A Day in the Savage Life (Part One): A Regular Boring Day

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Victoria is a Catholic Navy wife and a new mom. Dahvie is an incarcerated Chicago gang member. They write letters back and forth (you can learn more about it here). In this post, Dahvie shares his day-to-day experience in jail.

Victoria:  This is part one in a two-part series on Dahvie’s day to day experience.  I didn’t add my thoughts to this—I’ll post my own day-to-day experience in a later series.


Shift change.  Everybody’s locked in they cell except for the individual’s who have court that morning (their settin in the dayroom waitin to be called out).  You would expect inmate to be sleep and it’s so early and majority probably is sleep.  I’m never sleep though.  I get enough sleep, damn near too much sleep in the cell.

At shift change the co’s [correctional officers] do a head count to check how many inmates housed on the deck (usually 44 if it’s a full house) to make sure nobody dead I assume, that’s why they make you move while flashing a bright ass flashlight in your face.  They also snatch the door to make sure its “secured.”  Personally I think most officers are just ass holes and they wanna wake a MF up. A lot of thirsty niggas be woke beggin the co to be worker.  Usually count clears by 7:30 and 8:00 and they normally run the “hours”.


By this time the courts [inmates scheduled for court hearings] have left the building and half the tier is out for 3 hours.  7:30 to 10:30 the top deck is out 10:30 to 1:30 the bottom deck is out. But since it’s been so much bullshit going on in the jail, they divided the hours up differently.  Now instead of coming out with the whole top half or bottom half, one wall come out for the whole three hours then another.  That first shift.  Which means instead of coming out twice a day we come out once a day.  Each day the hours rotate so you come out different times a day when it’s your shift.


Is the end of the first shift. 7am to 3.  Everybody is locked down again by 1:45.  Only inmates out in the dayroom is the workers (Believe me niggas will kill to be a worker) (P.S. Working slot is for free.  They don’t get paid!!!).  Me, I’m a fucking SAVAGE, fuck I wanna clean up, pass out lunch trays and kiss the co’s ass for some extra hours out.  No. Plus the phones be cut off at 1pm and 10:00pm so wtf is you doin…running around making runs for people and cleanin up, for cool points?  Shit nigga you should’ve had you a job out there.  Clown! Ass! Niggas!

Between 12:30 and 2:00 Lunch is passed out to the tier.  Lunch consist of (every fuckin day) bologna sandwiches pretzels (small pack) and a 4 pack of cookies.  Thursday instead of cookies the replace it with a boiled egg.  And Sundays instead of pretzels you get cereal and milk with your sandwiches and cookies.  That shit so depressing.  On folks nem crave.  If you not cheacking commissary, they trays alone will drive you crazy.


Shift change again.  CO’s do count again.  This time before hours start tues, fri, they do sheet exchange and clothing exchange (jumpsuit/doc top and bottom)


Hours start again till 9:00 then it’s lock up time.  Dinner trays come between 5:30-7:00 bullshit, unidentifiable 5 days out the week.  Shit look like cat food.  The other 2 days, chicken patty (like school) and mashed potatoes and hot dogs with beans.  Them bout the best trays!

10pm to 7am

We all locked down.  You either watchin tv, out the chuck (open hole for trays to slide in or out) reading, sleeping or doin whatever else your brain can come up with to pass time.  Like pickin people brains on the gallery.