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

The Efficiency of Bureaucracy

I was a laundry porter at the time and had just completed the thankless task of laundering, drying, and folding the clothes of thirty men before ferrying the fresh laundry bags back to each individual cell. Prison inmates aren’t particularly known as paragons of personal hygiene and general cleanliness. Most guys’ clothes are so filthy [...]

True to his Word

Sometimes when a fuming, irate inmate is threatening to beat someone’s ass, he’s not just blowing off steam or spouting machismo. Sometimes, if provided with the slimmest sliver of opportunity, he will carry out each and every threat he utters. Early Yard Eight o’clock in the morning is too early for a lot of guys [...]

Viking Spoon

Jerome was a bit of an odd fella. That isn’t a judgment against him, but rather an objective statement of fact. Professional Con Jerome had a wide face and even wider smile. Not fat, just wide, and his smile was constantly on display. He seemed to be in his element and right at home in [...]

The Biggest Loser

I considered myself fairly athletic, perhaps not superbly fit, but also not pathetically or grievously out of shape. I used to play tennis a little in the world, and growing up playing football and baseball had ensured me that I had eye-hand coordination that was better than most. Playing handball then, I assumed, would come [...]

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 [...]