Doing Time In Hell PDF
Doing Time in Hell is the memoir of J. Bodie, a prison guard at the Nebraska State Penitentiary from 1979-1991.
Encouraged by his father-in-law, also an NSP employee, the young wildcat oil rigger straight from the bayous of Louisiana applied for and received an appointment at the Lincoln, Nebraska State prison. For nearly a dozen years, he observed both the men in his custody as well as the ones guarding them. Soon he realized both were “doing time.” The only difference is that the guards are doing it on the “Installment Plan.”
Within these pages are recorded events that occurred during his employment, as well as various characters, some infamous, some not, whom he met while he also “did his time.”
Sensuality rating: 0
Cover Art by Bev Haynes
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April 24, 1979
No Different from You or Me
At this moment, they are beating on the doors and raising Hell down in the Hole, which is really the Adjustment Center.
A few minutes ago, a con broke out of his cell and tried to cut a guard’s guts out. The guard broke into a run and the con cut him in the buttocks instead, one hundred and nineteen times, using a box cutter he smuggled in from the kitchen.
The sergeant and other officers brought the con in and he’s telling his story to the others down here and now they’re spoiling for a fight. The sergeant who saved the guard’s life said there were no less than twenty doors clicking shut when they saw him come into the Housing Unit. He slammed the con on the floor and chained him to the catwalk leading to the Housing Unit.
That side of the Unit’s locking and beating on the doors. The officer who was injured swears the Front Office knew about the disturbance and failed to inform him. Such things do happen, of course, because we’re working in a prison where anything goes and usually does.
The men locked up here are no different from you or I when they first arrive. If there is a difference, it’s that they got caught, and that is where the Turning Point comes in. I once had a young inmate tell me, if you aren’t a convict when they lock you up, they’ll make one out of you soon enough.
In 1976, my father-in-law, who was working at the Nebraska State Penitentiary in Lincoln, Nebraska, asked me to come work with him. I refused, telling him he was a crazy SOB to want to work in such a place!
Soon after, my wife and I moved to New Iberia, Louisiana where I went to rough-necking off-shore. It took an hour to get there if we went by twin-rotor helicopter, or nine hours a day by crew boat, to reach the drilling rig platform. A work-week was called a hitch, and a work day was twelve hours on and twelve hours off.
After three years of doing everything from being a derrick man atop a 200-foot drilling rig to laying pipeline in the Louisiana swamps, I decided to take my wife and son and move back to Lincoln.
Immediately, my father-in-law starting talking to me about working at the Pen. My mind kept saying “No”, but the more he filled my glass with booze and my mind with wild stories of things he’d gone through, the more my mind was saying “Yes.” I’d never really imagined working in a prison but as Dad, as I called him, explained it, it was ninety percent safer than working off-shore, so…
The next morning, hangover and all, I found myself being walked around the Big Yard and introduced to those he called the Gang. There I was, shaking hands with cons like they were everyday people.