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

A Chemical Imbalance

Editor’s note: I feel that perhaps a fair warning is in order. Some of what follows is a bit disturbing. Blood and feces mixed in a sticky mess across the floor and against the thinly padded walls. The pungent aroma was beyond awful, and I couldn’t imagine bleach or disinfectant ever dispatching it entirely. I [...]

Raw Diet

Viscous, greasy fat lay like mucus atop the surface of the wet pack of chili. The larger portion of the contents was a deep red punctuated by dark brown beans and lighter brown bits of beef that tasted nothing like beef but still infinitely better than soy. Then there were the lighter shades of red, [...]

A Shame

The room sat, abandoned. Its disuse was tragic, practically criminal. As I peered across the divide that separated me from it, I could see the varying gradations of dust that had piled up. There was evidence that someone had run his fingers across a table, but that interloper hadn’t been very recent, as even his [...]

On the Rack

In the wake of the orange crush shakedown, I was left without a mat to sleep on. The mat in question had been confiscated presumably because it was deemed too thick. I had also wrapped several extra blankets around it, which made it entirely unauthorized, but completely plush and comfortable (compared to other prison beds, [...]

Orange Crush Shakedown

One minute the deck was empty, and in the next instant orange crush was everywhere. Moving unhindered from cell to cell and rousting inmates from slumber, pulling them from their rack and cuffing them immediately before shoving them out of the cell where they would be corralled by another Tac Team member while the first [...]

Defeated by a Doorknob

It was no secret that the door to the laundry room was a tricky thing that took a bit of skill and craftiness to coax open. Many a morning stillness and quietude had been destroyed by an inexperienced C/O kicking, banging, and pounding on it when all it took was a little finesse. That’s where [...]

The Unrepentant Pervert

Johnny had emptied a tube of chap stick and filled it instead with petroleum jelly. He carried it in his pocket so that he would always have it whenever the opportunity and/or mood caught him. He used the contents of the tube as lubrication when he masturbated. Why do I know this? Because he told [...]

Going Vegan

I stared at the mound of soy, a protein-rich meat substitute that on its own is really quite foul-tasting, and wondered what kind of magic I could work to turn it into something less disgusting and hopefully more edible. It had both the appearance and odor of wet dog food, so I knew that I [...]

Earthquake Recollections

Eddie enjoyed acting like an annoying jerk just for the sake of bothering people around him. It was his form of readymade entertainment, and he had a natural-born gift for it. So when the bed started vibrating sometime around five in the morning, shortly after the emptied breakfast trays had been collected through the chuckhole, [...]

Prison Facial

My face was searing like it had been set aflame, and the grit grinding into my pores felt like crumbs of crushed glass were being forced into my flesh. I didn’t think the process was very therapeutic, and couldn’t figure why people in the world paid big bucks for the procedure. Then my prison facial [...]