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March 15, 2014

Ex-Beverly hockey player writes book on life as jail guard

For close to 20 years Beverly native Chris Albano worked on Wall Street at the highest level, and has some very interesting stories to tell about his experiences. Albano wrote his first book, not about his career as a trader for a hedge fund, but based on the three years when he was a guard at the old Lawrence Jail.

Albano’s book “Jail Bait” is based on characters and events that occurred when he was a guard.

“Everybody asked me about my time at the jail,” said Albano, who played hockey for the Panthers (Billy Hamor was his defensive partner, and his nephew, Nick Albano, now plays for Beverly along with Hamor’s son Matt). “Nobody was interested in hearing about Wall Street, but they all love my stories from when I was a young guy working at the jail. It was a fascinating time spent at a facility built before the Civil War to accommodate one third of the population that was there there in the ‘80’s.

“At the time crack (cocaine) was the big drug, and we got every socio-economic class. Young kids, who couldn’t make bail spent the weekend there, and somebody in for drunk driving would wind up in the same cell with a guy in for murder. The conditions were just awful with rats running around and the septic system overflowing. It was so outdated and so overpopulated things were unbelievable.”

The main character in the book is a star high school hockey player named Marcus Kelly, who dreams about a pro career, but winds up in jail after a party. He isn’t even sure what happened that resulted in his being sent to the Lawrence jail.

Albano, who grew up on Brimbal Avenue in Beverly was in his 20’s when he took the job at the jail and was shocked at the changes he saw in inmates in a very short time.

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