not his ga ng ... no t a nybody's. They don ' t even think God is
bo s. I've seen a lo t of dangerou men
h e re, but n eve r a bun c h o f th e m
ganged together. "
··what about the Mexican Bro the rhood?"
"Th e sa me. Maybe worse. Th e re's
more o f th em . But the)' ge t a long with
Earl' · frie nds. Those kids-he ll, so me
of the m are nea rl y 30, love Earl. Pau l,
too."
''\Nh o's Paul?''
''The g uy with the white h a ir,
looks abo ut 50."
'' I haven' t see n him. " vVh e n h e
ro ll e d back a nd p re sed his h ead to
the pill ow, Ro n dec ide d to keep away
from Ea rl Co pe n. Jailh o use lawyers
were ab und a nl. Earl was too unpredi ctable. All I need is a se rious disciplin ary repo n , Ro n thoug h L The
judge' II toss the key away.

W

42 PRISON LIFE

earl y. The r ugs go t sli c ke r a nd
bloc ked th is gate. With the fog and
shi t, it' worse fo r the b ulls."
"Nobocly's go ing to wo rk ?" Ro n
asked.
"They' re wai tin ' clown th e re 'bout
a h unn ercl yards, wa itin ' to see wh at
ha ppe n s. The p eople bloc ki n' th e
gate arc after that."
"I think I'll go see ..,
'·I learned to get away from h ot
spo ts. So me shit is like ly to ki c k o rr
clown the re. I wanna miss it."
"Do n 't stay too lo ng . Stoneface is
gonna be ma d as a .Ja p. He' ll be wantin ' to kill so me body, an' co nvicts all
go t the a me color LO hi m ..,
''It's the color of shit," his fri end
said , a nd they we n t off through th e
fog toward th e big yard.
C uriosi ty a nd excite m e nt n ecked
with fear g rabbed Ron as he went ro rward u pon th e back of the c rowd .
Fro m beyo nd he heard a vo ice with a
Negro acce nt sc rea min g, 'The)' ca n
kill m e! I ain ' n o m a mm yfucki n '
dawg!"
Ron stepp ed to th e left, where a
fe n ce bo rd e red th e o pposite sid e o f
th e road from the wall. The re was
room to pus h thro ug h and he did,
coming to the fro nt ten yards away.
Across a space from the crowd was
a t ig htly kni t g ro up o f abou t fift)'·
Most of the faces were black. but a few
whites "·e re there. Some o f the strike rs
ha d baseball bats a nd length s of pipe.
One roly-poly black was in fro nt or th e
strike rs, ex h o rtin g th e worke rs:
"Whatch a go n na do ? Get on ove r
here. We a ll toge th er. Do n ' t be
scared! "
A white convict beside Ron shook
h is head. "I'd go over the re if it wasn' t
all spooks. My fuckin' partne rs wou ld
turn o n me if I did."
Ro n loo ke d a lo ng th e su mm it o f
ilie wall. A single guard in a greatcoat
stood in silhou e tte, his rille ha nging
like a ha lf-mast phallus. Did the o fficials kn ow that was happe ni ng? What
would they do?
The cold was insidious. Becau se
there was n o wind, it d id not cut;
ra th e r , it a te slowly like ac id. Ro n
began to shiver a nd chatter. H e
wish e d so m e th ing would h a ppe n ,
wonde red if he should u·udge back to
the yard.
A llun)' of moveme nt in the workers' crowd m ade hi m sta nd on tiptoe
and crane his neck. A chubby middleaged C hi ca n o was pushi ng t hro ug h
with a ye llow card he ld overhead. lie
walked resolute ly toward th e strike rs.
The ye llow ca rd was a checkout sli p
tha t h ad to be sig n ed by h is wor k

upervisor befo re he could leave th e
prison on pa role. "Yo vaya . .. la lebere
esta manana."
The from rank o f strike rs o pe ned
li ke lips to swa llow th e ma n without
pro tes t, a nd a mom e nt late r th e
inn a rds c hurn ed ad crun c h e d a nd
Ro n hea rd th e spla t of blows a nd a
g urg led screa m. His excite me n t fe ll
away, re pl aced by h o rro r. "Oh God ,
they' re ... killing h im." He fo ug ht away
nausea.
"He sh o uld a wa ite d ,'' th e con
besid e Ro n a id . "I'd have waited.
Now h e's goin ' o u t th e bac k-in a
box."
The crowd a round Ron sudde nly
crushed imo him, spli t by some fo rce
he couldn ' t see. The n he d id . Me n in
he lm e ts with Pl ex ig las masks we re
wading through , swin gi ng lo ng clubs.
One ma n we nt clown. He was n ' t a
st rik e r but blood spurted fro m hi s
h ead as h e dre w his le gs up. T h e
gua rds were in fo rma tio n .
The young co nvic t b es id e Ro n
leaped to th e fe n ce. Ro n was thrown
aga inst it. H e struggled, turn ed , dug
his fingers tht-oug h th e ho les in the
wire a nd scra mbled up. The base ba ll
fi eld was on th e o th e r side. The fog
provided a hidin g place o f so rts.

E

a rl ' s cell o n th e fifth ti e r was a
perch overloo king the yard . Just
be fo re 8:00a. m . he looked o ut.
T he he rd o f convicts aga in ·t th e cellhouse walls stoo d qui e lly. He spo tted
his frie nds halfway down. They'd gathe red LOgethe r in a mome nt of po ssible
tro ubl e , bu t it see m ed th at troubl e
was passing by. Earl put o n his heavy
coa t a nd g loves a nd we nt o ut o f th e
cell.
As h e came o ut of the rotunda he
me t o th e r. mo re timid me n , co ming
in . But Ea rl had looked and it seemed
o kay. li e ra n his eyes alo ng th e g un
rail. Half a doze n guard s were th e re ,
wea p o n s h e ld cas ua ll y exce pt fo r a
set-gea nt-a we ig htlifter wit h a
T ho mpso n su bmac h in e g un a t po rt
arms.
Earl wa lked alo ng th e rea r o f th e
crowd un t il he saw Baby Bor' red
h air. Th e n h e p ush ed thro u g h to
wh e re his fri e nds we re.
All the o th er convicts were qui e tly
se ri o us, bu t the cliqu e was g rinnin g
a nd la ug hi ng, co mi ng a live in th e
threat of chaos, which Paul was reducing to a bsu rd ity.
"All th ey wan t is a whi te ho a n ' a
Cadi llac. T h a t's sure as he ll reaso nable afte r all white clone did to 'e m ...
C hec k th a t bu ll. " 1-1 e po in ted to a

chubby rosy-cheeked guard facing the
crowd 15 ya rd s away. The g u a rd
couldn ' t decide how to h old his club,
a t his side, across his chest, be hind his
leg, in one or two hands- a nd he kept
g lan cing ne rvously at th e protec tive
cove r o f th e rifle m e n. "Fool don ' t
kn ov1 wh e th e r to shit or go blind,"
o meon e added.
Bad Eye caug ht Ea rl 's a tte ntion
and put two fing ers to his mouth, asking for a cigarette. Earl started to reach
in to his pocke t wh e n the flatul e nt
re port of a rifle echoed , followed by a
ho llowe r fi rearm, eithe r a sho tgun or a
tea r-gas gun using a sh otgun c ha rge.
T he two thousand me n on the yard fe ll
instantly a nd utterly silem, froze n , as
hear ts leaped to a faste r bea t and the
a un osphe re pulsed with te nsion . T he
chubby guard fe ll back a ste p, and rifleme n shook off their casualness.
Even Paul was quie t.
A fig ure ca me hurtling thro ug h
th e ga te, j e rke d to a walk, a nd tri ed
a bsu rd ly to be n o n ch ala n t. The
g u a rd s sta rted to close o n him , but
th e n o thers ca me and th e g ua rd s let
the m thro ugh .
T wo blacks cam e up o ut of t he
fog, o n e g uiding th e o th e r , whose

h a nd he ld a b lo od-so pped rag lO his
fore h ead. They turn ed left, heading
for th eir brothe rs. Two guards we nt to
cut th e m o ff, but a massed spontan eou s m oa n th a t turn ed into a ro ar
sto pped the m-a wa ll of sound. And
as th ey h esita ted , the blac k c rowd
b ro ke fo rwa rd , surround ing th e
arrivals while the guards fell back. The
rifl e m e n braced their wea p ons on
th eir shoulde rs, squinted along sights,
but the blacks stopped.
Earl 's heart pumped like a bird 's
\vings. Bo di es surged aga in st him ,
blocking his view. He saw some whi tes
and Chi can os run from th e ga te into
the crowd , and seconds la te r got wo rd
th a t a Chican o had been sto mped lO
d eath by th e blacks.
Th e racia ll y divided c rowd n ow
pulled apart, like o rganisms mutually
re p e lled. Ea rl a lm os t fe ll , but T .j.
gra bbed his be lt and kept him e rect.
The sound of voices was like th e lowing o f cattle before a stampede.
Mome n ts la ter th e spilled gasolin e
o f m adn ess was ig nited . A whum p
sound fro m a tea r-gas la un c h e r a nd
g r e n a d e a r ced d o wn b e tw ee n th e

(continu ed on page 73)
PRISON LIFE

43

I

t is the midd le of a record heat
wm·e whe n I arrive at the Limeston e Co rrecti o nal Facility near
llu nts\·i ll c, Alabama. Th e stone
guardwwc r. se t in the ce n te r of th e
prison, casts a lo ng shadow in th e blazing afternoo n sun. I sec the fo rm o f
a rm ed gua rd s as they move anonymousl y behind the towe r's tinted windows.
T h e e ntran ce at Li mes to ne is
mark e d by two bric k co lumn s with
thi ck black me ta l bars between th e m.
I grasp th e door hand le and loo k up
a t th e video ca m era mounte d to my
left as a n unn ervin g c lan g ing so und
c u ts thro ug h t h e sile n ce. My ar m
vibrates a nd I feel the steel bolt inside
46

PRISON LIFE

the doo r rel ease. I ste p th ro ug h and
cross man icured g rounds that sme ll o f
freshly cut grass on my W<l)' to th e
admin istration building.
A tall white man with a thic k musta c h e and easy So uth ern ma nn e r
introdu ces himse lf a Cap tain \Vi c .
"Don ' t take anythin g from prisoners
and don 't give anything to priso ne r ,"
h e says, a nd radios for a g uard to se n'e
as my escort.
I am here lO p hotograph priso ne rs
at th is medium-sec urity fac ility. In
May, Alabama Governor Fob .James .Jr.
and State Priso n Commissioner Ro n
.J ones d ecided w t·esurrectthe cha in
gang as part of a mu c h-to uted ge ttough-on-cri me campaign . Afte r hav-

ing been ba n ned as inh umane punish ment fo r over forty year , th e practi ce o f shackli ng men at t h e an kles
and herding them out to work beside
highways has become a ho t pol itical
issue. T h e return of the c ha in gang,
which requ ired no state o r federal legislation, i ·een by c riti cs as a step
backward to t im es when m en were
trea ted worse than an imals.
In fac t, parole vio lators bro ugh t to
Lim estone have tra di tiona lly bee n
ass igned to wor k crews th at c lear
brush a long the highway and keep th e
prison grounds clean . The d ifference
now i that th ey do t h e same work
c ha in ed at the ankles like slaves. The
purely symboli c program fun cti ons as

Chained in fives, the
men swing hatchets
and pickaxes for ten
hours a day.

a m ea n s of a ura c ting p ubli c ity fo r
p o litic ia ns a nd prison officials whil e
humi liating and e mbiuering the prisone rs, a ll of whom are med ium-security, nonvio le nt offe nde rs.
Pri so n e rs wh o work o n th e c h a in
gan g, 70 percen t Afri ca n Ameri can ,
a rc h o used in se parate d o rm s a nd
de ni ed such privileges as persona l visits with fa m il y me mbe rs, educa ti o nal
programs, televisio n , radio, cofTce an d
cigare u es. They a re required to spen d
a t leas t 30 clays on the cha in gang
before th ey m ay be redesig n ated to
o th er work d e tails an d living qua ncr ·
wh e re rudime nta ry privileges a rc return ed.
r reca ll movies that ponray condition s o n a So uth er n c h a in ga ng .
Mervyn Le Roy's classic 1932 film , I Am
a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, sta rrin g
Paul M uni , to ld the sto ry or one ma n ·s
suffering a t the hands o f· the Georgia
c h a in ga n g S)'Stc m . Wh e n th e m ovie
was released, public se ntiment was
stirre d by th e bruta l treatme nt prisoners e ndured. Shortly thereafte r, Georgia Gove rn o r Ell is Arnall abo lis h e d
cha in gangs and th e rest of the nation
soon fo llowed suit.

ivc minu tes la ter a gu a rd
shows up and mo tio ns for the
door to be o pe ned. He g ives
me a Lo ur of the prison faciliti es, stopping now and then to indica te
su ch p oints o f inte rest as t he in matestaffed shoe sh ine room. A we pass, a
b lack p riso n e r looks up an d smi les
over a pile of dirty rags and shoe polish
caniste rs. In the infirmary, th e guard
shows me a room where priso ners with
AJDS lie dyi ng. The room is lit on ly by
the blue-gray glow of tcle,~ si on screens.
.\len \~th gaum faces eaten away b)' disease Jowl)' turn and look my way.
The guard te lls me th e prison has
a popu latio n o r 2,000 men , with 420
assigned to the c ha in gangs. "No ma tte r what th C)' say," he says, puffing on
a sh o rt thin c iga r, "t h ese peo ple
a ren' t in prison fo r singing too loudly
in c hurch."
Pri son ers sec th e cam era eq uipme nt and shout to ge t my atten ti o n .
"Hey, ca m e ra m a n . You gon n a Lake
my picture?"
"Yo, you gonn a be my girl ?"
The o the r me n la ugh.
In Dorm 3 1, whe re c h a in ga ng
prisoners a rc hou ed, men eye me as I
wa lk inside th e dorm ito ry.
The roo m is teem ing with me n.

F

A young guard,
chewing a wooden
match stick, explains
his philosophy:
"These kind of
people just aren't
constituted for work.
We get 'em out here
and show 'em how
to work."

PRISON LIFE

47

With another 200
beds soon to be
added, all bunks will
be three beds high,
bringing the number
of men in the
already overcrowded
dorm to 630.
Bunk b e d s two a n d t h ree tiers h igh
are jamm ed toge th er row a fter row
with narrow spaces be twee n the m for
walkwa ys. An e leva ted b lock h o use
used by guard s sits in th e middl e o f
the o pe n room. More priso nc rs, just
returned fro m th e c hain ga ng, sta n
m ak in g th ei r way in side. My escort
leaves m e and mo u n ts th e b lockh ouse.
Afte r a strip sea rch , the men troop
in to an open , Liled roo m fo r sh owerin g. 1 earby, o t h e rs sit on ex pose d
toilets. The smell of 400 me n hangs in
stagnam a ir; a large cei ling fan docs
littl e more than push around th e
stench and h umi d ity.
One priso ne r lies on a top bunk
reading a worn edition of The Fugitive;
the man below h im is a lready fas t
so PRISON LIFE

asleep, h is feet d angling orr th e end of
the bed. T he priso ners are a nxious to
sha re the ir experie nces, to te ll me stories about the chain gang. They want
p eople to know h ow th ey feel. Ma n y
vio la ted parole simply by givin g a dirty
urin e sa mple. I as k a few h ow long
th ey've been o n the c hain ga ng, a nd
they sho u t the nu mber of days:
"Eigh ty-three. "
"On e hundred and e leven. "
" inety-eig h t. "
They explain tha t a uto ma tic disciplin a ry ex1e n sio n s h anded o u t fo r
infraction make it rare for a nyone to
leave after only 30 days. The usual stay
is fro m three to six months o r lo nge r.
An orie ntation shee t for newcome rs
lists reasons for exte nsio n : showing up
la te for wor k, not b e in g properl y
shaved, not h aving your bed made to
the sa tisfac ti on o f th e shift g u ard or
disres pec ting an o ffi cer. Exte n sio ns
ra nge from th ree to six months on
top of time a lread y served, a nd a prisoner with a bad a ltitude ca n e nd up
on the cha in gang indefinite !)'·
A few co nvicts show me their bod-

ies, pans of wh ic h a re cove re d with
seve re outbreaks o f poison i,·y and
oth e r skin el i eases from work ing o n
th e chai n gang. One ma n pulls up his
shin a n d lowers hi s pants to r eveal
scabbed re d skin coverin g most o f his
body, th e resu lt o f infestatio n by chigge rs-pa rasitic, b lood-sucking mites
th at burrow un der the skin and cause
intense irritation. Anoth er man d isp lays his swo lle n red feet, raw with
large, Ouid-filled b listers.
An over h ead sp ea ker crackles a
g arbled a nn o un ce m en t. The g uards
take a h ead co un t. Lining u p single
file, th e men e m c r th e d ining hall and
shufn c a lo ng the cafeteria line whil e
server fill their trays. Meatloaf of oy
a nd gristle is ton ight's fare.
Between bites, men speak of rising
te nsio n in th e priso n. If thin gs don ' t
change, they say, a ri ot will break ou t.
Wi th a n oth e r 200 beds soo n to be
added , a ll bunks will be th ree beds
high , b rin ging th e numbe r of men in
the a lready overcrowded dorm to 630.
J ust th e day before, 20 sh anks we re
fo un d in the unit. Still hu ngry, th e

Chain gang leg irons,
returned for the
evening, show their
age after four
months of use.

men I sit wit h ask fo r the le ftovers
from my plate.
The next morning at six, prisoners are checked out for the day. After
being patted down, they board buses
one by one, followed by drivers lugging milk crates full of leg irons. The
lead bus pulls out, trailed by a co nvoy of five others, along with several
vans and station wagons. After a 20minute drive, the buses stop in staggered formation along route I-65.
Prisoners exi t the buses slowly
and stand waiting. Guards order
them onto all fours. Working in twoman teams, guards shackle prisoners
togethe r in groups of five. Many men
wear two pai rs of socks to avo id skin
burns caused by leg irons rubbing
against their flesh. The chain gang
workers pick up rakes, garden sheers
and bow saws from a n open trailer.
he long work day begin s.
The men spend h ours hobbling arou nd, tripping over
the chains and each other
as they remove trees and clear brush,
clean up litter a nd pull weeds. As
cars a n d semis speed by, drivers
honk, ye ll and howl at the c hain
gang prisoners.
Guards sitting by the roadside
sho ut an occasion al o rde r. Each
guard h as his own group of prisoners to watch and hi s ow n style of
supervision. A young guard, chewing
a wooden matc h stick, explai n s h is
philosoph y: "These kind of people
just aren' t constitu ted for work. We
ge t 'em out here a nd show 'em h ow
to work. This way when they leave,
they wo n ' t wan n a come back.
They'll know what work is. " He
adj usts th e sh otgu n ove r hi s shoulder and continues. 'The thi n g is,
we're kee ping 'em safe. Without the
chains they'd try to escape, and we'd

T

PRISON LIFE

51

have to shoot 'e m. "
Farther north on th e interstate, a
bored guard tells the men in his crew
that h e is d issatisfi ed wit h th e job
th ey're doing; h e ex plains th ey are
no t responding qu ickly enough to his
orders. H e pulls a wing-nut from his
pocket, fixes on a locatio n and throws
52 PilSON LIFI

t he nu t in to th e weeds a nd grass. H e
ye lls to h is gro u p to co m e forward.
They sh uffie over an d he ind icates the
ge n e ral direction of the wing-nut,
th e n o rders th e m to get o n th e ir
hands and kn ees and search un til they
find it. This diversio n lasts two hours.
T h e first break, fi ve h o urs afte r

wo r k began, is for lunch . Pri son e rs
co mp la in about meager portions.
One man hold a sandwich made of a
si ng le p iece of cru sty p rocessed
cheese between sli ces of dry wh ite
bread. In disgust, he throws t he stiff
piece of cheese o n th e g round .
"Real cheese wou ld me lt," he says.

"If they try anything, I have to put
them down. Buckshot spreads outI might take out
more than one."

Chain gang prisoners from the disc iplin ary lock-u p unit have it wo rse.
Th e first to le a ve th e ir cells in t h e
mo rning and the last to re turn a t th e
e nd of the day, th ey swing hatch e ts
a nd pickaxes for te n ho urs. Ch a in ed
in fives, they tug, pull a nd hack at tree
slllmps. The chains make already dif-

fietllt work hellish.
Afte r la bo ring a ll clay in the swe lte rin g h e at, m e n on th e stump-di gging de tail begin wa lking the six miles
bac k to th e prison. They stop at th e
Lim es tone Facility fa rm to cool o ff
and ge t a d rink o f water.
"The worst thing is the h um ilia-

Lion of be ing c ha ine d to othe r me n,"
a pri sone r n a m e d Good e n te lls me .
"The sta te has made me th ei r slave .
I' m no t a man a nymore. "
Me n chain e d to h im listen a nd
nod. "We we re d o ing th e sa m e work
as be fo re, o nly now they c hain us up
like a nimals so the governor can make
it loo k li ke h e's do ing som e thing
a b o u t c r ime . Al l th is shit is doing is
maki ng pe ople a ngry. Whe n we ge t
out, we' re not go ing to be in a goo d
mood. "
Th e g ua rd s h ave the ir own story.
"On my c hain gang," says o ne, "I uy to
b e as fa ir as p ossible, n o t like som e
o th e rs. I m e a n, if it 's reall y h o t, I'l l
wo rk m y guys in the sha d e if they' re
ge tting ti red. " H e lifts hi s hat and
wipes th e swea t fro m h is brow. "If 1wo
guys want to beat the shit out o f e ac h
o th e r, th at's o kay, too. As long as they
don ' t figh t with tools, l figure le t th em
setLie th e ir di putes like me n . ow if
they pi ck up tools, th a t's a diffe ren t
st01y . The n I have to fire on the m. If
they try an ythi ng, I have to p ut the m
d own. Buc ksho t sprea ds out, I mig h t
ta ke o ut mo re th a n o n e . I d o n ' t ask
questio ns, thoug h . My ma in o bjective
is to sto p wha t 's go ing o n a nd regain
co ntro l. They pretty muc h stay in
line."
The guard smi rks and says wh a t
f' ve heard a t leasl five times in th e last
two days: "Yo u know, they ain' t in he re
fo r singing too lo udly in c hurc h. "
"Rig ht, " says a n o t he r g ua rd .
"That's right."
Prisoners ask if I've photograp hed
the "Mexica n prison " or the "h itching
post. " The hi tching post resembles the
ki nd o f pos t used to h itch a h o rse,
o nly t h is o n e is built fo r me n who
r e fu se to work o n t h e c h a in ga ng .
Stubbo rn convicts are handc uffe d and
chain e d to th e pos t a t fou r in the
m o rning a nd unchained 12 h ou rs
la te r. Beca u se t h e post is n ot tall
PRISON LIFE

53

eno u g h to a ll ow a m an to sta nd
st rai g ht, nor shon e n o ug h to a llow
him to sit, be ing chaine d to th e post
forces th e priso n e r LO be n d ove r al l
day in the Alabama sun.
The Mexica n prison is a n outdoor
cage with barbe d wire strung a long
1h e lop . Th e n oo r , em bedded with
jagged rock . makes it uncomfortable,
if' not impossible, for prison e rs to sit
or lie down. Locked in the pen for 12
hours. th e men stand in the su n a nd
wa it. "I1's called the Mex ica n prison
because inmates locked inside bake in
th e sun a ll day," a prison e r ex p lains
a nd ki cks the ground, causing a cloud
o f' dust tO r i 'C.
11 my last cl ay a t Limestone I meet Acting Warden Ra lp h H ooks, a
rese rved man who sits
placid!)' be hind a large wooden desk
when I am sh ow n into hi s o ffi ce. I
noti ce 1h ere are no fam il y photograph s on h is desk. H e has neatl y
arranged p ile of paperwork s pread
before him . In we ll-re hea rsed sound
bites, I looks explains the benefits of
the c hain-gang program. He stresses
its cosl-c fTcctiveness , a nd qu ic kl y
points 0 11t 1h a t leg iro ns provide a
safe work l'nviron men l fo r priso ne rs.
"Th ey al so bui ld c h a ra cter," H oo ks

0

54

PRISON LIFE

asserts.
I memio n what th e men told me,
that th ey ha d bee n doing th e sam e
work more effec tive ly before th e
c umb erso m e leg iro n s were introduced in May.
"It's a mauer of budget," H ooks
continues, dropp in g hi s a rg um ent
for c harac te r d evelopmen t. Where
once it required two arme d g uards to
watch over a d e tail , the leg irons
m ake it possible for o n e guard to
supervise 40 chained prisoners.
The priso n had to lay o ut a n initi a l cost o f' ove r $ 17,000 for the leg
irons. But chaining convicts a llowed
prison admin istrators to reduce th e
guard staff and cut payroll. The practice h as a l o e n abled th e governor
and pri so n co mmi ss io n er to turn
Lim es ton e into a m edia sideshow
whil e winnin g po in ts with vengefu l
voters. The real cos t o f th e c ha in
gangs, however, is still unknown.
Two days after I left Alabama,
Prison Com mi ssio ner Ron J ones,
basking in a spo tlig h1 o f med ia auention , announced a nother innovative
work deta il. Me n on the cha in gang
will spend th e ir days b reaking large
boulde rs into small rock with sledgehamm e rs a n d picka xes. Ne ith e r th e
priso n no r the state hig hway departm e nt h as any n eed for th e cru shed

The "Mexican
prison," used for
punishment, is an
outdoor cage whose
floor is embedded
with jagged rocks,
making it impossible
to lie or sit. Prisoners are locked in for
12 hours at a time.

Acting Warden
Ralph Hooks stresses
the cost-effectiveness
of the chain ang.
"They also build char·
acter," he asserts.

rock. As the wo rk can be don e more
effi c ie n tl y by a mac h in e, with no
gua rds req u ired , one ca n on ly surmi e th a t this is a nothe r progr am
d esig ned to b uild character.
oli ticians wh o champion the
usc of chain gangs as a deterren t to rec idi vism may be
more concern ed with public
pe rception tha n with social reality.
For whe n th ey a re re leased, me n
fro m th e Ala ba ma c h ain gang will
know liLLie more than h o w to p u ll
wee d s, dig stumps and bre ak roc ks.
Alo ng with these job skill s, th ey wil l
be g ive n Sl 0 and a bus tic ket. Most
will feel a nger and h a tred at having
bee n physicall)' tonured a nd hum ilia ted o omc poli tic ian could gran dsta nd for a short- ig hte d public.
As to wha t kind o f characte r the
c hain gangs build , America has seen
th e damage thi s degrading an d futile
form of pu ni shm en t d id to th e
n ationa l charac te r de cades ago a nd
[JJ]
rej ected it as evil.

P

Men whose bodies
are covered with
severe outbreaks of
poison ivy receive
calamine lotion for
treatment.

Chain-gang workers
commonly suffer
from infestation by
chigger bugs - parasitic, blood-sucking
mites that burrow
under the skin and
cause intense
irritation.

Prisoners return
to Limestone
Correctional Facility
after a long day on
the chain gang.

PRISON LIFE

55

Don't

serve
the
•
tzme,
let the
time serve
you
THE
PRISON LIFE
FOUNDATION
D o n ' t in c arcer a te;
e ducat e .

e

Personal Transformation
through Education
Fully-accredited GED. College
and Vocational Degrees
Scholarships and Funding for

e

e

Prison Educati onal Proj ects

e Courses and Study Materi als
Deli vered Directly to the
Pri soner/Student

Please tell us your educmional intcre,ts.
GED/H.S. Degree 0
Liberal Arts B.A. 0 History
Science B.S.
0 Biology
Business
0 Accounting
Voc:ttional

0

Other (Specify)

0

Name
Address

0 English
0 Art
0 Computer Sciences 0 Chemistry
0 Marketing
0 Pre-Law

0 Philo,ophy
0 Engineering
O M.B.A.

Th e Prison Life Found at i on.
Inc. is a not-for-profi t organization
devoted to helping prisoners break
free from th e cycle of cr ime and
incarcerati on through educa ti on.
Th e Fo un dat i on, toge th er w ith
Pri son Life Educati onal Services .
Inc .. sponsor full y-accredited GED,
co ll ege and voca ti onal courses
through correspondence learning.
If you are interested in l earnin g
more about educational opportun iti es off er ed by the Pri so n Life
Foundatio n, please fi l l ou t and
return the attached questionnaire to
The Pri son Li fe Foundati on, 350
Fift h Avenue , Su i te 1905, New
Y ork, NY 101 18.

GETTIN' OuT
& GOIN' FOR THE
GREEN LEGALLvl
How to Start a Business
for Under $300

by Michael J. Chavaux
Adrian Correctional, Ml

o yo u ' r e geLLin g out soo n a nd you ' r e wo nd erin g h ow yo u ' re
going Lo ma ke it-how you' re going Lo ge t a job, earn a living,
pay th e bi lls. You co u ld always take a no th er sh o t at the qui ck
a nd easy buck, but do yo u really wan t to risk a no th er bid ? Have n ' t
you spe nt e no ug h tim e in th e can?
Th e average an nual in co m e o f a U.S . e mp loyee is $ 26,000,
acco rding to Link Resources Corpo ratio n, a ew Yo rk City-based
resea rc h and co n sul tin g fi rm. Th e average yea rly ea rnin gs for a
h o m e-ba eel busin ess is approxi ma te ly $52,000; twe n ty perce nt o f
all home-based bu sinesses bring in ove r $75,000 a year. Most prisone rs think it's too com pli ca ted a nd cos tly to sta n a legitima te
busin ess o f th e ir own a nd th at's why th ey turn Lo th e qui c k bu ck
o n th e stree t.
Regardless of your past, th e re are num e rous, legitimate busin esses yo u ca n start, a nd it d oesn ' tta ke a ny longe r to learn h ow to sta rt
a legal bu ·in ess th a n it does an illegal o ne . Lo o ki ng a t it fro m a
busin ess pe rspective, the poor success rate associated with any type
of ill ega l activity carried o ut over a peri od o f tim e is ce rtain ly no t
worth the r isk. But hom e-based businesses have a 95 % surviva l rate.
You d ecid e whi ch is th e better cho ice.

S

PRISON LIFE

57

Choose your Business
A business can be born from just
about anythin g yo u have knowledge
of, be it ed u ca tion , e ntertainme n t,
sports, hobbies o r th e ever-popular
prod uc t/ se rvice area. The key is to
find somethin g you like to do a nd figure out a way to make money from it.
Eve n if yo u d o n ' t kn ow a nythin g
abo u t what you want to ge t into,
sometimes all it ta kes is a n ad to hire
someon e who does.
Ke n Ko prin is a booking agent for
rock n ' roll ba nds. He knew the e ntertainm e nt ind ustry inside an d out, but
he didn ' t have a clue when it ca me to
removing tree stumps. Acting on a Lip,
h e did a liulc marke t research and
found that th e re was a tre me ndous
n eed for th is type o f service in h is
area. He had no tOols a nd didn ' t know
an ax from a h ole in the g round, but
h e was d e te rmin ed to cash in on a
need that wasn' t being filled.
Koprin placed two ads in th e classified sectio n of the local newspaper. One
was a help wanted ad fo r wmp removal
(employees mu t h ave own tools) . In
the othe r he advertised his services, "Kopri n Tree Stump Re moval." In le s tha n
a month , he had three c rews o ut removing tree Slumps. He billed the custome rs, paid his e mployees by the job,
and he started the e ntire business fo r
the price of two classified ads.

Test the Market
The most risky aspect of a ny business start-up is taking a chance on losing the money you 've invested . This is
why the beginner must look for busin ess o ppo rtuni ties th at have good
profit po te n tial but a re also inexpe nsive to sta rt. This i a smart way to
minimize yo ur risk. If a ll you n eed to
start is a fe w hundred niers, a nd you
get no respo nse, th e n wh a t have yo u
lo st? Startin g out with some fo rm o f
c hea p advertising to test cons um e r
inte rest is called test marketing, and it
can save yo u lots of ti me and money.
Whet he r yo u do it in th e for m of a
survey, thro ug h Oie rs o r t hro ug h a n
in expe n sive ad , make sure yo u test
the water bcrore diving in.

Mail Order
T he mail order business is a billio n-dollar-a-year in d ustry in wh ic h
some th riv ing e ntrep re n eu rs h ave
mad e a fo rtun e Lani ng r igh t f ro m
th e ir kitch e n ta bl e. You can se ll just
about a nythin g thro ug h th e mail. If
you d on ' t have a nythin g lO sell , then
loo k up so m e wh o lesale rs a t yo u r
loca l library. You co uld place ads in
58 PRI SON LIFE

STRATEGIES FOR BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS
TARGET YOUR ADS
• Make sure your ads are reach ing the right peop le. If you ' re selling
so mething useful for rocke t scie n tists, don ' t waste your mon ey o n a mailing list fu ll o f Elvis im perso na to r . An d d on' t try to e ll a "do it your elf
divorce kit"' in a bridal magazine. Your adve ni ing audience should have
some so rt of interest in whatever it is you ' re trying to sel l. This is called target marketing. You a rc targeting your ad s to a specific g roup of people with
specific need a nd inte rests.
If you arc p lacing mo re than o ne ad in more than o ne p ub lication, be
sure to key your ad so you know wh ich publica tions are bri nging in money
and whi c h o n es a re n ' t. Fo r example, if yo u place a n ad in Holling Stone
and Hit Pamderand your mailing address is P.O. Box 999, you may wamto
list it in RollingStone as Box 999-RS and in Hit Pamderas Box 999-HP. That
way, when the o rders come in, you will know by the Ia t two leu ers of your
box number which magazine i pulling in the most custome rs. Otherwise,
yo u co uld ma ke no sales whatsoeve r from o n e of these magazines a nd
you'd neve r know it. You wo uld just keep wasting your money on a publicatio n that wasn ' t p roducing a ny resu lts.

REDUCE MAILING COSTS
• T h ere a re seve ral ways to do this th roug h va rio us postal services.
Just contact yo ur loca l post office a nd th ey will p rovid e you with a free
booklet th a t describes ma n y mon ey-saving methods ·uch a t hird class
a nd bulk mai ling . But there a re o th e r techn iques that can h elp yo u to
save and pro fit as we ll.
Instead o f paying for mailings, a clever e ntre pre neur will a rrange it
so he profits from the m befo re a ny o f his products a re even sold. If you
are ma king your own catalog, yo u ca n solicit non competing businesses
to p lace th e ir ow n ads in your catalog and c h arge th e m for it. Or you
could offer lO mail o ut th e ir busin ess literature along with your own.
The 32 cen ts will cove r a ro und fi ve sheets of paper. Wh y waste a ll that
ex tra sp ace wh e n it wo n ' t cost you anythi ng mo re, and yo u ca n charge
o th e rs to include th e ir inserts?

OFFER INCENTIVES
• Ma ke it as easy as possible fo r your cu tomers to o rder wha tever it is
you are u·ying to sell. Make the m wa nt it bad a nd make them wam it now!
Offe r disco un ts if they o rd er within a specifi ed pe ri od of time. Or offer
something free if they orde r now! When they o rder the free item, send some
of your othe r offers along with iL Include a self-addressed , stamped e nvelo pe
(SASE) for their convenie nce. Statistics show that businesses receive a better
response with these types of offe rs and incentives.

magazin es, e n d o u t ni e rs (di rec t
mail) o r make your own catalog.
Most whole ·ale rs o ffer d rop shi ppin g. ay a custom er se nd yo u $ 10
for a n ite m yo u had ad ve rtised. Yo u
check yo ur who lesale pri ce li st an d
fin d th a t yo ur cost is o nl y 5. Yo u
e nd th e $5 to th e who lesale r alo ng
with th e o rd e r info rmati on a nd you
poc ke t the diffe re nce. That's a ll you
a re req uired to do. The who lesale r
drop ships, o r fi lls th e orde r and delive rs itLO your custo me r with you r return add ress o n th e pac kage. This way
yo u d o n't n eed a ny inve nto ry on
ha nd a nd it saves yo u all th e h assles

associa ted with shipping a nd handling. But the pac kage and prod uct is
mad e to appear as if it cam e rig ht
fro m you. Your c ustomer th in k they
were deali n g d irectly with you a ll
along and arc co mpletely u naware o f
a ny other co m pan}' bei ng invo lved in
the transaction.
Information is pe rhaps t he easies t thing to sell through the ma il.
Yo u ca n write a report o n a ny subj ect
yo u h ave kn owled ge of. Anythi n g
from quiltin g to a uto re pair ca n be
so ld in th e form o f a re p ort. But
d on't o ffe r just o n e so urce of informatio n. just as in any other business,

in ord er to survive yo u must offer a
selection of goods or se rvices. A
potential customer may no t be inte rested in th e first thing yo u h ave to
offe r, but might buy the seco nd o r
third . You wj]] n ever see this custome r or his m on ey if you d on 't h ave
that seco nd or third prod u c t to
offer. Even if yo u cannot come up
wi th a varie ty of yo u r own re p o rts,
you could offer b oo ks, tapes a nd
re ports don e by oth e r firms. Ma n y
informatio n co mpa ni es will sell yo u
th e ir reports co mplete with reprint
ri g hts. Buy th e m o ne tim e and run
th e m off on a co p y m ac hin e every
time you rece ive a n ord er.
Mail ord er is a n ideal business
to start at ho me. You ca n begin on a
sho estring even whi le h o ldi ng
anot h er job. No previous e xperien ce is n eed ed. If you' re a mbiti o us
and eage r to bu ild a successful business o f yo ur ow n , th en this m ay be
th e op p o rtunity yo u 've been loo king for.

Personal Trainer
Many people want to lose we igh t
and get in sha pe, but they just d o n ' t
h ave th e kn ow-h ow or the motivation . A pe rsonal trainer has bo th and
earns anywh ere up to $200 or more
an hour. An d co ntrary to pop ul ar
beli ef, yo u d on't have to look like
Arnold to be a pe rsonal trainer. Take
a look a t Richard Simmo ns. H e's in
good sh ape and knows a g reat d eal
a bo ut h ealth, fitness a nd nutrition ,
but he is far from th e m assive, c hise led loo k of a b odybuild er in so me
monste r muscle magazin e. So,
alth ough it may h e lp, t hat scul pted
look is far fro m a requ ire m e nt in
order to succeed in this business. But
you do have to be in good shape.
Have a printe r make so me professional looking flie rs a nd disu·ibu te
th e m in afflu e n t n e ig h borh oods.
Read u p on the su bject. Get a subscription to h ealth and fitn ess magazines; a ttend so me classes; obtain a
cenificate; join some clubs and organizations and list any of these involveme nts on your fl ie rs in order to g ive
your business some credibility.
In add ition to an ho urly rate, you
co ul d offe r ex tras like h ouse calls,
the pre para tio n of low-fat, low-calorie
meals, massages, we ight training, etc.
You could sell vitam ins, videos, clothing a nd equipmenL
This type of produc t line, along
with the high rates a n d low overh ead, a re the ingredients of a lucrative business.

Auctions
There are many types o f a uctio ns
throughout the United State . Ba n ks,
credit union s and many state o r governme nt age ncies au ctio n off con fiscated , re possessed a n d used
prope rty. You can purchase anything
fro m small a ppliances to h omes o r
vehicles at far below wholesale prices.
For five do llars, th e Au to Auction
Associatio n will send you a directory
of eve ry a uction in your a rea. The
National Autom obile Deale rs Assoc iation ( DA) publi sh es a m o nthl y
blue boo k th at lists wh o lesale and
re tai l prices fo r u sed cars. Upon
request, many state agencies like th e
De p artm e nt of T ransporta ti on will
send you a yearly calendar that shows
th e d ates on which different auctions
a re h e ld. T h e un wr iue n r u le for
a uto mobiles is ge nerally: spend hundreds, make hu ndred s; spe nd t housand s, make th o usands.

***
If none of t h ese ideas in teres ts
yo u , there a r e stil l hundreds o f
o th er small businesses you can tart
inexpe nsively. Lisa Thomas we nt to
garage sales and bought every book
she co uld get h e r h a n ds on. Mo t
went for un der fifty ce nts. When
she fe lt she had enough books, she
re n ted a ch ea p s tore fro n t a nd
opened a u sed book store. Pa m e la
Cassani had the sam e idea, onl y she
bough t baby clothes a nd o pe ned a
resale clo th ing store.
Afte r turnin g hi s dinin g room
into a bedroom, a n d b uildi ng two
bed rooms in hi s basemen t, Mark
Danie ls had a total of seven rooms in
his ho u se to rent. At $75 a week
eac h , the man rakes in 2, 100 a
momh without leaving ho me.
The opportunities are un limited.
.Just use yo ur mind a nd be creative.
Whe n you find something th at in terests you , research it, read everything
you ca n o n th e subject a n d ta lk to
people wh o are in similar businesses.
Get the ir brochu res, lite ra ture, opinio ns a nd ask a lot of questions. Write
clow n ways to save mon ey and c ut
cos ts at every a ngle . Don ' t le t a lack
of fund s o r limi ted ex perie n ce di scou rage yo u. Your o nly tru e lim its
are the limi ts you place on yourself.
Have an)' questions or comments?
WritP to: Michael Chavaux, # 169378,
P.O. Box 1888, Acl1ian, M f 49221.

Law Offices

STEINBORN
&

ASSOCIATES
(U.S.

t•.

McCaslin; U.S.

t•.

-105.098.23)

• Criminal Defense
• Forfeiture Double J eopardy
• Recovery of Seized Assets

Representing the Acmsed since 1968
Steinborn & Associates
30th Floor, Smith Towe r
506 Second Ave.
Seattle, W ashington 98104
206-622-5117
fax: 622-3848
In ternee: SURLA W @AOL.com
Avai lable for representation,
or consultation with you r attorney.

SANTA'S LETTER
This Christmas, send
a special letter from
santa to your child.
For more Info, write to:
santa's Letter
P.O. Box 27!4$5

ALL INCARCERATED MEN

FREE Brochures!

Cut Red Tape! Meet Women
Worldwide and in the U.S.A.
LADIES run your ad FREE!
Send SASE or (2) 32c
stamps to:

REACHING OUT
P.O. Box 21136
Castro Valley, CA 94546.

PRISON LIFE 59

Listen in on SASSY SORORITY GIRLS
- See how bad two sorority sisters
can be when they answer your
phone call and decide to
tease you.

CHEERLEADER
CONFESSIONS
~Eavesdrop~ on this very
private phone line as
three wild cheerleaders
tell you what turns
them on the most.
BACHELORmE
PARTY
Find out what
happens to the
only male stripper
at an all-girls'
bachelorette
party.

~4

Ad\lenture!i to Choo!ie From!

Rich Girls 1 Sassy Sorority Girls
J Private Yacht Party 1 Horny Hitchhikers
Motorcycle Mama I Eager Beavers
Alabama Alice 1 Drugstore Cowgirl

2 Jenny & Suzi I Too Big for Brenda

3

Screamers I South of the Border Action
Rub·a·Dub in the Tub/ A Tale of Two Tinies
Female Bonding I Pearl Necklace

4

Bachelorelle PanyI Secretarial Interview
Tammy & Tina I Cheerleader Confessrons
Backstage Visitors / Stewardess on Right 69

Kneepad Nancy1 Knob Gobblers

o Each Audio Tape $9.95!
"Deluxe Set" All 24 Titles-that's a full two hours of steamy adultsonly adventure- on 2 special, long-play1ng cassettes for only $19.95!

o

Cassenes are professionally sealed m plastic and contam no explicit graphics or nud1ty on covers.
All product is shipped in plain packaging with no ind1cation of contents.

ORDER BY MAIL! -- - - -- - -- - -- - - -- - - NAME

(I

ADDRESS

certify !hall am 11 or older I

STATE

Quantity/Tape I

#1
#3

-

ZIP

_@ S9.95ea.
_ Deluxe set(sl @$1 9.95
Add $3.50 P&H

12
#4

Deluxe Set(s) (all4 on 1cassenesl

(CAres1dents add 825%sales tax.)

TOTAL

Send check or money orderro: Western Audio, 175Fihh Ave., Box 2205, New York, NY111010

Mail Call
(continued from page 14)

for me to become pen pa ls with a
man in prison. He had been down for
seve n yea rs. I fe ll h ead-over-heels in
love with Alle n , who I no w fond ly
refer to as my "p risoner of love."
All en began an immediate campaign to educate me and my son so he
would not end up where Al le n is. Pan
o f that educational process involved
getting my son a subscription to- you
guessed it!-Prison Life. T h e straighttalk and no-frills look a t th e inside has
done wonders fo r my boy. Fo r kids o n
the stree t, prison is ro manticized , but
as we a ll know, there is absolutely nothing roman tic a bout prison. Some folks
said that Al le n wou ld be a bad influence on my son , bu t that h as not been
t h e case. My so n gets to watch hi s
m o th er an d ste p-fath e r cond u ct a
re lationship via con trolled visits, te lephone lin es and th e ma il. So n ow
when I say th ings like, "Who wa n ts to
go to prison a nd not ge t la id for
yea rs?" my wo rds are no t th e e m pty
pondering o f an unknowing mom.
The very last p lace my son wan ts to
en d up is in th e j o in l. For th ose of
you wh o are incarce ra ted a nd fee l
your life h as no meaning, I hope you
60 PRISON LIFE

wi ll consider the impact you can a nd
do have on the you ng peo ple of our
society. O n e you ng life h as been
tran sform ed, but ma n y oth e rs a re
waiting.
Nell Villegas
Pasadena, CA

A FEW WORDS FOR RICKI
First we had Reader's Digest spreading lie upon lie that priso ns were all
counU)' clubs. Yesterday I saw a rather
a musing top ic of di sc u ssio n on t h e
R.i cki La ke show. "Life is too toug h o n
the su·cet. I want to go bac k to prison
wh e re I had it real good. " Cr a n k # 1
had a Robin H ood comp lex. H e
believed in steali ng from the rich and
giving to th e poor . Crank #2 has been
ou t fo r 10 years after d o ing a measly
four year bit: "I had a j ob in prison
a n d got a CE O. 1 want to go back."
Crank #3 was a 17-year-old kid who'd
just done two-and-a-h alf yea rs in a
j uviejoint in Maryland: "I don't fit in.
I want to go to an ad ult prison."
Cran k #4 said th is: "I was in jail
overnight a nd I liked it. Send m e
back to prison." Please.
Inte rspe rsed among the studi o
guests were the typical ex-priso ncrats

informing the audie nce that a ll priso ns have 35" color TVs, more weights
than Bally's and all the other luxuries
that we don't have and never will have.
What th e h e ll is going o n h e re? If
the public th inks life be hind bars is so
sweet, why do n 't they m ake an
exchange program? Keep the populatio n down by swi tch ing someone who
wants to live in p riso n for someone
that wants out of prison.
Apparently, t h ere arc a lot of
wealth y people who pay large sums
of money to go to "fat fa r ms" to shed
excess po u nds. Se nd o n e of those
rich pric ks to prison-le t 'em lose the
weight withou t exercise. I lost 13
pounds in three months on the Wisconsi n DOC diet plan: no work, no
mea l p lann ing,j u st th ree inedible
meals a day wi ll me lt those pounds
righ t off! Rick i La ke had a h ell of a
problem before sh e went on her
diet. Send her to prison and she'll be
a svelte 120 within a month or so.
Cold ce rea l and g reasy food for a
month a nd sh e'll n eed a new
wardrobe.
I can hardly wait for the sequel.
Tlwuws Reimann
Waufmn Com'ctional Institution, WI

rrn

~JGIII.~illlilli1£3

BUBBA-PINCHED!
The edit&rs regrPI that ou1· j1ojmlar
column. Ask Bubba, will not m n in this
issue. Bubba, who wrilf'S f rom inside a
largt! stale pen what' he is doing t1ijJlPlife
wuler the A m~ed Career Criminal A rl, is
in ad seg charged with operating a busillfS..\ (writing his trashy column) fro m inside the joi nl.
We wPre in a quaurlmy, wondmng
whether to II)' to 1f'plare Bubba with anotlunvriter, perhajJs mn a rail out in the
magazine askingfor candidates, or simply JttSfJend the cohmm pmdiug the
oulccme ofa disciplinlll)' rmnmitlee hearing which is sujJjJosfid
to deU:rmi ne if Bubba will be
allowed to resume un·iting
for Ptfor no pay-whirh
is imuic as he has been
demanding a misP
since day one.
Last WPek, j ust
ttS we Wf'1'f' getting
read)' to go to press, a
mystnious caller who
wottld identijj hmPlf
only as ".~)•!via ~ left a
message at our N t'ltl
Vork office. WP were
told to send a mes.\engt-'1·
to a l(}jlless join t on 7th
Ave. for an important/die
from Bnbba.
"Seud Coz.zoue, " Sylvia
said. "He's cute."
Syluia turned ou l to be onP of
the dauw-s. Aj il:r the show, we bought
her a beer and she gavr us thr liite, jJurportnlly smuggled out oftl~e joint by ~)·1m­
as sister who is a CO Upstair where Bubba ~- doing time.
We have no way of lin owing if any
of this is trtte or if tlw llite is gtmu ine.
Sylvia claimed to have lw own B ubba
when he was on the stmrl. H n jwrting
commm t was that shP lwjJes they kePjJ
him loclier/ up, 'for hi.1 own good. "
We ltavP dPrided to n m the kite even
though publishing Bubba right now
could get him into l'Vtm mon• Iruuble.
Fucking scum ! Who cares about
these peop le? V\'ha t a bo ut my First
Amendment r i g h L~? Bill Ku nstle r,
God rest his restless soul, would have
had these communist pun ks in coun
and been flai ling the m with his acid
to ng ue, and wh a t d o you do? Nothing! Bitch to me, "Vl ho' re we gonna
get to write th e column?" o bo dy,

godda mn it! Get a dog to ta ke my
place bu t don ' t you da re try to front
some liberal poseur ofT on the sucke rs who buy this rag.
Listen to me, I to ld those fools I
have never been paid! 1 o t once.
Wha t business? Those convicts wh o
run this rag do n 't p<t)' anybody. Wha t
do you expect from a bunch of cons?

T his is a mo the rfucking ho bby! I
was in the Captain ·s office and 1 dared
the m to produce my books and show
me one check or money orde r I'd received from P.1ison LifPorjoint Ve nture Media or wha tever the crooks
who run this scam are calling the mselves now. Yo u know what the Captain said? ··w e ha,·e reason to believe
the mo ney is going su·cet-to-su·cct," as
ifl 'd been caught peddling d ope.
l kn ow wha t t h is is abo ut. Yo u
wa nt to know? It's abo ut fam e. ot
fa me and fo rtun e, u nfortun a tely,
but fa me, pure a nd simple. I ge t
mo re mail in a wee k th an th e wa rde n and everyone else who works at
this j o in t gets in a year. I h ad two
gu )'S he re fro m Hollywood wh o wa nt
to do my life story. The re's a comi c

boo k a nd inte rac tive CD/ ROM in
the wo rks. Bob Guccio n e wa n ts to
hire me to wri te for PenlltousP.
The warden is j ealo us, tha t's why
h e had me locked u p. They ain ' t got
shit on me. I could beat this case with
Ma rcia Cla rk fo r a lawyer. M)' first
a nd o n ly legitima te gig a nd th ese
alie ns want to give rne nin el)' d ays
hole time ! If you people don ' t have
the balls to go afte r the ward e n a nd
get Bubba's ass out oflock-up, wc"re
th ro ugh. I'll n ever write a no tl1er
miserable fu cking wo rd for
Prison L ife and I'll se nd
so meone down the re to
rip your eyes o ut if yo u
don 't take rny li ke ness
and name out of your
pe nny-pinching pub·
Jjcation.
And tell all my
fa ns n ot to wo rry.
This is Ame rica.
Bubba is Ame rica n. T hey ca n't do
th is to me. I may be
a n o good co nvict,
but I do have righ ts.
J have a rig ht to
wri te, for c hrissakc ,
a nd to read whatever
the fuck I wa nt. An d to
say wh a tever I wa n t, too,
for all you littl e o l' ladies and
Bible ba ngc rs out th e re wh o
take exceptio n to my lang uage.
'What good arc the Constitution a nd
Bill of Righ ts if we le t these peo p le
shit all over us?
Call Kuby, fo r God 's sake . Call
my age nt. Call Mike Tyson. Le t them
know wha t's ha ppe ning to me. Se nd
some cigare ttes so I can bri be an o rd e rly a n d ge t so me thin g going
a ro und h ere. I' ve got no thing. Yo u
p eople leave me to rot in he re like a
sick an imal. Stop knuckling u nder.
And d on 't eve n think of trying to rep lace me. I'll keep getting my column out to you ifl have to send it by
smo ke signals.
One last thi n g. My mo the r
could usc a few bucks. If you decide
to pay me a n ytime soo n, se nd th e
o ld gal 50 o r $100 a n d th e rest to
the wife an d kid . Tha t's righ t, I
h ave n ' t given up on you. Do n 'tgivc
up on me!
Bnbba

PRISON LIFE

61

UNiqtJE, PlAIN IANGU G
~IP]](CIILFI1CC.MI1I1TI

l\)lliill\ffiJ&11

IFCIDill 111 ~II~ IL&TIIV1Iiill\Ja
The Citebook is the only bool< written which
contains solely positive case law. It gives you a
clear and concise understanding of what your
constitutional rights really are, how to work
your way through the legal system, then obtain
the relief you seek at a fraction of the normal
cost. It is also the nations #1 legal assistance
manual for both the layman and professional.

It is a Mill HIVt 1001 for any individual
:onsidering involvement in our legal system .

g!

...........................................................................................................................~ ...............................................................................................................................~

Plese send the hooks checked helow:

~

Send us_ "Citebooks" at $24.95 each:

YEARlY fDITIONS. .......
YEARlY EDITIONS ARE PRINTED AND SHIPPED EVERY OCTOBER. COST
IS $27.45 ($24.95 + $2.50 S&H)
QUARTf.RlY UPDATES. .......
QUARTfRlY UPDATES ARE ISSUED DURING THE MONTHS OF JANUARY,
APRil, JUlY AND OCTOBER. COST IS $109.80 FOR UPDATESAND
MUST BE ORDERED ON A YEARLY BASIS.

, 0 Check here for QuarteriiJ Updates
0 Check here for YeariiJ Editions
Send my ''Citebook[s T' to:
Name._ _ _ __ _ _ __

Date._ _

Address._ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ __

Postage at $2.50 each:
Florida residents
add 7°/o sales tax:

Total enclosed:
Fo r 2 Day prio rity Ma il add $5.00
Fo r Overnight Mail add $17.00
Send to:
Starlite Inc.
P.O. Box 20004 - Dept. 22
St. Petersburg, Fl 33742

~

(800) 577-2929
(813) 392-2929
FAX (813) 392-6161

City & State._ __ _ _ __ _ Zip_ _

Ca ll for spec ia l pric ing o n orders of 25 or m ore .

.......................................................................................,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,...................~ ................................................................................. ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, ...... ~

Name:
Age:
Birthplace:
Conviction:
Sentence:
Time Served:
Ambitions:

Rap Sheet
Clayton Howard
30
Opa Locka, FL
Murder
Life
No possibility for parole for 25 years
12years
To run an organization
for youth at risk

Some readers may have noticed we
haven't had a Celly of the /vlonth for the
jHtsl two iswes. "Nfa)dJe that's because no
one wo1·thy of the title has ben1 nominated, " wrote "a subscriber, reader and Jan"
nameri David Wood in Flo1·ida 's Baker·
Conectional Institution. "If that's the
case, " he continw•d, "then you have nothing to worry about. !Ill of us Priso n Life
readers here at Baker have tallwd it over
and we feel/ hat Clayton !-/award is more
I han wo1·thy of the title. " Following is
David Wood's j;rojile of Prison Life's
November '95 Cellmale of the Month.

by David Wood
As a kid , Clayton Howa rd fe lt he
neve r qu ite fit in. "Som e thing was
mi ssing in my life," he says, "and I
thoug h l my paren L~ we re th e reaso n .
At I 6 I dropped out of school and ran
away fro m home. I lived in the streets
unti l I go t a job an d saved e n o ugh
money fo r an a partme nt a nd a car.
This was th e life, I thought.
"I didn't get into tro ubl e fo r a
whil e, not even a parking ticket. I had
neve r see n th e inside of a j a il. But
within two yea rs, I stood in front o f a
judge in Fort Lauderdale as h e said ,
'You ng ma n , fo r th e crime of murder,
I sentence yo u to spend th e r es t of
your life in the state pe nitenti ary."'
N"ter a night of drin king and d r ugging with a local drug deale r, a vio le nt
a rgum e n t h ad e n sued and H owa rd
e nded up shooting the dealer.
When the judge handed down a
life se n tence with a m a ndato r y 25
years, C layton fe lt as if hi s life was
over. "I be li eved that a ll th e dreams I
had fo r myse lf wou ld be forever
beyond my reach ."
After se nte n c in g, C layton was
shipped to Baker fo r two months, Lhen
tra n sferred to U nion Co rrectio n al
Institution, known as "The Rock," and
the second worst prison in Flo rida.

T hree yea rs later, just wh e n h e
thought things could n' t get any worse,
he was se nt to Flo rida 's most vio le nt
pen, the East Un it, wh e re he spe n t
five hard years.
"I was yo un g a nd th o ug ht! co u ld
gain respect in prison by staying in
u·ouble," Howard says. But in h is mi d
20s h e decided it was time for a change.
"l realized it was time to he lp myse lf,
not just im press othe r pri ·one rs."
In L993, he attended a Chri stian
retrea t calle d IZa iros, where he fou nd
people willing to help him. Soon a fter,
Clayton decided to start helping o thers.
H e focused on tro u b led tee n s,
yo un g me n wh o were on th e same
path tha t had led hi m to priso n . Clayton realized that some tough talk was
needed an d asked the administration
if g rou ps of tee n s co uld visit the
priso n. Bu t o ffi c ials n ixed th e idea.
Knowin g h e would never be pe rmitted to make o u tside visits, h e deve loped a co rrespo n de nce p rogram,
"Straight Ta lk, " and wrote to yo un g
peop le abo ut hi s story and th e hazards of drugs. H e encouraged them to
stay in school an d stee r clear of crim e.
vVith h e lp from fri e nds o n the o utside, he produced a pam phlet a nd distributed it to sch ools, c hurch es a nd
youth o rgan izatio ns. Called Grooviu 'Finding the Good Life-The Clayton
Howard Story, th e broc hure brings
h ome the horrors of pri so n li fe in
g ra p hic descrip t ions."! ate fl y- and
roach-infested food sli d th ro u gh a
h ole in the door of my tin y cell. l was
g ive n th ree five-minute s howe rs a
week. I saw othe r teenage boys c ut
th e ir wrists a nd jugular veins. Death
seeme d a be uer way."
C layton to ld hi s sto ry over and
ove r, hoping others would learn fro m
his mistakes. Kid s wrote to C layton
imm e diate ly, a nd o n ce pare nts got
wind of Clayton 's "Straight Talk," they

begged hi m to write m their kids.
Clayton rece ives abo ut th ree n ew
teen pen pals a month and adds th e m
to hi s li st o f p roteges. H e recen tly
expanded his project with a newsleu e r
called Brothers Helf; ing Bmlhen. Upo n
his release (he 's hopin g to ge t his sente nce commuted to 17 years ma ndator y time) , h e p la n s to establish a
full-fl edge d ou treac h orga niza tion
and speak to la rge g ro ups o f youth at
ri sk.
In preparation fo r th at clay, Clayton
has bee n honing his public speaki ng
ski lls through the p ri so n ' s Toastmasters Club. Since joining, h e has won
first place in e ig h t speech contests. He
wins by writin g a nd rew ri ting his
speeches, me morizing and rehearsing
them in hi s cell into the ea rly morning
hours. His humorous and motivational
speec hes have titillated both priso ne r
and freeworld audi e nces.
Today Clayton wo rks in the education departm elll as a clerk/ secre tary
for th e education s upervisor. H e a lso
vo lun teers hi s tim e as a peer cou nselo r in the drug program and u·ies to
ge t oth e r priso ners invo lved in se ll~
d evelopme nt e ndeavors. H e g ree ts
new arriva ls at Bake r and explai ns th e
prison pitfa lls, traps and "boo" ga mes.
H e is a lso writing a p ri so n man ua l/ surviva l g uid e for first-tim e o n~
enders.
Clayto n 's newest c ha llenge is college. "I was the first person in my family to co m e to priso n , and I ' ll be the
first o ne to earn a coll ege "degree," he
says with a smi le. l-Ie pla ns to receive
hi s B.S. in Busin ess Administration
next year.
"Prison can be a place for positive
growth ," C layto n says, "and l hope I
can in nue n ce othe rs to make the time
work for th e m , n o mauer h ow long
the senten ce."

PRISON LIFE

63

Who's cot the Money?
The Low-Down on
Post-Release Benefits
by Jim Balla rd

Idaho Correctional Institution
some of us have no idea what we 'll do when we get out, beyond
spending our gate money and making that first appointment with
the P.O. But one thing's for sure: we face some pretty tough obstacles
out there, and once the money runs out, things will get ugly.
Maybe you've heard the myths about all the benefits awaiting excons. You may even be one of those unlucky dudes who purchased an
info sheet detailing all the people and places just waiting to fork over
big money to you . Let's face the facts: No one out there is going to
hand something over to you just because you've been in prison.
There are, however, some legitimate programs you can tap into if
you're willing to use your head, have patience and apply yourself. With
a little persistence, these programs could mean the difference
between making it or not.
Employment Development Department
T h e Em p loym e nt Deve lo pme nt Departm e n t ( EDO ),
b e tter kno wn as th e u n e mp loym e nt o ffice, wi ll n o t- n o
m a tte r wh a t yo u h a ve h eard- g ive you u n e mp lo ym e nt
co mpen satio n fo r a prison j o b. At one tim e th ey di d, but
that p rogra m was abolishe d in Octobe r, I 983.
Ho weve r, acco rd ing to Lazlo To th , au tho r of the Prisoner's Yellow Pages, the re a re still un em p loyme n t and d isability be ne fi ts to be h ad , a lbe it li mited , for any time spe nt o n a
p rison j ob or vocatio nal program prio r to july l , 1982. So if
yo u we re breaking yo ur back fo r Priso n Industries befo re
thi da te, you m ight have some be n e fi ts coming. Ch eck it
ou t with your local EDD.
'Wh ile you ' re loo king for wo rk, it's a good idea to regis·
ter with th e EDD. T h is h e lps o ut in a numb e r o f ways.
Wh e n you see an ED D cou nselor , ask about the T a rgeted
J o bs T ax Program . This and othe r programs like it e ncourage businesses to h ire ex-offende rs by reward ing the m with
tax breaks. An e mployer h iring an ex-con is eligible fo r up
to $4,500 in fe d eral tax credi ts, eve n mo re in so me states.
Find o u t wha t the de a l is in you r state a nd co nside r usin g
this as a selling ite m whe n loo king fo r work.

64

PRISON LIFE

Department of
v ocational Rehabilitation
The De pa rtme m of Vocati on al Re ha bi litation get. a lot
o f me nti o n , b ut unfo rtun ate ly m ost o f it is false. A whi le
ba c k, I h a d th e o ppo rtu n ity to interview Do n Esk ridge
fro m a Califo rn ia offi ce o f th e OVR. H e sa id h is o ffice
receives h u ndreds o f lette rs asking about the ir services. In
case yo u 've heard t h e ru mo rs: No, t he DVR will no t buy
you a car o r tru ck to get to work; a nd no, they will not cosig n a loan .
Abo ut 15 to 20 years ago, the OVR rea lly d id lll' to he lp
a nyone ge tti ng out of prison . But th e powers-tha t-be took a
look at th e abuses going on and they pu lled the plug, fast.
vVhat the DVR will do is he lp anyo ne who is physically or
me m a lly hand icappe d p repa re fo r employment. Serio us
substance a buse problems that a ffect your abi li ty to work do
consti tute a vocatio n al h andi cap . So if you had a problem
ho lding d own a j ob because of booze or dope, th ese folks
will he lp yo u decide wh at line of work m ight be best suited
fo r you. T hey'll pu t you on a traini ng program geared for

(coutiuul'd on f}(/ge 67)

An b)' Jo-.cph lfcrnnndcl. Green Hu,cn C.F.

PRISON LIFE

65

The scoop on social security
by Michael Steinberg, Attorney
If you arc disabled due to a severe mental impairme nt, you may be eligible for Social Security disability be nefits. Social Security recognizes illnesses such as
drug add ictio n , alcoholism , schizoph renia, depression, menta l retardation, anxiety, pe rsonali ty d isorders, orga ni c brain damage and so me other types of
disorders.
The Social Security Administration places a lot of
e mphasis on th e fo llowing fo ur categori es to determine if a p erson is d isabled: activities of dai ly living,
social func ti o ning, co ncentration a nd episodes of
deterioratio n in work or work-like situations. If you
arc markedly impaired in at least two of these areas,
you have a good chance of be ing awarded be nefits.
So why aren't most priso ners receiving Social
Security benefits? The reason is that the Social Security Ad ministration prohibits payment of be nefits to
perso ns inca rcerated under a sente n ce that ca rri es
with it a prison te rm of one year or more. Then why
bother reading this article?
The re arc basically two different types of Social
Security disabi li ty be nefits: Social Security Disabi li ty
Insurance Benefits and SSI. In order to q ualify for
Disab ili ty In sura n ce Benefits, a p e rso n mu t have
worked and paid Social Security taxes for at least five
of the past 10 yea rs prior to becoming d isabled. (The
rules are a little diffe rent for persons und e r 30.) In
order to receive SSI , o ne must be poor and disabled.
Social Security Disa bi li ty wi ll pay a p e rso n one
year prior to the date of his application o r five months
after he becomes disabled, wh ichever is the later date.
In other words, if you we re rece ntly sentenced, you
may be eligible to receive back benefits of up to o ne
yea r, even though you are not curre ntly elig ible for
ongoing benefits. If you wait until you get out, you wi ll
lose all of the back pay to which you are entitled. SSI
only pays benefits from the date of tl1e a pplication.
In additi o n to money benefits, if you are found
e ligible for SSI, you wi ll also be e ligible for Med icaid.
If yo u filed for SSI and were denied within th e past
two yea rs, you may be ab le to reo pen yo ur case a nd
get paid back to th e date of the prior application.
Why fil e now for disability benefits? Besides the
possibi lity of back pay for Social Security Disability
Insurance Be n efits, it is important to establish a "period of disability" as early as possible. First, the medical
a nd psyc ho logical evidence will be fresh. Secondly,
tile Social Security a ppeals process ometimes takes as
long as two to three years before a findjng of disability is made. Wouldn ' t it be nice to be eligible for benefits the firstm ontll you get out?

What to do
The first ste p in obtaining Social Security benefits is to fill out an app lica tion. The Social Security

66

PRISON LIFE

Regu lations a nd the Social Security Ac t do n o t prohibit priso ners from applying for benefits. Nonetheless, Social Securi ty o ffi ces refuse to accept and take
applicatio ns until just prior to a prisoner's anticipated release date. Curren tly there is a Petition fo r Writ
of Mandamus pending in Fed eral Court to order the
Social Security Adm inistration to accept a nd process
prisoners' applica ti ons. In the meantime, se nd ing a
lcuer to Social Securi ty stating your inten t to file for
benefits sh ould act as a p rotective fili ng date of yo ur
application.
Why is it valuable to society for priso n e rs to be
found eligible for benefits? As most of you know, it is
ex tre mely difficult for a newly released prisoner to get
a job. It is even more d ifficult for a n ex-convic t with
severe me ntal impairments to get a j o b. If one is
released with no way of making an honest living, there
is a high probability that h e will return to a life o f
crime. With Social Security, SST and Med icaid, a perso n at least has e nough money to su rvive, and insurance to u·eat his illness so th at he can once agai n (or
for the first time) become a contributing membe r o f
society .
But how do we kn ow the ex-co n won 'tjust use the
money for alcohol o r drugs? Because Social Security
requires that fo r th ose pe rsons who h ave an alcohol
or drug-related impairme nt, or who ca nn ot hand le
th e ir own mone y, a Re presen tative Payee wi ll be
appointed to handle thei r money. The Social Security Adminisu·ation also requires th at p ersons addicted
to alcohol or drugs attend suc h rehabilitation programs as the SSA dee ms appropriate. If disability is
based primarily on alcohol a nd drugs, after three
yea rs the benefits will automatically be te rminated,
even if th e person is still disabled due to alco holism
or drug add iction.
Do yo u need an attorney? The Social Security
appea ls process is complica ted. Most attorneys who
h and le th ese cases must li mit their practice to this
a rea . It is ex trem ely difficult for a perso n o u tside
prison without a m e n tal impairmenL to represe n t
himself. If you are in prison a nd suffer from a mental
impairme nt, you need an a u orney.
Wh e re can yo u find one? You ca n write or call
the atio nal Organization of Social Security Represe nta ti ves (1 OSSCR) at 6 Prospect Stree t, Midland
Park, New Jersey 07432. They will provide yo u with
tile name of an auorney in you r area who can ha ndle
yo ur case. Expect to pay this a tto rn ey 25 % of you r
past due benefits. If the re are no past due benefits,
expect to pay this auorney a Oat fee (probably around
$ 1,000) if you win and n othing if you lose. If an attorney wants to charge you a fee regardless of whether
you win or lose, don ' t hire h im. You may also contact
this write r at 2203 orth Lo is Avenue, Suite 950,
Tampa, Florida 33607.

this ne w lin e o f wo rk, and th ey' ll work with th e EDD to
help you find a new job.
T h e DVR will also he lp yo u through a n unsee n financial crisis sho uld one occur while you 're in their program.
And if you need books, wols or equipm e nt for this new
line of work, they'll help you get them . Fina lly, altho ug h
they won 'l buy you a car, they wi ll h e lp you out with a bus
pass. You should know, however, that these benefi ts arc n ' t
ava ilab le until you ' ve spem a specific a mo unt of ti me on
the job, usually 60 days or more.
You ca n lind th ese guys in th e state list ings of yo ur
p ho n e book unde r th e Depa rtm e nt of Re habilita tion.
Write th e local o ffice to get the ce n tral office's addre s
a nd maybe you can get th e ball ro lling even before yo u
ge t ou t.

Food
The price of food may shock you upon re lease. It sure
hasn' t gone down in your absence. Don't despair. You are
e lig ible for food sta mps- u p to about S80 a month
dependi ng o n what state yo u live in . But you will need to
satisfy two requiremen ts: You need to be an established resident of that state, and you must be registe red for work.
Remember th at trip to the EDD? We ll, you satisfied both
require m e nts wh en you registe red for work. Do n ' t allow
pride to get in the way, because food stamps could mean
th e differe nce betwee n making it in the free world and
coming back to the pen.

small Business Administration
The Small Busin ess Adm inistra ti on sha res ma ny of th e
same myth s a nd m isu nde rsta ndin gs as th e DVR. I have
wr itte n to th e SBA (and yo u ca n bet it wok a lot o f letters!) to get to th e bottom o f wh at th ey're wi lling lO do
for ex-cons. This is what th ey said:
The re arc 1 0 benefits avai lable to a pe r o n o n probation o r on parole. Also, a n ex-fe lon is lOT considered a
minority fo r loa n purposes.
T o make a long swry short, if you ' re out free a nd clear,
you stand th e sa me c h ances as a n yo ne else of gettin g
some th ing from the SBA. But you be tte r have yo ur act
together before you go. They' ll want LO see substantiatio n
o f your ex pertise in you r proposed area, a five-year pla n
o f opera ti ons, marketing a nd consumer stats and lo ts of
o th e r related data: material costs, including a mo ums and
sources as we ll as tools a nd any special equipment that'll
be needed . This is notlO say that once you 're off paro le,
you should not go see them. just be prepa red.
One last n o te o n th e SBA: They do not g ive yo u th e
loan. They co-sign the loa n for yo u a t a pa rti cipatin g
bank. O n e guy I know who got help from th em says it's a
good idea to al ready have a ba nk lined up.

Education
Even though th e feds have c u t the Pc ll G rants, ma ke
su re you avail yo urself o f any educati onal o pportunities
you r instiwtion offe rs. On ce you ' re out, d o so m e
resea r c h on g ra nts and loa n s a n d co nsider ge uing a
d egree. Th is will increase your c ha nces of finding a job
in the compe titive ma rket that awaits you. For additi onal
in formation , write to: Fed e ra l Swdent Aid Progra m s,
Departme nt DEA-85, Pueblo, CO 8 1009 . Ask them for
th e b oo kl e t, Five Federal Fina ncinl Aid Programs. So m e
states o ffer assista nce, lOo. Call o r write for information

a t yo ur sta te 's capital city.
That's about it for federal stuff. You may want lO check
wi th nitcd \1\la y, wo. Th ey' ll b e more th an happy lO
g uide you lO a ll the programs available in your area.
Do n't fo rget to check out all the good programs at the
sta te level. Look for prog rams that deal with alco ho lism,
b lood banks, den tal care, disabi li ti cs, drugs, e merge ncies, e nviro nme n tal h ealth, eye ca re, hearing loss, hospita ls a nd h os pi ces ( lodging if }'Ou ' rc reall y sick),
lo n g- term ca re , m ed ical reco rds , m e n ta l h ealth , tax
inform atio n , health-care clccluc tio ns, X-rays, etc. Roll up
your ·Jccves and start looking.

on a Positive Note .. .
Now that I' ve got all tJ1at covered , l'cllike to e nd on a
more positive note an d talk abou t yo ur parole officer. If
yo u ' re like me, th e fi rst th ough t to e nter yo ur mind is
"ene my. " If you ' re screwing up , tha t's probably going to
be u·ue. But the fac t is-and you may find this pre tty hard
to stomach-th is guy really wo uld rathe r sec yo u make it
th a n fail. Ir you show him you wa11tto succeed , and if he
takes a liking lO you, this guy ca n steer a ll so rts of he lp
your way.
In an intcr.•icw with a Califo rnia P.O . named Tucker,
he to ld me that a P.O. can eve n h elp a client get a carnot only at a low price, but also on a payment plan from
th e state. Ask your P.O. what so n of programs he knows
about to help you get a leg up.
Kee p in mind that many o rga ni za tions speciali ze in
h e lpi n g th e ir ow n . I have ye t lO find one Lh at h e lps
retired elope crooks, but th e re a rc fo lks like the Veteran's
Admi nistra tion and the NAACP. (Sec Plison Life's Resources departmen t. )
If you ' re will ing to put forth so me effort a nd swallol'J
some pride, you 'll discover there really is a lot of he lp o ut
th ere. I don 't know about you , but I' m d o ing 15 fixed.
Wh en th i is o,·er, I'll be using every resource to h elp me
make it.
II]]

YO READERS!

l

I

A large part of our commitment to you in publishing this mag is the determination to provide
access through our advertisers to the products and
services that will help improve the quality of your
life while you're doin ' time. Whatever your
needs-educational, legal, recreational-we hope
to deliver.
Let us know what you need-within reason, of
course--and we' ll find the advertiser to provide it.
Write or call.
Prison Life Magazine
Advertising Department
175 5th Avenue
Suite 205
New York, NY 10010
(212) 229- 1169

I

PRISON LIFE

67

by Chris Cozzone, Fitness Editor

FAT ATTACK-AEROBIC STYLE
/ 'vi' bt'l'll lijlillgjor ynu:\· lll're and I've
fmt on somt' dt'I'I'IIIIIW.\'d e. I'm also jn-etty
strong: a/5 '8" a11rl 190 jiounds, I can
br•11d1 jm•.u 350 a11d squat 500. Only, l
can 'I rl'flll)' St'l' lllltrh of that muscle
berausl' I'm sorla rhubby. I read in a magazille thai doing morr• rl'jJs will heljJ me get
rut. Do you hr1vl' a11y othpr suggestions?
OnPs that woufd11't invofvp rhanging my
diet? 1'111 rdrn1d)' walrhi ng my fa t intake
and br•sidr•s, therl':~ IIO/murh control over
what J'Oll 'rl' gonna gr•t sProPd in chow
half.
A. Pinatts
CA State P1ison

Chubbs,
Fo rge t I he we ights, bro. \o\1e ig ht lifting isn 'tgo nna trim a fat body. (True,
a bod y with more musc le re quires
more calo ries a clay than a body withom the ex tra beef, but if you ' re carq•ing f~n . yo u ' re overdoing your caloric
intake anyway.) You can do thousands
of re ps a nd it won' t d o a damn thing
to those ugly fat de po its. Yo u can do
crun c hes for h ou rs and still not lose
your spare tire; sidebends foreve r a nd
still be sp o nin ' love h a ndl es; th o usands of squats a nd still have fat legs.
T his is call ed spot reduction-and it
doesn 'L work!
A lo t of guys th ink that d o ing re ps
ove r the norm (6 to 12) crosses over
into th e definiti o n , i.e . fat-burning
stage. 1 ope ! 1 o t that you shouldn 't
do hig he r reps: the)"re g reat fo r muscle g rowth. ( Mos t of t h e tim e,
weigh tl ifte rs d on' t g ive th emse lves
proper time to "dig deep'' and really
burn th e sh it o uua th ei r targeted
mu scle gro up .) .Just kee p in mind
tJ1at it isn' t go ing to c ut yo u up.
If yo u wa nt to get r ippe d , o r just
bring out basic muscle c uts, you ' re
go nn a h ave to do th e dreaded "A"
word-Aerobi c train ing.
1 o, yo u don't h ave to spe nd a ll
yo u r h a rd-earned or swindled cash
on a Ri c hard Sim mo n s "Sweatin ' to
th e O ldies" video o r ro und up th e
ce ll b lock qu ee ns and stan a J a ne
Fonda gro up. Nah , leave I hat crap to
68

PRISON LIFE

the sissies a nd ho use\vives in the freeworld. That's on ly one form o f aerobic traini ng.
Aerobi c tra ining involves tra ining
yo ur majo r muscle groups a nd yo ur
h ean thro ugh continu o us exercise .
In th e freeworld, the re a re dozens of
o p tio ns at t he local gym: treadmills,
ord ic Track mac hin es, Stairmasters,
co mpute rized sta ti onary bikes with
d ig ital m en to race-a ll kinda shi t.
The re a re step classes and low-impact
c lasses with lo ts of c hic ks, to o. But
you can get the sa me res ults fro m
running (in place o r on a tra c k),
jumping j ac ks, sta ir cli mbin g, eve n
fas t wa lking. You go t ple nty of
o ptions. You ca n eve n do ae robic
work in th e Ho le if you have to.

AEROBIC EXERCISE
PRISON :
Running, Walking
IN THE HOLE :
Running in place,
Squat thrusts,

Jumping Jacks
FREEWORLO:

Stationary bl)e Treadmill

BASIC AEROBICS:
FREQUENCY
You should do aerobic work a m inimum o f three t im es a wee k. Space
your workouts, maybe every othe r d ay
at fi rst. As yo u improve, in c rease to
four tim es a week. If yo u go t the
energy a nd attitude (we know you got
the time), you can eve n increase ae robics to fi ve o r six times a wee k. J ust
kee p in mind that training hard every
clay is gonn a burn you out. 'Sides, as
a devo ut wei g htlifter, yo u ' r e still
gon na want to save some ofth atju ice

for t h e we ights. Th e last thing yo u
want is to do so mu ch ae ro bi c sh it
that you not only lose th e f~tt but half
your hard-gained muscle.

DURATION
Research has hown that for the
aYerage person, a mini mum of J 5
mi nutes of continuous ae robic tra inin g is a mu t. Anyth ing less th a n 15
minutes will show little ot· no be nefit.
You see, it takes your body n early 15
minmesjustto reach that aero bic,
fat-burning stage. All activity befo re
th at is fue le d by stored ca rbohydrates. Stan with 15 m in u tes a shot ,
but as soon as you ' re physically ab le,
inc rease your tim e.
Work up you r d uratio n until you' re
doing a min im um o f 30 minutes pe r
session. You might even want to work
up to 45 minutes a sessio n , if you
have ene rgy to spa re. Researc h shows
th e re's a big d iffe rence betwee n 15
and 30 minutes, a noticeable-but-notso-g reat difference between 30 a nd
50 minu tes, and very little difference
for a ny Lime ove r that.

INTENSITY
For this shi t to wor k, you need a
mi nima l level o f intensity. lf yo u ' re
wh istling t u nes through yo ur supposed-ae ro bic wo rkout, yo u o ug htta
kick yo urse lf in t h e ass. But you
sh ou ldn 't be gasp in g for a ir, e ithe r .
Training at too ha rd an inten sity rate
will be too strenuous o r impossible to
co n tinue for a long period of time.
Your in ten sity leve l should be at
approximately 65 perce nt of your maxima l heart ra te (220 min us your age
eq ua ls yo ur max heart ra te, give o r
take). Check your pul e during your
workouts to keep your elf on target.

COOL DOWNPERIOD
Each ae rob ic session sh o ul d end
with a cool-clown to bri ng yo ur pulse
rate down slowly. Stopp ing exe rcise
sudd en ly causes b lood to p ool in

yo ur legs an d this m ay cau se fa in ting.
T a ke fi ve o r 10 m i nutes to wa l k
arou n d after each sessio n.

INTERVAL TRAINING
As yo u ge t us e d to do i ng ae r o bi c
worko u ts, yo u m ig h t wa nt to intr odu ce inLe rva l t ra in in g . Duri ng yo u r
r egul a r a e robic wo r kou ts, a l tern a te
p e riods o f h ig h e r leve l in te ns ity into
yo ur tra inin g. Fo r e xa m p le , in a 30m inutc r u n , yo u mig h t wa r m u p fo r
10 m inu tes, th e n sp e nd th e n ex t 20
minu tes a lte rn a ting slow jogs and fast
s p rints . Cool d o w n fo r 10 m i n u tes
a fterwa rds.
A l tho ug h in te r val trai n in g a nd
s p rinti n g will a lte r th e str ic tly fatburn ing p rocess, it ca n lead to burnin g m o r e fa t th an s t r a ig h t a e r ob ic
traini ng. Fast-p ace trai ni n g sp eed s up
yo u r m e ta b o lis m , a ll owing yo u to
burn fa t a t a fast e r ra te dur ing th e
tim e you ' re no/ exe rc ising.
If yo u ' re t ra in ing ae ro b ica lly fo ur
tim es a week, yo u mig h t want to a lte rn a te i nte rval sess io n s with r egular ,
co ntin uo us sessio n s.
T hi s s h o u ld ge t yo u sta rte d. Still,
be ca r e fu l a bo ut wh a t you ' re eating.
o, th e r e ain ' t mu c h yo u ca n d o

abo ut th e sta te-issue d shi t, b u t if yo u
got som e d o ug h fo r co mm issary, yo u
ca n s u p p le m e n t yo u r d ie t with
h ealthie r fa re. If p o ssible , su b a can
o f tuna fo r th at s la b o f m ystery meat
on yo u r t ray; m ayb e tra d e i t fo r a
p iece of fruit o r so m e thin g. Losi ng

lOW FITNESS

3

t h a t fl a b is best d o n e b y c h a n gi n g
you r d ie t rmd e xerc ising .

Send you rjilness quPslions to Iron Pile,
c/o Prison Life, 175 5th A venul', Suite
2205, New Y0111, N Y 10010.

AVERAGE FITNESS

HIGH

FREOU ENCY (days/week)
3-4

FITNESS

5+

DURATION (minutes)
10-20

15-45

30 -60

INTENSITY (o/o max. heart rate)
60-70
70-80
80-90

Got Nothing Else To Do? Take This Course!
"The second that you make a man truly
free he becomes truly good. And it is
only that individual who has lost his
belie f in himself and his own pride of
goodness and his own pride of being and
his own honor who is dangerous. Because
a fter that it doesn' t matter what he does.
It doesn' t matter what he does to anyone,
inc lud ing himself."
Quote by L. Ron Hubbard
Crim inonTM is a non-pro fi t acti vity dedicated to he lping inmates and juvenile
offenders. We provide a correspondence
course based on the book let " The Way to
Happiness," written by humanitarian L.

Ron Hubbard. Through studying this
easy-to-read booklet and course, a person
has the opportun ity of adopting for hi mself guidelines for a happy and decent life
... guidelines which make sense to him
and which he can agree with and actually
apply to hi s life.
One graduate of the Way to Happiness
course wri tes: "Since I have completed
the Way to Happi ness course, my life has
made a turn toward a road ful l of happiness while previously my life was on a
road to nowhere-lost, unhappy and very
dangerous. I don' t know how I managed
this fa r, but I did and the big step I took is
to get to be a better person, as much as

possible in realms of life. I believe that
my outlook on life is in focus, toward
goals I never thought I would set or
achieve. I am happy and free with morality. Thank you CriminonTM." L.D. Maryland.
THE WAY TO HAPPI ESS COURSE
-AN OPPORTU NITY FOR LIFE !

Criminonnt is made up of a group of vo lunteers and as such we raise money for
the inmates ourselves. Our funds arc limited. We ask you pay $30.00 (to cover
books and postage). For anyone who cannot pay, this course is free of charge. It is
never too late!

Yes! I would like to get started on the "Way to Happiness" correspondence course as soon as possible!
N am e_____________________________________ _ _ _ _ __ I. D . # - - - - - - -- -----------------Fu II Na m e o f In s ti t u t io n --- ----- ------------- - - - ------- - - - - - - - -- ------------ - - - - A ddre s s o r P .O . Bo x # -- - - - - -- - - --------- - -- C it y-- - - ------ --- - - ----- -

- -- - - - - -- - - - - - - - - - - -

- - - - --- S tate / P ro v i nce ___ ____________ Z ip/ C od e - - - -- - - - - - -

Please ma il to : C riminonTM Ca na da, P.O. Box 14024 , 2398 La kes hore Blvd . Wes t, Toro nto , O nt. Ca nada M 8 Y 4A2
Cri minonTM is a 1rademnrk owned by A.B.L.E. lntcmalional and used wilh ils pennission.
'0 1995 All Righls Reserved. Gralcful acknowledgcmcnl made 10 L. Ron llubbnrd Library for permission lo reproduce scleclion from copyrighl works of L. Ron llubbard.

PRISON LIFE

69

It's my lifestyle.
Just because your arms are sleeved
with tattoos, it doesn't mean you're a
criminal or you've been in prison.
Yeah, I'm in prison, and yeah, I got a
lot of tattoos, but they each have a special meaning. My right forearm is dedicated to my grandparents, who died
while I was in prison. My other tattoos
are there because they look good, but
most of them have stories behind them.
They're a part of who I am.
If you're thinking of getting sleeved,
you should remember that the tattoos
will be there longer than any prison
sentence.

..c:
.!.!

E
]

Dan Severson
Montana State Pen

EXPERT
LEGAL HELP
IS AVAILABLE
AND THE POST CONVICTION LEGAL
GROUP® MAKES IT EASY TO SECURE.
We are in the process of forming a cooperative association of the
best and most experienced criminal defense attorneys in the country.
One phone call will provide you with the name and credentials
of the attorney that best suits the specifics of your case. Our members
are responsive. They have d emonstrated their skills in the criminal courts
and earned the respect of their clients.
If you are an attorney, your participation is invited.
If you are in need of legal representation, ym.u ca lls or letters are invited.

Calll-800-207-2659 for further information.
Post Conviction Legal Group, 4200 Westheimer, Suite 160, Houston, TX 77027.
70

PRISON LIFE

A Summary of Recent Federal Criminal Cases
by Peter G. Schmidt
United States v. Carr, 56 F.3d 38 (9th Cir. 1995)

Wilson v. Meeks, 52 F.3d 1547 (10th Cir. 1995)

He re's one of those crazy cases that makes yo u th ink
abou t 'justice" in Ame rica. T he defe n da nt is co nvicted as
a career o ffe nd e r because h e had two pri o r co nvictions:
one for selling a "nicke l baggie" of marUua na for $5, and
the o the r for selling .26 g rams of cocaine for S25 do llar .
In this case, years late r, he is found g uilty of selling 66
grams of c rac k, a n d ge ts se nten ced to 262 m o n ths in
prison-n ea rl y 22 years. On a p peal, his sen te n ce is
affirm ed , a nd to cleanse its so ul the court cites lo ts of
o the r h orrible examp les wh e re th e Supreme Cou rt has
ru led that o u trageous sente nces a re neither "grossly dispro portio n a te" with the offe nse no r crue l a nd unusual
pun ishme n t.

T h is is ano th e r police bru ta lity case th a t shows the
extremes to wh ic h th e courts wi ll go to excuse law
e nforce me nt agen ts. Here, after the cop shoots a suspect,
h e ha n d cuffs hi m, mak ing it dif'fi cult fo r the wou nded
man to breathe. The guy ultimate !)' die -n ot of th e gunshot wounds, but of asphyx iation-but not before a n EMS
staff m e mbe r a r ri ves a nd as ks th e cop to remove the
hand cuffs so he can admin ister first aid. The cop refuses,
stating he does "not want to get blood on his hands." The
deceased man 's relatives sue under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 fo r
civil rights damages. The claim is de nied, de pitc serious
al legations of cover-ups suc h as "lo ing" valuable evide nce. In one of th e classic li nes of American jurisprud ence (a nd justice), the court ho lds that: "The
Constitution does not e mpower us to co mmand police
officers to show com passion for th ose they it~j ure in the
li n e of duty."

Thomas v. District of Columbia,
887 F.Supp. 1 (D.D.C. 1995)
Check o ut this p risone r case aga inst Sergeant Cha rles
Ingram, a co rrec tions officer at th e Maxim um Security
Facili ty a t Lonon, Vi rgin ia. The lawsu it, unde r 42 U.S.C.
§I 983, a lleges tha t th e plain tiff was ha rassed a nd retalia ted against by Sgt. In gram becau se he resisted In gra m 's
ho m osex ual advances. The d efe n d a nt see ks to dismiss
th e lawsuit on th e gro unds of qua lified immunity. T he
co urt refuses to d ism iss it a nd o rd e rs th eca e to t rial,
holding in part that "sexual assau lt, coercion and hara sme nt of Lhe sort alleged by th e plaintiff violate conte mporary standards o f decency a nd ca n cause severe physical
a nd psycho logical harm. "

United States v. Tayman,
885 F.Supp. 832 (E.D.Va. 1995)

United States v. Hogan, 54 F.3d 336 (7th Cir. 1995)
A revea ling case in wh ich a director of person n el for
th e Cook Co unty Sh e ri ffs department e ngaged in a
fraudulent sch e me LO make sure that the people he wanted to e mpl oy as co rrecti o n officers met th e necessa ry
qualifications for employment. Acting at the behest of an
"anonymous" high level official, he created "at least" 125
fi ctitious GED certificates for those candidates he wanted-assuring that the correction. staff in Cook County
was stocked with il literates- somethin g t hat won't surprise a nyo ne who kn ows anything a bo u t the way prisons
really operate.

United States v. Lopez-Aguilar,
T his case is an im po rtant follow-u p of th e Fourth Cir886 F.Supp. 305 (E.D.N.Y. 1995)
cu it's d ecisio n in U.S. v. Irvin, 2 F.Jd 72 (4th Cir. 1993),
He re's a case tha t should appeal to all lusty prisoners.
wh ic h he ld th at ma ndato ry minim um sen ten ces imposed
u nde r 21 U.S.C. § 841 must be based on th e a mo unt of J udge We inste in rul es that fertility probl ems of a dcrendrugs tha t was reaso na b ly fo reseeable to th e d efe ndant, dant and h is wife, who was in her thirties, constit uted
rathe r than on the amou nt disu·ibuted by th e consp iracy. "ex trao rdin a ry fam ily circu msta n ces" under§ 5 111.6 o f
He re, judge Ellis h o lds th at the Irvin decisio n is re troac- th e Fed e ra l Sentencing Guide lin es and warra n ted a huge
tive ly applicable a nd tha t the d efenda nt (who was origi- downward departure of I 0 levels. T h e co urt took into
n ally sente nced in 1992) is now e ntitled to a hearin g to co nsid eratio n th e fact that if the defendant had been
determine the a mo unt of drugs reasonably foreseeable to incarce rated for the mandatory minim u m term that the
him, eve n th ough he never o bjec ted to th e quantity of law required, it would have red uced the chances o r the
drugs attributed to him in his presentence report. This is d e fendant a n d his wife having a child to almost zero.
im portant because if the issue were not p reviously raised, Th is d ecision is certain to be a ppea led by the Gove rnmost courts requi re a defenda n t to how cause why it was ment; it is anothe r gem from j udge \!\'einstein.
not, a nd some d egree of prejudice before it can be raised
on a new appea l. He re, the judge rul es that th e "cause "
Sisneros v. Nix, 884 F.Supp. 1313 (S.D.Iowa 1995)
needed now to raise the issue on appeal was "the novelty
T his o u tsta nd ing case ex plores in-depth the rights of
of the subseque m decision in Irvin". The decision is lo ng
and well-reasoned; it should be a bo nanza to federal drug prisone rs, their ability to bring an act io n for damages and
th e concept o f q ualified immun ity !'o r prison orticials.
defe ndan ts in the Fou rth Circuit.

PRISON LIFE 7t

Judge Be nn ett reviews a ll these topics in a 40-page decisio n
that sho uld be requi red reading for a ll j ail ho use lawyers.
T he two main issues are (a) whether a n English-on ly policy
for incomin g mail for prison ers is Con stitutional, and (b)
wheth e r a priso n e r has th e r ight to sue for damages fo r
reta liatoq' transfe rs within the prison syste m. O n the llrst
issu e, .Judge Be nn e tt co ncl udes tha t priso ns do have th e
right to establish a n Engl ish-only po licy for incoming mai l,
but he reviews a ll the pertinent case law-a great source of
informati on for any jailhouse lawye r. O n th e second issue,
he finds that the prisoner was tra nsferred from Iowa to Arizona without a legitimate pcnalogical reason an d in retaliation fo r pursuin g p riso n e r grievan ces. The court awards
compe nsatory and punitive damages against the two prison
officials who ord e red him transfe rred , and grants injunctive relief, requiring th e Iowa officials to transfer him back
to Iowa. It also warns th e Iowa o rfi cials no t to harass the
prison e r upo n his re turn to th e Iowa prison syste m. Any
priso ne r who wan ts to study wha t righ ts a nd re medies a re
ava ilab le sh ould read t his case. If you ha ppe n to li ve in
Iowa and need help, contact Prof. Barbara Schwartz, a t the
Iowa College of Law (3 13-335-9034) , who wro te the briefs
in this case fo r the plaintiff.

Ware v. Barr, 883 F.Supp. 654 (M.D.Fia. 1995)
H e re's a g rea t case o f persiste n ce paying off. A d efe ndant is co n vic te d o n th e b as is of tes timon y of a cod e fenda nt who snitc hed. Whil e in priso n, th e d efe ndan t
fi les a Freed o m or In fo rma tio n Act request with th e FBI
a nd actua ll y rece ives a report showi ng th e re we re some
68 finge rprints on th e c urrency th a t was seized in th e
investigation, but none belonged to him. T h e p rosecuto r wi thh e ld t h at inform a ti o n fro m th e defe ndant a t
trial. Based on th a t Bmdy vio latio n , th e co urt vaca ted
th e co nvicti o n ; on a re trial th e d efe nda nt was acqu itted
aft e r spend ing so m e t hree yea rs in p r iso n . H e re h e
bri ngs an actio n fo r dama ges und e r 42 U.S.C. §
1985 (3), which provides a re m edy for pe rsons wh o have
bee n deprive d of the ir r ig hts due to a co n spiracy. The
prosec uto r moves for dismissal of th e compl ain t based
on a claim o [ immu n ity, but th e co urt refuses to g rant
to tal d ismi ssa l, holding t h at immunity o nl y a pplies
whe n the Government acts in good fai th. I t ho ld s that a
d e li bera t e d ecision to wit hh o ld t h e FBI repo rt is not
immune fro m suit.
lii1

NATIONAL CASE LAW SUMMARIES
A bi-monthly reporting service listing case citations
wi th summari es coverin g over ninety top ics fro m
access to th e courts to witnesses . Ha ve the latest
state and federa l case law at you r fin gertips thus
reduc ing research time. Annua l subscription $30.
Mail orders and make payments payable to:

PARALEGAL ASSOCIATES
209 South Broadway - Sui te 246
Baltimore, MD 2 123 I
Paralegal Services Available:
Parole- Transfers -Immigration Pre-Release Plans

LIFE ON DEATH ROW
Prison Life is planning a SPECIAL ISSUE
on DEATH ROW and the DEATH PENALTY
IN AMERICA
We want to hear from condemned prisoners:
poets, essayists and fiction writers. Tell us
your stories. How you wound up on DEATH
ROW; how you feel about the death penalty;
how you face day-to-day existence knowing
you are to be put to death. DEATH ROW
ARTISTS. Send us your work for possible
inclusion in this SPECIAL DEATH ROW
EDITION of Prison Life. Address all replies to:
DEATH ROW
c/o Prison Life
175 Fifth Ave., Suite 2205
New York, NY 10010
Illustration by Henry HcrL
72

PRISON LIFE

ANIMAL
FACTORY
(continued from

jJage 43)

crowd s, se nding th e m fanhe r apart as
it ex ploded, gyrating and spinning as
it gave off its fearfu l fumes. Again Earl
was buffe te d so th a t h e h ad to fig ht
for ba la nce. It was li ke struggling to
keep his h ead above wate r in a sto rmy
sea. The m o tes reac h e d his eyes a nd
lluid bega n to run from th e m a nd
fro m his nose. "Cocksuc kers ... bastards," he cursed silently.
Like so m e mindl ess beast d riven
with out purpose, the twe lve hundred
Chicano and whi te convicts swung in a
clockwi e motion o tha t th ey were
agai nst th e mess-hall wa ll. Drive n by
the tear gas from the onh cellhouse
wall, the blacks were whe re the wh ites
h ad b ee n a long th e Eas t cellh o u se.
Th e two g roups, twe lve hundre d
whi tes a nd e ig ht hundre d b lac ks,
fa ced each o t h e r across a hu n dred
a nd fifty ya rds of ope n space.
A hundre d con vic ts were j ammed
agai nst th e East cell house gate, trying
futil ely to ge t in away from trouble.
"Lockup! Locku p! Ma ndato •l' lockup!" th e lo udspeaker bla red.
"Open th e fuckin ' gates," someone
near Ea rl said. Both sides were n ow
spread OUL Earl's fl;ends stuck togethe r
and his fear became fury. H e was certain the officials had delibera tely turned
a strike in to a racial confrontation.
A window o f the mess hall crashed
o ut. Then another. Men were yelling
in fu ry. Stacks of stai n less steel trays
were being passed to th e raised ha nds
o f whites a n d Chi canos. The n ca me
oth e r things th at wou ld se rve as
weapons-mop wringers, pieces o f the
dishwashing machin e, heavy wooden
lad les used on th e kitc he n va ts.
Ac ross the yard the blacks were ripping be n ch es apart to get hunks of
lumber. Earl did nothing, kn owing the
gro ups would never get a t each othe r
ac ross th e n o-m a n 's-land. The rill es
a nd submac hin e g un wou ld erect a n
insurmountable barrier of d eath.
A co nvict push e d agai n st Earl to
leap to th e window to get some thing.
H e landed on Earl's foo t when he
came down.
"Assho le!" Ea rl snarl ed, ra mmin g
the heels of his hands imo the ma n 's
c h es t a nd kn oc kin g him bac k. The
convic t bumped into some one beh ind

him and kept from fa ll ing. His fa ce
was a lready con torted with rage a t the
b lack . His cu rse a t Earl was drowned
in the c hurn in g, screa ming crowd as
he tensed to spring. He had a piece of
p ipe in h is ha nd and lunged . Earl
stepped back, raising an arm , ime nding to rush under th e swi ng if he
could. He wished h e had a kni fe. The
convict rushed without seeing T J., nor
d id Earl sec him until the p owe r fu l
weightli fter sw un g th e glat o f a sta inless stee l tray as if it we re a base ba ll
bat. T h e ma n ru she d into it, and hi s
fee t ke pt go in g as th e tray curta in e d
his face. His sho ulde rs h it the g round
first, and it was a few seconds be fo re
the blood came fro m hi s ·q uash e d
fl esh . His legs trembled in spasms.
Bad Eye came from somewhere and
p la nte d a stec l-LOed brogan aga in st
t h e man's head, as ha rd a kick as h e
could del iver. T J. gave him the accolade of a pat on th e back.
The tumul t made it impossible to
talk, b u t th ey pus h ed thro ugh th e
crowd toward othe rs o f the Brothe rh ood a few fee t away, leavin g the
supine figme to be wa lked on-or to
di e fo r all they cared.
The two crowds were screa min g a t
each o th e r , bra nd ishi ng m akeshift
weapons.
Bad Eye c upped his hands to Earl's
ea r. "We ' ll ge t 1he black motherfucke rs thi s tim e. All they've got is so m e
sticks."
Earl said nothi ng, but looked again
at the riflemen. The two crowds started
to surge toward each other and the submachine gun ham m e red three short
bu rsts, tearing up c hunks of asphalt in
sti tches. T hen the rifles volle}'ed. Bullets
swe pt down the open zo n e a nd th e
crowds froze and fell back. The gunfire
silenced the screaming.
One b lack was twisting o n th e
gro und. Obvio usly a g uard had sho t
in to the crowd instead of in front o f it.
Th e b lack was ho lding his rhi gh a nd
tryin g 10 get up. Two b lacks stane d
fo rwa rd to h e lp him , but a bullet
wh ipped ove r th ei r h eads to d ri ve
them back.
Som e of th e hys teria had dra in ed
away. G lazed eyes began to narrow,
mad n ess was rep laced by questio n
abo ut what to do, wha t was goin g to
happen.
"Attention in the }'arc!! All inmates
b y th e m ess hall will go th e lowe r
yard!"
The a n swe rin g be llow o f defiance
was a sh adow of a few m inutes earlier.
Some me n ye lle d a nd sh oo k thei r
fi sts, but th e}' wou ld h ave clo n e the
same if' told to sta nd f~t s t o r go h ome.

The tear-gas grenades Oew over the
me n , landing under the sh ed be}'oncl
the fringe of the crowd. The gas drove
convicts crashi ng into others, sending
a reve r beration thro ug h the c rowd
and jamming bodies together again.
The rou te of escape was th ro ug h the
gate. They couldn 't go down the road
beca use the visored tactical squad was
waiting with clubs a nd mace, so they
su rged down the stairs, some falling
unti l a nor her body stopped them.
T h e}' were h erded like ca ttle in to
the thi nn in g fog. All was g ray under
the lighlless sk}'; th e wa lls loo ked soft
in the fog; lined by f'acele s sil houettes
with rifles. The lower yard was big, and
the convicts spread ou t like water on a
plai n . Everyone searched f'o r a friend,
sensing that this was a dangerous si n.ation, for no guard s were on the
ground and th ose on the walls were
too f'ar away to sec what was going on.
It was a chance to seule o ld grudges.
The law of bnnalit}' was replaced with
no law whatsoever.
UIJ

APPEALS
WRITS OF HABEAS CORPUS
FORFEITURES
NEW TRIAL MOTIONS
SENTENCE MODIFICATIONS

Doll 't tnke fl11J11ZOI'e cbn11ces
witb your future.
Today you need a highly skilled research
finn that utilizes state-of-the-art electronic research methods if you want to compete with the prosecution.
FREE CONSULTATION.

LAW OFFICE OF
J ACQUELINE GOODMAN

800.515.0233
• Payment Plans Available

• Low income? We can help.
tDE·DIC~T'E·D '10 rXSURJ~'>C.i J'VSTICE )1:;\'D

·DVE ·PJW<'ESS •WI(_ ·T.Jff. 3CCV.~ED.

2201 EAST CHAPMAN AVE.
FULLERTON, CALIFORNIA 92631

714.879.5770

PRISON LIFE

73

Voice of the Convict
~ (rontiu ued
~ Jmm />aft' 7)

-crs and the ir fa milies se rving insan ely ha rsh sente nces. In t he middle o f
th e visit, g ua rd s swa rm e d th e room
a nd cal led co u nt, "Visi10rs o u tside!
Inmates against t he wa ll !" as tho ugh
th ey we re a fraid so m eo ne mig h t try
to wa lk off with o n e o f th ei r c h e rished n umbe rs.
Dri ving a\\:ay fro m th e p r ison
co m p lex late r th a t cia}'• back toward
th e bo rde r of Ame rica , I saw a sign
o utside a sm a ll co n venience sLOre;
"Ame rica n O wn ed" it sa id . I winced
a t th e cn ti mcn t: Who th e fu c k d o
th ese people thin k th ey arc? AmPrican
ownPd. America begins hr'rt' . Wh a t does
th at ma ke th e r es t of u s a nd wh e re
do we live?
Th ese sucke rs a rc th r iving o n
th e prison industry. It's one of th e
fastest growing of the few hea lth y
businesses in th e coun t!"}'· I was read y
to bet that the rcclnccks who owned
the store made a la rge percentage o f
the ir profits o ff visitors to Prison la nd.
Ame ri cans of a ll race a nd c la n a nd
c reed have come to th is counllJ' seeking freedom a nd opportun ity. Some
we re uproote d a n d b ro ug ht here
aga ins t th e ir will to serve as slave

A

direct line to every winning case in the Federal
Courts since "Strickland v.
Washington" - all gathered
together and summarized in
this comprehensive text. A
70 page index leads you to
exactly the right case with
almost 800 examples of
ineffective assistance, with
every reference to a winning case.
Over 300 cases decided
since Strickland, and 200
before. are gathered togeth·
er and indexed according to the
precise factual issue considered
in the decision. Defense attorneys across the country are using
th is book to save untold hours.
and even days. of research .
If yo u have ever tried to find

74

PRISON LIFE

labor fo r wea lth y whi te Am e r ica n s.
Dispro p o ni ona te numb e rs o f th e
poor, of Afri ca n Am e ri ca ns a nd o f
the la test immigran t wave in evita bly
wind up in priso n. They arc the ones
White bread Ame rica, sitting in fro nt
of T Vs, love LO loathe. Sell th e m
crap, treat them like d irt, loc k t he m
up , a nd mu tte r epithets a ll th e way to
the ba n k.
At o n e time, th e hi lls of Pe n n sylvan ia we re quilted wi th fa mil yow n e d farms. Lovely o ld ba rn s
d eco ra ted with co lo r ful h ex sig ns
sLOocl beside the road. The h eartl and
o f Amer ica wa th e breadb as ke t of
the worl d. T h e n we d omi nated intern ationa l markets with Amer icanmade goods. Now we buil d prisons.
There arc sta te rep rese n ta ti ves an d
Co n g ress m e n wh o sp ec ia li ze in
b ring in g prison ind ustry to the ir distri cts. Business is so good private sector co mpan ies li ke Wackcn hut a nd
Correctio ns Corporation o f Ame rica
are competing for a slice of th e p risons-for-profit p ic. T he p ri vate co mpan ics arc a lre ad y expo nin g the
Pri on la nd fra nc hise, o p e ning n ew
m a rkets in Ca n ad a a nd Fra n ce . .Just
as th e mi li ta ry-indust r ia l co mpl ex
we lcom es retired ge ne ra ls a n d Pe ntago n heavies, Pri vate Pr iso nl an d
Ame rica, Inc. is top h eavy with former sec urity a n d corr ec ti o n s officials.

INEFFECTIVE
ASSISTANCE
OF COUNSEL
liJ[

WINNING CASES
IN THE FEDERAL
COURTS
GOOD case law to back up your
ineffective assistance arguments.
you know how difficult that can
be. Here it has already been
done for you. Every case in t his
book is briefly summarized, with
emphasis on specific facts which

Wit h ove r fi ve milli on p eople
under the contro l of th e criminal just ice syste m , e ith e r in pri o n , o n
p a r o le o r pro ba tio n , Pr iso nl a nd
America, Inc. shows no signs o f going
ban kru pt soo n . Run by cops a nd excops, xeno phobes, racists, re dn ccks,
Repub licans a nd De mocrats, libera ls
and conse1vativcs, th e governme nt o r
b ig b usiness, it h a rd ly maucrs, th e
priso n industry n o u •·ish es in b a d
tim es.
a t ions o n th e verge o f
uph eaval in ca rce ra te an d exec ute
more and mo re of th e ir peo ple, as if
pa in and death a me lio ra te socia l ills.
Vt/e n eed to re mind o urse lves
wh a t th is ugly, vorac io u s ind ustry
pro du ces. Priso nl a nd Ameri ca, Inc.
m akes pri sone rs, d isenfranc hi sed
m e n a nd wo m e n it th e n d espises.
Broke n fa milies a rc just o n e o f th e
waste ful by-prod ucts, broken fam ilies
th at p rovid e mo re raw m a te ria l fo r
prisoner fac tories.
Wh e n I c r ossed back in to New
York sta te o n th e way ho me, I ha rdly
felt any more a t case. The re are vistas
a lo ng the thruway whe re the n ight is
b right with th e glow of h ig h intensity
security la mps illumin a tin g prison s.
Soon New York will join o th e r dea th
states a nd start killin g co nde mn e d
prisone rs. The re is n o need to travel
to visit the latest th e me par k. Priso nland Am e ri ca, Inc. is at our d oorste p.

UII

led to t he fi nding of
Ineffective Assistance of
Counsel.
Seeking an evidentiary
hearing? You'll find the case
law you need to support your
arguments in Ineffective
Assistance of Counsel.
In a large looseleaf binder.
this book is supplemented at
least twice annually. The
S 120.00
purchase
price
includes all supplements
issued during the following 6
months. Supplement service
is $42.00 per year thereafter.
To order send your payment of S 120.00 plus $8.00 S&H to:

SOUTHWEST LEGAL SERVICES

P.O. Box 57091
TUCSON, ARIZONA 85732

by Tricia Hedin
h ave b een reading le tters in yo ur
magazine from prisoners bem oaning the fac t tha t the ir wives or girlfrie nds e nded their re la tio nship after
they we n t to pri son. As I read these
letters, I find myself fumi ng: They are
so full of self-pi ty and even vin dictiveness toward the wome n.
I a m m a rried to a m a n wh o is
serving a lengthy sente nce in fed eral
prison. I h ave b een visit in g him in
priso n fo r the past 13 years. Yes,
tha t's years, folks. And now I hear you
guys saying: "See? She's a good wife.
She stuck by he r man. Sh e can d o it.
Why can ' t my woman ?" And that's my
point. Sto p criticizing the wome n you
h ave hurt by yo ur actio n s a nd yo ur
incarceration. Stop blaming th e m for
your sirua tio n a nd for their unwillingness to j o in yo u in being o ppressed
by the prison syste m.
Eve n with th e b es t husba n d in
the world, living in two worlds is very
oppressive. The reason my marriage
wo rks is tha t my husband a nd I d o
not get bogged d own in self-pity. We
d o n ' t try to bla m e eac h oth e r ,
m a nipul a te each o th e r o r demand
thin gs we can' t provide fo r eac h
o ther. We support each o ther.
Anothe r maj or factor is that I h ad
the privilege o f be ing bo rn middleclass. I h ave a good j o b a nd a lot of
suppo rt fro m fri e n ds a nd fa mily. I
talk with yo u r wives a nd girlfrie nds
whil e we wa it for visits. I h ea r h ow
th ey struggle with hig h p h o n e bills,
low-p aying j obs, th e welfa re syste m
a nd sing le p a re nthood . I kn ow th e
sham e society heaps on he r for lovi ng
a priso n e r. I kn ow th e e m o t io n al
a buse a nd humili a tio n sh e ex perie nces fr o m so me of th e prison
guards. I kn ow h ow much it costs fo r
tran sportation and motel bills to visit.
I h ea r h e r h o p e th a t yo u will
cha nge and her belief tha t some how
it is h e r r espo n sibility to h e lp you
cha nge. I hea1· about he r loneliness. I
see how sh e dresses fo r you, lives for
you, waits for you.
Th en I see how she tires fro m her
own efforts a nd fro m your dema nds

a nd requests. Sh e tires of giving he r
a ll to wha t begi ns to seem like a hopeless situ a tion . Many o f yo u d o n ot
hear it in h er voice. Yo u do not listen
to he r worries. Yo u take and take and
ta ke. Yo u wa nt mo re visits. You wa n t
more pho ne calls. You wan t daily le tters. You want money. You want d rugs
smuggle d fo r yo u . Yo u wan t h er to
hire a lawyer. You want he r waiting by
the phone each evening so you kn ow
she's be ing faithful. Yo u want her in
your world.
Sh e d oes no t live in yo u r world.
Sh e li ves in two wo rlds. Sh e lives in
th e o utside community a nd sh e li ves
in th e visiting roo m. Sh e d oes no t
know your world; it is impossible. You
d o n ot know h e r wo rld . Wh a t yo u
have to build is a world toge ther, and
the prison syste m, th rough its policies
and regulatio ns, makes tha t extremely difficult. Reme m ber that she knows
wha t la nded you in pr ison . She may
be a ngry; she may feel betrayed and
abandoned . Sometimes she re-experie n ces th at feeling aga in wh e n you
mess up and get sen t to the hole. You
have to un d e rsta nd th ose emo ti ons.
You have to be patie n t.
If yo ur loved one is stic kin g by
you, value he r. Liste n to her. If she is
becoming weary, lig hte n up. Encourage he r to live in he r world, to pu rsue
h er inte rests. Work and se nd h e r
m o n ey to h elp with th e chil d re n o r
th e p hon e b ill, eve n if it's a sma ll
amo unt. If sh e is fru strated with the
visiting conditions, support her in visiting less frequen tly so she doesn ' t burn
out and stop altogeth e r. Work together to ll)' a nd improve the visiting condi tio ns fo r yo ur fa mily. If sh e is
dep ressed , encourage he r to seek ou t
friends or a counselo r. If she is ab using d1·ugs or alco h o l to n u mb th e
pain, encourage he r to get treaunen t.
If she is raising you r children, listen as
she sh ares her joys a nd fr ustra ti o ns.
Read some paren ti ng books to h e lp
he r with new ideas in a nonjudgmental way. Let her know you are interested in her life.
She may leave you anyway. It takes
tre me ndou s stre ng th o n th e pan of

both people to maintain a prison rela ti onship for a lo ng pe ri od of tim e.
T he fact is, people need in ti mate relationshi ps and intimacy is d iscouraged
by prison au tho ri ties a nd di ffi cult to
sustain witho u t p1·ivacy. If your wife or
gi rl frie nd chooses a relationsh ip witl1
a no the r man o n the outside, it is no rm al. You must stop blam ing her.
Bla me the system. Blame yourself fo r
th e mista kes you made that allowed
me syste m to rake conu·ol of you. Quit
the self-pity routine. Above a ll, begin
ma ki ng changes in yourself so that
wh e n you are released , you ca n stay
ou t and enjoy whatever new relationship yo u find. Bu t don 't b la m e yo u r
loved one; most of the ti me, she is just
doing th e best sh e can .

.......

An by Enrique Oniz

·--------------------------------------------------------Call: 1-800-207-2659!
FIGHTING
0 Check or Money Order 0 Visa
0 MasterCard
Card # _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ __ Exp.

For 1 year 6 hardcore
Name___________________________________ issues
Number________________________________
Institution
Address
City

qEnclosed
s $19.95
(Canada
$28.75)

State_____ _ __Zip Code_ _ _ _ _ __
11 95

Please allow 6·8 weeks for delivery.
Make check or money order payable to Prison Life Magazine (U .S.$ only).
Send to: Prison Life, 4200 Westheimer, Suite 160, Houston, TX 77027.
In Canada, send to 253 College St., Suite 444, Toronto, ONT M5T1R5 (Canadian $.)

FOR
YOUR
RIGHTS

THE PRISONER'S SOURCE FOR PRODUCTS & SERVICES

"'c:
~

c"'
VI

z

m

VI
VI

n
)II

-Z
-1

0

PRIME SPACE AVAILABLE
CALL

212/229-1169

MAGAZINES

BOOKS
We offer a co mplete selection
or U.S. and European adu lt's
o nly girli e magazine . We a lso
have co mi c books, adult's o nly
paperbacks, and selected o the r
re lated rea din g a nd vi ewing
pe rio dicals. We hip all o rders
by insured pa rcel post. Fo r a
complete list.ing of our product
lin e, se nd a se lf-addressed ,
stamped envelope to:

Paper-Wings
P.O.B. 4855
Baltimore, MD 21211

BOOKS 01 TIE BLOCK
2

1

4

3

5

Send me these books:
0 1. No Beast So Fierce by Edwm·d Brmher

0 2. Soledad Brother by Georgejachson
0 3. Smack Goddess by Richard Stratton

0 4. Prison Literature by Br·uce Fran/din
0 5. T h e Bad Guys ' Q uote Book by Bob Singer
NA~ I F

Send check or money order
plus $2.50 P&H to:
Joint Venture Publishe rs

II) #

ADDRESS
CI IY

78

PRISON LIFE

$ 10
$ 14.95
$ 18.95
$ 12.95
$2.50

- -- - --

-

Sl"A I E _ _ Z ll' _ _

175 5th Ave., Suite 2205
New York, NY 10010

Yeah, get me some .

Regul ar
Pocke t Style

OL

$14.95
$14.95

O XL O XXL

lor 0 Black

0 White

- - - - - - - - STAT E

Zll'

Se nd check or mo ney orde r plus $3.00 P&H to:
PLM Shirts, P.O . Box 537, Stone Ridge, NY 12484.
NY res idents only add 8.25% sales tax.

I,U~E<l Qay,

we offer readIt's 17x23, pre•....""'. . . in a tube. This
•:llf.U~51JU&fll!t"""' 35 cloud for~~~"'

cooperation with FOR
dedicated to
aw:are:Dess·()f the sky's beauty and wonder.

.....u .... ""''""'

--~4tfn~·protJlt foundation

To order, send $8.95 to:
Cloud Chart
c/o FSS Dept PL
P.O. Box 191
Lexington, MA 02173
This could be one of the most significant,
positive steps of your life!

CLASSIFIEDS
LEGAL
PARALEGALGRADED CURRICULUM BY BLACKSTONE
SCHOOL OF LAW. Approved
home studies legal train ing since
1890. Affordable and comprehensive. Free catalog : 1-800-8269228 or write Blackstone School
of Law, P.O. Bo x 70 1449 Dept.
PL, Dallas, TX 75370.
APPEALS, HABEAS CORPUS.
Attorn ey, California (fede ral &
state) bars, U.S. Supreme Court,
Abogado, California (federal y
estata) abogacia, Corte Supremo
E. U. Pa ul McCarthy, 1 Kaiser
Plaza 1750, Oakland , CA 94612 .
510-836 -0100, fax 510-8323690.
so PRISON LIFE

MAIL ORDER Say Merry Christmas, Happy
Valentine's Day, Happy Birthday,
I'm Sorry, I Love You , with perfum e, candy, flowers and gift certificates. Serving prisoners exclusively. Free brochure . MAIL
ORDER BLUES, 2767 So. Parker Road, Suite 188, Aurora , Colorado 80014. Telephone: 303/9143955.

Fantastic Brand Name and
Amway Products and Food.
Competitive prices . Price of 226page , full-color catalog ($4 .50)
refunded with first purchase . Call
416/331-8428 or write: 358 Danforth Ave., P.O.B. 65032 , Toronto ,
Ontario, Canada M4K1 MO.

Express your love to
family & friends.
Custom designed gift baskets
shipped nationwide and
to foreign countries.
Gift Baskets By Mail
396 Bird Avenue
San Jose, CA 95126.
FREE C OLOR P HOTO & B ROCHURE.
Call or write today.
(408) 254-4134.
RADIOS AND OTHER GOODS.
Serving the prison population
since 1984- We are the Conaid
Company, Inc. We offer a variety of
radios and other goods specifically
for the prison population . Free Catalog. Write to: The Conaid Company, Inc., 2302 230th Street,
Pasadena, MD 21122.

Prisoners! You, too, can send gifts
to loved ones. Discounted 10%,
plus $3.00 off first order. This company is prisoner conceptualized to
fight injustice and modern slavery.
For your catalog of available gifts
(over 200 colorfu l pages) , send
$4.00 to V.C. Enterprise, Box 1934,
Pontiac, Ml 48341.
CLASSIFIED ADS $10 Up To 100
Words. Personals-Business-Private Party-Any Category. Free issue with order. Self-Addressed
stamped envelope gets details/order form. Planet Earth Classifieds, Box 12682, Las Vegas ,
Nevada 89112-0682.

MEDIA Authors seeking dramatic, bold
accounts chronicling life in the
Hole: mental & physical effects,
conditions, treatment, coping
methods . For possible publication . Write to : Mad Zone , 86-33
89th St. , Woodhaven, NY 11421 .
EDUCATED IN PRISON? Comments sought for book about
NYS inmates who attended college programs: Why did you
take the course? How did it
change you? Why do you think
funding was cancelled? What
will you do now? All references
will be anonymous. M/R Dissertation , PO Box 891, Hartsdale,
NY 10530-0891 .
Writers Needed for prison perspective section of WAKEUP,.a
new publication aimed at raising
the awareness of American youth.
A simple straightforward and honest source of information. For
much more information please
write WAKEUP, 6637 84th Court
North, Minneapolis, MN 55445.

WRITER DOING RESEARCH
FOR BOOK. Looking for people
convicted of non-violent crimes.
Especially interested in fraud ,
embezzlement , con games ,
scams , etc. Would like to hear
your story ; compensation for all
stories published. For more
information please write to: B.
Philbrick, 853 Vanderbilt Beach
Rd ., Suite 212 , Naples, FL
33963.
FOLSOM INMATES PAST/PRESENT. Journalist with 15 years
experience writing articles on
Old Folsom , maybe book(would
be my third) . Aim (as always) to
cut through myth , present accurate picture. Will explain more,
send samples of work: G. Rivlin ,
P.O . Box 13314, Oakland, CA
94661. Nicknames okay.
Tired of doing time you do not
deserve? Have you given up on
all possibility of any justice since
your confinement? Please write:
Freedom Press , Prisoner Support Division, P.O. Bo x 4458 ,
Leesburg , VA 22075 . Include a
narrative and copies of your sentencing documents . Phone:
703/866-1446. Collect calls are
accepted on Saturday and Sunday only.

BOOKS & MAGS
FREE CATALOG
Absolute lowest prices on subscriptions to 850 magazines. Examples; Newsweek 1 yr $23.95;
GQ 1 yr $7 .95 ; Vanity Fair 1 yr
$9.95; Penthouse 1 yr $19.95 ;
Penthouse Letters $17.95; FREE
LIST-Magazine Warehouse ,
1243-48th Street, Brooklyn, NY
11219. (800) SAVE-SAVE.

"When the gods made man, they
made a weapon. " Order The Odin
Brotherhood ($11.00 postpaid)
from World Tree Publications, P.O.
Box 961, Payson , AZ 85547.
Bad Girls BedTime Stories. Titillating erotica by Eva Morris ;
proud display of her dirty mind .
MINISKIRTS . HELICOPTERS .
VEGAS. Bad to the last bone(r)!
$17 to LPPC , P.O.Box 20376, NY,
NY 10011 . Specify mailing
instructions .
The Art of Holding Together
Your Relationship While Doing
Time in Prison. This book is way
overdue. A real manual that deals
with real issues and creative ways
in keeping the one you love or are
in love with while you serve your
time . This manual is highly recommended for every man and woman
in America who is currently serving
time in juvenile, county jail, workrelease, work camp, state or federal prison. This book is so real ,
even O.J. Simpson has a copy.
So, order your book now! Send
$ 10. M.O. only, plus $2.50 shipping to : WARD Publishers , P.O.
Box 1288, Spokane, WA 99210.

- OTHER STUFF
For God So Loved The World
That He Gave His Only Begotten
Son That Whosoever Believeth In
Him Shall Not Perish But Have
Everlasting Life. John 3: 16. Jesus
Loves You .
NY AREA INMATES with visiting
privileges and expected release
this year: If you are willing to
wo rk on a photography project
that involves your transition to the
"outside" world , please write : K.
Grannan , 144 East 7th St. #2 B,
NY, NY 10009.

CLASSIFIED RATES
$75 for 35 words. Additional words are $1 each.
Prepayment required.
Send to: PRISON LIFE Classified Ads
4200 Westheimer, Suite 160, Houston/ TX 77027-4426
Call1-800-207-2659 or (713)840-7801
PRISON LIFE

81

Chef's Special of the Month:
Criminal Carb Cuisine
1 cup brown rice (instant or normal)
2 cups water (for rice)
1 banana, sliced
1 / 2 cup raisins
1/3 cup honey
1 / 4 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons cinnamon
Pinch nutmeg (if you con get it)
Make the rice. Instant stuff easier to make. While rice is hot, m ix in ho ney, cin namon a nd
sugar. Might wan t to add a little wa te r to keep mo ist. T hen add in raisins a nd banana sl ices.
Eat hot or cool for later. Even good at roo m te mpe ra tu re. Will give you p lenty of carbs for
the morning workout.
"BigC"
Rilters Island, New Yorlt

Thai Tuna
1 apple, finely chopped
1/ 2 o nion, finely chopped
1 ·,alopeiio
1 emon, freshly squeezed {con sub on orange)
1 con tuna
1 /3 cup chopped peanuts o r mixed nuts
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 packs mayo
Mix thoro ughly, chill and serve on crackers.
Edgar Tims and T Savage,
recommended b)' the Dawg

'?tPt

'Z)e44ef&t

Snorgeldorf
1 banana
2 ta blespoons peanut butter
1 /2 cup cooked oatmeal
1/ 2 cup granola {or oatmeal)
1 teaspoon honey
Mix thoroughly, th en enjoy.
Kiwi j olm

Florence, Colorado
Jllus1rmion by Sieve Lashley
82

PRISON LIFE

:s:;. 6'. 2 12#. brown hair. blue C\'l ' '· Wo uld
like to correspond with female>. age n~ p roblem .
Will write to all. Doing 5 to 8 fo r gelling into a light,
with 5 left. Dale Ow>ley. # I 7110. !.S.C. I.. nit I:l64.
P.O. Box 14. Boise ID 83707.
Peckcm·oocl looklng for featherwood to exch ange
letters. good times. fricncbhip a nd m ore with the
right lady. Brian Nebon, Solono Co. Jail. 500 Union
Ave, Fairfield, C'.A 94533.
l lnpp)' about life. <IO:rcar-olcl Chrb tian. Ch r·ist is the
basis of my hopes, as piration> and strivi ngs. J oyfu lly
would d esire correspo nding with caring female will·
ing to ; hare in teres" , hope> and making Cod a prio r ity. [ xce ll en t p h )•Sica l s pecim e n . Alvin Lewis.
#04673!'>, P.O. Box 02-8538. Miami. FL 33 102.
S\VM, '18, 5' !)", l.'iS#, long wt1it.;""halr.hazcl eyes .
dark compl<"xio n . .Jcssc .Jamcs p<t<t, but looking to
trade my guns fo r a good woma n . any age. Fret• in
1997. I am in great hea lth and ucc d to re loc:Hc
from Santa Cr ul. Califo rnia in ord er to lca,·e m\·
past be hind . Wl'itc Ray Hurt. #1-1·022 1!>. 1'.0. 1\o~
921-C5 11 7, lmpel'ial. ('.A 9225 1·921.
S \1'~ 1. 27. 6' 1". 205#, muscular. brown hair. green
C)'es. Seeking hon est and sincere person for serio us
re lationship. I c njo'' weight lifting. reading. tra,·cl.
outdooN and <po rts. Getting out soon. Kc,in Porth
#40656,1'.0. Box 1989. El . Ne.,•d:t 89301.
S\\'M. 40. 5'9". 165#. long bro.;:;;-hair. h at e ! eyes,
tattooed and m uscular. Seeking intdligent. ad\'enSW~!.

turous. rightcou'i white woman into scooters. r & r.

l ri s h/ ~ l cx i ca n , Ta ll. cbrk and ha ndsom<·. 29 ,·cars
old. :'>' 10". 17:'>#. Got a g rip pit~> tl'\ing not to. trip.
Looking to ~it·k it with be autiful inte resting lad ic>.
So if you r beautiful or inter<·,ting. don't clcl;w send
)OUr lcllcrs my way. l'hoto lor phmo. Bill llankins.
#!>·18 12. Box 777 ~.S.l'. Cauon C::ity, <;;Q 8 1215.
\\'oulcllike to meet prbon arti>t< to cxch:mge art
and ideas. Only in tcrc"ecl in art that has a l"'bon
Ila\'Or and mt"l ha\'l' j est" inclndccl o r a rdigio us
theme. Audrey Re\'dl. 2'H 2 ~ li -.sion St .. San Francisco. CA !)4 11 0.
Looking for that real blackman. ex-con or currently
in carcera ted ancl o u t soo n. I' m a Gil'~ I; wan t a
d ominating. take-ch ar·gc type. Age no t an i'-'ue; a11itude is. l'ossihlc long-tcr·m l'l'latiOn-'hip.J.E.P.. 4724
El Po n al. El Paso. TX 7990:-1-·1826.
S W~ I . loo king for :nl\' ~wct· t girl to sha re thoughts
and feelings with. Bt·c n down 3 yt·ars now and 7 to
go. 175#, 2 2 yc;~rs o ld. 5' 11 ". All letter'< will he
a nswcrccl . g narantl'l'cl. ~ l v intcrc>t> arc: <kin art.
poetr)'. life and s poiling wo m en! Chri> Schmidt.
28385-2!)957. P.O. llox :~1! 9. Spri ng ficld State
Prison , Spring field, SD 57062.
L1tin Ur<>Lher down hut nol out. 5' 11 ". 185#. Finishing up bicl. \\'uuld li~<· to hear from all positi\e pcopie. john Rodrig iut !l:lR6276, ~h . ~ l cGrcgor. C. F.
Uox 2071, Wilto n. NY 1283 1.
\\')UI. 185#, big brown e~c,, mu ..cnl;;;::!ooking to
!ill lon g loncl)' nighh "'ri ting 10 you. h o nc>t I to I
commu n icat io n or t.•rotic a<h·cnturc. I do it all.
Glccn Reves #fi!>75!>:1. Rt. I Box 1!•00. lkanmont
TX 7770!>.

\\'~!. 25. brown hair. (j' II". 190#. C:oocl>hapc, blue
green eres. locked down in T exas, seeks a real
,wcethcan for Iiiencl•hip. Possible relationship. ~lay
release date 6-97. ~ l an r \\'ebb #545 120. Stiles unit
Rt.4, Box 1500. Beaumont. T X 77705.
SW~I. 24, 5' 7", 165#, blue/ green eycS:..htack hair.
~ l c ,·err respectful, lc,el h eaded ;nul hate any kind
o f abuse at woman!! ~ l ade o ne mistake in lifc,(safL~
cracking). will be free in 97. You. Coring. sweet.
petty. and who like> a gentle man . Please write to :
Andrew Lesky. J -2!H-26. C.M.F. p rison 1'.0. llox
#2000. v~c:l\·illc. Ct\ !!5696.
SW\1, d eaf, 38 year·s old, 5' 1o·, 200#, good h ealth ,
\'ery open minded. Seeks whit fe male male age 22·10 max. no rest rictio ns on who can wl'itc. Steven
Christma n. 11916709. Indian state f:mn , 1500 west
U.S. 40, Greencastle, IN 46 135-9275.
~ l ix male looking fo r a pen pal, male or female that
ca n read a nd write the lan guage of "the p cot>lc
Kola". Omaki) i \'e! t>itamap yelo. Erike llo lmbcrg
#300 108 B4, P.O. Box !>3000. Rcid>ville, C:A 30153.
S\1'~1 . 26. 5'9", 160#. blond h air. blue eyes. Drug
and disease-free. ecking a SWF 2 1 to 35 for a pen
pal. that with time can lead to more. All letters will
get a reply. Kenneth Webb #645486. Hughes Unit.
Rt. 2. Box 4400, GatcM·illc, TX 76597.
GWM. 35 yr . u ld, 5'9", 160#, brown eyes, Italian .
fnn-Im·ing ind h·iclual, looking for other GW~ I' s or
" " l' white boys looking for com panionship/ fantasy

lcucrs. Sister's \\'clcomcd! All answcrcd ... plcasc no

beaches. tra,·el and Ji,·ing life toiL> fullest. No fakes.
games. C:crard .J Natic llo, #6539 11. Rt. 4, Box 1500,
p h o nics o r wa n nabes n eed appl y. Hill Kounanis
lkaumont, TX 77705-9631.
# 164089. Racing Corr. ·~~llll!l•!!!!!l•••••••••••••••••••·~~-•111111!•~···~·-··· SW~I. seeking correspondence "i th
lnst. / Dane West
nit.
lllustr:ltion by Henry Hen
white l:tclyies o f natio nalist disposP.O. Bo x 900-1, Sturtt'\':tnt.
sion, , ~I )' boots and braces arc on
Wisconsin 53 177-0900.
the shelf for a fc ,~ but I'll be stand·
ln;:;;:c.; ralCd l!i )'cars, 35
ing tall 'til the encll I' ll answe r all
Years o ld Mexican . 5 ' 11".
leuer>. Dean Adams #H-32535/ B-7180#. Seeks b ig b eautiful
224, Pelican Hay State Prison, P.O.
lady with big hean and lots
llox 7!>00. Cr·cscent Cit • CA 95532.
o f hot passion. William R.
SW~ I. 26, 5 '7", 160#, long b r·own
Castro, C-42238, P.O. Box
hair; h rown eyes. Muscular ami
7500, D-7-IO(i. Cr·cscen t
haml>ome. Well hu ng. Into mmic
cit •, CA 95532.
a nd com edy. sex ancl h avi n g fu n .
Love to party and tr:wel. 18 mo nths
SliM . lig ht skin . 5'7". 32
yrs. old. looking fo r :1 ~e rileft. Searching fo r fun woman 18
ous, open-minded. o penand up fo r frie ndship, maybe more
hcanccl, down to earth

when released. I f you're looking for

\\'Oman o fanr age an)' r-ace.
guaranteed fun times. write. Will
ll erbert
llurguc.s,
an swer all. Eric Rumbe rger
#931\3237. Sullimn Correc~~::iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiijji;;;M;;;;;;;;:;::~
"Rumm y·. 1'.0. llox 595, Ebens·
tio nal Facility. P.O. Box
-:
---.
burg. I'A 1593 1.
_
AC, Falls bu rg. NY 12733·
~
~~~•
f
Down hut not o ut42·rear-old W~l. I
0116.
1~
f ~ ~s'll...,.
am a outlaw in chain >. searching for
2 IO#,greaiSiiapcancl get~a..-n.,~•
~A"'Ce
as loving a n gel to set m e fr ee
ting be tte r with d ed icated
throug h lette rs a phottos. Le nny
bodybuilding. I rear to go.
Ku rx #03809-4000. P~IB ·1000, Rocl'm \'ery sincere and o pen-minded and I expect the
Lookin g for fri<: ncl ~ h ip and comm itment. SW~ I.
mostcr. ~ I N 55903-4000.
clean-cut Chri,tian. 26. :r II ". 195#. reel hair. brown
6'2". 20!>#. bnmon·<kin brother looking to kick and
same. I'll be a worth- while honorable friend. lf w.:

"{A)K! a.
'M'IMe

'WOW., a

.,

rind compatihilit)' we can C\'l'll love each Olhcr. Vou

eye:-.. ca)ly going. good M..: n ~l: of humor. still ro ung a1

hear son1c uplifti ng kn owlcclgc wi th al l sisters.

clo n 't have to he a b eautifu l q ueen but you must
lo"c yourself and be all wo man. Raymond Ruit.
#91R956~. Attica C. F. Attica. 1 Y 1·10 11 -0 14!>.
KI C:)~ Looking to correspond with o thcrs intncstcd
in Conspiracy Po litics, Christian ldcnlit)'. The P:uri·

h eart. love> the l.ord . music phows (will
cxcha ngc) ,spnrt<. n·k other encourag ing Chris·
tians for frk nds. I will b<' r·l'le:tst·d in ' !Hi. Sle\'C
!'icard #6 1788. 1' .0. llox 777. C~m on City. CO 8 1215
I am a whi te. ·l!•·ycar·old fr·<'<' world elude looking

T yse n Ingra m #8730 1•1, 27 11· 1D. C .l. C .. P.O . Box
liO I, Pendle ton, IN ·W06<1.
l.onc ly man lt:t> 3 yrs IeTt:"llrown h air & eyes. Age
36. 250#. 6'2". Would like to con·cspond with someone special. l'lcasc " 'ri te: Edclie Sims. D.C. 202995.

0 1 M ovement . etc. I have too much tim e to ha'"t' a
relationship. but welcome all-except inmates. l..a.-ry

for in111atcs to ha,·c a~ pt..·n·pals: lad i t·~ arc c~pccia ll r
invited to writ l·. l.ct tt.•n. an,,,·cn·d at once. ~ l v

D -202-1.. Okaloosa Correctional Institution, 3189
l.inle Sil\'cr Road. Crc~tvicw. FL 32539-6708.

Williams. #9 111 56. CIC -Uox ()0 1. l'c n dl c tnn , IN
<160()4.
BM seeks o pe n-minded feminine corresponde nt

fricnchhip is <'\'t·rlasting. Plea"' write me a1 the foilowing acldrc": Can· R. Lt'l'. 241 8·Bayo n Drh·c.
l..e~ Cit}_. TX 7757:-1-2702. ;-\0 FAGS.

Through Dl'\A . forensics, conlidcntial DA records,
pro\'cd innocent. Framed. Looking fo r someon e to
share n C\\'S articles, legal docume n ts with . 5' 11".

free or locked do\\·n . Age. r:.1Cl', weight. look~. irrclc\'ant. Sincerity an asset. Promise to respond to all.

S\ V~ I. 2:i, !)I ()-, 170#. ,·e ry long bl'own hair. nasty
green l'\C,, skc,cd in 1an oo .... down~ ,·ea'"'. 10 lt.:ft.

muscular, white . Atll-:lcth·c inside and out. wi th nice
tattoos. Seeking new 1rial, freedom. writer. publish-

Da,icl Mcgriii,.J.T.R.C.I .. #292425. 7 175 ~ lanor Rei..
Columbus, CA :11907.
German lo newo lf looking for a pac ~. Charnctcriv
tics: Warlock, Artisan. 5'7", 175#. hrown hair, blue
eres. Seeks corresponde nce fromlikL, mindecl male>
and femal es. Pirre llloo.cbrokcr. # 12:1 14. Louisiana
State Pri son, Angola. LJ\ 7071 2.
SII'M, 38 )'<S. old. br. hair·. 5' 11". br. qes. 185#. col-

Outlaw <COOler tramp wa l~ing the talk . Seeks
stron g. good "'oman to side with me. No ph ony
bullshit. Le tter pholO< get ,,,me. tn me. taste m e.
talk to me. C.\1'. Po llock, #8701590. EOC:l. 2500
West Gate. Pondle ton . Oregon. 9780 1.
Doing lil'c in the bell) of th t· bca>t. Seek ing as<i>-

cr. in telligen t fcmak and friend;. ~o games or
pho nics. 'ationality. :ogc unimportant. Send pho to
and SASE. Paul William Scott. 07 1615 P.O. Uox 221.
North East U nit, Death Row, UCI Raiford, Fl.
32083.
S\1' ~I caught up in sptem , looking for females who
would like to p:H'\ some tim('. \ Viii w•·itc all intcrcsted responses. !lobbies: ..ex . >COoter.. boats. fishing.

tauce from :-HI}'<H1C \\'ith hackgrouncl in Eng-lish ur

law. I need someom· who i< wi lling to corrcct m ''

lege-educated. EnjO)'"i '''ritin g le tt ers, alternati ve

m i.. takc, in srntax to impru\'(' my writing skills. It is

hunting. cam ping, part)'ing and genera II)' having a

music, coo king. u-avcl (when allowccl). hon e.<t)' and
sinceri t)'· eeks fe male pe n p al. Offers lette rs and
fri en dship . .Jeffrey A. (;earns #22~291!, 320 I Be mis
Rd .. Ypsilanti. Ml_:l§_IY7.o9 11. __

' 'Cr}' impo rtant that I ht· abk to write well. In stnrgg le. Anthor1) I.ucer o. #7(i:l24. P.O. Box I 0000.
Limon , CO 8082fi.

good time. Best lette r sex in T X. Respond to: Dcnnis Bower·. #6:1 1736. Ram <er 2. C I-t-2-16. R ou te ~.
Box 1200. Rosharon . T X 77583.

PRISON LIFE

83

by Alex Friedmann, Resource Editor,

SCCC,TN
The nonprofit and volunteer-run agenrii'S i11 this list nn• all worlting to help liS,
b11tllwy mn'tlu4p liS without your help. If
)' OU wa11/lo con/rl(/ OIU' or mon' of these
01ganizations for information, self-help
materials orfor tlu•ir nnusiPIIers, then do
the rightthing-l'llclosr• somP loose stamps
or an S.A.S. I~·. Br/ler )'1'1, smd them some
money (that's right, SO II/I' of yo nr hardramer/. hard-timt' jnison 11/0IIf')'.) l;'ven one
dollar can help. Therr• arl' over a milLion
prisonr1:5 in I he U.S. a nrl if l'llel)' one of us
sr•nl just a btult l'{rc/1 month to a worth)'
cause lilte C.U.R.E., F. t\.M.i\1. or the
A.F.S.C., lhPn thosr' 01ganiurtions would
bt• col/rcting ovn S 12 million a yea r.
That 's somr•thing to thinli about. If we
rxpect free-world organi:.ations to help us,
then WI' havP to hrljJ thnn. The bollom line:
\\Ihat gaps a round co mrs a ronnd.
SOCIAL SUPPORT AGENCIES:
• American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215/241 · 7130}:
A Quaker organization that works for peace and
equality. Their criminal justice branch con provide literature on o variety of prison issues. There o re six
regional AFSC offices in the U.S.: CA, Ml, NJ, MA,
OH and NY.
• John Howard Association, 67 E. Madison # 141 6,
Chicago, IL 60603 (312/ 263·190 1}: This organize·
lion is mostly involved with prison reform and criminal
justice issues in Illinois, but they con provide materials
of interest to all prisoners. There is o separate JHA
branch in Canada.
• Notional Association for the Advancement of Col·
ored People (NAACP}. Criminal Justice Prison Pro gram, 4805 Mount Hope Drive, Baltimore, MD
21215·3297 (41 0/358·8900}: Offers referrals and
advisory services for prisoners who wont to break the
cycle of recidivism-especially among minorities.
These projects operate through regional offices and
ore not available in every area. Write for local con·
tact addresses.
• Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR}. 301 Pork
Drive, Severna Pork, MD 21146 (410/ 647·3806}:
Provides post·releose assistance for prisoners in lA,
MD, NJ, PA and VA, through 12 1ocol offices.
• Woodbourne Long Termers Committee, Pouch #1,
Woodbourne, NY 12788 : A prisoner support and
advocacy group. Send for free brochure and newslet·
fer.

ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS
• CURE, P.O . Box 2310, Notional Capitol Station,
Washington, DC 20013·231 0 (202/789-2126}:
Organization for prison reform, with state chapters
and special groups for veterans, lifers, sex offenders
and federal prisons.
• Campaign for on Effective Crime Policy, 918 F St.
NW #505, Washington, DC 20004 (202/6281903}: This agency works for effective criminal justice
reform. Ask your worden to join.
• Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM}.
1001 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, #200, Washington,
DC 20004 (202/ 457·5790}: Works lor the repeal of
federal mandatory minimum sentencing lows.
• Justice Watch, 932 Dayton Street, Cincinnati, OH
45214 (513/ 241·0490}: Works to eliminate clossism
and racism from prisons.

PUBUCATIONS & MAGAZINES
• Forlune News , ATIN : Inmate Subscriptions, 39
West 19th Street, New York, NY 10011 (212/ 206·
7070}: A publication of Fortune Society.

84

PRISON LIFE

• Inside Journal, c/o Prison Fellowship, P.O . Box

MISCEllANEOUS RESOURCES:

16429, Washington, DC 20041·6429 (703/ 478·
0100}: A publication of Prison Fellowship.
• Outlook on Justice, AFSC, 216 1 Massachusetts
Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02140 (617/ 66 1-6130}: A
newsletter of the American Friends Service Committee.
• Prison Life Ma!lazine, 505 6th Avenue, New York,
NY 10018 (600/207· 2659}: A national magazine
by and for prisoners ($19.95/year}.

• League for Lesbian and Gay Prisoners, 1202 East
Pike St., # 1044, Seattle, WA 98122: A project of
Gay Community Social Services.
• James Markunas Society, 245 Harriet Street, Son
Francisco, CA 94103 (415/775-5445}. A resource
for lesbian, goy and bisexual prisoners.
• Mothers Opposed to Maltreatment of Service
Members (MOMS}, 8265 Block How Court, Freder·
ick, MD 2 1701 : Advocates for prisoners in military
prisons and disciplinary borrrocks. Con provide o
pre-release booklet entitled •New Beginnings."
• The Prison Chess Program, P.O. Box 44419,
Washington, DC 20026 (30 1I 530·464 1.}
• Native American Indian Inmate Support Pro ject, 6
Dallas Dr., Grantville, PA 17026: A Native America n
group that supports the introduction of Indian religious ceremonies and programs in prisons.
• Native American Prisoners' Rehabilitation
Research Project, 2846 Paddock Lone, Villa Hills, KY
41017: Offers many services for Native American
prisoners, including legal and spiritual support, tribal
and cultural programs and direct contact with prison
administrators.
• Packages from Home, P.O . Box 905, Forestville,
CA 95436: Sells moil·order food packages for pris·
oners, at around $20/pkge.
• PEN, Writing Program for Prisoners, 568 Broodway, New York, NY 10012 (212/334·1660}: Offers
o great resource booklet for prison writers.
• Prisoners of Conscience Project, 2120 Lincoln St.,
Evanston, IL 60201 (706/326·1 543}: A religious·
based agency that works for the release of prisoners
of conscience/ political prisoners in the United States.
• Prisoner Visitation and Support, 1501 Ch erry
Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215/241 ·711 7}:
Provides institutional visits to prisoners in federal a nd
military prisons nationwide.
• Project for Older Prisoners (POPS}, c/o Jonathon
Turley, Director, The Notional Low Center, 2000 H
Street NW, Washington, DC 20052.
• The Safer Society, Shoreham Depot Rood , RR 1,
Box 24·B, Orwell, VT 05760·9756 (602/897-7541 }:
Sell-help materials for sex offenders.
• Stop Prisoner Rope, P.O . Box 632, Fort Bragg, CA
95437 (707 /964·0620}; or P.O . Box 2713, Man·
hottonville Station, New York, NY 10027 (212/663·
5562}: Provides support for victims of institutional
rope.
• The Poetry Wall , Cathedral of St. John, 104 7
Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY I 0025: Displays
poetry written by prisoners.

BOOK AND READING PROJECTS.
• Books for Prisoners, c/o Left Bonk Bookstore, 92
Pike St., Box A, Seattle, WA 96101 : This volunteer
program provides up to three books at a time.
• Prison Book Progra m, Redbook Store, 92 Green
Street, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130: No books con be
sent to prisoners in KS, NE, lA, Ml, OR or CA.
• Prison l ibrary Project, 976 W . Foothill Blvd #128,
Claremont, CA 91711.
• Prisoner Literature Project, c/o Bound Together
Books, 1369 Haight Street, Son Franc isco, CA
94 1 17: Free books for prisoners.
• Prison Reading Project, Paz Press, P.O. Box 3146,
Fayetteville, AR 72702: Free books lor women prison·
ers.
PAROLE & PRE-RELEASE INFORMATION:
• American Correctional Association, Publications
Dept, 6025 Laurel Lakes Court, Laurel, MD 207075075 (301 /206·5059 or 600/825·2665}: Publishes
a parole planning guide, •As Free a s on Eagle; and
sells other self· help books.
• Interstate Publishers, 510 North Vermillion Street,
P.O.Box 50, Danville, ll61634-0050 (21 7 / 446·
0500 or 600/843· 4774} : Sells o paro le planning
manual, •From the Inside Out.'
• OPEN, Inc. (Offender Preparation and Education
Network}, P.O. Box 566025, Dallas, TX 75356·60 25
(214/271 - 1971 }: Sells "99 Days & o Get-up; "Man,
I need a Job I" and other great pre· release guideslor $4.95 each.
• Manatee Publishing, 4635 North O'Conner St.
#134435, Irving, TX 75062: Sells •Getting Out and
Staying Out; o porole·J>Ionning manual, for $22.45.
• CEGA Services, O ffender Referrals, P.O. Box
61626, lincoln, NE 66501-1626 (402/ 464·0602}:
CEGA offers pre-release referrals for prisoners for the
area they will be paroled to (such as housing, employ·
ment and substance abuse treatment programs.} S 15
fee for each city. CEGA a lso sells the "Survival
Sourcebook" and "The Job Hunter's Workbook.'

PRISON AIDS RESOURCES:
• American Civil Liberties Union, 1616 P Street NW,
Washington, DC 20036 (202/234·4630}: Operates
on •AIDS in Prison• i nformo~ on project.
• Correctional Association AIDS in Prison Project,
135 E. 15th Street, New York, NY 10003 (21 2/674·
0600}: Offers resource information concerning AIDS
in priso n, especially lor inmates in New York.
• HIV Prison Project, NYC Commission on Human
Rights, 40 Rector St., New York, NY 10006
(212/233·5560}.
• Notional Prison Hospice Association, P.O. Box 56,
Boulder, CO 80306-0056: Helps develop hospice
programs for terminally ill prisoners.
• Notional ACLU Prison Project, AIDS Education Pro·
ject, 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW 4 10, Washing·
ton, DC 20009 (202/234-4630}.
• "One Day at a Time: c/o Richard H. Rhodes
#05353·016, U.S.P. Leavenworth, P.O . Box 1000,
lecrvenworth, KS 66046: An AIDS newsletter for pris·
oners.
• Prison AIDS Project, Goy Community News, 62
Berkeley Street, Boston, MA 02 116 (Notional AIDS
Goy Task Force: 600/221 ·7044}.
• Prison AIDS Resource Center, P.O. Box 2 155,
Vacaville, CA 95696·2155; or 926 J. Street, #601 ,
Sacramento, CA 956 14.
• Prisoners with AIDS/Rights Advocacy Group, P.O.
Box 2161 , Jonesboro, GA 30237 (404/ 946·9346}:
Offers support, educational materials, referrals and
political lobbying for prisoners with AIDS/HIV.

CHILD & FAMILY RESOURCES
Tlwrt mt IIUIII_)' mganiuttrou\ that hPijJ pn'iOP~i!TS wh()ltavr rhildtnt. 'l'lu•lf• t1J.fl' llfif'' j1rouidt• litt•mlut·t', iujorma·
lion. rufl,irt' and SII/Jjmrt u11 how to rojJI' with fnmil)1
Jn·ob/1'111\ whiff' in jni\()n. J)irl'ft ru,\ istanrt' is 11Silflll)1

rwailnbh• auiJ irt lhP /om/ nrrm thatlllfjf fJm}..'rams St1Vt.

• Aid to Imprisoned Mothers (AIM}, 599 Mitchell St.,
SW, Atlanta, GA 303 14 (404/22 1·0092): An odvo·
cocy group for incarcerated mothers. Although social
services ore only provided in the Atlanta area, AIM
con provide helpful information for all women in
prison who hove children.
• Center for the Children o f Incarcerated Parents,
Pacific Oaks College, 714 W . California Blvd,
Pasadena, CA 91105 (818/ 397·1300}: Provides
free educational material for incarcerated parents
and their children.
• Family and Corrections Network, Jane Adams
Center M/ C 309, 1040 West Harrison St. #4010,
Chicago, IL 60607-7134 (312/ 996·3219}: Provides
information about programs serving families of pris·
oners.
• Fa thers Behind Bars, P.O. Box 86, Niles, Ml
49120 (616/664·5715}: A by-prisoners, for·prison·
ers agency that helps to set up in stitutional parent
groups for incarcerated fathers. Only the serious need
apply!

• Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, 47 4
Valencia St., #230, Son Francisco, CA 941 03
(415/255·7036): Legal services ore provided in Col·
ifornio only, but some general information is ovoiloble.
• Notional Institute of Corrections, Information Cen·
ter, 1860 Industrial Circle, Suite A, Longmont, CA
80501 (303/ 682-0213): Provides the "Directory of
Programs Serving Families of Adult Offenders."
• Notional Resource Center for Family Support Pro·
grams, Family Resource Coalition, 200 S. Michigan
Ave., # 1520, Chicago, IL 60604 (312/341-0900):
Provides information about family programs, includ·
ing prison projects.
• Parent Resource Association, 213 Fernbrook
Avenue, Wyncote, PA 19095 (215/576-7961 ): Sup·
port for child/ parenting programs in prison; offers
referrals ond information to incarcerated parents.
• Prison Family Foundation, P.O . Box 1 150,
Auburn, AL 36831 (205/821-1150): Works to support family education programs in prison. Sells preand post-relea se books and other publications; works
with prison administrations to form institutional fa mily
support groups.
LEGAL RESOURCEs-FEDERAL/ NATIONAl
Thtrf' are nuwy Of.!enrirs that fJrovidr lrJ!,al \PIVi((l:!) for

plisuuf'n: mol·t of tlu'W' mgrwi:ation\ diJfH'IW' information
or of/Pr rrjrreuu mntnial. Noll' that lhl'.sr agnu-it•s do not
usunl(l' lwnt!IP ju•u o,mllegal ,n,iul uah as Jili u;:
afJjJeals. fJost-conuirtirms or law.w it.}-with 1111' t•xrt'jJiiun
offor-Jmjit fOIIIjJIIIIil's (11otli.l ll'tl hnl') /hot rhorge lwp •

f ees.
Federal:
• U.S . Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division,
Specia l Litigation Section, Washington, DC 20530
(202/ 514-6255): Enforces the "Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act" through lawsuits against state
or local prison officials who deprive prisoners of their
constitutional rights or who practice racial discrimination.
• U.S. Supreme Court, Public Information Office,
Washington, DC 20543-0001 (202/4 79-321 1): Con
provide up to five Supreme Court decisions per term.
Supreme Court slip opinions ore ovailoble through the
Government Printing Office. Contact: The Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Printing Office, Washington,
DC 20402 (202/783-3238).
National:
• ACLU Notional Prison Project, 187 5 Connecticut
Ave., NW #410, Washington, DC 20009 (202/2344830): A branch of the notional ACLU that works on
prison legal issues. Sells resource di rectories, cri minal
justice statistic books and legal aid manuals; also
offers o prison newsletter for $2 per year and sells the
"Rights of Prisoners" handbook for $5. Doesn't handle individual cases; they only litigate lorge-scole state
or notional prison reform legal actions.
• Americans for Effective Low Enforcement, 5519 N.
Cumberland Ave # 1008, Chicago, IL 60656-1498
(312/763 -2800): Sells monthly legal update publications, including the "Jail and Prisoner Low Bulletin."
Although this bulletin is meant for corrections officials,
it includes excellent resource material on the latest
prison-related court cases nationwide. Annual costs
ore $168; perhaps your low library con subscribe.
Other bulletins include the " Liability Reporter" and
"Security Legal Update.'
• Columbia Human Rights Low Review, 435 West
116th Street, Box B-25, New York, NY 10027
(212/663-8701 ): Sells the "Jailhouse Lawyer Manual" (JLM) for $30 o copy (S 13 for prisoners).
• Georgetown University Low Center, Criminal Pro·
cedure PRoject, 600 New Jersey Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20001. (202/662-9468): Publishes the
Georgetown Low Journal, the annual "Criminal Procedure" issue costs $30.
• Freedom Press, P.O. Box 4458, Leesburg, VA
22075 (703/391-8604) or: (800/370-7052): A
prison project run by volunteer porolegols. They offer
legal services at reduced rates, sometimes on monthly
payment plans; they also offer ministry and counsel·
ing services.
• Inside/Out Press, P.O. Box 188131 , Sacramento,
CA 95818: Publishes self-help legal guides.
Inside/Out is the moil-order business for the Prisoners' Rights Union, which focuses on California prison
issues.

• Lewisburg Prison Project, P.O. Box 128, Lewis·
burg, PA 17837·0128 (717/523·1104): Sells low·
cost literature regarding constitutional rig hts, due
process and other legal issues of interest to prisoners.
• Notional Lawyers Guild, Prison Low Project, 558
Cop Street, Son Francisco, CA 9 4 1 I 0: A notional
legal agency wi th on interest in helping jailhouse
lawyers.
• Oceano Press, 75 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY
I 0522 (914/ 693-81 00): Sells prison-related legal
books, including "The Prisoner's Self-Help Litigation
Manual" ($20) and "Post-Conviction Remedies"
($20).
• Prisoner Legal News, P.O. Box 1684, Lake Worth,
FL 33460: A magazine published by prisoners in
Washington that covers nationwide prison legal
issues. Subscription roles ore a round S 12 per
yeor/12 issues.
• Southern Illinois University Press, P.O . Box 3697,
Carbondale, IL 62902-3697: Con provide "The
Rights of Prisoners" brochure at no cost.
• Storlite, P.O. Box 20004, St. Petersburg, FL 33742
(813/392-2929 or 800/577-2929): Sells the CITEBOOK, which is o collection of positive federal and
stole case low, both criminal ond civil. The CITEBOOK
is updated quarterly and costs $28 ($112 annually).
Although thi s is fairly expensive, perhaps yo ur low
library con subscribe; this company also sells other
books regarding business, consumer and legal issues.
• West Publishing Company, 610 Opperman Drive,
Saint Paul, MN 55123-1340 (800/328-9352): Pub·
lishes "Corrections and Prisoners Rights in o Nutshell"
and "Criminal Procedures in o Nutshell, • at S 17
each.
PARALEGAL PROGRAMS
• Blackstone School of Low, P.O. Box 701449, Dol·
los, TX 75370 (800/826-9228): Offers o well-known
correspondence program.
• Southern Career Institute, 164 West Royal Palm
Rd, Boca Rolon, FL 334 32 (800/669-2555 or
407/368-2522): Offers o complete paralegal course
that costs S 1595 to S 1977; monthly payment pions
ovoiloble. This school is accredited by the D.E.T.C.
• The Porolegol Institute, 3602 West Thomas Road
#9, Drawer 11408, Phoenix, AZ 85061-1408
(602/272-1855): Offers paralegal courses for fees
rang ing between S 1290 and $2750. Monthly pay·
ment plans and an Associate degree program available. Accredited by the D.E.T.C.
MINISTRIES & BIBLE STUDIES
• Emmaus Bible Correspondence School , 2570
Asbury Rd, Dubuque, lA 52001 (319/588-8000):
Offers free Bible courses for prisoners.
• The National Convocation of Jail and Prison Ministry, 1357 East Capital St. SE, Washington , DC
20003: A national agency for prison chaplains.
• Good News Mission, 1036 Highland Street,
Arlington, VA 22204 (703/979-2200): A Christian
organization tha t provides support, witnessi ng and
spiritual counseling to inmates in 110 prisons across
14 states.
• Guideposts, 39 Seminary Hill Road, Carmel, NY
10512 (914/225-3681 ): A Christian organization
thot publishes Guidepost magazine. Also sponsors the
FIND information network, which provides information referrals: FIND Network, P.O. Box 855, Carmel,
NY 10512.
• Hope Aglow Prison Min istries, P.O. Box 3057,
Lynchburg, VA 24503: A nationwide religious organization that offers Bible study courses.
• International Prison Ministry, P.O. Box 63, Dallas,
TX 75221.
• Libe rty Prison Ministries, P.O. Box 8998,
Waukegan, IL 60079: This Christian ministry publishes the Liberator newsletter.
• Liberty Prison Outreach, 701 Thomas Rood, Lynchburg, VA 24514 (804/239-9281 ): Provides religious
assistance to prisoners, mostly in central Virginia;
Bible correspondence courses available.
• Prison Fellowship, P.O. Box 17500, Washington,
DC 20041 (703/478-0100): A nationwide ministry
that sponsors spiritual activities in prison.
• Prison Ministry of Yokefellows International, The
Yokefellow Center, P.O. Box 482, Rising Sun, MD
21911 (4 10/658-2661): o religious organization
that offers information and literature to prisoners.
• Set Free Prison Ministries, P.O. Box 5440, River-

side, CA 92517-996 1 (909/787-9907): Provides an
extensive Bible study course.
• Southern Prison Ministry, 910 Ponce de Leon Ave.
NE, Atlanta , GA 30306.
• U.S. Mennonite Central Committee, Office of Criminal Justice, P.O. Box 500, Akron, PA 17501-0500
(717/859·3889): Offers many publications concerning crime and religion-most are free to prisoners.
ISLAMIC ORGANIZATIONS
• Islam ic Prison Found ation, 12 12 New York
Avenue NW #400, Washington, DC 20005: Mostly
works with Muslims in federal prisons.
• The Notional Incarcerated Muslim Network, c/o
Maurice Taylor, #476837, Route 3, Box 59,
Rosharon, TX 77583: A prison-based organization
that networks with incarcerated Muslims for support
and educational purposes.
JUDAISM ORGANIZATIONS
• Aleph Institute, P.O. Box 546564, Surfside, Fl
33154 (305/864-5553): A full-service Jewish advocacy agency with regional offices.
• International Coalitio n for Jewish Prisoners Services, 1640 Rhode Island Avenue NW, Washington,
DC 20036-3278 (202/857-6582): Offers support,
referrals, guidance, educational and religious programs, and pen pols.
BUDDHIST/ MEDITATION GROUPS
• Human Kindness Foundation, Prison Ashram Pro·
ject, Route 1, Box 20 1-N, Durham, NC 27705: Provides reading material for spiritual living.
• lskcon Prison Ministries, 2936 Esplanade Ave. ,
New Orleans, LA 70119.
• Prison Dharma Network, P.O. Box 9 12, Astor Station, Boston, MA 02 123-0912: Offers Buddhist meditation literature.
DEATH PENALTY RESOURCES
• American Civil Liberties Union, Capital Punishment
Project, 122 Maryland Avenue NE, Washington, DC
20002 (202/ 675-2319): A b ranch of the ACLU that
deals with death penalty issues.
• American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia , PA 19102 (2 15/241-7130):
a Quaker peace organizatio n that works to ban the
death penalty as one of their Criminal Justice p rojects.
• Amnesty International, Project to Abolish the Death
Penalty, 322 8th Ave. , New York, NY 1000 1-4808
(212/807-8400): Works to abolish the death penalty
throug h public letter-writing campaigns.
• Capital Punishment Research Project, P.O. Box
277 , Headland, Al36345 (205/693-5225).
• Catholics Against Capital Punishment, P.O. Box
3125, Arlington, VA 22203 (703/ 522-5014): A religious organization against the death penalty.
• Death Penalty Info rmation Center, 1606 20th
Street NW, Washington, DC 20009 (202 / 3472531 ).
• Death Row Support Project, P.O. Box 600, Liberty
Mills, IN 46946 (219/982- 7480): Offers pen-pal
services to death row inmates.
• Endeavor Project, P.O. Box 23511, Houston, TX
77228-3511: A magazine produced by and for prisoners on death row.
• NAACP Legal Defense Fund, 99 Hudson Street,
16th Floor, New York, NY 10013 (2 12/219-1900):
A legal branch of the NAACP thot supports minority
rights; also has on onti-deoth penalty project.
• National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty,
918 F St. NW #60 I , Washington, DC 20004
1202/ 347 -2411 ): Works to abolish the death penalty. Also p rovides a booklet listing onti-deoth penalty
resources in each state ("The Abolitionist' s Directory,"
$2).

Changes, additions and new
information should be sent to:
Prison Life Magazine
Resources Department
175 5th Avenue, Suite 2205
New York, NY 10010.

PRISON LIFE 85

Thanksgiving Prayer
In other years I hoped,
And waited for the skeleton
To emerge, stripped clean
As others grabbed
Their share, Hoping
That a knife, in ignorance,
Would not cut through
The wishbone I desired .
This year I grabbed
The leg and held it,
Munching teeth to bone,
Counting my losses and
Thinking about my little boy.
Chewing fowl flesh and
Missing my son.
Little man living
Loss you never chose,
This leg's for you.
Drumstick desires.
Savage and simple,
Bind us all today.

Sherrie Apple

When I heard you'd been arrested
I put on the silver ring you made for me years ago,
just after you'd gotten out the first time;
you'd hammered and hammered a quarter
'til at last you'd beaten it into a lovely ring .
Our son has grown handsome and tall
that chubby baby in green-printed pajamas
who you cradled on your hip
while you stood over the stove
wait1ng for his bottle to warm.
Tyrone was the name I secretly gave you
when you were vulnerable and approachable,
when your hair was tapered and soft
and your dark face unlined;
Tyrone in a pale purple shirt.
solemn Tyrone
Tyrone who on that last quiet evening
tongued me until I came.
Two days later you left our apartment for good,
lugging a duffel bag with your belongings
and sucking a pint of Bacardi Dark.
I remember the afternoon you cried for your Uncle Sun,
the uncle who used to take you to play with your
Cherokee cousins in the hills,
the uncle you used to watch the sunset with,
you'd suddenly remembered his sister
shooting him in the head with her shotgun.
You told me about the time your mom and her new
boyfriend
hid you under some coats on the train
and told you not to move
so they wouldn't have to pay another fare.

You told me about the time you were eight
and went out in a blizzard
to get some flour and syrup
so your mother could feed all those kids.
And school. how hard it was for you.
you begged your mother to beat your head,
thinking a head was something you could
literally beat sense into.
There were the deer in the early mornings
that you used to watch
drinking at the river's edge;
there was your old Aunt Mo who'd go
into the henhouse;
you'd hear a flutter and a cackle ,
then she'd come out with three fresh eggs
for your breakfast.
Know that I haven't forgotten
being held in the back room at knifepoint;
the belt you hit our son with when he was five;
all those n1ghts you stayed in Brooklyn;
the syringe I found in your brown tweed coat pocket;
that ride in the back seat of the police car.
looking for you after you'd leapt on my bed
and tried to choke me.
Over and over you 've asked to come back.
No place except a head
is big enough to hold these extremes.
Low benches. blank walls
that morning we met at Family Court,
how confusing it was for both of us
that two people who loved each other
should end up here.

Peggy Garrison

s 2nd Annua
Art Behind Bars Contest
W[Effiffi[bD~[Eg ~®Wo Dt09 D00t0
PRISON LIFE

PRIZES
1st Prize-$250 and two subscriptions to Prison Life
2nd Prize-$150 and two subscriptions to Prison Life
3rd Prize-$50 and two subscriptions to Prison Life
WRITING CATEGORIES
Fiction: short stories or excerpts from longer works, up to 15 pages
Nonfiction: essays or articles, up to 15 pages
Poetry: no more than two poems, up to 5 pages
Drama (1st place only): scenes, excerpts from plays or screenplays, up to 30 pages
VISUAL ARTS CATEGORIES
Paintings, drawings, collage, sculpture-any medium.
Contest Rules: Entries accepted only from incarcerated contestants. YOU MUST BE I JAIL OR IN PRISO 1 TO
ENTER THIS CONTEST. Manuscripts must be typewritten o r legibly handwritten in English. Name, prison ID
numbe r, name and address of institution must be on front page of all e ntries. Contestants may submit o nly one
ent1y in each category. Entries will not be re wrned unless accompanied by a self-add ressed, stamped e nve lope.
Only unpublish ed manuscripts and art will be conside red, with the exceptio n of pieces tha t have appeared in
prison publications. All entries become the property of Prison Life, and the winn ers will be published in Prison Life
magazine. Send e ntries to Art Be hind Bars Contest, Prison Life magazine , 505 8 th Aven ue , 1ew York, Y 10018.

•· l.cr :.1111 1'.Y.15

Kmgs, 17 mg. "tar: 1.2 mg. mcoune
a.. per c1garene by FTC Method

SURGEON GENERAL'S WARNING: Quitting Smoking
Now Greatly Reduces Serious Risks to Your Health.