tv Lockup Raw MSNBC June 2, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PDT
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. >> msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you have never seen. "lockup: raw." >> behind the walls of america's prisons we've witnessed the depths of despair. >> but i don't want to lose you and these children. >> we've learned the price of crime is often paid by the most innocent. >> i can't get out my daddy. >> we've seen creativity wasted. >> i stabbed somebody with some jolly ranchers.
>> we have also met inmates determined to be themselves no matter how risky. >> oh, that's my school teacher look. >> and we've seen them adapt to a life in prison. >> it takes a lot of anger and temper away. it makes it easier to cope in here. >> the thought of going to prison is frightening. it's really unimaginable, and for an inmate to survive behind bars, he really needs to be able to adapt. over the years we've come across some very creative ways for inmates to adapt to the environment. >> on the positive side, we've seen long-lasting friendships. inmates bonding with cats and creating their own prison cuisine in their cells. but there's a negative side to adaptation as well. any corrections officer will tell you there are way too many homemade shanks in prison an plenty of inmates willing to use
them. we were at the penitentiary of new mexico when an inmate tried to break away from his escort officer. and tried to stab another inmate with a unique homemade shank. >> he actually fabricated this out of a piece of a pencil sharpener. you can see the rivet right in there. he attached a paper clip and ran it back, put some plastic cellophane on it, put a rubber band around it to make it more easy to handle specifically when it gets full of blood if you were to slice somebody. he actually admitted he put this on there so he could have some control once he sliced the individual. he's pretty ingenious as far as how he makes weapons. >> the inmate is 30-year-old christopher shiverdecker and his ability to craft ingenious weapons isn't the only thing that makes him memorable. >> the first time i met him, i was quite shocked by his appearance. i had never seen anybody before with a giant bullet hole in his forehead.
>> i got that long, long time ago. it's just a bullet hole. it's like a bullet hole. >> shiverdecker has had plenty of time to amass tattoos and learn the ways of prison. at an age when most boys collect baseball cards, shiverdecker was collecting convictions. >> first time i really got in trouble i think i was 10 1/2. i got grand theft auto. >> since then shiverdecker has spent far more time inside correctional institutions than outside. he's currently serving 45 years for assault, battery, and possession of a deadly weapon by a prisoner. a weapon every bit as creative as this most recent one. >> i stabbed somebody with some jolly ranchers. i took a bunch of jolly ranchers off the canteen, melted it down into a cone, let it get hard like a rock, and it's actually stronger than glass.
and sometimes it's not always you're going to outmuscle somebody. you got to outthink them, you know. >> at 4'11" and 100 pounds, shiverdecker must be creative to survive in prison. he also uses his size to his advantage. >> he's so small that he can slip his handcuffs, and he's got a little game with the new officers where he will -- they will put him in there to take the handcuffs off and he'll hand it to them after he slipped them. >> walk the dog. just because i'm small and i'm able to slip the handcuffs any time i want, i'm a problem, you know? >> this handy talent enabled shiverdecker to elude sergeant rick ortega and officer michelle carpenter when he launched his most recent attack. >> within a matter of just seconds he just slipped his cuffs, tried to get away from
her, and at that time i decided to take him down because i felt he was a threat already. >> ortega, he's got to lose some weight. damn near crushed me. >> despite shiverdecker's violent reputation, oddly enough he got along pretty well with staff members. he will defend himself at all costs, but the staff never bothered him and he had respect for the fact they're doing their job. all he wanted to do was survive. >> he's actually a cooperative inmate. he was very concerned about the staff getting injured or assaulted during this situation. he had no intention of injuring or assaulting any staff members. he just had a mission. >> he told me make sure it's not a rookie escorting me. make sure it's you and the sergeant. then he said to watch myself today. he gave me an indication that something was possibly going to happen. >> the more i spoke to him and
in spite of his criminal history, shiverdecker believed in karma and while we were there, he shared with us how he was trying to improve his karma and it had to do with a haircut. >> christopher, talk about your hair. what happened? why did you cut it? >> it was long enough so i could cut it off so i could send it out. >> to? >> to locks of love to the kids with cancer. >> why though? >> why? why did i do it? i don't know. something to do. i mean, karma. you do bad, you got to do something good to [ bleep ] it out. >> but when it comes to someone as crafty as shiverdecker, even an attempt to do good arouses suspicion. not long after he cut his hair for a cancer patient, officers decided to confiscate it. >> it's been done in the past where they can make a head and
glue that hair onto a dummy head. an officer thinks he's asleep and it's actually a dummy head and this guy can escape. i don't know if it's escape paraphernalia, but it could be. we're going to retrieve it now. >> hey, i need to get that hair from you. whatever documentation you have to send it out, give me the documentation with it. just put it in the envelope and send it out. >> i will let the case worker do it. >> they want to make me look like the monster. i have been here over 2 1/2 years. i didn't do nothing. i don't disrespect nobody, don't cause no problems or nothing. >> we met a rookie officer who was about to find out if that's true. >> the inmate we're talking about name his name and have you dealt with him before? >> i haven't messed with him before. it's the first time. i don't know.
>> shiverdecker. >> i have heard of the reputation and i wasn't too far away when he did his action last week, but i'm hoping to anticipate a good day for him. he's not going to go all crazy, but we'll see. >> we were with rookie officer derrick ralph as he had his first encounter with shiverdecker. the prison feels there's an educational opportunity in a rookie meeting an inmate as clever and nimble as shiverdecker. >> stop right there. we know you're able to remove your restraints. we want to see if he'll show us a demonstration on how you do it or not. >> this is prison. this isn't a playground. >> we want to train these officers on what to look out for and you'd actually be a vital training element for this. we have an officer here, new officer. officer ralph. >> it's not [ bleep ] safety net. >> i understand that, but if you
can do it, you can do it. >> i know but that's my safety net, you know? i don't [ bleep ] do it just to do it, you know. if i don't like what's going on, of course i'm going to do it. you know what i'm saying. >> that's understandable, but i'm just asking you for training purposes for this new officer, would you be willing to show us how you do it? no? >> shiverdecker refused to comply. but he did have some advice for the rookie officer. >> straight up, we're not your buddy, we're not your friend. i mean, we're here to do our time. you're here to do your job. if i feel i'm in a bad situation and i have to go through you to save my own ass, then so be it. that's what i'm going to do. that goes for anybody. [ bleep ]. this is prison. >> go ahead and restrain him. put that a little tighter. hold up, shiverdecker. hold up. >> check this out.
>> if you can put your finger in there, it's too loose. see how loose it was? >> yes, sir. >> best thing i can tell you, don't trust nobody. you definitely don't want to trust me. >> you can still slip that damn cuff, can't you? coming up -- >> i did so much damage they said that i had to have a weapon. >> violent women attempt to balance prison with motherhood. >> i had guilt. okay, my kid's a thief because i'm a thief and what i have to do to change it.
>> i have two boys. i have a 9-year-old and i have a 7-year-old. i gave birth to a healthy baby boy almost 20 months ago. >> we met christina meadows and kristine taylor at the tennessee prison for women. both were eager to talk about their children which made the graphic details they shared about their violent crimes all the more shocking. >> i did so much damage they said that i had to have a weapon which i didn't. >> it was almost like an al pacino movie i guess you could say. very brutal, bloody. >> christine taylor serving 12 years for aggravated robbery and kidnapping told us about the eight hours she held a friend captive and brutally beat her. she had accused the friend of stealing from her. >> burned her on her face. i burned her on her sides. with a 12 gauge shotgun i pistol whipped her on her hip. which took a chunk about a quarter size out of her hip.
she was disfigured, i guess. her face, couldn't really look at her and see it was her. >> christina meadows also knew her victim. she and her cousin got into a fight that escalated into a vicious assault. >> i hit her so many times in the same spot, you know, it made a gash from up here to down here. she was 6 foot tall and weighed 350 pounds. i was about a buck 30. i did so much damage they said that i had to have a weapon, which i didn't have a weapon. when you hit somebody repeatedly over and over, especially in your head, it's thin skin, it's going to eventually bust open. when you're hyped up on drugs, you're capable of anything. >> hitting her with just your hands? >> yes, hitting her with my hands. yeah. >> what happened to your hands? >> nothing. >> meadows hands got her into more trouble in prison. she had been at a minimum security facility but after several fights with other inmates was transferred to the
segregation unit at tennessee prison for women. >> warden said i was a threat to security of his institution, that i was a threat to his inmates, that he didn't have a program for me, my behavior was too aggressive. >> her sons are living with family while she serves four years for aggravated assault and a concurrent sentence for forgery and she's concerned one of her boys might be following her example. >> first he stole like a dollar from his teacher and then he's stealing money from his grandma and i got on the phone and i asked him, why are you stealing money from grandma? he said, well, i was stealing $1 and $5 from her and she never knew so i thought i would take a $20. he got in trouble for that and the whole family came down and did like this intervention thing and so told him not to steal from grandma. instead of stealing from grandma, he stole from the next door neighbor. i am having to deal with my crimes, forgery, it's the same thing, i stole the money, i
forged a check. i look at myself and i have major guilt thinking so my kid is a thief because i was a thief and what do i got to do to change it? >> christine taylor also struggles with parenting from prison, especially when it comes to negotiating with her children's father. >> unfortunately, some events transpired in daycare last week that are horrible, and he's still letting our children go there, but there's nothing that i can say, because i'm here and i'm helpless. >> later we noticed taylor on a cellblock pay phone talking to the father of her children. >> okay. he doesn't like it, i don't want to go. does the lady still watch him? does she treat him any different? i mean, i don't know. shouldn't you be wondering these things after that incident. >> when we're filming in these prisons, i don't know if you call it luck or not, but we're
there roaming around and we just happened upon these situations with some of the people we have been filming with, and they're used to us at this point and in some ways they become oblivious to us as in the case of christine on the phone. >> why don't you come down here and see me and bring our children. why can't i be a part of your life no more? i'm sick of being in this [ bleep ] by myself without you wondering what's going on. i'm trying real mother [ bleep ] to stay out of trouble and get my [ bleep ] together and it feels like i have nothing to come home to. >> it encapsulates the loss one goes through when you're incarcerated. she's begging the father of her children to not leave her and to please let her see her kids, and this became a very sad, desolate situation, which she remarked upon afterwards, but it was the quintessential prison moment as far as we were concerned. >> i understand my choices have done this, but i don't want to lose you and these children. and that's what it's feeling like. i have been with him since i was 15. we're 50/50, we're unstoppable, and ever since i made a few
choices and i ended up here, it's put a damper on our relationship. it's very, very hard. coming up, a troubled inmate and the young son who struggles to understand. >> i can't get out my daddy. >> it's the visitation our crew will never forget. >> i was over in the corner bawling. it was just horrible.
one of the most surprising experiences i had on "lockup" i was working in michigan city, indiana, my hometown at indiana state penitentiary and i actually ran into somebody i used to hang out with when i was a child. we were shooting in the visitation room and i kind of saw him out of the corner of my eye, and it was one of those odd moments because what do you do? i didn't want to interrupt his visit and say hello, but later on as we were interviewing somebody else, he found me and came up to me and started
talking to me, and talking to him for a good while and it was just the most interesting experience because i hadn't seen him in years and to be talking to him as he's now an inmate and, you know, when we were 12, 13 years old i would never have guessed i would have been seeing him in this position. >> visitation often proves to be a place not only to find great stories, but to see inmates in a different light. >> when we first met jonathan hall serving 40 years for second degree murder at colorado's limon correctional facility, we wouldn't have guessed that one of the most emotional reunions between an inmate and child would be with him. >> [ bleep ]. [ bleep ]. >> my first impression of jonathan hall was that he was an out of control, maniacal young man. he was screaming at me through his door. he was quite verbally
assaultive. >> you can't buy me. [ bleep ]. get the [ bleep ] out of here. >> i started having off camera conversations with jonathan and quickly i saw a very different human being. he was trying to educate himself. he had come from a very difficult life, and he was calm and he was articulate, but the most striking thing about jonathan which shifted his personality from this very tough, hard core inmate to a far kinder and even softer person was the second he started talking about his son. >> this is me, my son, and my wife when my son was first born. i felt like my destiny was fulfilled, that that was what i was put on earth to do was to have my son. >> my daddy. my daddy.
>> we were there when hall's mother, sister, wife, and 3-year-old son orion arrived for a visit. the first with orion since he was an infant. but there wouldn't be so much as a hug between them. hall's prior behavior problems resulted in a non-contact visit. >> hey, you. >> hi. >> here's orion. >> can you say, i love you, daddy? >> i love you, daddy. >> i love you, too. i miss you. >> orion was a bright light from the second that we saw him. he was very aware of his surroundings. he was over the moon to see his dad. he knew oddly enough that he was in a place where his dad didn't belong. >> there's your daddy.
>> your daddy. >> that's your daddy, huh? he was so excited to see you. he kept saying, i'm going to see my daddy, i'm going to see my daddy. you know what he said, too? >> what? >> he said, this is a castle. we're going to the castle. >> oh, yeah, castle? >> he thinks it's a castle. >> daddy. daddy. >> hey. >> he's stuck in the mirror. >> yeah. >> i can't get out my daddy. >> hearing that little kid say to his family i need to get my daddy out of the mirror was heartbreaking and as you can see now, i well up very easily. and i was over in the corner bawling. it was just horrible. >> there's my dad. there's my daddy. my daddy. >> daddy. you look like your daddy. >> daddy. >> later on after the visit while we were still filming at limon, jonathan was shipped out to a much more restrictive
prison, but he seems pretty resolute that he's going to try to maintain a relationship with his little boy. next on "lockup: raw" -- >> let's say i hurt a lot of people. it seemed to be the best way to get aggression out. >> an old school convict with a reputation for trouble finds his softer side. >> you look at these bette davis eyes and you think, this guy depends on me, i have to take care of him.
advised. we've interviewed a lot of inmates who are doing long-term sentences. i'm talking decades and decades of time behind bars. in order to survive, they have to find ways to make the absolute most of whatever small pleasures they can find. >> we should go get some bleach and make everything brighter and whiter. like a teeth commercial. >> james stone may still look like a young man, but his boyish face conceals a hard-lived life behind bars. >> when i first came to prison, had nothing to lose, didn't care about anything, and very violent. >> he is now 55 years old and has been an inmate at indiana state prison for more than two decades. >> they said i did attempted
murder, attempted murder, deviate conduct and criminal conversion and kidnapping. >> in all, stone was sentenced to 101 years for his crimes. >> the judge put you in here. how you make your life in here is up to you. >> these days stone doesn't like all the changes he's seen at indiana. especially when it comes to the younger generation. >> they have no respect for themselves. little less for anyone else. back in those days you had respect for everyone in here. you didn't have to lock your stuff up. there was rules that we followed that was our own. i mean, sure, there was stabbings, there were deaths, but they were legit. they weren't over a box of cakes or something like that, you know? guy is a child molester wants to turn state evidence on someone or something. you know, he got knocked. these guys now, for a $2 rolly, he's getting mugged. i mean, come on. >> but stone used to be a bit of a menace himself in his younger days. >> let's just say i hurt a lot of people. it seemed to be the best way to
get aggression out. i was taking pills, drinking. because back in those days, we had real liquor in here, not wine, not hooch. we had real liquor. >> stone used to be kind of a rebel. >> major robert cavanagh was a correctional officer when stone first arrived. >> me and stone got to know each other quite a bit when i was in charge of cell houses. i was the captain in charge of cell houses. i used to walk the ranges a lot. >> that's when it was fist fighting with officers was allowed. they opened up your cell door and told you to step out, it was punch for punch and forgotten about. there was no writeups involved. it was all about respect. get your teeth knocked out, next day, everything's forgotten about. can't do that now, though. now they call it spouse abuse. >> he would go around and drink, smoke, get in different kind of things like that. >> i was on pills. i was popping all these bull
[ bleep ] pills. anything i could get. what the [ bleep ]. you know, what i got to stay healthy or something? you just put me here, i'm more or less just a zombie that ain't just -- but i'm having fun so screw it. i'm going to stay bombed and high and everything and beat everybody up that i can, because that was my hustle, collecting for the dope guys. >> he was a hoodlum. >> by the time we met him in 2008, stone had matured and found satisfaction in things beyond fighting and drinking. >> he knows that he's in prison, and he's going to make the best of every day. he is social. he has friends. he likes his job. >> it's a bird, it's a plane, no, it's the bio bucket man. >> he wakes up knowing he has a purpose, although it's not his ideal purpose.
he never questions it. >> to the bat cave. >> indiana prison officials allowed us to give certain inmates personal cameras to tell their stories in private. stone used his to tell us about some of his healthier choices. >> as you see, there's plenty of vegetables. i grow gardens here and i try to eat as healthy as i possibly can because we don't get it in the chow hall. down there you see vitamins. i take vitamins every day. just part of my daily routine. i like making stuff out of garbage, recycling. here is clocks and stuff, chests, clocks that i have made with recycled material out of trash. old scrap lumber that was gotten rid of. >> but there's one thing that turns stone's life around more than anything else. >> get a little purr machine. before i had a cat, believe me, i wasn't a person that you wanted to know. as a matter of fact, i wasn't a nice person at all. >> at indiana state some inmates are allowed to adopt cats from a
local shelter that might otherwise be euthanized. but the program started when stone first helped out a newborn stray more than ten years ago. >> i've got a lot of knowledge and way with animals from the streets, and i helped deliver some kittens that was caught from a wild cat in here and one of them, he was deformed looking. nobody wanted to handle him he looked so weird, and i wasn't going to let him be killed or go to the pound or anything like that. >> it was hard to think of james stone as being this, you know, rabble rouser just seeing him be such a nice guy and friendly to everybody. it was hard to imagine him in his skull-cracking days, as he said. i think his first cat had a lot to do with that. i would have liked to have seen him back then just to see the contrast between the two. >> this is jinxster. this is my little buddy. i have had him since 2005
because my first cat died in 2005, and they replaced him with one that looked similar to him. >> hey jinxster, smile for the camera. that's what i'm talking about. >> and i have to tell you this guy loves his cat, loves, loves, loves. he talked about his cat more than anybody that i had met. he had built this elaborate cat house, this two-story -- it almost looked like a doll house. it was crazy. >> as you see, it's got everything to it. it's got skyline windows, the whole bit. i keep everything so it's more or less cat proof. i don't have things down where the cat can mess it up. you know, because a cat is a cat. >> his cat was his best friend, his cat was his roommate. he's probably his confidant, and you know most importantly, you know, this cat talked him down. if anything got on his nerves, that cat probably heard an awful lot. >> i mean, he takes a lot of anger and temper away. makes it easier to cope in here
because when i do feel like i'm about ready to go and do something stupid, i just hold him on my lap, pat him, stroke him a few times, and you look at those big bette davis eyes and you think, hey, this guy depends on me. i got to take care of him. >> stone's cats have even eased tensions with old adversaries. >> what's up? >> thought i'd bring big boy over here for you to see. >> geez, i can't believe how fat he is. look at that guy. he's a cow. what's up, dude? >> just goes to show fruits and vegetables ain't necessarily good on a diet. >> he's too fat to catch anything. >> don't have to worry about that hawk anymore. hawk tried to swoop down to get him. >> i think i had have lost a couple to the hawk and the coyotes. >> have you? >> yeah. >> that might be why he's so fat too. >> i can't believe how big he is. he's huge. >> he's not as big as jinx was though. >> no, no. >> jinx was longer and taller. >> jinx wasn't that heavy
though. >> no, he was strong. >> he was more lean. >> he's my little buddy. >> i'll see you. >> see you, jinxster. >> he's more dependable than anything i got in here. i will do without before he will. i give animals more respect than i do people because they deserve it. they deserve it. they're not the ones messing up the world, we are. >> up next, the gender bending ways of the inmate known as holly mary. >> i like to look sophisticated.
that is considered a high priority. administrative segregation. ad seg is where disruptive or violent inmates are housed in highly restrictive cells, usually for 23 hours a day with virtually no privileges. it's also where some of our most dramatic stories are found and the holman correctional facility in alabama proved to be no exception. that's where we met marcus thomas who prefers to be called holly berry. >> i know that i was born a male. i know that. that i do know. that's just reality, but i live as a woman. i see myself as a woman. that's my school teacher look. yeah. i like to look sophisticated. >> i refer to holly as she because she asked me to, and out of respect i'm happy to do that but in reality she's a man.
the first time we met her, she was in lockup. she was being taken out to have an interview and our cameraman brian started to follow her and i watched his facial expression change because holly would do these exaggerated mannerisms which she thought were a woman and her hips were swaying back and forth as she talked down the tier. and, of course, all the inmates started hooting and hollering everywhere she went at holman prison she created a scene. >> holly was in ad seg because his various relationships with other inmates led to disruptions, but he's in stranger to troubling relationships. he's serving 25 years for murdering a man he considered to be his husband. >> he and his colleague were having a little valentine's ball. he comes in and i'm associating with another guy, just talking, and he just grabbed me and one
thing led to another. he drug me outside started to beat on me. beating me, beating me, beating me, and beating me. i just -- i stabbed him. he fell, i stabbed him again. >> holly did not let prison end his love life. he told us he's had three prison husbands so far and the current one figured out a way for the couple to be close to one another in the crowded general population dorms. >> i'll tell you he would actually pay the guy that slept next to me, he would actually pay him to sleep in his bed. uh-huh, sure would, just to be beside me. ain't that something? >> the inmate holly considers his husband asked to remain anonymous to prevent his family from learning about the relationship. >> i never thought in a million
years i would be in a relationship like this. >> i'm his first, his only, and his last. >> the prison, of course, does not allow inmates to marry one another, but that didn't stop holly and his boyfriend from exchanging rings and vows. but soon after the couple landed in ad seg after another inmate jumped holly and his boyfriend retaliated with a beating. holly's boyfriend was eventually released back into general population. but holly remained in lockup a year later. >> well, back to my hot little cell. >> please, open. please, open. >> why are you saying it like that? >> and clean that pig sty up. >> you leave my house alone. the hardest thing about being in
lockup is not being able to sit, talk to him, prepare his meals for him, to iron his clothes, to wash his clothes. i mean, i enjoy doing all of that for him. going out and him coaching me and, you know, spotting me as i'm doing my little squats, you know. >> shortly after this interview, holly had a meeting scheduled with warden grant culiver to plead his case for getting out of ad seg. but before the warden arrived, holly broke down. >> what's going on with your man? >> i can't do this. i can't do this. i can't do this. >> it's okay, you're fine. >> i can't do this. >> from my observation, holly would burst into tears whenever she thought it would gain her some advantage, either getting
sympathy from somebody. at one point we were arguing about me referring to her as either she or him, and i had to remind holly that, in fact, she had a penis which was why she was in a male facility, and she just went into this big greta garbo routine wailing and bemoaning the fact she did, in fact, have a penis. >> what you crying for? >> they want to do an interview of me, and -- >> you don't want to be interviewed? >> they just -- they act -- they asked if i'd seen [ bleep ] before. >> that caused you to cry? >> because it hurt me. >> because they asked you -- it hurt you? >> it hurts.
i swear to god, it hurts. >> why, why, why? you ain't going to win an academy award on this. quit crying. i don't want to hear you crying. i'm not even going to talk to you about this. they want me to talk to you about being released to general pop. >> i am sorry. i'm sorry. i said i'm sorry. >> why should i release you to pop? >> because i learned my lesson. >> what kind of problems do we have with you if we return you to population? >> i don't know. >> huh? >> i don't know. >> yes, you do know. even though you call yourself one individual, do you not have people that are coming after you all of the time? yes or no? just yes or no. >> well, yes. >> okay. do you not like that attention? >> no, sir, i don't. >> i cannot stop these guys from coming after you, and you know somebody is going to make a play for you.
somebody is going to either try to cross you out or try to cross [ bleep ] out. basically they're going to cross [ bleep ] out to be able to get to you. you already know this, and then we got an incident. so why should i send you out to pop? tell me why? >> just give me a chance, please. >> i don't want you to beg me. i want you to give me one good reason why i should turn you out to pop. >> i made a change. i'm not coming back. i promise i'm not coming back. please. please, give me a chance. i'm not coming back. >> i'll think about it. i'm not convinced right now though and the reason i'm not convinced is in the past your past tells me that you're going to go to general population, you
have about 60 or 90 days in general population and there will be problems. >> i bet you're wrong this time. i bet you're wrong. >> we'll see. you can go. >> i would let her know that i love her and miss her, need her, waiting on her. >> no matter how long she's locked up? >> no matter how long. >> it must be love. yeah. >> as for the future, holly looks forward to spending a life with his boyfriend outside prison walls. >> i'm going to give him the best life he could imagine. i'm going to show you what real love is, you know. you don't got to look this way or be this way or be that way to be accepted. coming up, some of the prison's top chef inmates provide a taste of their cellmate cuisine. >> just eyeball that. it flavors up the fish real good.
among the first questions asked of "lockup" producers by their friends and family at the end of the long prison shoot is usually how was the food? when we traveled overseas for "lockup world tour," the answer was pretty good, actually. a belgian inmate gave his prison's kitchen nothing but rave reviews. >> food here they give same way they give in any belgian restaurant, any traditional belgian restaurant what they gave, they gave us here. same taste, same everything. it's a five-star hotel. >> the food seemed equally pleasing in eastern europe as
well. especially at a serbian prison called zabwa. >> to me it was vastly different from the kind of food served in american prison. loads of bread. the food looked fresh. it wasn't processed and it was ladled out, served out fresh. it was a different visual for me in terms of seeing the food. we walked into this one area and this massive vats of dough and yeast were being prepared for this homemade bread that they serve the inmates, so they offered us a chance to try it. i delved into that bread, it was so delicious. this bread was probably the tastiest bread i have ever had. it was that good. >> but most inmates we have met prefer their own culinary concoctions to prison fare. james meek, an inmate at hmp shots prison in scotland is a self-trained saucier and keeps an impressive collection of spices to turn mundane prison grub into something exotic. >> spices. to make curries and that. but you've got to wash out the meat and things like that, you
know. and then you make your own sauce and put the meat back and then add your sauce together. because some of the curries they make are rubbish. not to the outdone by their peers overseas. american inmates often choose to forego the chow hall and create their own meals with food they can purchase from the prison canteen. we met chris at the limon correctional facility in colorado. >> take one whole sausage and slice it up long ways. four different ways, quarters. you make quarters out of them and then cut that completely in half and then sometimes i'll put a little bit of honey on top of the sausage and then i'll put the cheese over the top of it and then cook it in the microwave for a minute so it melts it down and it makes a pretty good meal. it's better than the food they serve you in the chow hall. >> but one other limon inmate,
ray slagel, took homemade prison cuisine to an entirely new level. >> honestly, cooking is my hobby. i love to cook. i like to make people happy. like i will make something at work and go to the job site and i'll give it, try this. that's what i like to do. >> several of his friends at limon like his food so much, they suggested to our producers that he should have his own cooking show, so we asked slagel for a demonstration of his skills. >> i'm going to make this dish and i'm just going to get the ingredients and go as i go, okay? big chunks of fish there. i busted the soup just so it ain't all stringy, you know? just put a little in there for filler. by the time i get done, this
will be ready. honestly, you get the soup packet out of this beef soup and put over the fish, spread it out nice and evenly. and you put a little of this on the fish. it favor up the fish real good. you guys will be surprised, this dental floss, it will cut through anything. i like to get three chunks of cheese and put it in the bottom with the fish because that oil, it does something with that fish and makes it taste so much better. a little secret there. honestly, it really comes out a lot better when it's like that. then you cut up the sausage and put that over the fish and then you put your onion and pepper, of course, cut this up real quick. put this cheese on the top, and then when you cook up the microwave, it won't stink up the whole pot. i have been cooking it a couple years now, just tweaking it and twisting it until it comes out perfect. that's tasty. i'm going to take this over there right now.
it was like seeing red. pure red. when i took the two lives, every adrenal gland was open wide, the endorphins were flying through my body. and it was just amazing. it was like pure amphetamine. that's what it felt like, only more pure. tonight on "msnbc investigates," rod ferrell talks from prison exclusively about his murders that shocked america and tells us wt