jail

Bonnie Being Big

November 15, 2013

Recieved a very nice comment from a reader who is trying to make a difference with his website I AM BIG.    After checking out his site, I wanted to share some internet Karma with him.  This is a very candid video of a mother’s struggles with her alcholic son.  There’s something different about this testimonial that […]

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Letters from Hell

Letters from Hell – Redux

July 18, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a feature from a guest blogger that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


It’s been a while since I posted a Letters from Hell. This letter was not included in the original series, as it had been lost. It was found underneath the cushion of a sofa at a relative’s house last week. It would have originally fallen in between Parts 11 and 12; so I guess I could have named this Part 11.5.

Please click here to read all the other installments of the series. Just to catch people up who are new to the site – I spent 76 days in a correctional facility the summer before last as a direct result of my alcoholism. These are the letters I wrote to my family while there. Moral of the story – stay clean and stay out of jail – it’s not fun.

June 21, 2006

Dear Everyone,

Two days have passed since I last sat down to write. Things are okay, I have been thinking about my situation more than usual, which tends to make me more depressed than usual. It’s hard for me to keep my mind off worrying when there is so little to do here. I almost welcome the fighting, stealing, and scheming that go on around here as a diversion.

The book I am reading is very good, however it’s a two parter and I only have part one. I have requested part two, but I am doubtful that they have it. I will certainly get it when I get out.

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Letters from Hell – Final Chapter

July 16, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.

letters from hell


This is the last letter in the series. I didn’t know I was going to get out until hours before it happened. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.


July 17, 2006

Dear Dad, Sarah, Amy, James and Audrey,

I hope this letter finds everyone doing well. As I have told Dad, the last week has been pretty rotten. We have been in constant lockdown since last week due to fights and various episodes of contraband usage.

We are simply too overcrowded and the fact that they use this place as a way station for prison inmates awaiting trail dates does not help. They are usually trouble. We have been searched about 5 times in the last week. This means the guards go through and throw away and tear up all your stuff including my pens and writing pad. They also threw away all my letters and several articles of my clothing just for good measure. Since then I have gotten back a pen and some paper but did not have anything to write on (a pad or a table) until today.

Although I still have whatever kind of infection (staph), it is much better. Since Amy and Noah told me to stop using the Neosporin type stuff the nurse gave me it has gotten much better. Thank goodness, it was really bothering me.

There have been several arrivals and departures to my cell since last week. None were welcome, all I was glad to see go. One was a thief (yes he stole from me… and others) another was a bully. One was a thief and a bully. I must say I like only about 1 percent of the people I have met in here. I can tolerate about 20 percent. I dislike 60 percent of them and downright hate about 19 percent. I absolutely believe in the death penalty now. I have met some people here that have no redeeming value; the world would absolutely be a better place without them.

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Letters from Hell – Part 15

July 12, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


This is the next to the last letter in the series. As you can probably tell from the contents it sounds like I am pretty much getting accustomed to Hell. You would be surprised what you can get used to. I can hardly imagine how numb the Correctional Officers must be. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.


July 11, 2006

Dear Dad, Sarah, Amy, James and Audrey,

I hope this letter finds all doing well. It sounds like you all had a really good Fourth of July. We had a pretty quite one here in the slammer. Inmates just slept all day or watched TV. Everyone looked like someone had died, especially the ones that talked to their family and friends, hearing about cookouts and parties. I didn’t see any fireworks this year – not even on TV.

As usual people have come and gone out of my little 12 man area. Two welcome departures were Detroit (a.k.a. Lucifer) and his evil spawn ZuZu (a.k.a Little Nicky). After participating in three fights in two days the guards finally took them out of here. The last brawl with a Mexican resulted in bloodshed and I guess that finally got their attention.

This morning we had two more departures to Seg resulting in a total of four new beds open since last Friday in my cell alone. This was also the result of bloodshed. Several young inmates in my cell were picking on a new inmate named Ben – stealing his stuff and slapping him around. Another inmate, older and not out of prison for very long told them to leave him alone. One of the young guys called him a “bitch”. That was the wrong thing to do. You do not call guys from prison a couple of things and one of them is “bitch”. Needless to say the youngster who slapped Ben in turn got a thorough beating. There was blood on my bunk and sheets where the older guy slammed the youngster’s (we actually called him “Teenager”) head repeatedly. It’s weird but this stuff does not even faze me anymore. I actually sat within feet of the entire brawl calmly watching, eating a fried apple pie and having a cup of orange juice. Not quite “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” but equally entertaining.

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Letters from Hell – Part 14

July 8, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell – Part 14. Although in totality the letter and memories are pretty bleak, Part 14 nevertheless brings back some positive memories – in particular a change in my overall outlook from absolutely negative to somewhat positive. I think after seven weeks of drying out my brain was returning to a state that at least could be called medically stable. I think it was somewhere around this time that I may have genuinely laughed for the first time in five years. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.


July 9, 2006

Dear Paul and Nan,

I hope this letter finds you both doing well. Nothing new here. The last couple of days have been okay. It was good seeing everyone on Saturday.

I guess the two biggest things I can talk about are how quite it has gotten since Detroit and his cousin have left the block and the fact that we have no soap. I do – because I order a bar of Lever 2000 every two weeks. – but most in here simply do not have any. Whew. They (the guards) say we went through 6 months worth of soap in 5 weeks. They are not saying when we will get any soap, but I am sure when we do it will be with restrictions. If we don’t get some soon I am sure attempts will be made to steal mine and from the few others that have it.

I have been taking a shower once and sometimes twice a day for the last couple of weeks because of the staph going around. I will probably drop back down to every other day to conserve my soap. Believe it or not if I smell clean people are going to “sweat” me for some soap and I mean constantly. It is getting pretty foul in here.

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Letters from Hell – Part 13

July 6, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell – Part 13. As befitting the holiday season this letter deals with a holiday; just not Christmas. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.

July 6, 2006

Dear Paul and Nan,

I hope this letter finds you both doing well. I hope the holiday was enjoyable for you both. It was just another day here in the joint. It was actually quieter than usual. I think subconsciously it made everyone miss there freedom more than they were willing to admit. Everyone kind of stayed in their racks or watched TV in the dayroom. Believe it or not there was actually a marathon of Steven Seagal movies on AMC and that’s what everyone wanted to watch. It was actually a subset of a larger marathon called the “Four Fathers of Action” which included a block of movies from Seagal, Chuck Norris, Jet Li and J.C. Van Damme over a period of 48 hours. I tried to sleep more than usual.

Many thanks again for taking care of all my business while I’m in here. It sounds like I will be in here at the very minimum for another month or so. It could very well be longer – hopefully you won’t have to deal with the wake of my problems I created for a while. I know the only way I can repay you is to stay sober and I intend to do that.

I have been incarcerated for 62 days now. Each day goes by very slowly but looking back on it, it doesn’t seem like it’s been that long.

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Letters from Hell

Letters from Hell – Part 12

June 30, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell – Part 12. This letter is a little out of sequence as I left a couple of letters at work thinking I would have time to transcribe them but did not. But being as there isn’t much of a back story except an alcoholic in jail, I am going to go ahead and let TDA put it out this week and correct the order later when they have all been done. I think there’s only one or two short letters missing in between. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.

June 25, 2006

Dear Paul and Nan,

I hope this letter finds you both doing well. It was good seeing you Saturday. It’s late (10:30ish) Sunday evening and the TV has just been cut off. We are in lockdown for the night and about half of my cellmates have pulled the covers over their eyes. The lights have been dimmed but there is still enough light to read and write.


My friend T-bone is reading the Bible to my right. It’s the only book he reads. He has court on Wednesday and is a little nervous. To my left, three people are arguing loudly over a card game. Resting on the farthest bunk from me (about 12 feet away) is a new inmate laughing crazily at them. It is the forced nervous insane laugh of someone who is not all here. He is 18 and does not know how to act in here at all. I can predict with 90% percent certainty that someone will beat him up by mid-week. I am positive he has mental problems. It’s a shame, but I will welcome his beating if it will shut his mouth or better yet get him out of here.

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Letters from Hell

Letters From Hell– Part 11

June 24, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell Part 11. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series. Today is the 72nd day since I first started posting these letters to TDA’s website. I used an online calculator to come up with these statistics:

Duration calculation results

From and including: Saturday, September 29, 2007
To and including: Sunday, December 9, 2007

It is 72 days from the start date to the end date, end date included

Or 2 months, 11 days including the end date

Alternative time units

72 days can be converted to one of these units:

  • 6,220,800 seconds
  • 103,680 minutes
  • 1728 hours
  • 10 weeks (rounded down)

That’s about how long I was in the slammer. Actually I was in 76 days. I just wanted you to get a feel for how long (or short) that length of time is. Has anyone one read all the Letters from Hell since the beginning? Does it seem like a long time ago? I can assure you it seemed like an eternity in the Shelby County Correctional Facility.

June 18, 2006

Dear Dad, Sarah, Amy, James and Audrey,

Hello to everyone. I hope this letter finds all doing well. It was good seeing Dad and Paul yesterday. I hope my house sells and that everything goes smoothly with the movers. I truly wish I could help. I know I am very lucky to have Paul taking care of everything for me.

I was robbed yet again (the fifth time if anyone is keeping track), but this time it was kind of a trap to see if I could catch the person that keeps on stealing from me. On Friday mornings we always get the best breakfast of the week; two biscuits, gravy and a boiled egg. As you know, I don’t like boiled eggs, so I usually trade my egg in the morning for an extra biscuit. The boiled eggs are a delicacy here, because people will save them and pickle them by putting them in the juice of a “store bought” hot pickle. Friday morning I saved my egg and placed it in a used orange juice cup conspicuously at the end of my bunk. Unfortunately, I was once again foiled (between Saturday night and Sunday morning) and did not catch the thief.

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Letters from Hell

Letters from Hell – Part 10

June 22, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell. Part 10 continues in the same matter of fact manner as the last letter. No drama, just the day to day jail stuff like staph infection and bad TV. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.


June 16, 2006

Dear Dad, Sarah, Amy, James and Audrey,

I hope this letter finds everyone doing well. By the time you get this letter you will have been to the beach and back. You can’t imagine how envious I am of your trip. The sunshine, the water, the food, the scenery…the girls in bikinis. Unfortunately, I think a trip to the beach is out of the question for me this summer. Maybe next year.

I am doing well; this has been the least stressful week I have had since my incarceration. My only complaints this week have been hunger and hygiene. We have had a big outbreak of staph infection. They had to move all the women prisoners out of their lock up block and move all the worst infected male prisoners into that block for quarantine. So we now have our own little “leper colony” right here in cell block A. The other block (B) also has a quarantine pod making a total of about 80 inmates with staph infection. The only methods of prevention are showers and frequent hand washing.

They (the guards) harass us about staying clean, yet they want give us something as simple as bleach to clean our showers and bunks. No doubt, there are some very nasty individuals here – but you can’t force them to take care of themselves.

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Letters from Hell – Part 9

June 18, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell Part 9. This letter seems pretty matter of fact to me. This was probably the easiest week I had in the joint. The gang had left and my thefts were down. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.

June 13, 2006

Dear Paul and Nan,

I hope this letter finds you doing well. I am doing pretty good. I had an enjoyable visit with Dad and Amy on Saturday. I really enjoyed seeing Amy.

I haven’t had anything stolen recently – it’s been almost a week since the last attack. I’ve learned how to hide and watch my stuff. I also only order things from the store that are easily hid. Flat things like beef sticks and peanut butter crackers that I can hide in my socks and underwear. Another reason for the reduction in crime has been the breakup of the gang. I can’t remember if I told you or dad before in one of my letters that they moved most of the gang out of Pod 9.

My main complaints now are constant hunger, lack of hygiene, and boredom. I have been asking the guards for finger nail clippers for over a week now and they always say someone else will bring them – but no one does. I am also having a problem with my skin itching, flaking, and weird bumps. The water we have is highly chlorinated and has who knows what else in it. I really miss real world water, food, and toiletries.

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Letters from Hell– Part 8

June 14, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Letters from Hell – Part 8. Another short letter. It seems the shorter the letter, the more unpleasant the memories they bring. This was day 32 of 76 of my incarceration and by that time, I was beginning to feel a little institutionalized like my buddy Burgette. A suspension of time and hope. Not really caring about myself, my family, or my future. Just shuffling along behind bars like some kind of zombie. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.

June 7, 2006

Dear Dad and Sarah,

Greetings from Cell Block A Pod 9. It’s about 8:30am and I am waiting to be called for my court date. On one hand, I am anxious to find out how soon I can get out of here. On the other, I dread about how long I might have to stay.

I have been up since 4:50 am. I could not get back to sleep so I took a long shower and laid back down and read a while. I had hidden away an apple pie and an orange juice to eat before I go, but my nerves have knotted up my stomach. I will not get lunch today, so I thought a snack before we left would help. Just as well, I guess. I would hate to have to go to the bathroom with leg and wrist shackles.

Last night the guards finally broke up the gang that was headquartered in the cell next to mine. They took the leader (Peanut) and three of his henchman out of our cell block after dinner. The day before his main “captain” was taken away after instigating a fight with one of my cellmates. It all went down within a few feet of my bunk. I thought I was going to get caught in the crossfire, but luckily I did not.

Well they finally called me, wish me luck.

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letters from hell

Letters from Hell – Part 7

June 12, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Part 7 of Letters from Hell. This episode brings you more info on gang politics and practices as well as the exit of my best cellmate. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.

June 6, 2006

Dear Paul and Nan,

Greetings from prisoner # 237458. Today marks one full month in jail. It seems like it has been much longer. No one in jail exclaims – “time flies”. Tomorrow, I have my court date. I look forward to it, yet fear it.

I want to get out of this situation badly.

I got a letter from Mom. It was very short. I will write her but don’t know what to say right now. I can’t imagine that she is very proud of me. I get the sick feeling that Mike (my stepfather) is probably ashamed of me. I’m sure I am not a topic of much conversation. Anyway, I will try to write her something nice and vanilla. Like, I just watch TV, eat, and sleep all day.

The truth is that most of my time is spent watching my back, watching my stuff, and watching my mouth. Things are still getting worse. More members of the gang keep coming in. So much so, that they now fight amongst themselves as well as the general population. Violence is pretty much a daily thing now. TV is rare. Three of the four phones we have access to are broken due to young thugs slamming them after talking with their “bitches".

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Letters from Hell – Part 6

June 4, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to part 6 of Letters from Hell. This is the shortest letter in the series, but brings back some of the worst memories of my time in jail. If ever I need a reason to stay sober; I just have to think back on this. Click here to read all the prior installments of the series.

May 29, 2006

Dear Paul,

Warning – do not let Nan read this letter. I am so filled with hate and anger I am barely able to write this letter. My last letter cost me 17 items. That is how much they stole from me as I wrote Dad and Sarah a letter yesterday morning. It was the only time I had ventured outside my cell since we got store Saturday morning. I had gone down to the common area so I could have a table to write on. I was down for about an hour and a half. When I came back, I had been robbed.

I know it’s only $20 worth of stuff but it is the only thing you have got in here. It’s not only the fact that I was stolen from and do not have the things that make it the least bit more bearable in here; but there is also the shame that you have allowed yourself to be taken advantage of. A feeling that you are weak.

I was so mad last night that I became physically ill with a stomach ache and the worst headache I have ever had. Worse than any hangover I have ever had.

My head pounded. I could only think thoughts of hate.

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Letters from Hell – Part 5

June 2, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to part five of Letters from Hell. Click here to read all the installments of the series.

As promised there are the joys of ketchup and gas station apple pie. You will have to wait a while for the prison sex. Also, thoughts on my desire to drink or drug. To be honest I never saw any hard drugs in the jail. Only prescriptions they allowed some inmates to have which the guards supervised the taking of. Cigarettes did make it in from time to time but I never indulged out of fear. Several people got in trouble for that (Seg). There was much discussion of making some jail home brew out of orange juice, bread rolls, peppermint candy and whatever fermentable vegetable or fruit that might come available. I don’t remember the science of it but several people said they had done it before. Luckily no one had the skills or gumption to do it while I was there – I’m not sure I could have resisted. I probably would have smoked crack if it had been available it was so crazy sometimes.

Dear Dad and Sarah,

I hope this letter finds you doing well. It’s 9:30am, Sunday the 28th of May. Not much going on here at ****** County Jail. Inmates are waking up for the second time (first time was at 4:30 am for the morning gruel) and the noise of the TV blaring ESPN has just commenced. I hate ESPN. It’s on TV 80% of the time it is available to us.

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Letters from Hell – Part 4

May 31, 2010

I want to thank Screedler for posting these Letters From Hell. This is a weekly feature that I always promote to the front page, some of the language may be disturbing but I think it is important that the text remains unedited the way it was originally written from jail.


Welcome to Part 4 of Letters from Hell. This letter is rather self explanatory. Jail is a depressing thing. Click here to read all the published installments of this series.

May 25, 2006

Dear Dad and Sarah,

I hope both of you are having fun in the sun at Disneyworld. I am alive and well, experiencing my own type of E-ticket ride in an upside down Magic Kingdom.

I’ve been incarcerated for 19 days now. Time moves very slowly in jail. A lot of people here sleep most of the time, getting up only to eat or do the little cleaning duties we must do. I would say some people sleep about 18 hours a day. I think they are really probably clinically depressed. One inmate was removed due to not eating and not getting up to do anything. They took him away for a couple of days and then he was back. I heard they had to force feed him and give him an IV for re-hydration. Some people that have been in for a while claim they sleep so much because that is the easiest way to do “time”.

With the noise and light always present it is very hard to get quality sleep (you get used to the smell). I do use earplugs and wrap a towel around my eyes sometimes, but the earplugs make my ears feel funny (itchy) afterwards and the towel usually unravels during the night.

I am sleeping more than I did in the free world, 8-10 hours a day. I usually go to sleep around 12 midnight, and then we have to get up a little before 5 for breakfast. After breakfast, I (and most others) usually go back to sleep for a couple of more hours till 8:30 or 9:00. Between 9 and 12 noon is usually when I start writing my letters to you and Paul. After a noon lunch, I usually lie down in my bunk and read for a couple of hours and then take a nap for a couple of hours until dinner which is at 5.

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