tv Lockup Raw MSNBC December 21, 2014 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
at trial, however the trial will proceed in your absence. if you fail to appear or violate a condition of the bond. due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. msnbc takes you behind the walls of america's most notorious prisons, into a world of chaos and danger. now, the scenes you've never seen. "lockup raw." in a life full of restrictions, we've seen inmates take control of whatever they can despite the consequences. >> he wants this and he wants it now. well, he's not going to get it now. >> come on down, blanco.
>> takes two sides and [ bleep ]. >> we've seen frustrated inmates reach their breaking point. >> i actually felt small pieces of glass hit the camera and hit myself. >> and in the battle of wills, some will take actions that can never be reversed. >> tattooed red the whites of my eyes. >> anytime we film inside a prison, we know at some point there's a particular type of story we're going to encounter. we call it the battle of wills. we know we're going to find one inmate determined to get his way even against overwhelming odds. >> and we encountered one of the mest compelling examples of such an inmate at the penitentiary of new mexico. kevin blanco. >> he's one of those inmates that can be unpredictable. you really don't know how he's
going to behave from one day to the next. >> our first encounter with kevin blanco was through our associate producer. she had gone up to talk to him and was met with a barrage of verbal assaults. >> on the floor [ bleep ]. when they came up [ bleep ], [ bleep ]. >> after a while kevin agreed to do an interview, and i was actually very impressed. i was impressed with how he carried himself. he was honest and forthright about the problems he had created in his life. >> i mean, i don't look at prison as being prison, even though it is prison and i'm in a negative environment. i look at it as being my college. this is the time i got to study and build myself up and better myself. it's what you make it. >> but blanco, serving time for crimes including attempted murder, was housed in the prison's highest security unit for a variety of serious offenses, including assaults on staff. >> okay. >> talk to me about what you've done, how you've acted out.
>> by douching, which is throwing urine on them, and stabbing them, and that's basically it. >> as a result of his violence towards staff, the prison requires blanco to have a three-officer escort any time he is out of his cell. >> do you think it's valid? to be cautious of you? >> hm -- yes. >> why? >> because i still have my moments. >> we learned that some of blanco's anger stems from his dislike of the fundamental tenets of prison life. >> you all can't refuse me no more. can't refuse my damn books. that's what i'm entitled to, that's what i want. i mean, i don't like nobody telling me when to eat, use the restroom, and to sleep. i don't like nobody telling me what i can't handle, what i can't have. >> dealing with him is definitely a challenge at times.
there's no doubt. i have to be honest and say it is dangerous. >> we captured several of blanco's standoffs with staff, including this one with deputy warden joanie brown. >> and then you want to stand here and threaten to keep playing games. >> you're right. because you all -- yeah. you 100% [ bleep ] right, and i am, and i am going to continue playing games. >> all right, well -- >> and you can [ bleep ]. >> the game's begun. but it doesn't have to go this way. >> yeah, whatever. >> well, it doesn't. >> whatever. >> all right. we're going to close the food port and we're going to go away. okay? >> go ahead. >> all right. >> put your hand in. >> no. >> kevin was constantly in a battle of wills with the correctional staff. >> let me talk to him for just a minute. come on, kevin. >> you all started this [ bleep ]. i'm not going to stop until i [ bleep ]. >> what do you want? >> what i want? >> yeah, what do you want? >> you [ bleep ]. what i want.
>> yeah, what do you want? >> first of all, i want my dinner. i want my dinner and i want you all to leave me the [ bleep ] alone. >> if i get you a lunch -- >> am i going to stop? no. tomorrow same [ bleep ]. >> with kevin blanco you never knew what was going to happen. case in point, i was actually interviewing an officer about kevin blanco -- >> he has a problem with authority. >> and in the midst of this we heard over the radio that kevin had taken his rec cage hostage. >> we're going to stop. come out with us right now. kevin blanco. >> you all want a reason to keep me in a cell? here's you all's reason. >> when we arrived at the rec pin we found the deputy warden trying to talk blanco into cuffing up and leaving the pen. but blanco would have no part of it. >> if you want the possibility of being moved, then you're going to have to practice some patience. bottom line. >> whatever you all say. >> so are we going to have any issues until this is -- >> whatever you all say. you all have you all's way. you're right. i'll talk to you later. thank you. thank you, all.
>> he's currently prehearing detention, which means he's got limited property. he's in an isolation cell that doesn't have all the amenities that he wants. so it's one of those things, kevin blanco wants this and he wants it now. well, he's not going to get it now. >> i'll give him the third and final directive. if he still refuses to come out and be cuffed, we'll extract him using whatever force is necessary. >> have you guys ever had to drag someone from the rec yard? >> i was kind of filming the guys coming up, and i remember panning over to see kevin, and he was gone. and i figured out he had moved to the top of the basketball hoop. he was like a cat. i mean, he must have moved up there so quickly, he just disappeared. >> the first plan was to come out and spray him with the oc spray. we all had to suit up, we all had to put on gas masks. >> this is what's going to happen. we're going to go in, give him some directives, bringing k-9 down.
because if the directives don't work, then we're going to deploy with the oc. if the wind's too bad, then we're going to drop a cs grenade. see what effect that has. >> the team attempts to spray oc gas into the rec pen, but the distance is too great to have any effect at all. >> not working. >> kevin seemed pretty immune to the oc spray, and even wearing the mask i could smell it, and i was affected by it. didn't faze kevin at all. >> next, the team deploys the more powerful cs grenade, but that also proves ineffective. >> you guys done yet? >> i don't know if he was used to it or if he was just putting on a front to show how tough he was. but he stayed pretty calm during the whole ordeal. and the next thing we know, the staff is bringing out rifles. which, to us, was quite
shocking. >> get down. take the shot. >> down, down, down. >> come on down, blanco. >> running out of options, correctional staff resort to firing nonlethal bean bag rounds to prompt blanco off the backboard. >> you guys done yet? >> the only thing i could think of was, this guy is -- for lack of a better word, brave. i mean, staring down the barrel of these shotguns, even if they are nonlethal, you know, they're going to hurt. most of the time he didn't even flinch. >> nice. >> another one. >> nice. shoot me one more time. >> we won't shoot you. come on down. >> the situation grows even more bizarre when blanco begins to encourage the officers to shoot him again.
>> shoot one more time and i will come down. >> come on down. >> shoot one more time and i come down. shoot it. i'll come down, you shoot it one more time. all right. >> his reaction, i didn't even know if they were missing or not, and they confirmed later that he was hit every time. >> it was obvious that that hurt. it was more shocking to me though that kevin just had no reaction. >> medical. medical! hold up. >> i refuse. i'm all right. i'm 100% all right. >> you know what? i'm going to have them see you. >> though blanco was defiant during much of our stay at new mexico, his calmer moments often showed a concern for those who might follow him here.
>> to all the kids that think that prison is a place to be, it's not. i mean, if snoop dogg and all these wannabe rappers was out there doing what they say, they'd be right here. listening to them and thinking they're role models, they're not role models. you go out there, you live that life, you listen to it, it gets you right here. >> coming up -- >> two sides of me [ bleep ] side. >> -- one of the most memorable inmates ever featured on "lockup" pushes hard for a transfer closer to home. what up?
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sentences, a 40-year sentence, a 20-year sentence, and a 10-year sentence all together. >> the first time we met bobby ray gilbert we knew he would be an unforgettable inmate. he was serving life for two murders at the holman correctional center in alabama. one of the murders was committed on the outside and the other in prison. he told us both involved disputes over money. >> i killed somebody because i felt like they were taking something from me, and then i come from a world where everybody thinks they can take something from me. so, you know, you got a convergence of forces here. >> during our original 2006 shoot at holman, gilbert was battling the warden for a transfer closer to a prison near his elderly mother's home. you run this place. >> i follow the regs. >> that's what i'm saying,
that's your decision. >> i follow the regs. >> gilbert was denied the transfer for various infractions. when we shot our "extended stay" series at holman a year later, gilbert was still trying to get his transfer. >> bobby had a very close relationship with his mother. for her to visit him, it took a lot. it took money. it took time. none of which she had. i think she was his sole support system emotionally speaking and knew he was going to stay in prison for the rest of his life, but at least he wanted to be closer to her. >> hey, mr. gilbert, how are you doing? >> we followed gilbert to his review hearing where his request for a transfer would be decided. >> when i completed the assessment of your review this time, i looked to see did i have all the factors there that would warrant you this transfer. i mean, you were doing all well until march the 27th of 2007. you have a disciplinary citation for insubordination.
what was that about? >> i had a disagreement with the mail lady. >> mail lady? >> mail was rejected. i don't even see where a warrant -- i talked to the warden about it, wrote about it. he understands the situation. >> my assessment at this time due to this recent infraction, i can't make that recommendation for a transfer per your progress review here. >> you could see in his body language how upset he was. you know, he kind of sunk back and he clenched his jaw, and they released him, and we had planned on filming more of these hearings throughout the day and i just remember thinking, we need to follow him back to his cell. because i figured something was going to happen. >> and within seconds of gilbert returning to his cell, something did happen. and cameraman brian kelly continued to roll. >> i could see through the glass.
as i was filming, i couldn't tell what he was picking up, but he was bending down to pick what turned out to be part of a chain link fence, and he just wound up like he was throwing a baseball and just launched it at the glass. i actually felt small pieces of glass hit the camera and hit myself and, you know, then the officer showed up and they tried to talk him down, and it was pretty extreme. >> [ bleep ]. five [ bleep ] years. trying to do it the right way! i'm going to show you what i'm made of. i'm going to make you transfer -- >> gilbert's nickname is snake. >> what's the problem? come on.
what's the problem? >> i have a problem. and i don't want one. >> what's going on? >> my mom travels 400 [ bleep ] to see me. >> you need to keep beating on that glass. you know we can't let you keep doing that. >> take it, i'm ready to go then, i don't care. do [ bleep ] i've been working for right here. i haven't been able to do it from this day forward. they two sides of me, ain't been to see -- [ bleep ] >> up next -- >> so help me god they're going to transfer me. >> bobby ray gilbert continues to rage. >> you'll be back behind that camera filming them putting a need deal in my [ bleep ] arm. that's just how fed up i've got. >> but also shows us another side of his personality. >> one thing that surprised me was the fact that he was a very talented artist. following his outburst after s in our cvs pharmacies.
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recreation pen where they hoped he would calm down. back in his cell, they confiscated the fencepost cap he used to smash his window. >> ask any officer that walks by, i don't [ bleep ] with nobody, but yet it's me and them, because these son of bitches took me out. i have no other alternative, no other recourse now. >> got bobby gilbert out of his cell. something he smuggled into this cell. one of those caps off the metal post. busting the window. making all kind of threats what he's going to do. he's pretty agitated. >> did you leave him out there? >> he'll be out there. >> so help me god they're going to transfer me. or you'll be back here with a camera filming them putting a needle in my [ bleep ] arm because that's how fed up i [ bleep ] got. i've tried for five years to do
it their way. five years to get back there. >> we'll leave bobby out there in the bull pen for probably three, four hours. let him calm down, think about it. when he gets through with his mad behavior, he'll be ready to apologize, get back to what he should be. >> them people ain't stupid. they knew exactly what they were doing. let's get snake down and blind side him. they had three months to tell me they was not going to put me in for a transfer. >> a few weeks later, with the transfer issue still unresolved, gilbert announced he was going on a hunger strike. >> i'm through. not eating another meal at holman. so they're going to send me closer to home if it's nothing but a graveyard. >> playing the devil's advocate, how is that going to help your mother? >> she has to have yard sales. she can't pay her light bill. but she's going to have to spend money to come see her son. >> when i heard that bobby had gone on a hunger strike, i wasn't surprised. it's not atypical for an inmate
to do that. it's the only source of power they have, really, saying they're not going to seat. and when i talked to him about it, he seemed pretty resolute that he was going on a hunger strike not so much as a protest, but almost as though he wanted to kill himself. >> how long does it take to starve to death? 35, 40 days? they can have it. i gave them 22 years, 6 months. that's enough. start to feel like sisphysus. keep rolling that stone up the hill. knowing damn well it's going to roll back to the bottom. you reach the point where it's -- just not any heart to fight any more. >> six days after his hunger strike began, gilbert, now 13 pounds lighter, reached a deal with prison officials. they would grant a transfer if he took anger management classes and stayed out of trouble.
>> i'm for whatever it's going to take to get me closer to home, you know. that's all i want. >> all it is, probably in a group setting. you know, you would be given the same information for you to be able to read. then you would talk about it in a group setting. one thing this does is allows you to write it down, and as you go back and read some of the stuff that you've actually written, it makes you take a closer look within yourself as to how anger has really affected you. >> i could probably use a little anger management. >> during the rest of our stay, gilbert maintained good behavior and did well in anger management. he also showed us he was more than just a violent man. >> one thing that surprised me about bobby gilbert was the fact that he was a very talented artist. one of the drawings that stuck out to me, especially considering his violent past, was the drawing of a father's hand throwing a baseball and then a child's hand with a
baseball glove. a little surprising to see that from someone like bobby. >> i stuck my drawing board up so when the sun comes through my window, i can get some good light on my board. they don't turn the lights on back there unless they need to see in your cell. >> six months after we last saw him, gilbert was finally transferred to a prison closer to his mother's home. he'd successfully completed his anger management course and maintained good conduct. so we were shocked when he made national headlines in july of 2008. just days before another holman inmate was to be executed for a murder committed in 1982, gilbert claimed responsibility for the crime. >> when i heard bobby was taking credit for this murder, it brought back a very specific memory i had during one of the interviews i did with him. >> if i live another 20 years, i imagine, the last few will be on death row. because i know me.
eventually they're going to get tired of me killing their children around here. >> authorities eventually determined gilbert had nothing to do with it. his motives for the claim are unknown. coming up -- >> we hurt anybody that tries to forcefully take property or rape or in any way hurt a homosexual that can't defend themselves. that's when we step in. >> the gay boy gangsters make their mark inside one of america's most dangerous prisons. and later -- >> tattooed red the whites of my eyes. >> it's like the final frontier. nobody's got it done. >> one of the strangest tattoo stories ever covered on "lockup" gets even stranger. >> since the first two tattooed their eyeballs, we have had one other offender do the same thing.
due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. >> surviving a long prison term can often mean joining a gang. but this one yard at california state prison corcoran that's supposed to be gang-free. >> it's called the sensitive needs yard, sny. it's where gang dropouts or sex offenders or high-risk inmates go for their own safety.
but even here gangs can spring up, and we found one of the most unorthodox gangs. they call themselves gbg, the gay boy gangsters. >> it's a group of men that are gay, that are not transgender, and who are gay men who like men who do not want to be a woman. okay, that's it. we're pretty thick actually. we're pretty much respected. we don't get into fights. we don't get into that sort of thing, but we have a pretty good following. we're just a group of people that are gay and stand for our own. >> clement, who prefers to be called wicked, is serving 20 years for three counts of robbery. and he's not the only gay boy gangster on the sensitive needs yard at corcoran.
nicolas turner, who goes by the name demon, told us the gbgs should not be taken lightly. >> we hurt anybody that -- inside the prison system, anybody that tries to forcefully take property or rape or in any way hurt a homosexual that can't defend themselves. that's where we step down. >> demon had a very striking appearance. first thing i noticed about him when i looked at him, he had a tattoo over each eyebrow. one said "guy," one said "boy." he had no teeth, and he had a mohawk. >> it started out as a joke, and i just kind of like -- i was looking at it in the mirror, i'm like that's punk rock. i like that. >> turner is serving three years for trespassing and making a threat to cause bodily harm. he told us he wanted a cell with contreras as much for the pairing of their nicknames as anything else.
>> that would be cool, demon and wicked would be really punk rock. that would definitely be one of those once in a lifetime cellie happenings, you know what i mean? >> but contreras didn't seem as eager to be celled with turner. >> i mean, he's a cool guy and everything, but, you know, i don't want to be taking everybody under my wing and everything like that, you know what i'm saying? >> in fact, contreras already had another cellmate in mind. >> i have a new boyfriend now. he's going to move in with me, and we'll see how it goes from there. what can i say? i mean, i'm not going to tell you we're going to abstain from sex because that's just silliness. >> how long have you known him? >> it's going on three weeks. >> i've interviewed a lot of gang members in prison, but this was the first time i ever interviewed gang members kind of smiling and laughing and talking about romantic relationships, and they were all more interested in their love life than anything else. >> i'm glowing, i'm happy. isn't that wonderful?
i don't get happy very often in this place, and when i have somebody that's interested in me, just me solely, it makes me happy, you know? and so i have a smile from here to here. it's silly. >> mr. contreras? >> yes. >> introduce us. >> this is angel. >> one of the things most noticeable about angel were his eyebrows. he had shaved them in half. so he had just little stumps, caterpillar-like stumps for eyebrows. what did you do to your eyebrows? >> i mean -- everything has a meaning to it, you know? and this means i'm a homosexual. >> what does? >> just to let everybody know that i just -- i didn't have it just to have it. >> i didn't know that. >> i told you that. >> no, but i didn't know that it has a meaning. >> oh. for me it does. >> for you it has a meaning. so you classify yourself as a gbg?
a gay boy? >> all day. >> all day. >> i can't deny it. >> then we got this really interesting candid moment where wicked was trying to explain the tv thing to angel. >> they're going to follow us for a little bit. our lives together. >> all right. >> yeah? >> hopefully we'll sell. i mean, that's what i got to say. >> it will will be why wouldn't it? >> i'm just saying. >> tomorrow hopefully you are -- i know for sure you're going to move in. and so we'll be cellies and then we'll go from there. >> this is when things started to get a little strange. it was odd enough to learn about the gay boy gangsters, but now we're following this love relationship between these two gay boy gang members. two guys who had known each other a matter of days.
>> i like him, and it's never going to change. i don't know what else to say. >> i like you too. >> i like you more. >> i like you more. better. >> all right. >> bye, i love you. >> we had been filming in another part of the prison, and when we came back to the sensitive needs yard, first thing we heard was wicked filling us in on some gossip that had to do with demon. >> and so everybody's doing good. demon's doing good. no, he doesn't have his teeth yet. poor demon. i know he wants those, really. yeah. he has this new boyfriend that is an older man. i shouldn't be talking about his business, but i will. he's, like, 70 years old. oh, god, you got to hear this. it's a great story. he's going to be his sugar daddy and he doesn't care if he doesn't have teeth.
yeah. so he can gum his way to the stars. that was a joke. >> apparently demon was trying to get dentures, and so we ran into him on the yard just as he was coming back from the dentist. >> i just went to dental today. they got my dentures over there. they didn't give them to me today but they'll put me on a list to get them. so i was kind of excited about that. that was kind of cool. >> let me see your mouth. what's the deal with your teeth? no teeth at all? >> no teeth at all. well, i was a drug user, and the speed rotted my teeth. >> one of the strangest gang stories i ever covered then got even stranger when wicked and angel came strolling by us. >> yeah. >> we got in trouble for holding hands. >> no way. >> yeah. >> [ bleep ]. >> we just got in trouble for holding hands. we just got in trouble for
holding -- the tower just called us. we just got in trouble for holding hands. and so we just -- that's another strike against us. and oh my god, it's just getting worse. i'm done. >> you're done? >> i'm done. man down. >> man down? no, not man down. we can put the yard down instead. >> no. >> yeah, yeah, yeah. >> [ bleep ]. >> no. i'm not putting the yard down. but it's -- >> you're no fun. >> but it's better to go along with the program. >> my dentures came. >> your who? >> my teeth are in dental but they won't give them to me. they're putting me on a list. >> oh. well that will be good. >> that will be good. we were talking about that yesterday. >> that's going to be -- that's going to be wonderful. you can bite into an apple now. >> but the next time we saw contreras, the news wasn't so good. his plan to move in with angel had been derailed. >> we're discouraged because the move is not taking place when we want it to take place. we're having roadblocks from
different people. oh, look. the lieutenant's here. maybe we can ask her. she looks like a lesbian. oh, god, take that out. she doesn't look like a lesbian. i'm just kidding. they all have short hair. >> we didn't know what was behind the delay. we weren't sure if officials were going to let angel and wicked cell together. but angel started to pull away from us. >> this camera person, it's not good. >> he thinks because we're on camera that it's going to affect the move even more. and today we were -- we had a good yard. we had a really good yard. we were holding hands the whole time, walking the track, and we were matching -- we were wearing matching sweats, and i don't know. i enjoyed it. how about you? >> it was all right. >> all right?
how many times did we kiss in the yard? 50 times. and it was all right? really, honest to god. how many times did we kiss? we had tongue on tongue right there. on the yard. >> that doesn't mean nothing. >> no, it doesn't mean anything but still. i thought we had a good time. >> yeah, we had a good time. >> what's the problem? >> nothing's the problem. it's just -- i don't know. i'm basically here. and you know why. >> why? because we're not together. >> i think wicked always had a feeling they were never going to
be allowed to cell together, and sure enough angel was moved out of that unit. >> yeah, lovers in turmoil. he got moved out of the building. he went to four block, and i'm still over here. so we see each other on the yard every day, and we try to make the best of it. >> but just a few days later, contreras made a startling confession. >> well, the other day he came and asked me how i was doing and that was just a big old fat lie. big old fat lie. i was just a big old fat liar. what happened was i had sex with my cellie. and then i come out here every night and tell angel, oh, nothing's going on. i'm lying. >> wow. >> but i still feel really, really guilty, honestly. you would think i wouldn't with the name wicked but i really, really feel guilty. i really feel bad, and am i going to tell him?
no, of course not. no. sorry, mom. sorry i'm a whore on the yard. all right. so my confession's out. >> feel better? >> i do. >> it's almost easter. up next -- >> this is a ferrari right here. >> when he got his hands on his tattoo gun, he was so excited his hands were actually shaking. >> an inmate tattoo artist is temporarily reunited with his pride and joy. >> that's my baby. that call? see, the only thing i can think of is that you can't get any... bars. ah, that's better. it's a beautiful view. i wonder if i can see mt. rushmore from here. geico. fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more on car insurance.
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and i quit smoking with chantix. people who know me, they say 'i never thought you would quit.' but chantix helped me do it. along with support, chantix (varenicline) is proven to help people quit smoking. it gave me the power to overcome the urge to smoke. some people had changes in behavior, thinking or mood, hostility, agitation, depressed mood and suicidal thoughts or actions while taking or after stopping chantix. some people had seizures while taking chantix. if you have any of these, stop chantix and call your doctor right away. tell your doctor about any history of mental health problems, which could get worse while taking chantix or history of seizures. don' take chantix if you've had a serious allergic or skin reaction to it.
if you develop these, stop chantix and see your doctor right away as some can be life-threatening. tell your doctor if you have a history of heart or blood vessel problems, or if you develop new or worse symptoms. get medical help right away if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. decrease alcohol use while taking chantix. use caution when driving or operating machinery. common side effects include nausea, trouble sleeping and unusual dreams. i'm a non-smoker, that feels amazing. ask your doctor if chantix is right for you. one constant at all the prisons we visited is the existence of an underground tattoo market, whether used to identify themselves as members of a gang or deal with the boredom of incarceration, there
are always inmates willing to pay for new tattoos and others willing to risk punishment to provide them. >> one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven. there's 11 in the last 10 years. >> 11 what? >> 11 convictions for tattooing. which ain't bad. >> richard sampson is one of the more prolific tattoo artists at the limon correctional facility in colorado. he shared a handful of his disciplinary write-ups with us. >> one tattoo motor. connected to a razor belonging to inmate sampson. one radio, one medical syringe with needle. one bottle of ink. tattoo gun needle. one nuisance contraband. one spring being altered into a needle for tattoo gun found on desk. which is my desk. alarm clock radio, eight needles, one bottle of ink, one tattoo gun, one ink blood rag. got ink and blood on it. >> you're not very good at hiding your stuff, are you, mr. samson?
>> out of all these, i get away with it more than i get caught, that's for sure. >> samson's tattoo write-ups have cost him more than 200 days in earned good time. but he says the extra time in prison is worth it. >> the time i've lost by getting caught doing what i'm doing is well worth the sanity that i would have lost if i had just done what they said and walked the line. shut my mouth and went to my house and did nothing and just sat there and watched my tv. i'm more at ease with myself. i respect myself a lot more for having done what i want to do in here. that's my outlet, that's my escape. >> it's always been fascinating to me how these guys manage to get tattoos in prison. not only the items they need to do the tattoos, but the fact that they can get away with doing tattoos. >> any small wire can be straightened out and made into a needle. you can get motors out of appliances, tape recorders, cameras. >> along with needles, tattooing
can also be made from everyday items. >> that's where usually they will burn soot. they'll take paper and oil and burn on it the bottom. >> burn baby oil or hair oil, hair grease, styrofoam cups back in the day. styrofoam cups, chess pieces. anything that doesn't burn complete. that's what soot is, unburned carbon. put it underneath a desk or in your locker box or something. >> then you put that in your body. >> oh, yeah. >> does it pose any health risks? >> yeah, of course. of course. but so does homosexual activity and they not trying to stop that. >> he told me that he learned how to tattoo in prison, and then when he went back out on the streets, he learned more techniques. and i guess he brought those back in with him when he was
incarcerated again. like using multiple needles to do tattoos. >> that's done with ten needles. some of it's missing. some of it's kind of patchy. you can see the difference between -- you can see how smooth, you know what i mean, almost solid black that is. single needle would be like this, where it's kind of gray and, you know, broke up. i'm trying to get to it where the work that we're doing in here can compare with the work they're doing on the street. that's my goal. >> raising the level of prison ink work prompted sampson to create a number of unique tattoo guns. but their lives are always cut short because they're eventually confiscated. but the prison temporarily gave him back one of his prized creations so that he could show us its finer points. >> you recognize that? >> yep. this is mine. this is mine. this is a headphone cord i had altered and it plugs right into
there. look at sampson playing with his toys. boy, like a kid in a toy store, huh? this is all stainless steel. >> how many needles did you have coming out of that? >> ten. this is the ferrari right here. plugs right in there. >> when he got his hands on his tattoo gun again, he was so excited that his hands were actually shaking. >> that's my baby. i'm shaking. i lost this about three months ago, but you can see i made the frame and then i tied it all down with dental floss and glued it so that it's nice and hard. feel that, it's not -- there's no movement in this. this is one solid piece. >> and that was your razor? >> this came out of a razor, electric razor. man. >> you almost look like you're in love. >> oh, man. all right, buddy. you're going to have to go back to the crate.
>> painful? >> oh, not as painful as it was the first time. >> while sampson strives to be a pioneer in the world of prison tattoos, two other inmates we met at limon had taken the art to shocking dimensions. is a really big deal.u with aches, fever and chills- there's no such thing as a little flu.
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even though it's prohibited, tattooing is common in every prison we've ever visited. but at the limon correctional facility in colorado we saw an example of tattooing that stopped our producers dead in their tracks. >> i was in the sewing factory one day walking amongst the men watching them work and looking for stories when david walked by and he looked at me, and i looked at him, and he grinned, and i looked at him again and i said, come here.
i said, what's wrong with you? do you have pink eye? and he said, that's what the infirmity thinks but i've actually tattooed my eyes. and i said, are you kidding me? really, you've tattooed the whites of your eyes? >> they're tattooed red, the whites of my eyes. >> why? >> i don't know if you can really ask why. really the question is, why not? everybody's got tattoos. everybody's got stretched ears. everybody's got this and that. you never see anybody with the whites of their eyes tattooed. well, now i decided to go that far and done it. >> in the 30-odd prisons i have filmed at, i had never seen tattooed eyeballs before, and while we were at limon there were two guys who had tattooed the whites of their eyes.
>> the other guy is his cellmate, paul inman. >> it's like the final frontier. nobody's got it done. i had blue eyes so i chose blue. i thought it would be a good combination between a dark blue and black. i thought black would be a little scary, so i went with dark blue. >> he was proud of them. he thought they looked great. >> and i'll bet you there's no one in the world that has the same color eyes as i do. i'm the only one. i'm it. good or bad, that's me. >> the two men were proud of their achievements, but less than forthcoming about how they did this. >> well, i can't really tell you the process. but i do know that it is painful. you don't use a conventional tattoo gun or a homemade tattoo gun. because there's a layer. you got to get in between that layer.
you can use a hypodermic needle, but i ain't saying that's what we used. >> check, two. >> their trailblazing led to some unwelcome attention from correctional officers who searched their cell hoping to find the needle they used before it could be used again on someone else. they never did find it. but turned up some other incriminating evidence. >> and there it is. the how-tos. what i just found was little directions kind of thing to the way that they tattooed their eyes. >> it's dangerous contraband. >> yeah, we might not want to have that floating around. because next thing you know, we got 955 blind inmates and we don't know what to do. >> are the two of you it here at limon? >> as far as i know. yeah. there's a lot of guys that talk about doing it but i don't think it's going to catch on. but i don't know, it might.
but it -- i don't know. it's pretty cool. a lot of people think it's pretty cool. but they don't want to quite go that far. >> but that would soon change. >> since the first two offenders tattooed their eyeballs we had one other offender do the same thing. he did his black, striking. >> the inmate who tattooed his eyes black let us shoot video of him but refused to grant an interview. but as far as david is concerned, imitation is the best form of flattery. >> yeah, i want to see everybody tattoo their whites. i want to see everybody, purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, everything. every color but white. i think it would be cool. i like it.