Glenn Langohr's Stunning Memoirs– of Life in Prison- In Print, Kindle and Audio Book


An Excerpt From My Best Selling Book, Underdog

Chapter 7: Beauty Outside of Hell To buy any or all of my drug war and prison thrillers on Amazon go here- Image

Following my directions I knew I was getting close. I looked out the window and was amazed by the beauty of the remote town that housed Pelican Bay. Ancient redwood trees soared hundreds of feet in the air like they were reaching out to the sky. An abundance of wildlife enjoyed an unspoiled nature of paradise. I watched a magnificent California Condor soar through the air effortlessly and another smaller bird dive down to a river flowing through the forest. A sign on the road stated the cities nickname, The Redwood Gate to the Golden State. I passed a diner and found the street to Pelican Bay, Lake Earl Drive and turned right. A sign said that Pelican Bay State Prison was 2.7 miles away.

Driving the last couple of miles to the prison compound the energy changed. The noise from the teeming wildlife stopped as if something tantamount was on the verge of happening. I began to make out the sounds of guns firing. At first, I thought the echoes of rifle fire was in response to a riot on the Level 4 side of the prison where prisoners were allowed a limited program on the yard together. My mind instantly remembered all the riots I had been in, or watched from my stomach on a number of prison yards. Past scenes flashed by of men dressed in prison garb being pulled by the unseen force of willpower, punching, grunting, kicking, yelling, and stabbing at each other to their own destruction. I waited for the accompanying sound of the deeper, more explosive block gun, it wasn’t present. Nor, was the sound of the high pitched alarm. I listened on the edge of my seat waiting for the sound of an adrenaline charged guard from a gun tower yelling over and over through a loudspeaker to, “Get down!” It didn’t come, only the reports of rifle fire, it wasn’t a riot.

I realized the explosions from guns being fired were coming from the gun tower prison guards, but it was target practice. I remembered that on Level 4 prison yards they did that once in a while or when the yard was on lock down. Maybe the Pelican Bay hunger strike shut the whole prison down.

My body was tense and I realized my hands were gripping the steering wheel like a vise. The prison was coming into view as the forest opened up to fences filled with barbed wire. Inside the fences, in contrast to the forest, the prison was filled with tan concrete buildings. I had to slow down because a California State Prison bus was in front of me waiting for a guard to open the first fenced in corridor to enter. A dirty cloud of exhaust lingered in the air over the drab green colored bus. The smoke slowly lifted over the tinted windows covered by steel bars. I watched a Pelican Bay prison guard, dressed in a green uniform over laced up army boots, take his time to get inside another boxed in fenced cage on the left side of the bus where he pressed a button and the gate for the bus opened. Two other Pelican Bay prison guards walked up with rifles and stood posted as sentries waiting. The door to the bus opened and two prison transport guards walked out holding rifles and greeted the Pelican Bay prison guards and handed them some papers. Another Pelican Bay prison guard walked up with a long thin piece of silver metal with a mirror attached to the end of it facing up. He walked around the edge of the bus with the mirror close to the ground while he examined the under carriage. Finished with his circle he nodded to the guard in the enclosed cage and the bus entered the corridor with another dark cloud of exhaust rising in its wake.

I turned left and drove around the outskirts of the prison and knew I was passing the Maximum Security side of Pelican Bay. Through the barbed wire topped fences I saw the parts of the buildings the prisoners lived in that I remembered so vividly. Five buildings went by in a tilted 180 degree circle and then the next prison yard came into view and I turned the corner and passed two more prison yards. A sign directed my path to the left to park in the visitor parking lot.

The parking lot for visitors was full. At least the prisoners were getting visits during their hunger strike. If I was right and the prison was trying to keep the prisoners from finding out that their hunger strike was building momentum by keeping their mail, it wasn’t working.

On my way to the visiting room I realized that most of the other visitors were media representatives. Some were outfitted with hats that signified which branch of media they were representing and I noticed that all of them had media passes hanging around their necks. I saw a forty something young black lady with a hat that signified she was from a radio station and noticed her name and nickname on her press pass hanging from her neck, Washina, Sista Soul.

I was hungry for conversation after the fourteen hour drive, and curious. “Hi Sista Soul, who are you visiting?”

Sista Soul scrunched up her eyes like she was analyzing me to see if I was trustworthy so I smiled as big as possible. She must have seen something in my character that soothed her soul because her eyes crinkled a little. She asked, “Are you the FBI?”

I laughed, “Not quite, I’m an ex-convict worried about my friend. I don’t think he’s been getting my mail.”

Sista Soul smiled as deeply as I was smiling and her whole face turned into a glow that centered on her eyes. She said, “He probably isn’t getting your mail. The media showed up right as the prisoners started hunger striking and there were groups of protesters already here. The prison kicked the protesters out but they couldn’t keep us out…


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An Excerpt from Lock Up Diaries, Drug Debts ( Prison Killers Book 2 )

All of my drug war and prison thrillers are available on Amazon in print, kindle or audio book here-

I watched from the cell door and saw the brass come into the building. There was a dark black man over 50 years old who looked like he was the Warden, another black man with lighter skin who looked like he was the head counselor, known as the CCII, and a round table of three other lower level Prison Administrators. They all went into an office under the building’s gun tower. Heart stripped me out for security. I knew the drill and dropped the white state boxer shorts and lifted my testicles, then turned, then squatted and coughed, then lifted each foot and waited for the metal detector wand. Heart waved it by my butt cheeks and said, “I have to handcuff you but I’ll do it with your hands in front of you.” I walked down the stairs and saw the usual suspects behind cell doors watching. L’il Bird was always perched.
The office was a 14′ by 14′ room. There was a 6′ by 3′ wood table that my criminal history was spread out on. The brass was already positioned by rank. At the end of the table the Warden sported a name plate – Jackson. Next to him was the CCII, Allen. On the other side of the table the three lower ranking prison guards. Heart stood behind me waiting for me to be seated at the end of the table where the brass could study me like an insect. Everyone stared at the warden waiting for him to start. He had his head bent down while he scrutinized the papers in my file. His big black bald wrinkled head finally looked up at me. He studied me through bifocals for far too long, then said, “Benny Johnson…Sit down.”
I sat with my handcuffed hands resting on the table in front of me staring at the Warden, and waited…and waited…I broke the staring contest and looked at CCII Allen’s face. A little nicer, some smile lines, some laugh lines, compassionate eyes… Warden Jackson said, “What are you doing here?”
I stared back at the warden wondering if I could create any smile lines…”I’m looking for Club Med. I must have made the wrong turn.”
The warden’s forehead creased in anger and it pulled his bifocals higher up his bulbous nose. I
looked at CCII Allen. He was trying not to laugh but his eyes were crinkled. I had to assume the warden meant, how did I get out of the last prison and make it to his so I said, “I didn’t make the arrangements, you’re going to have to talk to the travel agent.”
The warden still didn’t look like he liked my answers. His voice growing more irritated as he said,
“This file says you are an inch away from an indeterminate SHU.” That meant for the rest of my prison
sentence I’d do my time in the isolated Pelican Bay SHU. I stayed quiet though my soul raged; I don’t
have a single tattoo and have never claimed a gang! Yes, I have been involved in violence in prison but
how else do you survive?
The warden began with the questions…”What’s your AKA, what do they call you?”
“Benny Johnson.”
“What gangs are you affiliated with?”
“Which ever ones you house me with, or put me in a cell with.”
The warden was getting pissed. The bifocals were straining higher. The wrinkles in the forehead
deepened. In an angrier voice he asked, “What neighborhood do you run with?”
“I run solo, but sometimes circle the YMCA.”
The warden shouted at me, “Where are you from?”
I felt the anger rising in my soul like fire. This man just wanted to write down that I was a gang member or shot caller and put that in my file to discard me like trash, all with these questions to label me. I didn’t bother telling him I’m from my momma, and said, “I don’t have a tattoo, I’ve never
claimed a gang, I’m just a drug addict who struggles with impulse control and finances…” I shut my anger off by ending with, “But I’m saved by the blood of Jesus.”
The warden seemed to calm down and in a softer tone said, “You’ve got four counts of battery on
police officers, and a pile of violence in prison.”
He had it wrong, or at least the perspective. The sheriffs in Orange County jumped me in the county jail after I was a witness to police brutality and interviewed on the news. ImageAs far as the in prison violence, it is a predatory environ and if you don’t lead you either get pressured or led. I wasn’t going to try to explain myself. Nobody listened anyway.
The warden said, “I’m clearing you for yard but at this prison we shoot people like you. I’m going to post a memo for all the gun tower guards to keep an eye on you with a hair trigger.”


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A month into our solitary confinement our cell was called for I.C.C. I went first and walked to the office in handcuffs. The Warden held my right arm and guided me in the door. There was a large oak table with a collection of people sitting down staring at me like I wasn’t human. At the head of the table, staring at all the files in front of him, was a light colored Black man with reading glasses. Next to him was Lieutenant Pickler and two other White men. The Warden led me to a seat facing the prison administration and left.

The Black man looked up for a second and said, “Sit down inmate Johnson. I’m Counselor Moon. This is Lieutenant Pickler, Inmate Gang Investigator Moore and Doctor Brennan from Mental Health Services.”

Counselor Moon looked back at my file and fingered through more pages like he wasn’t ready to begin. Lieutenant Pickler was the only one in uniform and he was staring at me with a satisfied smirk on his face. Like he already had a plan worked out for my destiny. The other two at the desk blended in as if they were just taking notes.

Counselor Moon’s reading glasses moved up and down his nose while he studied my file. He found the page he wanted and looked up at me. “Inmate Johnson, who do you run with in prison?”

I answered right away. “I’m a White inmate, not a southern Mexican.”

Counselor Moon’s glasses flexed up his nose and his forehead creased into a skeptical look like he didn’t believe me. He said, “Why did you get involved in that riot?”

I couldn’t answer. The unwritten code of silence. If I said to much and it became a written report, I would be looked at like a rat or informant.

Counselor Moon shook his head and said, “In your file it says you were a cartel level gun and drug dealer. That leads me to believe you’re affiliated with the Mexicans. Your involvement in this riot leads me to believe your affiliation is with the southern Mexicans. Are you a south sider or a Sureno?”

I knew that both were considered prison gangs under the heading of the Mexican Mafia. The Mexican street gangs all over southern California merged into one of those two headings in prison. I answered, “I’m a White man and I don’t claim any gangs.”

Counselor Moon snorted and said, “That’s hard to believe.”

Lieutenant Picker jumped in and said, “We’re going to have to assume your a southern Mexican.”

Investigator Moore asked, “Does he have any gang tattoos? Maybe something related to the number 13?”

Lieutenant Pickler responded, “He doesn’t have any tattoos at all but considering his crimes on the street and involvement in this riot, I think he’s a sleeper for the Mexican Mafia.”

I looked at the collection of faces. They were all nodding their heads solemnly in agreement. The feeling of doom was setting in. I imagined the worst case scenario. I could be stuck in solitary for years, mabye for the rest of my sentence.

Investigator Moore added, “That would be a Mexican Mafia tactic, to have someone on the inside with the Whites as a drug dealer and collector.”

Counselor Moon said, “We are clearing you for program in solitary but are considering you a southern Mexican inmate. You will go to yard with them and be housed in a cell with them.”

I almost lost it in frustration and found myself ready to give up the code of silence. I wrestled with it in my thoughts. If I explained myself without implicating anyone…

I said, “You know the policies at this prison related to space. You know that different races use different showers and sides of the dayroom and yard… All we did is defend ourselves. How does that make me a southern Mexican?”

I knew it wasn’t enough. I also knew that being stuck in solitary for a lot longer was now my destiny. I studied Counselor Moon. He was shaking his head. Lieutenant Pickler cocked his head back with a smug look on his face like he was enjoying my position even more. He said, “No other White inmates got involved in the riot on the entire yard, except you two.”

I looked at the Inmate Gang Investigator. He was staring at one of my files and taking notes. This wasn’t getting any better. I looked at the Doctor and felt like I needed a check up from the neck up.

I got back to the cell and it was Giant’s turn. While he was going through the strip search he asked, “What happened? Why do you look so focused?”

I said, “They have me labeled as a southern Mexican now. It’s all bad.”

Giant put on the jumpsuit and backed his way to the open tray slot. He bent over and stuck his wrist through the opening and looked into my eyes. He asked, “What should I do?”

A possible anwer came to me. “Hit up the Warden on the walk to the office. Maybe he can help us.”

For the next 20 minutes I paced the length of the cell back and forth like a locomotive. There was room to take 4 steps each way. Walking fast and turning on a dime at each end helped me think. To avoid the darkness of depression I thought about something good. We were getting cleared for yard for 10 hours a week. Solitary hell would be much easier to deal with.

I watched Giant walk back to the cell with his hands cuffed behind his back. He was hunched over and still almost a foot taller then the Warden. He looked like he was losing it. The Warden held his right shoulder. I heard Giant asking, “How am I a southern Mexican when I’m a White man from northern California? This shit is ridiculous!”

The Warden looked very confused. It didn’t look like he was going to be able to give us a quick fix. Giant was so perturbed that it looked like he had to see the Warden’s face. Bent over in a hunch already, he turned his neck and head to look at the Warden.

The Warden tried to avoid the issue and put his other arm in the air to signal the tower guard to pop the cell. The cell popped open and Giant walked in. The Warden quickly slammed the cell shut and put his key in the tray slot. Giant didn’t turn around. Instead, he looked at the Warden through the plexiglass and said calmly and slowly, “Warden Parker I’m a White inmate from San Francisco. That’s northern California. They just labeled me a southern Mexican so now I’m going to be stuck in solitary confinement for way longer.”

It looked like the Warden cared. His face had a pained look like he was frustrated. He asked, “How would that keep you in solitary confinement?”

Giant said, “Because when I finally get finished with my solitary time for this riot I’m going to refuse to get housed being labeled a southern Mexican.”

It looked like the Warden was beginning to understand how deep the racial issue was. I asked, “Warden, why aren’t you at the head of the table for the inmate Classification Committee? Why are you out here doing the grunt work of escorting inmates?”

The question stunned the Warden. His confused look turned into an authentic look and he answered, “I just transferred to this prison.”

That evening we heard the vestibule door grind open. An army of 8 prison guards entered the building. The tower guard tapped on the microphone and announced, “Shower time! From now on you will get showers 3 times a week. We have more prison staff. Since we don’t have much time tonight you only get 10 minutes.”


Race Riot, Available on Amazon here-

The Mexican from Tijuana acted normal in his greeting as he led the way and gave the Mexican

from LA a shadow to hide in. The Mexican from Tijuana clapped hands in a handshake with Danger,

who had his arm sticking out the steel bars enclosing the showers.

His black arm got slammed at an angle against the steel bar at his elbow and the Mexican kept

pushing it that way. I heard the bone fracture and Danger screaming in pain. He tried to resist by arm

wrestling his arm back into the safety of the shower but it was useless. His fractured arm wouldn’t

respond it was uselessly folded at the elbow.

The other Mexican came out from behind and thrust a thin steel ice pick at an angle through the

shower bars into Danger’s face as he leaned away to use the steel bars for protection, while at the same

time still trying to get his fractured arm back through the bars. After getting hit in the cheek just below

his eye he backed hard enough to free himself.

The other Black Crip, T-Rock fired punches at the second Mexican attacker. The steel bars

enclosing the shower were blocking any further action and the outraged T-Rock yanked the door open,

yelled, and slipped in shower shoes. The second Mexican took advantage of his slip and used his left

arm to hold the shower door open and with his right hand jabbed the steel into T-Rocks shoulder. TRock

gathered himself with even more rage. The warrior took the ice pick poking as if it were only bee

stings and fired so many punches that the Mexican backed out of the shower, but closed the door on the

forward charging T-Rock. He made it through the narrow closing door but took the impact on his

shoulder and head and was made even more furious. His anger alone separated him from the two

attacking Mexicans. Incited by his partners rage, Danger came running out of the shower with his

fractured arm hanging at an unnatural angle.

The sound of the block gun was next, “Boom!

I slid down Popeye’s cell with my back against it to sit on my haunches and realized inmates in

cells were yelling and kicking their cell doors. I looked at the tower and saw the smoke from the tip of

the rifle and at the same time heard the alarm send a siren of decibels in screeches that rose and fell.

Another tower guard at the control booth yelled into the microphone, “Get down! Get down!”, then ran to the opening in the tower window with another rifle.

The two Black Crips were engaging the Mexicans with punches, kicks and grapple throws with

arms going everywhere. All four inmates were bouncing off cell doors with the fight going further

away from the tower, down the tier. Prison guards poured through the vestibule and got as close as they

could and fired block guns, then pointed canisters of pepper spray at them from four feet away, a

stream of painted orange followed the combatants still fighting and bouncing off cell doors.

The gun tower yelled into the microphone, “Get the fuck down! Live rounds coming!” I saw the

four inmates fighting hesitate for a millisecond, like they knew what they’d heard from the tower

changed this melee into deadly consequences or life sentences but they kept fighting for honor waiting

for the other side to back down first.

Boom!” The block gun spoke, then “Ping”, a live round ricocheted, and it was enough. All four

inmates sprawled out on the floor just as another army of prison deputies with gas masks came pouring

through the vestibule with plastic shields thrust in front of them.

Popeye said, “That was weak.”

Twenty minutes later the four inmates were led out of the building in handcuffs. The building’s

occupants inside cells emanated energy that blew rage, frustration and confusion through the air like

wind. I walked up the stairs wondering if any Mexicans or Blacks heard Popeye say in disgust, “That

was weak.” I agreed with him, it was weak.

Not the battle, the reason for it and the position it would put every single one of the inmates in,

along with the deputies, along with the families of both, along with the communities outside the prison


My cell door popped open and I took a last look with my shirt over my mouth. The tear gas fog

floated slowly in a cloud and I could see the canisters it came out of under the tower still whispering

gas. Almost every inmate and guard coughed and felt the sting burning their eyes.

Down the tier from the canisters, the floor was painted orange in a path the pepper spray

extinguishers’ sent, followed by a line that went up and on a few of the cell doors the combatants had

bounced off. Blood stains soaked some of the floor and stained a few of the cells. Almost every cell

still had a bald head with a pair of eyes at their cell doors, studying the building the way I was, with

shirts bunched up covering their mouths.Image

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Underdog is available to read with kindle so here’s an excerpt!

We watched the yard gate open where dozens of prison guards from other yards were waiting to help with the escort. Over fifty prison guards dressed in green uniforms, that resembled military fatigues, positioned themselves on both sides of the single file line of inmates. Every prison guard was holding something. Some had 50 caliber rifles, others block guns and others held pepper spray canisters the size of a fire extinguisher. In contrast, the inmates all looked like tattooed down body builders and soldiers of a different ilk. The procession stretched for nearly 100 yards.

The experience felt eerie, almost out of body. As we walked I felt the pepper spray on the side of my face and neck eating deeper into my skin as it progressed down my body with my sweat, leaving a ‘burned by fire’ feeling in its wake. We walked by the second prison yard and through the razor wire fences saw over five hundred prisoners lying on the ground with prison guards walking amongst them holding guns at the ready in case our yard’s riot kicked off another there. We passed that prison yard and I knew the inmates would remain on the ground in the prone position until we were housed in the Hole Administrative Segregation.

We walked another 500 yards and passed two more prison yards before reaching our destination. The Hole, Ad Seg, was behind the last yard in an isolated compound and we circled it. On the way that eerie feeling magnified with the noise. Men were training their bodies in a choreographed and precise manner. One leader was barking orders with the rest of the group responding, followed by the sounds of bodies exercising and grunting. I began to make out the cadence, “Surenos!! Raza!! Estamos listos? Vamanos!” I knew enough Spanish prison slang to understand the cadence was being applied to the Southern California Mexicans and the Mexicans originally from Mexico, The Race, according to them and always at the ready to go.

Around the corner the building opened up enough to peer in at the portion the prisoners were allowed to use for yard two hours every other day. Instead of a regular prison yard, the prisoners were confined to kennels. Row after row of fenced in rectangular dog runs allowed two prisoners per cage 6′ by 10′ of width to pace back and forth or work out like they were now.

I realized something monumental. I had to find L’il Bird and Boxer, the two Mexicans labeled Mexican Mafia who were removed from the yard before the ensuing power struggle. I needed to communicate to them that the policy we had ironed out together hadn’t been respected by Stranger, who stepped up to fill their void. Now that Stranger was gone from the yard, now in line with us to get processed into Ad Seg, the yard we just vacated was void of leadership again. Both L’il Bird and Boxer had the influence and reach to send word to that yard to keep the peace.

We turned the corner of the building again and were able to see the yard through the fence. I zeroed in on L’il Bird and Boxer. Their sturdy, older bodies stood out amongst the younger, less seasoned Mexicans. Both of their sweat glistened bodies were covered by tattoos blasted in aged ink from decades ago and fading. Both had collages of Aztec war scenes and I was hoping their power to command wasn’t fading like the ink. I searched out the rest of the kennels and in the sea of Mexicans found four White men. The four Whites were distinguishable from the rest of the prisoners by their sheer size.

All four men had large bald heads and only one of them didn’t have his scalp covered in tattoo ink to the forehead. That behemoth was the largest at 6’7″ and at least 280 lbs of iron clad frame. He was scrutinizing us with so much energy I couldn’t look away. The eerie feeling magnified even more as I watched him focus on ascertaining why we were in line to get housed in Ad Seg with him, apparently his spot. He used his fingers for sign language and introduced his name, Bam Bam, his counterpart’s name in the kennel with him, Blitz, along with Sinner and Traveler in the next kennel.

Next he used his fingers to ask us questions. “What prison yard had we just come from?” With our hands cuffed behind our backs in zip ties we had to communicate by nodding our heads or shaking them. He finger questioned, A-Yard? We shook our head no until he got to D-Yard. Then, he finger questioned, What happened with the Mexicans? His fingers were taking too long to go letter by letter so he resorted to mimicking possibilities that started with lifting a drink to his mouth to see if we had been drunk? We shook our heads no. He nailed it with his next one. He mimicked the act of registering a needle and shooting dope into his arm. We nodded our head vigorously that he was so warm he was in the oven with us. Next he lifted his hand and ran his fingers together in the universal sign for money and then used his hand to slide by his throat to say the money hadn’t made it. We nodded our heads that he understood our problem. He then used his hand to make it look like he had a knife in it and jabbed it into his other hand repeatedly to ask if weapons were used. We shook our heads no. Then he used both of his fists to fire straight punches and we nodded our heads yes.


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Prison Riot, A True Story of Surviving a Gang War in Prison- Excerpt

You can buy any of my drug war and prison thrillers here on Amazon-

Here’s an excerpt from my latest in the Prison Killer series…

We stood there staring at each other and neither Johny nor Topo said anything. I let what seemed like an eternity pass and said, “We have a problem. We’re being housed and labeled as southern Mexicans.”

There wasn’t any shock on Topo’s face. He was a stoic warrior who I knew had already given our situation a lot of thought. It began to dawn on me how much deeper our problem was. The southern Mexican politics in prison could be looked at like a mafia battle that incorporated up to 500 southern California street gangs. Not to mention their business with all of the cartels from Mexico. With all of that to deal with the pressure on all of them was enormous. They surely heard our problem discussed through the vent and heard Giant vehemently telling the Warden he wasn’t a southern Mexican. Maybe they felt insulted.

Topo nodded his head and said, “This is your ticket to enter if you want it?”

I realized that he was offering us his blessing to become southern Mexicans. Maybe the I.G.I guard at classification had that part of it right. That it was a Mexican Mafia tactic to recruit White inmates. I felt Giant looking at me to say something. I didn’t feel any pressure at all. I had never wanted to be a gang member or join a group to feel protected or part of another family. I made a show of looking at my arm and said, “I’m White and I’m not a gang member. So thanks for the offer but I think we make better friends.”

As soon as I finished I realized that Johny’s body posture relaxed. I looked at him and saw that authentic smile I remembered. I looked at Giant next.

There was a silent expectation building to hear what he had to say. Topo stared into his eyes. Johny turned toward him as well.

Giant stood there a foot and a half taller than Topo. I realized with his hair shaved down to the scalp he looked even more intimidating. I imagined him as a southern Mexican being used as a soldier to earn his points. He would never be able to break free and would spend the rest of his life in prison. He nodded his head to Topo and said, “Thanks for the offer Topo but I want to go home on my parole date in just under a year.”

Topo’s stoic expression didn’t waver. He nodded his head and said, “No problem. I can respect that.”

Now that we had the preliminaries out of the way I was curious to see how he and Johny would problem solve it. Johny got the ball rolling. He said, “When you get done with this SHU term in Solitary the next prison is going to send you to a southern Mexican’s cell. If you go in the cell it will be a big headache. Imagine if there are tensions with another race already on the yard you pull up too? What if one of the White inmates on the yard owes us a bunch of money for dope? Or what if there is a war brewing with the Black inmates?”

I thought about the level of secrecy the southern Mexicans held together with all of their gangs and issues. Having a White inmate in the cell would disrupt that.

Topo pointed out the problem even further. He said, “Plus you will have a hard time explaining to the rest of your White people why you are in a southern Mexican cell.”

I thought about it. If the wrong White people were in power on the next yard we landed on, they might shun us.

Topo said, “I’m not telling you what to do, but I wouldn’t go in a southern cell and let the door close on you.”

Giant said, “Refuse to get housed?”

Both Topo and Johny nodded their heads. Topo said, “But that is where your problems really start. Once you refuse to go in a cell think about how that will look to all of the southern Mexicans and all of the White inmates?”

I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of it! The next prison would be like all the others. As soon as we got there the politics would began. An inmate would be in charge of studying all of the new arrivals to find out if they were a child molester, rapist or informant. They would ask for our criminal history paperwork. Not locking up was going to make us look like we had something to hide in a big way.

I shook my head in disgust at our positon and asked, “What do you suggest?”

Topo said, “Me and Johny’s names are well known. We’ll write a message for you to give to the southern Mexicans. That will take care of you at that level and it will actually work out well for you. The message will circulate up the chain of command to the shot callers. All the southerners will know you did us a favor and had our backs. How you deal with the Whites is on you.”

I realized that a message from both Topo and Johny would save us a lot of explaining. It dawned on me that our criminal history paperwork wasn’t in our cell right now. It had been boxed up and stored somewhere after the riot. All we had was the paperwork related to the riot. It would be enough to start with.

Johny filled in the rest of the blanks. He said, “You both better take our messages and your riot paperwork and wrap them up as small and tight as you can in plastic to wear out of here.”

What he was saying was to stick the paperwork up our asses and carry it to the next prison. Our property wouldn’t come with us to our next cell. Instead it would go through a search at the next prison for up to a month after we were cleared for the mainline.



Prison Riot, A True Story of Surviving a Gang War in Prison is available on Amazon Kindle

My newest prison thriller is available and on sale for .99 cents on Amazon Kindle. To check out all of my drug war and prison thrillers go here-  Here’s an excerpt: Yard business

For yard we were only allowed to wear our boxer shorts, a white shirt and flip flops. We went through the strip search and backed up to get handcuffed. We walked to a door that opened to a narrow concrete path that went for 30 feet to the yards. The sunlight blinded me after not being out of our cell for a month and I had to walk slower to let my eyes adjust.

We walked the path that led to two mini yards. Each yard was about the size of a half court for basketball. There was a 10 foot high fence around it and razor wire in swirls at the top. In place of a tower, above the yard, was a steel catwalk with two prison guards holding guns. The escort guards led us into our yard. It started with a separate boxed in fenced area about the size of a bathroom. We got our handcuffs released through the tray slot and one of the guards asked, “Do you want to use some clippers to cut your hair or trim your beard?”

We needed some man grooming in a desperate way and used the clippers to make us as close to bald headed as possible. My facial hair had turned into an out of control goatee and I removed as much as I could. While we played barber on each other the southern Mexican inmates started to arrive.

Pericho and Sureno walked with their backs straight and their chests sticking out as far as possible. I almost laughed out loud but instead thought about how sad it was. They were a couple of 18 year olds who desperately didn’t want to look weak. The guards unlocked the first cage in the mini yard next to ours and they walked in. Pericho was the crazier one with wild eyes and a bald head with scars in multiple places. As soon as he got his handcuffs off he took his shirt off.

After we finished grooming ourselves we entered our mini yard. There was a basketball hoop on one end that faced the other mini yard 6 feet away. On the other end of the yard there was a shower head and a toilet. I noticed a basketball in the corner and got it. Giant and I took turns shooting free throws and watched all the southern Mexicans walk in handcuffs to the yard cages.

One by one they got their handcuffs off and entered the yard. The inmates from the bottom floor were put in our yard and the inmates from the top floor went into the other one. The younger inmates all took their shirts off as soon as the handcuffs were removed and I realized it was in defiance. They weren’t going to let anyone tell them they had to wear a shirt to cover neighborhood tattoos. I saw Johny get his handcuffs removed and he walked toward us with his shirt on. He looked different, like his outlook on life wasn’t as positive. Maybe it was that all hope of ever getting a chance to parole on a life sentence was gone.

He stopped in front of us and forced a smile. Giant was so happy to see him he gave him an immediate hug. I followed up with one next and asked, “Are you alright?”

The love from both Giant and I brought back a little spark to Johny’s smile and he nodded his head. He said, “Thank you for helping us out.”

It hit me that maybe he was also depressed that he’d killed another person. Even though it was self defense, it probably had him thinking about how he’d committed himself to being in that position his whole life. I encouraged him, “Johny you protected your people and couldn’t avoid it.”

I looked him right in the eyes and his were brown pools of sorrow. He broke the eye lock and looked at the ground and nodded his head. Our attention was broken by a distraction on the other mini yard.

“Hey Johny!”

There were over 20 inmates on each of the mini yards and almost everyone stopped what they were doing to watch. The man who called Johny was Topo. He was staring at us from the other mini yard with his hands holding the fence. He looked like a Mexican Joe Pesci. He took off his white shirt and from his waist to his neck there was a collection of tattoo art. His usually bald head had a little hair on it and it made his widow’s peak more prominent. We watched Johny walk to the fence. He grabbed it with his hands like Topo was doing and stood almost a foot taller looking down.

I looked at Giant. He noticed the difference in Johny also. He said, “He’s changed. Even his voice is deeper.”

I nodded my head and noticed all the southern Mexicans on both of the mini yards beginning to establish positions. They were all somewhat watching Johny and Topo like they were waiting for orders. They constantly looked over at the two elders and then went back to whatever they were doing.

Johny nodded his head to Topo and turned and walked to us. His expression was even harder and I realized what it was. While I knew him on the mainline prison yard before the riot, he was himself due to the lack of heavy politics. Now in Administrative Segregation heavy politics were being forced on him.

The pep in his step was gone. He looked up at us while deep in thought and forced a smile and asked, “You guys want to work out with us?”

I felt my expression harden on my face over the stress of our situation. I nodded my head and said, “Sure… We need to see if you can help us figure something out after…”

Johny nodded his head and it was obvious he already knew it was over us being labeled and housed as southern Mexicans. I realized in that instant that every southern Mexican on both yards was aware. None of them had even greeted us. There were a handful of southerners that had looked up to us and loved talking to us on the mainline. Now they were avoiding us.

I heard Topo get everyone’s attention in Spanish slang and understood him. He yelled out, “Excuse me! Attention brothers! It’s time for our workout. Everyone line up!”

Johny nodded his head to us and said, “We’ll help you figure it out after we exercise.”

He quickly got into his role as leader on our mini yard and shuffled all of the southern Mexicans into a line. Giant and I maintained our positions and backed up to melt into the line forming around us. Our backs were to the fence and we were facing the gun tower catwalk above us. I looked up for the first time on the yard and noticed that both guards were studying the dynamics of how all the inmates were congregating. It was easy to see and understand that Topo was running one yard and Johny was running the other one. Both Topo and Johny had their backs to the tower guards while we were all facing them. It had to look like we were a part of the southern Mexican army.

Topo called out the cadence in Spanish and I understood it

“One hundred jumping jacks…Ready Begin!”

We did the jumping jacks.

Topo yelled, “Fifty squats…Ready Begin!”

We did the squats.

Topo yelled, “Fifty pushups…Ready begin!”

We did the pushups.

Topo yelled, “Southern Mexicans!! How do you feel?”

Everyone, including Giant and I, yelled, “One hundred percent!”

Our exercises continued for 45 more minutes. When we finished Topo came back to the fence and called Johny to talk to him. Giant and I watched the two communicate and waited for them to call us over. We both looked at the two tower guards.

Giant said, “This doesn’t look good.”

I looked my friend right in the eyes. His were confused pools of blue ocean water. I joked, “Where’s your Mexican pride?”