Eddie’s Story

Edward Hauffman first entered the prison system as a minor, doing time in juvenile halls and camps. In his first stint  he knew he stood out as “the big white guy” that people wanted to mess with. After aging out of the juvenile system Eddie spent his early twenties in and out of jail and prison. He “ran the streets” as a meth addict and eventual meth manufacturer.

When asked to describe the LA County jail system, Eddie replied, “in a phrase, I would say hell on earth.” He also referred to it as “gladiator school” because “it’ll break you, or it’ll build you.” It almost “broke” Eddie when he experienced a major medical emergency under incarceration at the Men’s Central Jail. Deputies insisted on watching the end of a Laker’s game before they would drive a ghostly, barely conscious Eddie to the hospital. In the end, he lost half of his large intestine. However, what stuck with him the most from the experience wasn’t the near-death terror of the situation, but the lack of care and humanity shown to him by officers and doctors. No one would inform him of his prognoses and condition, and he was prematurely released from the hospital. With his stomach still stapled, bleeding and oozing, he was thrown on buses back and forth to court until he wound up re-hospitalized in a far deteriorated state.

In Eddie’s second to last incarceration he was assigned as an inmate firefighter to the Antelope Conservation Camp #25 in Northeastern California. Eddie has over 2,400 registered hours fighting fires. It was one of the only positive experiences he described in prison. In Eddie’s words: “I’ve airlifted in helicopters. I ended up becoming the lead guy on the crew, over the actual paid captain, I ran the whole crew. And I, I did well there.”

Eddie was last incarcerated in 2007. Since then he has built his own business, installing and repairing sliding doors in the greater LA area. As well, Edward is now a married man, and the proud father of a son that carries his name.

Click on the audio files to hear sections of Eddie’s oral history.


Scroll through the selection of video clips to see parts of Eddie’s oral history.

LA County Jail Conditions
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Click here for a geographic storytelling exploration of Eddie’s oral history with Neatline maps.