What did you go to prison for?
Well, I was just in federal prison for importing chemicals from China. I had a website and was importing a particular chemical, MDMC. The chemical actually because Schedule I ten days AFTER I was indicted, I was indicted in 2011 with violating the “controlled substances analogues enforcement act of 1986”, which actually charged me with importing MDMA.
Why exactly were you importing MDMC for ? Is it similar to MDMA?
DMC is very similar to MDMA. It is the same molecule, but an oxygen atom added
How long were you in prison for?
I was sentenced to 92 months, which was dropped to 77 months thanks to “All Drugs Minus Two” legislation that was passed. Then I was immediate released less than a week ago pursuant to a motion the government filed on my behalf.
What prison did you go to?
The security level prisons I were in were FCI (Medium) and USP (High). I was in the following prisons:
FCI Otisville (NY) FCI Fairton (NJ) USP McCreary (KY) FCI Jesup (GA) FCI Estill (SC)
I also was in the transfer center in Tallahassee, FL, as well as the new prison for the Virgin Islands, also located in FL. I went through another transfer center in Atlanta, GA; as well as in Brooklyn, NY (MDC), and the FTC (Federal Transfer Center) in Oklahoma.
The worst prison I was at was obviously the USP in Kentucky called McCreary. Lots of gangs and violence there, drugs, alcohol, etc.; but the rest of the federal prisons were very similar.
Why were you moved so much?
I got in trouble for fighting in NY, then threatening staff in NJ, then my security went down in the USP after my points dropped, the only place I never got in trouble technically, then I got in trouble with all the guys in my unit when there was a bunch of spice in GA, I wasn’t selling it or anything but they thought I was high on it (I wasn’t) and when I passed two blood tests and three urine tests they looked bad and just shipped me to SC, my final destination before I was immediate release.
Is prison anything like on TV/movies where you gotta show your “worth” as soon as you arrive so the other inmates wont treat you like garbage?
First: in USP you have to show your paperwork, to prove you aren’t a child molester or a snitch or a check in or a gang drop out. So, in a way, yeah, but people take you on your word in prison. Word is bond and that is all you got, so if you go around sputtering nonsense and not living up to what you say, then you wont last long.
What’s a ‘check in’?
Somebody who goes to the SHU (Secure Housing Unit / Special Housing Unit) that is essentially the hole, either because they don’t want to pay a debt or are scared of somebody, or something like that. It is a bad reputation to have to do that, because federal prisoners do have email and communicate between prisoners, so whatever you do one place, always catches up with you eventually
You could email directly between prisoners? Or did you have to go through a third person on the outside?
You can go through third person, but you might get in trouble. You can get approval for email between prisoners directly, but I don’t know many people that have done it, it is a tricky process. Usually there is just a relay on the streets bouncing messages back and forth, a few companies do it too, for inmates, and run their facebook pages and stuff like that.
Is prison rape as common or as big of an issue as people are led to believe?
Nah, but there is a lot of homosexual stuff always going on. It isn’t like the 80s and 90s with the raped, but there are a lot of “sissys” and “punks” as they call them. You’re much more likely to be propositioned for somebody to pay you to suck your dick than the other way around, don’t ask me why, it seems like everybody in prison is a bottom, lol. I’m heterosexual for the most part, so I didn’t mess with any of that, but it is not what it is portrayed like on tv or movies. There is also a big transgender fad in the prisons now and they let them buy bras and panties and perfume and stuff.
Is it possible to survive in prison just being neutral and minding your own business. Or are you forced to be part of a group?
Well, in an FCI, yes, in a USP, no, even as a white if you are not a gang member, you ride “independent” with whatever state you are from. With Spanish people, like Mexicans in particular, they have a non-gang gang as well, Pisa.
And what do you need to do to be part of a gang? And what type of thing should you consider for joining a group?
You don’t need anything, most gangs do something called probate or prospect, where potential members are put under strict review and scrutiny, and then usually they have some kind of initiation ceremony. Most of the white gangs, you’ll have to beat or stab somebody for them to gain membership. For some gangs though, like the GDs (Gangster Disciples), they don’t jump people in, they bless them in with gifts and other things and really, that was one of the better gangs I seen as far as, they protect their members at all costs and try to cut down on bullshit. When they opened a new federal USP down in Yazoo, Mississippi they took the main GDs from the compound I was at and used them to “open” the prison, just to give you an idea, they are even recognized for their behavior by the prison system. The worst gangs though, by far, are the aryan and white gangs.
Would you mind expanding on why the aryan and white gangs are the worst?
Meh, they cause a lot of violence and usually seemed to be the ones getting all the drugs in. They really take advantage of the guys trying to join their gangs (the ones I seen, anyways). So I mean, when I say they are the worst, I mean as far as fighting, stabbing and stuff like that, if we get locked down everybody would go “God damn white boys at it again”, I mean, that is 90% of the time a good guess for why we were getting locked down.
So what group were you in?
I usually was just with general white people groups, actually in the USP, I rode with the Tennessee guys, because all the Florida guys there before I got there had just been beat up and kicked off the compound, and it isn’t a good idea to ride solo. Most other prisons I hang out with the geeks and nerds. We get some vicious Path Finder / Dungeons and Dragons games going. 3.5 for the win, 4.0 is some shit!
Holy shit you played DnD in prison? What in the fuck was your character and the characters of your mates?
Oh, I usually played Pathfinder, and even in DND, I liked to play a tank type character, so I’m usually a fighter. Except for in 4.0, you can totally cheese it with a ranger and twin strike and all that jazz and it makes the DM really mad because you can just sit back and nuke stuff with very little effort. I played some awesome campaigns, we had some massive games with almost a dozen players.
Did you ever get into any fights or anyone ever try to attack you?
Yeah, well in the county jail you can fight all the time it is no big deal and I had to be there going to prison. Then in NY I fought my celly almost immediately because he dropped a kite/note on me and then tried to get me out of the cell and when they wouldn’t move me, tried to put his shoes on (which indicates somebody wants to fight), so I fought him. The only other fight I really had was in the USP with one of my best friends, lol. for the most part, people left me alone, I’m like 6’3″ and 220, at one point in prison I was like 250lbs and I’m very energetic guy and grew up a rough life and used to fight a lot. I only do it as a last resort. There really is no “winning” a fight in federal prison, you can get in a lot of trouble and it jacks your points for your security level way up.
That is like, sent to staff or correctional officers a type of letter, usually detailing some kind of unsavory or questionably legal activity; in this case, the guy accused me of abusing my self carry medication and, I shit you not, drinking too much coffee and sleeping all day. Which, you can’t exactly do both. So staff confiscated my self carry medication (Vitamin D3 and a thyroid pill, levothyroxine), which are not even two things you can abuse in any capacity.
How did you learn the culture in prison and how it worked in there socially? Did you already know some stuff before entering, or you had to learn completely from scratch?
Eh, I learned as I went for the most part. Socially it is a very different atmosphere, but just imagine the high school you went to, the locker room with all the jocks, except for they are all drug addicts and/or murders and there are no teachers around, and that is like the social situation for the most part. A lot of pranks and stuff and I talked to some military guys and you’d be surprised the parallels between the military and prison, socially.
What, if you had one, was your scariest moment in prison?
Hmm, just about every day, you never know when people might jump on you, I would say I seen two gangs riot against each other in the main chow hall around December of last year though, two aryan gangs, ARM and AC, and it was literally a massive melee and the police couldn’t even control it, they were screaming they needed more people and everything and started pepper spraying the entire chow hall and we were all trapped in there. Seen some people beat really bad. Besides that, another time I walked by a tv room type area and heard somebody getting killed in there and the sounds gave me chills for a long time, I didn’t actually see it first hand because I minded my business and kept going, but it was one of those things, hearing someone choking to death isn’t pleasant.
So how many times did people jump on you?
Never, thank God. I kept a pretty good debt going at all times though and always paid my bills and conducted myself respectfully and really was just known as the guy you could go to for unprofessional legal advice and to get stuff typed up.
What do you mean by kept a good debt going and paid your bills on time?
I always looked at having a debt as like an insurance policy, lol and as long as people know I pay it somebody might hear somebody would do something to me, in theory and be like “ah you can’t do that, that nigga owe me $100”
Are there any prisoners that get special treatment, I’m thinking along the lines of goodfellas where they are eating sausages and drinking wine?
Some of the black hand guys, and the old Italian mob guys, a guy Bobby Manna he tried to blow up john Gotti’s car but blew up the wrong car, they are all geriatric, but they get good treatment. Besides that, any ex military guys usually get respect and perks from the guards.
What is black hand?
It is a Mexican Mafia type of thing, they tattoo a black hand on their chest. Look up “Boxer” Enriquez, I think I spelled it right, he wrote a book and was a notorious black hand.
How hard was it to get drugs? And what were the typical rates?
The main drugs in prison, illegal ones, are heroin, suboxone, “toonchie” (they spray synthetic canabinoids on paper and cards), spice, and then weed of course.
The rates vary depending on the prison, but a small little quarter inch by quarter inch square of toonchie is about $8 and you can get high twice.
Suboxone strips go from $40-$300, depending on where and how much you buy at once. Generally a 1/16 or a 1/8 goes for $8 and guys snort it with water into their nose.
Weed is like $4-$8 for a very small pinner joint.
I never really knew the prices on the other stuff like heroin or meth and stuff when that would come around. When I was in Jesup, GA, there was a ton of cell phones and they had spice there almost as cheap as on the streets.
How do drinking and drug use happen, like what do you do when you’re drunk or high?
Uh, I mentioned above the “hands off” policy and “hands laid, debts paid”, besides that, you get drunk or high just like anywhere else, people smoke a lot of those synthetic canabinoids on paper, out of cans and pipes and stuff. Guys use a battery and strip off part near the negative terminal, then cut a small strip of foil from a candy bar wrapper usually or Goya seasoning, then connect it to itself on the negative and it flames up, which you use to light up a small piece of rolled toilet paper (a wick), then you can make a candle with vaseline and a cut up soda can… There is a way to “pop a socket” too, with two pieces of pencil lead stuck in each side and another piece of led dangled on a piece of toilet paper between them causes an arc to shoot sparks you can light an additional piece of toilet paper with.
I know you didn’t ask how. The what people do is usually just listen to their mp3, watch tv, or sit in their cells and hang out. Some like to get high and go to the rec yard, etc. especially when they are drunk, but you run the risk of being breathalyzed by officers.
For the most part, people tend to stick with drugs that either don’t show up on tests or are hard to test for, like suboxone and the synthetic canabinoids.
How were the guards like? Professional, self righteous assholes or friendly?
The guards were much better than you’d imagine, you got a few bad apples, the higher security places, they leave you alone and treat you with a lot of respect. For the most part, all the prison staff know the places are fucked up and just do their best to try and make sure everybody survives from one day to the next.
What was the food like?
The feds feed you good except in a usp, you don’t get a dinner meal they bring a styrofoam tray to the unit, baloney sandwich every other day. Most the FCI are good though, you got a hot bar and a cold bar most the time and can eat as much as you want. They call it FED for a reason. You also get canteen and can buy all kinds of crazy stuff and got microwaves in most the units where you live.
Assuming most people don’t go their entire sentence without a wank, how and when did you do that?
You get cell time to your self, you’re usually in a two man cell. Some people do it in the shower, they call it the abortion clinic, which btw, the showers are not like on tv, you get in there by your self and it is a one person shower, they got a ton of them and a gate closes in front of it and then you got privacy in there. Some guys “gun” or “snipe” and jerk off while talking to female officers and staff, which can get you into a lot of trouble and I’m not an animal like that, lol. There is some old porn magazines and stuff in there too and people trade pictures of girls, like pg13 stuff, they call it “fiend” or “flicks” and a picture of a hot chick a photo can go for like $1
What did you miss the most while you were in prison? Also, did you gain any new hobbies to pass time?
Yeah I learned to bead lol but mostly I just typed for other inmates, legal work, grievances, and books that they’d write down. The typewriters are very shitty though, you can get paid about $1 per page to type.
I missed the internet the most, of course.
What is the process for getting out? Do they assist you with housing, job, etc? If you don’t have money/friends/family..what do you do the first day you are out?
Shit, they gave me my money on a chase card and paid for me to take a Grey hound back to my city and i’m on my own from there, they try and help you locate a career and stuff through the probation officer, but that is about it. You get housing and stuff if you molest children, which I personally think is fucked up. The first day I was out I rode a grey hound bus that broke down on the side of the road so they ordered us all pizza, lol
Did your time in prison work? Did it reform you and make you regret what you did?
I guess, I mean, I’m a lot different person now, but people change over the years anyway. It makes me not live a life of crime, though. I’ll tell you that, but only in fear of the oppressive consequences, rather than out of respect for the law.
Would you say the American prison system helps at all at reeducating criminals or it’s just a place where you send people to be punished and they usually come out worse than they entered?
The American prison system is garbage and it does not help you at all, most people leave much worse. There are not really any good programs for people trying to better themselves and they do try to make guys get a GED and stuff, but even guys fuck that off and there are loopholes around it.
What do you think is the biggest thing that needs to be changed about the prison system?
Hmm, that is a tough question. I think the prison system, as it stands, for shorter duration, would not be so catastrophic. I hope criminal justice reform really takes off after the election and that sentencing changes. That is really the corrupt and messed up part. There is just a million ways they can look at your case or your history and lock you up for 10, 20+ years and there isn’t much you can do about it besides do the time. Federal prison is 85% with no parole. They are talking about adding more programs and helping people earn more good time credits and stuff to get out earlier, and that is really what they need to do. They have the capability and the scaffolding for proper classes and training and ACE (Adult Continuing Education), but from what I’ve seen, they don’t utilize it properly and the prison budgets just seem to go to random things. The prisoners actually pay for more than you’d suspect, because all their money goes into a type of Trust Fund, so when they over pay for things (everything), that money is supposed to go back into their facilities, and it rarely seems to make it there.
So, yeah, the prison system, as messed up as it is, would be better if guys were not sitting in there so long. The prosecution and the way conspiracy laws work are atrocious. Essentially, if two people (even criminals looking for a time cut) say that you did something, you’re guilty. In my case, it was just one other person who said I was doing something, and that was all the evidence they needed for a grand jury to indict me. That is what really needs to be changed.
What advice would you have for a shy, skinny dude who’s never been in a fight, who’s about to go to prison?
Hmm, I’d recommend stay to your self, stay in a book and stay occupied. Trouble doesn’t always go looking for people, usually people go looking for it. I seen plenty of small white guys with no criminal backgrounds and no types of ability to fight live perfectly happy lives in prison.