In looking at how prison was portrayed in movies and TV shows, William D. Hastings saw that, for the most part, writers employed broad strokes and generalizations. Having accumulated over a decade (and counting) of hands-on experience, he has expert knowledge about what it’s really like to live behind prison walls. This blog endeavors to use his expert experience and extensive knowledge of prison life to give a better understanding of prison as hilarious or absurd, and intermittently beautiful. Hastings hopes this blog can capture the microcosm of life behind prison walls, as it is indeed a unique world unto itself. Some of the unique prison slang utilized by William D. Hastings can be seen at

Shear Madness

For some reason Reyes simply didn’t believe me. I suppose he thought I was just joking, maybe being overly dramatic. Right up until the moment the clippers caressed my scalp, he figured I wasn’t completely serious. I was. Hirsute For a time, I had just let it all hang out. My hair, I mean. Bushy [...]

Animal Tendencies

I have spent time in a foreign country that in some areas literally had third world conditions when it came to the toilet facilities. Those far off “lavatories” often consisted of little more than a hole in the ground. For the more sophisticated and fanciful ones a slab of concrete had been poured and then [...]

Dewey’s Devolution

When Dewey told me he was “gonna beat Curt’s ass,” I took it to be little more than bravado and blowing off steam. I empathized—understood completely his ire and outrage—so I let him vent. Never did I think that the meek and mild kid who had been my cellie over a year before would resort [...]

Everything in its Right Place Revisited

I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessively fastidious or overly neat, but I’ve noticed a trend amongst guys who have been incarcerated for many years—myself included. This trend is often jokingly described by other inmates as the individual in question being, or having, OCD. However, since Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a legitimate mental health issue which [...]

Oscar Runs

My guts twisted and gurgled like an angry Vesuvius rumbling its warning signs. I was in the middle of preparing a meal, a feast of idiotically epic proportions, in fact, so all I could do was try to ignore the pain and concentrate on the task before me. I would regret this decision. Oscars Buddy [...]

Strange Compulsions

I was housed with Eddie for five months, and in all that time I only recall us agreeing on one thing. We both enjoyed western films, but even that wasn’t our common ground as I like Clint Eastwood, while he prefers John Wayne. What we did agree on was that “3:10 to Yuma” with Russell [...]

Nothing to Lose

“C’mon! Come get me! You want me outta here? You gotta come get me. You buncha bitches! COME AND GET ME!!” Lally looked feral as he snarled threats interspersed with a dozen colorful and creative obscenities. Background Lally had just served ten years in prison, most of it behind the wall, and that hadn’t been [...]

The Flip-Flopper

When it comes to my track record with cellies, I’ve had some weird ones—no question. Since opinion is all about the perception of the beholder, I freely admit that in all likelihood I’ve been considered the weird one by some cellies. Of course, they were absolutely wrong. I’m perfectly well-adjusted. I don’t believe the same [...]

Mansion on the Hill

There was a time when I was housed in a cell that was situated just perfectly to see over the cell houses and other assorted buildings, past the parking lot that was perpetually packed with cars, and beyond that to a vast field of green. The expanse ended in a distant line of trees that [...]

Coco and the Hamster

For all his woofing, I honestly don’t think The Hamster actually expected Coco to answer his challenge. His surprise slipped through the façade of bravado just barely before the chink in the armor was cinched closed, but I spied it all the same. There was a touch of fear that accompanied his surprise, and as [...]