Ben’s Wacky Jailhouse Trivia Vol 1 – Ben Wilkins

Historically, prisons and hospitals rank top of the list for being haunted, alongside cemeteries and abandoned houses. It’s creepy to consider that C.O.s and cons alike share many unexplained paranormal stories. Strange noises and self-moving objects are just a couple common topics.


Did you know that a bag of “movie theatre butter” microwave popcorn contains approximately 272 pieces of popcorn? The process of discovery entailed a count while munching a whole bag one-by-one on a bored Sunday. My cellmate slowly swiveled his head in my direction and with a poker face asked, “Are—you—okay—Bro?” “Wait, lemme guess—you’re writing a new article?!” Guys really get to know each other when they live together for a length of time in a small bathroom with a bunk-bed.


In the common areas, prisoners manifest an unofficial competition three or four times a day. They compete to determine who can be the coolest loud monkey. The timeframe is roughly 9:00am, 1:00pm, 4:00pm, and 8:00pm but may vary due to TV sports scheduling. Ear plugs are only .25¢ on commissary, praise God for that.


If you like ramen noodles and peanut butter, you might be surprised (or disgusted) to learn they make a delicious meal together with proper preparations. The trick is to drain most of the water from the noodles after cooking them, and then mix in the peanut butter and flavor packet while the noodles are still hot. Texas Beef flavored ramen works best but you can use whichever you prefer. Use 1 healthy Tbsp. of creamy PB per noodle pack. Tip: stirring the PB into the noodles can be tricky, try smearing it in with the bottom of a spoon, then mix until noodles are coated evenly. The end result tastes like a fancy-smansy Asian peanut oil noodle dish. It ain’t Pad Thai, but it’s close and yummy!


Drug overdose deaths surpassed 100,000 for the first time in U.S. history in 2021. Yet prisons across America have allowed covid protocols and budget cuts to shut down drug abuse programs. Quarantines and extreme staff shortage breed unprecedented lockdown hours—often 23 hours a day or more. The excess lockdowns create an energy of darkness as the flame of rehabilitative hope is snuffed out with a heavy pinch.


Behind the scenes some cons cope by getting together to cook pruno (homemade prison wine) seeking relief from the mayhem of overcrowding one sip at a time. Imagine a weak merlot paired with a hint of moldy orange peel—a whiff of swirling sour apple notes—and a fermented wine-cooler finish. That’s the smell of a cooking batch of pruno.


About 2.24 million Americans are now being confined in prisons or jails—that’s more than a quarter of the eight million prisoners worldwide. Another 4.8 million are on parole, probation, or supervised release. The U.S. prison population eclipses all other countries.


Urban Legends: The tale of alleged bestiality at Point McKenzie Correction Farm is perhaps one of the most notorious (and disturbing) urban legends of any AK prison. “Point Mac” as it’s called, sits on Matanuska Valley acreage, an hour drive north of Anchorage, and it is the State’s largest prison farm. They grow produce for AK prisons, and have a variety of livestock. As the story goes, some years ago a guy was supposedly caught red handed having sex with a farm pig—out in one of the barns. Thank goodness the exact details are vague. Rumor has it that to this day everyone still calls him Pig-Fucker. Yikes, now there’s a nickname you definitely don’t want.

One thought on “Ben’s Wacky Jailhouse Trivia Vol 1 – Ben Wilkins

  1. Dear Mr. Ben Wilkins:
    My JAC Volunteers and Friends were discussing your Wacky Jailhouse Trivia Newsletter, Volume
    #1. First, we read out loud, each paragraph. Then, we took notes. Overall, we feel that your
    newsletter is very professional as well as entertaining. It combines humor with the absurd.
    The juxtapositions make for a lively reading experience. We noticed that you had written for
    other publications too.
    There is a survivalist humor that combines horror with the mundane. We sensed that the writer
    could tell us about some things, but not about others. There is a kind of dancing around
    between wildly divergent topics, which contributes to the absurdity. Yet, the writing enlightens
    the reader. We look through a keyhole to a world separate, yet in some ways, familiar, to our
    own. Ramen sounds tasty, but the humor is tongue-in-cheek. Counting popcorn, and the
    boredom of only-sports on TV. Pruno – it’s funny, but then we read the awful statistics. Certain
    juxtapositions set up a kind of shock to the reader, as in bathroom with a bunk bed.
    We glimpse the experience of incarceration in entertaining tidbits. Then there are the facts: 23
    hours a day in lockdown. Descriptions intensify our sensations as readers. Energy of darkness,
    hope snuffed, heavy pinch: the pain and suffering. Anything but trivial.

    But of course, there is talk of wine: fermented wine cooler finish – sparkling irony. Lots of talent
    in the writer, and sadness too, although it is masked. The urban legend that ends Volume 1
    again courts humor while conveying a disturbing tale.
    We noticed the professional level of the writing and formatting: the use of bold type to begin
    each paragraph, and grammatical correctness. It still feels fun – while being an indictment of the
    system. The writer has experience. Sustainability. Voice is strong. What else does this writer
    have to offer?
    Thank you for sharing your art with us. We hope you will keep writing.

    Sacha, Snow, Sophia, Jules & Louis

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