18 – Perceived Disrespect Kills More People Than Cancer

In this episode of the You Got Jobbed podcast, Preston Smith talks about what it’s like to work in a jail–how weapons are made from toothbrushes, how women hide food in their “purse,” and how farting causes the most fights.

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Preston was kind enough to send me this picture of the contraband board. God only knows what some of that stuff is!


Here are, however, some notes:

In the Escape section, there is a picture of a sheet going out a window. Preston said it wasn’t used to escape but instead, the prisoner used it to reel in some dope from people down below.

That book in the bottom left has a lighter in it. They cut out a space in the pages to hide it but when the book was closed it just looked like a book.

Here is a close-up of the top right of the pic:


Spider! Man that thing looks real!

The guy in the picture on the right has his hands wrapped in socks and toilet paper ready to fight the guards when they come in. It’s inmate armor!

Show Notes

0:55 Preston works in a county jail. He says he’s a glorified babysitter.

2:28 The prisoners are in a large open room, like a cabin at summer camp.

2:56 The prisoners eat more Top Ramen than anyone.

3:05 Lots of prisoners fight to secure bottom bunks.

4:05 When Preston started this job many years ago, the prison population mixed murderers with shoplifters.

5:12 Shivs are a thing. The guards can’t do strip searches any more. More weapons can be smuggled.

5:29 The prisoners sharpen toothbrushes and put feces on them to use as a weapon. One of Preston’s fellow guards was stabbed in the face with this weapon.

6:16 Preston says “Perceived disrespect kills more people than cancer every year.”

7:00 The prisoners make spiders and scorpions as art and to scare people.

8:23 Orange is the New Black. Yes, it’s very similar to real life.

8:50 Prisoners will try to get sick so they can go to the doctor. One guy swallowed seven pencils and would also eat his sandals. He had to have stomach surgery and then would pull out the staples that were used to keep his scar closed (to eat to try to get sick again).

10:04 Robert Yates, a serial killer from Spokane, was in Preston’s jail (in “the hole”). He killed prostitutes.

11:03 Preston says, “If we had a unit full sex offenders and murderers it would be the smoothest day ever.”

11:27 Yates wrote poetry. People outside jail make profits from people in jail, like by selling the prisoners’ poems or hair.

12:21 The worst days are when people die. Lots of paperwork. Recently a man took 18 strips of Suboxone, the anti-heroin drug. It killed him.

14:20 The new guy has to do the strip searches.

15:47 They’ve never had a successful escape. One guy did escape during the earthquake.

17:24 Prisoners’ under clothes used to be white but now they are pink. It saves people from taking the jail’s underwear and you can spot them more easily when they escape.

18:28 Preston has known a lot of people who have come through the jail—he went to high school with them.

20:44 Farting causes the most prison fights. The women are more disgusting with the farting than the men.

22:02 Don’t call someone a bitch. It’s an automatic fight.

22:30 Bad inmate, a woman, who would use a fake British accent. She never wore pants. She would yell at people to clean her ass. She once stored an omelet and corn chips in her lady parts (what Preston and co-workers call “her purse”)

26:00 People proclaim their innocence.

26:30 Suzanne took a self-defense class and talks about her attack moves.

28:10 Preston has a Taser. It doesn’t affect prisoners who are high on bath salts.

31:55 Ramen noodles are the prisoners’ cash. They make “the spread” with the noodles, Cheetos, Fritos, and diced pepperoni sticks. They mix it in a garbage bag and serve it—it’s a hot commodity.

34:34 Preston eats lunch at the jail, he can’t leave for lunch. It’s not the best food any more.

35:43 Preston deals with feces every day. He has a Ghostbusters-style gun to spray all over the feces to clean it up.

39:00 One of the toughest guys Preston has ever known did lots of shenanigans with poop.

41:20 A success story. A woman who got out of jail, got rid of her lice, and turned her life around.

43:27 They’re hiring. Get Preston a $250 hiring bonus.

44:19 Preston sees lots of hangings and attempted hangings.

47:27 If you work at the jail you’ll be on swing shift so you can do midnight bowling. However, you have to pass the lie detector test.

50:43 They could use a lice picker at the jail (like the guy Suzanne interviewed). However, at the jail, they just use mayonnaise to kill the lice. 5-gallon buckets of mayo. Jailhouse cure.