By contributing writer Madeline Helen

For those of you who don’t know this about me (which is pretty much everyone except my friends), I work in a prison. You learn a lot about human nature working in the Big House. You also learn that oral sex can be traded for cigarettes and snack cakes (Little Debbie is a popular broad in the pokey), but I digress. I’ve realized that most of life on the outside falls short of prison life.

I should stop here and warn you that what follows will contain a great deal of prison lingo and references. If you are currently trippin’ balls you might want to check back later. For those of you still with me, DeGraaf has the good shit. Seriously, he does. For the rest of you broke fuckers, let’s talk about how the derelicts of society have it better than us, shall we?

Head on Wheels

Inmate Hernando Gonzalez has called for the elimination of special watermarks built in to California's "Photoshop for Prison" application.

This is the nickname of an inmate. He earned this moniker because he is confined to a wheelchair. Now you may be wondering how in the world this can relate to your life. This, my friends, is an entrepreneur. He looked at a flooded market, factored in his handicap, and found a gimmick that works. You can’t order up a pepperoni and mushroom pizza delivery while incarcerated, but your blowjob will be there in 30 minutes or it’s free! Prison is starting to look better and better, isn’t it?


While locked up, you are entitled, by law, to have rec time daily. I’m a free woman and no one gives two shits, three fucks or a god damn if I get time to hit the gym. If I don’t, however, society will tell me that I should exist on small sips of water, rice cakes, cigarettes and Coke until I meet my ideal weight of 89 pounds. Inmates, on the other hand, are getting rec time, three meals a day, and still enjoying their cigarettes and coke as hobbies instead of diet aides.


As a criminal you are entitled to file grievances whenever you get a bug up your ass. As you might have guessed, this is quite often, considering asses in prison tend to be open a large part of the time. Out here, we can’t even get the cable company to correctly post the payment we actually made without using half of our mobile minutes for the month. Not only can they grieve whatever they choose, but if they are unhappy with our resolution to their problem, it can go as far as the Commissioner. Wouldn’t it be the absolute shit if our gripes got to the President, or even our local Congressman?

Good Time

In prison you are awarded meritorious good time (time off your sentence) for staying out of trouble. You actually get out of prison sooner! The closest I can come to this on the outside is elementary school. Even then, you get a sticker or five extra minutes of recess. They don’t even get out of school early for Christ’s sake! I don’t know about you, but I’m plotting an armed robbery as we speak.


Criminals get to choose who visits them! That's right, no surprise visit from Grandma while your bong is on the coffee table. Mom and dad will not be waiting for you when you get back from class. Don’t want to see your psycho ex? No problem! If they aren’t on the list, they can’t visit! It’s like getting into the best club in town. Requirements for visiting you… at your discretion! They’re already on your visiting list? No problem, you can take them off anytime you want!

Protective Custody

If an inmate gets into trouble on the yard, they can request protective custody (PC). PC is available to them for as long as they like or until they can be transferred to another institution. If I want to run from my gambling debts, I’d better have some information for the Feds that will lead to my entrance into the Witness Protection Program. If I’m going to get my ass kicked, well I had better make sure I’m still covered on mom and dad’s insurance!


This is what you know as “the hole.” It’s where you go if you get into trouble. The amount of property you can have is limited. There is no tobacco. Obviously, your social interaction is eliminated. Otherwise, it’s just the same as general population. If you gamble, get caught with your dick in someone else’s orifice, have contraband or break any of the other rules, you may get segregation time. This is a cell, not a little wooden cellar with a padlock like in the movies. The biggest complaint in segregation is the food.

This is why I tell you that life is like a Seg tray. In the end, you get what you need, but it’s often after those around you, sometimes served cold, not always in the portions you expected, and possibly involving substitutions. Still, anal sex is up to you, blowjobs are voluntary, booze is plentiful, women are accessible, and you can still order that pepperoni and mushroom pizza.

Quit cleaning the 9mm, you have an early class. And if you haven’t already, please consider law school… someone has to keep me in a job!