Monday, July 13, 2020


I can't even count how many times I've seen all or pieces of the movie Shawshank Redemption. I can tell you that the first time I saw the film I hadn't as yet earned my first dollar selling ads to hookers - and was decades away from going to prison.

Regardless, I watched the entire movie start to finish for the first time in many years last night and was fascinated by the new perspective I had after serving a year in two NY county jails and one federal prison. The dual themes concerning institutionalization of inmates and prisoner suicide meant little to me the first time I viewed the production. But this time around, they fairly screamed at me. 

I met too many guys who'd spent 1/3rd to 1/2 of their lives behind bars at federal prison. And I listened to them say things like "I think I've been in for so long, I don't think I could handle being out." Or "I'm getting out in September. I'd better kick a cop in the shins so I can have a warm place to stay for winter."

This is not a good thing. No country wants a system in which inmates grow comfortable behind bars. It's a sure sign that system is flawed.

Then there's the reality of suicide in prison. Two of my closest friends at MCC attempted suicide. One succeeded. One somehow didn't - though he bled out three liters in his attempt. You really have to be at the end of your rope and rock bottom to take your own life. Prison will do that to a guy. At least American prisons will. 

And finally, viewing Shawshank reminded me "oh yeah! This was always Peter's favorite movie." Peter (name changed to protect the guilty) was a moron with two kids and a wife who couldn't keep it in his pants on the escort ad-selling stroll. He would actually get emotionally involved with his paramours.

Colleagues always said "if we get in trouble, it will be Peter who's to blame." Peter was fucking a Korean madam. One day, he called an Asian cab driver from Flushing asking if the cabby had any new girls for his girlfriend. That cabby was getting commissions for finding Korean girls straight off the plane at Kennedy places to work in New York. His phone was tapped by the FBI. And Peter caught a human trafficking charge for making that call on behalf of his girlfriend.

Despite a very serious charge, Peter got off with probation. How did that happen? Easy! He dimed me out (and some other people, too). Peter was a mockingbird. I guess Shawshank scared him to death. And he wasn't going to go to prison if he could possibly avoid it.

The feds aren't supposed to let the accused know who informed on them. But it was easy enough to find out. I won't bother with the details of how I made this discovery (you'll have to read my book). Suffice it to say that when you become experienced with prosecutors, cops, the State department and Homeland Security grinding you for information, you learn how to turn the tables and get information from them.

Ya know...sometimes the hunter gets captured by the game. 'Nuff said.

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