Prison is a dehumanizing and achingly boring place to be, and so it's no surprise some inmates turn to drugs to get through those long years. Getting those drugs inside the slammer? Well, that's a whole other story.
In the case of Anthony Johnson, a 25-year-old inmate in the Federal Correctional Institution in Greenville, Illinois, that story involves a remarkable commitment to not pooping.
According to a press release, Johnson pleaded guilty on Monday to a drug possession charge stemming from a September 28, 2014, incident in a visiting room. A guard witnessed Johnson swallow an unknown object, prompting prison officials to throw him in a cell without a toilet, "so that his bowel movements could be monitored."
We'll let the press release take it from here:
On October 1, 2014, Johnson defecated one balloon which contained a white powdery substance. The substance found in the balloon contained heroin with an approximate weight of 1.1 grams.
The pertinent detail, to us at least, is that Johnson held it in for THREE DAYS before succumbing to the biological imperative. Unfortunately for Johnson, that feat of endurance will land him with an added sentence, up to 20 years, and a fine of up to $250,000.
But where did the heroin come from? We asked James Porter, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office of Southern Illinois.
"While a witness saw Mr. Johnson swallowing something, no witness saw who gave the 'something' to him," Porter writes in an email. "While it would be logical to presume it was his visitor, neither he nor the visitor would talk, so we lacked good-faith proof beyond a reasonable doubt to attempt charges on anyone else."
We also asked Porter if Johnson's three-day marathon of not pooping was somehow abnormal, since our experience (as frequent patrons of Chipotle) indicates this is not the way bodies are supposed to work.
"As to the length of time, that is really a medical question dealing with digestion, so I really could not speculate," he writes. "Absent knowledge of danger to the inmate, [the Bureau of Prisons] does not induce, but allows nature to take its course."
Yes, locking a person in a cell and forcing them to shit on the floor so a prison guard can find a heroin balloon -- that's what nature is all about.