“Things You Should Know About L.A. County Men’s Jail” by Dave Reeves (Arthur, 2008)

Originally published in Arthur Magazine No. 28 (March 2008)


Illustration: Joseph Remnant

by Dave Reeves

There were Laws, but they were not feared. There were rules but they were not worshiped like laws and rules and cops and informants are feared and worshiped today. –Hunter S. Thompson, “Fear and Loathing in Elko”

If you are reading this magazine then there is a pretty good chance that you break some stupid ass law every other day. Be it dabbling in tax evasion, watering your lawn on Thursdays, smoking weed, walking your dog without a leash, or drinking two and half beers before driving home, you are overdue to beg for the non-existent mercy of some unlaid grinch posing as a judge (you know who you are, Kirkland Nyby). I’m here to tell you that being a white non-violent person with all your teeth will not be enough to save you from doing hard time for minor infractions anymore.

America has slid far past the point where a well-regulated militia would be able to relieve us of our vicious tyrants. The myriad weapons and tactics perfected over the course of our many stupid foreign wars are easily turned against the American civilian population. We are cowed behind the magic of infrared radar helicopters, electronic ball breakers, automatic weapons and a skein of surveillance cameras: the American population rendered naked to the aggression of a police state gone corporate.

I have seen the future and it is California. That which is not illegal is mandatory. If you find yourself in California, here’s what you should do:

1. Avoid arrest. The best ways to do this are:

a. Don’t be black or have a beard or anything like that. Get your mind right and acquiesce to Total Conformity. If you are reading this, there is good chance you fucked this step up already.

b. Trust the government. Call the cops about everything, all the time. If you don’t call in every infraction, they might charge you. Burroughs sums it up nicely: “Get there firstest with the brownest nose.”

c. Give up now. Give up early and often. Take no shortcuts.

2. If the cops come at you with some specious charge, you are good as guilty.
It’s not the pig’s fault, they just trying to make their quota. Don’t take it personally when the son of a bitch lies on the stand to put you away. Expect to be framed by a cagey bastard with no idea about the value of a man’s life or what karma will do to him. Miss Justice is blindfolded so she can’t see how she is being pigfucked.

3. If the State comes after you for anything, hire a $10,000 lawyer.
That ten thousand is just for starters. If you can’t afford it, you’re going to jail. If you can, you are OJ. The old OJ.

4. When dealing with the State, forget about being righteous in your innocence.
Innocence is no virtue in a court of law. Buy a bunny rabbit and practice being very afraid. Tremble a lot.

5. Going to jail can be fun.
Not really, but there are ways to lessen the blows. Pick an illusion, and your myth won’t fail. What I mean is, you are about to have to play a role. Get the kind of haircut that racists get. This means shave your head so you look like a dick-with-ears gangster cop or gangster gangster.

6. Don’t get any tattooes.
I didn’t have a one and everybody in the joint knew me for the new breed of supermax genius criminal with the foresight not to have identifying marks scrawled all over my body.

7. Get a motorcycle jacket.
It provides a shorthand for cops and criminals to read and shivs won’t penetrate through the kidney plate in the back. Plus you can sleep on the lock-up floors all day without the cold creeping into your bones. It’s going to be a long time between when you turn yourself in and when they truck you to County.

8. If you’re scheduled to go to jail on a certain date, get drunk as fuck for it.
I was so drunk when I surrendered that I almost threw up on the bailiff. What are they going to do—put me in jail? You ain’t doing a damn thing for the next day or so except sleep on that cold, cold floor with people that don’t speak much English. Plus, Latinos respect the bravado of man who can sleep face down on the concrete. By the time I woke up in Burbank lock-up, my southside homeboys were calling me Chuck Norris.

9. Learn to rap.
It’s racist that you can’t rap. Listen to a rap station for the week before you go in. White people are way outnumbered up in the jizzie, my nizzie. There is no music in there and it doesn’t hurt to keister in a beat. My rap attacks while playing spades earned the respect of King Tee, who invited me to his after hours club when we got out. That is called networking.

10. Remember that sheriff cops are their own race.
Regardless of color, creed or whatever all sheriffs are nerds from high school on steroids. These shitheads go to jail five days a week for less than what a teacher makes because they live to power trip. I was incensed when I almost got tasered by a giant sheriff while I was butt naked, until the old cons explained that it is better to be naked when tasered, other wise you’ll be wearing pissy pants until laundry day.

11. If you are Jewish, stop now.
I don’t mean get a nose job or any of that Beverly Hills wannabe WASP shit. By dint of your pale skin you will be counted as white unless you affiliate with “the blacks”, the paisans or the southside Mexican gangsters.

In short, upon entering L.A. County jail, I became a “Wood” which is the little brother of the white supremacist gang known as the Peckerwoods. This deal has been set up with the sheriffs’ apparent consent.

The phones are segregated and you will be get “bu bopped” (beat up) for talking on the black phone. The kicker is that all the phones are black. The peckerwood/Latino gangster phones should be painted beige. I had to do a hundred and twenty-three pushups for talking on the black phone or else take a beating. One hundred push-ups were for talking on the phone and the next twenty three were for “W” which stands for ‘Wood. I’m not lying.

Realize that there is no parental supervision in County. In my experience the sheriffs strolled through about twice a day pretending to monitor a dorm of a 140 criminals. The inmates run the asylum. You get your toothbrush, soap, comb, aspirin and your back up in a fight from representatives of the Aryan Brotherhood. So keep your mouth shut about your bar mitzvah because for some reason skinheads stopped worrying about Jews and gave them a “don’t ask don’t tell” type deal. Mighty white of them. Practice eating the forbidden meat because you are going to the land of ersatz pork in the form of the three main dishes: baloney, “ham and motherfuckers” [beans] and a vulgar soy/ham sausage known as a “donkey dick.”

12. Be gay.
If you are gay, you get a cell all to yourself. If you are not gay, the sherriffs make you stand around naked in a 20 x 20 room with forty naked men. The math says that means a man every foot. So… it’s actually gayer not to be gay in jail. Next time I go I’m going to show up in a dress so I can get a cell to myself and write heterosexual Genet prose with a two and a half-inch pencil.

13. When dealing with pigs, jettison your sense of humor.
Cops don’t have one. Why should you?

14. Buy a gun.
Cops have them. You should too. Besides, if you have a gun and some juevos you also have The Option. Trust me, kid, if you are smart enough to have read this drivel down to here then you might prefer topping yourself to reading torn copies of crime dramas while sitting in a room full of staph-infected career criminals fighting out a petty race war and bullying you out of your peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. So, when they kick down your front door how you gonna come? Maybe those of us who are still free might find the only place to hide from the new tyranny is beyond the pale. Let the meek have the earth. They can’t jail the dead. Yet.

Originally published in Arthur Magazine No. 28 (March 2008).

6 thoughts on ““Things You Should Know About L.A. County Men’s Jail” by Dave Reeves (Arthur, 2008)

  1. Pingback: Friday Bullets: Welcome to the new mbLA jungle. | Los Angeles Metblogs

  2. oh Dave Reeves,
    your writings are a pleasure to read. i always look forward to anything of yours that is posted.
    i espeically liked tips 5, 6, and 7

    My rap attacks while playing spades earned the respect of King Tee, who invited me to his after hours club when we got out. That is called networking.
    –haha yes!

    #11 is really interesting

  3. Kirkland Nyby was involved in MANY payoffs from the ’80’s LA drug cartel along with his sidekick former LA Dep. D.A. William “Bill” racist Johnson. On one occassion when reporters and US Justice Dept. were investigating these 2 corrupt court officials, Nyby abruptly fled his old Santa Anita post and vanished with his family on the S. pacific till the heat was off, or his payoff cash ran out. Bill “skin head” Johnson was sent to Pasadena before leaving the D.A.’s office to pen his book supporting racism!

  4. hey nyby hater if you have any more information about nyby i wouldnt mine running that old fart down. that fucker is so out of his mind on that powertripping i might even take some time out from my busy schedule to try and gaffle him up.

  5. I knew that old geezer was twisted. He and his lap dog = Denny “little dick” Wei are a pair of slithering vermin. I can’t believe they get away with the crap they pull in a U.S. court.

  6. Oh Dave, such wisdom I cannot fathom. As one who has been stopped, harassed, and flirted with 6 or 7 times by filthy cops(By flirting I mean, asking me on a date, for my # etc.) I think you can only imagine a woman’s horror at jail, which I have been told is much worse for a female, with the added fun of being groped, raped, and abused by the male guards, all for an extra cigarette break or some such ‘privilege’. Just warn your children about them, and remember China and it’s infamous forms of ‘justice’, for I fear we are not many years away.

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