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 Blind Spot

There is a place on the grounds of the penitentiary which I currently call home where, during specific times of the year and at certain strategic points of the day, I can disappear. Timing is Everything Once the weather has changed and the world is dying all around, it’s too late to take advantage of [...]

Dry Socket

When some of my fellow inmates told me to be careful of developing dry socket, I thought it was some kind of stupid prison myth or joke. It certainly sounded fabricated to me. The first time I had to open wide for the dentist, it was a bit bloodier than I would’ve preferred, but in the [...]

The Long Haircut

An Odd Dynamic While sitting in county jail, fighting one’s case, life is constantly in unsettling turmoil and transition. Surprisingly nothing much happens. That may sound inexplicably contradictory, but it’s about the best way to capture it. For the vast majority of guys, it is a way station before heading to prison, which means there [...]

The Conundrum

Jake was wary as he eased his way hesitantly toward the door from which the voice was coming. There was only darkness from within the cell, which gave the disembodied voice the eerie effect of calling to him from an endless malevolent void. Jake knew from experience that it was ill advised, and potentially dangerous, [...]

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 [...]