I Used to Smuggle in Contraband

by NY prison inmate Jon Fontaine

I use to regularly smuggle contraband into prison. It wasn’t hard and would only take up a small amount of my day. Cargo pants were the most important part.

Before driving to the prison, I’d head to my local connection and get a bag of the goods. I’d transfer it into the pockets of my cargo pants.

A few minutes later, I’d be at the prison watching prisoners pace the yard. Then, I’d walk straight through the front door and nod at whoever was sitting at the reception counter.

No one ever asked why my pants pockets were bulging. There were no searches.

After walking through the second door, I could clearly hear all the inmates in their cells making noise like animals. They had nothing to do all day but sleep, eat and make noise. I knew the prison well and would make my way down the cell block, and I’d look for a block that didn’t have anyone else in it.

I’d slip into the block as inconspicuously as I could. At each cell, I’d slip something through the bars – simple as that.

Sometimes the prisoners would take it right out of my hand. Other times, they wouldn’t come near me, and I’d have to drop it on the floor. Every prisoner on every cell block would get a visit from me.

I brought my nephew to help me once. Two people can carry more contraband for each prisoner.

One day, I asked my then-girlfriend if she’d help me. She looked at me like I was nuts, and asked, “You want me to help you smuggle stuff in there?”

“It’s easy. Just stick a bag in your purse and we’ll walk right in.”

“But don’t they have a jar on the counter?” she asked. “Can’t we just take treats out of that?”

“It’s not the same,” I told her. “It’s a better rush if we smuggle it in. Plus, those dogs eat the same treats from everyone using the jar. This gives them a little variety.”

Despite thinking I’d lost my mind, she agreed to go with me. We stopped at the grocery store before heading to the animal shelter.

I knew what it was like to be locked in a cage. The least I could do is spend a little cash and 30 minutes of my time smuggling in contraband for the dogs.

Those dogs and I have a lot in common.

Share Button

Also published on Medium.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *