Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Jail Comics Deleted Scenes and Outtakes

Hi everyone, the comics I drew while in the LA County Jail System are up online, you can see them here.  LA WEEKLY SITE

*Update... here is the unedited interview I did for 90.7 KPFK's show Deadline LA https://soundcloud.com/deadlinela/jail-cell-cartoons

So before they come out, here is a little treat: some outtakes that didn't make it into the final cut.

     This was the very first comic I drew.  Just a little sketch on a scrap of paper torn out of the back of a book.  There was this godawful dish they served us at dinner that resembled oily catfood dumped on overcooked noodles.  It was literally the worst food I have ever had in my life.  To cheer up my roommate (and myself) one night after being served that garbage I drew this comic.  And then I decided to draw a couple more.


      The food and lack of exercise made you constipated.  So you were constipated (which isn't pleasant on it's own), and on top of it you had to poop openly in front of another human being.  One day I drank cup after cup of hot water and paced around saying this little prayer to myself.  The fact that I am sitting here now writing this to you is testament to its success.

     The "school" part of the jail was where you wanted to be.  The regular teacher was excellent, and we covered some great material, like the difference between relationships based on power and control, and ones based on respect and equality.  Anyways, he was great, but one day he was out sick and we had a substitute  who was literally bat shit crazy.  She got up in front of the class and spent hours just spouting off this cornucopia of false information.  Things that didn't make any logical sense or have anything to do with each other at all.  The above comic is all direct quotes she said during class that day.  Yes, she even said Stephen Spielberg made the Jetsons!  Huh?  You know those movies where a huge meteor is about to strike earth, and one guy knows it and no one will believe him?  That's how I felt listening to this trash, and then trying to explain to people afterwards that the "teacher" was full of crap.  Everyone was so conditioned to believe a teacher knew everything that they thought I was the one who was wrong.  It was awful and bizarre all in one.

     I was over-detained in the jail.  People sentenced to a year or less serve between 10 and 15 percent of their sentence, and at that point I had been there around 18 percent.  They had also transferred me to a jail where no one was "county" (less than a year)  but me.  None of the deputies would listen to me and I started to feel like something was very wrong.  I wrote this note in the hopes that it would get someone's attention and get me out of the jail.  It worked.  Later that day someone called me down and explained to me that no mistake had been made, but oddly enough the next day they let me go.  Jailers, like all authority figures, have a difficult time admitting they are wrong.

Stay tuned for more comics and writing tomorrow, and go pick up an LA WEEKLY paper January 1st.

11 comments:

KK Kraska said...

why were you in jail? doesn't matter, i'm just curious.

Elana Pritchard said...

Unfortunately, I can't legally talk about it.

LINDA MARY MONTANO said...

I was a "Eucharistic Minister" in a jail...women's pod. 7 years. Saw lots of what u "sy". love love love ur comics. A book????im a performance artist so often would be drawn to perform 4 the group.....but always regretted it because I didn't want to "stir up" toooooo much energy....although I know a nun who does performance/theatre for jailed....I learned tons there and again so appreciate ur ability to make ART FROM YOUR LIFE. FABULOUS...........MY REAL EMAIL IS LINDAMONTANO@HOTMAIL.COM

Elana Pritchard said...

Thank you so much for your kind words Linda... that's so great that you did your part to help women in jail.

Michael McClain said...

This is great stuff Elana. So often our perception of incarceration is strictly through the eyes of dramatic television and films. It's really nice to see and read a biographic account and you seem very balanced about your approach. Not overly condemnatory, which I think could easily be a attitude to develop. I served for a while as a volunteer teacher a maximum security prison in Texas and what you write rings true. It would be wonderful to live in a world where jail and prisons weren't part of civilization.

Elana Pritchard said...

Indeed it would Michael.

I tried to be as honest as possible when doing the comics. I really wanted to accurately portray conditions in the jails. Hopefully the comics will do their part to improve them.

Thanks for reading.

Brandon Young said...

as an artist,and having been to twin towers.. your cartoons were funny and dead on.

Elana Pritchard said...

Thanks Brandon

Vanity said...

Love love love these drawings. I did two months in Maricopa County Jail ( Arizona ) one of the worst in the country and every one is spot on.

Elana Pritchard said...

Thanks Vanity. I've been getting a lot of great comments from people who have been in jails and prisons. I am happy to report that due to my comics the LA County sheriff's department has changed it's policy and all inmates must receive a shower within 24 hours of entering the jail. Also deputies must keep a log of what times the lights go on in the morning, so they can't keep them off for half the day anymore.

Joel Canada said...

This is so rad. When does the book come out?