So, after my last article, I received an entire collage of current prison and county jail meals. Pretty disgusting! I included them in the picture heading as a collage. Otherwise, thought I’d just share one prison story from a book in development entitled Blind Justice. – Larry

Most every day revolves around the chow hall in one way or another.  Chow gets called, you wait on a long line, have slop poured onto a tray.  Next.  In fact, you’ll discover that most inmates live from meal-to-meal, merely passing the time in between.  If you ever stopped to read the National Menu, you’d think we had it pretty good.  Lasagna, waffles, you name it.  The problem is, just calling food a certain name doesn’t necessarily make it so.  Prisons manage to find some of the lowest quality food you can imagine.  Don’t believe me?  Well, there’s at least one indictment out there, against a prison supplier in 2019, accused of adding cow hearts, and God knows what else, to his food as fillers.  In fact, the Office of Inspector General came to the same conclusion, in a 2020 report exposing the fact that “substandard food products” are often sold to and served by the BOP, “potentially endangering the health and wellbeing of both inmates and staff.”  Normally, it’s just the food you have to worry about.  Today, however, was no ordinary day.

I was standing there, yapping away to someone about something when, “uch, what is that?” I felt something wet on my hand and noticed it was red.  “What the fuck?”  A scuffle broke out in front of me and two guys were on the ground.

The blood continued to spurt as I backed off and a bunch of guards jumped in screaming, “lockdown, lockdown,” sending everyone scattering away from the chaos.  We were all torn between getting away and trying to get a better look.  Voyeuristic gore has a way of doing that.

The entire prison was then shuttered, as officers came flying in from everywhere.  If you were outside on the compound, you had to high tail it back to your unit.  Us in the chow hall, well, we were confined to our seats, watching the show.  The cops were stabilizing the one guy with a huge puncture wound to his neck, and immobilizing the other, pinning him to the ground. 

A stabbing, now, that took me by surprise.  It was highly unusual for FCI Miami, a low security facility.  Although, it’s prison, you never know.  We were mostly a collection of white-collar criminals, minor drug dealers, chomos (child molesters) or long timers on the tail end of extreme sentences, just biding our time to go home.  That had all begun to change, however, with a recent influx of Puerto Ricans.  A lieutenant at the Federal prison in San Juan was murdered by gangs connected to inmates, so they thought shipping a bunch of those prisoners to Miami would solve the problem.  Lucky us.  Had the stabbing occurred at a high security prison, everyone would’ve immediately hit the ground while a pre-recorded loop of “deadly force has been authorized” would eerily play over the loudspeakers as officers took up tactical positions.

It was kind of outrageous that the gory floor show happened in the chow hall because it’s the only place always staffed by several guards at the same time, plus the event was surreally juxtaposed against a backdrop of colored slogans affixed to the walls, reinforcing the power of positive thinking.  Some admin once thought it’d be motivational, I suppose.  One read, “Success is hanging on when others let go,” adorned with cartoon character monkeys, and another, “A day without laughter is a day wasted,” accompanied by the smiling faces of baby animals, just to give you an idea.  All we were lacking was chart of the Alphabet so the place could double as a kindergarten classroom.  I couldn’t even begin to invent a more ridiculous scenario.  In any event, violent attacks were few and far in between, but as it turns out, this one happened for a particularly good reason. The stabber had been duped by the stabbee to the tune of many thousands of dollars, in a fraud that had become all too common throughout the prison system, purchasing Rule 35 credit.  Essentially, a scam artist promises that someone out on the street has extensive connections to entrap criminals, and for an exorbitant fee paid by the inmate’s family, the inmate can essentially purchase time off his sentence.  You get cooperation credit for the acts of others.  Remember, in here we’re desperate, and everything we’ve seen and learned has taught us that Rule 35 is the only possible way out, making us all especially susceptible to this scheme.  Law enforcement never paid attention to these kinds of cases because inmates are not the most sympathetic of victims and most instances were “one-offs,” with but a few victims at one institution, hardly worth the FBI’s time.