Sources: The Daily Standard
(Sikeston, Missouri) - Feb 11, 1956; Bridgeport Telegram
(Connecticut) - Apr 4, 1955.
Epic prison board fail: This guy, Hitler. Prison has changed his ways. He won't cause any trouble now!
From The New York Times
- Dec 21, 1924.
With USA incarceration rates at an all-time high, surely there's a market for these nowadays?
From the 1950 catalog.
Jimmy Tayoun was a Philadelphia City Councilman who got busted for accepting bribes and concealing income from the IRS. As a result, he spent some time in a federal prison, but he used the experience to good advantage by penning a 64-page guide of practical advice for those on their way to prison, which was published upon his release in 1995. He titled it, Going To Prison?
It seems like a book that deserves a place in any library of the weird. [Allegheny Times
He also set up a 1-900 number to answer questions from "fearful first-timers," charging them $2.50 a minute to select from a menu of seven topics. In this way, according to wikipedia
, he pioneered the profession of "prison consultant" (apparently he was the first to use the term), that being someone who "provides newly convicted criminals with advice on how to cope and survive in the unfamiliar surroundings of prison."
Jimmy's tips included these words of wisdom:
- Bring a good amount of cash if you can.
- Ask the custodial officer for a couple more razors, some more soap, and later for toothpaste. After a while you will learn where it is stored, check the door until you find it open, and help yourself — though never take too much since your lockers do get checked
- See a dentist before serving time
- Be wary of probation officers
- Never snitch on another inmate or guard
- Bring two pairs of eyeglasses, though "nothing fancy schmantzy"
- Get a doctor's note to avoid being assigned a top bunk
- Arrange private transportation to prison to avoid being handcuffed on the trip
Back in the 1940s, talking wasn't allowed in the dining room of the Iowa State Penitentiary at Fort Madison. So the convicts developed a primitive sign language to communicate what food they wanted:
- Upheld hand: more bread, please
- Upraised fist: more potatoes
- Upheld knife, fork and spoon: more stew
- Washing motion with the hand: water
- Thumb up and index finger straight out: coffee or tea
- Open and close the hand as if milking a cow: milk, please!
- Hand flat and passed back and forth across the plate: gravy
- Fork held up: meat
- Thumb thrust through the fingers: vinegar
- Two fingers thrust out: salt and pepper
- If the person at the end of the table beats the table with his spoon: dessert is on the way
[Milwaukee Sentinel — Nov 16, 1941
Artist Julie Green creates plates that show the last meals of death-row inmates. She's been creating these plates for 13 years and now has around 500 of them. The most popular last-meal request? Junk food from KFC and McDonald's. [Daily Mail
magazine for December 14 1942.]
I'm not sure what the impetus was for this brainstorm, but the letter writer has confessed to sticking a tiny chick into a jar through a small hole, then letting the chick grow to adult size totally within the confinement.
Proper punishment suggestions welcome!
An F-state prison guard decided that the best way to help his co-workers' kids understand what it's like to work in prison was to tase them. Please note that this is now an international story.
Bonus Quote: 'The big shock came when I got fired.' the Daily Mail
An advance in penal technology that never caught on. I found this in the San Antonio Evening News
, Nov 3, 1922:
Fifty-Pound Boots to Hold Criminals
Shod with the fifty-pound "Oregon" boot of metal, dangerous criminals have little, if any, chance of escaping by making a desperate dash for liberty, especially while on long railroad journeys in the custody of an officer of the law.
This shackling device is adapted from the old ball and chain, which it is to supercede. It consists of a steel frame work that fits over the shoe in the manner shown in the accompanying illustration. The "upper" is finished off as a fifty-pound collar.
A prisoner thus shod is able to walk but slowly and with some comfort. However, if he should make any attempt to escape by running, the heavy metal collar of the boot, it is claimed, will break his leg.