Federal Inmates Ain’t All That

Brent Delzer, 36, is currently serving a three-year federal prison sentence after pleading guilty in August to one count of conspiracy to traffic marijuana. “The Worst Summer Camp Ever” is a series of Delzer’s dispatches from the Federal Prison Camp in Duluth, Minnesota. The Feral Scribe interviewed Delzer on the eve of his surrender to federal marshals in September. That interview, which provides more details about the case, can be found here.


I was going to start this project some time ago. I had it all set in my brain on how I was going to do it and how often. You bet’cha. I had it all figured out. That was before I came here. Once I got into this situation, shit changed really quick. My motivation dropped to almost zero and, suddenly, I was struggling to acclimate to this new experience. It took awhile, but my motivation has returned.

Let me begin with the who and where of my story.

My name is Brent Delzer. Without getting into a very long story, I’ll say that I was convicted in federal court of being part in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy. I am not here to talk about that. Believe me, I am very bored of talking about that. I am here to talk about my new home.

Home is the Federal Prison Camp located in Duluth, Minnesota. Here I have a different name. Here my name is 06737-090. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how I was going to set this up, about what I was going to write about. At first, I was going to describe the how the place it works, but it came off as dry and boring, like an instruction manual for becoming an inmate. Here’s all the instruction you need: don’t fucking come here.

Now, I will tell you a little about the place. I am not in a cell, but in a six-man room. It is about 20-feet by 15-feet with three sets of bunk beds and six lockers. The lockers are standard school size. Everything I own has to fit into this space.

I am never locked in my room, although I have to be in the room during counts. From the hours of 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. I am allowed to walk the 103-acre compound. Everything – phones, library, activities, food – has its own building. I am sure it’ll be nice this summer, but Duluth gets cold. I don’t mean just, “Hey, it’s chilly.” I mean, “I’m going to lose my fucking nose cold.” And we have to walk everywhere.

I’m also one of several vegetable prep guys in the kitchen. An interesting fact is that most of the food made here is prepared here. For this, I make a staggering $19.20 a month. Oh yeah, living the dream.

The people here are, for the most part, a peaceful bunch. I’ve met the good and the bad. This being a “camp,” the threat of violence is much lower than other prisons. A big reason for this is the fact that any incidences of violence will result in an immediate transfer to a higher security facility. Only a true moron would risk this.

I’ll admit that before I came here I had an idea of what I thought this place would be like. If your idea is anything like mine, you might think that a federal prisoner would be somewhat more refined than a state prisoner. You can push that thought right out of your head. Some of these guys are dirty-ass, repugnant people. I mean gross. I can’t walk five steps without my feet sticking to drying puddles of spat up mucous. I can’t brush my teeth or shave without dealing with all manner of filth in the sinks. These and thousands of other things you have to deal with everyday.

And if you think the white-collar criminals are any better, you’d be wrong again. They are the worst. Not only are they dirty, but smug about it. They look down on those whose crimes don’t involve money. Newsflash, douchebag: you’re a thief, plain and simple. I had a conversation with one of these types right after arriving here.

“What are you in for?” he asked, then answered for me. “Let me guess: drugs?”

“Yeah, weed,” I told him.

“I figured,” he said. “Myself, I’m in for securities fraud.”

“Lucky you.”

“Nine million,” he continued. “I don’t expect that you’ve seen that kind of cash?”

That taught me not to judge people based on the crime they’ve committed.

When it comes to people I hang out with, they are few. Two,  really. My cellmates,  Fargo and Cash. They are the closest thing to real friends I have in here. I’ll get into them more in future dispatches.

With that, it’s time to say good-bye, for now. I have over two years to spend here and am planning on writing quite a bit. I will say that I love getting mail so feel free to write me. Receiving mail is like Christmas morning.

My address is:

Brent Delzer
06737-090
Federal Prison Camp
P.O. Box 1000
Duluth, MN 55814

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