Farther, stage left, built next to the wall, the tank holds 12 prisoners.
  • Farther, stage left, built next to the wall, the tank holds 12 prisoners.
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Michael Welch, one of the premier asthma physicians in the country.


I woke Barbara, my girlfriend. She had never seen a major asthma attack before; I knew that it would probably be more frightening for her than for me. From the outside, the sufferer of asthmatic anaphylaxis looks as if he is collapsing inwards, drowning in an invisible sea of himself. “In the car,” I said, trying to show calm, measuring my phrases to fit the amount of air that I could muster. “In the glove compartment. Is my epinephrine syringe. Please go and get it. Right away. Here are the keys.”

By Tim Brookes, May 16, 1996 Read full article

“Prisons are full of nothing but hurt kids who are now angry adults.”

Heroin $10 on outside, $40 in prison

To get the money to pay for his drugs in Soledad, Kelly says, “You have your people on the street send the money to you and put it on your books [inmate account]. Say you were the inmate who had the drugs; I’d send the money right to your people on the streets. And when the money arrived, you’d give me the shit. Or I’d get a front from you — and this is how a lot of people get into debt and end up getting stuck with a shank.

By Jory Farr, Aug. 1, 1996 Read full article

Rios: "My mother and father were in gangs. My mother was from East L.A., Boyle Heights; my father was from Logan Heights."

Travelers through the underworld

“Being the oldest, having to look after my sister all throughout the incarceration, I didn’t have time to really think much about myself, because I saw so much misery around me. Being a nurse, I had to control myself more than the average person — to hold it together, not to pull them down more.” The train traveled slowly, and what was said Fanny can’t remember. It took her and her mother and sisters more than 24 hours to get to Riga, about 400 kilometers away, where the Germans had set up a concentration camp called Kaiserwald.

By Jory Farr, Aug 3, 1995 Read full article

Judith DeGennaro: "The expression ‘blood from a stone’ is certainly applicable in this case.”

Love in a burning building

“I moved out on him last December one night while he was at some friends’ watching football. My sister, my mother, and my friend from work helped me. We took everything except this old chair of his from [college] that smelled like beer. I took things we had bought together like a television and CD player, and guess what? The futon. That’s supposed to be why we’re here today, to divide the property, but he won’t show. He’s a boy, not a man. He wasn’t ready for commitment, and he wasn’t man enough to say so."

By John Brizzolara, May 26, 1994 Read full article

Charlie Deasher: "I had to go out in the water an’ pull in the dead Japanese soldiers."

Temple of the wounded

"The Marines had nothing to do with Agent Orange directly. It’s possible that some Marine groups were out on patrol or in the field, and a spray plane might have flown over, and they could have accidentally been doused with some of this spray. If they were, the chances are virtually nothing that they would have gotten sick from it, acutely or chronically. So my advice to you, personally, and to people like you, would be that it’s not necessary to come in."

By Ray Westberg, May 30, 1991 Read full article

“My dad wouldn’t know cocaine from flour.”

Days of plunder

A 30-page affidavit put together by a DEA agent in San Diego was all it took for a federal magistrate to order the confiscation of every tangible asset traceable to Flint. Although the affidavit alleges that Flint has been involved in smuggling drugs from Colombia, the government is not currently pursuing a criminal case against him. “If any of that stuff in the affidavit was true, why don’t they arrest me?’’ Flint asks.

By Neal Matthews, Aug. 1, 1991 Read full article

Milly Durovic: "Did it ever occur to you the reason he’s in this system is he doesn’t have any hope?"

What will surprise you is how normal they are

“At least four victims, all children, are involved. One is five years old and one is six. One victim is still in the hospital. He was stabbed with a Phillips screwdriver. He is described as having a sucking chest wound. Another victim is being held in MCC. Another victim, a juvenile, 17, is being held at Casa San Juan. They were crossing illegally with their father. This is definitely a prison case.

By Judith Moore, Sept. 27, 1990, Read full article

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