My Daily Journal in Federal Prison

Day 127

The biggest change for me, since getting here, has been with the company I keep.  While I mostly kept to myself when I first arrived on the compound, and enjoyed my anonymity, I quickly surmised that this wouldn’t last for long without raising a few eyebrows and maybe even leading some to conclude that I am either stuck up or have something to hide.  As I may have said before, the two worst identities one can assume in prison are that of a chomo or a snitch.  And since I am neither, it made the most sense to start making a few friends in order to dispel any doubt.

With the exception of a few white males I’d consider peers — straight, college-educated, and from a major metropolitan area — I’ve found myself associating primarily with the black guys.  For one thing, the vast majority also come from urban environs and, for another, they often have great senses of humor.  Plus, I’d rather be accepted by this group than considered a potential victim.  Considering the alternative — the rednecks and/or the chomos…the choice is pretty easy.  The Hispanics are also good peeps, but they mostly keep to themselves and a fair amount of them can’t even speak English.

As for the chomos, specifically, my tolerance for them has eroded to negative infinity.  Here’s the thing about chomos in Federal prison — they are often a different breed than those found in state prisons who have been convicted of actual physical contact or abuse with a minor.  Those convicted of a Federal crime may have only been charged with the electronic viewing or transmission of illicit images of underage subjects…which isn’t victimless, of course, but it is admittedly different.  However, there are also those here that are of the “To Catch a Predator” variety…those who had made contact, electronically, with someone underage AND had also made or attempted physical contact.  Because of the Internet and the ease of committing and prosecuting these crimes, this place is becoming rife with more creeps than they can shake a dick at.

Consequently, I’ve taken to eating exclusively on the “black side” of the Chow Hall.  On the “white side,” it often looks like a refugee camp for some of the less fortunate survivors of Chernobyl — or a typical Saturday night at the a VFW Hall in Appalachia.  While standing in line to get your chow, you first have to endure the snaggleteeth, ZZ Top beards, and Camaro cuts of my Southern brethren…and then you’re immediately bombarded with the visual feast of pederasts of all ages, shapes, and sizes.  They are mostly distinguishable by the unfortunate prison-issued eyewear that must be adorned by the less financially fortunate — big, bulky, brown plastic frames — dubbed by some as the “Chomo 2000” model.

Picture, if you will, a Denny’s where you are forced to sit in a section exclusively devoted to those on your Neighborhood Sex Offender Watch List.  By the time you’ve reached the end of the freakshow gauntlet, you’ve lost your appetite before you even got your tray.

*CurrentlyReading: “The Town” by Chuck Hogan (previously published as “Prince of Thieves“)

*Lunch:  “Heart Healthy” Tuna Salad, Beef Vegetable Soup, Potato Salad, Lettuce with Fat-Free French Dressing, and an Orange.

*Dinner:  Chicken Stir-Fry.


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