Tripping in Prison

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Tripping in Prison

By Seth Ferranti 03/04/13

An inmate tells The Fix about the pros and cons of doing acid behind bars.

LSD can help inmates escape reality.
Photo via

Being locked up can be a strange trip indeed, with acid a readily available escape from the realities of life behind bars. "It's easy to get a hit of acid in prison," one federal prisoner tells The Fix. "You can put a tab of acid right under a postage stamp and mail in in just like that on a letter and no one is the wiser. We used to do this all the time." In the early '90s, during the height of prosecution of LSD cases, a lot of acid was entering prisons this way. "We would take a hit early Saturday morning and go out to the yard because no one wants to get stuck tripping locked in a cell," the prisoner tells us. "We would lie on the bleachers and just look up into the sky and watch as all the prisoners went about their day. We would be in a different world totally." But plenty can go wrong; violence and acid trips may not generally mix, but the same doesn't apply behind bars. "One time there was this big fight on the yard between the Border Brothers and Gangster Disciples, this was at FCI Manchester in Kentucky, and we were tripping our heads off," he recalls. "That shit blew my mind. It was like a movie. I literally have flashbacks of that scene to this day. The most vivid image...was this big black dude getting his head busted open by a little Mexican with a pipe... That picture has stayed with me. And it sucked because we got locked down for that shit for three days and I was tripping in my cell the whole time, trying not to freak out."

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After landing on the US Marshals Top-15 Most Wanted list and being sentenced to a 25 year sentence in federal prison for a first-time, nonviolent LSD offense, Seth built a writing and journalism career from his cell block. His raw portrayals of prison life and crack era gangsters graced the pages of Don Diva, Hoopshype and VICE. From prison he established Gorilla Convict, a true-crime publisher and website that documents the stories that the mainstream media can’t get with books like Prison Stories and Street Legends. His story has been covered by The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and Rolling Stone.

Since his release in 2015 he’s worked hard to launch GR1ND Studios, where true crime and comics clash. GR1ND Studios is bringing variety to the comic shelf by way of the American underground. These groundbreaking graphic novels tell the true story of prohibition-era mobsters, inner-city drug lords, and suburban drug dealers. Seth is currently working out of St. Louis, Missouri, writing for The Fix, VICE, OZY, Daily Beast, and Penthouse and moving into the world of film. Check out his first short, Easter Bunny Assassin at

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