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 his case, can be found here.
Wow, it is really hard to stay motivated in this place. You’d think that, with all the time I have that I be cranking shit out no problem. Not so much. I am trying to get better at that. I hope I’m successful.
Before I talk about anything else, I want to say a little more about the compound itself. I realized that I haven’t told you how many people are here. There are about a thousand, give or take. In terms of the actual set-up it is like an old western shanty town, except only the sheriffs have horses. But instead of horses they have hybrid SUVs.
Now, I’ll tell you about my job. I am the vegetable prep guy for the P.M. shift in food service. Quite the dream job, I know. The job is actually two parts, both of them shitty.
The first part is during the day, Monday through Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. During this time I actually prep the vegetables that are going to be in that night’s dinner and possible lunch the next day. There is a lot of rotted food to deal with as they do buy the cheapest of the cheap. If you’ve never been around rotten potatoes, let me tell you, they’re no fun. I deal with dozens of them everyday. (I prep about 350 to 600 lbs. of potatoes daily.)
The second part of my job is a little different. Two nights a week I work the dinner salad bar or, as I like to call it, the “Insult Brent Bar.” Most of you on the outside might be surprised that a prison would have a salad bar, but the guys in here. They’re constantly pissed off by what we don’t have, specifically dressing.
For example, once I was forced to put out only blue cheese (yes, that’s how it’s spelled here) and was repeatedly called things like “cocksucker” and “faggot” when my fellow inmates saw it was their only option.
It’s hard not to think about what a waste of money it is to have a lot of people locked up. I hear it’s about $52,000 annualy per inmate. I take full responsibility for my crime, I just think there are better ways to spend $156,000 than to keep me here three years. But what do I know? I’m just a criminal.
You wouldn’t believe how fast information gets around this compound. It seems like people know shit before it’s even done. We call it “inmate.com.” The problem is that usually only 10 percent of anything someone is telling you is true.
I hope I don’t offend anybody with this, but there is nothing more irritating that the guys who come to prison and find God. Don’t get me wrong, whatever gets you through the day is cool. However, the operative word is “you,” meaning you keep it to yourself. Everyday I have to hear about how I have to also find God or risk an eternity of damnation. And my question to them is, “If you’ve already found God, why do I have to as well?”
I think I mentioned a little about the showers in a previous dispatch, but I had this creepy experience that I want to share. Before going into the shower area, you loudly ask “shower clear?” This is to avoid the uncomfortable encounter with a strange naked man. So, the other day I go in to take a shower.
“Shower clear?” I asked.
The response was, “No, but you can come back if you want to.”
I left and showered later. I’m sorry, but that was weird.
My room situation has changed a little. Aragorn has been removed and replaced by Gary. Gary is kind of dull and not too bright, either. The other day he asked if I’d gone to breakfast.
“Yeah,” I said. “The oatmeal was all right.”
“That’s nice,” Gary replied. “What did you eat?”
To wrap it up, I want to tell you about a game I have to play almost everyday. It’s called “poop roulette.” Poop roulette states when you are on the way to one of the two bathrooms and, as you approach, you hear the flush of a toilet but enter the bathroom too late to see which of the stalls was exited. Now you must make your choice. Losing is unpleasant.
Okay, that is about all for now. I really appreciate being given the opportunity to do this, as I need some kind of outlet to express myself. To anyone reading, I hope I’m not too boring. Feel free to write me. I love getting mail.
Federal Prison Camp
P.O. Box 1000
Duluth, MN 55814