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

Chicken Nugget

He was a skinny, thin-limbed, Mexican kid. If he weighted in at much more than a buck and a quarter, it would’ve shocked the shit out of me. It was his first time being locked up, and he didn’t know anything. Doug, on the other hand, was a different story altogether. He weighed in at [...]

Paradise in Prison

There is a carefully nurtured and cultivated flowerbed near the gatehouse. As the weather turned warm and the soil was tended with the utmost care, the bulbs began to relinquish their offerings. That which had appeared fallow for so many months finally began to flourish. From brokenness came vibrant life. I hope, pray, and strive for [...]

A Quick Bit of Violence

As the convict strode confidently and with a certain determination towards the lieutenant in the chow hall, I was put in mind of a bible verse from the Book of Hebrews. The verse admonishes the faithful to have confidence and to go boldly before the Lord to find mercy and grace in a time of [...]

Dumpster Dan

Dumpster Dan certainly ranks up there as one of the more unfortunate of nicknames that a guy has been saddled with, but by and large he didn’t seem to mind. Or, if it did bother him, Dan didn’t let it show. It probably didn’t help matters much that the title suited him so perfectly. Origins [...]

The Dirty Q-Tip

As my good fortune had it, I just happened to be standing and looking out the window of my cell when the naked man ran into view. I’d been staring longingly at the beautiful sunny day that I couldn’t venture into, and then suddenly there he was–as bare as his birth day. “Cellie. Cellie!” I [...]

A Better Shame

There was a time when I would gaze wistfully into the abandoned, dust-encrusted library and think of what a shame it was for all of it to go unused. Since then I have had the privilege of becoming the individual whose responsibility it is to corral the cornucopia of paperbacks and hardcovers into some semblance of [...]


I moved into the cell with JB at what could be described as one of the worst possible times. His father had just died the day before. He wasn’t exactly in the best of moods and certainly wasn’t trying to make friends or get to know me at all. To say that he was preoccupied [...]

A Rough Proposition

It felt like I was living on the edge of a razorblade, with the minutest of undesirable maneuvers making it a real possibility that I might be metaphorically sliced from stem to sternum. This metaphorical slicing would manifest in me being beaten viciously about my head and body. I fully understood the unspoken code of [...]

Violent Slumber

The first time it happened I thought I was under attack. I fell out of my bunk gracelessly and tried to roll into a crouching position from which I could more readily defend myself and perhaps expertly engage in hand-to-hand combat if necessary. Instead, all I managed to do was sprawl painfully and awkwardly against [...]

The Adjustment

“You ever been popped before?” The question seemed out of place—the creepy grin on his face even more so. I was apprehensive to say the least, and I’m sure it was evident in my bug-eyed gaze. “I can always do that if you want.” He sounded far too enthusiastic and eager for my liking, but [...]