This story is over 5 years old.

Pen Pals

Back in Jail and Smoking Green Beans

So it’s back to the stinkin’ clink again. My state tour of various jails and institutions now includes Westchester County Jail in Valhalla. Because I have had felonies and been Upstate before, I got put in a dorm with a buncha cutthroat criminals who...
Κείμενο Bert Burykill
10 Αύγουστος 2012, 2:50pm

Bert Burykill is the pseudonym of our prison correspondent, who is back in prison after getting hit with a parole violation. Above is the other side of the paper his hand-written letter was on.

So it’s back to the stinkin’ clink again. My state tour of various jails and institutions now includes Westchester County Jail in Valhalla. Because I have had felonies and been Upstate before, I got put in a dorm with a buncha cutthroat criminals, no rookies in here. These dudes know how to bid. There are a lot of guys with gun charges facing several years. They’re young kids from the hood and they view this as a rite of passage. Usually they act excited to go Upstate and seem at home here. It blows my mind, but this is the shit people have become accustomed to.

A couple days before my parole officer decided to give me a violation for bullshit, I was watching Lockup and couldn’t believe the poor Maricopa County inmates in Arizona were deprived of pillows. Well, guess what? We don’t get pillows in here, either, and I can’t sleep for shit, which has me going donkey-dick crazy.

Plus, these dudes in here are all fucking nuts. Either I’m getting to be a grumpy old man, or these kids I call “90s grimeys” aka “a buncha fuckin’ bitches who wear tight pants around their knees and dream of blowjobbing Drake” are on another level. They stay up until 3 AM yelling, singing, and rapping. Maybe that’d be entertaining, but I just want to sleep. I wake up early every morning for chow and hear these clowns bust the same jackass jokes: “Who wants my grits?” “I got sausage for cake!” “Who wants to give me peanut butter?” (All of these are comments about dicks and buttholes, but I’ll let you guys figure those out.)

The way the COs get disrespected is a new thing, too. Inmates regularly engage in witty banter with them, saying things like “SUCK MY DICK!” and “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” and “YOUR PUSSY SMELLS LIKE SARDINES!” That type of shit is not tolerated at most places, but I guess this spot is loose, though it’s pretty locked-down in other ways. They really make sure we can’t make anything into a weapon. I’m writing this with a three-inch long pencil; our toothbrushes are three inches and floppy. There are metal detectors everywhere, and as far as I can tell, ain’t nothing really happening.

The main entertainment here is smoking dried green bean skins. For real. As the story goes, some guy who spent time in a Puerto Rican jail introduced this ludicrous hobby a while back and the convicts have enthusiastically embraced it ever since. The fiends separate the beans and pulp from the skin and then microwave the skins for at least ten minutes. They use the slightly waxy paper that covers the single rolls of industrial-style toilet paper (known as “blue thunder”) to roll this shit up and then they actually smoke green bean skins. Let me be clear: There is no effect other than the effect you get from smoking anything.

A dude got caught smoking that shit today and didn’t even get a ticket for it. At many jails they would search to find what he used to light the joint, but it’s generally accepted here that dudes heat up a pair of batteries by connecting them using staples, then use the red-hot contraption to light smokes. (I did hear a guy shoved a lighter in his buttpocket and got it past the metal detectors—apparently there isn’t enough metal in a lighter to set it off, or maybe the balloon and rectum combo somehow shielded it?) Of course, drugs are here too. I smell bud and see dudes nodding and looking loopy, but to me, jail is not the place for that shit.

I’m trying to get outta here ASAP but need to wait six weeks for my parole hearing. Always remember it’s “guilty until proven innocent” when it comes to convicts, not the other way around. However, in my case—while I am guilty—my infraction is fairly innocuous (failing to tell my PO a cop searched me after he saw I was double-parked), so I hope to be freed soon. On the other hand, I’ve always heard “hope for the best, prepare for the worst,” so basically I won’t be surprised if I’m gone until 2013. I’m at the parole board’s mercy, and have a few more weeks to go before they decide my fate.

I cannot reiterate this enough: Do not put yourself in a position in which parole or probation can fuck with your life. I wish that after all the years I’ve been locked up they’d say, “OK, that’s enough,” but I still need to worry about shit like a 9 PM curfew and driving a car, even when I get out. WOE IS ME.

Previously - Our Prison Correspondent Is Back in Prison