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Last week, a man I knew from prison reached out to me and said he was looking for work. He told me he had “messed up a few times” (meaning he had used drugs.) He said, “It’s hard, you know?” He had made some assumptions about me and I had made some assumptions about him. We were both wrong.

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Part of one’s acclimation from prison to the outside world is going from the constant interaction with other people, where it’s impossible to get time alone, to perhaps a situation where alone is the norm. And in my life before going to prison, there really hadn’t been another time where I c…

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I’ve been a mixed martial arts fan since the 90s, back when the only way for me to watch UFC fights was on VHS tapes and they only place we knew to buy them were at the once a month swap-meet a couple towns over. Now that MMA is mainstream and YouTube exists, it would be hard to keep up with…

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Hollywood is getting out of prison this week. That’s the name a friend of mine went by. Having a prison “handle” somewhat designates that you’ve embraced the whole prison experience, and couldn’t hold more true in this situation. Hollywood was my cellie in my first housing unit in Gunnison a…

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I’ve run across so many people who feel going to prison is just about the worst thing that can happen to someone. I personally don’t see it that way. Of course, I can only go off of my own experiences. In the case of drug addicts, which is a large portion of the prison population, if the tim…

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I just received some crappy news. A guy I would call a friend, for this we’ll call him “Tim,” just went back to prison. Tim’s wife called me quite distraught and wanted to know what she should do. I suggested she get advice from a lawyer. There was no way to sugar coat the situation. He’s li…

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Numerous people have said to me, “I couldn’t do prison.” For one, you usually don’t get a choice; and for two, yes you could. People adapt. Life goes on, even in prison. It’s a different life, not the most desirable life, but it isn’t all bad.

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In the month before I left prison, another prisoner said to me, “I can tell you and your cellie are both short-timers, because you guys are way too happy for this place.” The interesting part about that was my cellie Paul was not a short-timer or even close. Paul is serving a life sentence w…

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What do prisoners dream about doing when they are released? Last week, I wrote about my vacation and scratching some things off my freedom list. These things are often a topic of discussion in prison. You’d expect prisoners to romanticize about food and women, and they do, but neither come c…

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When you are first sent to live in the Utah State Prison, you are locked in a cell for all but one hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And even on your hours out, the only thing to do is go take a shower and walk around in an empty “dayroom.” This period is called R&O, which stands for…

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In prison, inmates are repeatedly asked by their peers what they were sent to prison for. I heard numerous accounts that just didn’t add up. When I got out and gained access to the internet, I looked up a couple dozen such cases just to confirm my gut instincts. Low and behold, only one pris…

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My state issued counselor recently told me he isn’t worried about me going back to prison, using drugs again, or having difficulty acclimating to the free world. As a result of this assessment I am no longer required to participate in any counseling or substance abuse classes. I’m done with …

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So I was just leaving the Jazz game the other night and thought about the time. It was just after 9 p.m. and it was dark outside. A year before, I was locked in my cell and waiting for an officer to count me and make sure I was standing on my own two feet. I’m thankful for the opportunity to…

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I ran across an explanation for a phenomenon I had observed and commented on a number of times while in prison. That is, generally speaking, “lifers” seem to be happier than the inmates with less time.

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A lot of people ask me how I’m doing. I’m out of prison and gainfully employed; I have nothing to complain about. However, I think it’s a fair assessment to say I’m struggling with balance and the adjustment to a faster pace of life. I can’t seem to find the time to do many of the things I w…

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Someone recently asked me if I could go wherever I would like on a vacation, where would it be. I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head: prison, specifically to the exact place I was living just six months ago. He asked why, and I told him I would like to visit a friend who is…

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This is an article I wrote over a year ago while I was still in prison. I was reticent to share this at the time for fear of retribution by staff members within the prison. I apologize for the length; though, I still don’t feel this adequately details the corruption involved. I usually try t…

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I have a hearing on Wednesday. I am appealing the decision by the state of Utah to deny me an automobile sales license. Specifically, the Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division (MVED) of the Utah State Tax Commission says I can’t acquire a license while on parole. I wonder how decisions like thi…

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Have you ever seen footage of wildebeest crossing the crocodile-infested Mara River in Africa? Thousands have to cross while the crocodiles just lie in wait. It’s the same thing for the seals who have to swim across Coffin Bay, where the highest concentration of great white sharks in the wor…

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A couple weeks back, I was filling out a job application for the position of Sales and Leasing Consultant at Murdock Chevrolet in Woods Cross. I stopped at the section where it asked if I had ever been convicted of a crime. The paper indicated I should write down each infraction along with a…

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The Saturday before I left prison, an officer pulled me aside and shared a little sentiment. He told me he expects to see 99 percent of the prisoners who get released back again. I told him I think that number is a little high. He paused for a second and then simply said, “Nope, it’s not.”

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If you could take a break from life would you be interested? How many of us could use some time without responsibilities, time to be selfish and work on improving oneself? I’m not sure people would sign up to go to prison to accomplish this, with all the negative aspects involved, especially…

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I’m enjoying the last little bit of my time. Being able to work out for an hour in the morning and an hour and a half in the afternoon is coming to an end. My release is scheduled for Jan. 2, 2018; however, there’s no guarantee I leave that day. Most prisoners get out when they are scheduled…

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“Short-timing” is a state of being in which prisoners get close to leaving and their mind starts transitioning to the outside world. I think it’s fair to say I’m starting to experience this. As I get closer to leaving prison, I’m allowing myself to think about all the things I miss from the …

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The other day, a fellow prisoner asked me if there was a way a friend of his could send a message to someone if he knew that someone’s cell phone number. It took me a second before I realized why he would need to ask this. He has been locked up so long he has never used the internet or a cel…

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I saw that a former college football player recently pleaded guilty to misdemeanor sexual assault. The consensus view among prisoners is he should have “taken it to the box.” That means not take the plea and go to trial. It’s easy to say someone else should fight the good fight when your own…

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A friend asked me what I’m going to miss most about prison. That’s not something I had given a lot of thought, but it’s a very valid question. Prison may be described as a timeout from life, but the fact is life goes on for people behind these walls. They call it serving time, but if you’re …

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As I get closer to leaving prison I hear more and more about it from people close to me. “I bet you’re excited to go home” pretty much sums up what I hear from people on the outside looking in. I am excited, and why wouldn’t I be, right? Well, prisoners often have some different perspectives…

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In the Davis County Jail, the only sport we had to play was handball. This version of handball, prevalent in correctional facilities across the United States, is played with a racquetball, not the traditional handball which requires gloves. There was one inmate whose skill-level was head and…

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I know before I was part of the system, I never gave any thought to the individuals living at the facility near the point of the mountain. I was well into my adult years before I learned the difference between jail and prison. It just wasn’t part of my life. That’s the case for many people u…

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A prisoner who was paroling soon told me, “Because I’m never coming back to prison, I’m going to get as much ink (tattoos) as I can before I leave.” While it is definitely positive he plans on this being his only trip to prison, it is sad because he has little idea of what it will take to ac…

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Coming to prison makes one feel like a failure, naturally and justifiably so. By most definitions of the word, we lose the ability to be successful. One of my greatest sources of pride was accomplishments in my professional career. It was a big part of my identity, as were things like my hom…

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I’ve seen a lot of stuff on TV about Operation Rio Grande. Apparently there is some controversy on the subject. Well, I’ve been homeless and have some thoughts on the matter. Even though I never stayed in that particular area I have a pretty good idea of what was going on there. When I was h…