First of all, some background: I'm what everyone would call an alcoholic and heroin addict. I've had a few DUI's in Athens-Clark County. The Honorable Judge Auslander the Third was judicial enough to trick me into participating in the county's DUI-Drug Court. I failed to participate (read: pass drug tests). Judge Auslander revoked the remainder of my probation and sentenced me to 12 months, of which I would do six, with good time.
Before I turned myself in, I reached out to a few friends with whom I had been out of touch due to the reclusive nature of addiction. To my great surprise, all four of them hand-wrote me letters during my six months. Looking over those now — along with the second drafts that became my responses — I'm resisting a melancholy turn. But, to be sure, replying to these letters was what I thought about on my rack at night. And after breakfast trays at 5:30 AM. And after Doce Corazones at 3:00 PM. And just about any other time I wasn't playing cards or chess.
Fortunately for us, though, I didn't promise I would be describing my tortured prose. So instead, I'll share a few common forms of jail letters.
A kite is any clandestine letter dropped into the box used for requests to Programs or Classifications (these are a sort of inmate services). Maybe you snitched on us for smoking on the yard. Once word got around the dorm that is was you (note: doesn't matter if it actually was), You probably wrote something along the lines of "I'm going to kill myself :(" CO's know what's up; they'll be along for you directly. Peace, snitch, enjoy you're stay in PC with no nothing.
The Uninvited Male-Inmate-to-Female-Inmate Letter Delivered by Trustee:
Did you have a court-date today? Did you pay $12 for a haircut? Did you get into a fight/Steal something from someone's box/Kite yourself out of the pod? Chances are you got to walk up front. Maybe you crossed paths with some crackwhore who didn't look down fast enough. SHE PROBABLY WANTS YOU TO WRITE HER! Here's what you do:
- Write a letter
- Find some suck-up wearing a white jumpsuit with a broom.
- Say, "I've got four Chicken Ramens if you deliver this to [whichever crackwhore you fancy]."
Oddly enough, you will get a response.
The Letter to the Judge:
Okay, I'm not going to bother researching all of the exact details of this guy's particular case, but the principal facts are true.
George is illiterate and probably certifiably mentally challenged. About ten years ago, George drove an acquaintance to a trailer park. This acquaintance — we'll call him Aaron — happened to know where the collection box that contained all the residents' rent was located, so he decides to break in and steal it. Unexpectedly, there's an elderly man present when Aaron breaks in, so Aaron stabs him dead. When Aaron returns, bloodied with a pocketful of money and the elderly man's credit card, George raises no objections. They dispose of Aaron's bloody clothes, and George uses the dead man's credit card to buy gas. George is arrested and appointed a public "pretender." George pleads out to some 15 years and is sent to prison. In prison, George enlists multiple convicts to bombard the judge, county solicitor, and DA with letters claiming he wasn't mentally capable of understanding the details of his plea agreement. Last year, George's accessory-to-murder conviction was overturned. However, he is still incarcerated (now in county jail) for a probation violation. He spends his time asking anyone whom he sees reading often to write the judge. Write what, you ask? Anything the "reader" thinks will work. I wrote one.
The "Hey, can I use your name as a return address because I have a restraining order?" Letter:
There are actual people who are dumb enough to think this approach is not only effective, but welcomed by the recipient.