Cameron Douglas opens up about his brutal time in prison and how 'Pappy' Kirk Douglas was thrilled when he won jail fights

Cameron Douglas opens up about his brutal time in prison and how 'Pappy' Kirk Douglas  was thrilled when he won jail fights
Cameron Douglas, Kirk Douglas, and Michael Douglas (Getty Images)

Cameron Douglas is no stranger to Hollywood glitz, but sharing a last name with the likes of his father (Michael Douglas) and grandfather (Kirk Douglas) came with its own set of shadows. The actor has opened up about his difficult time in prison in his new book 'Long Way Home' and remembered how his 'Pappy' Kirk congratulated him when he won prison fights.

He recalls trying to gather as many memories as he could in order to write down his thoughts on paper as he spent his days in the solitary confinement wing of the Federal Correctional Institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania where he spent 11 months after failing a drug test.

After finding refuge in drugs as a young boy to becoming an addict by the time he was in his teens and spiraling out of control by his mid-twenties Michael Douglas's son has had his share of trials and tribulations. But, nothing could quite prepare him for prison time. Especially not the ones he spent in the box. 

Michael Douglas (L) and Cameron Douglas attend the premiere of Disney And Marvel's "Ant-Man And The Wasp" on June 25, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty Images)


"Usually if you’re in general population you have a pen and a notebook. But if you’re in the box, you get this little mini-pencil. To get it sharpened is a real exercise in persistence and patience. You have to get the attention of a cop, and some are nicer than others. They may bring it back [sharpened] in an hour. They may bring it back in a day. What I was trying to do in there was gather as many recollections as I could from as far back as I could remember," he writes. 

The recollections from this time led to the book. At the time, he did not mean to publish it as he has but his father thought it may be a good idea. The father-son duo have always had a tumultuous relationship but to Cameron his father pushing him to get the book out was a gesture of love and affection. "It was his way of letting me know how much he loves me," he says. 

(L to R) Diana Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas and Cameron Douglas arrive at the New York premiere of "It Runs In The Family" at the Loews Lincoln Square Theater April 13, 2003 in New York City. (Getty Images)


He says that most inmates are treated as "animals" which in turn makes them treat each other the same way.  "Then they have to go home and live normally?" he asks,  adding, "It’s just not working. It almost begs the question: Is this by design? Many of these are private prisons. Human lives are traded on the stock market to keep these places filled. It is heinous. Personally, I think the system is designed to keep these places filled.” 

The book describes the brutality of the general population as well and the book is riddled with prison rape and fights, where he spent the most amount of time of his seven-year sentence before being released on August 2016. He recalls being visited by Kirk at the Metropolitan Correction Center in Manhattan before his sentencing in 2009 and he remembers feeling "touched".

"I'm so impressed by Pappy, and touched. He's ninety-three, and he's come all the way from California to see me," he writes, adding his 'Pappy' told him "That's my boy" when he told him about winning in a number of prison fights.


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