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

Nat’s Case

A lot of the time sex offenders tend to stick together as a group. Perhaps they feel like there is strength in numbers, or maybe they’re just more comfortable around like-minded people. Then again it could be more of an “any port in the storm” type of situation because if there’s anyone who won’t outright [...]

El Gordo

My struggle with my weight started right around the time puberty smacked me in the face with its unbiased, callous, greasy palm. Up until then, I was a relatively active kid who could (and would) stuff himself as full as the proverbial thanksgiving turkey but burn all those delicious calories away with my little kid [...]

Moon Dreams

As I walked back from the yard recently, I was all alone; the rest of the group was twenty yards ahead of me. It felt wonderful, that small slice of solitude. The moon was low in the late afternoon sky, three quarters full. It looked huge, almost like I could reach out and touch it. [...]

Confined Ride with Scary Dude

When the officer informed me that I’d be riding in a bubble van, he sounded apologetic. Having never seen one before, my imagination was conjuring concepts akin to the vehicles used on the old cartoon “The Jetsons” only perhaps with less flight capabilities. What was there to apologize for? I wondered. I soon found out. [...]


Ingrown toenails are the bane of my existence. It’s a chronic, genetic (thanks, Dad) condition that I’ve dealt with for years. This means that about every six months or so my nails have to be removed. In the world, I had the procedure done several times with all the medical niceties of local anesthetic, latex [...]


When I first met Dewey, he’d only been down a few months and was mostly shy, withdrawn, and practically still fresh off the bus as far as his understanding of how prison really worked. I took him under my wing and tried to teach him the ropes while being a positive influence for him. In [...]

Robbie the Cell Rat

When a guy in prison chooses to grow a rather large beard, he is generally perceived to be at least a bit of a bug. This embracing of one’s hirsuteness is usually interpreted as a descent into depression and a loss of one’s will to maintain his appearance. While these are stereotypes, and largely unfair, [...]

My Morning Quiet

I wouldn’t exactly say that I’m a superhero, or that I have some type of special powers—I’m too modest for all that. However, others have described me as being as quiet as air. One cellie commented, rather eloquently, that I’m “silent as the moon as it moves across the night sky.” Another cellie, who was [...]

Quality Healthcare

Please be aware of the graphic nature of this narrative. It is necessary, however, to tell this story with vivid honesty in order to convey the very real, frightening, helpless, and inhumane situation faced by Billie Iris. I thank the good Lord above from the depths of my heart that I’ve never had to deal [...]

Red Panic

It began with a tingling sensation and an itch that refused to be denied or ignored. In transit between prisons, I sat with my hands cuffed together and chained to another man. The unforgiving plastic seat pressed against my ass and made any attempt at getting comfortable an exercise in futility. This wasn’t my first [...]