20 March 05

Odds & Ends

My former cellmate, Jerry, has returned and is now housed in Building 1.

Long Island has stopped earning tickets and has commenced a marketing correspondence course. He has turned out to be a good cellmate. He is respectful and easy going, but also someone who stands up for himself if anyone tries to push him around. Long Island gets released later this year, so I will have to shop around for a new cellmate shortly before he leaves, as I don’t want to end up playing what's called the "celly lottery": waiting for a random assignment, which can be good or bad. The key to happiness here is good cellmate chemistry.

I have a workout partner, Popcorn, who claims to be seven-eighths Chicano and one-eighth Pima Indian. Together we do my yoga routine and his jogging routine. Popcorn can walk on his hands and he has helped me half master the scorpion pose – I can hold the pose for up to thirty seconds but my feet do not touch my head. We jog up to five miles every couple of days and with Popcorn’s motivation I’ve been attending the twice-weekly 5:00am breakfasts in order to go to the 6:30am rec sessions. In order to rise so early, I now go to sleep between 9:00pm and 10:pm.

I’ve been trying to start a correspondence course with Rio Salado Community College but it’s a slow process.

In the chow hall, I sit at a table with String Bean and Fish. String Bean is the skinniest man in the unit – and probably the entire complex – standing six-feet tall and weighing
one-hundred-and-twenty-two pounds. He is so thin that the Medical Unit has authorised him to receive extra chow. Fish is an occultist intellectual with a British sense of humour, who, tragically, is HIV positive. Fish is due to be released shortly, and String Bean gets out in one year’s time.

Thank you for your support. I hope that your letters, emails, comments and questions keep coming because reading them makes my day.

Cheers! Jon

Email Jon at writeinside@hotmail.com
Or post a comment below
Are we being moved?

The inmates are speculating that our entire unit is about to be moved. Probably to Tucson.

I spoke to a member of staff today who confirmed that the entire unit is being moved – destination unknown – within the next few months. He stated that this unit is being converted into a high-medium yard and that ninety inmates from Pima County are waiting to be moved here.

For up to date info on inmate movements see here http://www.azceg.org/

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15 March 05

I had better never see a book than to be warped by its attraction clean out of my own orbit, and made a satellite instead of a system.

Ralph Waldo Emerson The American Scholar 1837

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10 March 05

Anal Virginity Threats: Adam's Fetish
(Threat level: medium)

My behind is dodging a triple threat. Frankie and George have been joined by Adam. The fact that I just want to be left alone seems to have impassioned them further.

Adam introduced himself a few weeks ago:
“Wassup! I hear you’re from England?”
“I fuckin' dig English dudes. You wanna know why?”
“I had a porno movie collection and there was somethin’ different about the English dudes that I just fuckin’ love.”
“Can you guess what I’m talkin’ about?”
“The English guys were all uncut. I just love to see that. Are all English guys uncut?”
“As far as I know, only America and countries like Israel do it.”
“Yep, they butcher us at birth and charge us for it. It’s a scam. Uncircumcised men are a rarity around here They just drive me wild.”
“Well, I’m straight, so I’m not going to be able to help you in that department.”
“Alright then, but if you change your mind.”

More recently:
“I heard that you were into S & M on the streets?”
“A little. Why?”
“And I know that you’re into yoga, so you must be real flexible.”
“I’m flexible.”
“I love flexible guys. I’ve got somethin’ I wanna tell you about.”
“What is it?”
“You’re open minded right?” You wouldn’t take offence if I told you somethin’?”
“I doubt it. But it's still no if you’re looking to shag me!”
“Well, there’s somethin’ that I’m really into.”
“Yeah. Spit it out then.”
“OK, I’ll give you the rundown on how this came about. I had a boyfriend in here right, about a year ago.”
“We used to fuck around all the time. Anyway, this one day, he was positioned doggy style and I was lickin’ his ass.”
“Oh dear.”
“Just wait. Its about to get much better. So I was lickin’ his ass right and out of nowhere he accidentally – well, actually, it might have been on purpose – he farted in my mouth.”
“How terrible!”
“Yeah and he made it seem like it was an accident but he was fuckin’ laughin’ at the time.”
“It didn’t bother you?”
“It amused me. For a second, it was like an egg in the face, but I was in the moment, so I resumed what I was doin’.”
“Licking his arse?”
“Yes, goin’ to town on his ass.”
“Did he fart on you again?”
“No. Not on the same evening.”
“But it did happen again?”
“Well, yeah, actually, it grew to the point that it was highly entertaining, so I encouraged it.”
“Didn’t it put a weird taste in your mouth?”
“That’s what was so cool about it, his farts didn’t smell. If there was an offensive odour, I wouldn’t have done it.”
“So, did you start demanding that he would fart in your mouth?”
“Kinda. Later on. What I did was make bets with him.”
“Like what?”
“Silly little bets. If I lost he would have to fart ten times in my face bare-assed.”
“I assume that you lost quite a bit?”
“Oh yeah. I picked things to ensure that I would lose.”
“You loaded the dice so that you would end up being farted on?”
“And this man could perform ten back-to-back farts after you intentionally lost these bets?”
“Well, as many as he could do at one time. I would count them and carry the balance over until the next session.”
“So what started out as an accidental fart on the face turned into a sexual thrill?”
“Most certainly. I have this thing about – I dunno – I like to lick ass, and the fact that the farts didn’t stink, it wasn’t offensive, added some spice to the ass lickin’.”
“Is that right?”
“Yeah. I would lick his ass, he would fart in my mouth, I would fuck him, and he wouldn’t even need lotion or lubrication because he was so turned on by farting in my mouth, which turned me on all the more.”
“That good eh?”
“Yeah. The farts were like foreplay.”
“He was a talented man, if he could fart repeatedly at will and they never smelled too bad.”
“Yeah. When he owed me enough farts, he’d put me on standby until he was ready and when it was all good, I’d depants him and go to town.”
“And now you see farts in a whole new light?”
“Somethin’ like that.”
“Thanks for sharing that with me. Your tendency is unusual – I only ever read about it once in a Marquis de Sade book. I'd like to write about it. Would you mind?”
“If you think it’s interesting enough, I don’t give a shit, just don’t let anyone know who I am.”
“OK. I’ll change your name.”
“I like the name Adam.”
“Adam will work.”

Email Jon at writeinside@hotmail.com
or post a comment yourself below.
6 March 05


It is 11:40am and I am miserable. Claudia - the young lady who I was living with and engaged to at the time of my arrest - had promised that she would visit today but she hasn’t shown up. Visitation hours range from 8.00am until 3.00pm, and the afternoon is near. I was up bright and early, showered and shaved, beaming in anticipation of her company, but every passing hour has increased my tension. I am so sad my appetite has vanished.

This state of mind is not Claudia’s fault - it is my own. I am forever in her debt for everything she did for me. It would be wrong to expect her to put her life on hold for me. If I love her then shouldn't I want her to be happy? It's difficult. Losing her is one of the worst things that's happened to me. But what can I do? Kick and scream? Feel sorry for myself? Or try to be like Mr. Spock? There's a difficulty with trying to be like Mr. Spock: I am human, emotional, and fallible. And fragile on days like these.
4 March 05

Observations from the Rec Field

It’s 5pm and I’m sat at a picnic table on the rec field.
“We gotta lotta shit to do.”
“What shit we gotta do?”
“Wide pushups, pullups, dips.”
Nearby, two stocky Chicanos are working out. One of them, Mooga, will be released later this year. The other, Horns, is serving a life sentence. They look like mini-Arnold Schwarzeneggers, but with beer bellies. They are topless, clad in knee-length orange sports shorts, toting Sony cassette players on their hips. Their Blues Brothers-style sunglasses make them appear comical and dangerous. They are taking turns suspending themselves by their toes from a picnic table and performing downward-sloping pushups. As their muscles ripple the turquoise tattoos on their coffee-coloured skin come to life.
“One more set.”
“How many are we doin’?”
“We’ve already done five!”
“Then let’s do another five.”
“Ah, fuck no!”
They are departing, strutting their pumped-up physiques with arms akimbo. They resemble gunslingers ready to draw their Walkmans. Shrinking in size as they swagger into the distance, they now look like little birds stretching their wings.

Being outdoors is soothing - if you don't pay attention to the architecture of oppression: the endless razor wire, and battleship-grey buildings.

Lamps, on steel poles, seem to be hovering in the sky. They look like the UFOs described by H.G. Wells in War of the Worlds.

Practising a variety of basketball shots, is Speedy, a youngster. Speedy falls. “Damn!”
Stretching his lower limbs he assessess the damage.

Mooga and Horns are approaching, their bickering is growing louder.
“Before we do da dips, lets do dat one over dere.”
“You’re fuckin’ gay, man!”
“You talk alotta shit every day, man. Lets go”
“You go homes!”
“I already did my set, man”
“Okay. Here I go”
“Dis man, Mooga, can work out, talk a lotta shit, and smoke at the same time.”
Tu tambien.” (You also.)
In a voice like Johnny Rotten’s, Mooga is singing, “Insane in the membrane! Insane in the brain! You’re insane, got no brain!”
By placing his knees over one dip bar, Horns is suspended upside down, he is using the other dip bar to do pullups.
Wheelo, a thinner Chicano joins them.
“Don’t fuck with Wheelo. That’s the Godfather right there,” Mooga says and helps himself to one of Wheelo’s cigarettes.
Horns shoulderbarges Wheelo.
“What’d I tell you! Don’t fuck wiv Wheelo!”
The Chicanos are getting smaller again as they head for the outdoor urinal.
The sun is trying to hide behind the Administration Building. Its rays are causing Speedy’s sweaty chest to glisten.

The Chicanos are back.
Looking directly at me Mooga yells,“You, come here!”
“You come here,” I say.
“No you come here!”
Estoy ocupado ahorita.” (I’m busy right now.)
“Don’t gimme that shit. I want to show you somethin’.”
Undoubtably, Mooga wants to show me something I don't want to see, so I change the subject.
“How would you describe yourself, Mooga?”
“Vindictive, out of control, wild.”
The Chicanos are on the move again. Mooga is yelling obscenities and throwing gravel at Wheelo.
The sun is almost out of sight. The rain clouds have wandered west and a pink tinge is making them look more cheerful. The wind is carrying the smell of manure.
“Rec is terminated! Rec is terminated!”

Email Jon at writeinside@hotmail.com
Channel 4 Documentary
British television station exposes abuse

Sheriff Joe featured in ‘Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons’
Produced and Directed by Nick London
Article written by Linda Bentley - Sonoran News - March 2 - March 9, 2005

LONDON, U.K. – In late January, British Channel Four Television Reporter Deborah Davies was in Arizona interviewing Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the women involved with Mothers Against Arpaio (MAA). The program titled, “Torture: America’s Brutal Prisons,” airs tonight across the sea. The program opens with stills depicting Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad being humiliated and tortured by American guards. Cutting to the next scene, American guards are marching to cells, screaming obscenities at naked prisoners, this time they’re in Texas. And then, cutting to the Fourth Avenue Jail, the narrator says: “Get arrested in Phoenix, Arizona – and you’ll end up here; a county jail run by the sheriff’s department. … Just as we arrive, two prisoners start fighting. The inmates are quickly buried under a mountain of officers.“This jail is run by the man who revels in the title ‘America’s Toughest Sheriff.”
Arpaio says, “… I’m not going to have my officers assaulted. When these inmates try to assault my officers, we use as much force as necessary.”
Channel Four asks, “But more than a dozen officers to pull a man out of a cell, fling him on the floor, jump on top of him … why?”
Arpaio said, “What difference, whether you use one or ten. It doesn’t make any difference. We’re going to restrain that person.” That seemed to be the perfect segway into use of the restraint chair.
Dan Corcoran of AEDEC International, manufacturer of the “Prostraint Violent Prisoner Chair,” told Channel Four, “What this does is protect the prisoner. And, it was made to protect the prisoner. It keeps the airway clear. Think about how many deaths it’s eliminating. Plus look at how humane it is …”
However, reality speaks to 20 prisoners who died after being placed in restraint chairs. The Medieval-looking device is still in use in Arizona, even though two of those deaths occurred in Arpaio’s jail.
As Arpaio provides a tour of Madison Street Jail, the commentator continues, “It’s almost a choreographed routine … stressing the tough conditions, the convict uniforms, the terrible food.” Arpaio says, “… They’re criminals, they’re murderers. I’m sorry they’re alleged murderers. They haven’t been convicted yet.”
The commentator goes on, “But strip away the showmanship of Sheriff Arpaio and you hit a far more brutal allegation … inside his jails prisoners are beaten, tortured, even killed.”
The program cuts to photographs of Charles Agster, mentally handicapped and a drug user. “He weighed only nine stone,” the commentator states, the equivalent of 126 pounds. After Agster was arrested for refusing to leave a convenience store, his parents assumed he would be held in jail overnight.
His mother Carol Agster relives the story, “The telephone rang and it’s the emergency room. They said, ‘Well, your son is here … we don’t know if he’s going to live through the night."
The commentator says: “The horror of Charles Agster’s last hours is captured by cameras inside Madison Street Jail.”
A video of Agster being dragged into the jail is shown as his mother says, “He was dragged in like a suitcase. He was hogtied … a policeman was kicking him. … nine jail staff forced him into a restraint chair – still handcuffed. One kneels on his stomach. They bend him forward to undo the handcuffs and re-strap him into the chair.”A nurse notices Agster is unconscious. She pinches his face, puts ammonia under his nose, yet no one removes the spit mask or frees him from the chair.
Training documents from the sheriff’s own department clearly warn inmates must be uncuffed before being placed in the chair, to avoid what’s known as positional asphyxia. Arpaio tells Davies, “You can see all the videos you want. Videos … don’t always tell the truth.”
Davies asks, “But you’re not denying that he’s put in the chair with his hands handcuffed behind his back?”
Arpaio responds, “I’m not familiar with all that as far as the handcuffs. But I’m telling you right now, we did nothing wrong … when you run a jail system … you’re bound to have some deaths that occur.”
The sheriff apparently learned nothing since Scott Norburg died in a restraint chair. Norberg’s family was awarded over $8 million in a lawsuit.
Brian Crenshaw, a blind man, was serving six months for shoplifting. His mother Linda Evans learned he had been in some sort of scuffle with officers at Tent City before he was transferred and placed in solitary confinement at Madison Street Jail. Six days later Crenshaw was taken to the hospital after being found unconscious in his cell. However, Crenshaw had already told a prison doctor he’d been beaten by officers. He died one month later and the family is suing.
Evans says, “They murdered my son. Mr. Arpaio is responsible. He is the head of the sheriff’s department and yet he seems to thrive on this cruelty and this mentality that these men are nothing.”
The sheriff insists Crenshaw fell off a bunk. Even though medical evidence indicates otherwise, it’s Arpaio’s story and he’s sticking to it. Arpaio said, “Well, a lot of people in jail say certain comments that are not true. So, if you want to believe a few of these inmates … so be it.”
Channel Four joined MAA at the home of co-founder Pearl Wilson, whose son Phillip Wilson died after being beat into a coma by other inmates. Wilson is also suing the sheriff. She says Arpaio’s staff allows fights to happen.
Arpaio said, “I feel very comfortable with myself. I go to sleep every night. It’s a tough job that I have. … if this sheriff … did anything wrong … it would be well publicized. I’m sure action would have been taken.”
If action translates to lawsuits, Arpaio is named as a defendant in approximately 1,500.

Jon spent over two years in Arpaio’s jail system, he was in Madison St. jail until he was sentenced. It was while he was there that Jon decided to write about the conditions. Revisit the beginning of the blog to understand why it all came about.
3 March 05

Anal Virginity Threats: George Reads Frankie’s Love Letter
(Threat level: medium and rising)

I told George about Frankie's letter. George demanded to see it.
“Uh…he calls you Englandman, eh?,"George said,"I don’t know, Englandman, if he managed to get a letter into here, into your sandwich, without a trace, I’d say he’s pretty serious buddy. He’s hunting for bear.”
“Hunting for bear, George?”
“And a little British bear, I believe.”
“I’m not worried. He might not even be sent here.”
“This is pretty serious stuff. What on earth did you say to him?”
“Perhaps you were practising your Spanish on him and it didn’t turn out very well.”
“I hope not.”
“Perhaps you said pass the choriso [sausage] and that flipped his switch.”
I laughed.
“As one gay man judging another I believe that if he ends up on this yard, you may need some protection.”
“Protection! For what?”
“Because he might want to ride your Hershey Highway.”
“My Hershey Highway! What the bloody hell is a Hersey Highway, George?"
“Your gluteus maximus.”
“Not anus maximus?
“Anus is not maximus unless you have sphincter problems.”
"I’m lost, am I detecting a bit of jealousy over Frankie, Jeeves?”
“Hell yeah! I don’t ever get to see Mr. Willy and he gets to ride the Hershey Highway. I don’t think so!”
“Well, its not like I wanna give it up to him.”
“I hope not. Wouldn’t you rather have someone lick the willy instead of cramming his dick in your ass.”
“But you’re gonna end up with one or the other playing with people’s emotions like you do.”
“I haven’t promised anyone anything.”
“Evidently you have. Getting a message in your sandwich from someone who’s in another prison is pretty serious…we’re talkin’ pretty fucking serious! This guy knows what he’s doing and he must have plenty of help.”
“He may be kidding?”
“No this is beyond kidding, its…its…its…love!”
“Ha ha!”
“You may be laughing now but when his dick is in your ass you’re gonna be singing a different tune.”
“So how do I get out of this?”
“As soon as you see him you need to tell him, ‘I’ve found somebody else. You’re too late'.”
“I’ve found someone else! Are you bananas? What if he doesn’t accept that.”
“You may want to phone the British Embassy and tell them to mail you some prophylactics in a diplomatic pouch.”
“George, surely there are other ways to handle this situation?”
“As serious as he is, I doubt it. You need rubbers so that when his dick is in your ass you don’t get any diseases or become pregnant. Accept your fate.”
“Accept my fate! That’s not very helpful advice, Jeeves.”
“Accept your fate and don’t encourage him anymore.”
“Is that the best you can come up with?”
“Yes, and I’m off to clean up now, so tallyho, Englandman.”
“Toodle-oo, Jeeves.”
1 March 05

Anal Virginity Threats: Frankie’s Love Letter
(Threat level: medium and rising)

This evening in the chow hall, I looked inside my sandwich bread and discovered it contained some carefully-folded paper. Upon examining the paper I recognised Frankie’s handwriting.
Frankie is still at SMU2 in Florence. I wondered how he was able to circumvent the mail system and cause a letter to pop up in a sandwich?

For readers unfamiliar with Frankie, Frankie is a Mexican Mafia hitman who I met at the Madison Street jail (see blog Chess Moves 13/05/04) where he was fighting a double-homicide case, which he subsequently won. I used to play chess with Frankie and he made it clear that he would try to make me his prison bride if we were ever housed together.

Here are Frankie’s own words as discovered in my sandwich:
“Anyway, as you know you’re engaged to me so don’t be cheating on me because I’m a jealous guy. I’ve met a couple of cheetos here but all they do is flash their white asses through doors and that an’t no fun cause I can’t get none, I want someone I can make love to.”

Frankie believes that he will be at Buckeye soon:
“I’m more than sure that I’ll go there.”
He ended the letter with a smiley face, winking and pulling tongues.

I’ve a feeling that Frankie will be here soon.
Question Time & Biblio Files

Angie asked me for my favourite author:

Miguel de Cervantes Don Quixote is my favourite work of fiction. The book is a witty portrayal of a mentally-ill man who has read too many books about knights and chivalry, and thinks he is a knight-errant. With his sidekick, Sancho Panza, Don Quixote embarks upon a series of adventures, most of which result in physical injury to himself and cause him to become known as the Knight of the Ill-favoured Face. Despite suffering violence, Don Quixote struggles on, undeterred, in the false belief that he is wooing an imaginary damsel in distress whom he is destined to rescue and whose kingdom he shall inherit.

Arnold J. Toynbee’s A Study of History is my favourite work of nonfiction. Upon reading this book I was able to view present events in the context of thousands of years of progressions and declines of civilisations. This is one of the most important books that I have ever read.

So, to answer your question Angie: for fun, Miguel de Cervantes is my favourite author; for study and knowledge content, Toynbee takes the top spot. Prior to discovering Cervantes, George Orwell was my favourite author.

Many blog readers have asked me to describe the books I have most recently enjoyed. I checked out Great Russian Short Stories from the prison library because I saw that it included Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor. This story contained powerful prose but I obtained more pleasure from Nicholas Gogol’s The Cloak, which made me laugh a lot.

In another library book The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces (sixth edition, volume two) I discovered an author who I admire both for his ability and his political philosophy. I’m referring to one of the geniuses from the Enlightenment era: Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire. I read Candide,or Optimism, a comedy about human nature in which the characters are raped, cut to pieces, hanged, stabbed, mutilated and seemingly murdered, only to resurface at more opportune moments. Voltaire ridicules certain philosophical beliefs by juxtaposing them with historical reality.

The Norton Anthology also contains Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis, which I enjoyed. . Kafka’s story starts with Gregor who wakes up one day at his family's home and discovers that he has become a beetle who can listen to his family but not make himself understood. I was fascinated by Kafka’s dreamy style. Gregor’s sister, at first, feeds and cares for him. His father chases Gregor back into his bedroom for being an eyesore. At the end, Gregor’s death is warmly wished for by the entire family. I was moved when he died.

My fifth and sixth fiction selections both come from the same author: George Orwell, Animal Farm and 1984. I’ll come back to George shortly.

A book that I consider almost as important as Toynbee’s is Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

I enjoyed reading William Steinhoff’s George Orwell and the Origins of 1984, which contained this Orwellian quote:
"Political thought is a sort of masturbation fantasy in which the world of facts hardly matters.”

In accordance with one of my New Year’s resolutions, I have recently read four books about criminal justice.

I was moved by two disturbing books written by Jewish political prisoners. Jacobo Timberman’s Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number describes his stay in an Argentinian prison where he was subjected to electro-shock torture amongst other things. Primo Levi’s book Survival in Auschwitz reeks of death. Mr. Levi somehow survived the torture, slave labour, prolonged nudity, diseases, and managed not to be selected for the gas chamber where the majority of his fellow prisoners ended up. Timberman’s book, describes events occurring in Argentina decades after World War II. He points out that some of the Argentinian right wing extremists idolised Hitler, and that such forces are always fermenting below the surface waiting for opportune moments to rise up.

Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation explores the creative works of Western society from the fall of the Roman Empire to the twentieth century. The book covers works of genius in architecture, sculpture and painting, philosophy, music and literature. I expected Ken’s style to be stuffy, but a keen sense of humour shines through his prose. The book expanded my knowledge of arts about which I know little

I recently wrote about Proust and F. Scott Fitzgerald (see Literary Growing Pains) and perhaps my phraseology led some readers to believe that I am seeking to emulate their styles. I didn’t mean to mislead people. I can only ever dream of aspiring to such skill levels.

Regarding my New Year’s resolutions (see blog), I have thus far lopsided my reading in 2005 in the area of criminal justice. I will now try and focus on the other areas to achieve a better balance. I appreciate all of the books that readers have generously sent to the prison. On my shelf currently sit books written by Goethe, J.S.Mill, Freud, Brzezinski, Apuleius, and one called Suicide Girls.

Appreciatively yours, Jon.
24 Feb 05


I decided to give my digestive system a rest by fasting. I haven’t eaten for fourteen hours. I'm hungry and there’s a strange taste in my mouth.

My fast was long overdue. I haven’t fasted since I was a guest at the Madison Street Jail (see blog entry 08/04/04). I only have ten more hours to go to make a day and then I will shovel peanut butter into my mouth.