This section contains first-person reports by our writers about aspects of prison rooted in their personal experiences. The information in these stories are unverified, but they are relevant in understanding the state of prisons.
“Kite” is a prison term for an informal message or a complaint. According to one theory, the term originated in the mid-1800s when prisoners were not allowed to speak and instead passed messages to each other using Kite branded cigarette rolling papers. Another theory holds that the word came from the practice of people communicating with others by attaching a note to a string and swinging it to their friend’s cell, much like a kite.
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