Prisoners are persons whom most of us would rather not think about. Banished from everyday sight, they exist in a shadow world that only dimly enters our awareness. They are members of a "total institution" that controls their daily existence in a way that few of us can imagine. "[P]rison is a complex of physical arrangements and of measures, all wholly governmental, all wholly performed by agents of government, which determine the total existence of certain human beings (except perhaps in the realm of the spirit, and inevitably there as well) from sundown to sundown, sleeping, walking, speaking, silent, working, playing, viewing, eating, voiding, reading, alone, with others. . . ." It is thus easy to think of prisoners as members of a separate netherworld, driven by its own demands, ordered by its own customs, ruled by those whose claim to power rests on raw necessity. -- Justice William Brennan, dissenting in O’Lone v. Estate of Shabazz, 482 U.S. 342, 354-55 (1987).

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Rabbit Hole Inductees

[This was written near the end of May while in prison.]

On May 17, a new inmate arrived. Not just any inmate, but a very special inmate -- the first inmate who has reported to FPC Pensacola after first reading this blog on the outside!

My wife notified me that he was arriving and gave me his name (which I won't repeat). It turns out he was assigned to my dorm 2 rooms away. I have stopped by a couple of times but he hasn't been there.

Eventually, I'm sure I will meet him. I'm curious to get his feedback on my blog.

Stay tuned. I am told there are 2 or 3 more on the way.

[UPDATE: I did finally meet John in the cafeteria. He said he had looked for me. He also said his roommates had a lot of questions about me because, apparently, they knew I was writing this blog, which I guess made them nervous. John reassured them that they had nothing to be nervous about. He said that this blog had been a huge source of comfort for his family, that it was the only thing they could find that talked about life in FPC Pensacola. He was responsible for posting my blog address on, which garnered me some extra traffic. John is a former CEO who is serving 1 year and a day. He has the right mindset and will do fine.

In mid-June, another inmate introduced himself as having read my blog and wanted to thank me. He made the same comment as John; that is, the blog was a source of comfort for his family.

It is odd, because that was not a conscious intent of mine. It didn't occur to me that simply describing my life in prison would bring comfort to future inmate families but I guess I can see why. Our biggest fears are of the unknown. I know I couldn't find any information on the internet about this place so simply making the reality known, even if it is unpleasant, is better than not knowing.

I will post some of the other comments I have received to my gmail account in the next post.

1 comment:

Eva said...

Bill, you've done an amazing job of educating so many others. The everyday experiences that are so reassuring to all aren't the most important part of this blog. I am more admiring of the mindset you developed in your life that allowed you to adopt the attitude that made the 3 months you served an adventure. I appreciate (and know there are others) the insights you share that, in a nutshell, advise one to make the most of every moment, wherever you spend them.