Posted by: krusty505 | August 8, 2011


Ahhhh! It’s been far too long since I posted! Our school opened a new campus, which is experiencing “growing pains” in a major way. Between the bureaucracy of the jail, that of the school, and generally not having our act together, it’s been a bit hectic. I spent my entire summer “break” working on finishing up my masters thesis, crossing all the t’s, dotting all the i’s and dealing with UNM’s antiquated and annoying policies and paperwork. And finally, I traveled to West Virginia to present at a national conference of correctional educators on my relative successes with teaching inmates to read. Yeah, I’ve been too busy to write.

Anyway, this is a story I’ve been wanting to tell for quite some time. It really ties in with “Weeping Skinheads”, so if you haven’t had time to check that one out, you might look back. I think it was my first post.

A couple of years ago we got this guy in the pod who was clearly Asperger’s or mildly autistic. He was a really skinny little guy whose hair was always a mess, whose nails were always absurdly long (even by jail standards) and whose mannerisms and speech were clipped, awkward and vaguely unsettling. Basically, he didn’t really understand how to interact with the other guys in the pod, much to his detriment and the guys’ consternation. He would try to joke around, but it always came off awkwardly, and he ended up being a real irritant to the other inmates. They nicknamed him Tweak because of his erratic behavior and dodgy demeanor. At the time, we had a lot of Cubans in the pod, and there was quite a bit of racial tension in there. Some of this tension was released in harmless teasing, and some of it was real. In any event, the Cubans tended to stick together, and they always lined up for chow as a group.

One day, Tweak was trying to be funny, and he sneaked up behind one of the Cubans and pulled his pants down in front of the whole pod. Needless to say this didn’t go over well, and Tweak ended up being stabbed with a sharp pencil by one of the Cubans. It was merely a flesh wound; the pencil barely penetrated Tweak’s flesh, but it scared him, and he came to me with this disturbing news. Of course, in my zealousness to “protect” Tweak, I took him immediately to the principal to report the incident. The principal offered to remove Tweak from our pod to keep him away from danger, an offer Tweak immediately accepted. Trouble was, Tweak didn’t really know how good he had it in our pod. In actuality, as many of my other stories have pointed out, our pod is pretty understanding by jail standards, and Tweak was relatively safe with us.

That day he was moved to another pod.

The next day, Tweak was viciously attacked in his new pod. In fact, he was taken to the infirmary on a stretcher. In reality, I think the medical staff couldn’t deal with his injuries, and he was sent to UNMH. They rolled him out right in front of all our students including one of the skinheads from my original posts. Later that day, this guy came to me and said, “Pauls, you guys fucked up when you moved Tweak. He was safe in our pod. Now he’s all fucked up. You should have known better.”

It was a real lesson not only in the extent of decency in our pod, but in the folly of reacting too quickly.



  1. That gives a whole new meaning to the word!

    • Yeah, that’s what I thought. Thanks for the comment.

  2. So how is Tweak doing now? Will he be put back into your pod?

    • I hate to say this, but I think he ended up in the ICU. Mercy is not a term many of the inmates are familar with. Remember your “buddy” Rico, the guy who wrote you the letter? Yeah, he ended up with all his teeth stomped out, but that’s another story all together… In fact, it’s a pending draft.

  3. Ooh, that’s harsh. I don’t know how you do it.

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