unicyclist in jail

Where elsewhere some are arrested (by an army of a country that does not approve the International Court in The Hague) dropped on a isle (for some wicked reason just outside the US), did not get any un/official charges, or even a lawyer, or a opportunity to acquire one, or even know wether they are militair or civilian prisonor…
In Holland some prisoners even get entertainment!

Within the US I wouldn’t even consider this kind of performance.
But in The Netherlands (where it will be) I think it’s an interesting one.

So, within 3 months I will ride my unicycle in jail.
Not just a jail, but a special jail for heavy crime like serial killers, child molesters, rapers, people who eliminate the upcoming president of The Netherlands just before the elections, and all other worse and worser kind off dark characters, zombies and psychos.

There have been 2 artists from the same agency doing acrobatic workshops in the same or equal kind of jail before.
It took ages before the extreme gayphobian jailers would touch each other.
Also their muscles became tuff and strong. Every single one only would be good underman.

I’m not allowed to do my coffee act, though I will do lemonade.
I wouldn’t suggest to do firetorch juggling or passing knives.
But why I start this thread is that I think/asume the risks that I might be tackled or so by someone are bigger as at regular performances.

Anyone any hints on how to prevent and/or how to deal with it?

I’m sorry but I dont totally understand everything you are saying. :frowning:

i think hes goona ride his unicycle in a jail full of murders and child molesters/catholic priests(no offense ment AT ALL twords those of the catholoc faith) and he wants to know how to not get killed

I’ve worked in a prison(as a registered nurse) before, full of the types of people you describe. I felt just as safe there as on the outside. There were guards there to shoot mace and wooden blocks at peple who misbehave. If anyone stepped out of line, they were put back in right away.

Probably the people going to your performance want to be able to attend something outside of their regular routine and won’t want to misbehave for fear of being taken back to their cells.


Yes, I think you will mostly be more safe in there than walking down the street. So instead, maybe think of how to make a good impression on this “unusual” audience. Due to the environment they live in, they are probably less interested in “art” than they are in cool stunts. Maybe start with something big to impress them. You want to get them on your side before asking them to watch too much. A little off-road pizza-cutter riding perhaps. I’m not sure what your show contains so I can’t be more specific.

Re: unicyclist in jail

Interesting thread, and it’s about something I know about.

The short of it, Yes, you will be safe in the prison enviroment. Even with all the baddies, it’s a controlled environment. If you are walking around with a woman, the inmates will be VERY cordial.

Now the long of it.

I’m picturing just such a performance as it were to be at the prison I work at. It’s a high security federal penitentiary full of ~950 inmates serving between a few years to multiple life sentences for the crimes mentioned and many others.

This would be something that would have to be sponsered throught the institution’s recreation department after approval by the programs director with the blessing/stamp or approval of the warden. It sounds like the warden you are dealing with approves of unique entertainment ideas. Here, it’s mostly movies, tv, recorded music. We do have special visitors, mostly religious or exersize/yoga based but not much more.

Safety? Yeah, you should be safe. Most inmates are smart enough to know when to be on their best behavior. Special visits are their only real window to the outside world, (and a chance to show the world how good they are) so it is highly unlikely that you would be the target of any abuses. Attendance would be optional so only the curious would attend. A few would be genuinly interested and aaahed by the show while many would just like a break from the everyday norm. Others have no social graces and would be making comments and making circus music noises.

Don’t be turned off by security, even if it seems overboard.

You would have to account for EVERYTHING you take, tools and equipment. keep it minimal. They will have to be searched, naturally. You’ll probably be asked questions like: “what is this for?” “Do you really need it inside here today?” Don’t forget to take that pocket knife out of your tool bag. :slight_smile: And keep it all away from inmates that appear to only be curious. There have been cases where visitors have smuggled drugs or weapons or tools to inmates. Many inmates will steal stuff. Where we see a spare wheel spoke, an inmate sees raw material for making a hand-cuff key. Or when a band comes to perform, a stolen tension rod off a bass drum makes for a perfect soon-to-be-sharpened “ice pick” style shank (homemade knife). Sometimes they want something better than what they have. A fancy watch is a hot item at our prison. leave person belongings at home. I never take my wallet to work, and only a car key. Only take in something you can afford to lose. For example, a lost credit card would be very bad.

What do you plan to wear? A tan or khaki shirt/pant combo at our prison would be a bad idea because that is the inmate uniform. You don’t want to bend in with this crowd. Ask before hand what not to wear.

Once you start your performance, it will feel exactly like any other before a church group, family reunion, paying crowd, etc. Most inmates will be respectful to you if you are respectful to them. They are still people. Relax, but be aware of where you are. Be aware of time constraints. There are set times for inmate movement, meals, counts, etc… so ready or not, time is up. Even the most interested inmate is gonna get up and go if it’s hamburger day in the chow hall.

I may have dragged on and on, but hopefully some of this is useful.

Let us know who it all works out.

Ed Hansen

ps… not sure I understand this part…

Re: Re: unicyclist in jail

Wow, that was a usefull reply, Thanks for writing that all out!

Also I just heared a long radio-interview with the preacher of the most disliked jail of Holland.

I’m not scared of being beaten up, but just for the first who will put his foot under my wheel. Or actually; more on how the group will act after that. But from both your information and as well that interview I think that IF it happens, the group will handle it, and correct this person.

I use to unicycle in high secured environtments often. I think I’ve been perfoming almost in all govermental departments. Like the department of justice, public affairs, interior, traffic, and I had long contracts behind the border on Amsterdam-Airport. The highest secured event I ever done was an UN conferences, with over 100 presidents, ministers, kings, queens, royalty, diplomats and other dictators (where the building became international area, with the UN police ruling. And outside helicopters, tanks and loads of riot police).
Actaully I should write a long but funny anekdote on what happened there.
But as a matter of fact I even have been pouring in coffee for Blair (UK) and Schroder (Germany) before I really knew who they were.
So after this performance in jail I truely can say I worked for all classes.

Yes, from some documentairies I’ve seen on Discovery and Dutch TV I know it is amazing how they can make weapons out of nothing. Including a 7mm launcher out of boilpoint parts that actually did worked.

Normaly I do work with nothing more than only my costume and the unicycle.
And since I only may do lemonade (in stead of hot coffee -see the coffee part on unicycle.net-) I only will bring in this helmet and disposable cups.
In case I will do freestyle my custome wont even have any pockets. But in deed; I know most employees of Airport-Amsterdam got a Leatherman from all those passegers who forgot that it’s a knive to.
Talking of that, you should take note of some documents from the FBI labs on knives.

I think the performance is planned in begin august. Afterward I will for sure post a report.

Originally posted by Ed Hansen

The acrobats who did gave workshops, told that the only sport they did was doing fitniss stuff, like powerlifting and weights.
So, all of the prisoners were perfect suitable as underman (to carry others), and none really suitable for being on top.
The acrobats also said the hardest thing was to get started because the prisoners refused to touch other men. And received responses like “No way!, I’m not gay!” and so.
But after some positive input with the right aproach (what you give = what you get) here as well the group spirit became good, and soon these strong muscles were catapulting people amazing high into the air, and they loved it.

LOL, would do well in prisons with Italian maffia!

I suddenly wonder how many of the posters here would mind being locked up with a unicycle for a couple years.

It turned out to be not a regular jail, but I in deed I felt more comfortable than at other more regular places. And the social control seem to me mostly being regulated by the prisinors themself. Not by mace or wooden bullets. I have’nt seen any guards with sticks or guns.

Even though there were only about 100 people, the walkaround animation went well. Off course I realize every single person was here with a reason, but the performance was not different than any other performance. Or maybe it was; the responses were more enthousiast than those I receive when working in an average mall.
And so I proposed doing unicycling workshops in the future.
I wrote more about this performance here.