“Call me what you want—corrections officer, C.O., guard, jailcop, turnkey—I helped keep people there against their will. For this, the jail rewarded me with food.” When Ben Langston took a job at the State Correctional Institute at Rockview, it was because there were few other options. At his previous job—putting labels on water bottles—he did not have cups of human waste thrown in his face. He did not have to finger sweaty armpits in search of weapons. There were no threats against his life. But the jail paid better. Jail Speak is a memoir written from a guard’s perspective. It’s about the grind, about dehumanization, drama, punishment, and the cycles of harm perpetrated by the prison industry. It’s about masculinity and conformity and emotional detachment. It’s a look at the inside that you didn’t want to know about, and it’s for mature audiences only. Know your limits.
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