17th Feb 05

Pecker Pucker

Strip searches sometimes cause an inmate’s penis to dwindle in size. This withered willy condition is jokingly referred to as "shrinkage" by the inmates. Xena, my lanky shemale friend, talked about shrinkage after we were both recently strip-searched.
“ It was so cold in there, I had shrinkage. And what sucks is that I was thinkin’ of all kinds of sex acts goin’ into the strip-search room hopin’ that my penis would be bigger when I showed it to them. But they kept us waitin’ for so long in that cold-ass room that it had shrunk back down to nothin’ by the time that I had dropped my pants.”

There are at least two factors that seem to cause teeny-weener: the room temperature and strip-search-anticipation anxiety. Over the Christmas holidays, due to the visits with my parents and my kitchen job, I was getting strip-searched three times a day. I noticed that my organ was its regular size during the brisk going-into-the-visitation-room one-on-one strip-search, whereas, later on, it suffered diminution during the coming-out-of-the-visitation-room strip-search, which involved a long wait, a cold room, and a naked can-can performance in front of four guards alongside three other inmates.

Much later on, after seven hours of sweaty kitchen work, I was subjected to another brisk search conducted by one guard in a warm restroom, and my organ made his manliest appearance of the day. Outspoken inmates jest about succumbing to willy-shrivel, especially during the cold winter months when shrinkage is most common. Male readers: imagine standing starkers with your hands in the air while a guard or two gazes at your mouth, armpits, and reproductives. How would your organ react under such pressure?
14th Feb 05

Question Time

Liz asked about the practicality of implementing the Japanese community justice approach in the United States. (see blog 15th Oct 04)

I believe that reintegrative shaming, which has been successful in Japan, could be used in America. Statistics indicate that there are less than 100,000 prisoners in Japan versus over 1 million in the US (figures released by the US Dept of Justice 31/12/03, 1,470,045 total prison population) so taking a small fraction of the US prison population out and into community guidance programs would benefit the economy and reduce the taxpayers' burden. Those prisoners could be making a positive contribution to society.

America will continue to suffer rising crime and prison overcrowding until the politicians and legislators decide to address the root causes of crime.(see blog ‘Crime & Punishment) Unfortunately the profiteers continue to successfully lobby for the status quo, and as a result, a justice system designed to protect and benefit the public has been converted into a profit- making scheme.
Lost in Post – Penguin’s Scars

The following blog has just arrived although Jon sent it in October. It refers to Penguin (See blog 25/09) who was Jon’s cellmate at Florence. .

Penguin has been miserable ever since his birthday. He’s written to his mum several times, but he hasn’t received a reply. Every night, with hope in his eyes, Penguin looks at the mail officer.
“Is that all the mail there is?” he constantly asks.
“What I’ve handed out is all I’ve got. I tell you this every night!”
Penguin is hoping for a belated birthday card from his mum.

The guards and inmates have been teasing Penguin about the pentagram tattoo on his forehead. Penguin got the pentagram at the behest of a tattoo artist in Sunnyslope.
Penguin asked the tattoo artist to place the pentagram on his chest. The price agreed upon was $120. The man offered to do the tattoo for free if he could put it on any part of Penguins body. Penguin agreed and the forehead was designated. Penguin insists he is not a Satanist and that the tattoo is his family’s ancestral symbol. He claims that he is a Nazarene descended from the Hebrew line of the Israelites. The inmates laugh at this.

When Penguin was topless I noticed a large, thick scar stretching from his upper abdomen down to his public mound. I also noticed another scar that goes around the side of his belly. I asked Penguin how he had come to get such scars on his torso. Another tragic tale emerged.

In 1990, when Penguin was eighteen, he was roaming around Sunnyslope with his friend Jimmy, who was in possession of a 16-inch knife that belonged to Penguin. A car went by slowly, and Penguin, thinking that he recognised the occupants, waved at them and urged them to stop. Penguin approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and realised that he had made a mistake. Penguin promptly apologised but the driver punched him in the face. Penguin retreated but one of the passengers in the vehicle jumped out and accosted Jimmy, who pulled out the blade. The passenger pulled a handgun. Jimmy dropped the knife and bolted. Penguin was running away at a slower pace when the passenger tackled him and stabbed him in the stomach. Before fleeing, the passenger started to slice the knife through Penguin’s flesh in what almost resulted in a disembowelment.

It took Penguin a few minutes before he realised he had been stabbed. He was looking for Jimmy when he noticed blood soaking his clothing. It took Penguin 30 minutes to walk half a block to reach a pay phone. He was losing consciousness when the paramedics arrived.
The doctor, fearing that Penguin’s internal organs had been damaged, decided to cut Penguin open to examine his entrails. They cut a large incision down his torso and during a
twelve-and-a-half-hour operation the doctors examined Penguin’s intestine inch by inch. They informed his family that 90% of the victims of such stab wounds die.

The damage to Penguin’s internal organs was not life threatening, but Penguin entered a coma and remained in it for two-and-a-half weeks. Penguin claimed that he saw a bright light when he was comatose and that he heard God’s voice saying:Do not fear my precious child, for I am with you.” Penguin survived but ever since the incident he has suffered from irritable bowel syndrome and acid reflux disease.

Penguin wrote a poem this week:

Misery Is Living (by Penguin)

Misery is living for me right now,
And God won’t let me go.
I am trapped in my loneliness and pain.
To woe my soul and to know,
Is all I have to look forward to?
And still I cry for death’s cold grip
To end my pain of endless loneliness,
And lonely nights of my weeping soul

19th October 04
6 Feb 05

Anal Virginity Threats: Glory Hole
(Threat level: moderate) Warning: Sexually Explicit

This week George came on strong. Picture him - stout, soft-spoken, silver-haired, and in his late forties. Out of nowhere, in a voice reminiscent of Monty Python member impersonating a woman, George said, "Jon's too shy to get oral sex. Jon's too inhibited to get his willy played with by another man. Oh, no! What if the Queen of England were to find out that a man had been fiddling with Jon's Prince William."
"Inhibited? Shy? I'm too heterosexual, is what you mean?"
George's voice returned to normal, "You're too homophobic."
"Nonsense, I have loads of gay friends."
"Then you're confused. There's nobody that's one-hundred-percent heterosexual or homosexual. There's only varying degrees of the whole range of sexuality."
"Oh yes, how do you know that?"
"Humans are curious about sex."
"All of them, about all kinds of sex?"
"Everyone of 'em. If you took away people's inhibitions there'd be a lot of bisexuals."
"How can you be so sure?"
"Look at the Sixties, free love. One minute you're going down on a vagina and the next minute there's a penis in your face and you're just going to town on it."
"If you're going down on a vagina how can you be performing fellatio at the same time?"
"Because its an orgy. You're just rollin' around from person to person without a care in the world."
"Maybe at your house!"
"Why do you think that voyeurism is so popular?"
"You tell me."
"Because the people being watched are uninhibited."
"You just want more bisexuals to feast upon!"
"I want people to be less inhibited."
"So they'll have sex with you?"
"Surely you've been near a penis at some point of your life?"
"Not even peeing contests or circle jerks?" (Communal adolescent masturbation sessions.)
"I helped put a fire out one night by peeing on it."
"See, you have had a penis near you!"
"Putting a fire out is not a sexual act."
"Peeing on fires jointly is, okay, Jon. It's male bonding, camaraderie."
"But it wasn't sexual!"
"So you've never cruised for love?"
"Don't you think that if it didn't have social stigma you would do anything that feels good?'
"Such as letting you suck my dick? Is that where this is heading?"
"I say if it feels good, let it happen."
"Ha, ha! You are a fiend."
"Let me ask you this then: if you stick your dick into a glory hole [a hole through which fellatio is performed anonymously] and you didn't know if it was a man or a woman sucking on it, what difference would receiving the pleasure make?"
"I've never used a glory hole."
"You wouldn't know then, but in my opinion, a man would do a better job."
"No, I wouldn't know."
"But you agree that they'd both feel good right?"
"That's a tie down. You're asking me a question to solicit a yes answer?"
"You know that they would both feel good," he said, smiling slyly.
"No I don't."
"You need to toss out of the window your preconceived notions of right and wrong. Lose your inhibitions."
"It seems you've beaten me with semantics. I'll grant you that."
"Yah! I won. Now you have to drop your knickers and close your eyes."
"Not likely!"
"Think about my question again then: if you put your penis in a glory hole and you didn't know if it was a male or a female giving you satisfaction, wouldn't it be equally pleasurable?"
Refusing to answer his question directly, I replied, "I'll write about this conversation and see what my blog readers think. Then I'll find out if you're a madman or not. Perhaps there are people out there acquainted with glory holes, or maybe not."
"I'll leave it at that for now then, shall I?" he asked, looking me up and down.
"Most definitely!"
"Okay. Goodbye," he said and left.
"Ta ta," I shouted after him.

I would appreciate your comments on handling George. Does his argument make sense or not?

Email comments to writeinside@hotmail.com
27 Jan 05

Psychotherapy and Music

I have been scheduled to see the prison psychotherapist, Dr. B. I have also obtained a textbook, Theory and Practice of Counselling and Psychotherapy, which I hope will give me a better understanding of psychotherapy. Thus far, I have found the chapter on Cognitive Behaviour Therapy the most helpful, especially an approach called REBT (Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy).

The gist of REBT is that our negative interpretations of events, and not actual events themselves, cause us problems. The remedy is to break the pattern of negative thoughts, replacing them with positive ones. In short, changing our reactions to situations.

REBT seems to be a modern adaptation of certain schools of ancient philosophy. I practice Sidda Yoga meditation, which helps me let go of negative thoughts. The Stoics also had advice in this area. Epictetus taught, “People are disturbed not by things, but by the views which they take of them."

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is a holistic approach, which includes relaxation, humour, conversation and techniques such as yoga, meditation and listening to music.

Regarding music, I have been unable to listen to electronica since my arrest. At the Towers Jail in 2002, I listened to some radio broadcasts from a nightclub in Tempe, but I became sad. Too many memories were released all at once. I remembered the fun I had with my friends.

In order to relax I have begun to listen to music again. Most of the radio stations in Arizona are abysmal. They push the same play lists. But I did discover an excellent classical music radio station, NPR (National Public Radio). I tuned into NPR and listened to Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. Lying down on my bunk, I closed my eyes, and Beethoven’s concerto managed to make the hair on my arms rise.

As I was listening to Beethoven, Greg, an Aryan Brotherhood member, came to my door, and seeing my headphones and a smile on my face, asked if I was feeling alright. I assured him that I was and I explained that I was listening to Beethoven. He left with a grin on his face, returned a few minutes later, and flung two cassette tapes at me.

“I’ve got a fuckin’ anger problem, so my doctor tells me that when I feel like hitting someone, I’ve gotta listen to these.”

I am now enjoying Greg’s tapes: Mozart for Meditation and Bach’s Greatest Hits Volume 2. I especially like Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat. I hope that Greg doesn’t smash someone while his tapes are absent.

I am going to ask my parents to coordinate the delivery of some tapes. Enya or Enigma would be good. Perhaps I am ready to listen to some Sasha or Paul Van Dyk

John at http://www.tofuhut.blogspot.com/ asked if there was any music that I liked that I considered underrepresented. Two of my DJ friends, Keoki and Sandra Collins were massive in the States before my arrest, but I am not sure about their popularity in Europe. They are both talented and perhaps they have made it big in Europe by now.
Inmate Resources

‘The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of a subject, is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion, and studying all modes in which it can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this.’
John Stuart Mill, ‘On Liberty’

Inmates need stuff to read. The following organisations may be of use.

P.O. BOX 29670,
LOS ANGELES, CA 90029-0670


MIM provides free books and newsletters to US prisoners nationwide. They publish a monthly theoretical journal espousing the theories of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Mao. They welcome written contributions from inmates.

2940 16th STREET ste. 216


Fault Lines is a newspaper reporting alternative global news that is suppressed by the mainstream propaganda machine. They rely on donations, and welcome written work from prisoners.

36 SOUTH WABASH, Room 1440
Chicago, IL 60603

News and Letters is a newspaper also reporting alternative global news. They try to present all voices struggling for freedom including prisoners'.

EDWARD R. HAMILTON (bookseller)


This bookstore has the cheapest prices I have ever seen. They offer a wide range of books. Their book catalogue is a must for prisoners who like to read. They make http://www.overstock.com/ seem expensive in comparison.

674-a 23rd STREET

They offer a 40% inmate discount and provide books that you will not find in your average bookstore, including some shocking titles in the sex section.
26 Jan 05

Long Island’s Disciplinary Tickets

Inmates who receive disciplinary tickets lose privileges (known as LOP), have their scores raised, and ultimately may be moved to a higher-security prison. My new cellmate, Long Island, worked his way up from medium security in 2003 to supermaximum security in 2004 by earning lots of tickets. He has only been back in medium security for two weeks and he has already earned three tickets. If he receives one more major ticket he will be sent to a higher-custody yard. The law of averages is not in his favour.

Long Island’s most recent ticket occurred after the officer whose duty it is to monitor our outgoing mail discovered that he was "piggy-backing" a letter to an inmate at SMU1. Long Island was charged with "BO8: Disobeying a verbal or written order, including Departmental and Institutional rules, policies, procedures, memoranda or other directives." The officer found a reference to me in Long Island’s letter, “I’ve found Jon” and was concerned that Long Island was a "sleeper" - someone contracted to kill me. The officer quizzed Long Island and mentioned that he reads my blog.

I asked Long Island to show me some of his other tickets (Inmate Disciplinary Reports) and he obliged. On 21st September, 2003, Long Island decided to stand on some rocks in an area where inmates are prohibited from going. The officer wrote: “(He) was given several direct orders by myself…to get off the rocks… and go home. (He) refused all orders given.” For standing on the rocks Long Island was sentenced to 30 days LOP – confiscation of appliances including the TV and cancellation of store purchases (except for hygiene and postage).

In November, Long Island was charged with "B11: Give/Receive Tattoo or Paraphernalia" because "during a cell search a tattoo gun and ink were found in the light fixture." Tattoo guns are made by extracting the motor from a stereo, using a guitar string as a needle, and inserting the string into an empty Bic pen. Ink is obtained by collecting soot caused by burning hair grease. The sentence was yet another thirty days L.O.P and a stay at the hole.
While in the hole, Long Island, who was suffering from nicotine-withdrawal symptoms, formed a plan to obtain some smokes. He mailed another inmate "instructions on how to introduce tobacco into CDU (Complex Detention Unit)." For doing this he was charged once more with B26. The lieutenant told Long Island, “You’re on LOP "till the cows come home." Instead of doling out more LOP, Long Island was sent to SMU1 where he resided until being moved back here.

email Jon at writeinside@hotmail.com
25 Jan 05

Hello Long Island
My new cellmate is a twenty-six year old called Long Island who brought some interesting books with him. He gave me F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night.
After being locked down for over a year, Long Island is understandably boisterous. He managed to get two disciplinary tickets his second day here. The guard cited him for wearing shower shoes in the day room (ticket one) and Long Island responded by calling the guard “a bitch”
(ticket two).
BHF was in the habit of pelting my cell with batteries, so Long Island went and asked BHF to stop.
24 Jan 05

Lithium and Prozac

As I'm diagnosed with anxiety and bipolar disorders, they've put me on lithium and Prozac.

At hourly increments I jotted down how the lithium made me feel.

1 hour after swallowing the pill:
I can feel my heart pounding. My anxiety has increased – I am trembling and uneasy. My mind is clouded. Breathing feels difficult – slow and heavy. I feel dizzy. There is a strange taste in my mouth. My eyes are heavy.

2 hours later:
I have urinated twice – long, clear jets. My eyes are aching and squinting, the book I am reading is going in and out of focus. I have a headache. My heartbeat feels odd and the left side of my chest feels tight.

3 hours later:
I have urinated two more times – more clear pee. I threw up a small amount of vomit – it looked as if blood was in it, but it may have been the tomatoes I ate at lunchtime. My hands are trembling. My head is pulsating. My skin feels strange to touch. I am experiencing sudden flatulence. I have completely lost my appetite. I am feeling occasional stabbing pains in the right side of my brain.

I felt so sick that I skipped the evenings chow.

The next day I refused the meds. I signed a refusal form upon which I described the side effects. Instead of taking these pills, I’ll stick to yoga from now on. A five-minute headstand is the best kind of medicine. Maybe a century from now the medical profession will be scoffing at lithium, as we look back and mock electro-shock therapy. In the meantime the pharmaceutical-industrial complex will make a fortune.
21 Jan 05

Literary Growing Pains

‘There is no satisfactory explanation of style, no infallible guide to good writing, no assurance that a person who thinks clearly will be able to write clearly, no key that unlocks the door, no inflexible rule by which the young writer may shape his course. He will often find himself steering by stars that are disturbingly in motion’ (Source: E.B. White, The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr & E.B. White, Chpt. 5)

I recently received some books that caused me to think about my writing. Maybe I should have added studying English literature and language to my New Year’s Resolutions, as there seems to be plenty of room for improvement.

This self-assessment began when I started to read Remembrance of Things Past (3294 pages) by Marcel Proust. The three-volume set was thoughtfully sent as a Christmas gift by one of my sister’s colleagues, Jill Shiel. My first impression of Volume 1 was negative, the pace seemed to be too slow. I wondered why Jill had chosen Proust, but after reading over 100 pages I began to suspect that Jill wanted me to read a style of writing par excellence.

Despite my initial doubts I quickly began to enjoy the genius of Marcel Proust. I found myself in awe of his figurative language and I began to reread the sentences that mesmerised me the most. Here are some descriptions I enjoyed.

"…the heat of the day was falling and settling, as though in a vase along the sides of which the transparent, dusky jelly of the air seemed of such consistency that a tall rose-tree, fastened against the dim wall which it veined with pink, looked like the arborescence that one sees at the heart of an onyx."

"…the churches of Criquebec which, in the distance, surrounded by water on every side because you saw them without seeing the town, in a powdery haze of sunlight and crumbling waves, seemed to be emerging from the waters, blown in alabaster or in sea-foam, and, enclosed in the band a variegated rainbow, to form an ethereal, mystical tableau."

After reading Volume 1 of Remembrance of Things Past, I started F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, Tender is the Night.

I am envious of the talents of Proust and Fitzgerald. I have now set about improving my

Unlike my sister, Karen, who has studied English her entire adult life, I have not studied English since high school.

Despite my shortcomings, I am endeavouring to use all of the resources at my disposal to improve my abilities. My father kindly sent me The Oxford American Writer’s Thesaurus for Christmas and I am seeking approval from the prison’s education department to do some correspondence courses with www.riosalado.edu/ci who provide non-Internet courses for prisoners.
ENG213: Introduction to the Study of Language, would be beneficial. It is described as the Study of language as code: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, language acquisition; historical and socio-linguistics.
ENH275: Modern Fiction, also interest me. It is described as including "novels and short stories for modern writers which reflect significant themes of our time."
20 Jan 05

Under Pressure To Pee

The following conversation took place between thirteen inmates in a small holding cell at Medical. Six of us sat cramped on a concrete ledge on one side of the room, facing another six on the opposite ledge. A thirteenth inmate was in a wheelchair in the middle of the cell. A dozen of us had seen the doctor and we were ready to leave. The only inmate waiting to be seen was a baby-faced Chicano who stood less than five-and-a-half-feet tall. He had a plastic urinalysis container, but he was unable to pee. The inmates thought that none of us would be transported back to our units until the Chicano had performed.

“Can you pee yet?” asked the African American guard stood in the hallway.
“Tsk-tsk. I must o’ asked you ten times by now. Alright, let me know when you’re ready, and I’ll take you to the restroom.”
“Why do they want your pee?” asked an inmate.
"'Cause my backs been hurtin’. They think it's my kidneys.”
“You’d better take a whiz soon 'cause you're holdin’ us up. We won’t get a transportation bus until you’re done.”
“Yeah, hurry up and pee.”
“I can’t!”
“If you don’t take a leak soon, they’ll strap you down and shove a catheter into your prick and then you’ll wish you had peed earlier."
“Yeah, they did that to me at Florence and it fuckin’ hurt like hell. It was sore for seven days. I ain’t ever lettin’ 'em pull that shit again. They shoved it in and worked it right up to my kidneys. It’ll bring the pee right out of you.”
“It ain’t that bad now. They’ve got a pump – it’s a bag they squeeze. They shove in the catheter and squeeze the bag, and your penis spits the pee right out. Still, you’d better pee before they strap you down.”
“I’ll try right now,” the Chicano said, nervously shoving the plastic cup down his orange pants.
“The catheter wouldn’t hurt so bad if the goddam end of the tube that they stick in ya wasn’t made so wide, like the flat end on one of those slurpee straws.”
“You can’t pee in here! What’re you doin'! The guard'll think that one of us peed for you and he’ll make you start all over again.”
“Don’t pee in here, dawg!”
“If he can’t pee, then he needs to drink some water.”
“They ain’t gonna let him go back to his house either.”
“That’s right. They’re gonna strap him down and catheter his shit.”
“I had a catheter once. I was hopin’ that it would make my dick bigger, but all it did was make it sore – real sore.”
“I’ll make you pee real quick. Let me hold yer dick and I’ll aim it at your neighbour, Boxer, right there.”
“You ain’t goin' nowhere near my dick! I’m never gonna pee!”
“When they put the catheter in, they make you hold yer dick. It wouldn’t be so bad if they held it for you.”
“We’ve all seen the doctor apart from you. You’re holdin’ us up. The sooner you pee, the sooner we’ll be goin’ back to our houses.”
The cell door slid open. “Whoever’s seen the doctor, lets go!” the guard said.
We all departed except for the Chicano. I am still wondering about his fate.

Send comments to writeinside@hotmail.com
16 Jan 05

The impact of Blogs

Matthew, who is doing a dissertation "on the impact of blogs on wider society" asked for my view of what I am doing and how I feel about blogging.

I will answer with a recap. Jon's Jail Journal came about as a method of disseminating information about life inside the Madison Street jail to my family and friends, who were
increasingly interested in what was going on. As I had limited access to stationary and postage, by blogging, I was able to conserve resources whilst getting the message out.

It was after I was sentenced and moved from the jail system that the Guardian newspaper published some of my blogs and interest in the blog increased further. Since then, I have received encouragement from various readers of my blog, so, I am happy about what I am doing and I feel that blogging is worthwhile. The feedback is helping me better deal with my punishment, and I now feel as if I have an obligation to write about things that otherwise would remain untold. I have been contacted by some prisoners'-rights organisations who urged me to continue blogging in the hope that the public will become more aware of prison conditions. In general, thanks to blogging and the Internet, some people who would have remained oblivious to prisoner issues are now more aware of what is going on.

Prisoners' voices are seldom heard but the Internet has challenged the mechanisms that control information flows. I am taking advantage of this opportunity and I hope that the Internet continues to be a forum where alternative viewpoints and discussions freely occur.

I am out of touch with how blogging has progressed since my arrest. I used to read a blog authored by a female friend of mine named Susan prior to May 2002, and whilst incarcerated I read Salam Pax’s blog about living through the war in Iraq, which has been published as a book.

When I am released I will scour the Internet for interesting blogs, but in the meantime, I have no Internet access. I send the hand-written blogs to my parents in the UK and they type them up and post them. The prison allows me to receive computer printouts, so, if any readers who write blogs want to take the trouble of mailing me their own or any other blog entries, I would be glad to read them.

I hope that my answer addressed your question, Matthew.

Cheers! Jon
15 Jan 05

Prison Book Program

Today, I received a letter from Pam, a Prison Book Program volunteer. Her organisation has been sending donated books to US inmates for over 30 years. More information is available at:
Inmates can write to them directly at:
Prison Book Program,
C/o Lucy Parsons Bookstore,
1306 Hancock Street, Suite 100,
Quincy, MA 02169.

They also provide a National Prisoner Resource List which contains numerous contact addresses for free-book programs, educational and legal publications, prisoners'-rights organisations, prisoner-support groups, prisoner family and friend support groups, pen-pal services and religious organisations.

Inmates can request books twice per year. Requests should include any prison-imposed book restrictions.

Keep up the good work, Pam!

Appreciatively yours, Jon