I was released today after spending 2 years incarcerated for a victim less crime in both Chicago's Cook County Jail and the Illinois Department Of Corrections state prisons; some of the harshest detention centers in the united states. I'll answer any questions you have for me to my best ability.

Proof: Here's my release ID from the IDOC:https://imgur.com/a/4ST7LZv

Comments: 194 • Responses: 54  • Date: 

BurgerPleaseYT33 karma

What's your favorite burger joint in Chicago?

crookcounty77368 karma

Portillo's is pretty awesome.

They used to have a Fatburger in the suburbs but they shut it down. It was actually funded by Kanye West.

cpt_latin_america1 karma

There is still one on 95th, in Evergreen Park I believe. And forget the vurger, the italian beef sammich at Portillo's is FIRE!

crookcounty7733 karma

That's the one that I was talking about. It's closed down.

jamesgala22330 karma

Worst experience while inside?

crookcounty77391 karma

While I was in the county, they had placed a guy in our pod that had just come from the medical wing. I'm not sure why, considering he was still out of his mind. When he walked in the pod he came up to me and slashed his wrists and proceeded to rush me and get blood all over me in the process. He was a dope fiend, and wasn't 120 pounds soaking wet, so I was able to get the guy off me by just pushing him back and making him fall over.I went to get tested for any diseases the next day, but luckily didn't catch anything.

IronPeter18 karma

You may want to repeat the test now, just to be sure... is it normal to have sharp objects in the pod?

crookcounty77340 karma

The good thing is when you're released from prison, they hook you up with 6 months of health insurance. I plan on taking advantage of that and getting tested for anything I could have caught in there. It's hands down the filthiest place I've ever been.

As far as the sharp objects, inmates get really crafty. This one in particular broke down a battery and used the aluminum casing to cut into himself.

EasilyDistractedTim6 karma

Yeah, hope you know things like aids aren't testable the day after, they have a certain incubation time (months for aids if I remember right, pls somebody correct me if I'm wrong) not trying to scare you, just making sure

crookcounty77324 karma

The doctors told me that when the incident initially occurred. When you go to prison after you're sentenced you have to take mandatory HIV/AIDS tests and mine came back negative (this was about 4 months after the incident). Either way, I'm still getting tested for everything.

poonjazzler0 karma

That’s so odd considering most jails search your stuff during pod transfers and they will shake down a pod if a razor chit ends up missing.

crookcounty7731 karma

Cook county is so overcrowded and understaffed. Things get through all the time.

whatsupnicky28 karma

What was the first thing you decided to do upon release? Visit family, eat real food, etc..?

crookcounty77370 karma

It's weird, when I was in I kept talking about how I was going to eat so much but when my family picked me up this morning all I really wanted to do was go home and relax. I didn't even have an appetite.

But the first thing I did was drink a redbull. I had been craving one like crazy and my brother kept one on ice when he picked me up.

SlidersAfterMidnight21 karma

I’m claustrophobic...does anybody freak because of claustrophobia and how is it handled?


crookcounty77331 karma

I haven't heard of anyone complaining about that, which is weird considering the cell is so small you and your celly can't both stand at the same time.

I'm sure if you talked to the counselor, they might accommodate you. Or you can bug out and go to a single man cell in segregation.

bertiebees20 karma

Was your victimless crime possession of a controlled substance? If so was it cannabis?

Did you have a public defender or your own lawyer?

If you could have afforded bail and a good attorney do you think you would have served any time?

crookcounty77337 karma

My crime didn't involve drugs.

I unfortunately did not have the funds to pay a private lawyer, so I had to go with a PD. If I did, I can guarantee that I would have gotten off with a couple of years probation.

AlmostTheNewestDad16 karma

How much would that realistically cost for your particular case? I don't know anything about how much a lawyer would cost.

crookcounty77331 karma

I had a class 4 Felony which is the lightest felony there is.

I consulted a couple of attorneys and the lowest price that they were willing to take my case for was $10,000. That's not including bail money.

Savrose884 karma

Why is that? Did you think your PD was not very good?

crookcounty77330 karma

There are so many cases in chicago that all the PD's are overworked. It's not their fault, but it is what it is.

newosis20 karma

First off. Sending someone to prison for what is essentially an admin error is fucking crazy. What do you think a suitable punishment for your crime would have been?

Secondly, do you think the $100,000 dollars the state just used of taxpayers money to sentance and imprison you was well spent?

crookcounty77330 karma

I believe as it was my first offense, I should have received probation and some fines. With a decent lawyer, I'm almost sure that's what I would have gotten.

I think the state could have used the money much more wisely. My spot could have been filled with someone who actually knowingly committed a crime.

gogo80914 karma

Are those private or government prisons?

Edit: actually I have a bunch of questions as this was a topic that came up on Reddit the other day (basically European vs USA prison system). I will ask them in individual topics so the threads stay sane.

crookcounty77322 karma

They are government prisons. I believe Illinois bans private prisons.

wojosmith12 karma

Explain to reddit how Cook County is way worse than Joliet or any of the other IL prisons.

crookcounty77326 karma

Cook County isn't a prison, it's a jail where people are still going to court for their cases. I would still consider it worse than any of the prisons in IL just for the amount of overcrowding, and the gang demographic. The first thing people ask you when you walk into a pod is "What you is?" and depending on your answer, they'll either choose to help you out, or rob you of all the things you have if you're with the opposition. The fact that there are so many young kids in there that don't really care about life makes things a lot more likely to jump off.

Amross6414 karma

The first thing people ask you when you walk into a pod is "What you is?"

What if your answer is "I'm a non gang affiliated regular old guy that got caught doing something"?

crookcounty77343 karma

You say you're a "neutron". that's the term they use for people not affiliated.

BrownBear4564 karma

Are neutrons pretty low on the food chain?

crookcounty7733 karma

Depending what deck you're on. On some the People nation is so prominent that nuetrons are above Folk nation.

Anonymoususer11110 karma

Dis you get raped? Have you witnessed this? Being locked up, one always assumes that someone is getting fucked.

crookcounty77345 karma

I personally have not been raped, and have not witnessed any rape. Prisons are really cracking down on rape in prison. The punishments are harsh enough to deter inmates from doing so.

Consensual sex on the other hand is huge in prison. I didn't expect there to be so many open homosexuals and for it to be tolerated. For the most part, straight inmates don't mess with them because they'll be charged with a hate crime if they get into a fight with one of them and extend their sentence drastically.

btw; they call homosexuals "Geechi's".

sortaplainnonjane10 karma


crookcounty77324 karma

The food was awful.

Small portions, and most of the time they'd give you this gray lunch meat that the inmates called "slick meat". It was the same color as scrapple (google it if you haven't heard of it) and tasted terrible. They also had these sausages that were mystery meat and in a thick casing that the inmates would refer to as "cock in a sock".

and yes, I plan on keeping my head straight from here on out. I was scared straight.

thevillewrx2 karma

Of the awful, what was your favorite?

crookcounty77315 karma

I'm not sure if your familiar, but they used to give us these square pieces of pizza that we used to get in grammar school when we were younger. Those were pretty cash.

Caputtohsi10 karma

Did you learn your lesson?

crookcounty77325 karma

Without a doubt.

RainbowSixThermite10 karma

What exactly did you do?

crookcounty77334 karma

I'm originally from Missouri and you can own firearms without FOID cards. I had it when I crossed state lines into IL and was pulled over and charged for it.

jmm_phunk101313 karma

Wow. You got two years for that? Sounds like a misunderstanding. I lived in the STL area and now live in Chicago. Can confirm laws are very different in MO vs IL. Also can confirm Cook County jail is hell on earth (from what I've heard from friends locked up there). Good luck with the future my friend. Sorry that shit happened to you.

crookcounty77321 karma

Thanks, and Yep. Illinois isn't messing around with their gun laws right now, especially with all the murders happening in Chicago. I can't wait to go back to STL once my parole is transferred or over. My advice is to head back to STL.

jmm_phunk101311 karma

Yep I miss STL but I had my reasons for leaving, mostly because a lot of my friends were dying of heroin overdoses. Came to Chi, got a great job and trying to keep my nose clean (no pun intended lol). Now it's kinda hard to leave but I'll head back down South eventually. Our justice system is so fucked in this country, especially in Illinois. I cannot believe they took away 2 years of your life for basically a technicality that a good (expensive) lawyer coulda got you off of. Fucking crooked Illinois, bribery and money rule everything. But what can you do, unfortunately it happens all the time and will happen again. Since this is an AMA let me ask a question- what are you plans when you get back home? You think it will be hard to get a job with a felony on your record? Maybe a cheaper lawyer in STL can help get this expunged from your record?

crookcounty77352 karma

I was working a crappy call center job before I went in, but now I plan on going back to school and trying to get a decent job. I know it'll be harder now that I'm a felon, but with enough effort anything is possible. In retrospect, doing the time was a blessing in disguise because it helped me look at my life and realize that there's far more to life than just getting by. I'm hoping a lawyer can help me, especially considering it's my first offense. Either way, the world is mine and I plan on making the most of it. Being deprived of your freedom really gives you a new look at things.

zeezl8 karma

👍 Love your attitude. Good luck with your new endeavours.

crookcounty7735 karma

Thank you! It's much appreciated!

meatkrieg4 karma

I had the same charge in 2008, did they reduce it to a misdemeanor after time served? Luckily in my case they did and it finally has dropped off my record in the past couple of years!

crookcounty7734 karma

Unfortunately, no. I'm now a convicted felon and can no longer carry a firearm.

meatkrieg7 karma

That's trash bud. Your right to defend yourself was taken away because you were excersising your right to defend yourself. I'd try to start researching now and seek out any avenues to start an appeal process, if any. Good luck.

crookcounty7735 karma

I'm currently researching if I can get this expunged from my record. Obviously I'll need to get the funds for a lawyer before I can really get the ball rolling but I hope to start the process soon.

fishythepete1 karma

Did you have an MO carry permit at the time?

crookcounty7733 karma

You don't need one in MO.

c3h8pro7 karma

What got you pulled over to allow the cops to find the gun? Tail light out? Speeding?

crookcounty77318 karma

It was a simple traffic stop for not using my blinker.

galina3332 karma

Did you declare your firearm to the officer when you were pulled over? I know in my home state of SC you are required to but in PA you aren't. Just curious what led him to finding or knowing you had a handgun.

crookcounty7739 karma

It's not required in MO, but I realized I was in IL so I did just for my safety.

galina3336 karma

Damn, man. That fucking sucks that you were 100% trying to do the right thing and were criminally charged for it. Your story and positivity through it is truly inspiring though. I wish you nothing but the best in school and your future endeavors

crookcounty7736 karma

Thank you!

Haggro777 karma

Did anyone come to visit you? If anyone did, would you feel better or would it make it harder?

crookcounty77320 karma

I had some visits from family in Chicago when I was in the county, but once I got to prison (which is in the middle of nowhere) I didn't receive any visits.

I liked it better without visits, because saying goodbye to your family and watching them walk out that door knowing you have to stay in prison is a bad feeling.

Haggro774 karma

Yeah I could imagine, I think i'd feel the same way in the situation. Did you still stay in touch with your family? I'm sure you have a ton of catching up to do even if you did. Also are you still in Illonois or did you get the heck out of dodge?

crookcounty7739 karma

I received letters from them every 2 weeks or so and made phone calls pretty often, but it's not the same as actually sitting down and having a conversation with them.

I still have to do a year of parole, so I can't leave the state unless my Parole Officer approves it.

b33chlydia6 karma

Do you feel that being in jail has changed you psychologically in any way? Like has it affected your mental health?

crookcounty77315 karma

Not really now that I'm out.

Inside though, I would sometimes feel like I wasn't a real part of society. I would feel sort of like I was in a limbo in between death and freedom. It's hard to explain.

The9thLordofRavioli6 karma

What’s the situation like with other inmates? Is it generally a case where people mind their own business or is there some level of socializing? Just like in your case you can’t imagine that every person in prison is a bad egg.

crookcounty77317 karma

There's a lot of socializing. Considering you're seeing the same 80 faces in your pod everyday, you tend to talk to people just to pass time.

You can figure out how a person is just by their demeanor. If they're in the day room yelling, acting out, and always into someone else's business it's best to steer clear from them.

freebog6 karma

Did you get in shape, work out a lot or was that just not possible? What did you do to pass the time in there?

crookcounty77321 karma

I lost a couple pounds, but that was just due to the lack of food. Illinois prisons are so full that they'll put you in the first joint to get an open bed. So even though it was my first offense, I was sent to a medium-maximum security prison where we only came out of our cells for an hour a day. The cell was far too small to work out in comfortably.

I spent most of my time watching TV or reading books.

GodEmperorScorch6 karma

Who was the most infamous person/group in the jail who you could say had the most pull in running the show so to speak?

crookcounty77310 karma

They are very strict on Security Threat Group rules, so inmates are careful not to show any gang identification, but I have to say there were more Vice Lords than anything in both the County and Prison.

vondrac5 karma

Have you acquired any habits while in jail? ie: not speak much or have 2 minute showers?

crookcounty77314 karma

There's always the dump and flush thing. I found myself doing that when I got home today even though it wasn't necessary. I also tend to eat faster because when you go to the chow hall in prison you have about 3 minutes to finish your meal.

A good habit I picked up is that I tend to clean a lot more. I like things to be tidy.

vondrac4 karma

As somebody that committed a very light crime, how hard was for you to fit in with murderers, drug lords, etc? Do you have to interact with them or if you want to be left alone nobody will talk to you?

crookcounty77317 karma

You don't have to interact with anyone. I knew guys that stood in their cells most of the time and would only come out for showers and chow.

As for me, nobody really bothered me. I just made it clear that I wasn't gang affiliated, homosexual, or a child molester. Most of my cellmates were in for attempted murder (excluding one that was in for aggravated domestic battery) and I got along with them fine. Especially in prison, which unlike in the county, people are just working toward their out dates.

Destro863 karma

2 years for a handgun violation with no priors? First time felon getting hit with 2 years inside and how many did they give you on paper?

You said class 4 felony which is like a class D in my home state.. tell the truth you have prior charges or was there other charges that along with the gun charge?

crookcounty77312 karma

They're not taking weapon charges lightly in Illinois. I have no other charges other than the Unlawful Use of A Weapon.

I was sentenced to 3 years at 75 percent.

Destro865 karma

Fuck that shit then jesus christ I'm never going back to Illinois goddamn. And yet chicago is still booming for the murder business. Thats what the issue is I bet everybody is giving the politicians shit about how gun laws are strict but failing. They still holding out thinking gun laws will keep criminals from breaking the law.

That's so fucked up man I hate it for you. Get the fuck out that state and go back to St Louis or down to Tennessee. Hell city of memphis will hire you for cop, fire dept or light,gas, and water dept with a felony and prison time. State pension too and tennessee unlike Illinois knows how to manage its money. Memphis is a shithole bout like st Louis tho.

crookcounty77311 karma

Yeah, I've already got my interstate compact in to transfer back to St. Louis. I'm never coming back to Illinois.

gogo8093 karma

First let us assume there is a problem with our prison system as it stands today. (This is what I personally believe, but I say assume because some will argue that fact.)

I think the problem is there are too many people that end up back in prison after getting out (recitivision rate is high). Did you have access to any programs which would make you more apt to be hired for legitimate work upon release?

I had this thought, the free market system is an amazing tool for arriving at the lowest cost for goods and services, but they often need to be directed if you want a specific outcome. In this case, I want to arrive at the cheapest price point per prisoner which would help keep them from falling into the same "life" which led to their original arrest.
So I want to privatize every prison. Pay them a rate for each prisoner they house like we do now, but beyond that, continue paying them for ex-prisoners after release as if they were still housing and caring for them.

In fact, I would be willing to pay them MORE for the ex-prisoners for up to 5 years after release as long as they don't go back. In this way I believe the free market would be incintivized to provide programs to help re-integrate you into society in a productive way.

What do you think?

crookcounty77319 karma

I'd agree that there's a major problem with Today's prison. I'd say more than 80 percent of the people I was with in prison were re-offenders.

Since a 2 year sentence is considered "Short time", I was not able to gain access to any schooling programs, drug programs, or any re-entry programs. These programs are reserved for people with 10 years+, which I believe is part of the reason that short timers tend to come back.

As far as your idea, I believe it's a good one, but it would be hard to convince people that it is. Being in prison is taboo, and everyone seems to look at inmates as lost causes so they don't really feel the need to help them and would probably oppose to your idea. Just my opinion.

That_Anna_Girl3 karma

What do you plan on doing now? Did you think about what you would do while you were in there and did the plan change over time?

crookcounty77313 karma

Going to prison really humbles you. It shows you how quickly you can have your freedom taken away for a simple mistake.

As I said in another comment, it was a blessing in disguise for me. I was working a dead end call center job when I went in, but now I see the world with new eyes. I plan on going back to school or getting a trade and really work on myself to make me a better person.

That_Anna_Girl5 karma

Thank you for your response, I wish you all the luck in the future with whatever you do whether it be school or trade work.

crookcounty7736 karma

Thank you. It's appreciated.

Elchobacabra2 karma

How's your day going? I hope it's going well!

crookcounty7732 karma

It's going great! Finally getting a chance to relax.

scragglalie2 karma

What would you tell someone who just got imprisoned in the same places you did?

crookcounty77314 karma

Just keep your head down and do your time. Don't get involved in any of the bullshit that comes with jail/prison.

Rydersilver2 karma

what’s the bullshit?

crookcounty77311 karma

Pretty much anything can spark conflict. Small things like promising someone the phone before you get it, or borrowing some commissary, or betting on sports/cards.

In my opinion, it's best to keep to yourself. If someone's looking out for you and you don't know them from the world, odds are they have ulterior motives.

Rydersilver5 karma

Any stories on that latter part?

crookcounty7739 karma

I've seen quite a few fights over unpaid debts from sports/card games. Especially in the county. One guy owed one of the vice lords a couple of honey buns ($2 ea) for a basketball game he bet. When he wasn't able to pay his debts, 5 of them waited until he went to use the phone and pulled him into the washroom where there aren't any cameras and beat him up pretty bad.

Rydersilver6 karma

oh i meant the ulterior motives one

crookcounty77310 karma

ah, sorry it's 3am over here.

It's usually people that'll give you some stuff when you come in and then expect you to give them things for the rest of your bid.

dwaejigukbap3 karma

If you say no, when they offer, won’t that create conflict?

crookcounty7735 karma

Not at all. Just politely decline and they won't have a problem with it.

Mr-Bagels1 karma

Did you ever end up in Menard Correctional?

crookcounty7731 karma

Nope. People that go to Menard are usually sent there for segregation purposes (it's a maximum security joint), or are awaiting placement to their permanent joint. I hear it's pretty rough down there though.

articulatereefer1 karma

How was your treatment by security compared to inmates?

crookcounty7736 karma

Correctional Officers in the county were assholes. They would spend their entire shift sitting in what they call the 'bubble' sleeping. Even if a fight broke out they wouldn't do anything about it.

In prison we got a little more respect. CO's would answer questions and look out for you if they could.

joel78901 karma

A theoretical question for you. If a person minds their own business, spends most of their time alone in the library, and just keeps a low profile, can they avoid prison violence altogether and not have a single dangerous and/or negative experience while inside?

crookcounty7732 karma

For the most part, yes. If you keep to yourself and stay out of other people's business you can do your time smoothly.

It would also depend on what the facility you're in is like, and what your cellmate is like. Sometimes if you're cell mate starts problems it comes to you as well.

Atomic_Dank1 karma

Did you ever receive medication from one of those carts? I used to work for the company that made those. Neat.

crookcounty7733 karma

Nah, I didn't take meds but I would always see the nurses pushing them around.

JamalJunior1 karma

You meet any known rappers? I think Lil Jay is still at cook county

crookcounty7733 karma

lil Jay is in protective custody in cook county. He pretty much lost all respect as soon as he checked himself into PC. I did see him, but he was in the PC line so he was behind glass.

Other than that, I didn't see any famous rappers in there.