Tag Archives: prison

Quite a character

Character actor James Rebhorn died of melanoma on Friday.

I didn’t even know his name.

Every time I saw him in his more recent television work on Homeland and The Good Wife, or in films like The Box or Baby Mama, I always thought —

“Look — there’s Bradley Raines.

Raines was the first role that I ever saw Rebhorn portray.  Way back in 1984.  On my favorite soap of all time, The Guiding Light.

Bradley Raines was not a good guy.  A security guard for Spaulding Enterprises in Springfield, he blackmailed his boss. He beat his wife and raped his stepdaughter.  He eventually was thrown into prison and later a psychiatric hospital.

Raines was a soap character that you loved to hate…and Guiding Light kept bringing him back for seven years.  Rebhorn was creepy good.

I’ll miss Bradley Raines.

Captain, my captain

Have you ever wanted to know more about the people piloting your airplane?

Be careful what you wish for.

On my flight to Chicago yesterday, I sat next to a pilot who was dead heading back home. He was especially chatty, so I learned quite a bit about this life and his schedule. And his criminal record.

You heard me.

Back when he was flying cargo planes, he and his co-pilot were arrested for trafficking cocaine in the Carribean.  The white stuff was hidden in the cockpit but he said it was already on the plane when they came aboard.

Uh huh.

They were detained for three weeks in a Dominican prison before their lawyers cleared up the ‘misunderstanding.’  He seemed most upset that his tann faded during his incarceration.

T. M. I.

Committed

Can you imagine being in prison?

I don’t like to think about it. Wrenched away from my dog, my home, my family and friends, my job — all sense of self gone.

But reading Orange is the New Black, by Piper Kerman, that’s exactly what I find myself doing.

In 1993, bored and lacking direction after graduating from Smith College, Kerman befriends a woman who is part of an overseas drug smuggling operation and travels for a year with her and her associates.

Five years later, federal agents appear at her door in New York City. Some 10 years after her ‘crimes by association,’ Kerman finds herself an inmate at Danbury Correctional Institute in Connecticut.

Orange is the New Black is the story of Kerman’s thirteen months in prison.  I started it yesterday; I’ve found it difficult to put down.

Her life there surprised me on many levels.  It was safer than I expected — she wasn’t attacked by every lesbian in the joint — and far more boring.  She seemed to have a lot of free time and spent it running track and taking yoga classes.

Although she was cautioned to ‘keep to herself to survive,’ she made numerous connections and friendships in prison that made her life at Danbury easier to endure.  Those women are the heart of the book.

Kerman emphasizes that the isolation from her fiancee and family was the real prison.  Danbury had four visitation days a week, and she was lucky to have a steady stream of visitors to see her through her incarceration.

Funny thing:  the wrong friends got her into prison, and the right friends — on both sides of the bars — got her through.