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Jimmy Hoffa: Reflections on Prison

Published: June 20, 2013

"Prison" by Jimmy Hoffa

“Fifty-eight months I spent behind the wall. I got gum problems from it. Only one and a half dentists for two thousand men. … Same’s true of doctors. One and a half. The guard determines whether you get to see a doctor. He’s got two bottles on his desk. Aspirin and antacid. That’s how bad the food is,” wrote Jimmy Hoffa in an exclusive article for the October 1974 issue of The Saturday Evening Post.

Hoffa’s exploits and crimes have been well documented; his shady dealings as the Teamsters union president, his ties with mobsters, and his mysterious death have been written about extensively in many publications. But there has been little written about Hoffa’s experience during his four years and 10 months in prison.

Less than a year before he went missing, Hoffa wrote a firsthand account for the Post about his time spent in the slammer. He describes the squalid and overpacked conditions of the prison, his frustration with the prison culture, and his small efforts to reform what he viewed as an inherently flawed system. The following article shows a different, rarely seen side of Hoffa: one less concerned with personal gain than with improving a broken institution.

Read the full article: “Prison” by Jimmy Hoffa, October 1974

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