"I want it all to be gone," he says of his trauma. "But I dream it, think it, feel it all day long. I can't escape it."


A cocky young man recently incarcerated on charges of heroin possession is about to be berated on camera by the head of the "Woods."

Maricopa County's Durango Jail, where DeLong was jumped by fellow inmates.
Maricopa County's Durango Jail, where DeLong was jumped by fellow inmates.
Abel Hinojosa served as a "torpedo" and knocked out DeLong's eye.
Abel Hinojosa served as a "torpedo" and knocked out DeLong's eye.

That would be short for "Peckerwoods," a slur usually employed against Caucasians, but is used in this instance by white inmates themselves at the Durango Jail to distinguish themselves from the "Pisces" (Mexican nationals), "Chicanos" (American-born Latinos), "Kinfolk" (African-Americans), and "Chiefs" (Native Americans).

The Woods' boss in this episode of First Week In is Jason Ginn, a burly, straight-talking fellow in his mid-30s. Standing in his jail black-and-whites, Ginn carefully explains his "law and order" role inside the pod.

"Basically, each race has its own head, [its] own counsel," says Ginn, who was facing aggravated identity theft and other charges at the time.

"We try to maintain order when someone needs to be disciplined. This whole place [the Durango Jail] has got cameras, so anytime we need to handle anything, it gets taken care of in the bathroom."

Yes, the infamous Durango bathrooms.

Two of Ginn's "aides" hover over the addict as Ginn evenly informs him that punishment is at hand (or fist).

"When you come in here, you read the rules," the boss tells him. "You understand that the number-one rule is no disrespect. I was told yesterday you disrespected the head of the Pisces. You said, 'You don't know who the fuck you're talking to.'"

The kid starts to say that he meant no disrespect to the Latino, but Ginn interrupts him: "Regardless of how you meant it, we take disrespect really seriously."

Ginn informs him that he will be punished inside the bathroom by a Woods torpedo with a punch or two to the jaw.

The torpedo of choice is 19-year-old Spencer Bird, whose broken right hand is wrapped in a cast, the result, he says, of a previous day's chin check in the same bathroom.

Bird leads the camera crew into the john and points to a corner where, he says, he prefers to administer chin checks.

This bathroom is designed just like the one in the pod where Alan DeLong was thrashed in 2004.

"It gets really ugly," Bird says. "People's teeth get chipped. I don't enjoy doing it. But when people break the rules, we gotta do what we gotta do to keep the peace in here."

The show never reveals whether the chin check ever happened.


Alan DeLong pleaded guilty to aggravated drunken driving in August 2004, and because of an earlier DUI conviction a decade earlier, he faced mandatory prison time.

He had migrated to Arizona from his native Missouri in his early 30s, stopping by to visit a sister after a trip to California.

DeLong stayed here and found a job with Paddock Pools, for whom he had worked for more than a decade by 2004. After his guilty plea, company officials promised DeLong they would rehire him after prison.

He was incarcerated at the Durango Jail after his guilty plea, where he awaited a sentencing date in late September 2004.

It was hellish at the jail.

More than 100 prisoners crammed into the D-pod, designed to hold just 32. They spent much of their days in "boats," which is what inmates called their plastic cots they stuck wherever they could find a space — anyplace but the bathroom.

"It was wall-to-wall men in there," DeLong says.

That led to increased tensions and almost-daily fights and chin checks, most of them relegated to the bathroom.

"It was gladiator school in there," former inmate Ronald Paliai said of Durango during his deposition in DeLong's civil case.

"You gotta realize you're in jail, where there's no supervision at all. You got a [detention officer] that walks in there every 30 minutes. He's just getting a paycheck.

"I'm not saying their job is not dangerous, because they have things they have to deal with. [But] just because you made a mistake in life and you're being detained until you have your day in court, regardless of the charge, you're not supposed to be treated like an animal . . . It's living back in the 1800s."

Detention officers were scarce at Durango, often with only two or three on duty at any given time.

That wasn't nearly enough manpower to provide meaningful security for DeLong's D-pod and its 100-plus inmates, much less for the entire jail, more than 2,000 prisoners in September 2004.

DeLong recalls that the then-head of the Woods told him briefly about the jail's unofficial inmate rules when he first got there, just as the modern-day gang leader instructed the young heroin addict years later on the Discovery Channel show.

In September 2004, that Woods leader was Jason Lewis, an honorably discharged U.S. Marine now in prison for armed robbery.

DeLong is a bulky man who has been in a fight or two in his time. But he says he didn't need anyone's advice on how to behave in the jail.

"I laid low 24-7," he says.

DeLong positioned his "boat" where detention officers, if they were around, might see him. He read books or just daydreamed as days passed, killing time until his sentencing on September 21, 2004.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
All
 
Next Page »
 
My Voice Nation Help
31 comments
Guest
Guest

Restraint of "official" goverment sanctioned (by action or inaction) violence is a fundamentally conservative and revolutionary concept which way a key to the American Revolution -- it is not a "liberal" thing.

TiredOfMorons
TiredOfMorons

Nice myopic viewpoint. Is everything that simple and black & white in your world? Because here in the real world, not everything works that way.

guest
guest

The only reason they took the cameras out was so you wouldn't see the Constitution being used for toilet paper.

Mary
Mary

SORRY, I'm with the SHERIFF! You should have known what to expect before you acted on the implulse that put you in prison!

Cliffk_ii
Cliffk_ii

crisis??? Really??? They all left and went to Texas. Got anything else you want to scare us with??

TimPinto
TimPinto

Yeah, on the "webb" you say? Sure it's not the "web?" You sympathizers sure are an intelligent lot, aren't you?

Tom
Tom

When Yahoo gets a good liberal propaganda piece they leave it up for weeks. I wonder how long this one will be here.

Shawn
Shawn

News Times turn blind eye to reporting truth of illegal alien crisis in Az.

Shawnusa
Shawnusa

News Times Left Wing lunatics turn blind eye at reporting facts on illegal aliens. The journos have SOLD OUT!

BJ
BJ

Obama just signed an executive order keeping the Fast and Furious documents away from Congress,I guess this will make everyone at the New Times jump for joy !!

Burris Travis
Burris Travis

my co-worker's sister made $14187 past week. she gets paid on the computer and moved in a $426000 condo. All she did was get fortunate and follow the clues explained on this website lazycash42.c()m

Burris Travis
Burris Travis

as Hazel answered I am inspired that a student can profit $8394 in four weeks on the computer. did you look at this link lazycash42.c()m

big camper
big camper

Tell me yahoo and new times, are you in each others pocket? I see the same 2 stories on Phoenix news now for more than a week! Who cares? Just because you want to run a sting on MCCS, why do yahoo readers have to see the same old news stories for weeks at a time. Move on, get a life!

Jjbooboo222
Jjbooboo222

Dude.. you do realize these are American Born people.. Not all Latinos are from Mexico.. Typical Racist trash..

Rhonda Mauk
Rhonda Mauk

He keeps getting voted in, because this is what the majority of Az wants!

Stinson
Stinson

"Arpio gets voted in everytime, because most ppl think just like me" Yeah, and they spell like you too, which explains why the average IQ level of people in this state has landed us in a crisis due to horrible leadership and bad elected officials.

JeanRayburn
JeanRayburn

The sheer stupidity of your multiple comments on this article have made it abundantly clear that you're not to be taken seriously.

Rhonda Mauk
Rhonda Mauk

No, I wouldn't. I raised four sons in west phx, unfortunatley, and I new I did a good job teaching them right from wrong and they new, if you get in trouble, then you pay the price, I'll be waiting when you get out, I was lucky, only one was ever in trouble, live by the sword die by the sword, I didn't change my mind then and I don't now, they are all good men today, your just soft and your not part of the solution, your part of the prob. Arpio gets voted in everytime, because most ppl think just like me

Rhonda Mauk
Rhonda Mauk

He gets voted in because the majority of Az. like the job he does!!! Who cares how old he is if he's doing the job the ppl want him to do

PaulRubinsFavoriteDick
PaulRubinsFavoriteDick

Your mistaken Jose.. Its the Chicanos, Mexican Mafia, douchebags who will be doing the fu-kin to you as thier little bitch while you scream for Joe and his Deputies to come save your pathetic ass. Pendejo

azbee
azbee

The jail system here sucks, dui"s are not a killing type, they just made a mistake in there life they still have rights and should be treatred according not like a bunch of commom crimmials those who have commented must be part of the problem, most of the officers are a bunch of jerks making a name for themselves, the system needs to change we are not doing any favors for those being put in jail, instead we should be rehabing them and putting them on the right tract, arizona needs to wise up and revamp there system.

PaulRubinsucksDick
PaulRubinsucksDick

Paul Rubin writes trash filled hyperbolic crap targeted to the loyal fans of this liberal advertising rag. It's not Joe A's fault that the prisons are filled with scum. What exactly did Paul Rubin think that he would find in prison; his relatives? Paul should get off his knees and quit sucking the liberal dick. Grow up you fucking pansy.

Jmac185085
Jmac185085

Why would a criminal feel they have a right to privacy?

Guest
Guest

I really don't get it... If Detention Officers intervene, and stop the shitheads from beating someone down, then they get their mothers go to on local news and wail about how the mean detention officers hurt her poor baby! And they're the bad guys, for stepping in and STOPPING violence.

alehound
alehound

This article saddens me.....

Coz
Coz

Judging from the latest posts, obviously kindergarten is out for the summer.

MrEthiopian
MrEthiopian

Mary your an insensitive bitch, that deserves a bit of payback karma herself. Allen was in prison for a repeat DWI conviction, not a molestation, rape, robbery or any other violent offense, why should a man who has no history of violence be put in a maximum security general population? The state has a responsibility to adequately protect its inmate population, just because people are in jail does not mean the state can mistreat them. This should be more than evident to anyone in the state, given that sheriff Joe has cost the tax payers an additional 50 million dollars in lawsuits judgements, that would never had incurred if Joe was doing his job and standard adequate protection was given like in another state penal system. Your stupid mentality will continue to cost the tax payers of this state potentially hundreds of millions of dollars should the inmates create a multiple party suite.

Conservative American
Conservative American

Most inmates in Arpaio's jails haven't been convicted of anything - they are awaiting trial. If you believe in America, if you love the Constitution, then you must - you simply must - embrace the American right to the presumption of innocence. If you don't, then you are no American. Leave, leave now. We don't need you.

Catcaio
Catcaio

The women's jail at Estrella is no better. When push comes to shove, you take your dirty bed sheet and tie it around your neck and put the other end in the toilet and flush it and just hooe for the best.

 
Phoenix Concert Tickets

Around The Web

Loading...