In STRAIGHT FISH: A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER’S STORY, Mike Knox captures the gruesome reality of life behind bars from the point of view of a rookie officer, a suburban kid who joins the force as both a lark and a challenge to himself, an idealistic route to personal betterment. Though he’s looking for a career and a secure life for his young family, and maybe the chance to do some good, his eyes are soon opened to the hard truths of life inside a maximum-security prison, where the correctional officers are just as much a captive of the broken-down system as the inmates.
“I learned the core of the inmate philosophy,” says the unnamed narrator, who explains that a straight fish is slang for a brand new officer, a f**king idiot sh*t head. “The way the inmates looked at it was that they were criminals, and it was the job of the officers to stop them from committing crimes. The inmates were criminals, doing what they were born to do, and they were going to keep committing crimes.
“I couldn’t believe someone would live his life without taking responsibility for what he had done. I wasn’t going to change their minds, and that was just the point. It was up to the inmates to change, because they were the ones who’d put themselves in prison. The only remorse the inmates ever showed was for getting caught.”
A journey to the deepest rungs of hell and back, STRAIGHT FISH: A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER’S STORY is the compelling fictional tale of one man’s sense of duty gone horribly wrong.