The Federal compound, or minimum security camp, where I was jailed in Upstate New York was ruled by head blueboy Officer Scalboni. Guys thought that he was on the take by other inmates. Scalboni had an inmate assistant named Finkerstein who would sit in his office and do paperwork for him. Some of the paperwork included getting your visitors approved, which could take either days or months, depending on how much you bribed the inmate assistant. Customer service was not a priority in prison.
Actor Steve Buscemi called the cops ‘blueboys’ in Quentin Tarantino’s infamous “Reservoir Dogs.” The other blueboy in charge of the prison compound was a guy named Keating. Not to be confused with Charles Keating of the Keating Five.
Keating and Scalboni didn’t like each other. Inmates would play them off each other. In some matters Keating was more lenient than Scalboni. In other matters Keating was more strict. Keating would send you to the SHU (solitary) much faster than Scalboni. And Scalboni was known to help guys get out of the SHU, instead of lingering in there for eternity. Most guards could care less whether you were sitting around in the SHU or sitting around the prison complex. Either way you are stuck in jail, it made no difference, your life was on hold anyway. You were just taking up space.
Human prisoners are considered property of the Federal government. No joke. You were no longer a person. You were now a number and legally considered government property, as if you were a slave owned by the Feds. The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution made it legal: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
There was a psychologist officer in Otisville named Dr. Bow. Her main job was to drive into the prison complex in her BMW and pick up her paycheck once a week. Eventually she got direct deposit. Most officers drive American made cars or pick up trucks. Dr. Bow mostly met with new inmates. When you first arrived in prison she would have a ten minute session with an inmate and ask you if you are thinking about committing suicide. If you were suicidal she would throw you in solitary confinement, which would only make you more suicidal.
There was a very mean secretary, who was also an officer, a tall woman with jet black hair, who used to walk around threatening to throw everyone in the SHU. I don’t remember her name but her biggest gripe was guys wearing baseball hats indoors. If she saw you with a hat she would threaten to throw you in the SHU. Her job was filing and typing. Since she was an officer she had full blueboy powers. All she had to do was hit the button on her belt and an army of bluboys with shotguns would show up. She enjoyed the power. She used to get into many fights with Scalboni. Usually the fights were over some very important prison policy, like whether she could put curtains up in her office. Sometimes she got mad if she asked Scalboni to discipline an inmate and Scalboni chose to ignore her. She was eventually replaced with a very nice secretary.
Guys used to spread rumors that Scalboni and his pet inmate Finkerstein were on the take. Inmates were paying them off to get special perks. Guys said that inmates paid Finkerstein for these perks, and Scalboni would get a piece of the action.
At one point a Russian guy named Alex ratted out Pinkerstein and Scalboni to the Internal Affairs guys. Alex was from the medium. He had stitches across the length of the back of his neck. Some guys called him Zipperhead. Not to his face of course. Alex was a decent guy. He could be unstable at times. He had a long sentence.
Internal Affairs investigated Scalboni and Pinkerstein. Nobody got busted. But Alex was sent back to the medium and Scalboni was sent to guard the medium. Scalboni lost his power as head blueboy of the prison camp. He liked hanging out at the camp with the inmates. He got a lot of respect, of course, and everyone laughed at his jokes.
Scalboni is now shuffling papers in the A-1 lobby in the medium with the other officers. He cannot be very happy about sitting around in jail eight hours a day. This is the main reason the officers resent the inmates. Inmates can look forward to their release. The officers count the days to their retirement. Waiting for retirement can seem like a life sentence.