Joe Loya

Essayist, Playwright, Actor/Director, Speaker, and Author of the Memoir, “The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell: Confessions of a Bank Robber”


‘Orange Is The New Black’: The New Way To See Prisoners


Let me explain to you why Orange Is The New Black is the real deal — and I’m talking about the best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman as much as about the new kickass Netflix show of the same name.

Back in 1989, I walked into a racially segregated chow hall at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary. My first morning of an…


I Believe Obsession With Rules, More Than Racism, Motivated George Zimmerman and the Chapel Hill Killer


Anyone else notice the similarities between the Chapel Hill man who shot and killed his three Muslim neighbors, and George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Trayvon Martin.

People like to grab on to easy labels like “hate crime”and “racism” and “super…


I Met Nice Guys Like Brian Williams When I Was In Prison

In prison you’d look up one day and see a prisoner at your cell door dressed like a professional plumber or electrician. This guy kept his nose clean. Stayed out of trouble. Went to bed early. Then the next day you’d see him around the prison with his tool belt on.


We Can Learn On All Levels


Lessons from Before a Bank Robber’s Criminal Career, and Beyond


I woke up in prison. Had my conscience revived. That’s when I…


iPad Time Travel

Or, I Hid Weapons There For My Future Me To Find


Pretty Rudy stood at the foot of the stairs. His sister-in-law was always late getting dressed. Today her tardiness forced him to wait with his nephew, Flaco.

Pretty Rudy looked down at his skinny nephew tying his shoes and thought like he often did, “Damn, they sure don’t make 25…


‘Orange Is The New Black’: The New Way To See Prisoners


Let me explain to you why Orange Is The New Black is the real deal — and I’m talking about the best-selling memoir by Piper Kerman as much as about the new kickass Netflix show of the same name.

Back in 1989, I walked into a racially segregated chow hall at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary. My first morning of an…


Cave Paintings: Art Exhibit? Or Exhibit-A Of Early Human Pettiness?

Where Others See Sublime Fables, I See Less Subtle Foibles


Those ancient cave paintings are cool, I’ll give you that. Signs that early people felt compelled to express themselves in pictures, leave evidence of their existence, supplant a visual legacy for later generations. What could…


Victim Impact Statements Turn Jodi Arias Trial Into Blood Feud

Civilized pluralistic society no place for Hatfield-McCoy justice 


In court last week, Travis Alexander’s siblings expressed to the jury their devastating grief caused by his murder at the hands of Jodi Arias. I was reminded why I believe the death penalty is our society’s great moral…


This Is How I Knew Her


You were one of those Ivy League Chicanas I always heard about. Got to Yale and stopped wearing make-up or dancing salsa. Shaved your head low like an Echo Park gangbanger. Grew your armpit hair long like a Silver Lake hipster.

But you dropped out. Disappointed all your Catholic high school teachers and nuns who helped you raise travel money with taco…


How I Chose My Bank Robbery Getaway Song 

Every Life Getaway Deserves A Soundtrack


I’ve done many bad things in my life, most of them criminal.