From Ritz to Writs

Q: That's all well and good. But where does that word "draconian" come from?
A: Draco, Athenian lawgiver of the seventh-century B.C. whose laws were proverbially harsh. Not to be confused with Draco, the dragon constellation near the polar regions of the Northern Hemisphere, near Cepheus and Ursa Major.

Q: Is Strand really a wimp?
A: No.
Q: You want Symington to do some time, don't you?
A: Yes.

Q: Tell me, Jeremy, are there any tattoos recommended for prospective prisoners?

A: Yes, there are. At least that's what my source says. (Dale Ormond, proprietor of Crawling Squid tattoo shop in Phoenix.)

Q: Let me guess--Dale Ormond is quotable.
A: Bingo. Here's what he said: "Skulls, a lot of skulls. . . . And motorcycles. Make them think he's a tough guy. A lot of them all over his arms and back. He needs multiple hardcore prison tattooing before he goes in."

Ormond also suggests tattoos of brass knuckles and switchblades.
Q: Are prison tattoos different from tattoos we law-abiding people have the privilege of getting?

A: Yes. Because tattoo devices are illegal in prison, body art done behind bars utilizes only black ink. Ormond says all you need is a motor from a cassette recorder, a guitar string and some ink to create tattoos. Because of this, prison tattoos have a distinctive appearance.

Q: Did Dale recommend any specific designs?
A: Yes, he did. It's on this page.
Q: Golly. That's rad. Will Fife be able to participate in any prison activities?

A: I'd say he's a good candidate for a leadership post in the Aryan Brotherhood.

Q: Hahahahahahahahah. Will Fife get a nickname?
A: Yes, all prisoners are given nicknames. It's federal policy.
Q: What was former associate U.S. attorney general and Clinton confidant Webb Hubbel's prison nickname?

A: Big Easy.
Q: Neat. What was Charles Keating's?
A: Big Hard.
Q: What do you think Fife's will be?
A: Edgar Winter. Whitesnake, maybe.
Q: How many people are in U.S. prisons?
A; More than a million.
Q; Will Fife be put to work?

A: Yes, federal Bureau of Prisons spokesman Todd Craig says, "All federal inmates are going to be required to work if they're able, seven hours a day."

Q: What will Fife do?
A: He could teach other inmates to read. He could rake lawns or gravel beds, do maintenance. He could be working in one of the prison industries, making cheap office furniture. He could work in the kitchen, although the kitchen is considered one of the least desirable assignments.

Of course, they could also project movies on his bare back.
Q: Will he be able to talk on the phone?
A: Yes. He'll have a list of 30 approved contacts.
Q: Can he get conjugal visits?
A: Yes, but do you think he really wants one?
Q: How many federal prison facilities are there?
A; 90.
Q: Will Fife get to choose his facility?

A: No. Although Judge Strand can make a recommendation, the federal Bureau of Prisons ultimately decides where he'll go.

Q: I wouldn't be surprised if he wanted to get out of Arizona.
A: Hey, you're supposed be asking questions.
Q: Is there any recommended reading for Fife?

A: Of course. My personal favorite is Doing Federal Time: A Handbook for Businessmen Who Are Facing Federal White-Collar Criminal Charges, which was self-published by the controller of a bank who was sent away for 18 months. Guy's name is Ronald TerMeer.

Q: What does that book say?
A: An excerpt in Harper's says that while Fife should be safe, he can expect "a high level of emotional stress . . . a noisy environment."

And Fife, a gourmand, can expect a rude awakening at mealtime. TerMeer: "Beware of the meat dish: Most knives will not cut through the grade of meat served in prison."

But he recommends eating something at every meal, no matter how dreadful.
Q: What about the fines Fife will have to pay? Then there's his bankruptcy, too.

A: Don't worry. The Bureau of Prisons has a plan that's sure to help Fife pay all his obligations. Policy No. PS5380.05, "Financial Responsibility Program, Inmate" requires:

a. All sentenced inmates with financial obligations will develop, with the assistance of staff, a financial plan to meet those obligations.

b. Each financial plan will be effectively monitored (not by Coopers & Lybrand) to ensure satisfactory progress is being made.

c. Inmates who refuse to participate in the Inmate Financial Responsibility Program or fail to comply with provisions of their financial plan will incur appropriate consequences. (Caning.)

Q: Are there any other tattoo designs that guy from the Squid recommended?
A; Glad you asked. Here's one he likes. With this tattoo combination, he says, nobody will know who Fife is.

Q: That makes me feel a lot better. Sounds like he could have used that program when he was on the outside. Is there a prison lexicon or nomenclature that Fife should bone up on?

A: Yes.
Q: Okay. Do you know the prison term meaning "life sentence?"
A: All day, as in "He's doin' all day . . ."
Q: What about a prison guard?
A: Badge.
Q: White men?
A; Billys.
Q: Maybe Fife's nickname should be William Billy.
A: Shut up. Here are some other helpful terms:
Catcher: Sexually passive or submissive, often victimized.
Dump Truck: A lawyer who makes an easy deal at the expense of the client.
Fish: A new inmate.

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