Author Interview With Glenn Langohr About The California Prison Hunger Strike and Overcrowded Conditions

The Interview Questions Came From Flurries of Words (FLOW) and blogged on 

  •  1) As most of your readers already know, you’ve spent some time in prison but have now turned your life around. Can you tell us what happened to land you there and how your change/rehabilitation came about?
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  • Two good parents raised me, but they divorced when I was 12 years old. Being a momma’s boy, I was broken hearted when I didn’t go with her. I called my dad out for ruining everything and that didn’t work out well for me. I ran away. I got into selling drugs. The law interrupted me, many times. I spent 10 years in some of California’s worst prisons with 4 years in solitary confinement for riots and investigations. The prison system didn’t rehabilitate me, writing did. California has 35 state prisons and they are violent and gang riddled. While “doing time” it is all about surviving. I started waking up at 4 am to write before surviving another possible riot took over my being. Eventually, I built up enough momentum writing books to know in my heart that I had a new life.



    2) You are obviously quite (rightly) dedicated to highlighting the plight of prisoners in the US correctional system (as well as the abuses therein). Your personal experiences aside, anyone who has had dealings with it can understand why this is such an important cause to you but most people don’t have any such experience. How would you respond to critics who would argue that prisoners get what they deserve (“do the crime, do the time” types)?

    First I would say that some crimes are worse than others. I think we are too easy on Child Molesters and Rapist. But, are we the “Leaders of the Free World”? No, we are the leaders of the incarcerated world. In California alone we have 35 state prisons that are bursting at the seams, with more people behind bars than any other country other than China! Why? Because we are locking humans in prison who are addicted to drugs, or who are below the poverty level, and therefore undesirable. That could be your kid, your mother, and your neighbor. In prison, that addiction is bred into an affliction much harder to escape, where gangs are the solution, spitting out tattooed down displaced humans without any job placement or anywhere to live. So really, most of the prisoners are not getting what they deserve, because we look at drug addiction like alcoholism these days, like a disease. They need treatment, not prison. I am working on adapting one of my books, “My Hardest Step” into a TV show about Addiction and Recovery. One of the girls who did a casting call has been to prison. It didn’t help. A drug treatment center did work. She has been sober for over 2 years and has her son back in her life.

    3) What do you see as the way forward in terms of prison reform? How does this come out in your books?

    Prison reform isn’t going to happen until there isn’t enough tax money to keep the current system going. I’m just being real. The Politicians and Media promote the need for prisons to keep the rest of us safe. To get elected, you have to be “tough on crime”. To stay elected, you have to be “tough on crime”. This starts with the D.A. In one of my “High Profile” drug cases, the head D.A. at the time had aspirations to become the Attorney General for the U.S. and for that to even be a possibility, he couldn’t look weak on crime, so he made sure he had a 99% conviction record. Ten years later, his son is doing time for heroin addiction. My books take you inside of prison survival between the gangs and politics and what life looks like “Inside”. If real prison reform were to happen, it would have to be extreme. How about work programs instead of prison? How about prisoners actually learning how to get a job while in prison with computer training, resume training, job placement, housing placement and a real chance upon release? How about only sending people to prison for violent crimes and giving the rest programs for treatment and self-help?

    4) It is also clear that you are a man of faith. What role has that faith played in your work? How does it come out in your characters? How is it part of your ideas for reforming the prison system?

    Thank you for bringing this up. I read the Bible in prison every day and found hope that God restores the hopeless. My characters are divided into two groups, those who are trying to find their conscience, and those who aren’t, with a good cop verses bad cop theme as well. In my books, my main character chases redemption by knowing he has to help other lost souls find hope and a new life away from prison and the drug war, yet just surviving takes almost all of his attention.

    5) How have you been able to partner your efforts with research and/or faith-based organizations to spread the word on your mission?

    Not that well. The church I attend is amazing because of a few things. The worship band it out of this world. Our teaching Pastor is amazing also. He loves my books. But they and most churches don’t want to face their own issues, drug addiction in their family and their community. My writing has progressed from 10-Drug War and Prison books that are in Print, Kindle and Audio Book, to 4 Prayer Books, to my most recent self help books. “My Hardest Step” is based on the Twelve Step Programs. My best selling Prison Book is Underdog found here~ Here’s a 2 minute Youtube video of me speaking about it~

    6) Most, if not all, of your books are based on real-life events. How much did you write while you were still in prison? How do you deal with the possibility of getting sued by people who may recognize themselves, particularly the more well-known you and your work become?

    I wrote my first book, Roll Call, in prison for 7 years on the back of my trial transcript paperwork. Once out of prison I turned down a couple of big publishers to self publish. I got a review from Kirkus Discoveries Nielson Media out of New York that blew my mind, “A harrowing, down-and-dirty depiction–sometimes reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic–of America’s war on drugs, by former dealer and California artist Langohr. Locked up for a decade on drugs charges and immersed in both philosophical tomes and modern pulp thrillers…” As for being sued for writing such raw and penetrating content, I use this quote in TV interviews: “I paint with the true colors of life on a fictional landscape to protect the innocent and the not so innocent.” My newest Prison book, “The Art of War: A Memoir of Life in Prison, is the most controversial yet. While I was finishing up my sentence at a hard-core prison on the California border of Mexico, there was so much violence, you just wouldn’t believe half of it. Being a White inmate where over 80% of the population is Mexican or Black, it wasn’t easy. We had a prison guard who gave us information about other inmates, one of which was a notorious “Child Molester”. You’ll have to read the book to see what happened. It is on sale for .99 for Kindle here~

    7) What one thing you would like for our readers to know about you? Your work? Jesus is my landlord. I got that quote from a homeless woman who told it to the police who were harassing her for living in her car. They stopped dead in their tracks and let her go. I used that quote in one of my books. God bless you.

    I gift out Kindle copies of my books for review/interview and respond to emails and Facebook here~ Here’s a six-minute TV Interview I did about my books and prison life. 

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Glenn Langohr’s Interview on PBS “The Real Orange”, Where He Spoke About His Drug War and Prison Books

Glenn Langohr’s Interview On PBS “The Real Orange”, where he spoke about his Drug War and Prison Books and the Reality TV show about addiction and recovery he is working on! Tap this link for my Prison Books~ He shines a light on Prison Overcrowding, the Hunger Strike, the lack of Rehabilitation and then points to a better way. To check out “My Hardest Step” in Print, being adapted for TV go here~

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“Prisons Breed Recidivism” 06/15 by Coffee Talk With Soy | Blog Talk Radio

CaughtintheCrossFire“Prisons Breed Recidivism” 06/15 by Coffee Talk With Soy | Blog Talk Radio.

I got to speak about how I found the answer to the Drug War and Overcrowded Prisons by writing books from the inside. Now I’m a best seller and am working on a reality TV show that shows the solution in action. Here’s a list of my Audio Books I narrated myself to listen to a FREE sample/purchase~

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PrisonClownsAffection-art-by-PBSP-prisoner-web207732_101555863188340_8325296_nInmates stand in a gymnasium where they are housed due to overcrowding at the California Institution for Men state prison in Chino

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Prison Author Glenn Langohr’s Radio Interview with Women Behind the Wall 05/28 by 4justicenow | Blog Talk Radio

Women Behind the Wall 05/28 by 4justicenow | Blog Talk RadioIt was great to be on the radio with Gloria Goodwin-killian about Prison conditions. If anyone has time to listen and or leave a comment to show the advocates who run the show to help prisoners that they are being heard, I appreciate it!

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Glenn Langohr’s Blockbuster Prison Book Got a Great Review from a Prison Guard

UNDERDOG, A True Crime Thriller of Prison Life is on sale for .99 for Kindle, 8.99 in print or 6.97 in audio book here~

A fascinating look into a different world., May 28, 2013
This review is from: UNDERDOG, A True Crime Thriller of Prison Life (Prison Killers- Book 4) (Kindle Edition)

Glenn Langohr answer’s a question I’ve long had about inmates. Namely whether they feel any connection to their friends that are still in prison once they step through the gates into freedom. After years of watching out for one another and moving through a world of violence and terror long time friends can be torn apart by parole, sentence expiration, or simply moves to other prisons. In the system I work for former inmates are not allowed to return as visitors for any person other than immediate family members. Thus it may mean that they will never see one another again. Langohr illustrates that the bonds of solidarity remain strong through years of separation.

The end of the book examines Pelican Bay and the situation surrounding many controversies at the facility. It raises a question of whether California needs the prison. I will state without hesitation that the state of California needs a super max facility. However merely being a member of a security threat group (prison gang) should not be reason to send a person to the facility for the rest of their sentence. The notion that an inmate can be validated as a gang member by those currently at the facility and seeking to cut a deal to move to a special needs yard is simply asinine. And the abuse that has been widely reported at Pelican Bay is, if true, inexcusable. Corrections professionals should be well aware that being in prison is the punishment that offenders receive. It is never the job of an officer to punish an inmate. Force should only be used as a last resort in order to keep the facility secure, preserve life, or prevent escape. Hogtying inmates and assaulting them should land the officers responsible in prison themselves… in general population so that those they mistreated would have access to settle old scores. The author and I disagree about some things, such as the prosecution of crimes committed by inmates (I believe that far too few assaults bring about further charges.) and whether the person’s convicted of drug crimes belong in prison but we agree that no human should be treated the way that inmates at Pelican Bay are reportedly treated.


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Glenn Langohr’s Prison Book, Underdog, is the Book of the Day on Ereader News Today

Book Of The Day – Underdog by Glenn Langohr Image

Today’s Book of the Day is a highly rated Thriller/Memoir by bestselling author, Glenn Langohr – and it’s 67% off! UNDERDOG has a great 4.4 star rating and ison sale for only 99 cents – save $2!

“I defy anyone to read this and come away unchanged. I highly recommend this powerful book to anyone with both a brain and a heart. It is well-written and makes great use of metaphor.” Mark A. – Amazon Reviewer

by Glenn Langohr
Rating: 4.4 Stars
Genre: Thriller/Memoir
Price: $0.99 save $2

Visit Glenn Langohr’s website
Glenn Langohr on Facebook
Glenn Langohr on Twitter

Another one of Glenn Langohr’s stunning memoirs–a brave, unflinching account of life in prison~ Prison Killers Book 4

The California Prison System houses a mixture of Mexican cartel members, Mexican mafia, Bloods, Crips, and thousands of other street gangs fighting for control and the author turns this story into a pulp thriller of true crime.

The author of Underdog, Glenn Langohr, takes you on a journey back into prison as he remembers a prison riot days before his release date where he left his friend on the way to Pelican Bay.

The story follows the author years later as he visits his friend in Pelican Bay during a prisoner developed hunger strike against sadistic and cruel guards who get off on their isolation and enjoy adding violence to their torture.

A spotlight on the flaws at how Pelican Bay determines gang validation and solitary confinement.

“With lazer-like precision Glenn Langohr lays bare the festering under-belly of our criminal justice system in a driving, graphic narrative that somehow finds the humanity in this most inhuman setting.” Phillip Doran, T.V. Producer and Author

Here’s what the reviewers have to say:

In his latest novel, “Underdog,” Glenn Langohr takes B.J. back into the dreaded Supermax at Pelican Bay, California’s toughest prison. At first he’s just fighting to survive, hopelessly outnumbered by Mexican and black gang members, but then he goes back to try and help his friend, still inside, ferociously battling to change the penal system. And ex-con Langohr can describe the hell of life inside better than any other writer. His vivid passages on just surviving in prison describe a nightmare we’d rather not know about.


After having spent 22 years as a criminal defense attorney, I heard stories like this all day and all night from the majority of my clients. Rarely in my life, have I gotten a perspective as true and accurate and emotionally charged as was derived from my reading this book. The author, with no formal education nor journalistic training, has somehow managed to convey the facts, Circumstances and raw emotion into palpable words that hit home with the reader. I highly recommend this book!


I’m amazed by all I have learned from someone else’s life. I can’t get enough of these books, seriously! I will be re reading them all again soon I can guarantee that!


This book is very well written, fast paced and emotional. My applause to the author for humanizing the prisoners and bringing attention the snakes in the grass that run our prison system. I will be getting all his books very soon! Thanks for a fabulous read sir and God Bless you always.


`Underdog’ was well written and very informative. It also held your attention very well because it was very intriguing and written brilliantly. Glenn knows what he’s talking about from first-hand experience and it shows in his writing. There is a certain flair in the writing of a book if the writer truly experiences it. I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to read more from Glenn Langohr and see what other stories he has to tell!

Get Underdog here: UNDERDOG

About The Author

Glenn Langohr has a purpose: he writes to shine a light inside our prison systems and to help others turn their lives around. Before becoming a best selling author, Glenn Langohr ran away from a broken home and entered the drug war with abandon. Business with the Mexican Mafia and Hell’s Angels became a way of life until the Criminal Justice system interrupted him. In prison he was involved in riots and spent years in the hole. From solitary confinement he started writing and hasn’t stopped since. Now, he is an usher at his church, speaks as a guest Lecturer at colleges and writes articles for newspapers. “I want to show the world and the students and leaders of tomorrow, that we are only building bigger criminals by locking up low level offenders. In prison, an addiction is bred into an affliction much harder to escape.” Help him show the world redemption is possible, buy and share his books.

The author will gift his books FREE from the Kindle store to those who can’t afford it. Glenn Langohr

Ask Glenn a question

Thank you for considering today’s Book Of The Day – Glenn Langohr and ENT appreciate it.


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Excerpts and Reviews From Glenn Langohr’s Best Selling Drug War and Prison Books

Roll Call, A True Crime Prison Story of Corruption and Redemption

Available in print, kindle or audio book here~

  • A harrowing, down-and-dirty depiction–sometimes reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic–of America’s war on drugs, by former dealer and California artist Langohr. Locked up for a decade on drugs charges and immersed in both philosophical tomes and modern pulp thrillers, Langohr penned Roll Call. A vivid, clamorous account of the war on drugs. —Kirkus Discoveries, Nielsen Business Media, 770 Broadway, N.Y Yk
  • “Whacks you aside the head with the force of a baseball bat. Langohr’s incredible description of his fight for survival in prison has ‘screenplay’ written all over it.” John South, American Media

From the Author

Glenn Langohr ran away from a broken home with a death wish and entered the drug war with abandon. Business with the Mexican Mafia and Hell’s Angels became a way of life until the Criminal Justice system interrupted him with Organized Crime charges. In prison he was involved in riots and spent years in the hole. From solitary confinement he started writing and hasn’t stopped since. Now, he is an usher at his church and loves to reach out to other prisoners to help them turn their lives around. He speaks as a guest Lecturer at Criminal Justice colleges and writes articles for newspapers. “I want to show the world and the students and leaders of tomorrow, that we are only building bigger criminals by locking up low level offenders, where in prison, an addiction is bred into an affliction much harder to escape.”

UNDERDOG, A True Crime Thriller of Prison Life

Available for immediate download for .99 or 6.99 to listen to in audio book or buy in print here~


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 Stranger, who stepped up to fill their void, hadn’t respected the policy we had ironed out together. 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 baldheads 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.

He went back to using his fingers to sign letter by letter and asked if the drug user that caused the problem was still on the yard. Even though Lefty had overdosed we nodded our heads that he was technically right. Time ran out to communicate because prison guards from the building walked into the yard and stopped next to Bam Bam’s kennel. He didn’t seem to mind the intrusion and finger signed to us that we were going to be housed in B-Pod.

Everyone heard a prison guard from the gun tower inside the building announce through a speaker, “Yard recall! Your two hours in the kennels are up! Kennels A and B, stand by for an escort to your cells.”

For the next half hour we watched the kennels empty. One prisoner after another backed up and stuck both hands through a slot where a guard applied handcuffs to wrists. From there, we couldn’t see the prisoners enter the building from our vantage point but heard a thick steel vestibule door creaking as it slid open. It closed with the last of the prisoners with a resounding thud.

The building in front of us was a prefabricated tan color. A thick steel green vestibule door creaked and grinded open as it slid on rollers. Above, a black tinted bullet proof window filled up with two prison gunners holding rifles. Right next to the window in red capital block letters read:


The procession of prisoners proceeded in front of us and we shuffle stepped forward inch by inch. Being the last in line it took two hours to get to the vestibule door and inside the building. As we made it I looked up and saw the two prison gunners pointing their rifles at us as if we could get out from our cuffs and become a threat. Shuffling through the vestibule door I kept looking up. We could see the gunners in the tower through a bulletproof Plexiglas they walked on. A 4′ by 8′ square of Plexiglas was constructed with a perforated opening to drop tear gas and fire the rifles through at us below. I heard the vestibule door behind us creak and slide shut and it felt like we were vacuumed into a dank and dark, all metal chamber of penal hell. I knew that a percentage of the prisoners living in these concrete corridors had been here for years and thought of Bam Bam, and wondered if he was one of them. We’d find out how things operated over here soon enough.

I looked back up at the tower through the Plexiglas. From up there, the gunners had a vantage point that allowed access to each row of cell pods and I counted three rows facing west, three facing east and three facing north. The south quadrant covered the yard the prisoners had just come from. Each quadrant had a thick steel green vestibule door. Above each vestibule red block letters signified the location. I found A through C-Pod stamped over the west side quadrant and watched one of the tower gunners hit a switch on a command table and the vestibule opened.

From the gun tower we heard a guard yell out our names and which cells we were to be housed in.

“B-Pod Cell 123!”

“B-Pod Cell 122!”

I was glad to hear that Damon and I were in the same cell and that Blockhead and Jason were in the cell next to us. On the way there I noticed our bedrolls and new prison garb all wrapped up in a bundle with a couple of plastic spoons and cups parked in front of our cells.

The guard in the tower spoke instructions over the microphone, “When we take off the zip ties strip out of your clothes!”

We passed the first cell, a 6′ wide by 10′ long chamber of concrete. The cell door was made out of steel with perforated holes from top to bottom, inches away from each other making it hard to see in or out clearly. The cell door looked like honeycomb. Inside the cell, two Blacks exercised and their silhouettes rose and fell as they took turns doing push-ups. I looked at the cell across from them and the same thing was happening with two more Black inmates. I assumed the Black and Asian inmates were getting their every other day yard tomorrow and were doing their exercises in the cell. We passed a few more cells and stopped at ours.

One of the four prison guards behind us said, “After we take the cuffs off strip down and let us search you. You know the drill.”

I went first and got naked and waited for the instructions.

“Arms out wide…Arms up…Lift up your testicles…Turn around…Lift one foot and wiggle your toes…The other foot…Bend over and grab your ass cheeks and spread them…Now cough three times…”

Done with our strip search and locked up tight in our cell Damon let me take a birdbath first since I had more pepper spray on me. I filled up the sink attached to the toilet with water, then sat on the toilet facing the sink and splashed the water over my head with my cup. The water reignited the pepper spray and my eyes watered to ease the burning and I felt it in my lungs and started coughing.

Next to me Damon was taking one of his two pairs of boxer shorts apart. In the waistband of the boxers, after he pulled out the elastic, there was plenty of thread to weave together to turn it into a fishing line. He hooked three strands of thread to the cell door using the ventilated honeycomb and went to the back of the cell and began weaving the thread into one line.

From outside our cell, on the tier about four cells down, we heard a prisoner yell, “Cell 122 and Cell 123! This is Traveler in Cell 118! I’m sending my line!”

While continuing my bird bath I watched Damon fastening together a small piece of soap into a piece of plastic until he had it attached to his newly woven fishing line. He crouched down on all fours and looked out the side of our cell and yelled, “Shoot it!”

A few minutes of successful fishing he pulled in a written note from Traveler and read it to me.

Greetings brothers:

Welcome to the catacombs. We saw you communicate with big Bam Bam and know you were involved in a riot with the Mexicans. Glad to see you’re all right! I’m in the last cell in our B-Pod so I can get word to C-Pod when the prison guards open the door when they do the head count or pass out mail. I need you to send your paperwork as soon as possible to check you off the Roll Call list. Also, Bam Bam wants to know who ran up the drug debt? We get yard one day and showers the next with a day of zero program on Wednesday. On Wednesday the Prison Administration runs hearings. Speaking of hearings, that’s when you will get checked to see how long you will be confined in here. For a riot they usually keep you for a couple of months if they have you involved in it in their reports. As soon as I get your paperwork I have a care package for you.

Damon scribbled off a note to let Traveler know what happened on our yard along with how Lefty had taken a back door exit by overdosing on heroin.

The next morning four prison guards arrived at our cell for an interview… The first guard, a very large and dark black man who had an experienced face with kind eyes, and had a nameplate on his chest that read: Jackson. Jackson seemed to be the leader of the four and I realized he was a Lieutenant. The other prison guard standing at the cell was of Mexican descent and a little younger. He wore an expression of impatience, nameplate: Torrez.

Jackson scrunched up close to the honeycomb cell door and said, “Inmate Smith and Johnson, also known as BJ, here is your paperwork for the riot. Now time to ask you some questions…”

We accepted the paperwork through the side of the cell door, and each of us took our time to read it. The top of the page had the form number, 114-D and next to it- Lock Up Order For Administrative Segregation. Underneath it started with the reason: Violation of Rule 123 “Group Melee.” The report went on to read that the incident was a serious rule violation and for the safety and security of the prison we were deemed enemy combatants. The next paragraph had reports from prison guards who witnessed the riot from a gun tower and on the ground. I was glad to see that not one of the prison guards wrote who started the fight, just some of the inmates who were involved. It appeared that only fourteen inmates had pepper spray administered to their wardrobe. They were the only inmates considered, “Involved in the melee.” It looked like the other thirty-six inmates would get a reprieve and get “Kicked out” of Ad Seg and return to one of the other three prison yards soon.

Jackson started reading from the report…

“Inmate Smith and Johnson, you were both seen by tower guard Abadaco and Building 5 prison guard Jimenez as combatants involved in the riot and in their words ‘Punching both fists repeatedly hundreds of times during the altercation hitting inmates Guerra, Alejandra, Sanchez, Lopez, Cordoba, Marquez, and inmate Delgado repeatedly’. The report goes on to say you were both pepper sprayed. This is the proof needed that you were both involved in the riot so you don’t have much of a chance of beating the prison violations. Since weapons weren’t used I don’t think you have to worry about added charges with the District Attorney but these reports combined with your statements will be sent to them to see if the County wants to pick up additional charges. I don’t think they will. None of the inmates had to get stitched up and there wasn’t any great bodily injury other than some swelling and bruises and a little blood.”

I stared at Lieutenant Jackson and appreciated his honesty. He was letting us in on the full impact and ramifications of the situation rather than letting us sweat out those pertinent details relating to the potential of outside charges with the District Attorney. He was also coaching us in that whatever we said would be used against us in reports. His Mexican partner Torrez, who I realized was a Sergeant, scared the shit out of us.

“We’ve looked at the video footage of the incident and it shows you as the aggressor BJ…If you don’t cooperate with us we might have to write up the report to show that you instigated the riot. That will probably get the DA to pick up charges, plus we can raise the in-prison violation to a Level A charge…”

I knew the current charge we had read, “Group Melee”, was a Level D charge in the California Prison Guide, also known as the “Title 15”. The most it carried as in prison punishment was up to nine months in Ad Seg as a SHU term. Sergeant Torrez was referring to a Level A charge usually reserved for Murder, Mayhem, Extortion, or a much more gray area, labeling a prisoner responsible for calling those shots by exerting pressure.

Both Damon and I stood there with stoic expressions on our faces, waiting…

Lieutenant Jackson started the questions. “What started the riot? We only want to know to see how long to keep the yard it happened on locked down.” Neither Damon nor I spoke a word. We couldn’t, the unwritten code of silence.” Lieutenant Jackson nodded his head that he understood our predicament and wrote down and said, “No comment.”

Sergeant Torrez looked angry. His face contorted into that impatient frustrated look he brought originally. He said, “We know it was over dope. Did your race or you, BJ, do more dope than you could pay for and then decide the best way out was to get in a fight to get off the yard?”

I knew he was baiting me and it almost worked. I wanted to tell them that yeah it was over dope. Lefty saw half the Mexicans on the yard nodding off and scratching their bodies, high as fuck on heroin. His drug addicted diseased mind was jealous and the desire to use that heroin and get as fucked up as half the Mexicans pushed him past the point. Not that I was excusing his actions. But I was questioning how Termite was smuggling enough heroin into our prison to get two hundred Mexicans so high that they were throwing up all over the yard. Was a prison guard helping him smuggle it? I couldn’t imagine how through monitored visits with cameras everywhere that much heroin could slip through. Usually, smaller amounts made it by the visitor kissing a small balloon of packaged drugs across with it being swallowed by the prisoner and thrown up later…

I finally responded, “It was no big deal. That was a cheerleader fight. All we did is wave some pom-poms around. You can open the yard back up over there…” I knew they wouldn’t open up the yard for a minimum of two weeks. They would follow protocol and sweep the yard for weapons and a few other things first. I’d have time to contact L’il Bird and Boxer and restore peace…Hopefully.

Sergeant Torrez scribbled in his report with an angry face and I looked at Lieutenant Jackson. He noticed my worried expression and shook his head as if to say, everything will be all right.

Sergeant Torrez looked like he was trying to scrunch his face up into something intimidating. He looked at me as hard as he could and said, “BJ, you’re parole date is tomorrow. Why in the fuck did you get involved in this? Now you might not go home, unless you tell me what I need to know! What exactly happened over there so we can investigate the riot properly?”

I looked at the Sergeant for a while and finally said, “No comment.” I wanted to tell him that if I helped him by talking he would have to write it in a report that would then come back to us, that we would then have to carry with us and pass along to other prisoners. That would be another security threat because we weren’t supposed to talk about those kinds of things. Just because my parole date was set for tomorrow it wasn’t time to become a rat.

The Sergeant said, “Last chance to work with me and possibly go home tomorrow…” “No comment.”

Lieutenant Jackson smiled at us like we did what we were supposed to do. He knew the program and was just doing his job. He said, “We’re going to run showers for the Whites and Mexicans after we release the Blacks and Asians to the yard kennels. After that we have to take you two out of the cell for some pictures and some more questions about gang affiliation.”

Damon and I both said in unison, “No comment.”

A half hour later we heard cell doors pop open. We looked out the cell and saw Traveler and Sinner come out of their cell with towels and shower supplies. They came right to our cell and filled us in.

Traveler was as tall as Damon at 6’3″, with a shredded bulletproof build. He said, “We heard that interview, good job with the no comment. BJ if your parole date is tomorrow you might have to stay a few extra days but you will go home. Take this Title 15 and read it. The state can’t keep you indefinitely for a riot unless there is good cause for the District Attorney to charge you with a new beef. Since weapons weren’t used you’re out of here. L’il Bird and Boxer are already on top of things and they got at us to tell you they send their respects and regards and to not worry about the yard you just left. They’re sending Cyclone back to take control of the yard for the Mexicans and the policy you guys already had in place is going to stay the same. The only thing they want is for Lefty to get dealt with…”

The first thing I thought was that it was a good thing I spoke loud enough to Stranger for Cyclone and Termite to hear before the riot. They must have heard, or already knew, the drug policy we had worked out was being violated. The second thing I thought, thank God they were handling their business so honorably.

We handed our Lock Up Order 114-D paperwork to Traveler to follow protocol and he slid us a sack of goodies that included some prison store food, toiletries and some writing paper and stamped envelopes. Sinner had a handful of books for us to read to help kill the time stuck in our cell almost 24-7 in slow motion. I had to ask, “How long have you guys been here?”

Traveler said, “Bam Bam has been here the longest at two years and two months. They’re determining if he’s going to Pelican Bay as a validated mobster. He wanted us to warn you that this prison seems to want these cells in Ad Seg filled. They’re on a fishing expedition to validate as many prisoners as shot callers as possible. My cellie and I have been here for a year and a half for defending ourselves in a riot outnumbered 20 to us 2. With such bad odds we both had weapons in our hands. The weapons have us screwed. What did they want us to do, just let them kill us?”

We watched Traveler and Sinner leave our cell and heard their cell door shut. A couple of minutes later we heard the vestibule open and we got some more visitors.

Sergeant Torrez crowded our cell door with a smirk on his face with six IGI Gooners behind him. We called the Inmate Gang Investigators Gooners because they wore similar uniforms to the regular prison guards but had additional black stitching on their shoulders and chest that resembled tattoos to signify they were in charge of deciphering who the gangsters were, usually based on their tattoos.

We backed up to the cell door one at a time and stuck our wrists through the slot to accept the handcuffs. After we backed out of the cell we had one IGI Gooner on each side of us holding our shoulders to steer our direction. Sergeant Torrez led the way and just as we got to Traveler and Sinner’s cell he said, “Time to take some pictures of you to add to the gang file and have an interview out of hearing so you can really open up to us.”

I knew he was trying to stir the pot and make it look like we might yap our gums and talk. They were always trying to play the divide and conquer game to keep the prisoners fighting each other instead of uniting for a common cause, like finding a new life away from prison walls…

We stopped at an office and there were two other IGI Gooners inside with cameras and a table full of files next to them. Sergeant Torrez grabbed our files off the desk and handed them over. I read the nameplate from the first Gooner’s shoulder to receive our files, Velazquez, and noticed he was listed as a Lieutenant. The other Gooner to get our files was Perez, another Lieutenant.

Sergeant Torrez looked at us like a bully and said, “Strip down to nothing. It’s time to take some pictures to beef up your files. Let’s see those tattoos.”

I knew I would disappoint this branch of faultfinders. I didn’t have any tattoos. Damon on the other hand was a sculpted banner of ink. They were going to have a field day with him.

I stripped down and stared at Sergeant Torrez. He looked even more frustrated. He said, “Turn around BJ.”

I turned around and heard him say, “Not one tattoo BJ? What’s wrong with you? Every other prisoner has tattoos. How do you have so much influence without them?”

I responded, “Who said I have influence? If I have any it’s because I’m not trendy.”

I heard Sergeant Torrez whistle and say, “Look at all that ink on Smith. We should be able to label some of that ink as gang affiliated.”

“Turn around Smith”

Damon turned around and looked at me with a sour expression on his face and I whispered, “Don’t say anything.”

We heard Sergeant Torrez pull one of the Inmate Gang Investigators aside and close the office door behind them. We listened and barely heard the Sergeant say, “We can put everything on Smith and write it up that he was the shot caller that provoked the riot…”

We heard the IGI Gooner respond, “Yeah, I like that. With all of those prison tattoos we can write it up that he’s part of a prison gang and a leader. We should be able to keep him housed in Ad Seg until the Pelican Bay SHU has an opening…”

The door opened and they walked back inside.

“Turn around.”

We turned around and I studied Sergeant Torrez. I was starting to hate him. He was a power tripper who was willing to do whatever it took to screw people like us. He grabbed one of the cameras and got close enough to Damon’s naked body for it to feel weird. The feeling intensified because his face took on a glow, like he was getting off on the process. With his face six inches away from Damon’s stomach he asked, “What does Rott stand for? Is that you’re AKA?”

Damon didn’t say anything…

“What about that banner of ink flowing across your chest with the Ace of Spades flying off the table with the dice? Does that mean you control the gambling in here?”

Damon remained silent…

“What about the 737 on your shoulder, what does that stand for?” Lieutenant Inmate Gang Investigator Perez came closer with an excited look on his face. “That’s a gang tattoo! I know I have it in my files somewhere.” The energy increased with Perez’s excitement and the questions came in rapid fire.

“What do they call you besides BJ?”

“What do they call you Smith?”

“Who do you run with?”

“What gang are you from?”

“What neighborhood do you represent?”

“Are you affiliated with the Aryan Brotherhood?”

“How about the Nazi Low Riders?”

“Are you Skin Heads? Are you Peckerwoods? Come on I know you’re someone!” The feeling of doom intensified as the reports were scribbled faster along with the flashing lights from the cameras. It felt like we were on an out of control train about to get derailed.

Inmate Gang Investigator Torrez flipped the pages in his gang file and with excitement that bordered on glee, said, “See, right here! Look at the tattoo on this inmate… He has the number 737 tattooed on his shoulder also. When we interrogated him he admitted his AKA is Casper and also admitted his gang affiliation as OCS, short for Orange County Skin Head. He also told us the structure of White gang leadership in prison starts with the Aryan Brotherhood dominating the Nazi Low Riders, who dominate the Skin Head gangs. He said a Roll Call list is taken on every prison yard in California to organize the power structure…”

On the walk back to our cells we passed Traveler and Sinner standing at their cell door watching. I remembered Traveler’s warning about the fishing expedition. It felt like we’d just been hooked and thrown all over the place. But where were we going to land? It felt hard to breath, like a fish out of water…

The next morning started with Sergeant Torrez. He stood in front of the cell smiling at us looking smug, like he had won the war. He had some papers in his hand and said, “Here’s some more paperwork related to the riot you caused Smith, or should I call you by your AKA, Rott?”

I pulled the reports through the side of the cell and realized what was happening. They’d decided to focus on Damon because they didn’t have time to focus on me since the DA wouldn’t pick up the charges and keep me from making my parole date. I’d be going home within five days according to the Title 15. With me gone, I wouldn’t be able to be a witness for Damon that he didn’t coerce me into doing what I did…

Sergeant Torrez took one last parting shot with, “If you would have cooperated with me you wouldn’t be in this mess. I could have saved your ass from living in solitary. It still might not be too late…. If you give me enough good information about the gangs in here, I still might be able to help you avoid this hole for the rest of your life.”

I knew I was going home and leaving Damon to this fate. He still had three years left on his sentence and it looked like it might be spent in isolation. I looked at him and watched him say, “No comment.”

A couple hours later Lieutenant Jackson showed up. He also had reports. He handed them through the side of the cell. We took our time reading them and found the Lieutenant had investigated more thoroughly and found the truth and defended us, somewhat. We listened to him say the same thing that we were reading…

“I pretty much know with certainty what happened over there to cause that riot. The Mexicans were without any leadership and there were too many chiefs and not enough Indians. Also, somehow, there was enough heroin on the yard to kill a hundred people. From there it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that the White inmate who overdosed ran up a drug debt. I also know that a year ago on the same yard the Whites were attacked in a riot that sent sixteen Whites to the infirmary on stretchers. It was over a drug debt. You guys were probably just protecting yourselves the best you knew how. I’ve been around these California prison corridors for thirty years and I know it’s just a system of warehouses filled with mostly drug addicts and alcoholics. I don’t like what Sergeant Torrez is doing to you Smith. He wants to become an Inmate Gang Investigator and his passion to do so pushes him too far.”

It was nice to hear but was it and the report enough to help Damon? Probably not.

Lieutenant Jackson shook his head and kept being honest. “BJ, you’re going home tomorrow. Smith you’re going to be stuck in this cell, in isolation for at least three months while the investigation proceeds. You will probably do the rest of your sentence in here and Pelican Bay while the Administration decides if they can validate you as a prison gang leader. Make the best of it and good luck.





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In Glenn Langohr’s Newest Prison Memoir, The Prison Guards Pointed Out the Child Molesters for Some Victim Restitution, Prison Style

Chapter 3


Sex Offender Alert

Twenty minutes later the vestibule door rattled outside again. The tower guard walked to the window overlooking the yard and looked down. He nodded his head and the other tower guard at the podium opened the vestibule. It shrieked and rattled open.

Security Escort Heart was the first through the tunnel. Behind him was his partner Ligazarro. They walked to the podium and talked to an unhappy Gomez.

Everyone heard Gomez yell, “This is my F###ing building!”

I remembered how Heart had escorted us from the bus to the building. He had been talkative and seemed to take a liking to me. I had asked him about the riot between the White inmates and the Mexican inmates that made the news over six months ago. He’d explained that a White inmate had run up a $1000 heroin debt and then stabbed the Mexican dope man in the neck. Within a month, after the initial lockdown was over, over 100 Mexicans swarmed about 20 White inmates in a yard riot. The Whites took a massive beating and almost all were knocked unconscious with 5 minutes of unhindered violence that sent 16 of them on stretchers to the hospital.

Since we arrived in the building we found out that a 50-year-old White inmate by the name of Mark Grisham worked in the program office and got inside information from Heart for the two Mexican Mobsters on the yard, Sano and Boxer. We told Mark we were taking over the yard for the White inmates and talked him into moving us as close to the two influential Mexicans as possible. He’d succeeded with Heart’s help.

Heart wasn’t arguing with Gomez. He wasn’t even raising his voice. Ligazarro stood next to him leaning on the podium and it didn’t look like he liked Gomez. He leaned back and stepped away in irritation and looked at one of the tower guards holding a gun out the portal pointed at the ground.

He nodded his head to the tower guard and walked to our cell. Heart followed him.

Ligazzaro opened the cell door and Heart stepped almost into our cell. He said, “BJ and Damon, you ready to go meet your new neighbors?”

Heart looked like a Mexican version of me. He had short brown hair combed back over expressive eyes that tore into you. He wasn’t shy and when he smiled his dimpled cheeks made him look friendly. But his strong jaw, with a scar down the middle, similar to mine, told a different story. I pegged him for a borderline criminal, or at minimum, a drug user and someone who was more comfortable around gangsters.

I nodded my head and said, “Thanks for making it happen.”

He said, “No problem. Strip down. I have to follow protocol and search you.”

I took off my clothes and handed them to him and Ligazzaro until I was naked.

Heart and Ligazzaro felt the clothes for all the spots inmates sewed stash spots and then studied the shoes.

Done with the task, Heart dropped the clothes on top of the shoes and said, “Arms up, open your mouth and stick you tongue out, lift up your nuts… Okay, turn around. Lift each foot and wiggle your toes. Alright, bend over and squat and cough three times.”

I followed all the instructions and was glad that he didn’t make me grab my ass cheeks to open them. He had a better style than that and this was mostly for show. I grabbed my clothes and shoes and got behind Damon while he went through the motions.

After Damon was done, Heart pulled him out of the cell and walked him ten feet to a bench.

Ligazzaro stared at me and said, “BJ, back out of the cell, we have to follow protocol.”

I backed out of the cell and felt Ligazzaro’s hand grab my shoulder and turn me. We were following Heart and Damon to the benches.

Damon was already kneeling uncomfortably on one of the benches. Heart lifted a pile of chains on the ground and wrapped Damon’s legs together at the ankles. He pulled Damon off the bench and wrapped some more chains around his waist and locked his wrists to each side.

I went through the same process and we were steered toward the vestibule door. I looked at the gun tower above to avoid Gomez. There was a block gun pointed at me. The Mexican prison guard holding it was smiling. He said, “You pissed off Gomez. You better avoid buildings three and four where his friends work the towers.

We were on the border of Mexico and nothing was stopping a Wild West scenario from unfolding. The cards we were dealt forced us into action.

The vestibule door weighed over 400 pounds of steel and it shrieked and rattled open. We were pushed through.

I looked up at a two-foot thick clear bulletproof window above us and saw both tower guards staring down at us. At the other end of the 20-foot long tunnel the other vestibule door rattled and erupted open. It shrieked insane noises for 5 seconds and latched into a locked position giving us 5 feet of space to walk through.

The sunlight was blinding. I closed my eyes and barely opened them. Long ago honed survival instincts forced me to look to the left of our building to get a complete study of the yard. There was nothing that way except the fenced entrance to our D-Yard. I could see C-Yard’s gated entrance 50 yards further and noted that the yard next to our yard was also an empty ghost town and still on lockdown. I turned slowly and paced the foot and half with each foot before the chains bit and held me. It was a slow pace. We weren’t in a hurry to get locked back into a cell for 24 hours of 7 days a week of slow motion lockdown.

In front of me was the asphalt concrete track that circled the yard. It was around the same width and length as a high school track. The sweltering 110-degree desert heat made me dizzy looking at the heat waves rising from it. Just inside the track on the yard there was grass and a couple of concrete tables that would hold about three to four prisoners on each side during regular yard. I knew from experience that this was where the White inmates and southern Mexicans would congregate so I asked Heart, “Is this where the riot was with the Mexicans and Whites?”

Heart nodded his head and said, “Yep. I remember how bad the White inmates got beat. We couldn’t get the Mexicans to stop stomping and kicking them. After we finally got them down, one of the White inmates regained consciousness and started trying to crawl away. He fell on his head trying to crawl and was knocked out again for hours. His face had boot prints all over it…that guy has brain damage and can barely talk now.”

I looked at Heart and wondered if he was trying to intimidate me. I said, “The Whites are lucky prison knives weren’t used.”

Heart nodded his head but didn’t say anything.

I wanted more information so I asked, “Who had the yard for the Mexicans at the time of that riot. Whoever it was had the decency to keep weapons out of it.”

Heart nodded his head and thought about it. He said, “It was hard for us to tell who was calling shots. There wasn’t a bona-fide Mexican Mobster here at the time. I think it was some one from La Puente in LA. I can’t remember his name.”

All of the sudden I realized why Heart was helping me. He wanted to be involved and in the know. It was a competition among a certain class of prison guards to know things. It gave them clout.

One foot in front of the other locked in chains was taking a long time to get anywhere. The dry heat was drenching me in perspiration. To my right was building 4. The prefabricated building was a tan dreary color except for the green vestibule door and the tinted bulletproof tower window above. A tower guard stood watching with his gun pointed at the ground near us. I asked, “Does Gomez really have gun tower friends or was he just acting?”

Heart grunted and said, “He’s serious as a heart attack. He still lives in Mexico and drives across the border everyday to work, his friends caravan with him. Stay out of building three and four.

One foot in front of the other in a shuffle step got us to the middle of the yard. There was a handball wall that was 20 feet high. After that there was a thin cement walkway that cut through the middle of the yard. At the end of it to the right was the gym. Mostly Black Inmates were standing at the window watching. I saw a couple of tattooed down Asians and asked, “How long have the Black inmates had the gym?”

I knew the answer. Ever since the Mexicans and Black inmates had their riot.

Heart said, “It’s been over six months now. The Prison Administration is thinking of trying to put Mexicans in there from another yard to see what happens.”

I grunted and didn’t say anything. It wouldn’t work. It would be an immediate riot.

Heart surprised me by changing the subject, he asked, “Do you want help with this yard?”

I didn’t know what he meant so I remained quiet.

Each shuffle step seemed to take longer waiting for one of us to talk.

Heart finally said, “Do you want to know about any skeletons in the closet?”

Now I understood. He was asking if we wanted to know about any protective custody cases. I was immediately repulsed by the thought and asked, “Is this a protective custody yard?”

Heart noticed me staring right at him and said, “Not at all but there is always a sex offender who flies beneath the radar on every yard. Do you want help uncovering those kinds of things?”

I had stopped walking and felt Damon bump into me. I started shuffle stepping forward again and thought about it. Prisoners were given paperwork from their counselor that stated every crime they had ever committed. We really didn’t need his help. But who was I to muzzle the gift horse. I said, “I wouldn’t turn down help, but I was hoping for tobacco or a cell phone to start with.”

Heart ignored me and said, “There’s a notorious child molester in three building. Think about the worst Catholic priest scenario. He has forty-four counts and is doing a life sentence. I don’t know how he made it through New Folsom and Calipatria.”

What Heart was saying was he was surprised the inmates at those Maximum Security Prisons didn’t uncover his dirty deeds and stick a spike in his neck.

I said, “You would need to give me the paperwork that proves those charges for me to do anything.”

Heart said, “That I can’t do. You have to trust me.”

I said, “It has nothing to do with trust. It has to do with how it has always been done. Paperwork is the only way.”

Heart nodded his head and said, “I’ll see what I can do. I would have to go into his Central File to get it.”

I didn’t say anything. We were getting closer to our building and I wondered if Heart was helping the Mexicans the same way.

Heart said, “You have another potential problem that just arrived. A white guy just got here who has a “Cruelty to Children” charge and a “Corporal Injury to Spouse” charge. You should be able to fish that one out on your own. He had problems at Donovan Reception Center over it on his way to this prison. It will all be in his paperwork.”

Another revelation dawned on me. The prison guards at Centinella must like being on lockdown.



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An Excerpt From Glenn Langohr From His Newest Prison Book, How to Make Prison Weapons To Survive a Gang War in Prison: Life in Lockdown

Chapter 2


No Warning Shots Fired

I got up and walked to the cell door. The gun tower was 30 feet away. To the right along the wall there were two phones that inmates used when we weren’t locked down. In between each phone was a steel cage the size of a small phone booth for temporary security housing for inmates. Above, on the wall 15 feet high, were red block letters that read: WARNING! NO WARNING SHOTS FIRED, WARDEN

The gun tower was constructed of tinted bulletproof windows we could see through. There were bars from top to bottom every few feet. In between the bars there were open spaces in the windows for enough room for guns to be pointed to fire anywhere below.

One of the tower guards sitting in a swivel chair playing with his cell phone got up. He walked past the other guard sitting at a lit up control booth and stopped at a window that overlooked the prison yard.

A loud metal noise reverberated through the building. Someone was yanking a steel handle on the vestibule door back and forth on the yard side signifying they wanted entrance.

The tower guard looked down at whoever was outside and nodded his head. He turned to the tower guard at the control booth and said something.

The tower guard at the control booth pushed a button and the vestibule door underneath shrieked and rattled open.

The other tower guard walked back and looked down through a clear window overlooking the vestibule tunnel to watch the procession walk underneath him.

At the end of the tunnel Gomez, our building guard, was the first one through. Behind him were a couple other guards. The three stopped and looked up at the tower guards standing up facing them at one of the portals.

One of the tower guards asked, “Are we running showers this morning?”

Gomez said, “Maybe later. First we’re going to move Johnson and Smith to building one.”

Gomez was a short, stocky, mean looking Mexican who looked like he lived for the power he had as a prison guard. He turned and stared at our cell and looked right at me.

The tower guard asked him, “How did they get authorization to move out of the building that fast? Did they get the green light from you?”

Gomez stared at me with a frustrated look on his face and said, “I didn’t know about it until a few minutes ago. Inmate Grisham maneuvered it. I don’t know how that White inmate has so much juice on this yard.”

The tower guard said, “I do. He types all the paperwork for the Sergeants and Lieutenants in the Program Office.”

Gomez continued to stare right at me. He said, “I’m going to have a talk with Grisham and find out who authorized their cell move.”

Damon was sitting on the stainless steel toilet soaking wet and buck-naked. He was facing the sink filled with water. He scooped a cup of water out and dumped it on his head and back and asked, “Are they moving us now? I can give you some extra time by flooding the cell.”

Gomez was walking toward me and I muttered, “Here he comes. Flood the floor.”

Damon used both his hands and scooped out a flood of water that I let run under our cell door.

Gomez got to the cell and saw the water. He stepped to the side and said, “Get your bedrolls ready after you clean up all that water. You might be moving.”

I asked, “What do you mean, might be moving? We either are or we aren’t, right?”

Gomez said, “Not if I can help it. I’m going to try to block it because you guys didn’t get at me first. I told you we run the buildings and you guys run the yard. We give you that respect if we get ours.”

When we arrived to this prison a few weeks ago, Gomez told us we could stab inmates on the yard but not in the buildings. I said, “No disrespect intended Gomez. An entire cell became open in one block where we want to be. We need to get there before it gets filled. It’s an emergency. Can you help us?”

Behind me Damon said, “Way to clean that up homeboy.”

Gomez shook his head and said, “It doesn’t work that way. I run the building and you get at me first.”

Everyone heard a Mexican yell out the side of his cell. It was time for the Mexicans to work out.


Over 70 Mexicans yelled out of their cells in unison, “LISTOS!!”

Gomez shook his head and walked back to his desk. He sat facing the vestibule entrance to the building and the tower guards above. A minute later he had a phone in his right hand clamped to his ear and was talking to the tower guard standing at the window above.

I went back to work on my prison weapon. There wasn’t any need to worry about noise now. Every Mexican cell in the building had an inmate dropping to the ground for pushups together in unison and the noise was boisterous and intimidating.

Stranger yelled, “FIRST GROUP… READY, BEGIN!!”

My right hand flew back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Into the routine, Stranger yelled even louder, “MEXICANS HOW DO YOU FEEL?”

Over 70 Mexicans yelled out of their cells in unison and it was like thunder, “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!”

Stranger yelled, “NEXT SET, VAMANOS!!”

I was down to one inch left, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.

Damon was at the cell door watching Gomez. He said, “As soon as you have that piece of steel removed I’ll make the carrying case while you stand at the door. We’ll leave the floor soaked for extra time if we need it. The gun tower won’t pop our cell for us to leave with it flooded.”

The six inch long piece of steel was hanging by steel threads. I angled my razor edge intimately at just the right angle to carve it our cleanly and it fell to the floor. I picked it up and put it in the air and said, “Done. Check it out and make me a smooth carrying case to stick it up my ass. Be gentle. I’m a virgin.”

I handed it to Damon and stood at the cell door.

Damon said, “Virgin? Your ass has done squat routines with a seven-inch sword up it before. Miss me with that shit.”

I laughed through gritted teeth and it felt like I was high on adrenaline. Gomez was still on the phone and he turned his head and looked right at me.

I turned to avoid his stare so if we won and were moved, I wouldn’t be rubbing it in. He had already insinuated that he had gun tower guard friends in other buildings who would shoot us.

Damon had a pile of plastic saran wrap on his lap. We saved it every time we took it off our state issued lunch sandwiches. He was busy molding it into a layered covering. My ice pick was going to fit snuggly inside with a half inch of plastic protection.

Stranger yelled, “SURENOS, RAZA, COMO SE SIENTE?”

I understood it to mean: southern mafia, Mexican race, how do you feel?”

The now pumped camaraderie of the Mexicans was bursting out even louder. All the Mexicans yelled at the top of their voices, “ONE HUNDRED PERCENT!!”

The echo of all of their voices resounded through the building. Every building on the yard could hear our building’s Mexicans working out. It was a show of force. Everyone in California’s prisons knew the southern Mexicans were warriors. It didn’t matter how small, or how young, they were known for kamikaze missions for respect and loyalty. They were a deadly foe and there was no bend in them.

Unexpectedly, our cell door popped open. I looked at Gomez. He was staring at the tower guards and looked angry. The tower guard at the podium tapped the microphone signifying an announcement.

“Inmates Johnson and Smith! You’re moving to building 1, cell 212.”

Damon handed me my luggage and grabbed our floor towel to wipe up the water. I got behind him so he was blocking the view into our cell and studied my ice pick sheltered in plastic wrap. It was about the size of a long poop. I spit on the end of it for lubrication and bent over.

With my weapon up my ass, I squeezed my butt cheeks together so it would climb deeper in me. There was a good chance Gomez would strip-search us. If he did, he would make us bend over and grab our ass checks to open them and cough three times. I didn’t want my ice pick to peek out at him.

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Roll Call, A True Crime Prison Story of Corruption and Redemption by Glenn Langohr is Now Available in Audio Book

I am so excited! Hit this link for a FREE sample of Roll Call, A True Crime Prison Story of Corruption and Redemption by Glenn Langohr

About 9 months ago  Jason Lovett contacted me and told me how much he loved my first novel Roll Call, A True Crime Prison Story of Corruption and Redemption. He is 20 years old and asked me if he could narrate it. He did and is perfect for it as that is the age of the main character BJ, who enters the drug war with abandon. Roll Call is one of those rare books that is both Character driven and Story driven. It is an epic battle of God over evil, hope over addiction and is a snapshot of how our culture is dealing with the drug war the wrong way, by sending people to prison over it. I told Jason, who is my nephew’s age that I would focus on promoting this as I know how much time he put in!

God says in the Bible when 2 or more pray for the same thing, if it in His will, He will grant it. So we are praying for Oprah and other publicity!

Here’s a couple of my favorite reviews:

  • A harrowing, down-and-dirty depiction–sometimes reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic–of America’s war on drugs, by former dealer and California artist Langohr. Locked up for a decade on drugs charges and immersed in both philosophical tomes and modern pulp thrillers, Langohr penned Roll Call. A vivid, clamorous account of the war on drugs. —Kirkus Discoveries, Nielsen Business Media, 770 Broadway, N.Y Yk
 “Whacks you aside the head with the force of a baseball bat. Langohr’s incredible description of his fight for survival in prison has ‘screenplay’ written all over it.” John South, American Media
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