Arts & Culture

The Good Things About Being Jewish in Prison

I was in federal prison for four-and-a-half years. I got into the best shape of my life thanks to weightlifting and being forced to give up drugs and alcohol. I made lots of friends, many of whom are still my … Read More

By / November 5, 2008

I was in federal prison for four-and-a-half years. I got into the best shape of my life thanks to weightlifting and being forced to give up drugs and alcohol. I made lots of friends, many of whom are still my friends on the outside today. I also found a new business partner who led me to becoming a co-producer of "Champions Forever," a boxing documentary. I had off-site jobs, went on an unsupervised furlough back home, took trips into town with the warden’s female assistant and boffed her, did stand-up comedy behind bars. While I was in a halfway house in Los Angeles, my buddy, actor Sonny Landham, came by and took me to the Oscars!

There were advantages to being Jewish too. Just like in school, I had the Jewish holidays off along with the ones for everyone else. At a couple of the prisons, including Terminal Island, I also landed a job as a cook for the other Jewish inmates. It was a pretty easy gig because there weren’t that many of us. At Safford in Arizona, most of the prisoners were Hispanic. There were only about 20 Jews. The corned beef and gefilte fish was a nice break from Mexican food. But what you never forget in prison is that you belong to the government. You are not free. There are a few things that might make that bearable but there is nothing that can make being in prison "good." Nothing. Here’s a lesson to teach your children: Try to not go to prison.

Craig Glazer, author of The King Of Sting: The Amazing True Story of a Modern American Outlaw, is guest blogging on Jewcy this week. Stay tuned.