A couple years back, the prestigious upstate prison I attended became flooded with rapists, sodomites, and pederasts. It’s not fun living with perverts, especially when you’re sleeping a few feet away from some of ‘em. The bad touchers were pointed out to me by a white Blood from the Bronx named Powder when I got to a new 60-man dorm. (White guys will kinda sniff each other out like dogs in prison—minus the assplay—so it was pretty natural for us to get to talking.)
One of the rapists was a rotund little white feller named TJ. I didn’t learn the details of his case, but he seemed to get along fine in the dorm. In other jails and prisons, rapists are constantly badgered, so I figured that maybe he wasn’t a 100 percent rape-o (maybe a statuatory case). Also, he worked in the library, which is a very cushy job with useful perks like getting access to newspapers and magazines. Later on, he would work in the garden, which was even more bonerable ‘cause he had a steady supply of produce for four months out of the year. I cannot stress how invaluable the garden hookup was to me. It completed me and gave me a reason to eat, a reason to live.
TJ had a diesel black dude who kinda ran things protecting him in exchange for reading material and possibly commissary bucks. The black dude would walk in to TJ’s cube and grab whatever he wanted. We could only imagine what sort of arrangement they had. From an outsider’s perspective, it seemed they were friends, which was even more curious, ‘cause the black guy was a city-bred gang member involved in selling heroin with the notorious “Bodybag” stamp, and TJ was a white Upstate country boy rapist. They genuinely seemed to get along though. One day, TJ’s protector homie was taken out of the dorm for good, so he started to isolate himslef a little. He was a paranoid type. Lots of rapists are—they don’t want their secret revealed. Plus, I had a feeling TJ had had his ass handed to him at least once before. He started his bid in ’96 (when by all accounts things were rougher) at Elmira Max when he was only 22, and not tough at all—he was five-foot-five with short pterodactyl arms and he seemed to walk with a little fruit in his boots.
After a few months, I began to talk to TJ now and then while watching sports. I had some ulterior motives: I’m an avid reader, and I wanted access to magazines. But beyond that, white guys in prison just tend to occasionally have things in common, like watching golf. He somewhat opened up to me by admitting that he had a seven-to-14-year sentence that he was about to max out on, which was an admission that he committed a sex crime. The only other way he’d max out on a bid like that is if he was really fucking crazy and evil, in which case he’d still be in a max, or more likely the box.
Me and some other convicts were convinced it was little boys, just ‘cause TJ’s smaller stature and slightly effeminate ways made it difficult to imagine him forcefully taking pussy or butthole from a grown person. He wasn’t into drugs so I didn’t see him having access to roofies, and boys just seemed more likely than girls to me. He was suspiciously religious, too. He used to demand quiet around him when he was “reading scripture.” I hate to be bigoted, but I rarely ever trust an overly religious person in jail, and nine times out of ten, I strongly dislike them. Regardless, I became this guy’s neighbor and hung out with him a bunch. I would never go so far to be like “that’s my boy” or anything, but I guess we were friends, ‘cause we talked every day. I remember having conversations with him and trying not to imagine what sort of heinous atrocity he perpetrated on some little kid. On the other side of my cube I had probably the most hardcore Muslim I ever met, who was over 50, militant, and kinda grumpy, but I talked to him every day, too, and I suppose we were friends. Prison is chaotic like that.
Anyhow, he maxed out and went home a few months before me, and I figured I’d wait ‘til I got home to look up his crime ‘cause it was easier to not know what type of filth my neighbor was capable of. I can’t say I was pleased at the results. He was the type of dude that sat in jail from 1996 - 2011 swearing he was innocent and it was all a conspiracy. Who the fuck knows? I’m just relieved to be away from that breed of riffraff.
Before long, our little prison club was infiltrated by another rapist, a guy named Radar. We didn’t know he was a rapist at first—his cover story was that he kicked a guy in the balls and killed him and for some reason no one ever checked him out online to find out that his story was bullshit. There is a jailhouse rumor that everyone is asked to produce “their papers” when they arrive at a prison to prove that they don’t have anything shady on their rap sheet, but that’s not really true. The same goes for the myth that all touchers are ostracized, jumped, or run out of the dorm. Personally, I’m not comfortable around touchers ‘cause I really never know what exactly they did. Most recently I was next to a guy who admitted he did some statutory raping. He was like, "Whatever, I was 22 and she was 16,” and while I’m kinda OK with that, maybe she was ten… without the court papers, you never really know whose story is bullshit.
Anyway, Radar somehow got lucky by scoring possibly the best job on the whole compound: package room clerk. I don’t know how these perverts get these jobs, but I feel like the prison tries to protect rapists sometimes for some mysterious reason. Most prison package rooms are corrupt, but this one especially was a nightmare. The head CO there was a fuckin’ bully who did a lot of inmates unduly dirty. As I got to know Radar, he explained that sometimes COs would come in hung over or still drunk and go in people’s packages from their poor, struggling families and stone-cold jack shit. Radar himself would grab lots of the stuff from the “destroy” and “donate” piles.
An example of how fucked-up things were there: I used to get about 30 Cliff bars (often I’d be missing a few) in every package until some cunty porkchop saw the word “energy” on the wrapper; since we are not allowed to get anything energy-producing in jail, we had a problem. I explained to the CO that I had been receiving Cliff bars for several years con no fuckin problemas, and that it was simply marketing: A Quaker granola bar could say it gives you energy; so could an apple. Anything with calories gives you energy, right? My reasoning could not penetrate her unsympathetic porcine ears. According to Prison Protocol, I was left with three official options for my $50 worth of “energy” bars: Destroy them, send them home, or donate them to charity. I have been to jails that make a point of ostensibly labeling a bin with their supposed go-to charity (“St. Vagina’s Twatarian Chapel Soup Kitchen For The Weak, Nasty, And Needy,”) so there is a chance that some honest COs actually make sure the donations get where they’re supposed to go—but I really think most of them just pocket all that shit themselves. I ended up asking for my Cliff bars to be sent home and the head CO actually got pissed and red-faced over it. Radar later explained to me that the cop was basically asking me to bribe him. That same cockfucking porkchop later took to taking my mangoes from my packages—mangoes that I savored every month, whereas he could just drive to the store and buy mangoes whenever he wanted. Shameless.
Eventually, that CO got fed up with Radar for some reason or another, and blew up his spot by revealing to another inmate that dude was actually in for raping a bunch of old ladies. I never liked Radar, we just hung out with the same people, so it was easy for me to ignore him even more once his disgusting skid-marked laundry was aired, but other dudes acted like nothing happened—the thing was, Radar had this side business selling a bunch of drugs he got smuggled to him in jars of peanut butter. Inmates aren’t even allowed to get peanut butter sent in because of how easy it is to smuggle contraband in those jars, but since he worked with those shady COs they let him get away with it. So everyone loved Radar, grandma raping or not. Some fat, weed smoking, fake-ass hustler even took offense to me talking shit about Radar and told me to watch my mouth. Then Radar’s main partner in slime went down for his third dirty dick, meaning a year in the box, meaning lose your fucking head, so he snitched. A week later, the porkchops ran a jar of his peanut butter through the fluoroscope for the first time and found a bunch of weed and Suboxone. Whoops.
This was only about a year and a half ago. Technically, Rape Daddy Grammaw should have gotten a new case and a couple more years added onto his sentence. He didn’t. Things were kind of complicated: Turns out, the Wrinkled Pussy Raper had some heavily gang-related hermanos sending his sister a jar of drug-laden peanut butter, a bag of chips, and maybe a box of Chicken in a Biscuit, and the dumb broad would send the package to the Old Lady Butt Banger, supposedly with no knowledge of what was going on. If I was getting a few food items from Oswaldo Ramirez from the Bronx to send to my brother in prison I would 110 percent know something fishy was going on, but supposedly she didn’t, and she ended up getting arrested for it. Of course, Radar played this out by snitching on those gang dudes, claiming they were putting pressure on him and threatening to reveal his rapey past if he didn’t comply. It was classic dirty white boy scum-bucket—playing up the big-scary-colored-gangsters-were-pushing-up-on-me card to the racist cops and the equally corrupt prison officials, and it worked.
The rotten cherry on top of all this is he made his next parole board hearing. He’ll be home in a month. Hide your mothers and grandmothers, Onodonga County—Radar is coming home. He musta sucked somebody’s dick. This shit makes me sick. I’m going to go fuck a rubber glove and go the fuck to sleep for a long time. I’m disgusted.
Bert Burykill is the pseudonym of our prison correspondent, who has spent time in a number of prisons in New York State. He tweets here. Previously on Pen Pals: