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Advice To The Jailbound Lovelorn
My column runs near quite a few prisons in this country, so I get a lot of mail from prisoners. Their letters usually have a few things in common:

1. They didn't do it.
2. They're looking for a pen-pal.

Hint: if you want a pen-pal, your best shot probably isn't somebody who answers mail for a living.

Here's a bit of a letter from this week's prisoner grab-bag:


Posted by aalkon at July 21, 2007 11:59 AM


My, my, he's a scholar too. It's almost too funny: he "alowed" himself into an apartment, through the window, even, he "thought" belonged to "a salor [he] was drinking with erlyer that day"! Everyone needs a penpal like this. (sarcasm tags were added to this sentence!)

Posted by: Flynne at July 21, 2007 8:53 AM

It's quite common for criminals and pathological types to re-arrange words or expressions to disavow any responsiblity. The subject stating the 'knife went in' the person or the gun just 'went off' and killed the victim. But didn't you stab the person with the knife or squeezed the trigger?

That is why prisons are full of innocent people.

Posted by: Joe at July 21, 2007 9:17 AM

Ahhhh....with such pithy wit and bucolic charm, he'd have a girl on her back before he could unwrap the first bunch of flowers!

Posted by: RedPretzel in LA at July 21, 2007 10:36 AM

And don't you just love how they always seem to find God while incarcerated, too?

Posted by: Doobie at July 22, 2007 3:38 AM

Say... at least we know Chuck doesn't always write in "Memo:" format!

Posted by: Radwaste at July 23, 2007 5:42 AM

>Say... at least we know Chuck doesn't always write in "Memo:" format!

Couldn't you warn people you're going to be that funny? I could've pulled something!

Posted by: Kimberly at July 23, 2007 2:47 PM

Oh my.

My my my my my.

I spent ten years working in a county jail. Here is my take on the criminal mind.

“Look what you made me do!”

This is usually sail over the phone by a young man who has just been arrested for some flavor of domestic violence. It means:

You, my Truelove, deigned to criticize my drinking/drugging/unemployment/infidelity, and thereby Made Me Mad. And when you have Made Me Mad, it gives me license to abandon any responsibility I have for my actions, because I Am Mad. So you see, Dearheart, Darling, Love Of My Life, the reason that you now have a broken jaw, black eye, and firsthand knowledge of the health care provided at our local emergency room is because you Made Me Mad, and the fault is all yours.

Oh, and then there was, “You can't prove it.” Which is shorthand for, “Damn, I hope to hell you can't prove it.”

We routinely ran warrant checks on people in custody, and once in a while we'd come up with a warrant from some other jurisdiction. The deputies would go serve the warrant, and generally it was pretty cut and dried. But this one guys' warrant didn't show up until we ran his fingerprints and found out that he had previously been arrested under another name on several occasions. And lo and behold, he had a warrant out on his previous (and one suspect, legal) name.

I took the paperwork up to his cell, and during the course of the conversation I asked him why he lied to us about who he was when we booked him in. Not that I didn't know, but it's always interesting to see what they will come up with. In this case I got, “Oh, that's my maiden name.”

And then there was one night I was booking this guy in. I was going through his wallet, looking for cash and other valuables, when I discovered a four inch length of aluminum tubing. I've been through a lot of wallets, and have had several of my own, and never before had I found plumbing fixtures. I thought there might be some slight chance that the tubing was used for purposes other than it was designed, and asked the young man why he had it.

“It's not mine.” Slightly taken aback, I noted to him that the wallet was found in his pants while he was wearing them, that it contained his drivers' license, and that he was willing to claim the cash found therein. How then could the tubing not also belong to him?

“Somebody else put it there,” he explained, with an expression that showed that this sort of thing happens all the time, and how could I not know that. I asked him how it came about that others were placing things into his wallet, and he came up with, “I lost my wallet for a few days, and when I found it again, that was in it.”

Posted by: Steve Daniels at July 23, 2007 5:59 PM

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