Compliance Check

In the late nineties a politician from Pike County, Illinois need to find a job for his son. Power breeds corruption. It always has and always will. This was how Donald Snyder from Pittsfield, Illinois became the new director of the Illinois Department of Correction. He came with the get-tough-on-crime rhetoric. He removed a lot of good policies in place to rehabilitate the prisoner. His famous line of B. S. was, “The Illinois prisoner is being treated like a pampered baby. They were sent to prison to be punished, and I will punish them.” He came, and hell came with him. Continue reading “Compliance Check”

Something Wrong Here?

In Illinois the Public Safety Act guarantees that the Department of Corrections and the Illinois State Police get their budgets, no matter what, in order to protect the public.  For we cannot have our prisoners escaping out into the public. So the excuse that “the state Is broke” does not float here. It simply will not hold water.

But the Shawnee Prison is in serious disrepair. Money was appropriated to replace the windows for the cellhouses here. But only the windows in Three and Four House was replaced—the rest of the money disappeared, with no investigation into the millions missing. Continue reading “Something Wrong Here?”

The Man Takes Control

I was set up pretty good at Stateville. The most notorious prison in the Illinois Department of corrections nourished all the vices. I had found my niche making moonshine. I was learning the law. Jimmy Soto, whom I met on day one, had set my head straight. “Nobody cares about you being locked up but you. If you want to change things, learn the law. Then you must beat the man at his own game.”

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How I Survived in the Early Days

The guys found me an old mattress. It was the most gnarly, disgusting, smelly thing I ever viewed in life. Stains on top of stains. Years of sweat had created a smell most repulsive. But it was the mattress or the bare floor. There was a reason Little Joker had the top bunk. So I took my two wool blankets, used one as a sheet, then crawled under the second and fell out.

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