The Federal Prison Dementia Ward

{{ At Federal Medical Center Devens, a federal prison in Massachusetts, there is a prisoner who thinks he is a warden. “I’m the boss. I’m going to fire you,” Victor Orena, who is 89, will tell the prison staff.

On some days, Mr. Orena is studiously aloof — as if he were simply too busy or important to deal with anybody else. On other days, he orders everyone around in an overwrought Mafioso tone: a version of the voice that, perhaps, he used when he was a working New York City mob boss decades ago, browbeating members of his notorious crime family. This makes the real prison warden laugh. }}

If you gotta do the time, there’s worse ways than being under the delusion that you’re the warden.



There used to be a museum in the Michigan prison in Jackson. This cellblock had been used for new arrivals, where they were given a shower, delousing, prison clothes, then assessed. The prisoners assessed as likely to be relatively non-violent would go to one cell block, violent one would go to a different cellblock, and the head cases to a third cellblock, so each group could be handled in the most appropriate way.

Cameras were verboten for normal visitors, and there were signs all over imploring visitors to not irritate/mock/provoke the prisoners as the rest of the prison is still in use and inmates were clearly visible through the windows. This is one of the officially sanctioned pix of the inside of the cellblock.


An old friend worked in metro-Detroit and southern Michigan as a commercial kitchen repair/installation tech. His company did “house calls” to Jackson prison. He told me that he was escorted right thru the prison cafeteria during eating hours, told me he was scared out of his head,lol. He said Jackson was a very, very intimidating place, they should have held Scared Straight shows there.

I grew up with a couple of guys who went on to become inmates in Jackson, they did get out, but did not live long lives. Always glad I stayed on the right side of the law !


My dad left NYC due to the blackout, because U-Boats were lurking right offshore, and moved to Detroit. He took a job as a service tech for Fairbanks Morse, servicing their commercial scales. Jackson prison was one of his calls. His tools of the trade would be like Christmas to an inmate: hacksaws, crowbars, hammers. The prison would assign a guard to his truck, one to dad, and one to dad’s toolbox. That wasn’t his scariest call tho. He had several grain elevators on his route. The scales were always at the top of the elevator, How do you get up and down in a grain elevator? Jump on the continuously moving conveyor belt.

Steve…drove a desk for a living, and glad of it.


“If you gotta do the time, there’s worse ways than being under the delusion that you’re the warden.”

There is a chance that soon enough a dementia sufferer will be wandering thru a USA prison with delusions of being POTUS , lol


Why, whatever do you mean? winky, winky.



All the king’s horses and all the king’s men …

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