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 www.prison-slang.com


Bad Sausage

Breakfast arrived around 6:30 and was making its violent, bloody departure within thirty minutes. Commode Mathematics The cell block that I spent a fair amount of time on in county was a small one. Four cells, six guys. Two single cells and two two-man cells each equipped with a sink and toilet. These cells opened [...]

Ravenous Reciprocation

I am by no means condoning this kind of retaliatory behavior, but sometimes when a man is treated like an animal, he behaves like one. Disabled While it’s true that Chicky was wheelchair bound, I’m not entirely sure how disabled he was, or the extent of that disability. His legs didn’t have the optimal level [...]

Mouse Mercy

“I’m not going down that hallway again until you get rid of that mouse.” This was decidedly less cordial than the morning salutations I’d become accustomed to from C/O Lavey over the previous six months. However, it was obvious that he was quite shaken by the appearance of the mouse, and equally obvious that I [...]

Slideshow Bob

It seems like everyone I’ve talked to has heard of Slideshow Bob. I have no idea if his name is actually Bob, but I’d like to think that it is, otherwise the moniker just seems randomly idiotic. Whatever his given name may be, his prison handle is an apt one because by all accounts he [...]

A Bit of Beauty

Prison isn’t exactly known for its aesthetic values. There are no interior decorators or landscape architects. By and large there isn’t much of any shrubbery that needs to be landscaped. Function is given precedence over form, and as such, as long as it works to confine the unfortunate lot of us housed in any given [...]

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 [...]