The Wonderful World of Rectum Inspection

This article originally appeared in Southern Exposure Vol. 6 No. 4, "Still Life: Inside Southern Prisons." Find more from that issue here.

HELP WANTED: State agency wants energetic and ambitious young man to fill prestigious position, vital to the safety of the community. Applicant must be a high school graduate or at least be able to write his name. He should enjoy looking at nude men. 

Generally speaking, the public is ignorant of some of the thankless duties correctional officers perform for the safety and welfare of society. In any organizational structure, responsibilities and titles go from the bottom to the top in a kind of pyramid design. This article is dedicated to the brave correctional officers who represent the top of that pyramid: the Rectum Inspectors. 

The Rectum Inspectors are the elite of the correctional force. While many of his fellow officers are manning guard towers, watching recreational yards and hassling men in the dining hall, the Rectum Inspector performs his job like a great surgeon. As each inmate returns from his visit, he goes into the RI’s small working office and strips to the nude. The RI stations himself behind the inmate. In a dignified way, he “asks” the man to lean forward and spread his buttocks. With quick, professional precision that comes from many long hours of training, the RI surveys each man’s anus. In a moment or two, it is over, and the RI knows that he has kept the sacred trust bestowed upon him. The RI knows in his heart that he has fulfilled the oath each new RI is required to learn and recite at ceremonies: 

I do hereby promise to faithfully execute the responsibilities and duties of rectum inspector. I will not be kept from my appointed rounds by hemorrhoids, gas or diarrhea. Anything that does not appear to be a part of the rectum will be seized by me personally. This I promise, so help me God! 

Needless to say, it takes a special caliber man to serve as an RI. Competition is great for this highly skilled occupation. For those who make the grade, it is very demanding. But rectum inspection has its rewards. There is one RI here at the prison who lays claim to having personally inspected over 18,000 rectums in one year. For this high achievement, he was voted “State Rectum Inspector” last year and received an all-expenses paid trip to Alice, Texas, for the national competition. He was named “First Runner-Up” and voted “Mr. Congeniality” at the 43rd National Convention of Rectum Inspectors. Today, he is a sergeant within Tennessee’s Department of Corrections. 

Or consider the RI at the prison who is apprenticing his teenage son at the downtown YMCA. If the son ever graduates from high school or learns to write his name, the RI will be able to get him a job at the Main Prison. Rectum inspection is indeed one of those trades that can be passed on from one generation to another. As long as man exists, there will be ani that need checking. 

For those interested in rectum inspection who don’t have an “in” to prison work, there is a scholarship program available at the area vocational school. It is a memorial scholarship set up in the memory of E.X. Lax, who was the first RI in Tennessee to die in the line of duty. On a gray January evening in 1953, he was overcome by gas while inspecting “Goliath” Williams, a 382-pound inmate from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Lax died en route to the hospital. The scholarship is for two years and allows for on-the-job training at the YMCA, Greyhound Bus Depot and various restrooms of local gas stations. Upon completion of the program, the student receives certification from the National Academy of People Employed in Rectum Vocations and Essential Rectum Technology (PERVERT). It is these graduates who are given priority for employment by the Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Currently, the prison has three full-time, certified PERVERTs working as Rectum Inspectors. According to one RI, who wished to remain anonymous, rectum inspection is looking up. The prison population at the Main Prison is grateful for the professional RIs employed there. To coin a phrase, we take our pants off to them! 

This satire was originally written for the Tennessee State Prison newspaper, but was censored by an associate warden: “It is true that these strip-searches go on, but we don’t want all those churches who get complimentary copies to read about that kind of thing.’’ It appears here in its entirety.