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tv   Lockup Raw  MSNBC  March 19, 2016 2:00am-2:31am PDT

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my son. 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." >> most of the prisons we profile on "lockup" are maximum security prisons. these are hard core places with gang members, rapists, murderers. but every once in awhile we come across a fish out of water story, kind of the guy next door, the neighbor. where you ask the question how did this guy end up here?
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>> this is california state prison corcoran. a maximum security prison that has housed some of the nation's most infamous criminals including charles manson and the founder of the mexican mafia. despite its reputation, violence doesn't come naturally to everyone at corcoran. >> i don't see myself as being like many of the people that are here but what i saw the longer i was here was that there really is a thin line between them and me. >> before he was an inmate, stefan parro was a librarian. >> i'm here basically because i'm an alcoholic, and done a lot of drugs, too. drugs are part of my story. >> his drug use resulted in a six-year sentence for crimes, including burglary. >> at that time i had been married, not very long. my wife was pregnant. and the fact that i couldn't
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stop drinking and i couldn't stop using, it was very difficult to deal with the shame and the guilt of all that. >> parro and his wife eventually separated, but he landed in prison for breaking into her home and stealing her credit cards to pay for drugs. >> i readily admitted to it. that was one of the problems in my defense is i had no defense. i said yeah, i did go in, take those credit cards and the reason i took the credit cards is wisely enough my wife canceled mine. >> stefan paaro was a very relatable guy to most of us who are filming "lockup." he was a well educated man and he expressed himself so eloquently. and so succinctly. i think he was a cautionary tale because his crimes were committed because of his substance abuse and i think most of us probably know people who have similar issues. but there was stefan, trying to navigate through an extremely violent world. >> i had an idea that i would
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never end up in prison, that i was somehow exempt. i'm not saying i was an exemplary citizen but i had no idea that it could get this bad. that's what i -- [ whistle ] >> in the middle of interviewing stefan the alarm went off. and the protocol at the prison is, all inmates have to get down on their stomachs and all staff and other personnel remain standing. >> false alarm! >> it was a little sad, actually watching stefan, on the ground. because we were in the midst of having this great conversation almost, and he started to think of himself i think as a regular guy back out on the street, and suddenly it was very clear, no, he's an inmate and he has to get
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down on the ground like all of the other inmates, get dirty, until he is told he can get back up. >> how long did it take you to get used to doing that? >> well, when i was in jamestown, i got a lot of practice. the yard goes down there a lot. glad that happened for you guys. >> so i made a little joke with him because i could feel his embarrassment and i wanted to try to lighten it up. >> did you arrange for that, stefan? >> can't say that i did. all right. that was a lot of fun. okay. where was i? >> parro went on to tell us that in order to survive in cochran he had to understand corcoran. >> you know, at the beginning when i was facing the 41 months, i thought how in the hell am i going to make it? i didn't see myself as being a part of this community.
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it is a community, no matter how dysfunctional it is, no matter how bizarre and asinine and ridiculous and stupid. it is very stupid. there's a lot of rules here that are enforced by inmates. >> many of those inmate enforced rules revolve around racial politics. >> a lot of the people here have affiliation to gangs. but they asked me who i run with. well, you know, i run with teachers and librarians usually. and when i find them, then i'll run with them. but sort of haven't found too many of them yet. >> parro must also deal with racial politics in his prison job as a housing clerk. >> i got a message that you called over here. >> usually i come in in the morning, i see who is paroled, if there have been any rollups during the last 24 hours.
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there's beds open. >> i got 109 up, 242 up. those are open since yesterday. >> i am kind of look at those and see who we have waiting and place them. it's a bit of a puzzle because we have to house according to their ethnicity, gang affiliation, and medical needs. >> stefan had a job that afforded him a certain amount of information about the various inmates on the yard, so he really had to walk a tight rope between doing his job correctly, and appeasing the various inmate groups on the yard. particularly the white group. >> naturally, your own people have expectations of you that are greater than somebody else on the yard. different race affiliations. so, if you have information you do go to your people first. clerks in the past, i know, have had a lot of run-ins, been beat up for things they have done, have not done, for things they said, my boss, he asks me all the time at least three or
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four time as week kind of jokingly but not really, goes hey, so i see you didn't get beat up today. and i say, you know, that really isn't that funny. but i said to him the other day you know that upsets me when you say that because it could happen. >> thank you. >> but parro has seen his share of violence at corcoran. when he arrived he was determined to avoid trouble. but he was told by other inmates that he would eventually be tested. and if he didn't fight back, his time here would be a lot worse. >> so, i fought. and that was pretty much the first fight i've ever been in in my life. i couldn't walk very well for three or four weeks. i had black eyes for about six weeks. i thought it was hell and it was. you eventually just start living. you start doing all of these
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activities. you wash your clothes, you make the ritual of having coffee, just like you did out there, you know. you don't have the option to go to starbucks. you get folgers out of the canteen and make what you can make. i think one of the interesting things that i kind of woke up to was that -- that's what life is, here or elsewhere. so you better get something out of it. so if i can actually enjoy making coffee here in corcoran surrounded by a lot of loud people, and a lot of other discomforts, then i'm going to come out a lot better for it when i get out there. if i'm going to live through this and i have a son so i better live through this, i've got to do something, no matter how difficult it is, you reach down and you find mettle that you didn't know you had. that's what prison is about really is finding strength that you never thought you had. coming up --
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>> i went up to the bars and splash. they hit me with baby oil and hair grease. got on my arms, got all over my stomach. it burnt my back, too. >> a sex offender learns that one personality trait can lead to big trouble. >> one of the problems and issues i had was talking a lot. excessive talking. going on and on a lot of times.
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in prison, nicknames are as much a part of the culture as complaining about the food or fantasizing about life on the outside. so when we first meet an inmate, finding out his nickname is part of our routine. >> i need your first and last name. >> it's douglas wayland. i go by doug. >> what is your nickname?
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>> what is my nickname? bozo. bozo the clown. yeah. >> why? >> i don't know. i think it was because alex said i didn't have any hair. >> one day i was having a conversation with whitlow and he told me he had worked in a circus and that was his favorite job, which was ironic considering his nickname being bozo and the kind of wild laugh he had. out of nowhere you would hear him just you know, ha, ha, ha. >> other than his hairline, douglas "bozo" whitlow had little in common with his namesake and his crime was no laughing matter. when we met him, he was in his 13th year of a 65-year sentence for rape and criminal confinement. and when we saw his scars, it was evident that his status as a sex offender made his time in prison anything but a circus. >> when i was burned with hot water out of a hot pot with baby oil and hair grease.
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it got on my arm. it got all over my stomach. it burned my stomach, it burned my back too. and i healed up pretty good but that's a permanent scar forever. >> whitlow claimed to not know who exactly attacked him but he offered multiple possibilities for why it happened. >> whitlow constantly changed his story what happened and why hes with attacked. at one point he told us it was because he was actually defending a nurse who was the actual intended victim of his attack. >> someone threatened to gun [ bleep ] and so i didn't want the nurse hurt and i said throw it on me. >> another time he told us it was just an accident that it occurred. and at one point he admitted that somebody purposely tried to hurt him. >> i walked up to the bars because i thought someone had said bozo because that's what the guys call me. i went up to the bars and splash. they hit me with baby oil and hair grease, and i didn't see
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the person who did it because there was too many, there was a lot of prisoners out so i didn't see who it was. i'm not the type that would tattle tale on somebody anyway. >> he acknowledged what might be his biggest problem in prison. >> one of the problems and issues i had was talking a lot, excessive talking without, you know, going on and on a lot of times. >> not only was whitlow a sex offender, he was a sex offender that constantly talked about his crime and even his current behavior which was disturbing. he talked about to anybody who would listen. and this provoked the other inmates in effect, to attack him. >> what did you feel? i know it's a stupid question but what do you remember feeling? >> it was very painful. a lot of pain but nothing like the pain i went through for a false charge for why i'm in here for the last 13 years. >> whitlow was also insisting
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that he was not a rapist, just an exhibitionist. at times though he seemed unsure himself. >> how many exposures, i don't know. i was charged i think, it's been a long time, i think three or four misdemeanors of this same thing. so it looked like i showed a pattern like i was trying to stalk women and then i raped this female, that no, i did not. and so that i learned my lesson to respect women and don't be doing that. unless it's your now as a christian i know i couldn't be naked with somebody unless we were married. >> whitlou had write-ups for exposing himself. not to any one he was married to but prison nurses. >> i gave up. i got 50 years for a rape charge i didn't do so of course i'm pretty mad about that. wouldn't anybody. >> he tended to blame other people for his problems but the fact of the matter was he was exposing himself to nurses, and to people, and then he would talk about it which in a way it's an afront to most inmates.
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>> the exposures i know for a fact that are forced upon me, forcing me to be in my cell nude in rtu without clothing, every unit my clothes were either stolen or getting lost. but the problem started to be fed from staff here. it's continuing to be corrected. >> we would try to conduct an interview and he would keep going and the manner in which he spoke, the way he conducted himself it was draining. it was absolutely draining. it was hard to keep him focused. >> i got one blanket. i don't have clothes but that is not something i'm worried about because the lord and -- in his word says we don't got to worry about clothes. he'll worry about that for you. i just do the best i can. that's what i'll do. you know, i wouldn't disrespect you like that. i love you. coming up --
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>> i was arrested, took me down to my jail where i worked. >> an ex-cop lands in one of america's toughest prisons. >> i'm the old school and it's very difficult, very, very difficult. show me movies with explosions.
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show me more like this. show me "previously watched." what's recommended for me. x1 makes it easy to find what blows you away.
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call or go onliand switch to x1. only with xfinity. coming to prison can be culture shock for almost anyone. when we met armand at california state prison corcoran, he was recovering from a shoulder surgery. but that didn't help ease the pain of being here after a 26-year career in law enforcement. >> worked in the patrol division, narcotics bureau, detective bureau. personnel training in the jails and then i was promoted to lieutenant in 1984. >> after retiring, he and a group of friends started a charitable foundation. they raised over $3 million in donations. but then questions arose about
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where the money actually went. >> to make a long story short the judge said all of the money was raised was fraud even though we could show we gave away $70,000 to little league teams, hospitals, christmas drives, thanksgiving, easter basket drives. no, it's all fraud money so because it's all fraud the $3.5 million is all income and by the way you owe several million dollars tax on that. >> after donating only $70,000 of the $3.5 million he raised, tiano was sentenced to almost 18 years in prison for fraud and embezzlement. >> it's one of those things that in the beginning it seemed surreal. as you go through it, you start to devise ways to cope, or, go crazy. you know. i mean, no secret. i mean, i'm not ashamed to say i thought of killing myself in the
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beginning. i didn't know if i could get through this. when i was arrested it took me down to my jail, where i worked, i've got guys that were working for me putting handcuffs on me. and they felt terrible. i mean, i had one guy tell me it's like putting handcuffs on my brother, you know. >> the jury that convicted him believed that he used the millions of dollars he raised not to help others, but to live a life of luxury, purchasing houses, boats and sports cars. it's a very different lifestyle for tiano today. >> you have one little table there, you've got four walls that are cement. you have a cement floor and no paint. a stainless steel toilet. you have to use the restroom where you often have to eat. there are two people most of the time in here. you can imagine. you have to go to the restroom here. it's just -- everything's just so -- i wasn't brought up that way, you know. i'm old school. it's very difficult. very, very difficult. >> not only was he former law enforcement, he still carried himself like a cop. and here he was incarcerated in
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a pretty hard core prison, and i could see he hadn't come to terms with the fact he was once a law enforcement agent and now he was an inmate. he still obviously struggled with that fact. he was lucky he was put in a protective custody unit, because otherwise he'd be in grave danger. >> i wouldn't probably last five minutes on the main line. >> why? >> well, they don't like cops, you know, or ex-cops. >> tiano says if nothing else, his experience here has helped him see the people he used to arrest in a new light. >> i've been dealing with these people for many, many years. and you know, there's a lot of them that aren't, i mean, you know, there's a perception, unfortunately, by the majority of our society that everybody is in prison is really a bad person. and that's not the case.
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these -- my heart aches for some of these youngsters you see come in here, 21, 22 years old that are facing life sentences because of a stupid mistake. i mean, you just wonder how is this 22-year-old kid going to get through to age 65, 70, 75, 80, and this is it. i mean, there's no more than this. this is all there is for him. i mean, you can't help but have some empathy for that guy. >> how is your shoulder today? >> it's a little sore. i got it out of the sling, trying to get -- gets too stiff if i leave it in there all the time. >> for all of these years for 26 years in law enforcement, you know, i've got a very good friend of mine that's retired captain. we write. and i was telling him, it's like that whole point in my life has been for naught because they took my retirement badge, my retirement i.d. card, i used to win gold medals at the police olympics all the time and those are gone. it just -- it guts you is what it does. it just guts you.
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and you try and you know, hold that in as best you can but there's times when it just kind of oozes its way out. you are looking for new band-aids. you know. everything was great. you know, i was -- i was happy. >> during our brief time with armand tiana state prison records only listed his current fraud and embezzlement convictions. later we discovered that this was not the first time he was incaerated. prior to his fraud trial, he was also convicted of molesting two teenage female relatives. he received a year in county jail and five years probation. a surprisingly light sentence for the disgraced police officer. prosecutors had asked for 15 years to life.
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