Today is my twentieth day in jail. I kept a journal for the first ten days but started slacking and figured I would catch everyone up when I get home. Some have suggested reading more while I’m in here, but I prefer writing because I’m a content creator not a content consumer. I have a lot on my mind and it’s difficult not to be able to go live and talk about it when you’re so used to doing that. Many people message me and ask about my day-to-day life in jail so today I’ve decided to write an article talking about my experiences and innermost thoughts. This is therapeutic and good for my mental health.
Due to my high profile arrest and charges, they have been hesitant to put me in a housing unit. Instead, they put me in medical where sick inmates go. I am the only long-term resident. I spend 21 hours a day alone in a locked 8×10 cell with almost no human interaction. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t affecting me mentally. I haven’t hugged someone since Christmas and I haven’t met anyone I’ve had more than a brief conversation with. I’m going to tell you about my average day which repeats itself over and over again.
5:30 am – Nurse and CO wake me up to give me Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant. I’ve taken Adderall for the last twenty years for diagnosed ADHD, but they don’t allow it in jail. Going cold turkey was very difficult and I napped a lot to make the time pass. Wellbutrin has helped but it’s not the same.
6:00 am – CO brings in breakfast. I eat every meal alone in my cell while other prisoners get out and sit at tables. Half the time it’s three hardboiled eggs, which I actually enjoy. Other times it’s Rice Krispies, cold pancakes, or oatmeal. If you don’t wake up and force yourself to eat breakfast, you’ll be hungry all day.
8:00 – 10:00 am – I go for morning rec. They bring me to a housing unit called SHU, where seventeen prisoners currently reside. One of them is Brian Walshe. They remain in their cells while I am there in case one of them breathes on me and I melt in a puddle. This is paradise for me and the highlight of my day. SHU has an outdoor basketball court, comfortable seats, TV, showers, hot water for coffee, microwaves, and Walshe has the NY Times, Wall Street Journal, and Boston Globe delivered.
I start my time in the SHU by calling my sister who gets my kids on the bus so I can tell them I love them and to make me proud. Then I go outside and run 4-5 miles on the 100-meter track I’ve created on the courts. Today I did 80 laps. Then I do 3 sets of pull-ups, trying to beat my record from the day before. Today I did 15, 11, and 8.
After that I shower and sometimes shave, which I’m getting used to doing without a mirror. This brings me to 9:15, when I make my coffee and sit down to watch Sports Center. From 9:15 – 10:00, I am in heaven as I kick my feet up and watch TV. But it’s bittersweet because as minutes tick away, I know I’m getting closer to mental hell. Sometimes I make conversation with the CO on duty and educate them about the Karen Read case. So far they are all Turtleriders.
From 10:00 am – 6:30 pm, I sit alone in my cell and talk to no one. Prisoners here are either psych holds, sick or in trouble. I stare at white cinderblocks as the hours pass slowly. My moods vary – sometimes I’m upbeat and optimistic about the future, but other times I let my worst thoughts control me. I get upset about the abuser who lied and put me in here. The trauma of my car crash, the BOLO, and seeing her lie in court makes the trauma all come back to me. I am told that she is sharing intimate pictures of me, messages, and a video of me having a panic attack as a result of her lie about being pregnant. She does this despite saying in court that she’s worried about me sharing pictures of her. It’s hard for me to comprehend such evil from a person I naively trusted and thought the best of. I blame myself for assuming she had a soul or a conscience, and not researching her to see she has done this to multiple men before, including another man who is in here with me.
I underestimate how traumatic this all was in a short period of time. Being alone with my thoughts is the worst thing jail administration could do to me mentally. I’ve brought it up with the mental health counselors, but they are ignored when they relay my concerns. I’ve spoken to admins multiple times, begging to be put in a housing unit with other prisoners. Prisoners there get nine hours of rec while I get three. The day must go by so much faster for them.
Admin is afraid to put me in a unit because they don’t know everyone I’ve written about. They claim this is for my protection, which I appreciate, but in doing so they are causing severe damage to my mental health. They might as well put me in here 24 four hours a day in case I slip and fall on the way to rec. I would much rather get beat up than sit in this cell all day – at least it would be something to do.
I’m not the least bit scared of going into a housing unit and don’t like being treated like a porcelain doll. I’m strong, athletic, and savvy. I write about dangerous and violent people all the time, yet I’ve never been attacked or confronted. If anything, most prisoners like me because I’m in here for exposing the system that put them in here. It’s inequitable and unfair to be put in isolation like this. While other prisoners are watching the NFL playoffs tonight, I’ll be counting cinderblocks. But don’t worry – it’s for my own good. I’m special like that.
Lunch is brought to my cell at 11:00 am by a CO. It’s the last human being I will see until dinner comes at 4:00. Prison lunch is pretty good. I always eat the salad, pickles and tuna or roast beef. After that I keep busy by writing articles, calling people on my tablet, and reading messages. I get hundreds a day and they keep me sane and connected to the outside world. They make me feel loved and valued. Some bring me to tears. I had no idea I had this sort of impact on so many people. I have people on the outside running my website and social media. Focusing on that gives me purpose and helps the hours pass. Thanks to Maura Healey, who signed a bill in early December that gives prisoners free unlimited phone calls, I can call people all day. It was ideal timing for incarceration.
I will be forever grateful for my team on the outside. These people, some who have been loyal friends for years, and some who I’ve only recently met are all dedicated to the Karen Read story and are always there to take my calls. I realized what a sacrifice this is on their part, as the also have families, but still take time for me. They work with my attorney and help him research. They type in and publish the articles that I dictate to them on the phone. They keep spirits up and the movement alive on social media. They represent the goodness in human nature, which stands in stark contrast to the dark evil of Lindsey Gaetani, Jennifer McCabe and Brian Tully. I’d be lost in here without them.
I love my dedicated attorney Tim Bradl and speak with him daily. He’s more than just a guy I pay to represent me. He is a friend who cares about me and he knows this is the most important case of his career. He knows that the Constitution is on trial here, and that he alone must defend it. He will emerge from this victorious as the most prominent attorney in Massachusetts. His optimism and friendly personality gives me confidence after any setback.
Dinner comes at 4:00 and I eat whatever they bring. Being in jail has broadened my horizons for food intake. Normally I never eat chili on white rice, but in here I enjoy every bite. I eat pineapples, peaches, green beans, and peas. I drink milk with every meal. It’s so much healthier than my diet on the outside.
After that, I count down the minutes until 6:30 when I get an hour of evening rec. They bring me to a unit called SMU, which holds problem prisoners who need a timeout. They all seem to know who I am and want to talk to me. Word is out that Turtleboy is in the same prison as them.
A 21 year old from Brockton who is in here on gun charges, was put in SMU for calling a CO a “bitch-ass n****”. I laughed when I read the report he showed me after he tried bullshitting me and claimed he never said that. I told him I could totally picture him saying that and he realized he couldn’t bullshit me. I’ve taught so many kids like him in Worcester. He really wants me to get into the housing unit and wrote four pages of instructions for me on how to do so. I appreciate this act of kindness from a young kid who made some bad decisions. Unfortunately, prisons are filled with people like him, caught up in the system, who have accepted the fact that there lives will be filled with periodic incarceration.
A black guy I spoke with was recently convicted for selling cocaine and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. Norfolk jail houses federal prisoners like him who await cases in Superior Court as well. He was in SMU for making something called “home brew”. Prisoners take bread, fruit and sugar and let it ferment in plastic bags. The problem for them is when you first open it, a strong odor comes out that COs instantly recognize. When he saw me, he yelled “Yo Turtleboy!”. He told me he was from Worcester like me and said “You went to South, right?”. Turns out we went to the same high school and ended up in the same jail for very different reasons. The alumni newsletter will be interesting this year.
Like the kid from Brockton, this guy knew what I was in for and appeared to have instant respect for that. It’s not often they see a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, former teacher with glasses in jail, who could easily get out by taking a plea with probation. He told me he likes Turtleboy because I wrote about a woman who snitched on him. Turns out, she was previously a two seed in Ratchet Madness. I can get along with anyone, and I’m not the least bit worried about living in gen pop.
From 6:30 – 7:30 pm, I workout hard. I go into an empty cell and do 500 step-ups onto an 18-inch bed. I focus on high knees and arm movement. I can feel my core doing the majority of the work, and for the first time in my life I have a legit six-pack. I then do 200 pushups – 50, 40, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, and 10 with 20 seconds rest between each set. I’ve lost 8 pounds in here and I’ve never been physically stronger. Having a sound body leads to a sound mind. I love working out in prison.
At 7:10 pm, I’m a sweaty mess so I shoot hoops for 10 minutes outside no matter how cold it is. I’m working on perfecting my left-hand dribble so I don’t look like Jaylen Brown in the playoffs. My jump-shot is officially on point. I then take my second shower of the day using bar soap as shampoo.
This may seem uncomfortable and gross to you, but I’ve survived much worse. I pledged a frat in college and had to clean up some of the nastiest post-party messes you’ve ever seen. During “Hell Week”, we slept on the cold basement floor, ate an onion filled with toothpaste and hot sauce, did thousands of pushups, and cracked eggs on our pledge brothers heads when we couldn’t answer frat history questions while standing in formation. In the Boy Scouts, I camped in freezing weather and ate foil packs – aluminum foil filled with chicken and veggies that we threw on a fryer that we built from scratch. I never had an allowance, ate school lunch, and graduated from a high school filled with gangs and violence. Prison is a walk in the park as far as my diet and living conditions. I have no pillow and sleep on a thin mat, but the only part I struggle with is the isolation that I’m dealing with in medical. It’s the most challenging, mental experience of my life.
At 7:30 pm, I go back to my dungeon and call home. I talk to my kids and ask them what they learned in school today. They tell me they miss me and ask where I am. My son made me cry the other day when he told me that I had been gone for exactly 16 days. It made me sad to realize how much he missed and needed me by knowing how long it had been since I hugged him. But my mom reminded me that it shows how much he loved me and needs his dad. I’m so lucky to have that, and it will make reuniting with him even better. I will never want to let go.
When they ask me where I am I tell them I’m away for work, and in a way I am. I’m in here for my journalism. I went to Lindsey’s house to get information on the corrupt cops who were exploiting her mental illness. I tell my kids that sometimes dads go away for work on business trips. Police dads go away for ten week academies. Army dads go to foreign countries for months at a time. Distance from my kids sucks, but many have dealt with it before.
They are too young to understand the real reason I’m in here. They don’t yet need to know that some cops ARE the bad guys, because their youthful innocence should be protected. Their dad is a political prisoner and a man of principle, and I know that someday they will appreciate that. But today is not that day. When they’re older, they will forget this temporary situation, but they would never forget the image of visiting their father in jail.
Thanks to your generous donations – we got my kids iPads for Christmas. My daughter texted me on my birthday and was so proud of herself. She was the last person I messaged before turning myself in & it broke my heart to know that I didn’t know when I would see her again. Yesterday, she scored her first ever goal in indoor soccer. It melted my heart to see that the first thing she did when the game was over, was message me to tell me about it. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to get home to see her.
Besides the weight loss another good thing about incarceration is that it’s brought me closer to my parents. I’m so busy on the outside that I don’t call or visit as much as I should, and I know that this hurts them. In here, I speak to them everyday and they visit every Saturday. I’m so lucky to have such great parents, and I believe God put me in here to realize that. I wasn’t the best son, but I will strive to be when I get out.
After calling them I usually call friends until phones shut off at 10:00. One friend in particular plays YouTube shows for me like The Glarer, LTL, or Unsafe Spaces talking about how much they support me. Hearing Rita Lombardi, Gail White, Tom Derosier and others speak so highly of me and how they know Lindsey is lying, makes me feel so loved and appreciated. I often fall asleep listening to it.
Nighttime can be good or bad. If my mind is consumed with positive thoughts, I sleep like a baby until 5:30 am. If I think about the evil people who put me in here, I will wake up constantly and struggle to go back to sleep.
I don’t know when I’m getting out of here but it likely won’t be the full 90 days. District courts like Dedham allow 90 day bail revocations for new arrests, but my bail was revoked out of Superior Court thanks to the December 22nd indictment. Superior Court only allows a 60 day bail revocation. I’m not at liberty to discuss our legal strategy to get out before 60 days, but I know if anyone can get me out before the Super Bowl, it’s Tim Bradl.
As for upcoming court dates, they are as follows:
- January 25th pretrial hearing at Dedham District Court for a fabricated domestic violence charge. I will not be released on this date.
- February 7th pretrial hearing at Norfolk Superior Court for Witness Intimidation charges.
- February 12th for Zoom hearing in Leominster District Court where I am summonsed as a witness. Holden Police filed a criminal complaint against Katherine Peter for felony Witness Intimidation and Trespassing, and she will have a magistrate’s hearing on 2/12 to decide if there is probably cause to charge her.
If at any point federal indictments come down on any of the so-called “witnesses”, cops or court officials charging me, it will likely to all charges being dropped against me. I don’t know how or when I will get out of here, but when I do I will be stronger than ever and have new perspective on life. Locking me up was the biggest mistake they ever made.
P.S. I’m getting a French Bulldog puppy when I get out of here and have decided to name her Rider.